QS World MBA Tour visits Tel Aviv

Emerging markets generate rising demand for MBA graduates.

Prof. Tom Robertson, dean of The Wharton School, reports that “even before the onset of the Great Recession (2008/09), the rise of Asia and the phenomenal growth of the middle class in what are still generally considered developing countries were well under way. It is abundantly clear that the emerging worldwide economy is now vibrant with possibility for Asian businesses.”
The growing importance of emerging markets is well reflected in the QS TopMBA.com Salary & Recruitment Trend Report 2010/11, based on a survey of 2150 companies actively hiring MBAs around the world, from 5007 responding employers the largest ever global employer survey conducted.
Overall the QS TopMBA.com report projects a big jump in MBA demand in 2010 continuing into 2011 across the major MBA hiring sectors. By 2011, MBA consulting demand will be back at record levels and 55 percent above 2009 levels.
Financial services won’t be far behind with a 54% increase. The technology sector will see a jump 47%, while general industry will increase by 38%. (The survey was conducted between April and July 2010.) MBA demand in Western markets is forecast to increase only slightly year on year, and these big jumps in demand are concentrated in emerging markets. The QS TopMBA.
com report highlights that across Asia employers are embracing MBAs as never before.
The really hot MBA market in 2010 is India, which is experiencing an explosion in employer demand for MBAs, especially in consulting and professional services, manufacturing, and IT and computer services. Employers are actively looking to recruit from local business schools such as the IIMs, Indian School of Business and many others, though international employers still have a strong preference to recruit MBA graduates from international business schools.
Demand for MBAs in emerging markets has never been stronger, and not just in Asia. Companies in many emerging economies are embracing MBAs as a route to global competitiveness throughout Central Europe and Latin America, and this trend is also beginning to emerge in the Middle East.
Sandra Schwarzer, director of Career Services at Insead, reports an increase of up to 30% in job opportunities in parts of the Middle East.
She says the biggest increases in job opportunities are in Africa, with a 78% year-on-year increase, and South America, especially Brazil, with a 69% rise.
According to Jose Antonio Cruzado, regional director for QS TopMBA.com in Latin America, “Brazil is experiencing dynamic economic growth and growing demand for MBAs. Brazil is also the engine of Latin America at present, with connected economies, especially Peru, booming from the regional growth in demand. Another factor in the region is China’s quest for raw materials, resulting in a growing demand for Chinese-speaking MBAs across Latin America.”
The surge in employer demand in emerging markets has inevitably brought about a change in behavior of international MBA students.
A few years ago, an international MBA was a route to a new life in the United States, Canada or Western Europe. In 2010, an international MBA is as much about learning international business practices and creating a network that can be a powerful career advantage to exploit the rapid growth of China, Southeast Asia, Latin America and other emerging economies.
According to Mauro Guillen, dean of the Lauder Institute at Wharton, “A higher percentage, perhaps as many as two out of every three international students, are returning to work in their home countries, or in emerging markets, rather than staying in the USA.”
Paul Danos, dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, explains the enduring appeal of top international MBA program: “Demand for MBA graduates by the great businesses of the world keeps increasing. As businesses grow in complexity and scope, companies need more and more skilled and well-educated leaders.”
But perhaps this oversimplifies the picture. Emerging markets are playing catch-up with the West, and many companies recognize that MBAs represent an important pool of management for businesses seeking to grow rapidly.
There is a viral effect as well. As more MBA alumni from top business schools have returned home in recent years, and as they enter the local job markets, they seek to recruit other MBAs, often from their alma mater, once they assume positions that include hiring responsibility.
The next stage of development is likely to be the emergence of some powerhouse business schools within these regions. Asia is perhaps ahead of other emerging markets in this respect. CEIBS, NUS, NTU, HKUST and others all feature well in the QS Global 200 B-Schools, based on employer hiring intentions.
These schools are touring North America and Europe with the QS World MBA Tour in 2010 as they seek to attract Western candidates to meet the ever-increasing demands of local employers.
Australian business schools also are benefiting from this trend as many Asian candidates and employers have traditionally targeted these schools.

Nunzio Quacquarelli is editor in chief of the QS Top MBA Career Guide and managing director of QS Ltd.