MBA Job Outlook: Improved But Still Challenging

B-school’s recent grads have cause for cautious optimism, as newly released data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) points to clear signs that employer confidence in the economy is on the rise.

The top industries in terms of predicted job opportunities for the MBA class of 2010 are consulting and health care. Positions in marketing and sales are likely to be most plentiful, followed by finance-related slots in areas other than investment banking, GMAC reveals.

For newly minted MBAs, any uptick in hiring is like manna from heaven, compared to the bleak panorama one year ago. The GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey found that 55% of respondents planned to hire new MBA graduates in 2010, reversing a sharp drop in 2009, when the comparable figure fell to 50% from 59% the year before.

Graduates of other types of master’s-level business programs also should see their prospects improve in 2010, the survey data suggest.

GMAC also found that employers are shifting away from an emphasis on cost-cutting and retrenchment and paying more attention to growing their businesses””a particularly positive development for job-seekers.

“Employers have spoken clearly. The intrinsic value they place on the skills people develop in business school does not rise and fall just because the economy does,” said Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC.

“Management talent is always critical to the well-being of any organization, and as conditions improve, employers will find ways to acquire more of that talent.”

Reports about the survey are available online at www.gmac.com/surveys.
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