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Employer brand

With e-Commerce on the Rise, MBAs Are in High Demand

Clare Hopping

Christopher Bowns/flickr Christopher Bowns/flickr

With the recent growth of e-commerce, MBA degrees have only become more valuable to companies across a variety of sectors.

When it comes to finding soon-to-be MBA graduates with plenty of experience, the top business schools are the first place tech companies look for new hires.

Amazon is no exception to this rule. According to Business Because, the online retailer was the third largest employer of MBAs from the London Business School in 2014. But Amazon didn’t stop its MBA hiring spree there: the Ross School of Business in Michigan gave twice as many MBA graduates to Amazon in 2014 as it did in 2013, with 27 going to work for the company last year.

The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, saw 43% of its MBA class join the tech industry, with Amazon again one of the primary recruiters on campus.

Jobs in the tech sector are becoming almost as popular as those in the financial industry, at least for MBA graduates. Harvard Business School has seen the percentage of graduates going into financial services drop from 43% to 27% in the last eight years, while tech hires doubled to 18% during the same period.

While this shift is somewhat sudden, it’s hardly surprising. Well-known tech companies such as Snapchat, Google, Uber, and Apple Pay realise that there must back up their technological services with business acumen. One bad deal or fumbled negotiation, and it no longer matters how your technology stacks up against the competition’s.

Non-Tech Tech Jobs

Most companies in the technology sector are looking for MBA-qualified personnel to fill non-technical positions in the fields of sales and marketing, business strategy, and product management. But the link between technological understanding and business savvy is highly valuable, no matter what the job description says.

“The combination of understanding the technology and developing a strong business skill set is a powerful asset for an organisation,” says Sue Kline, senior director of the career development office at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Market Implications

Deb Findlay, Saïd Business School’s recruitment lead for diversified industry, argues that “e-commerce companies often look for people who are highly analytical, commercially savvy, and who are able to make strategic decisions from large volumes of data – attributes common to many MBAs.”

What does this mean for the business world? What about for the tech sector as a whole?

For one thing, it means that schools offering MBAs will start seeing a lot more applications flood in, as their degrees have become much more valuable. But it also means that companies might need to boost their budgets if they really want to see young business-savvy talent in their offices.

MBA graduates are acutely aware of their market value, and while the cream of the crop has always maintained high asking prices, these days, even lower-quality candidates won’t come much cheaper.

Hiring Talent

Many large firms and companies get their talent directly from university campuses. A physical presence at campus recruitment drives allows recruiters to get facetime with many of the most talented and motivated students in the country.

But if you’re a smaller company, how can you get this kind of access without a campus presence, and how do you get ahold of the more experienced MBA talent? Scouring your network for good candidates involves exploring many different avenues, but today it is increasingly done online.

LinkedIn, the AMBA CV database, and a plethora of job listings and boards are just three of the tools commonly used in online talent hunting.

But what can you do to distinguish your company from the thousands of others looking to recruit the best and brightest?

Building an Attractive Employer Image

Building an appealing employer brand takes time, but a lot of it depends on the image your company is conveying to the world at this very moment. Nowadays, a great web page and specific job landing pages are more or less taken for granted.

The next step is to create brand videos that give candidates an inside look at your company and even the specific position they’re looking to fill. This strategy gives your recruitment efforts a creative and informative bit of flare that will set your organisation apart from the rest.

Video is a highly effective method of conveying your company’s messages, and can even be used to support text-based job posts. It’s impossible to convey some messages through text alone, and if done correctly, an employer video won’t just make a job offer – it’ll make a lifestyle offer.

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.