Job Prospects Improve For New Business Grads

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If you’re a new business school graduate pounding the pavement for a job, it appears you are in better luck than last year's class.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2011 Global Education Graduate Survey out this month finds 54 percent of all graduate business students looking for employment received at least one job offer. That is versus 32 percent last year. The survey was conducted between mid-February and mid-March.

No doubt it is encouraging news.

But, the survey neglected to ask how many of those students accepted an offer.

Karen Roth believes it is a key data point that was missed.

She is the president and founder of The Hunter Search Group. Her firm recruits for some of Wall Street's top financial institutions and hedge funds.

Roth has found that a portion of students accepted offers early this year out of fear and panic. She said they are now regretting their decisions.

"The students realized they missed out on other opportunities that would have been a better fit had they waited," said Roth. "But, they were too fearful to 'hold out' the way students had in the past."

According to Roth, the job market has been steadily picking up over the past several months.

Professional staffing firm Ajilon Worldwide also helps new business school graduates find positions.

Ajilon Managing Director Jennifer Becker said the GMAC study helps validate that the economy is bouncing back. But, there have been changes in the way companies are recruiting. They are not just relying on the university name on the resumes anymore.

"MBAs with work experience have a greater perspective than MBAs who joined the workforce straight from undergrad. New grads should have realistic expectations - the perception that they will graduate miraculously with increased earning potential probably isn't very realistic," said Becker.

She adds companies have strict parameters and are less flexible now than before the recession. The perception is that there is more qualified talent available.

Becker said, "Many times an MBA isn't just a 'nice to have,' it's a 'need to have'."

The occupational hazard of receiving an MBA degree is still the cost.

MBA programs at top schools can cost more than $100,000 a year. reports 98 percent of MBA students borrow money to finance their degree. On average, they owe nearly $35,000 when they graduate.

Stephanie is Squawk Box producer. Follow her on twitter @StephLandsman


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