The Tuesday Q&A: European Debt Crisis and Post-MBA Jobs

QUESTION:

I’m considering applying to MBA programs in Europe, but I’m a little worried. How has the debt crisis affected job placements in European business schools?

ANSWER:

A valid concern, my friend. And one I am sure maaaany MBA-aspirants are thinking at this very moment. Now, I’m no macroeconomist and I wouldn’t want to make any broad assumptions, but looking at employment statistics of the most recent MBA graduates, the biggest change we see is… well, no change at all.

For the most part…

Of course there are changes. Average salaries of IE students (a program in Spain) went down 23%, as opposed to the previous employment report. However, for graduates of IMD, HEC, IESE (also in Spain), salaries, on average, went up in the single digits. Now, of course, this doesn’t really mean anything statistically significant; it’s just a comparison between two years, and could have more to do with changes in the make-up of the class or the administration of a particular school than anything else.

But what we DO notice is that there is no definite trend. Maybe it is too early, as these are numbers for three years AFTER graduation, and maybe these salary numbers haven’t changed YET. But looking at another stat – that of student employability, for which we have numbers right after graduation – things look good.

Overall, some schools have had drops and others have had increases in the percentage of graduates employed within three months. Again, nothing statistically significant. And nothing we don’t see from year to year. So what it’s looking like is that your chances of getting a good job are pretty much what they were 2, 4, or 10 years ago.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t changes, of course. Certainly there are, but to find trends you will probably have to look at industry specific numbers, and regional or country by country breakdowns of the country in which b-school students DO and DON’T get jobs. (Keep in mind, nobody has numbers for the jobs people aren’t getting, so this is all hypothetical. Also, a lot of work, if you ask me.)

If you really want to know what’s going on in your case, I would say ask around — chat with people in the industry/school/country you are planning to go into. See what they have to say and make a calculated decision based on that.

But remember: by the time you get out, things may have changed already 🙂

That help? I hope so.

— Jon Frank

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