An MBA might not be a prerequisite for that dream job anymore.
According to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, a nonprofit that administers the GMAT admissions exam, just 85% of U.S. employers intend to hire MBA grads this year, down from 91% last year. While that number might not appear to be concerning, it reflects the biggest drop in business-school recruiting since the start of the last recession.
Changing career paths
One possible explanation for this decrease is a change in career path for business school graduates. More and more are choosing to start their own business or seek a job outside the typical fields of finance and consulting, notes The Wall Street Journal.
The survey suggests that many of these graduates are favoring healthcare, technology, or energy companies over the more standard paths of finance or accounting.
Diversifying the candidate pool
On the other side of the coin, some companies that previously recruited from business schools are hiring different candidates. That could entail those without an MBA, less experienced candidates more generally, or else candidates with specialized or industry skills and off-campus experience.
The WSJ points in particular to those with an artificial intelligence or analytics background, two areas that are increasingly in demand.
Despite the changes in recruitment levels, business school grads are unlikely to have a hard time finding a job—although it may not be their first choice position, and they could face a lower starting salary. Sangeet Chowfla, the president of GMAC, told WSJ that he isn’t concerned, as there are currently more employers than candidates for many jobs in the current labor market.