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Int’l MBAs preferred in ME and East Asia

Demand for new business school talent will increase over the next five years, with employers in East and Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries indicating a high preference for international degrees, research has suggested.

Preference for international business degrees was "especially high" among larger East and Southeast Asian employers, the paper found. Photo: pexels

The median starting salary for new MBA hires in 2022 across the US remains $115,000 for the third year in a row

The Corporate Recruiters Survey – 2022 Summary Report, compiled by graduate business school association, the Graduate Management Admission Council, found that 92% of almost 1,000 corporate recruiters surveyed expect to hire new MBA graduates in 2022.

Conducted in February and March 2022, it also found that international mobility for business school graduates could “be making a rebound”. Some 63% of recruiters project that demand for new business school talent will increase in the next five years.

Some 56% of US recruiters said they plan to, or are willing to, make international hires in 2022 – up from 48% saying the same in 2021.

The ratio was even higher among US edtech companies. Some 83% of US tech companies said they either plan to make international hires in 2022 (62%) or are willing to (21%).

The other end of the spectrum found that none of the US companies focusing on energy and utilities survey were planning to hire international business school graduates, while 14% of the non-profit/ government entities surveyed said they were preparing to.

The survey suggested that international graduates would be more successful looking for jobs in the Middle East of Western Europe, where 52% and 40% of recruiters said they plan to hire international candidates in 2022, respectively.

The trend continues from last year when 60% of recruiters in the Middle East and 58% in Western Europe were the most likely to hire new international business school graduates. Latin American companies were the least likely in 2021, with 25% saying they had.

A new question in this year’s survey asked corporate recruiters opinions on the value of domestic and international degrees.

Overall, 40% of global recruiters indicated they assign no difference in weight between credentials earned in the country of the company’s headquarters and those outside the country. A further 35% favoured domestic degrees and 25% preferred international degrees.

“Preference for international degrees is strongest among recruiters in the Middle East (48%), East and Southeast Asia (41%), and Latin America (41%),” the report noted.

“Among East and Southeast Asian companies, preference for international degrees was especially high among larger employers and those in the consulting (100%), technology (50%), and products/services (50%) industries.”

Top reasons for a preference for international degree recipients included: the global strategic thinking they bring; increased workplace diversity; and additional cross-cultural communication skills.

In the US, “virtually no” recruiters expressed preference for international degrees, the document added. The US was also an exception for the acceptance of online degrees.

“Nearly nine out of 10 corporate recruiters feel confident in business schools to prepare students to be successful”

While worldwide recruiters viewing online and in-person GME programs equally increased in the past year from 34% to 60% in 2022, only 29% of US recruiters said the same.

“The latest GMAC findings of the Corporate Recruiters Survey show that nearly nine out of 10 corporate recruiters feel confident or highly confident in the ability of business schools to prepare students to be successful in their organisations,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC.

“That’s an extraordinary figure. It shows that despite the pandemic and the limitations it brought on student mobility, public and mental health, and remote learning, business schools managed to find ways to build an impressive cohort whom corporate recruiters and staffing agencies worldwide continue to bank on as prime sources for talent.”

It also found that the median starting salary for new MBA hires in 2022 across the US remains $115,000 for the third year in a row.

“In the current inflationary environment, the relative stability of median MBA salaries suggested by the survey findings means the real value of MBA salaries is declining,” GMAC highlighted.

Benefits packages – such as educational assistance with tuition reimbursement and scholarships – have become increasingly common. In 2022, 54% of corporate recruiters said they were offering the assistance, up from 35% in 2021.

A total of 941 respondents from 38 countries participated in this year’s survey.

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