Phenomenal growth in demand for MBAs

  • HT Education Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 27, 2015 20:36 IST

Employer demand for recent business school graduates continues to show a strong upward trend in 2015, as 84 % of companies worldwide plan to add new MBAs to their workforce, up from 74 % in 2014 and 62 % five years ago, according to a global survey of employers published earlier this month.

The 2015 Corporate Recruiters Survey, conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council, which conducts the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) in partnership with the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and the MBA Career Services &Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA), drew responses from 748 employers in 47 countries around the world, including 46 companies listed in the Fortune 100. “The MBA, as an area of study valued by employers, is showing more strength than ever with hiring of new graduates projected to rise for the third year in a row,” said Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO. “Employer demand for recent business school graduates, notably those skilled in data analytics, continues to increase as companies expect these new workers to use data to drive business decisions starting from the moment that they are hired. Students of any undergraduate background would do well to consider taking a graduate management degree because of the contributions it can make to their career aspirations,” he adds.

More than 9 in 10 (92 %) companies in the United States plan to hire MBA graduates in 2015 — up from 80% that hired MBAs in 2014. The proportion of US companies with plans to hire specialised business master’s candidates in 2015 is about 12 to16 percentage points higher than the share of companies that hired them in 2014.
About 75% of Asia-Pacific companies (69 % in 2014) plan to hire recent MBA graduates.

This year, (compared to last year) a larger share of Latin American companies plan to hire MBA and master of finance graduates. Around 75% plan to hire MBAs (up from 69 % that hired MBAs last year). On the other hand about 61 %companies plan to hire master of finance graduates (last year only 32 %companies hired them).

According to Chowfla today there is a renewed focus on growth in the cor porate sector globally. The imperative in the last few years was cost control. However, today companies are not shying away from investing in fresh, competitive talent to grow their business. Hence there is a focus on specialised graduates. “This is an aspect of the hiring market that we have observed through our research,”says Chowfla.

Experts are of the view that globally, more than half of the employers will increase starting salaries for new MBA hires in 2015, either at the rate of inflation (30% of companies) or higher (21%).The median starting salary expected in 2015 for recent MBA graduates in the United States is US$100,000. Depending upon the degree earned, employers expect recent graduate business candidates to have an average (median) of two to four years of prior work experience.

GMAC’s research into hiring trends also shows notable growth in the demand for data analytics, with 51 % of all companies surveyed globally stating that they plan to hire for this job function in 2015 — up from 44 % last year. Prof. Eric Cornuel, CEO and director general, EFMD says, “The next decade will see a massive demographic shift as the ‘boomers’ leave the workforce and companies clearly see business schools as a key resource in finding new talented graduates.”

The 2015 report also explores job level placement and recruiter behaviour. The majority of recent business school degree holders, upon graduation, can expect to be placed in a mid-level or entry-level position. Employers in Latin America and Europe expect to place the greatest proportion of business graduate hires in senior- and executive-level positions.

Employer attitudes towards massive open online courses, or MOOCs, vary regionally. Among employers familiar with MOOCS, those in the US are least likely to consider MOOCs an alternative to graduate management education. Companies in Asia-Pacific are the most likely to consider MOOCs an alternative to graduate management education. Nearly nine in ten employers cite a demonstrated track record, strong communication skills and solid technical/quantative skills as their top three most vital selection ­criteria.

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