Ask HR: Why Hire MBAs?

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The demand for candidates who have earned an MBA is clear across all business sectors. According to a Graduate Management Admission Council survey (the administrator of the GMAT), nine out of 10 employers say they expect to maintain or increase job opportunities for graduates of MBA programs in 2015.

As a bonus, the majority of the employers who responded also plan to increase base salaries for new hires this year. So the question is, what makes MBA graduates so employable?

To find out, MBA@UNC decided to go right to the source: HR executives. Professionals from a variety of industries were asked to answer the question, “Why does an MBA give candidates an advantage?” Here’s what they had to say:

Erin Anderson, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, 2U

“Candidates with MBAs tend to have a broader set of skills that enable them to address business needs with a more comprehensive understanding of how their actions will impact the organization.”

Katie Burke, Director of Talent and Culture, HubSpot

“At HubSpot we give employees significant autonomy to create solutions for our customers and our company. MBAs are incredibly valuable to our team because they drive data-driven decisions to impact change and lead cross-functional projects all while thinking like founders, and that’s a hybrid skill set we need in spades as we grow and scale globally.”

Tisa Head, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Navy Federal

“MBA candidates have experienced rigorous academic programs, project work in a team environment, internships with industry leaders, and, in many cases, international business experiences. All of these experiences, in and out of the classroom, develop critical thinking, problem solving and team-oriented skills that enhance their overall business acumen and provide advantages in a very competitive job market.”

Julie Hodges, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion, Disney Parks & Resorts

“We find that MBA graduates joining Disney possess a passion for our company, brand and unique experiences, and they offer a wide range of business knowledge and intense enthusiasm for what is possible. Their ability to handle complex business situations and capacity to adapt and be nimble in a rapidly changing global environment has been an asset for us.”

Sandy Hynes, Senior Vice President of People, Opower

“Having an MBA is so much more than a few additional years of education. Candidates with MBAs stand out because they are able to take theoretical knowledge and apply it to real business situations, enabling them to get up to speed and deliver results more rapidly, which is what top companies need to compete globally.”

As you can see, there were trends among the 24 responses that included the desire to hire people with diverse skill-sets and those with the ability to discover innovation solutions. Other answers focused on the global perspective and the exposure to real-world business challenges that MBA graduates possess.

To read the full list of responses from companies like Accenture, Costco Wholesale, KPMG, LinkedIn, and Wegmans, visit MBA@UNC’s website here.

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