Top 5 Things You Need to Know about Graduate Business Recruiting Trends

MEvansby Matthew Evans, Associate Director, Carnegie Mellon, Tepper School of Business.


MBA CSEA recently released the results of its Fall 2016 Recruiting Trends Survey.  Here are 5 things you need to know:

  1. Recruiting continues to increase for full-time students…41% of schools reported an increase in on-campus recruiting for full-time MBA students in Fall 2016.  While this is down from 65% reporting an increase in 2015, only 25% of schools indicated a decrease in on-campus recruiting for full-time students, indicating continued improvement in the market for this population.
  2. …while part-time recruiting has flattened.In Fall 2016, 50% of schools reported an increase for part-time MBA recruiting, versus 23% reporting an increase and 18% reporting a decrease.  Last year, 46% of schools reported an increase in recruiting activity for part-time students.
  3. Recruiting for international students in the U.S. continues its steep decline…Survey respondents offer a bleak picture overall for students without permanent work authorization who are seeking employment in the United States.  Over three times as many schools reported a decrease in international student hiring than those who reported an increase.
  4. …but Consulting and Technology continue to provide opportunities.Consulting and Technology were the only industries where more schools reported increased international student hiring than those which reported decreases.  Even so, far more schools reported increased hiring in consulting and technology overall than reported increased hiring for international students in those industries (46% to 24% for consulting; 53% to 35% for technology.
  5. Financial Services is in, Energy and Consumer Packaged Goods are out.39% of schools reported an increase in Financial Services recruiting, compared to 27% in 2015.  This marked the largest year-over-year gain across industries.  In contrast, 29% of schools reported a decrease in Energy recruiting (more than any other industry), and 23% of schools reported a decrease in CPG recruiting (largest year-over-year gain)

A September, 2016 survey by listed the November presidential election as the biggest threat to the U.S. economy.  Markets detest uncertainty, and the rancorous political climate throughout 2016 did nothing to increase economic confidence.  Indeed, United States consumer sentiment as measured by the University of Michigan was stagnant in the year leading up to the election, spiking once results were known.  Considering this uncertainty, the MBA hiring market overall remained strong.  It remains to be seen whether the highs of 2014 and 2015 will be repeated under the new administration.

The market for international talent continues to decline.  Multiple bills have been introduced to amend work visa regulations, an H-1B premium processing suspension looms, and an executive order is likely forthcoming.  Whatever comes will likely have an impact on the willingness of companies to sponsor foreign talent; in the meantime, policy uncertainty, coupled with a continued increase in the ratio between graduating F-1 students and the H-1B cap, will continue limiting companies’ willingness to hire international MBA talent.

The results of this survey raise several questions for MBA career services professionals; it would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments section:

  • How do you advise international students who are interested in pursuing careers outside of technology and consulting?
  • Are you seeing more competition for jobs in fields such as CPG and Energy, or is student interest waning in proportion to decreases in recruiting activity?
  • Likewise, has student interest in financial services careers increased over the last year in correspondence with increased recruiting, or is there a potential MBA talent shortage for these positions?

To review the Fall 2016 MBA CSEA Recruiting Trends Survey results, click here.

Uncovering Unconscious Bias

UCR Heidi Cuthbertson 2017by Heidi Cuthbertson
Associate Director, Graduate Career Development Center
The A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management
University of California, Riverside

I have worked in higher education for eleven years, and in human resources as a recruiter for seven. After nearly two decades, I clearly have a thorough understanding of the importance of diversity in the workplace at all levels. I know that a diverse team leads to more robust ideas and greater success. And of course, I would never, ever discriminate based on an individual’s extraneous characteristics. Right? Or have I been kidding myself for all these years?!?!

Last week’s MBA CSEA webinar, Overcoming Biases to Advance the Underrepresented Workforce: Understanding Unconscious Bias, was jarring to say the least. Two expert researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business who specialize in the topic, Dr. Stefanie Johnson and Dr. David Hekman, shared data proving that even the most well-intended professional can be impacted by biases that we don’t even know we have.

