B-School Survey Sheds Light on On-Campus Recruiting Activity
When it comes to the Spring 2016 Recruiting Trends Survey from the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA), the good news is that the majority of business schools surveyed reported an increase in on-campus recruiting for full-time MBAs this year as compared to last. However, this majority isn’t quite as large as it was last year – a greater proportion of schools reported an increase in on-campus recruiting in 2015.
Which types of schools responded to the MBA CSEA Spring Recruiting Trends Survey?
Readers should firstly note that this year’s survey was expanded to include recruiting of students enrolled in both part-time MBA and specialized master’s programs. This year’s results from the MBA CSEA are based on responses provided by 104 business schools earlier this summer – that’s 12 more institutions than were included in its survey last year. The vast majority of participating business schools (81%) are located in North America, with 17% based in the US Midwest alone. This means that the picture painted by the survey largely pertains to the North American MBA job market. While specific school names are not provided, 57% of respondents said their school was a ‘top 50’ business school in one of the most recent popular national or international MBA rankings.
Survey findings related to on-campus recruiting for MBA jobs
All told, 51% of schools surveyed by the MBA CSEA experienced increased on-campus recruiting for full-time MBAs this year compared to the previous year. The equivalent figure from last year was 70%. Around a third of schools (36%) reported a rise of 1-10% ten in on-campus recruiting this year, with only 15% reporting rises higher than 10%.
Just because a school did not report an increase doesn’t mean that they witnessed a decrease, however, since the percentage of schools that reported that recruiting was flat (32%) was significantly higher than the percentage of schools that reported a decrease (14%).
When asked for a reason why fewer schools might be seeing an increase in MBA job recruiting for full-time students, the MBA CSEA’s executive director, Megan Hendricks, stated that the organization can only speculate. “It could be that companies don’t have as much budget as they have in the past to visit campus, and therefore they are using less costly recruiting tools.”
Online recruitment and changing company recruitment schedules are two trends which, according to Hendricks, might also be yielding an impact here. “We have also seen an increase in companies who are using virtual recruiting tools, thus minimizing the need to visit campus. And finally, some companies are targeting schools earlier in the year so on-campus visits may be lower in the spring.”
If you’re thinking that the 51% of schools reporting an increase are all ‘top’ schools, think again. According to the report, “full-time, on-campus opportunities increased for FT (full-time) MBAs regardless of a school’s ranking.” In fact, a fifth of schools held to be ‘top 20’ business schools reported a decrease in on-campus recruiting, while 62% of schools citing rankings between 51 and 100 reported an increase.
Survey findings related to on-campus recruiting for MBA internships
As for MBA internships, 47% of business schools reported an increase in on-campus recruiting as compared to last year. Again, this percentage is lower than the one seen last year, when 60% of business schools surveyed reported an increase. As with on-campus recruiting for MBA jobs, the vast majority of the 19% of schools reporting decreases in on-campus recruiting for MBA internships reported a low decrease, of 1-10%. Only 2% of schools reported a 10-20% decrease in on-campus MBA internship recruiting and no school reported a decrease of over 20%. Flat internship recruiting was reported by 35%.
A decrease in company-run MBA internship programs could be one of the reasons for the slowdown in on-campus MBA internship recruiting. “We have noticed an increase in the number of companies who use their internship programs to attract full-time hires, so that could be part of the reason,” says Hendricks.
Industry and company-related MBA job findings
The industries with the highest levels of increases and decreases in on-campus recruiting are similar to those reported by the MBA CSEA last year.
Technology is the industry in which the highest proportion of schools noted an increase in full-time MBA recruiting activity, at 71%. This should come as no surprise, since MBA CSEA has reported a steady increase in tech MBA recruiting dating back as far as five years ago and, indeed, the industry has become a fixture in the employment reports of many leading business schools.
What’s the reason for this trend? “We believe this is due to the growth of new technologies such as cloud computing and crowdsourcing, as well as social media,” states Hendricks. Consulting came in second with 54% of respondents noting an increase in MBA recruiting efforts for this industry, a slight drop on last year’s equivalent figure of 65%. Coming in third is healthcare, for which 49% of respondents cited an increase.
MBA recruiting in the energy industry continues to dwindle on the basis of this survey, since it was the industry for which the highest percentage of schools detected a decrease in full-time recruiting, at 29%. Hendricks cites, “changing oil prices and increased regulation in the industry overall,” as the reason for this decline.
When it comes to company type, startups had the largest increase in full-time MBA recruiting with 62% of schools reporting an increase in this category. (For the purposes of the survey, ‘startup’ is defined as a company that is less than a year old.) Hendricks has observed increased interest in startup companies, which often happen to be in the technology field, since 2013. “Startups offer students the ability to be a part of a company’s growth at the ground level, as well as the opportunity to use a multitude of skillsets since they are often wearing many hats,” she says. As for the reason why startups recruit MBAs, Hendricks believes that this type of company, “values the well-rounded knowledge that an MBA possesses.”
Business schools also saw a significant increase in out-of-area recruiters with 45% of schools reporting an increase in recruiting activity from firms with headquarters based outside their geographic location.