Graduate Management News

January 2017

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

GMAC Viewpoints: Hiring Forecast in 2017 Looks Strong for B-School Grads in a Competitive Market

Hiring of b-school talent remains priority in employers’ stated business goals for 2017, signaling expanded opportunities for competitive and high-performing MBA graduates.

Hiring Forecast

A company’s stated organizational goals are strong indicators of prevailing marketplace realities and employers’ expectations for their company’s overall business direction. These goals are reflected in the 2017 job forecast and hiring plans for this year’s cohort of business school graduates, as revealed in the findings from GMAC’s annual Year-End Poll of Employers. The summary report of the recently conducted poll shows that a majority of responding companies (56%) are focused on growth and expansion in the coming year; three-quarters are intent on improving performance and productivity. Seven in 10 (71%) agree that recruiting MBA and non-MBA business master’s graduates is a priority in their companies’ 2017 hiring plans to help them meet these growth and performance targets.

Hiring Projected to Increase in 2017

The year 2017 is shaping up to be positive for job-seeking business school graduates, as 83 percent of surveyed companies have plans to hire business school graduates this year, whether an MBA or non-MBA candidate.

  • Nearly 8 in 10 employers (79%) expect to hire MBA graduates in 2017, compared with 68 percent of the same companies that hired MBA candidates in 2016. Among companies planning to hire MBAs in 2017, 78 percent of employers plan of to hire as many or more of them than they did last year.
  • The 2017 hiring forecast for graduates of master’s programs in management and accounting is on trend with past years, with about a third of employers expecting to hire candidates with master’s degrees in management (31%) and accounting (29%), up from actual hiring outcomes in 2016 for these candidates.

Not only are a greater share of companies planning to hire business school graduates in 2017, but these employers also plan to increase the number of MBA and non-MBA graduates they will hire, expanding the number of positions for job-seeking b-school graduates.

Along with the increased demand for graduate business hires, more than half of poll respondents plan to increase starting annual base salaries for new hires in 2017. Fifty-eight percent intend to increase base starting salaries for new MBA hires either at or above the rate of inflation; and 57 percent of employers will do the same for Master of Accounting graduates.

Internship Opportunities Plentiful for MBA Candidates

The end-of-year 2016 poll results show that nearly all companies surveyed offer internships to undergraduate and graduate-level students.

  • Of companies that offer internships, 66 percent will offer internships to MBA candidates in 2017 and 82 percent of the companies that offer MBA internships plan to maintain or increase the number of MBA internship openings in the coming year.
  • On par with past years’ findings, a smaller share of employers also expects to offer internships to candidates in business master’s programs including Master of Accounting (17% of employers), Master in Management (16%), and Master of Finance (15%).

GMAC’s annual employer hiring data collected through the Corporate Recruiters Surveys show that internships are one of the most successful means for graduate business students to acquire needed work experience and get a leg up in the job search. For example, 57 percent of companies surveyed last spring said they hired more than half of their MBA interns from 2015 to full-time positions.1

Completion of an internship has value not just in boosting employment opportunities after graduation, but in determining starting salaries for recent b-school graduates. Nearly a quarter (23%) of employers who responded to the 2016 Corporate Recruiter Survey reported that participation in an internship would positively influence the base starting salary offered to a new graduate business hire.2

Results of the 2016 Year-End Poll of Employers reflect responses provided by 167 recruiters from more than 140 companies of varying sizes and industry sectors across the globe, including 31 companies listed among the Fortune 500, 21 of which are also included in the Fortune 100. For more findings from the 2016 Year-End Poll of Employers, you can download the full summary report at www.gmac.com/employerpoll.

Stay Current on Changing Global Markets: Sign Up for Corporate Recruiters Survey

As noted in last month’s Viewpoints article in Graduate Management News, market globalization, changing business structures, and evolving economic and political changes resulting from the recent Brexit vote and U.S. presidential election underscore the need for business schools to stay ahead of global trends that may impact the future career decisions of your students. Participating in GMAC’s upcoming annual Corporate Recruiters Survey is one of the surest ways to have the latest data at your fingertips about hiring demand for your graduates in 2017.

This survey attracts responses from hundreds of companies around the globe—many in the Fortune 500—who provide insights into their business goals, domestic and international recruitment practices, hiring targets, and the skills and performance expectations they have for potential b-school hires.

Sign up your school today for the Corporate Recruiters Survey. It launches in early February 2017. Visit gmac.com/surveysignup to ensure your school and the employers who recruit your students are represented in the survey findings.


[1] GMAC (2016) Corporate Recruiters Survey.
[2] For a detailed analysis of factors that influence starting salaries for new business school graduates, see the May 2016 Research Insights article, “Which Aspects of Candidates’ Resumes Get Them Bigger Starting Salaries Out of B-School?”