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Robust job market welcomes MBA grads

by May. 8, 2014, 3:42 PM

Most top tier MBA graduates entering the job market this summer will be offered well paying positions, especially if they’re interested in the technology industry.

“The market is very strong, very robust for top tier MBA students,” said Read McNamara, managing director of the Career Management Center at Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

While bonuses have stayed relatively level the past couple of years, starting salaries at Owen have outpaced inflation, McNamara said.

Jobs at tech firms and all aspects of consulting such as strategy and operations and niche consulting like the health care industry are available, McNamara said.

“We are seeing the continued subtle but inexorable slowing of interest in financial services,” McNamara said, “(although) 25 to 30 percent of our students still go to work in finance.”

Internships are more important than ever, he said.

“Companies continue to look at the internship as the best way to source their full-time talent,” McNamara said. “In 2010, 22 percent of our internships converted into full-time offers. Four years later, it has more than doubled and now approaches 47 percent.”

Many companies are searching for general management skill sets rather than specialists, McNamara said.

“As organizations become flatter and flatter and more lean, and hierarchy tends to crumble at a lot of firms, employers look for students’ ability to lead without a clear mandate, to deal with ambiguity, to cajole, persuade, somehow convince team members to deliver,” he said.

Companies will pay top dollar for talent they believe can deliver results, but will expect those results quickly.

“With the salaries companies are paying MBAs now, particularly from top 25 schools, they really don’t have much time, nor do they have much tolerance for a big learning curve,” McNamara said. “Our employers expect our students to hit the deck running and add value immediately,” he said.