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2017 MBA Jobs Outlook Improves for New Grads

June 27, 2017
Russell Schaffer

MBA job prospects improve for 2017.

Business school costs are rising—but so are employment prospects.

From a look at the MBA jobs landscape to big GMAT changes, here’s our latest roundup of business school news.

MBA jobs outlook

Happy days are here again for MBA job rates, according to research conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council, the organization that makes the GMAT. Based on the results of a survey of nearly 1,000 employers, representing more than 600 companies in 51 countries worldwide, demand for MBAs has increased. A full 86% of companies plan to hire MBA grads this year, up from 79% last year.

“This signifies the value these programs create for students and the vital role their skillsets bring employers,” says Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO. “Despite the political uncertainty about the status of immigration and work visas in the United States, companies are keen to hire graduates from this year’s MBA and business master’s programs, including international candidates.”

One important skill that the survey found to be in high demand: understanding big data.  According to a 2016 Kaplan Test Prep survey, 72% of business schools say they offer courses in either data science or big data.

GMAT changes

Earlier this month, the GMAC announced the biggest changes to the GMAT since the Integrated Reasoning section was added in 2012—but these changes are being made to how the GMAT is being taken, not to the content of the exam itself. Beginning July 11, 2017, all candidates will have the flexibility to select the order of the sections of the GMAT exam from three options:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

 

Candidates will select the section order immediately before the start of the GMAT exam.

This new change provides candidates with more flexibility and control over their test-taking experience. We recommend everyone visit the GMAC’s Select Section Order FAQ page on mba.com to learn more about this change.  

Kaplan has also incorporated this new Select Section Order feature into our full-length practice tests. If you have questions about these changes, please don’t hesitate to ask your teacher or email us at KaplanGMATfeedback@kaplan.com.

Cost of business school

You cannot think about going for your MBA without thinking about how to pay for it… or at least you shouldn’t. Harvard Business School, NYU Stern, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, UPenn’s Wharton School, and Columbia Business School all surpassed the $200,000 cost threshold last year or year before. But now that list also includes Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. That includes tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses.  

Keep in mind that most of the schools above are located in really expensive real estate markets: New York City, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area are not known for their housing bargains. Business schools are aware of this financial burden. As Poets and Quants explains, “At Stanford, the average yearly scholarship grant has hovered above $35,000 for the last few years; at Harvard Business School, scholarship support to MBA students hit an unprecedented $34 million in 2016, up from $32 million a year earlier. In 2016, UC-Berkeley spread $5.8 million in scholarship money to its relatively small class of about 250 MBAs.”

Also keep in mind that graduates from these schools find MBA jobs really quickly after graduating… and those compensation packages are exceedingly lucrative.

Placement prospects

And speaking of getting an MBA job, here’s something you may not have considered before. While admissions officers have the final say in who gets in, they don’t operate in a vacuum. At some schools, career services offices have influence. Here’s why: MBA job placement rates are given significant weight in determining a school’s spot on various MBA rankings list. Consequently, schools want to know you are employable and a good investment. A 770 GMAT score might not capture it… but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

So, what to do? On your application resume and/or essay, make sure to talk about current and previous employment, how you contributed to both environments, and even do a little gentle bragging. As one expert says, “highlighting a healthy career progression and multiple promotions, bolstered by glowing recommendations from supervisors, will show that you are employable and put the committee’s mind at ease.”

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Russell Schaffer

Russell Schaffer Russell Schaffer is Kaplan Test Prep's senior communications manager. Russell is responsible for helping lead our external media relations efforts, including speaking with reporters and bloggers on a regular basis about Kaplan's proprietary research and products. Russell also helps craft the surveys we regularly administer of students, advisers​,​ and admissions officers. The data collected helps guide the hundreds of thousands of students and parents Kaplan works with every year by giving them accurate and up-to-date information ​about​ the landscape. Russell is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where he received his BA in political science and MA in communications.


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