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Universum’s Research Shows What Today's MBA Candidates Want from Employers

Universum’s Research Shows What Today's MBA Candidates Want from Employers

NEW YORK, June 17, 2014 — Universum, the global Employer Brand Research Firm, released its 2014 rankings of the IDEAL™ Employers for MBA candidates Tuesday. Based on a survey of more than 2,500 MBA candidates, the IDEAL rankings reveal the top employers for today’s MBA candidates. The research also details why these employers are attractive and how MBA candidates are thinking about work.

Above all, MBAs want opportunities to become leaders

Over the past three years, MBA candidates have become much more interested in employers that provide strong professional training and leadership development. MBAs prioritized job aspects like “leaders who will support my development,” “leadership opportunities,” and “professional training and development” above other qualities. No aspects of an employer’s reputation and image (for example, prestige or market success) made MBA candidates’ list of top ten preferences.
“We see this shift as a sign that MBAs are less concerned about extrinsic aspects of jobs — i.e. how they will look on a resume — and more concerned with how they will grow and develop their potential,” said Melissa Murray Bailey, President of Universum Americas.

Compared to undergraduate business majors, MBAs more interested in challenging work

This year, MBA candidates were nearly 20% more likely to consider challenging work to be important than undergraduate business students. MBAs were also more likely to prioritize a competitive base salary, high level of responsibility, and meritocracy than their undergraduate peers. Undergraduate business majors, on the other hand, were much more likely to prioritize secure employment than MBAs were. They also placed more emphasis on sponsorship of future education, a friendly work environment, respect for people, and ethical standards.

MBA candidates more interested in consulting and financial services employers

Similar to undergraduate business students, MBA candidates expressed more interest this year in many consulting, auditing, and financial services firms.
“We see this as a sign that recruiting from these sectors has really picked up — students are seeing more employers come to campus, and more positions posted, and that’s piquing the interest of candidates who previously might not have pursued these types of jobs,” continued Bailey. “At the same time, these sectors are well-known for providing the types of mentorship, training, and development MBAs are looking for.”
Other notable gains for MBA employers were in the oil and gas industries, where several employers increased in interest. Employers in big tech and media, fashion and retail, and hospitality lost in interest from MBA candidates this year.