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Demand for MBAs at Its Highest Since 2010 According to Reports

Demand for MBAs has recovered from its fall after the 2008 Great Recession. The market for MBA graduates is shifting and expanding, while the options available to those considering an MBA degree are shifting.

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, 88% of the companies they surveyed plan to hire recent B-school MBA graduates in the next year. That is a significant increase over the 80% of companies that said they wanted to hire MBA graduates this year. There is also increasing acceptance of those who have earned an accredited online MBA degree like an AACSB online MBA.

The demand for MBA holders has led to an increase in starting salaries. More than half of companies surveyed worldwide said they were sweetening starting salaries. U.S. starting salaries for MBA graduates was $105,000 in 2016, up from $100,000 the prior year.

International Demand for MBAs

International demand for MBAs is on average not as high as it is in the US. For example, only a third of German companies planned on increasing their hiring of MBAs, whereas almost 90% of American and 70% of surveyed Chinese companies did. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a broad international demand for MBAs; a third of the surveyed American companies indicated they wanted to send their MBA hires abroad, so international conglomerates will end up hiring many American MBA graduates, even though the native firms aren’t hiring these graduates at similar rates.

Shifts in MBA Programs Themselves

The Graduate Management Admission Council reported in 2016 that full-time one year MBA programs, accredited online MBA degrees and executive MBA programs are now more popular than the traditional full-time two-year program. This reveals that the demand for students for flexible schedules or minimizing their time out of the workforce is their top priority. Part-time programs that aren’t offered online and flexible MBA programs that let you attend classes on the weekend have declining enrollment.

There have also been shifts in the types of MBAs sought. While business MBA degrees remain very popular, there are many more specialized MBA programs that include things such as Data Analytics. MBA programs increasingly offer new concentrations like health services management or information systems. The former leads to hospital management jobs while the latter prepares you for IT management positions. Putting an MBA in an oversight position instead of putting a doctor or engineer in charge of these departments is one of the reasons why there is more demand for MBA graduates.

New Concentrations

The international job assignments awaiting many MBA graduates explain why international studies and international business are becoming common MBA concentrations, but marketing, operations management, and finance remain two of the most popular MBA programs.

Business strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, corporate social responsibility and leadership are relatively new MBA concentrations seeing increased demand. Supply chain management and human resources have become separate specialized MBAs instead of part of the standard MBA program.

Demand for MBAs is rising worldwide, especially in the US, though much of the international demand is met by US companies hiring local MBA grads before sending them on international assignments. Demand is strong enough to have increased the starting salaries for MBAs across the board.

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