Positive employment outlook for Iowa State MBA graduates


Students network with employment recruiters during the College of Business Career Fair. Photo by Iowa State University College of Business

AMES, Iowa – It is a busy time on campus with career fairs and employment recruiters meeting with students preparing to graduate this spring from Iowa State University. And with graduation still months away, the majority of students in the MBA program have already received their first job offer.

“What we’re seeing is really consistent hiring here at Iowa State. Our numbers are actually up a little bit compared to where they were a year ago,” said Mark Peterson, director of Graduate Career Services for the College of Business.

Recruitment numbers at Iowa State are right on track with reports from MBA programs across the country. According to a recruiting trends survey from the MBA Career Services Council, 76 percent of schools report steady growth in the job market. The survey looked at employment recruitment for 76 MBA programs in the U.S. and Canada, all ranked in the top 100.  

Peterson, who also serves as president of the council conducting this survey, said while the overall growth is positive, the pace has slowed when compared to past years. This does not mean companies are putting the brakes on hiring. Peterson explained that businesses are simply returning to a more normal growth rate following the recession.

“In 2010 and 2011, we saw really big increases in MBA recruiting just because the economy evened out and companies started hiring again after two or three years of layoffs and downsizing,” Peterson said. “Now they’ve got their MBA seats filled to a higher capacity and they do not have to hire in as big of numbers.”

A look at the numbers

Of the MBA students who will graduate this spring, Peterson said 85 percent intend to find full-time employment. The remaining 15 percent are not actively seeking work because they plan to continue their education, start a company or for personal reasons. Of those job seekers at Iowa State:

  • 65 percent have received at least one job offer
  • 52 percent have already accepted a full-time position
  • 67 percent of those offers are in manufacturing
  • John Deere and General Mills make up the majority of those manufacturing offers

The percentage of students receiving and accepting internship offers are nearly the same as full-time employment offers. Peterson said the numbers show the value of an MBA degree.

Help finding a job

In a competitive job market, MBA schools are using social media and other tools to help graduates find a job. Peterson said the College of Business provides students with access to web-based programs in which they can search job market data and develop networking tools.

MBA students are also required to take a career course to practice and improve their interviewing and negotiating skills. Peterson said there is a definite benefit for students in terms of salaries and job offers.

“We’ve seen a good jump in the percentage of students who report they’ve accepted a job by graduation and within three months of graduation, which are two big benchmarks on the career side of the MBA program. Those two numbers have gone up tremendously since starting this course,” Peterson said.

Based on the mid-year employment numbers, Peterson is optimistic that this class of MBA graduates will all find full-time jobs. U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa State third on its list of schools with high job placement rates for students.