Healthcare, FinTech, E-Commerce: The Sectors Tipped To Hire The Most MBAs In 2016
Careers directors also forecast gains in tech, social impact
Healthcare, e-commerce and financial technology are the sectors poised to snap up the most MBA students in 2016, according to careers directors contacted by BusinessBecause.
The MBA jobs market is booming, with GMAC’s year-end poll of employers this week showing 68% of companies see recruiting b-school grads as a priority. “Employer demand for graduate management talent is projected to remain strong in 2016,” says Bob Alig, an executive VP at GMAC.
Feverish Demand From Healthcare
Healthcare is one sector where there may be feverish demand for MBA talent. “Healthcare is an especially bright spot for us at UNC Kenan-Flagler. MBA’s interest in this sector is increasing, and hiring results are growing,” says Jeff McNish, director of the MBA Career Management Center at the US business school.
Among the healthcare groups injecting MBAs into their workforces from Kenan-Flagler are Eli Lilly, DaVita, and GlaxoSmithKline.
Jeff’s jobs outlook for the year ahead is similarly upbeat: “I’m optimistic about 2016.”
At the UK’s Warwick Business School, Sue Thorn, director of WBS CareersPlus, says there is growing interest in the healthcare sector from MBA students. “In particular,” she adds, “we are seeing a lot of clinicians in both the public and private healthcare sector coming to do MBAs.”
Electric Jobs Growth In FinTech
Another area tipped for MBA stardom is fintech, a sector full of firms that are crafting apps and digital services for banking and payments, for example.
“There are a lot of start-ups using technology in the finance industry looking for MBAs,” Sue says. “And these days, MBAs are interested in joining start-ups. The thirst to be entrepreneurial will continue in 2016.”
In Hong Kong at CUHK Business School, Tina Lee, director of the Career Management Center, is of a similar mind. She says: “The shortage of good IT talent seems to be a concern in the recruitment market, particularly in a market economy that is moving towards big data, analytics, e-commerce, and fintech.”
She says that MBAs are cognizant of the necessity to look more broadly at boutique firms and seed companies — many fintech outfits are in their infancy.
E-Retailing Delivers Careers
Tina’s word on e-commerce in China — where Alibaba and JD.com have enjoyed growth — is shared by many of her peers at other top schools globally.
“Consulting and e-commerce are strong recruiting sectors,” says Conrad Chua, head of MBA careers at the UK’s Cambridge Judge Business School. Market leader Amazon is a top recruiter at Judge, plus other top-ranked schools like Michigan Ross, HEC Paris, and ESADE.
“Online retailing is growing fast and those companies are looking for operations managers with the strategic and management skills that come with an MBA,” Warwick’s Sue says.
“Last year online retail companies recruited quite heavily and took quite a lot of MBAs from us, and I expect that to continue.”
Tech Firms Are MBA Magnets
At MIT Sloan School of Management in the US, there is a similar thirst for careers at firms utilizing digital technology. “We have a rich ecosystem for start-ups and innovation, which are areas of strong interest,” says Sue Kline, co-senior director of the MBA Career Development Office. At MIT Sloan, tech firms and consultancies have been among the top recruiters for three decades, she says.
Lara Berkowitz, executive director of the Career Centre at London Business School, predicts a similar tech trend.
“We expect the big story to continue to be the surge in tech hiring,” she says. “A lot of schools are reporting approximately 20% of their students going into the tech sector, and we don’t see this trend reversing in 2016.”
It’s The Economy, Stupid
Lara expects economic developments to impact the jobs market for MBAs in the year ahead, such as the state of the Chinese economy, concerns over which have contributed to the worst start to global markets this month in two decades.
“We’ve already seen MBA hiring in the energy sector slow due to oil prices,” she says. The plunge in the price of crude, from $100 a barrel in 2014 to about $30 today, has seen the likes of BP and Total slash thousands of jobs. Kenan-Flagler’s Jeff says he anticipates the oil and gas sector will not increase hiring, along with investment banks and manufacturing firms.
“The MBA recruitment cycle has just started and much will depend on how the global economy performs,” says Cambridge Judge’s Conrad. “However, we are cautiously optimistic that the prospects are good.”
At CUHK, Tina is more cautious. “In Hong Kong, the MBA job market should be fairly secure in 2016, barring major upsets in the global markets. However, there is an air of uncertainty. The recruiters we work closely with expect Q1 to be quiet, with hiring slowing down.”
Search For Social Impact
“We are expecting to see a continuing rise in student interest in social impact — whether it is organizations in the third sector or areas such as impact investing,” says LBS’ Lara.