The future looks bright for today’s b-school graduates. A massive global MBA survey conducted in 2011 by The MBA Tour pointed to improved job prospects and an increase in satisfaction with their school’s efforts over the last few years.
“The survey results reflect our growing anticipation of increased attendance for over 40 MBA Tour events this year. The most dramatic feedback was from US students who stated a 25 percent improvement in their job prospects from 2009 to 2011,” says Peter von Loesecke, CEO and Managing Director, The MBA Tour.
In 2009, more than one quarter of the MBA graduates enrolled in US programs said job prospects had worsened for them when compared to the previous graduating class of 2008. In 2010 that number dropped to 8.3 percent and for those graduating in 2011 it dropped to zero percent.
According to students, a large part of this improvement in outlook can be attributed to the growing efforts of career services in MBA programs. Between 2009 and 2011, the number of graduates who were not satisfied with their school’s efforts to find them employment dropped by 21 percent.
The Anderson School of Management at UCLA specifically has seen a powerful renewed effort in corporate outreach. “Over the past several months, career center professionals visited 55 companies that did not have a previous relationship with Anderson,” says Rob Weiler, Assistant Dean, Parker Career Management Center at UCLA Anderson School of Management. “As a result there were many more visits and meetings with companies with the goal of strengthening the recruiting relationship.”
UCLA has also taken it a step further by instituting a career course as part of the core curriculum where students and the career center are partnered to provide enhanced career preparation, resulting in extremely positive feedback from recruiters.
The Johnson School at Cornell University has also seen an increase in recruiters on campus due to their re-launched Coaches alumni program which renewed emphasis on corporate outreach, increased attendance to various MBA diversity career fairs, and expanded career treks to get students closer to corporate locations for interviews.
“During the economic downturn, we experienced a decline in companies coming on campus to recruit. As a result, we shifted our focus to helping students identify and network into off-campus opportunities that do not occur through on-campus interviews or job postings,” explains Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, Senior Associate Director, Career Management Center, The Johnson School.
Although the continuing effort from schools to help MBA students find a job is a benefit, the primary responsibility falls on the student. In support of this point, the survey said students who were given another chance would network earlier; improve their focus on a desired career objective; and attend more job fairs, seminars and events that are focused on their career objective.