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Recruiters Bullish About Hiring, Salaries

Newly minted MBAs have another reason for optimism, too. The survey shows that business graduates can expect a starting annual salary that’s 27% more than those for other graduate students—and 76% more than expected salaries for undergraduate or first university students (average percentage, based on 2003–¬2007 data).

Results from the 2007 Corporate Recruiters Survey also suggest that campus recruiting will be strong this year. Some 47% of respondents who recruit on campus expect their presence to be about the same as last year, and 44% indicated they might increase campus activity. Hiring companies that recruit on campus worked on average with 11 to 12 business schools in 2006, and this year expect to work with 12 to 13 business schools. Employers that actively recruit business graduates expect to offer starting salaries an average of 24% higher than those offered by other employers.

Recruiters aren’t as sanguine about hiring undergraduate students. The survey found that employers estimate that the number of undergraduate school or first university hires may decrease by 7% in 2007.

MBAs and other graduate business students will have the best chance of finding a job in 2007 in either marketing or sales or in the financial sector outside investment banking, according to the survey. There appears to be less demand this year for MBA talent in investment banking and human resources/organizational management.

About 80% of recruiters agree that those who hold graduate business degrees demonstrate higher abilities in managing strategy and innovation, knowledge of general business functions, and in strategic and system skills than other employees at the same job level. However, recruiters say that new hires need talents that aren’t necessary front-and-center in the business school curriculum. To be a successful manager, the recruiting survey suggests, graduate business students should develop their conscientiousness, interpersonal skills, and capacity to manage human capital.

The survey found that when companies select and hire graduating MBAs or other graduate business students, they focus primarily on the candidate’s interpersonal skills, how well he or she will fit into the company’s culture, proven ability to perform, and leadership attributes, such as motivation, initiative, or adaptability. Most employers deem a candidate’s history of managing people as relatively less important.

On average in 2006, one in four company employees (26%) held a graduate management degree. Of employers that hired graduating MBAs or other graduate business students in 2006, nearly three quarters (72%) said their new hires met expectations; 24% said they exceeded expectations.

The 2007 GMAC® Corporate Recruiters Survey, conducted in partnership with the MBA Career Services Council, is based on responses from 1,382 participants from 1,029 companies. Participants were drawn from contact information provided by 92 graduate business schools about companies that hire their graduates.

B-School Graduates Report Similar Optimism

Graduate business students are also feeling rosy about 2007. According to the 2007 GMAC® Global MBA® Graduate Survey, full-time graduate management students in the class of 2007 (who had received an offer of employment) received an average of 2.5 job offers. And graduate business students in 2007 have slightly higher salary expectations compared with previous classes. Respondents from full-time programs expected an increase of 54% over their pre-MBA salaries, part-time program respondents expected a 43% increase in salary, and executive program respondents expected a 33% increase in salary.

The data show an 88% uptick in student interest in working in the consulting industry, as well as a 34% increased interest in working in the finance/accounting industry. The most significant declines in fields of interest were technology (down 32%) and the nonprofit sector (down 54%).

Three-fifths of surveyed graduating students considered their degree an outstanding or excellent value. The primary drivers of overall value were the quality of the curriculum, the faculty, and program management. Nevertheless, survey results suggest that improvements in the quality of each program component, including career services and student services, will yield an increase in the overall value of the degree.

About 7% of full-time students report financing from their employer reimbursement/sponsorship program, as compared with 65% of executive MBA students and 63% of part-time students.

When assessing potential employers, graduates of full-time MBA programs look for room for growth, a fit with the company culture, and a positive organizational climate, the survey found. Interestingly, when choosing an employer, Millennials were more likely than older respondents to consider the following as important criteria: location, physical surroundings, the opinion of others, an emphasis on work-life balance, company stability, and an emphasis on community and inclusion.

The 2007 Global MBA® Graduate Survey, the Council’s eighth annual survey of MBA graduates, is based on input from 5,641 students from 158  graduate business programs.

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