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The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way that business management. College graduates have suffered, but prospects in some sectors are beginning to show major improvement. Company recruiters, however, are now more selective. Demand is suddenly on the rise for MBA graduates who can hit the ground running with strong quantitative skills.
Demand for these highly qualified and prepared individuals is currently outstripping supply, and this demand is resurrecting the desirability of having an MBA degree on one’s resume, or, better yet, having just completed a comprehensive study program online to obtain this enhanced degree.
Opportunities are ripe for the taking across all business sectors, though the heat map in some areas is hotter than in others. Whether you are a recent graduate, a summer student searching for an internship, or an MBA holder seeking a more favorable opportunity, there are numerous recruiters who want to hear from you. Based on a recent study by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the demand for MBA-trained individuals has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Before COVID-19, the economy had finally recovered from the ravages of the Great Recession and was beginning to hit on all cylinders. The GMAC survey at that time revealed that 73% of companies across the globe were planning to hire MBAs in 2016.
Another piece of evidence for gauging the heat in today’s MBA job market comes from a study conducted by Fortune magazine. Corporate recruiters are getting so desperate that poaching is now an accepted strategy to fill a position. Fortune claims that 69% of MBA degree holders in the US, the UK, and Australia were approached in the last year by recruiters trying to persuade them to switch companies. Of those individuals surveyed, 50% gladly took the offers presented.
Why are MBA graduates in such high demand?
Ben Hogan of golfing fame once remarked that the path to success in golf was “in the dirt”. For corporations, both local and global and both large and small, the path to success now is “in the data”, and businesses have mountains of it. Data analytics is the new watchword, and who best to find insights, trends, and new innovative directions than someone trained in the arts and analytics of an MBA online degree program?
An often-cited report by Deloitte, prepared in 2020, stressed the importance of navigating and upgrading with new normals by how business leaders make decisions going forward. In its report, Deloitte emphasized its guiding principle as follows:
Deloitte is not the only organization that has focused on a competitive benefits that can be found “in the data”:
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC): After canvassing some experienced executives who are senior, the firm determined that an organization possessing a data-driven mindset was three times more likely to benefit significantly from data-driven improvements in how decisions were made.
- McKinsey Global Institute: Data-driven companies are more likely to attract new customers than other companies.
- Texas University: Average 1000 companies could increase its revenue base by $2bn simply by increasing the usage of its data by 10%.
With so many consulting firms and research studies touting the benefits of data analytics, why do only roughly a third of companies polled claim that they are data-driven? The major problem for nearly all businesses is that the data is not structured in a form that makes it as accessible as would be liked. Unstructured data then leads to longer timeframes to ascertain the hoped-for insights and trends. Utilizing data effectively can provide the necessary competitive advantage to drive increased revenue opportunities, but finding trained staff is paramount.
The result of these studies has been to drive investment toward big data analytical methods and artificial intelligence, both seen as a coupling to deliver measurable results. According to a study by NewVantage Partners as far back as 2019, the benefits of these two disciplines have already produced beneficial outcomes of note:
- Advanced analytics: 79.8%
- Expense reduction: 59.5%
- Customer service: 57.1%
- Speed to market: 32.1%
- New services: 26.2%
- Monetization: 19.0%
It is no wonder that companies and investors have rushed to develop and invest in these new innovative techniques for adding value to the corporate effort, but is this shortfall in MBA-trained individuals just a temporary anomaly, or is it a long-term trend? The US Bureau of Labor Statistics believes that this trend has legs. Its forecasts portend an 8% annual growth in business management executive jobs through 2031. This growth rate equates to an increase of nearly 900,000 new jobs created over the next decade in this area alone in the US, with 1.1 million in annual openings due to growth and replacement requirements.
Fortunately for today’s companies and busy business professionals, the burgeoning field of Master of Business Administration online degree programs allows you to enhance your skillsets, increase your marketability, and design your curriculum to suit your personal needs from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. Many of these MBA online programs are the ideal enhancement for an engineering degree, and some institutions even allow you to add an additional major with as few as four additional courses.
What are the reasons for pursuing an MBA online course of study?
The various reports cited above speak to the increased demand in the MBA-related job field, but pursuing such a degree path requires the commitment of both time and resources. Is it worth it, and why do individuals take on this task of higher education? Yes, there are monetary rewards, and there are studies that detail these specifics, but there also are other reasons. Aside from quicker raises and higher compensation, aspirants have also expressed a desire to rise to the senior ranks in their company, as well as to manage a purposeful staff of employees.