Like it or not, everyone’s behavior is influenced in some way by preconceived ideas about an individual’s age, gender, education level, profession, ethnicity, and so on. Take a look at a few statistics from their research, which focused on gender and ethnicity bias in the workplace:

  • If three of the four candidates in a hiring pool are men, the woman has statistically 0% chance of being selected.
  • In the S&P 500, 9.8% of CEOs are men named John and David. Women make up only 4.1% of all CEOs (even though women make up 50% of the population).
  • 56% of men think that sexism is OVER. This is not old data – this study was from 2016! Last year!

That’s the cold, hard reality. OK, good to know. But what can we do about it?

Hold BLIND auditions! Seriously, can companies really transform their hiring processes to resemble The Voice? As Dr. Hekman shared, blind auditions in orchestras have resulted in an increase in female positions from less than 5% to more than 30%. Blind reviews of scientific articles led to significant increases in women-authored publications. Why couldn’t blind selection in the hiring process, at least at the resume review phase, move the needle?

TALK about diversity! Dr. Johnson’s research shows that simply by acknowledging differences, the effect of bias can be reduced. Don’t pretend the diversity doesn’t exist, but face it head-on. The conversation alone can diminish any negative effects.

Hold people accountable! To quote Dr. Johnson, “Bias is less prevalent when you are accountable and more prevalent if you think others agree with you.” Companies that report, track and share diversity data and lead from the top are less likely to be impacted by individual inclinations.

During the Q&A, I asked Dr. Hekman about best practices to carry this discussion into our graduate business schools. The students we mentor every day will be the future business leaders of our world. He suggested holding open conversations about exclusion and differences and referred to this impactful video as an example of how a conversation can change someone’s perspective. After all, who among us has never felt excluded? The truth is that EVERYONE has encountered this at some point in time.

My main takeaway from this webinar was the need to infuse our business schools with conversations about bias. If our students can carry with them into the workplace a greater understanding of their own unconscious preferences, and project that mindset to classmates, colleagues and employees, it could be a path to change.

Top 10 MBA Career Services & Recruitment Goals for 2017

socialmediapicWhat’s top of mind for MBA CSEA members in the coming year? Executive Director Megan Hendricks provides insights from our event attendance, membership survey and general buzz among CSEA volunteers.


#10 Identify innovative ways to reach non-traditional job candidates (e.g. students who seek non-traditional employment and benefits).

#9 Provide new and innovative ways to improve efficiencies in the student/employer relationship, ensuring the right employment fit.

#8 Navigate the challenge of finding employment for students without permanent work authorization in their country of choice.

#7 Utilize mindfulness and other workplace wellness techniques to improve leadership and decision-making.

#6 Maximize existing resources in the wake of increased demands – e.g. seek out ways to do more with less.

#5 Determine innovative ways to manage student expectations in the job search process.

#4 Observe job market trends for specialized masters programs and make adjustments to processes, programs and resources as needed.

#3 Utilize data and analytics – both global job market trends and locally derived information – to make informed decisions.

#2 Educate and manage expectations about business school rankings among stakeholders.

#1 Seek out ways to utilize technology to maximize process efficiency in a digital age while maintaining a high touch, personal experience.

MBA CSEA 2017 European Conference – What it’s about and why you should come!

ehenryby Ewan Henry, Employer Relations Consultant, Nottingham University business School and 2017 European Conference Co-Chair


Just before Christmas (happy New Year by the way) I arrived back in the UK from a very productive trip to Lisbon where I met with the conference managers at the Epic Sana Lisboa, the location of the 2017 MBA CSEA European Conference on the 26th – 29th of March. I thought it’d be worthwhile explaining (in case you don’t know) who the MBA CSEA are and what sorts of things will happen at the upcoming conference in the hope that you’ll make the trip to join us.

