New MBA Career Services president hopeful for job prospects

Alexander Furman

Newly elected president of the Master of Business Administration Career Services Council, Mark Peterson, spoke last week on the forecast of MBA student recruitment at Iowa State.

According to Peterson, Cyclones should be optimistic. He stated that in the last three years, the economic downturn has slowed MBA employment, but recruiting by industry has increased in each of the last three years. And that’s not going to change this year.

According to U.S News and World Report, Iowa State’s MBA program had 96.7 percent of its 2011 graduates report employment within three months after graduation, ranking the university third for a second straight year on their list of schools with the highest job placement rates for full-time MBA graduates. In comparison with the other 135 business schools that reported, 57.7 percent of graduates reported occupation within the same three months.

Peterson said this high rate of success by ISU grads can be attributed to a strong focus on technology and business ethics.

“We tend to attract here a pretty high percentage of students who have technical backgrounds, more than most others in the region or anywhere,” he said. “The MBA’s an ideal fit for those candidates, and our companies [employers] see that. Our graduates come in with the technical knowledge to do some specific thing, but then they have the strategic thought and problem solving that allows them to work beyond that technical area they’ve been trained in previously.”

Peterson ended his news statement with a word of caution. He stated that although MBA programs are adjusting well to future demands, they need to keep an eye on the increasingly global marketplace as well. To help encourage students to have a better international perspective, the MBA program has put in efforts every year to coordinate a trip to a different country. Last spring, MBA students traveled to China.

“It’s always been that a certain portion of the international MBA students who came to the U.S. wanted to stay here and work after graduation, and the majority still do. But increasingly every year, many are saying, ‘When I graduate, I want to go back to my country and work,'” Peterson said.

“You know salaries are coming up in many of the Asian countries, and in some countries, they aren’t too different from what many of the MBA employers pay here in the U.S,” he said. “We have been working hard here to add global elements to our curriculum.”