MBA blog

What employers want from MBA graduates — and what they don’t

Recruiters usually complain about difficulties of finding suitable employees.

According to The Financial Times, it happens very often.

Sionade Robinson, associate director at London’s Cass Business School, has a really difficult job: she helps graduates cope with the harsh reality of looking for a job after graduation. It’s hardest for the most brilliant students: some of them get depressed after being rejected by world’s top companies despite having just graduated. According to Ms. Robinson, students tend to believe that their MBA degree will open all doors for them, even the most impossible ones.

What skills do employers need?

Of course, finding your first after-graduation job is not so easy, even if you have a degree from one of the world’s best business schools. That’s why The Financial Times have prepared a survey to learn what employers really want from fresh MBA degree holders.

The survey showed that graduates should always be alert and ready for the ever-changing job market. Additionally, they should keep a realistic outlook on what their degree allows them to do.

According to the anonymous employers who took part in the survey, the most important skills for businesses are as follows:

  1. Being able to work with different people
  2. The skill of setting priorities and managing time
  3. Knowing the digital aspect of business
  4. Networking
  5. Problem-solving

A third of the surveyed businesses believe that it’s not easy to find an MBA graduate who would possess all the right soft skills. For many employers, the MBA degree is not as important as graduates like to believe, due to their belief that business schools do not teach the right skills.

The least important skills an MBA graduate could have are as follows:

  1. Specialized skills in marketing
  2. Knowledge of complex statistics
  3. Environmental management
  4. Skills in programming
  5. Skills in finance

Schools helping graduates to land their first job

At most business schools, the deans are trying to get their graduates hired, even though it’s not an easy task. For this purpose, they undertake partnerships with large companies such as Google or Amazon, and this network becomes wider with every year.

At Chicago Booth Business School, there is a whole team whose work is to advertise and promote their MBA graduates. To improve the hiring figures, schools have to persuade employers that their graduates possess the so-called soft skills – working with people, networking, solving complex problems etc.

For some employers, an MBA degree is not the first thing they look for in a candidate. At some UK companies, like Servest, it’s not even a requirement for executives to have an MBA degree. Those that do didn’t get employed by virtue of being MBAs: it was just due to chance.

The rarest skillsets among MBAs

According to business representatives, the most difficult to recruit are the following skills:

  1. Using social media to promote the business
  2. Being able to teach other employees
  3. Ability to forecast financial changes
  4. Big data analysis
  5. Skills of talking about the employer’s brand

As most employers acknowledge, it’s not even the degree they want, it’s a type of personality. It has been noticed that MBA degree holders are rarely among the best performers at companies. This is due to the large amount of theory they learn at business school and to the small amount of practice they get.

The easiest skills to find in MBA graduates are the following:

  1. Specialized skills in marketing
  2. Project managing
  3. Networking
  4. Problem solving
  5. People skills

Additionally, some employers explained that while business schools prepare their MBA students for work at senior executive positions at large companies, it’s not actually what most businesses need. For instance, if a new recruit wants a job of a product manager at a tech company, it’s better for them to be more knowledgeable in programming than in management.

Do you want to learn about the most popular business schools? Join MBA25 event in Kyiv!

Sign up for newsletters

We respect your privacy. Your email and other contact information is safe with us.

Upcoming MBA events

Meet Admissions Officers at an event near you.

View all events

Want to know more?


If you have a question or a suggestion, please read our FAQ.

Read event FAQ
Back to top Back to top