In the current global economic climate, students earning degrees in business, even those finishing an MBA, are not guaranteed to land a job once they graduate. Business schools are expected to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their careers; however, securing a position can be a major endeavor in itself. Although universities and business schools also have felt the pain of the financial crisis through budget cuts, many have chosen to invest, or continue to invest, in their career services centers, believing that now career support for students and alumni is particularly valuable.
A recent article from eFinancialCareers indicates that while some schools have reduced the budgets of their career services, more are maintaining or expanding their career services for MBA students, realizing that, “students really need it now more than ever.”[i] For example, Harvard Business School reportedly increased its careers budget by 30% starting in the fall of 2008. Stanford University Graduate School of Business took a different approach by leveraging a new network of alumni external career advisors.
I conducted some research on career services for a previous project, and was somewhat surprised to learn just how popular they are as a resource for students. Schools are recognizing this. For example, according to GMAC's 2011 Global Management Education Graduate Survey, the percentage of MBA graduates' use of the school’s career services center jumped from 51% to 66% from 2010 to 2011.[ii] Across universities, career services centers are also finding more innovative ways to offer students assistance in their job searches with, for instance, the use of social media. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2010–2011 Career Services Benchmark Survey for Four-Year Colleges and Universities, more than 70% have a fan Facebook page (compared to 59% the year prior); 36% have a Twitter presence; and 68% offer online counseling.[iii]
AACSB data also suggests that having a career service center is a growing trend in the past five years among AACSB accredited institutions. In 2010, 48.6% of AACSB-accredited institutions reported having a graduate business career services center, which is up from 32.7% in 2005. In 2010, 42.6% of U.S.-based institutions reported having a career services center, while 83.3% of schools in other world regions reported having a career services center.
[i] Sharon Oster, Dean of Yale School of Management in “MBA Career Services Resist Tide of Budget Cuts,” eFinancialCareers, http://news.efinancialcareers.com/News_ITEM/newsItemId-24582 , accessed May, 10 2011.
[ii] GMAC 2011 Global Management Education Graduate Survey, http://www.gmac.com/gmac/researchandtrends/surveyreports/globalgraduatesurvey/
[iii]2010-2011 Career Services Benchmark Survey for Four-Year Colleges and Universities, NACE Research Brief, http://www.naceweb.org/Research.aspx?fid=64&menuID=120&ispub=False&nodetype=7&navurl=.