MBAs and data analysts to be in great demand in 2018: GMAC


Around 52 per cent companies plan to increase the starting base salaries for MBAs this year.

Nine in 10 companies in Asia Pacific plan to hire MBAs in 2018 and this includes India. Companies in Asia Pacific are more interested to hire MBAs, as compared to other parts of the world.

In the US, only 85 per cent plan to hire MBAs in 2018. The figure is 81 per cent for Latin American companies, while the number is even smaller — 64 per cent—for European companies.

However, overall, there is a positive outlook towards MBAs as more companies plan to hire MBAs than last year. In 2017, 82 per cent of the companies in Asia Pacific hired management graduates. The corresponding figure for the US, Latin America and Europe was 77 per cent, 63 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively.

The predictions are part of the GMAC 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the owner of GMAT exam. GMAC conducted this survey in consultation with associates from EFMD, MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA) between February 8 and March 17, 2018. A total of 1,066 employers located in 42 countries worldwide responded to the survey.

Data Analysts

This spurt in demand for MBAs has come from larger companies, which includes Fortune 100, Fortune 500, and publicly-traded companies. Globally, nine out of 10 large companies plan to hire MBAs in 2018.

However, startups will also have a major contribution to the growth. In 2017, only 55 per cent of startups hired MBAs, but the projected figure for 2018 is 77 per cent.

MBA hiring demand is strongest among companies in the health care, technology, and energy/utilities industries.

What could lift the spirits of fresh MBAs is that globally 52 per cent companies plan to increase the starting base salaries of MBAs this year. In Asia Pacific, 32 per cent companies plan to raise the starting base salaries, while 36 plan to offer signing bonus to fresh MBA recruits.

Asia-Pacific companies will offer a median starting base salary of US$35,000 to MBA hires and the media joining bonus is $3500.

The study also reveals that larger companies are more likely to place new MBA hires into generalist roles, while startups place them in strategic roles and specialist roles. This goes on to say that MBAs will have a better learning curve at startups vis-à-vis large companies.


Globally, there is also a huge spurt in demand for data analytics roles. Overall, 52 per cent of responding companies plan to hire masters of data analytics in 2018, compared with 35 per cent that hired them in 2017.

Hiring demand is strongest among Asia-Pacific employers—62 per cent plan to hire those with a master’s in data analytics in 2018. Hiring demand for fresh MDAs (master of data analytics) is strongest among employers in the technology (70 per cent), health care (61 per cent), manufacturing (55 per cent), and consulting (54 per cent) industries.

While MBAs and data analysts will see a spurt in demand, the picture for students pursuing finance and accounting isn’t that bright, especially in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.

Only 37 per cent of APAC companies plan to hire fresh Masters of Accounting (MAccs),
in 2018, while the actual hiring in 2017 was 33 per cent. So, there is a slight increase. For those with a master’s in finance, the hiring outlook is stable at 46 per cent.

The companies that are likely to hire accounting and finance graduates are from the finance and manufacturing sectors.


Most companies which participated in the survey report that they have increased their budget for employee education and talent development compared with five years ago. Most US companies (61 per cent) offer educational assistance for employee education and talent development. Of those companies, 66 percent report that they have increased the amount budgeted per employee compared with five years ago.

Fewer than half of Asia Pacific (43 per cent), European (44 per cent), and Latin American (46 per cent) companies offer education assistance, but the majority have increased their budget compared with five years ago.

Internships continue to be an avenue to jobs for many business school graduates. MBA internships are most prevalent in Asia Pacific and the US, where 65 per cent and 62 per cent of employers plan to offer them, respectively.

Overall, more than seven in 10 responding companies plan to hire talent from a variety of other business master’s programmes. There is considerable regional variation. For example, most European (54 per cent) and Latin American (51 per cent) employers plan to hire fresh postgraduates in economics, in 2018. Among Asia-Pacific employers, nearly half plan to hire those who have a master’s in marketing, in 2018 (47 per cent). Among employers in the US, the other business master’s programmes most sought after in their 2018 hiring plans are those in information technology/systems (31 per cent) and supply chain management (25 per cent).

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