Spotlight on Asia-Pacific: Demand for MBAs

As we prepare for the 2nd Annual NAAMBA Global Career Forum, we reached out to researchers at GMAC to gather information from their research about the hiring market in the Asia-Pacific region.

Some of the world’s fastest growing economies are in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Accordingly, an increased demand for MBA new hires among firms in APAC, combined with employers’ desires to place talent in jobs located outside the region, signal potential opportunities for career services professionals worldwide.

Globally, 79% of companies surveyed earlier this year planned to hire recent MBA graduates, and 80% of companies located in the Asia-Pacific region sought new MBA talent in 2012. Demand from companies in India and China for new MBA hires in 2012 exceeded these averages, as 88% of Indian employers and 86% of Chinese employers expected to hire recent MBA graduates. The share of companies in these markets seeking MBA talent is well ahead of demand from US firms (79% of companies) and European firms (67% of companies) that planned to hire recent MBA graduates in 2012.

Moreover, a large percentage of companies in the Asia-Pacific region are looking to place their new hires in job posts all around the world. A focus on North America is seen in the data, as 35% of APAC companies hoped to place business grads in Canada and 27% of APAC companies sought to place hires in the United States. Europe was a job placement destination for 18% of APAC companies, and 13% of APAC companies hoped to place business grads in jobs located in the Middle East/Africa region. Though nearly all students graduating from schools in Asia-Pacific are conducting their employment search within the APAC region, only 72% of companies planned to place their recent business hires within the region. Accordingly, desires for MBA and business talent hires by companies in Asia-Pacific are likely to have ripple effects worldwide.

Given the approaching January conference in partnership with the National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA), and GMAC’s recently released summary of jobs trends for China and Hong Kong, a few additional details for China seemed appropriate to share.

An exit survey of graduating students from Chinese business schools in the class of 2012 echoed the demand from companies located in the world’s second-largest economy:

  • Some 85% of all Chinese students attending domestic business schools had job offers in hand when surveyed a month or two before graduation.
  • The top three industries where students graduating from Chinese business schools searched for jobs in 2012 were: products & services (25%), manufacturing (22%), and high technology (18%).
  • Graduating students from full-time two-year MBA programs in China who had job offers reported salary increases of more than 71% from their pre-degree earnings.

It is not surprising that increased job opportunities were a top reason cited by the region’s prospective students for entering the pipeline to a business school. GMAT test taker data reveals the strength of this interest, as Chinese residents accounted for 52% of the total 89,782 GMAT exams taken by all Asia-Pacific residents in testing year 2012 (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012). “Today, young, ambitious Chinese are studying at business schools all over the world – but with increasing demand for MBA graduates among Chinese companies, it’s not surprising that more and more are choosing domestic programs,” noted Julia Herries, GMAC’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director. Career services professionals at business schools may be surprised to grasp the numbers of Chinese in the pipeline for business schools, and interest in study and work in the country from outside the country. After the US, Chinese residents represented the second-largest group in the GMAT pipeline globally, with a reported 44,464 living in mainland China and 2,272 in Hong Kong.

“We are also seeing increasing numbers of foreign students wanting to capitalize on the opportunities provided by China’s growing economy, by studying at Chinese business schools. In the past year, Indian, South Korean and North American students were the top three foreign groups sending GMAT scores to graduate management programs in China – a trend we expect will continue to grow in the coming years,” said Herries.

GMAC representatives look forward to attending the conference in January to discuss these trends. As a final note, this country specific data is captured with the help of many graduate business schools and career services professionals around the world. In preparing for the 2013 survey season, we hope to produce additional reports that are valuable for strategic and day-to-day operations. With your help, we can! Please sign up to participate by visiting gmac.com/surveysignup.

Thanks to the GMAC Research team for their contribution of this article:
Rebecca Estrada, Laura Leach, Michelle Sparkman-Renz, Gregg Schoenfeld, and Danielle Jervis in Hong Kong.

Follow GMAC researchers on twitter or email.

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