Why its not just consulting firms who want to hire MBA graduates in 2018
As the director of Melbourne Business School's Career Management Centre, John Gurskey's job is to know what employers want.
Every day, John and his team help students sharpen their career skills by exposing them to the real-world challenges faced by companies and how their degree can help.
John says one of the biggest misconceptions he sees is from students who are convinced they know which organisations are looking for MBA graduates.
"It's always consulting firms rather than corporates, they say. While that's partly true, it's nowhere near an accurate picture of the job market in 2018," John says.
"Companies across all business sectors need people with a holistic business mindset rather than expertise in a single field, which is where our MBAs can make a difference."
Retail in Australia is just one example of an industry facing disruption this year, as local companies face huge challenges trying to compete with multinationals such as Amazon.
"Australian businesses need people to lead them through increasingly complex and evolving business models and constantly changing customer expectations," John says.
"They want someone who can come in and very quickly look at product lines which could be worth a billion dollars, and know how to better position those lines and products.
“That’s exactly what our MBAs can do, which is why certain companies like Vanguard, BHP, Intel, Australia Post, Telstra and AB InBev recruit through Melbourne Business School."
The limitations of specialising
While specialists in a single field can be good employees, they can’t become great employees – who can make optimal decisions that move initiatives forward – until they understand how supply chain, finance, strategy, marketing and data analysis all fit together.
"Our graduates are people with the confidence to go into a market and launch products simultaneously into its separate segments," John says.
He also says the distinction between areas of specialist expertise are blurring.
"Major disruption and innovation is going on in most industries, and it’s transforming these organisations into a hybrid of what they started as and need to be, which is a Google of sorts focused on customer experience and adaptation of technology.
"Someone with a holistic business background is now very attractive to these evolving organisations. They’re employing MBAs who understand the customer experience around technology and with the knowhow to change the customer experience to meet customers where they’re at and not where the organisation thinks they should be."
Understanding the challenge
By the time they graduate, our MBA students know companies are looking for new leaders who can help them change. They also understand customers are now more loyal to technology than established brands.
"Australians will now switch banks just to keep their operating system, because they’re more tied to their Android or iPhone than the institution. In 2018, it’s important for businesses to consider how they’re going to operate to retain let alone grow demand," John says.
That change in customer attitude is something John tries to drive home for every student, because it affects every industry.
"Business is becoming more complex, technology is disrupting business to its core and customers’ expectations are ever-changing," says John.
"Through case method, group work and working alongside business leaders during their MBA, our students are forced to think about how to make a business decision that works in even the most complex of markets."
Learn more about our Career Management Centre here