At this time of year, graduating MBA students are usually rubbing their hands together, looking forward to launching the careers they’d dreamed of the day they set foot in business school. 2020 is a little different.
The coronavirus pandemic means this year’s graduating class face obstacles in the form of hiring freezes, furloughed staff, a damaged economy, and certain industries in free fall. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that the global economy will contract by up to 3% in 2020, which is much worse than the 2008 financial crisis.
As unemployment rates rise and companies strategize to overcome the challenges imposed by the pandemic, what will the prospects be for graduating MBAs?
MBA jobs in 2020
To quell the spread of the virus borders have been tightened, international mobility has plummeted, and sports venues worldwide shut.
It’s no surprise then that the transportation, hospitality, and professional sports industries have been heavily hit. MBA graduates targeting those industries may have to put their plans on hold or look for alternative career opportunities.
Even if some countries reopen to international tourism this summer, it’s unlikely the travel industry will recover at a pace that creates a plethora of jobs this year.
Delta Airlines has introduced a hiring freeze, as has JetBlue, according to a document obtained by Poets & Quants . It adds that Marriott is rescinding internship offers, as is NBC Sports.
Dominic Prosser (pictured below), MBA careers coach at the University of Exeter Business School, says an inevitable recession post-coronavirus will disrupt recruitment in the same way the 2008 financial crisis did, and possible more deeply. How the labor market recovered in 2008 will help us anticipate what is to come beyond the pandemic.
In 2008, the worst jobs cuts took place at investment banks, technology firms, and chemical and pharmaceutical companies, as well as the media—where vacancies halved during the course of two recruitment rounds.
This time around, however, it’s likely that the travel, airline, leisure, and hospitality sectors will be the worst affected, as the pandemic puts severe restrictions on global movement and social distancing measures deeply hurt restaurants, bars, and hotels. In contrast, the same technology and pharmaceutical industries that saw drastic cuts following 2008 could find themselves buoyant.
Firms like Zoom, a video conferencing company, and Slack, an office communications tool, have seen their stocks rise during the crisis. Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies will also need experienced, trained management professionals to manage the race for a vaccine and the global strain on hospitals and medical providers.