Gauging the Job Market for MBA Graduates

Just about everyone considering applying to an MBA program wants to make sure there will be a job waiting at the end of the road. After all, we’re talking about a substantial investment, and recent economic upheavals give cause for legitimate concern.

That’s why the Corporate Recruiters Survey administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council plays such an important role in GMAC’s annual suite of surveys, and as a prospective or current business school student, the results most definitely matter to you.

The current issue of GMAC’s monthly newsletter, Graduate Management News, features an interview with Rachel Edgington, founder of GMAC’s Corporate Recruiters Survey. Below are excerpts from that Q&A that provide a valuable perspective on gauging the hiring landscape.

Q: Why did GMAC start the Corporate Recruiters Survey?

A: We were getting really good insights into what MBA graduates were learning, how they were conducting their job search, what industries they were going into, what they were looking for in their employers. What we didn’t know was if there was a match between student job expectations and employers’ potential to hire and whether what students were learning were the skills employers were seeking. It was really a need to get a comprehensive picture of the industry.

Q: What are some of the more notable things the survey has found in the past nine years?

A: We’ve been able to track and report hiring trends in a way that schools and students can prepare for fluctuations in the job market””rather than be reactive, they can be proactive.

We also identified the reasons non-US students had a hard time finding jobs in the US””with a large domestic pool of candidates, employers didn’t need to do the extra work required to hire non-US citizens. Finally, it is clear from employers that they value their MBA hires, regardless of criticism seen in the media.

Q: How does the Corporate Recruiters Survey differ from other employer surveys being done?

A: GMAC’s goal is to understand the entire landscape and provide a holistic view, so students and schools can be prepared. Because our survey encompasses many different types of schools and employers, it gives a much better feel for what’s really happening in the market in terms of salary, hiring, and on-campus recruitment. We also include companies that hire MBAs, even though they may not recruit on-campus.

A student might feel their career services office is not getting enough employers recruiting on campus. But only three-quarters of employers who hire MBAs recruit on-campus, at an average of eight schools. Employers have budget constraints and may not consider a school until they’ve reached top ranking. That’s really useful information to manage student expectations and for schools to develop strategies to attract employers in other ways.

Q: Why is the Corporate Recruiters Survey so important for schools?

A: Because it gives a comprehensive look at the market as a whole, it’s really the most useful tool in managing student expectations and your dean’s expectations. It’s not just the free custom benchmark reports for participants but also the general survey report.

Say that you are considering a new master’s in healthcare administration or healthcare management. This survey would be a natural source for you to understand what your potential market share could be.

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