Graduate Management News

May 2015

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

Employer Demand for Business School Talent Reaches New High

Corporate Recruiters Survey 2015The year 2015 may well turn out to be the best year so far this decade for job-seeking business school graduates as more recruiters worldwide seek to hire more of them— across all candidate types, industry sectors, and world regions. Some 84 percent of business school recruiters plan to hire recent MBA candidates from the class of 2015, up 10 percentage points from last year and 34 percentage points higher than 2009, when just half of employers added newly minted MBAs to their workforce. The share of companies planning to hire specialized business master’s candidates in 2015 is also up by 10 percentage points or more compared with actual hiring results from last year

The positive hiring outlook for business graduates in the class of 2015 characterizes the major findings released today from GMAC’s 14th annual survey of corporate recruiters, which drew responses from 748 employers located in 47 countries, including 46 companies in the Fortune 100. The survey was conducted in partnership with EFMD, and the MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA) as well as 113 graduate business schools worldwide. “The MBA is showing more strength than ever as the hiring of new graduates into the workforce is projected to rise for the third year in a row,” said Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC CEO and president. “Employer demand for recent business school graduates, notably those skilled in data analytics, continues to increase as companies expect these new workers to use data to drive business decisions starting the moment they’re hired.”

The increased hiring estimates for 2015 reflect not only the value that employers place on the level of talent that is emerging from graduate business programs but also the improved global economic conditions that have helped set a majority (69 percent) of companies this year on a path of growth and expansion, and fewer companies (16 percent) focused on overcoming economic challenges. Companies classifying themselves as growing are more likely to be seeking recent MBA and specialized business master’s candidates. Such companies this year will focus on a number of goals including new product launches, product and service diversification, expansion of their customer base, and geographic expansion, all useful barometers for where job opportunities may lie for this year’s graduates.

“The data from the latest survey shows a very positive view globally from companies on the value and impact of graduate management education. The next decade will see a massive demographic shift as the ‘boomers’ leave the workforce and companies clearly see business schools as a key resource in finding new talented graduates,” said Professor Eric Cornuel, CEO and Director General, EFMD. 


“The MBA is showing more strength than ever as the hiring of new graduates into the workforce is projected to rise for the third year in a row. Employer demand for recent business school graduates, notably those skilled in data analytics, continues to increase as companies expect these new workers to use data to drive business decisions starting the moment they’re hired.” 

Sangeet Chowfla
GMAC CEO and President 


Hiring MBAs2003-2015Key findings, comparing projected hiring for 2015 with actual hiring from the previous year, include:

  • Some 75 percent of employers in Asia-Pacific, 56 percent of European employers, 75 percent of Latin American companies, and 92 percent of US employers plan to hire MBAs this year, all increases from 2014.
  • Half (51 percent) of the global employers surveyed plan to hire Master in Management graduates, up from 41 percent last year.
  • 44 percent of employers worldwide plan to hire Master of Accounting graduates in 2015, up from 31 percent last year.
  • 46 percent of employers surveyed globally plan to hire Master of Finance graduates this year, up from 32 percent in 2014.
  • This year, with a few exceptions, survey findings reveal double-digit (or near double-digit) increases over 2014 in the percentage of employers across all industry sectors who expect to hire both MBA and master’s-level business graduates.
  • Hiring trends in 2015 show notable growth in the demand for data analytics skills, with 51 percent of companies surveyed globally stating that they plan to hire for this job function this year—up from 44 percent in 2014. When asked to name three skills employers most seek among business school graduates this year, analytics was the most frequently mentioned skill.
  • Globally, more than half of employers will increase starting salaries for new MBA hires in 2015, either at the rate of inflation (30 percent of companies) or higher (21 percent). The median starting salary expected in 2015 for recent MBA graduates in the United States is US$100,000. This represents an increase of US$5,000 over 2014 salaries and is nearly double the expected starting salary of US$55,000 for bachelor’s candidates in 2015.
  • Employer attitudes towards massive online open courses, or MOOCs, vary regionally. Among employers familiar with MOOCS, those in the U.S. are least likely to consider MOOCs an alternative to graduate management education (8 percent). Rather, they are more likely to view them as a professional development tool (64 percent) or to help employees explore personal interests (57 percent). Companies in Asia-Pacific are the most likely to consider MOOCs an alternative to graduate management education (29 percent).
  • When choosing graduate business candidates to interview — 9 in 10 employers cite a demonstrated track record, strong communication skills, and solid technical or quantitative skills as their top three criteria.

"MBA CSEA is delighted employers are even more ‘bullish’ on MBAs this year, according to GMAC's Corporate Recruiters Survey. Our school members are excited that more respondents plan to hire MBAs in 2015 and, in particular, almost two-thirds of those companies plan to increase the number of graduates they will hire. This is great news for students and portends well for the economy overall. It is encouraging to know companies are so confident in their growth prospects," said Damian Zikakis, president of the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance and director of career services, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

For the full 2015 Corporate Recruiters Survey report, go to gmac.com/corporaterecruiters.


The Corporate Recruiters Survey is conducted in conjunction with EFMD and MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA).