Schools Scramble to Boost Job Prospects for MBAs

Brighter job prospects and increased efforts by career centers at elite business schools have helped MBA graduates land positions faster this year than last, Jane Porter reports in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.

Harvard Business School‘s managing director for MBA career an professional development, Jana Kierstead, told WSJ the career recruiting budget increased 50% in the past year to help boost efforts to help students find jobs.

One way HBS has helped job seekers is a fellowship fund that gives students up to $500 to cover the cost of traveling for interviews–something many companies no longer pay for, Kierstead says.

And when Kierstead saw that job offers were down 10% from a year before, the career office began using conferences in Shanghai, London, and Paris to drum up employer interest.

Stanford Graduate School of Business tested out an online platform this spring with more than 200 students, allowing them to indicate what fields and companies they were interested in. School officials then pursued connections with those firms.

“We are almost able to act like an eHarmony between students, alumni and companies,” says Pulin Sanghvi, director of Stanford’s career management center.

Meanwhile, the employer-development staff at Chicago Booth School of Business has tripled in an effort to better identify companies hiring globally, Julie Morton, associate dean of career services, tells WSJ. Chicago has also taken to the road to seek out employers, hosting panels in sectors and cities where the school is less recognized, says Morton.

These efforts seem to be paying off, Wall Street Journal has found, revealing that at Harvard, 85% of graduates looking for jobs had offers by graduation. At Chicago, nearly 80% of graduates had an offer two weeks before graduation. And at Stanford, job postings on the career service website were up nearly 70% this year over last, with a surge this spring and again with just two weeks before graduation.

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