Analyzing On-Campus Recruiting Trends — Insights in MBA Recruiting Trends from GradLeaders’ Data Expert, Dave Hoy

This is a topic that GradLeaders has discussed with several long-time partner schools — the apparent trend away from traditional on-campus recruiting efforts. While it is undeniable that a few of the major MBA employers have gone away from OCR, let’s take a look at what the data can tell us.

To produce the charts below, we used a control group of 12 schools that have been on the GradLeaders platform for at least 5 years. The control group is a blend of schools geographically scattered across the map with some diversity in the business school rankings. 

In the chart below, the blue bars show the number of student applications for on-campus interviews by semester. Starting in 2015-2016, the applications increase every year, until the noticeable drop-off in the recently concluded 2018-2019. The green bars indicate of the number of actual on-campus interviews in the same time frames. That decrease actually began a year earlier in 2017-2018, and the 2018-2019 levels have dipped below the 2015-2016 levels. 


On-Campus Interview Activity

Next, we examine the data for on-campus company events. The following charts clearly show that on-campus events for employers are actually slightly increasing. Using the same control group of 12 schools, the blue line chart shows a slow but steady increase in the number of company events being conducted on-campus each year, especially in the fall semester (Q3 and Q4). As you would anticipate, the green line chart shows a corresponding slight up-tick in student attendance at these events. 


Total Number of Company Events


Total Student Attendance at Company Events


The slight increase in company event activity year-over-year would indicate that employers’ appetite to recruit MBA and MS students is still strong, and they recognize the need to come to campus to make personal contact with candidates. We know that employers are interviewing and hiring students. However, the dip in actual on-campus interviews gives us some questions to consider. 

  • Are employers taking advantage of technology to do more virtual/remote interviews? 
  • Do employers feel forced off-campus due to unavailability of dates/facilities on-campus?
  • Do employers feel constrained by something in the schools’ on-campus processes?  

The data cannot answer the “why?,” but some conversations with employers will help us find the answer.  GradLeaders will analyze this data again in January and report on the trends.




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