The MBA CSEA is a global alliance of employers and business schools with over 800 member institutions and businesses who to quote our website ‘work together to support each other’s success’. In a nutshell the MBA CSEA provides an opportunity for businesses to collaborate with the people who are training their future leaders. Why is this important? Because businesses can only react to the challenges that lay on the horizon if they are bringing in well equipped adaptable recruits and that can’t happen if business schools aren’t instilling their students with the right knowledge, skills and attitude. Exciting and important stuff!

lisbonpicSo what do we have in store for the 2017 European Conference? The theme, linking nicely the Lisbon’s nautical history is “The Age of Explorers: What the Future Holds for Business Schools and Employers Alike” and it isn’t hard to see why we’ve chosen this. Without throwing a detailed PEST analysis at you it is clear for all to see that we are living in a time of rapid global change. We have Brexit here in the UK (sorry about that!), we have an angry chap across the Atlantic who may or may not Make America Great Again, we have populist movements gaining momentum throughout Europe and protectionism creeping back on the menu of acceptable political discourse. This of course has huge implications for economies around the world who are still adapting to the new world post 2008. We will cover some of these implications in industry specific workshops to examine how businesses can adapt both in terms of the strategies they employ and the people they recruit.

Closer to home (or at least the work place) we have millennials making their mark in middle to senior level positions (hello!) bringing with them their own way of doing things and we now have Generation Z beginning to make their mark. That they do this whilst sitting around in their onesies using words that no-one understands and snapchatting their ‘bae’ every five minutes is an impressive sight to behold. Give it 10 years of career progression and sharing pictures of one’s lunch might begin to be an item on people’s PDPRs! With this in mind we will be discussing how management styles need to change and how recruitment teams need to stay on their toes to make sure they are assessing potential staff in the most effective way.

Lastly we have disruptive technological change, be that advancements in the recruitment industry or automation moving off the shop floor and into the back office. If you believe some it is only a matter of time before we may as well all learn code and accept Skynet as our overlord! I wouldn’t go to that far personally but in a world where we are already seeing virtual lawyers and accountants it isn’t a big leap to accept that the world of work is going to look very different in 20 years time! This presents a big problem for business schools and employers alike; namely how do you prepare your students for a world of work which is likely to be in a great deal of flux in terms of roles and responsibilities? What knowledge do we need to be instilling in our students and can you even coach workplace flexibility?!

We expect this conference to stimulate a lot of conversation about what changes lie ahead for us and how they are best overcome. We can’t promise to give you all the answers in just three days but we can certainly have a crack at giving you some of them leaving you with genuine insights that you can take back to your business. Oh and I am co-chairing alongside the wonderful Natalia Milani (she’s the brains of the operation) so why on earth wouldn’t you want to come?!

If you employ, train or recruit MBA and specialist masters graduates in your business, or if you are involved in business education then I would love to see you in Lisbon on the 26th – 29th of March 2017. If you have any questions please leave a comment or message me directly and I will get back to you!

See you there!


Mindfulness and Personal Leadership

ejohnsonby: Eric Johnson, Director of Graduate Career Services
Indiana University Kelley School of Business

Mindfulness is a powerful tool for personal leadership. With practice, you can use its techniques to become a better leader—of others and of yourself.

Much like yoga, mindfulness has been both warped and misused over the last few years as it’s become a pop culture staple. That said, in its true form it’s still a powerful tool for personal leadership and a key to overcoming five of the most common ways life can sabotage us. (Or really, we can sabotage ourselves!) I intend to share with you some mindful practices which I use in the hopes that you find at least one of these applicable in your life. A couple of quick notes:

  1. I’m going to use the term “consciousness” instead of “mindfulness” going forward, as I believe it’s a better representation of the practices here – my goal is to become acutely aware of how I’m managing the present moment so I can better manage a given situation.
  2. I’d like to ask you to maintain a “beginner’s mind” as you go through these tips. Shunryu Suzuki, a founding father of Zen in America, wrote that only through the withholding of biases and judgement can we maximize our learning from each other.
  3. The power of consciousness and personal leadership is in the practice – not in the message. If you want to get the most out of this, make a commitment to spend a few minutes every day making something here a staple in your daily routine.