The monetary benefits are well documented. There are several sources for compensation data related to having an MBA degree planted firmly in your resume. According to Investopedia, the mean base salary for an MBA graduate in 2022 equates to low six-figure incomes in annual salary.
The pay gap is actually growing wider over time, as the MBA graduate tends to be promoted more quickly and soon gets more raises accordingly. On average in 2022, MBA degree holders have received at least two pay raises. In fact, promotions also follow a similar pattern, and degree holders assert that they have more marketable skills and, as a result, command more credibility in their respective organizations.
Before you demand a raise and promotion based on your MBA degree, there are a few other points to consider. Timing is everything. Quality of work, dedication to the company ideals, and leadership skills are important factors, but you do not want to press your case during budget review periods. There is also a high degree of ‘churn’ for these positions, due to the disparate supply and demand demographics that go along with this career path.
What are the specific areas driving the growth in these MBA-related jobs?
If 2022 and beyond are to be banner years for MBA graduates, what areas are doing the most hiring, and what are the fastest-growing career paths for these graduates? Number one on the list will always be consulting. Major and minor consulting firms are hiring MBAs across the board and actively pursuing future candidates with summer intern programs.
From a purely numbers perspective, McKinsey & Company is the major hiring firm in this arena across the globe. It claims to have more than 3,000 MBA graduates on its staff. Deloitte Consulting is a very close second. The three other major firms are Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
What areas within these firms are hot right now? Supply chains and logistics have come under increased pressure during the global pandemic, as have life sciences primarily in medical services and the pharmaceuticals industry. The impact of COVID-19 on how we work and live has also forced many companies to rethink and reevaluate their entire product line. For this reason alone, marketing-focused and product-management positions abound for MBAs.
Mergers and acquisitions, as well as turnaround situations, will always be hiring MBAs, but the largest change in major consulting firms is the formation of a technology division. Interest in this arena has exploded, according to industry observers. Outside of major consulting firms, the leaders in this area continue to be Google, Bloomberg, Xiaomi, Dropbox, and Netflix.
Lastly, on a general basis across the corporate map, data analytics is an ever-growing trend, as noted in a previous section of this article. The jury has been out for some time in this particular discipline. Existing teams are expanding, and the likely candidates for this augmentation are predominantly MBAs or those possessing a master’s degree in the data analytics sciences. The insights that can be found in mountains of data will continue to feed technology and product development for decades to come.
What are a few specifics regarding potential career paths for MBA graduates? Working as an analyst or member of an analytical team is one thing, but most MBA graduates aspire to rise quickly through the management ranks. Key people management skills are a prerequisite before this consideration can be given, but MBA graduates tend to possess these necessary attributes from their training.
The necessary attributes are typically the ones that you have observed from the best managers in your career. Strong leadership and judgment skills are often learned through experience, while other favorable traits include the ability to communicate well, patience and empathy, being supportive but also firm and fair, and being approachable. MBA online course curricula will typically cover these basic management skill tenets.
MBAs with well-rounded talents can set their sights upon career paths that lead to these potential senior management positions:
- Marketing manager: Manage and enhance a firm’s products and services.
- Product development manager: Modify product design based on insights and customer needs.
- Operations research manager: Overcome challenges in sales, supply chain, and production.
- Project manager: Travel the world solving issues related to IT, finance, and logistics.
- Health services manager: Improve healthcare standards with technology and analytics.
- Financial manager: Guide investment strategies and help to achieve long-term financial goals and objectives.
- Risk and insurance manager: Assess risk management strategies and develop processes to control and limit risk, thereby improving the firm’s performance.
- Human resources manager: Who best to recruit MBA talent than an MBA graduate?
The demand for MBA-trained talent has once again risen to pre-pandemic levels across the global corporate scene. It also shows no signs of declining over the next decade. Current forecasts project nearly one million new jobs over the next 10 years, while annual fulfillment will hit 1.1 million in the US alone, due to both new jobs and replacement needs.
For newcomers to the job market or those individuals wishing to advance their careers in today’s job market, MBA online courses offer an excellent way to leverage this strong trend and achieve personal career goals. Is the time now ripe for you to make an investment in your future?