What businesses want from graduates in 2018
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What businesses want from graduates in 2018

What businesses want from graduates in 2018

In a competitive job market, naming your university and citing your final year results probably won’t help you land the role you really want.

As academic qualifications become more mainstream, recruiters must find ways to distinguish the interviewees they see every day, which can easily enter the hundreds.

So how do business graduates make their names stand out?

In short, they must fill demand.

A resume and interview tailored to show you can fill the skills most in need for the organisation will be far more memorable than one that mentions ‘drive’ and ‘passion’ alone. It probably doesn’t work in graduates’ favour that corporate recruiters are more likely to hold a less healthy view of their abilities than they do for MBA students themselves.

To really set themselves apart, the top three job functions business school graduates should highlight in 2018 are: Business development, Data analytics and Marketing.


According to the recently-released GMAC 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey, seven in 10 employers plan to hire Business School graduates to fill these roles this year. Analysis of the survey is based on responses from 1,066 employers in 42 countries who work directly with participating business schools.

While those three roles are priorities across the board, take note of these details before listing these skills in your coming interview:

1. Your employer’s location, industry, company type and size matter

Different employers have considerably different functional demands. According to the report, the following are the top job functions that companies plan to fill by industry:

  • Consulting: Consulting, business development and data analytics
  • Energy: Business development, finance and accounting
  • Finance: Finance, investment banking and accounting
  • Healthcare: Marketing, business, development and finance
  • Technology: Marketing, business, development and data analytics
  • Manufacturing: Operations, marketing and accounting
  • Nonprofit: Human resources, accounting and data analytics
  • Products: Marketing, business development and finance

Company location also influences the type of skills they require. For example, Latin America places the topmost priority on business development, but American employers generally aren’t as fussed.

Whether a company is in the Fortune Global 100 or is family-owned, as well as if it has 10,000 employees or more, matters too. We see that in how many big companies value business development (86 percent) compared to only a small percentage of companies with fewer than 100 workers employed.

2. MBA graduates are slightly more likely than MiM graduates to fill generalist positions

Do employers seek MBA (Masters in Business Administration) or MiM (Masters in Management) talent for generalist or specialist roles? Strategic or operational roles?

According to the report:

“While the majority of MBA and MiM talent will be hired into specialist roles at companies, MBA graduates are slightly more likely than MiM graduates to fill generalist positions.”

However, like the functions they require, there are variations in the job roles of MBA and MiM talent by employer region, industry and size. For example, larger energy and utility companies have the highest possibility of placing MBA graduates in generalist roles.

3. The majority of MBA graduates will be placed in strategic positions, while the majority of MiM graduates will be placed in operational positions.

While the line between the operational and strategic engines of the business can become blurred, the report suggests that corporate recruiters make a clear demarcation between the two.

Depending on whether you hold an MBA or MiM, your likelihood of being placed in either one can considerably vary. This is markedly so in the Asia Pacific, where 57 percent of respondents said they want MBA talent to fill strategic roles, compared to only 43 percent of respondents who want them to fill operational roles.

If you hold an MiM, American recruiters are likely to want you for operational roles (59 percent), instead of strategic roles (41 percent).

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