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What MBAs Really Want From Employers

The primary interest of MBAs looking for a job is money: that’s the aspect of work they value above all else.

Despite the popular opinion that the most important thing in a job is either a chance of promotion or reputation, money remains the ultimate reason for pursuing a career. According to Poets and Quants, 72% of MBA degree holders consider remuneration as the most valuable component of having a job. The next best thing on the list was opportunity for career advancement.

No matter how much encouragement TransparentCareer used to get MBAs to reevaluate their priorities and concentrate more on work-life balance, money still remained the most valuable aspect of a corporate job. The reason for this lies in the enormous student debt incurred by most American graduates – the average amount of this debt is more than $100,000.

Most and Least Important Aspects of Corporate Careers

All in all, the actions undertaken by companies to get new MBAs to work for them, such as becoming more flexible and considering an option of letting employees work remotely, might be all in vain. Aspects previously considered important, such as flexibility and work-life balance, were only fifth on the MBA degree holders’ list (listed as important only by a third of the participants), whereas quality of co-workers was just behind career advancement (41%), closely followed by brand prestige (34%). One of the least important aspects was the stability of the company (7%).

The fact that remuneration is the most important thing on the MBAs’ list surprised the researchers to no end: they predicted career advancement to be the highest ranked component. As to stability being virtually non-important to MBA graduates, the reason behind this might be because many professionals now prefer working for startups and changing their jobs often.

Research Data Possibly Influenced by Tech and Consulting Popularity

Stacey Rudnick, MBA Career Management director at McCombs School of Business (Austin), believes that MBA graduates may also choose compensation over all other aspects of their jobs due to common knowledge that corporate careers of such professionals usually involve long working hours. Another factor, according to Rudnick, might be the fact that nowadays most graduates prefer jobs in tech and consulting.

High remuneration is viewed as compensation for long hours and job-related stress, as well as the cost of living in areas where most tech and consulting companies are headquartered.

For instance, consultants put in 60 hours a week on average when working at their first post-graduation job. Graduates working at investment banks have it even harder: the amount of their working hours might be as high as 80.

Ranking of Consulting Companies by Potential and Former Employees

According to Rudnick, tech and consulting firms are striving to give MBAs more perks and benefits, including higher remuneration, to attract the most talented professionals. TransparentCareer researched the ranking of different companies according to the benefits they are ready to give.

For compensation, the highest ranked company was L.E.K. Consulting, headquartered in London, followed by Parthenon-EY Consulting. The next three companies were Bain & Company, the Boston Consulting Group and Strategy& Still, the ratings were not only compensation-based. Some companies checked the top for all the evaluated categories, like Analysis Group (Boston). It was the best for career advancement, brand prestige and training, while being the lowest for remuneration with less than 1,000 employees.

The Analysis Group phenomenon has still not been explained, but their success in the rankings might be due to its hiring many MBAs immediately after graduation. This could explain how a small company got on the list dominated by large and medium-sized companies.

Results for Tech Companies

Tech companies valued most by their potential and former employees were expectedly topped by Microsoft. The top-5 was closed by VMware, Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

VMware was one of the only tech companies that was ranked well in several nominations: 4 out of 7 aspects, like career advancement, remuneration, training and co-worker quality. Researchers were surprised by this company’s unpredictable success, despite not being a tech juggernaut. This, in their opinion, shows that the largest corporations are not always best working places.

The lowest-ranked company in tech was Uber, headquartered in San Francisco. This startup has lost its initially gained popularity and became the last in four categories out of seven. The study has not yet concluded whether this is due to Uber’s badly working corporate culture or just of it being a young and fast-evolving startup, as new companies cannot give many opportunities for career advancement or high remuneration.

Another company that was at the bottom for career advancement and brand prestige was Samsung.

Options for Future MBAs Stay Wide

All in all, the most valuable piece of data obtained by the research was that MBA graduates still have plenty of career choice. There is no company universally preferred by graduates. Not even corporate giants such as Google can be loved by everyone.

This conclusion shows that corporations still have to compete for the best MBA graduates to attract them to their jobs. Before new MBAs consider a job placement, they always want to know what benefits they will get – which makes companies increase the amount of perks offered.

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