International MBA Survey 2020: trends and issues in MBA employment

MBA recruiters value the skills that Business School graduates bring to organisations, but worry there may not be enough suitable roles for MBAs in a post-Covid world, according to AMBA & BGA’s poll of 1,000 employers.

New research of more than 1,000 employers that recruit MBA-specific roles, finds that recruiters are ‘overwhelmingly positive’ about the value of an MBA from a reputable Business School when looking for senior managers, but that there is lack of confidence in the future of both global and local economies, with most survey participants taking a conservative view on their upcoming recruitment plans.

More than a quarter of employers (28%) believe there are too many candidates for too few jobs.

The survey, carried out by the Association of MBAs and Business Graduates Association (AMBA & BGA) was opened at a time when the majority of the world was beginning to implement lockdown measures as a result of Covid-19. The survey closed as restrictions in many parts of the world were beginning to ease.

This study therefore provides a unique snapshot into employers’ MBA recruitment plans in light of, and in the wake of, the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key findings

  • Employers hold a positive impression of Business Schools, with 47% classifying themselves as ‘very favourable’ and 40% saying they were ‘fairly favourable’ towards Business Schools.
  • 31% of employers ‘strongly agreed’ and 49% ‘tended to agree’ that MBAs had the relevant skills to make a significant contribution to the wider economy in their respective countries.
  • 32% of employers ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement ‘MBAs are good problem solvers’, while 49% ‘tended to agree’.
  • 22% of employers ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement ‘MBAs have adequate soft skills’ while 7% of respondents either ‘tended to disagree’ or ‘strongly disagreed’ with this statement.
  • 61% of employers are either ‘not very confident’ or ‘not confident at all’ in the state of the global economy.
  • While 35% of survey participants think they will be recruiting ‘a lot fewer’ management leaders in 2020 than they did in 2019, 14% think they will be recruiting more management leaders than last year and 16% believe their recruitment of MBA-relevant roles will be the same as 2019.
  • A ‘lack of skills’ among MBA applicants was the most commonly cited hurdle to recruiters – 53% stated that this is a major issue for them. ‘Lack of creativity’ was cited by 47% of the sample.
  • The sample was divided when it came to whether or not they believed MBAs are only motivated by money – while 44% ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘tended to agree’ this was the case, 23% either ‘strongly disagreed’ or ‘tended to disagree’ and 34% were undecided.

You may also like...


Making it all add up: how to boost your financial skills as a leader

Being financially savvy is a must for any role in business: it helps you communicate effectively, make informed decisions and demonstrate your value. But finance can seem daunting if you’re not a numbers person. So, how can you boost your financial skills? Here, Amol Maheshwari provides some tips to boost your financial intelligence

Read More »
Ambition: Does your team really believe that you care about customers?

Does your team really believe that you care about customers?

While the desire to be customer-centric remains, companies’ actions in this area often fail to materialise, says Steven van Belleghem. Discover how small changes to the way you communicate and present projects and decisions can boost your leadership’s credibility

Read More »