Global Recession Forces Cutbacks in MBA Recruiting, But New Business School Grads Still Command a Hefty Premium

MCLEAN, Va., May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Employers continue to place a high premium on people with an MBA or other graduate management degrees, even as they sharply curtail plans to hire new business school graduates in response to the deep global recession, according to new research from the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®).

Recruiters said they expect to hire an average of six new MBAs in 2009, down from the average of 12 they hired last year. In addition, the number of firms planning to hire MBAs this year declined 9 percent compared with 2008. But employers also reported that when they do hire MBAs, they plan to pay them nearly twice as much as people with only an undergraduate education, on average. Employers also plan to offer higher average starting salaries to MBAs than to people with other graduate management degrees, such as a master's in finance.

The data come from the just-released 2009 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey, which drew responses from 2,825 hiring managers from 2,092 companies in 63 countries. The Graduate Management Admission Council, an international nonprofit association of business schools, sponsors the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®). GMAC worked with the European Foundation for Management Development and the MBA Career Services Council to conduct the survey.

"The fundamentals have not changed. Corporations continue to value the MBA, and they continue to pursue people with the unique mix of skills and talents that characterize business school graduates," said Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC. "But just as employers across the economic spectrum have had to take a wait-and-see approach to their hiring plans this year, firms that hire business school graduates have been compelled to retrench in response to the downturn."

The survey indicates that MBA hiring activity is uneven across sectors of the economy. Demand for MBAs remains strong in industries including consulting, healthcare, and energy, although it is weaker in other industries, such as the nonprofit and high-technology sectors. But regardless of their hiring plans, recruiters said they have had a good experience with business school graduates; 98 percent of respondents to the survey said they are satisfied with their current employees who have MBAs.

Despite the challenging job market, a sizable number of MBAs have been able to line up employment months before finishing their degrees this year. Half of all new full-time MBA graduates who participated in the 2009 GMAC Global Management Education Graduate Survey said they landed at least one job offer before graduation. On average, these graduates had 1.9 job offers and expect to earn 66 percent more money after earning their MBA than they did prior to starting school.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (www.gmac.com) is a nonprofit education organization of leading graduate business schools worldwide dedicated to creating access to and disseminating information about graduate management education. GMAC is based in McLean, Virginia, and has a European office in London. The Council owns the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), used by approximately 4,600 graduate management programs at some 1,900 business schools around the world to assess applicants. The GMAT -- the only standardized test designed expressly for graduate business and management programs worldwide -- is currently available at more than 450 test centers in over 100 countries. More information about the GMAT is available at www.mba.com.

SOURCE: Graduate Management Admission Council

Web site: http://www.gmac.com/