Top 5 Things You Need to Know about Graduate Business Recruiting Trends

MBA CSEA recently released the results of its Fall 2016 Recruiting Trends Survey.  Here are 5 things you need to know!

by Matthew Evans, Associate Director, Carnegie Mellon, Tepper School of Business

  1. Recruiting continues to increase for full-time students…41% of schools reported an increase in on-campus recruiting for full-time MBA students in Fall 2016.  While this is down from 65% reporting an increase in 2015, only 25% of schools indicated a decrease in on-campus recruiting for full-time students, indicating continued improvement in the market for this population.
  2. …while part-time recruiting has flattened.In Fall 2016, 50% of schools reported an increase for part-time MBA recruiting, versus 23% reporting an increase and 18% reporting a decrease.  Last year, 46% of schools reported an increase in recruiting activity for part-time students.
  3. Recruiting for international students in the U.S. continues its steep decline…Survey respondents offer a bleak picture overall for students without permanent work authorization who are seeking employment in the United States.  Over three times as many schools reported a decrease in international student hiring than those who reported an increase.
  4. …but Consulting and Technology continue to provide opportunities.Consulting and Technology were the only industries where more schools reported increased international student hiring than those which reported decreases.  Even so, far more schools reported increased hiring in consulting and technology overall than reported increased hiring for international students in those industries (46% to 24% for consulting; 53% to 35% for technology.
  5. Financial Services is in, Energy and Consumer Packaged Goods are out.39% of schools reported an increase in Financial Services recruiting, compared to 27% in 2015.  This marked the largest year-over-year gain across industries.  In contrast, 29% of schools reported a decrease in Energy recruiting (more than any other industry), and 23% of schools reported a decrease in CPG recruiting (largest year-over-year gain)

A September, 2016 survey by listed the November presidential election as the biggest threat to the U.S. economy.  Markets detest uncertainty, and the rancorous political climate throughout 2016 did nothing to increase economic confidence.  Indeed, United States consumer sentiment as measured by the University of Michigan was stagnant in the year leading up to the election, spiking once results were known.  Considering this uncertainty, the MBA hiring market overall remained strong.  It remains to be seen whether the highs of 2014 and 2015 will be repeated under the new administration.

The market for international talent continues to decline.  Multiple bills have been introduced to amend work visa regulations, an H-1B premium processing suspension looms, and an executive order is likely forthcoming.  Whatever comes will likely have an impact on the willingness of companies to sponsor foreign talent; in the meantime, policy uncertainty, coupled with a continued increase in the ratio between graduating F-1 students and the H-1B cap, will continue limiting companies' willingness to hire international MBA talent.

The results of this survey raise several questions for MBA career services professionals; it would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments section:

  • How do you advise international students who are interested in pursuing careers outside of technology and consulting?
  • Are you seeing more competition for jobs in fields such as CPG and Energy, or is student interest waning in proportion to decreases in recruiting activity?
  • Likewise, has student interest in financial services careers increased over the last year in correspondence with increased recruiting, or is there a potential MBA talent shortage for these positions?

To review the Fall 2016 MBA CSEA Recruiting Trends Survey results, click here.