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Everything You Need to Know About the Fall-Winter 2020 MBA Job Market

James Kenealey morson news

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The global pandemic has challenged many aspects of our lives and livelihoods, even affecting business school students and graduates from around the world.

Between nation-wide closures, cancelled job opportunities and several countries going into recession, institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted this year could mark the worst hiring season for new graduates since the 2008 financial crash.

Nevertheless, as restrictions continue to ease across the globe and several industries become operational again, the fall-winter job market might not be as bleak as expected.

Let’s take a look at what MBA students and graduates can expect from the upcoming hiring season.

The employment trends of spring and summer

In the first few months of 2020 recruitment of MBAs seemingly ground to a halt, with thousands of graduates from Europe and US seeing job offers annulled or postponed to a later date.

These figures caused concerns particularly in the b-school community, as candidates began rethinking the value of increasingly expensive degrees such as masters’ or an MBA.

Fortunately, big firms in the fintech, tech and consultancy sectors – such as Microsoft, Google, BCG and Bain & Company – were able to honor their offers and continue attracting b-school talent.

Which industries are still recruiting MBA grads?

Similar to the spring and summer hiring season, companies in the fintech, tech, banking and consultancy sectors remain the top recruiters of MBA grads.

According to research by Broadbean Technology, Europe in particular has seen a surge of new vacancies across industries. In Germany, jobs in financial services have increased by 26 percent by mid-June, and by 53 percent in the pharmaceutical industry. In the Netherlands, vacancies in the financial services sector have soared by 65 percent in recent months compared with 41 percent in the pharma sector – a trend that shows no signs of stopping.

Considering that social distancing measures have facilitated remote recruitment and employment, experts believe these industries will continue to hire robustly during and after the current crisis.  

Are candidates with an MBA still attractive in the eyes of recruiters?

A new report by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the Business Graduates Association (BGA), which surveyed more than 1,000 MBA employers, shows that MBA recruitment is on the road to recovery.

16 percent of companies said recruitment numbers of MBA-relevant roles will remain the same as 2019, while 14 percent plan to recruit more management leaders than last year.

Overall, employers have a favourable opinion of MBA graduates. Over two-thirds (68 percent) of surveyed recruiters rated MBAs as “excellent” or “very good” employees, with an overwhelming majority (87 percent) holding a positive impression of business schools as formative institutions.

Many have said that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed them to scale up to address the challenges brought forth by the crisis. It is likely that they’ll be turning to MBA graduates to address these, prepare for an economic upturn, and implement strong and innovative management practices.

What will companies be looking for when recruiting MBAs?

In terms of skillset, the AMBA and BGA report shows that recruiters are particularly impressed by soft skills such as general management, leadership, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, time management, language, flexibility and work ethic.

Moreover, employers have said that the degree itself will become increasingly important to stand out in the candidate pool. The top assets to be considered with an MBA include the MBA’s accreditation (46 percent), the format (36 percent), international exposure (35 percent) and the school’s prestige in the business school community (26 percent).

Has the hiring process changed?

While in spring and summer 2020 most companies hired new talent remotely, it’s likely that in the fall-winter hiring season in-person recruitment will boost again.

According to AMBA and BGA, companies will favour candidates with great personality and character, extensive work experience, a confident attitude, and strong educational qualifications.

Learn more from the experts…

Join the QS Virtual MBA Event on Saturday 3rd October to meet with leading business schools and recruiters alike to learn more about the MBA and how it can help your future career. Register for free at