Finance Hiring Picks Up For MBAs

A year ago many MBA students were busy working on their “Plan Bs.” In other words, their alternate career prospects if their MBAs didn’t land them an entry-level investment banking job or consulting job. It was referred to as a “parallel career path” by one Ivy League business school. In plain language, it simply means taking a stepping stone job before breaking into your preferred career.

But today, many students no longer need these alternate plans. According to a survey of 89 business schools conducted by the MBA Career Services Council (CSC), new hiring for MBAs picked up slightly in 2010 and is likely to increase in even more in 2011. And the traditional fields of finance and consulting are expected to lead the field.

Seventy percent of business schools polled by CSC in December said full-time MBA job postings were up, according to an article in BusinessWeek. Another survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the people who run the GMAT exams, found that 64% of employers plan to hire new MBAs in 2011, up 4% from 2010.

Class of 2011 MBAs may face less competition for jobs, too, says Elena Bajic, chief executive of Ivy Exec, a recruiting company focused on MBA job placement. That’s because there’s a smaller pool of entry-level MBA positions.

Campus recruiting for finance and consulting positions is up, which is a good sign for spring and summer job placements and internships. 65% of schools surveyed by CSC reported an increase in recruiting.

However, the market for newly-mined MBAs seems to be shifting somewhat. Wealth management is the booming new sector, according to Bajic. While investment banking seems to have lost some of its attractiveness, as measured by both job postings and candidate interest, she says.

MBA students at both the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and at Wharton are quoted as saying sales and trading positions in investment banking are still few and far between.

What’s your opinion? Have we seen the worst in terms of investment banking job reductions? Will prospects for new MBAs continue to improve in 2011? Add your comments below.

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