Technology

Tech Companies Seek MBA Hires Who Excel in Entrepreneurial Culture

Technology companies have taken a large hold on MBA recruiting, with a particular interest in those students who can thrive in ambiguity and have a proven track record of creative problem solving. In turn, students are attracted to these companies for their generous compensation packages, the opportunity to take ownership over popular products, and the culture of innovation.

Liz Arnold, associate director for tech, entrepreneurship and venture capital in the Career Management Center at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, said “I encourage all students interested in tech to build their entrepreneurial skill set, to really understand how to take the initiative on their own to go from idea to launch. I think that particular skill set is valued at most tech companies, because the tech companies want students to be autonomous and take projects and run with those ideas and move them forward.”  Similarly, Sarah Eytinge, MBA University recruiter at Microsoft, describes the company as having an entrepreneurial culture, and as seeking MBA recruits who can thrive in ambiguity, learn and adjust their course, and take creative approaches to complex problems. We have a lot of teams in an innovative culture trying new things and failing fast,” she says. “They have the benefit of working for a large company like Microsoft so we have the resources to make those investments and take those risks. For those MBAs who are interested in entrepreneurship, they are surprised by what they have access to – they thought it was just a big company.”

Recruiter Insights on Top-Tier Programs for Entrepreneurship and Creativity

The Recruiter Insights Rankings, a component of the 2018 Bloomberg Businessweek Best B-Schools ranking, include deep-dives into recruiters’ views of the best programs based on entrepreneurial reputation and training, as well as the most creative and innovative graduates. The rankings include the responses of 3,698 employers that recruited MBA graduates, and focus on specific survey questions. Bloomberg Businessweek analysts then assigned scores to the top 30 schools with a score of five being the highest and one being the lowest. Below are the top ten for the three categories relevant to entrepreneurship.  

What schools have the best reputation for entrepreneurship?

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What schools provide the best training in entrepreneurship?

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What schools are producing the most creative graduates?

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Prospective students interested in expanding their entrepreneurial skill-sets for an interest in a technology career or who are among the 27 percent of prospective full-time two-year MBA students who listed entrepreneurship/self-employment as a primary career goal post-graduation in GMAC’s Prospective Students Survey 2018, should carefully consider the top programs listed above. Additionally, during the school selection or interviewing period, prospective students should proactively engage with administrators and professors from specific MBA programs to see how they support students in achieving these strong outcomes.

See full listings for each of the categories below:

What schools have the best reputation for entrepreneurship?

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What schools provide the best training in entrepreneurship?

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What schools are producing the most creative graduates?

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MBA Employment Trends and Projections

Demand is high for recent MBA graduates. In 2017 in the U.S. and Canada, technology firms increased year-over-year MBA hiring by 22 percent and consulting and financial services firms increased hiring by 7 percent and 4 percent respectively. The same report (QS Top MBA Jobs & Salary Trends Report 2018)  projects that overall MBA recruiting in the U.S. and Canada will continue to demonstrate robust growth in 2018 (7 percent) and marginal growth in 2019 (2 percent).   

Technology: The growth in technology firms’ MBA hiring corresponds with reports that Amazon is hiring about 1,000 MBA graduates per year, almost double that of the next largest MBA employer, consulting firm McKinsey[i]. And the growth isn’t expected to slow in 2018. The QS Top MBA Salary Trends Report projects that recruiting in the U.S. and Canada by technology firms will continue growing in 2018 (15 percent) with more marginal growth predicted for 2019 (two percent).

In addition to Amazon, Microsoft and Google also recruit consistently within MBA programs, but with lower overall hiring. It is worthy of note that, among the Top 10 programs (US News and World Report), the largest percentage of 2017 graduates who accepted positions in the technology industry came from Berkeley Haas. 

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Consulting: Consulting firms recruit a large percentage of MBA graduates (approximately a quarter to a third of each class at Top 10 MBA Programs) and this is expected to continue. The QS Top MBA Salary Trends Report projects that recruiting in the U.S. and Canada by consulting firms will increase by 15 percent in 2018 with a slight dip to 7 percent in 2019.

McKinsey, the second largest employer of MBAs, is the top employer of MBA graduates at Northwestern Kellogg, Chicago Booth, and Columbia Business School. Following McKinsey in MBA recruiting are Bain and Company, The Boston Consulting Group, and Deloitte.

At Stanford, the percentage of graduates securing roles in consulting is lower but trending upwards.

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Finance: Developments in technology, political uncertainty, and greater competition from technology and other firms, has negatively impacted MBA recruiting by financial services firms. Wharton, as well as Chicago Booth, and Columbia Business School have experienced recent employment dips in the sector. According to a 2017 MBA Employment Survey by Training the Street, students reported lower interest in working for Wall Street and expressed wanting to explore options with companies, such as boutique banks, that may offer a higher quality of life.[ii]

The Salary Trends Report projects another year of modest growth for the industry in 2018 (4 percent) with a slight decline predicted for 2019 (-1 percent). 

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[i] https://poetsandquants.com/2017/10/04/amazon-now-hiring-1000-mbas-a-year/

[ii] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-09/record-percentage-of-mbas-don-t-want-to-work-on-wall-street