It’s my experience that practicing consciousness of the present moment helps with five of life’s bigger challenges: inability to focus, making decisions, managing emotions, handling conflict, and improving attitudes. Here are my thoughts on how to do it.

Improving Focus
Ever find your mind wandering – maybe at work after you’ve been sitting for a while, or after you get home following a long day. Conscious awareness can help return you to productivity.

The majority of Americans report that they “zone out” upwards of a dozen times a day when they should be engaged in other activities – and many spend as much as 4 hours a day just scanning social media out of distraction. The good news is that conscious awareness can help with this.

Here are a few ways to get focused and to regain your attention the next time you “zone out”:

  • First, you have to notice that you’re zoning out – and you have to accept that it’s okay. It happens. The good news is that you are aware and that you want to improve.
  • Next, take a “purposeful pause” or do a “stretching meditation.” A purposeful pause is something I learned from Janice Marturano’s book, Finding the Space to Lead. It’s a simple concept: stop whatever you’re doing, sit back, fold your hands in your lap, close your eyes, and start to breathe deeply. As much as possible just focus on your breath – it helps to count to five as you breathe in, and then again as you breathe out. Do this for about 2 minutes, and you’ll find both a boost in energy and an ability to regain your focus.
  • Another option is to do a “stretching meditation” – which is one of my favorite practices. Here you just need to step back from your activity and stand up. Close your eyes and start to breathe deeply, also counting to five on the ins and outs of your breath. After the second exhale you can start working your arms into the practice – as you breathe in slowly raise your arms over your head, and as you breathe out slowly lower them back to your sides. Do this for about 2 minutes, and you will feel a similar energy boost and rejuvenation for the task at hand.

A common misconception about meditation is that it only works if you sit for 30 minutes with your eyes closed. On the contrary – you can become more conscious and present in as little as 90 seconds of focused breathing. So the next time you find your mind wandering – get up, stretch and breathe!

Making Decisions
Do you struggle with making decisions? Conscious awareness can bring you clarity and the confidence to act.

Ever face a decision that you didn’t want to make? It could be something as simple as where to go for dinner or something important like which job offer to accept. The importance of the decision is not the point – the point is that all of us face moments where we aren’t sure what to do and yet need to be decisive. Here’s a practice of conscious awareness that I use in situations like this:

  • First, find a space where you can be reflective and avoid distractions. You have the answer inside of you – you just need to hear what your mind and body are saying.
  • I love the simple exercise of writing here. Take about 7 minutes and write as much as you can in response to the following questions:
    • Which of my options summons more energy in my body?
    • Where do I feel excitement?
    • What values are important to me? How does each option honor or fulfill these values?
    • What’s the worst that can happen with each option? What’s the best?
    • What do I feel is calling me forward in the direction I want to go?
  • After you finish writing for 7 minutes read what you put down. Then sit back, close your eyes, and breathe deep for 7 minutes. Reflect on each option and notice what happens with your heart rate and with your muscle tension as you go through your answers. Specifically notice where positive energy arises in your body and mind as you reflect.

An old boss of mine used to say that, “a lack of clarity will cost us dearly.” He was so right. Consciousness gives us time to reflect on our options, identify our reasons, and to find clarity in our choices. After this exercise you will better know what decision you want to make, along with the reasons to do so.

Managing Emotions
Do you control your emotions or do they control you? Learn to manage your responses and become a better leader.

Ever reacted to a situation and then regretted later how you handled it? Do you get frustrated easily and “boil over” frequently? The great neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl used to say, “between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” The questions for you are: how big is your space, and how do you mind it? The next time you feel this way:

  • Notice when you begin to get frustrated or angry. No matter how long it takes your reactor to go from 0 to nuclear there is a point at which the dial starts turning – you need to both notice that it’s happening and accept that you have responsibility for stopping it from boiling over.
  • Mind the space. You’ve now experienced the stimulus, so it’s time to create a space. In this moment you need to step away – whatever that means for you – and be alone. It’s time to breathe.
  • Take a breath – while you’re breathing in count to 5. As you breathe out, count to 5. Do this 4-5 times. As you calm down, notice that you have a choice on how to respond to your stimulus. Ask yourself what impact you want your actions to have, and what role your emotions play in the solution you want. In this space you have a choice – respond in a way that will give you freedom and not regret.

