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Strong job market buoys MBA placement rates

April 5, 2006

The national job market for MBA students continues to grow, with more job offers and bigger salaries particularly from employers in the consulting, financial services and consumer product industries, according to a new survey released by the MBA Career Services Council (MBA CSC). The MBA CSC is the professional association for MBA career services professionals and corporate professionals hire MBAs.

The national survey highlights a trend seen within the Wisconsin MBA program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Business. “Job acceptances are up more than 11 percent among Wisconsin MBA students compared to last year at this time,” says Blair Sanford, director of MBA career services at the UW–Madison School of Business. “Additionally, we’ve seen average starting salaries grow 10 percent to more than $85,000 in the same period of time.”

Students receiving these offers joined the School of Business in 2004, the same year a new MBA program based on career specializations was introduced. The new, specialized MBA program prepares students to launch careers in highly focused areas such as brand and product management and applied corporate finance.

“Our students are highly sought due to the depth of training and hands-on experience they gain within their career specialization,” says Sanford. “Additionally, this MBA program model encourages interaction with key corporate partners throughout, meaning students have many opportunities to make an impression with executives far before a job interview is even scheduled.”

The MBA CSC surveyed 60 business schools this month and found that 98 percent of the schools reported that recruiting activity increased during the fall and winter recruiting period compared to the same time last year.

“As the economy continues to improve, so does MBA recruiting,” says Jeff Rice, executive director of career services at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business and President of the MBA CSC. “The MBA CSC is a tightly-knit professional association, and the results of this survey confirm the many exchanges of communication among our members over the past several months indicating the strong return of MBA recruiters to our campuses.”

Of particular note is the robust increase in recruiting by the consulting, financial services and consumer products industries-three traditional stalwarts of MBA hiring. While schools indicated increased recruiting activity across nearly all industry sectors, those surveyed reported increases in these MBA bellwether recruiting industries at a significantly higher rate than others. The healthcare industry was also indicated as having an exceptionally strong recruiting presence this year.

The survey also indicated that MBA students have received more job offers and bigger salaries over last year. With months remaining before spring graduations, more than half of the schools responding reported that more than 50 percent of their students have received at least one job offer and 70 percent reported an increase in base salaries from last year. A majority of schools also projected increases in the number of students receiving signing bonuses. First-year MBA students are also benefiting, with 61 percent of schools reporting increased internship recruiting activity.

Recent articles in BusinessWeek and have noted that the Wisconsin MBA is at the forefront of a trend toward specialized MBA programs. The mission of the program is to be the school of choice for students who have a clear career objective. The focused program facilitates real-world experiences and effective career networking.

Tags: business