Got an MBA? Good news, bad news

If you’ve done the hard yakka and shown how smart you are, a new report may cheer you up a little

Got an MBA? Good news, bad news

As markets rebound from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies will reportedly turn to hiring MBA graduates who can help rebuild the business and map out the road to recovery.

Nine in 10 employers say they expect to recruit high-calibre MBA graduates by 2021.

The figure is up from 77% in July – when employers were generally cautious about increasing headcount amid the pandemic – according to a survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council, a non-profit group helping business schools worldwide assess prospective students.

Before the pandemic, 92% of companies were set to hire MBA grads in 2020. But when crisis hit, nearly a third said they were forced to delay onboarding. A minority 8% rescinded their job offer.

READ MORE: Should you take the next step with an MBA?

The latest findings, however, indicate a sea change. Employers, particularly in consulting, finance and technology – the ‘big-three’ industries for MBA graduates – have expressed optimism in their hiring plans despite the uncertainty sparked by the crisis.

“When thinking about the skills and experience required to help organisations and industries rebuild after an event like COVID-19, it makes sense that employers are expressing a desire to hire more MBA and business master’s graduates,” said Sangeet Chowfla, CEO and president of GMAC.

“The world was changing rapidly even before the current pandemic and while COVID-19 has brought with it perhaps unprecedented challenges across every sector, [business] school classrooms have long been preparing MBA students for a dynamic and often uncertain environment. Employers place a premium on that kind of talent and perspective,” Chowfla said.

MBA courses with a focus on human resources have continued to attract students in the past five years, according to another GMAC survey. In 2015, for example, about 9% of Millennials who were looking to enrol in graduate business school were considering pursuing a career in HR.

But what specific competencies make MBA grads distinct? Employers cited strategic thinking, communication and versatility.

The skills of an MBA degree holder can set an organisation at an advantage, especially when it comes to competing and creating value in the marketplace.

“And they become even more important amid turmoil and constant change,” said Jay Nibbe, GMAC board member and global vice chair for markets at EY.

READ MORE: EY offers employees free virtual MBA course

Recruiting MBA degree holders plays a critical role in companies’ recovery efforts primarily because business graduates have the “ability to perform in times of transition and change,” according to 87% of employers surveyed.

But while companies are eager to welcome MBA grads into their team, compensation packages for newcomers will likely take a hit next year. In 2019, MBA grads received a median salary of $115,000. This year, however, the median dropped to $105,000 at the height of the crisis.

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