4 key career trends facing MBA Graduates

November 11, 2016 Katy Roberts

Just when we thought that we had hit the recruitment peak for MBA Graduates in 2015, 2016 decided to surprise us all demonstrating the strongest employer demand for recent MBA Graduates since 2010. Nearly 9 in 10 employers that work with career services plan to conduct on-campus recruitment this year, according to Damian Zikakis - University of Michigan Ross School of Business. And that’s not an isolated trend. In fact, according to GMAC’s 2016 Corporate Recruitment Survey, a greater percentage of companies in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the United States plan to hire MBAs in 2016 compared with those who did so in 2015. 

But is the prospect of full-time, permanent employment the only option for MBA Graduates looking to kick-start their careers? 

Not at all. 

We uncover a number of career trends and opportunities facing MBA Graduates today. 

The Start-Up is the new Recruiter

In statistics released in the US this year, the largest increase in full-time MBA Graduate recruitment activity lies within the technology industry (65% in 2015 compared to 75% in 2016), while the largest decrease in recruitment activity lies within the Consumer Product industry, dropping by almost 20% from 2015 to 2016. 

But who are these organisations actively recruiting MBA Graduates?  According to the same set of statistics, surprisingly, the business doing most of the active MBA Graduate recruitment appears to be the Start-Up – no more than 12 months old. However, even more surprisingly has been the decline, by 15% - the most overall, of large organisations of 500 employees and more, actively recruiting MBA Students. 

The Power of the Network 

One of the biggest benefits to an MBA program is the alumni community and cohorts that you will work alongside and get to know.  But telling that to an MBA graduate is like pushing against an open door.  So just how is the power of networking influencing the way MBA Graduates develop their careers? 

54% of MBA Graduates in 2016 credited their new work opportunities and placements as having been delivered through alumni-initiated hiring, while 45% found their next career move through direct referral requests. In contrast to previous years, opportunities created through events like Career Fairs and the conversion from internships into full-time employment decreased by an average of 8%. 

Diversify to stand ahead of The Shift 

“While many graduating MBA students are still heading to traditional sectors like finance, consulting and technology, one of the biggest trends among top business schools is an increase in the diversity of students’ career interests.” So says Susan Kline from the MIT Sloan School of Management. And MIT’s observation is far from unique. In fact, according to the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, they report a sharp increase demand for business analytical skills within specialist MBA Graduate consulting fields. Ms Kline continues to add that this transition in MBA career prospects demonstrates a substantial shift that’s taking place within the organisations looking to hire them. “Although we’ve always had active recruiting in the technology sector, five years ago our top hirers were in the banking sectors”

The Rise of Entrepreneurialism

The EU Business school published their insights this year on what they consider to be the top MBA trends to take note of.  At the top of that list was The Rise of Entrepreneurialism – entrepreneur MBAs who are prioritising their personal values of entrepreneurship and independence – coupled with the increasing number of organisations recognising the value of innovation and autonomy when hiring graduates. 

In fact, they specifically credit this new MBA opportunity to the mere fact that the way we live and work is being revolutionised by technology and the evolution of businesses and industries.  And the reasons why these specialists are so sought-after? Well, they understand what it means to diversify and they understand what it means to be flexible towards their employee or client’s needs. 

MBA graduates hold a very important key to their futures. And it is reinforced by the year-on-year increase in demand for their skills and expertise from those organisations looking to access what they have to offer – a clear sign of resilience of the MBA Degree within the marketplace. Talmix is proud to be able to present to our customers a community of over 27,000, often MBA qualified, consultants who bring a wealth of market knowledge, industry expertise and most of all, focussed attention to delivering on whatever project is set before them. 

It’s time to look further than your little black book. This is the new way of working. This is Talmix.  

About the Author

Katy Roberts

Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.

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