Staying Positive in a Difficult Job Market

Though the job market may seem grim at first blush, the Economist finds that both business schools and MBA students have an upbeat outlook on the economy and their job prospects after graduation.

According to the UK news magazine, there are several reasons for the rosy attitude. To begin, commentators dither about whether the United States is truly in a recession, and if so, how severe it will become. Some argue that an economic upturn may begin later this year.

Secondly, rather than hanging all their hopes on stellar salaried positions in investment banking””one of the sectors suffering the greatest economic woes””MBA students are taking a more realistic approach and applying for internships and jobs at standard corporations. The Economist points out that while top job offers have slipped, so far MBAs have not seen internships or job offers dry up; nor have they experienced lay-offs a few months in, as happened rampantly after the 2000 dotcom crash.

At this point, the effect on MBA admissions appears minimal, with no marked downward trend in applications. In the UK, nearly 60,000 students took the GMAT in the first quarter of 2008””a 12% increase over the same period in 2007. Meanwhile, the increase in the United States was 8% and elsewhere 19%, the article states.

MBAs have weathered economic downturns in the past, particularly the global recession of the 1990s and the aforementioned dotcom crash, the Economist notes. But even if the MBA degree is not the golden ticket to a dream job, business schools continue to attract. As IESE dean Jordi Canals points out, when you have been in the B-school world for a while you appreciate how the business cycle works.

Surviving downturns is the only option.

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