Banks seek to woo MBA graduates with more than money

Competing for talent against tech firms requires a new approach

Banks seek to woo MBA grads

Traditional employers such as investment banks are seeking to woo MBA graduates by emphasising the intangible assets they offer alongside a good remuneration package, such as quality of life and opportunities. Big salaries and great pension plans are no longer enough to lure top talent, when competing against tech firms such as Amazon and Google. 

“Most organisations are still operating along the old paradigm of offering people tangible assets – salary or pension – as the key factors to attract and retain talent. But people’s expectations have changed,” says Adam Kingl, Director of Learning Solutions at London Business School (LBS). “Today’s employees want purpose, meaning and development – and they want all that now and continually, not as a reward after 10 years of service.” 

In 2009 finance was the most popular career choice among all MBA graduates, but it had lost its top spot by 2016 to consulting jobs and marketing roles, according to data compiled by the Graduate Management Admission Council and cited in the Financial Times (FT). 

Investment bank JPMorgan  Chase told the FT that it has changed its pitch to MBA students, stressing the quality of the roles available rather than the generous remuneration package. “If we are spending a lot of time and money to hire these highly talented individuals, we want to make sure that when we get them there is something interesting and challenging for them to do,” said Rob Walke, co-head of campus recruiting. 

At LBS, finance and technology are both popular options, with 93% of the MBA class of 2017 accepting a job offer within three months of graduating. Of those, 41% went into consulting, 26% into finance and 20% into technology. 

Amazon is one of LBS’s biggest recruiters. As Doug Gurr, Amazon’s UK Country Manager, told an LBS audience, “We’re a values-led organisation. Our four guiding principles are customer obsession, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence and long-term thinking. The UK is an amazing location to recruit great talent and LBS is somewhere we find the talent we need.”