Are MBA jobs coming back in USA, India, UK, and the other primary destinations for those seeking management wisdom and wealth? The fortunes of MBA students are often tied to the economical cycles. And a good reason to leave your pre MBA job is when you are relatively sure that your chances of getting a good job in a new country are good. Most of the answers on forums, blogs tend to be pretty subjective about what’s been happening to folks who took the plunge into MBA world before you did.
The QS TopMBA report on jobs and salaries does a good job of quantifying the answer to this oft asked question. At 68 pages, the report is quite massive. So we do the grunge work of filtering out the key points from it. In this post, we look at it from a country perspective.
– In the last 2 decades, despite the ups and downs that the economy has gone through, MBA jobs have managed an average growth rate (CAGR) of 15%.
– This year the number of MBA jobs offered grew by 14%. This is 1% lower than last year, but substantially higher than the post-recession phase growth numbers (2009 saw a 5% decrease)
– Asia was the star player in MBA recruitment (20% growth rate), and after a big gap it was followed by Middle East (8%), Latin America (6%) and Central Europe (6%). Ironically the region with the best business schools, North America, had the worst growth rate (2%). The silver lining is that all the numbers were positive (i.e. MBA jobs are growing, not shrinking)
– At 11% growth, four sectors shared the honours for presenting the most opportunities for MBA jobs – Consulting, finance, technology and general industry
– The worst performers were Media & entertainment, metals / mining, pharmaceuticals / healthcare, hospitality / travel
– The United States is taking its time to recover from economic battering. The 2% growth in MBA jobs hasn’t been good enough to absorb all the talent that’s coming out of its top schools.
– The point above might be the reason why a high percentage of international students (the Wharton Dean estimates this to be 2 out of 3) return to their home country to take up post-MBA jobs
– Based on the forecast of MBA recruiters, the coming years will see an improvement in MBA hiring. The growth rate could jump into double digits (16% is the estimated figure).
– Consulting firms have already started ramping up their talent pool from business schools. The other sectors that are expected to drive this growth are financial services, technology, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.
– Right now, MBA recruiters are still playing safe and using internships to test drive their future employees.
– Work permits / H1B visa is still an issue that’s giving MBA students and recruiters a tough time. So, MBA jobs in USA for Indians (hoping to use the degree as a stepping stone) will continue to have its challenges. However, the visa extension under the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) category has given the cloud a silver lining.
– Professional service firms (including management consulting jobs), Information technology / ITES and finance (including the micro-finance players) have been driving the MBA jobs growth number to a whopping 29%.
– The bigger chunk of local Indian recruiters hire from the conventional two year (CAT & equivalent) MBA programs meant for freshers with no experience. The salaries are usually less than 15 lakhs. The growth rates mentioned earlier do not consider this category of MBA recruiters.
– When it comes to GMAT MBA jobs, there’s a clear bifurcation of the type of programs that Indian recruiters prefer. The multinational companies have a strong preference to recruit the best from the global talent pool i.e. the top international business schools. But the local companies prefer the Indian MBA programs, like the one-year programs offered by the IIMs (IIMA PGPX, IIMB EPGP, IIMC PGPex), Indian School of Business (ISB Hyderabad / Mohali).
– Most of the other countries fall between the USA and India in terms of MBA job growth rate. China and South Korea are exceptions with high growth rates.
– In the UAE, the increase has been modest (3%) and driven by banking, energy and Information technology companies. According to one recruiter, the biggest constraint on getting that number higher is the willingness of MBA graduates to relocate to the Middle East.
– Japanese recruiters have had a tradition of sending their best employees to the best business schools in the West. The trend continues and has resulted in high growth rates (17%)
– In Russia, the MBA qualification is soon becoming the de facto pre-requisite for the best managerial jobs. Energy and financial services have led the growth.
– Most MBA employers appear to be happy with the technical skills that MBA graduates bring into their firm. These skills are mostly tangible in nature and relate to finance, marketing, risk management, and other hard skills.
– Recruiters are also happy (for the first time in 2 decades) with the leadership skills of the newly minted MBAs.
– Soft skills is still an area of concern for MBA recruiters – the bggest ones being interpersonal skills, communication and the ability to think strategically.
– MBA recruiters are also disappointed when they find out that candidates are less entrepreneurial than they expected them to be. This despite the fact that many of the individual ingredients that go into entrepreneurship are generally covered during the MBA course.
Of course, none of this really guarantees what’ll happen to your career after you’ve taken a 2 year break from your work (and salary) and are hoping to get back into the working + earning life. But when you consider that the growth for MBA jobs over a 25 year period has been better than all other (non-MBA) jobs, it does give you some reassurance. You own a degree that’s survived the highs and lows of the economy and done pretty well for its owners over the longer term.
Next we look at MBA salaries in USA, India, UK and other countries.