Job market slump? MBA graduates should explore opportunities in the tech sector

SOURCE: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
The tech sector is fast becoming a major recruiter of MBA graduates, according to industry experts.

By U2B Staff 

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MBA graduates are reportedly having a difficult time gaining employment in the wake of COVID-19. According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), many traditional corporate recruiters in the US have shelved their usual fall hiring plans.

Big companies including PricewaterhouseCoopers have said there will be no jobs on offer to second-year MBA candidates, beyond those who interned this summer, looking to lock down a position before they graduate.

The consulting giant said it has no plans to hire up to 100 second-year MBA students as it usually does each fall. This year, only those who had summer internships with the firm got job offers this month for positions that will start after graduation in the spring of 2021, Rod Adams, the US recruitment leader at the company, was quoted saying.

Other companies are reportedly taking a wait-and-see approach and are not making a commitment to hiring MBA graduates for now.

Naturally, this will set alarm bells ringing for students who have invested anything between US$60,000 to US$200,000 for their degree, and are depending on it to help them advance their career and make a salary leap.

MBAs don’t come cheap. According to the BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2020, the average total MBA cost in the US is US$123,000. Elite business schools tend to cost considerably more. 

For a rough idea of the price range, students can expect to pay approximately US$142,080 for their MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business while the figure is approximately US$140,000 at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

Despite its hefty price tag, the returns of an MBA are well documented in a pre-COVID-19 era.

MBA graduates who complete accredited programmes are more likely to enjoy good prospects for employment in any industry; 85.2% of those who graduated from the 131 MBA programmes ranked by U.S. News found employment within three months.

Shifting gears, key findings from the Association of MBAs and Business Graduates Association’s (AMBA & BGA) research said 61% of employers are either “not very confident” or “not confident at all” in the state of the global economy.

A total of 35% of survey participants think they will be recruiting “a lot fewer” management leaders in 2020 than they did in 2019, while 14% think they will be recruiting more management leaders than last year and 16% believe their recruitment of MBA-relevant roles will be the same as 2019.


How MBA graduates can navigate a murky job market 

An MBA can easily set students back over US$100,000; those looking to recoup their investment don’t necessarily have to be quaking in their boots about graduating during a pandemic.  

Traditional MBA employers are slowing down their recruitment plans but new employers in technology are emerging to fill the gap, said Raj Echambadi, dean of Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, to WSJ.

Meanwhile, Inc. and Microsoft Corp. started their B-school recruiting process for jobs and internships earlier than ever before and indicated they plan to make more job offers to second-year MBAs than usual, said Drew Pascarella, associate dean of MBA programmes at Cornell University’s SC Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Cloud-computing company ServiceNow Inc. launched its B-school intern programme last year and next spring aims to hire about 10 to 20 additional MBAs than it did this past year.

“This is a long-term commitment,” said Chirantan CJ Desai, ServiceNow’s chief product officer, who manages the company’s B-school hires, to WSJ. “MBAs help us create better products. I’m optimistic about the graduating class of 2021.”

Also echoing the sentiment that the tech industry is becoming a major recruiter of MBA graduates is Dr Christine Menges, MBA Careers Center director at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.

Menges previously told U2B that many of their graduates are moving into the tech and startup scene. Based on current trends, Dr Menges believes this will continue into the future. She added that it’s essential for professionals to ensure their skills are up-to-date to enhance their employability.

“If you want to do an MBA and advance your career, it’s a good time to do it now because once the crisis is over, companies will be looking for talent that is most useful to them,” she explained.