Why Are MBA Grads in Higher Demand?

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - March 21, 2018
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Reading Time: 5 minutes

On the hiring front for newly minted MBAs, the news is rosy these days. The Great Recession is receding in the rearview mirror and the economy is hitting high gear, and the most recent Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey of corporate recruiters finds that times are just about as good as ever. In 2017, the Corporate Recruiters Survey Report determined that 86% of corporations across the world planned to hire MBA graduates, which was an increase from 79% the year before.

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GMAC revealed that the outlook for jobs is bright for MBAs in most fields, in most regions and in every industry. The optimism was apparent in both simply finding a job and also in home much graduates can expect to be paid. A large number of companies that intended to hire new MBAs last year intended to increase or maintain the number of MBAs they hired compared with the year before. The demand for new MBAs was strongest in the US and Asia-Pacific. In that area, nine of 10 companies surveyed stated they intended to hire graduates that year.

In the start up world, it was estimated  by GMAC that 75% of new companies were going to hire in 2017. This was an increase from 52% the year before.

Not Just MBAs Getting Hired

Business experts say it is not only MBAs that are seeing more hiring. GMAC also reports more employers intend to hire master’s graduates with speciality business degrees. They number 59% of global companies surveyed and 709% of manufacturing companies. Both report they will hire new Master in Management graduates in greater numbers than the year before. Also, 42% of companies state they will hire Master of Accounting graduates, compared with 42% the year before. Further, 48% of employers will hire Master of Finance graduates, up from 45% the year before. Overall, employers surveyed said 71% of them would be hiring recent graduate business degree holders in business development, marketing and finance.

MBA graduates with specialties were found in the GMAC survey to be in line for a salary increase, too. More than 52% of employers stated they would increase the beginning salary for new MBA hires last year. The projected median salary for all MBA graduates was $110,000, an increase of $5000 from the year before. Industries that have the most demand are the booming fields of finance and accounting, with $120,000 per year median salaries.

Data Analytics Is Hot

A major reason MBA graduates are being hired is data analytics. This area is one of the hottest in graduate business education. GMAC provides plenty of data to back up how quickly analytics is rising. That data shows the very high esteem in which holders of MBAs with data courses are held in. It is reported that 69% of employers will hire graduate business school graduates in data analytic jobs in 2017 and 2018. GMAC found data analytics job demand only trailed marketing, business development and finance.

See also Salary Outlook with a Master’s in Data Analytics

Some of the most popular data analytics job titles are as follows:

Other than Master of Management, finance and accounting MBAs, data analytics jobs are the top ones that companies want to hire MBA grads for. In fact, every industry wants to hire more data analytics graduates with advanced business degrees.

See also How to Score a Career in Big Data

The value of an MBA with a data analytics focus is the ability to handle and interpret data that cuts across all industries. In particular, the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry is most likely to hire an MBA with data analytics skills. GMAC said 41% of healthcare companies surveyed affirmed their intention to hire such workers. Healthcare is an industry that relies heavily on big data, and they need MBA graduates who understand and crunch that data to improve patient outcomes.

Product Management Is Big

Another survey found that the number of product management job postings wanting an MBA increased 147% from 2016 to 2017. While the number of unique postings saw slower growth, it was clear that businesses were trying harder to fill MBA product management positions. This indicates a growing economy with more competition. More companies are releasing new products and want people with advanced product management, intelligence gathering and product marketing skills to manage them.

See top Product Management Careers

Some of the top companies that were hiring product management MBAs recently were Oracle and Amazon.

Key MBA Skills Highly Valued in Strong Job Market

The GMAC recruiter survey also shows some interesting new information that reveals other reasons why MBAs are in strong demand. For the first time, company respondents delineated the roles for new MBA employees. They labeled positions either generalist vs. specialist and tactical vs. strategic. Based upon the strength of such skill sets, employers are looking for MBAs to assist them with strategizing for the future and to better implement the goals of the company.

Without a doubt, the most vital skill set for employers in the survey was communication skills. Four out of five employers hiring MBAs wanted top quality communication skills, such as verbal, written, listening and presentation. Other highly sought skills were teamwork, valuing the opinions of others and ability to follow a lead. Most MBA programs excel in imparting these important communication skills, so it makes sense there is such strong need for holders of the degree.

Strong Need for International MBA Graduates

The GMAC survey also showed that many US companies are looking to hire international business professionals with MBAs. The area with the strongest demand was technology, and it was a major leap from 2016.

Almost 50% of companies surveyed stated they were going to hire MBA tech grads from overseas, which was much higher than 27% the year before.

Manufacturing companies were the least likely to hire these workers. See all Manufacturing MBA Degree programs.

For companies that were not seeking to hire international graduates, the common cited reason was legal documentation and the cost, but these factors were not really dampening the demand for these workers. In fact, companies overall were found to be keen to continue to hire international employees with MBAs and advanced business master’s degrees.

Things Look Good for MBA Interns, Too

If you are a current MBA student looking for an internship, there is good news too. Employers are more likely to offer internships to MBA students in 2017. Once you have scored an internship, you are more likely to be hired full time later.

In all, 65% of surveyed employers around the world and 74% in the US stated they would offer internships to MBA students last year.

As more internships are opening up for MBA students, this is expanding the hiring market for graduates as well.

It is clear that the demand for MBA graduates is growing as unemployment drops and job growth overall accelerates. Professionals who are about to graduate with their MBA can look forward to a progressive and profitable career as long as the economy continues to show the growth we have seen in the past year.


  • MBA Job Outlook Better Than Ever in 2017. (2017, June 19). Retrieved from https://poetsandquants.com/2017/06/19/draft-gmac-mba-job-outlook-better-than-ever-in-2017/
  • Nearly 9 in 10 Companies Plan to Hire MBA Grads in 2017. (2017, June 20). Retrieved from https://poetsandquants.com/2017/06/19/draft-gmac-mba-job-outlook-better-than-ever-in-2017/
  • Exploring the Demand for MBA Graduates. (2016, Aug. 8). Retrieved from http://www.economicmodeling.com/2016/08/08/exploring-mba-demand/

Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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