Despite an employment environment that remains stubborn, new MBA grads are growing more confident about the economy, according to a new survey released by GMAC this week. Somewhat surprisingly, this increase in optimism actually comes despite a drop in the percentage of grads who have jobs compared to last year.
According to the latest GMAC Graduate Management Education Graduate Survey, the percentage of full-time two-year MBA program grads who had an offer of employment prior to finishing school dropped to 40% this year, down from 50% in 2009. The numbers are even worse for part-time MBAs: 22% of part-time grads had a job offer before graduation, down from 38% in 2009.
Despite these gloomy numbers, about one-third of grads who said they felt the global economy is stable or strong, up from just 9% a year ago. So, what gives? How could optimism bounce back while the job picture actually gets worse by some measures?
GMAC’s news release was mostly mum on this matter, although it may simply be a matter of “bad news fatigue,” and our tendency to doubt that things can stay this bad for that long. Hardly any MBA grads (other than perhaps a handful of older part-time MBAs) are old enough to remember the last time the U.S. or global economy last went through an extended rough patch, in the late 1970s. So, for most of these grads, two years into a recession, one can’t help but ask, “This thing has to be over soon, doesn’t it?”
That’s just one theory. It could also be that they’re going on more than just faith. They may notice that more companies are returning to campuses to interact with students, even if the job offers aren’t yet flowing more yet. GMAC echoed this idea in its announcement, mentioning that the increased optimism among graduates mirrors the trend highlighted in the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey, which found that employers are finally shifting their attention back to expanding their businesses.
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