Uncovering the Bright Spots in the Post-MBA Pandemic Job Market

For MBA students, there is a staple store of recruitment opportunity in 2021

The coronavirus crisis has upended the job market for MBA students, but there are a number of bright spots. Business school careers advisers report robust hiring activity from the technology, financial services and management consulting industries that have long looked to MBA programs to satisfy their hiring needs, among many other sectors.

Technology companies especially are riding high off the back of a boom in demand for their products and services as the global economy is rapidly digitized. This includes not just the likes of Amazon, Apple, Amazon and Google but firms across the value chain, from companies specializing in everything from data tracking to delivery and logistics.

“With work and personal life moving to private homes, this is where consumption of everything from entertainment to clothes shopping happens – a big growth factor for tech companies,” says Sophie Schaefer, corporate relations manager, ESMT Berlin. “We see continued hiring especially in tech companies across all sizes and sectors.”

Bright spots in the post-MBA career landscape: technology, healthcare, and more

According to data submitted by users on the TransparentCareer platform for MBAs, more than 30 percent of jobs reported in 2020 were in the technology industry; in 2019 and 2018, tech jobs represented fewer than 20 percent of the total. The growth is also because Covid-19 was relatively less disruptive for tech companies’ operations.

Outside of this staple store of recruitment opportunity, several niche areas of employment are increasing in economic sectors that have grown since the Covid-19 outbreak. That includes life sciences and healthcare, which have also risen in popularity among MBAs as the vaccines gives pharma companies in particular a renewed sense of purpose and profits.

Meanwhile, agribusiness is growing amid fears of food insecurity, and companies on the cutting edge of sustainability are also recruiting, as environmental, social and governance issues are brought to the fore by the pandemic as economies look to “build back better”.

“Is Covid-19 the tipping point that finally persuades governments, industry and ordinary people that sustainability and managed growth will be absolutely crucial to our economic and general well-being in the coming decades? If so, then this sector will start to grow exponentially,” says Tony Somers, director of employer engagement at HEC Paris.

The world was edging closer to this tipping point before the pandemic, but coronavirus has raised concerns that corporate altruism will go out the window as companies look to cut costs and prioritize their survival.

Over the longer-term, Somers expects to see growth in public sector jobs for MBA students as governments pump unprecedented stimulus into their economies. “Depending on how things develop in the next six months, governments will have a much more interventionist role in daily life, therefore creating more employment in roles that are more strategic and lucrative for graduates,” he says.

Somers adds that currently, the financial technology sector (fintech) is a growing area of employment, particularly in retail banking in more developed countries as bank branches are closed and services forced online because of the Covid crisis. Elsewhere, in the broader financial services industry, he reports an uptick in jobs in the private equity and venture capital sectors as funds look to capitalize on the disruption and buy companies at knockdown prices.  

Several careers managers conclude that consulting is another bright spot as strategists shift from transactions to helping businesses survive the pandemic and to restructure supply chains. Governments have also spent lavishly on consultants to advise on the coronavirus response.

Not all is rosy for MBA job seekers

This does not mean, however, that the picture is all rosy for MBA students looking for jobs this year. “Some firms delayed the start dates for their 2020 graduates, which has had some downstream effects on delaying or reducing the number of offers typically made for full-time hires from the class of 2021,” says Kerry Kidwell-Slak, director of career curricula at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

She notes other pandemic impacts: “Particularly in the technology sector, we are seeing shortened timelines for the recruitment process and aggressive efforts on the parts of recruiters to identify and make competitive offers to top talent early in the recruiting process.”

Kidwell-Slak also reports that many companies are putting a renewed emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion in their hiring efforts following the global Black Lives Matter protests. This includes making additional efforts to reach out to traditionally underrepresented groups and seeking to demonstrate their commitment to diversity as part of their overall offer package.

Meanwhile, Sarah Rumbaugh, CEO of RelishCareers, says that some students have had their internship start dates pushed back: “Some companies have had to reconsider whether having specific MBA leadership development programs makes sense for them at this time.”

She adds that students, recruiters and universities have had to adapt to new online recruiting processes that didn’t necessarily exist pre-Covid, so everyone is learning on the fly, in many cases.

“Virtual recruiting requires an extra level of outreach and ability to showcase yourself authentically,” she says. “I typically advise job candidates that they should spend equal time networking to the time it takes to apply for positions.”

ESMT’s Schaefer agrees that networking is key. “Engaging with industry insiders, getting advice and increasing your knowledge is very likely to be rewarded by open doors on the job market.”

Meanwhile, Georgetown’s Kidwell-Slak says job candidates should continue to put time and effort into tailoring their applications to demonstrate sincere interest in the industry and an understanding of its unique challenges in the pandemic.

Lastly, Somers at HEC spotlights the growing importance of soft skills alongside technical abilities. He says “students need to hone their skills regarding video pitches and build resilience” in these uncertain times.

Related Business Schools

Full Profile
Berlin, Germany 159 Followers 175 Discussions
Full Profile
Jouy-en-Josas, France 100 Followers 388 Discussions
Washington, District of Columbia 27 Followers 57 Discussions

MBA News

Feb 07, 2024

London Business School Announces New 1-Year MBA

Feb 07, 2024

More MBA News

More MBA Articles

10 Things You Should Know Before Moving from India to Europe for Your MBA

Jun 06, 2024

With a diverse array of prestigious business schools, cultural richness and global career opportunities, Europe is an attractive destination. Here are 10 essential things you should know before moving from India to Europe for your MBA.

Which MBA Programs Offer the Best Value?

May 29, 2024

When considering an MBA, the return on investment (ROI) is a crucial factor. Prospective students want to know that the time, effort, and financial resources they pour into their education will yield significant career benefits.

How Do They Compare: MBA Programs in Europe and Asia

May 15, 2024

From tuition fees to curriculums, the considerations that prospective students should weigh when choosing between doing an MBA in Europe or Asia.

More Articles

Related Top 10 Lists

More Top 10 Lists