I’m not telling you that you always have to be positive or happy. Negative emotion is both normal and necessary – the power here is making sure that your emotions work with your behavior and not against it. You don’t want to do anything you’ll regret – nor do you want your emotions to be counter-productive. You can control your response – and when you do, you will grow as a leader.

Handling Conflict
You can’t get along with everybody. You can use compassion to make your interactions more positive and productive.

We all have our “nemesis” – somebody who is difficult to work with and who brings out the worst in us. You may even find yourself in frequent arguments with this person if they’re not somebody you can just avoid. It’s okay – this is normal. We all have different personalities, values, incentives, and motivators – sometimes we’re just not set up to get along all of the time. What’s not always okay is how we deal with it.

Here’s how to use conscious compassion to handle conflict:

  • Think about somebody with whom you have trouble getting along. It could be a co-worker or friend, as it’s not important if it’s personal or professional. As you choose, notice the sensations that arise in your body. Don’t judge yourself – just notice.
  • Next, close your eyes and start breathing deeply. Breathe in to a count of 5 and out with a count of 5. As you do, you can start practicing compassion. Remind yourself that this person is somebody’s child, somebody’s partner, maybe somebody’s parent. There are people who love this person and who depend on this person. At their core, this person is just trying to do their best for somebody in their life. Nobody enjoys being seen negatively.
  • Finally, as you continue to breathe, come up with 1-2 positive thoughts about this person. Examples might be, “This person is a good parent,” or, “This person is deserving of friends.”

I’m not suggesting you have to find a way to be friends with everybody. You don’t. But you do have to find a way to be around people you don’t always like. You get to choose how you handle that, and I believe you’ll find that his practice of conscious compassion can not only help you better deal with difficult people, but actually begin seeing them in a better light.

Improving Attitude
When you’re in a bad mood, it’s up to you to get out of it. Use this technique to change your attitude and your outlook.

Have you ever found yourself in a bad mood, and not been sure why? Or maybe you just haven’t felt “right” but you’re not sure what’s going on? I have – all of the time! It’s actually one of the more common reasons why I meditate. In fact, one of my favorite philosophers – David Foster Wallace – talked about this in a commencement speech he gave called, “This is Water”. The basic premise is that we get to choose what we think about and how we respond to things. Conscious awareness is a tool that can help us with this.

My friend Mark Power, who is a Buddhist chaplain and an executive coach, has a great model called, “Identify, Interrupt, and Inspire” which I use in these moments.

  • When you notice that you’re in a funk, find a spot to sit down, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. In the first few moments try to identify the sensation – what emotions are you feeling and what do you notice in your body. Scan yourself from head to toe and try to name the sensations if you can.
  • As you continue to breathe deeply, try to identify where this is coming from. Ask yourself what’s causing tension or sadness? What is coming to mind for you? What thoughts are the first to show up? Question why this is so. See if you can put your finger on the thing that’s bothering you. Once you know you can interrupt the wondering that’s going on and begin to work with the sensation.
  • As you identify the stimulus, begin to explore how you’d like to feel about this, or what you need to do about it. It’s okay if you don’t have answers – you can also just sit with the feeling for a while and see if something shifts for you as you reflect on it. As you find the inspiration to choose how you want to feel you can begin to shape your attitude.

A study once showed that it takes about 90 seconds of sitting with a feeling before it begins to shift and improve in both the mind and the body. The key is that it has to be deep and reflective focusing on the sensations before they can move. The process of Identify-Interrupt-Inspire allows me to break the cycle and help the mood shift with my intentions. I believe it can work for you, too.

I hope that you find at least one of these practices helpful as you deal with life’s inner challenges. I’d love to hear other practices that work for you, so please feel free to share them with me at