Hiring Managers Eye MBAs as Catalyst for Growth and Source of Innovative Thinking

Seasoned recruiters who work with b-schools also weigh past success with MBA recruits as hiring factor.

Sep 1, 2016

Employment Outlook

MBA graduates waiting to be interviewed As seen in the findings of GMAC’s 2016 Corporate Recruiters Survey, MBA graduates continue to remain a high-demand source of new business talent globally across all regions and industries. In 2016, nearly 9 in 10 (88%) corporate recruiters who work directly with graduate business school career services offices reported plans to hire recent MBA graduates, compared with 80 percent who hired these candidates last year. 

Corporate recruiters who plan to hire MBAs this year view them as filling key roles in meeting their organization’s goals for growth and expansion. For a majority of these employers, the top reasons cited for including recent MBA grads in their 2016 hiring mix include:
  • Building their leadership pipeline and succession planning (62% of respondents);
  • Supporting company growth (53%);
  • Innovative thinking (52%); and
  • Business acumen (51%). 
Across most industries these same factors appear, in varying order, among the top four reasons why employers will recruit and hire recent MBAs this year. Employers in the technology sector stand out as most likely among all industries to seek out MBA candidates for their innovative thinking (59% of respondents) and new perspectives (52%). 

Interestingly, results of a General Population Employer Survey, which GMAC conducted simultaneously with the Corporate Recruiters Survey in February and March of this year, revealed that innovative thinking, overall, was the top reason these survey respondents expect to recruit MBA candidates in 2016—cited by 59 percent of the nearly 1,300 employers in this survey sample. These employers work across a variety of industries and represent companies located in six countries—China, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

In fact, innovative thinking ranked as the number one reason these respondents gave for hiring MBA candidates—regardless of industry or company size. By regional location as well, respondents in 5 of the 6 countries in the sample also cited innovative thinking as the top reason why they recruit MBA talent. In China alone, this attribute ranked fourth as a reason for hiring MBA graduates, behind supporting company growth (59% of Chinese respondents), technical ability (61%), and business acumen (61%).

Overall, after innovative thinking, respondents to the General Population Employer Survey reported support for company growth (50% of employers) as their second highest reason for hiring MBA candidates this year, followed by a candidate’s technological ability (47%), depth of knowledge (47%), and business acumen (45%). 

Help Wanted: MBA Preferred
One factor that plays to the advantage of current and prospective MBA students is the extent to which employers routinely work with b-schools’ careers services departments to recruit on campus. Four in 10 (41%) employers who responded to the Corporate Recruiters Survey said their past success with business school hires is one reason that keeps them coming back each year to recruit new MBA hires. Only 29 percent of respondents in the general employer survey cited such outcomes as a reason for seeking MBA candidates. 

For more insights and results from both surveys, see the 2016 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, available for download at gmac.com/corporaterecruiters.