GradDemand for graduate-level management talent has reached a new high, according to the results of a Graduate Management Admission Council study that surveyed corporate recruiters. The job prospects for MBAs in the U.S. are climbing: 84 percent of companies across the country plan to hire recent MBA graduates this year. The majority of employers that responded to the survey also intend on increasing starting salaries for job-seeking graduates of business school.

The clear employer demand for MBAs raises an important question: what makes MBA graduates attractive job candidates?

To determine the answer, MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler’s online MBA degree program, asked 24 top HR executives from a variety of industries to answer the question, “Why does an MBA give candidates an advantage?” Many of the responses highlighted that an MBA reduces risk, thinks like a CEO, is able to connect theoretical models with real world experience, and uses a sharp analytical lens when solving business challenges.

Among the companies that responded were HubSpot, Instart Logic, Navy Federal, Wegmans, and USAA. Here are a few choice quotes from the survey:

“At HubSpot, we give employees significant autonomy to create solutions for our customers and our company. MBAs are incredibly valuable to our team because they drive data-driven decisions to impact change and lead cross-functional projects, all while thinking like founders — and that’s a hybrid skill set we need in spades as we grow and scale globally.”

Katie Burke, Director of Talent and Culture, HubSpot

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“In order to be able to scale a company in innovative ways, one has to fundamentally understand the nature of an organization and be able to tie in all the components of a dynamic environment. An MBA will give a candidate a holistic overview of the business world and put them in a position where they can be a valuable asset to the company.”

Anita Lim, Human Resources Lead, Instart Logic

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“MBA candidates have experienced rigorous academic programs, project work in team environments, internships with industry leaders, and, in many cases, international business experiences. All of these experiences, in and out of the classroom, develop critical-thinking, problem-solving, and team-oriented skills that enhance their overall business acumen and provide advantages in a very competitive job market.”

Tisa Head, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Navy Federal

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“Our primary focus for leadership development is to leverage a leader’s ability to think critically, creatively problem solve, and maximize two-way communication. The MBA degree enhances one’s ability to do so.”

Gerry Pierce, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Wegmans

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“MBA graduates possess a unique advantage in that [they are not only] fluent in the language of business, [but also] they have networked with and had exposure to real business situations and challenges. This — combined with the opportunities to work with fellow students from across industries, experienced faculty [members], and established business leaders — creates a very attractive candidate.”

Mark Reid, Executive Vice President and Human Resources Officer, USAA

To read the full list of responses from companies like Accenture, Disney Parks & Resorts, Opower, and LinkedIn, visit MBA@UNC’s website here.



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