Fall 2015 Recruiting Trends Survey: An Employer’s Perspective

MBA CSEA Board Member Karen Fox from Vanguard provides a Q&A about our most recent Recruiting Trends Survey, which gauges the status of the graduate business job market from the perspective of our member schools.

What is your role at Vanguard?
I head up University and Recruiting Partnerships.  In this role I oversee all relationships with target schools and other professional organizations. My team supports hiring for undergraduate, MBA and experienced professionals. We facilitate the branding and marketing of Vanguard as an employer and have direct impact on the the talent pipeline with respect to quality  and quantity of candidate.

What is your recruiting background?  
My entire professional career has been in the Talent Acquisition space. I started as an HR Generalist and within 2 – 3 years found myself specializing in recruiting because that’s what I was most passionate about. As my career evolved, I became even more specialized in the area of college recruiting. I’ve been recruiting for Vanguard for more than 15 years, but I have almost 25 years of experience in Human Resources overall.

What trends are you seeing in the job market for MBAs or Specialized Masters?
I’d say the biggest trend is more MBA job opportunities, which means more competition for Vanguard and any employer in the MBA recruiting space. I also see a shift in preferred industries. At one time finance and investment management was in high demand, but I see more students drawn to consulting, tech and healthcare.

Another trend is the impact social media has on the job search and an employer’s ability to be successful in branding their organization. Students are more savvy than ever and have high expectations of employers. They are active in social networks and are very transparent and forthcoming with information. Employers need to be active and informed about the conversation, and they need to evaluate their recruiting practices to align better with expectations of top talent.

How do your own observations correlate with the results from our Fall 2015 Recruiting Trends Survey?  
Some of the key highlights that I noted after reviewing the survey and, therefore, shared with my team are as follows:

  • Overall improvement in the job market. Full-time job postings and on-campus recruiting continues in an upward trend across all programs, regardless of a school’s ranking.  This is a testament to the improving job market and tough competition felt when recruiting.
  • Consulting and Technology industries are in top demand.
  • Some students are focusing their job search on less traditional companies, such as start-ups and smaller firms.
  • There is an increase in virtual events for existing students.  This is a trend that Vanguard has adopted, and it allows us to reach schools we would otherwise not reach.
  • Employers are moving away from traditional company presentations and focusing on case competitions and other ways of engaging with students.  As a recruiting team, we will need to think more creatively about how we engage with students to drive interest to Vanguard opportunities.

Were there any surprises in the survey results? If so, what?
No major surprises.  If anything, the research validated some of what we were already feeling/experiencing.

I was a bit intrigued by the increase in full time opportunities for part-time MBA students. I think organizations are starting to adapt by loosening their expectations and being more inclusive of part-time MBA students. At one time, employers could exclusively recruit traditional full-time MBA students, but now there needs to be more flexibility. More and more organizations are willing to consider part-time MBA students, and more part-time MBA students are willing to consider a job change. Bottom line…there is lots of movement and opportunity ahead, and I think the trend will only continue.  This will make recruiting MBA students an ongoing challenge, but a great opportunity for all.

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