It’s been reported that consulting firms are approaching hiring MBA graduates more cautiously this year, and some are even pushing back start dates due to economic concerns.

In May, surveyed 1,000 full-time MBA students who are graduating this spring to learn how they are faring in the current economy. We found that the vast majority will be leaving their program without having secured a full-time job.

Key findings:

  • 68% of graduating full-time MBA students say they don’t have a full-time job lined up
  • 28% of MBA students who found a full-time job won’t start until 2024
  • MBA students with ChatGPT experience are more likely to have secured a full-time job
  • 81% of MBA students say they applied to jobs that prefer ChatGPT experience

Two-Thirds of MBA Students Graduating Spring 2023 Don’t Have a Job Lined Up

Overall, 68% of respondents say they don’t have a full-time job lined up for after graduation. Women graduating from MBA programs are more likely than men to say they don’t have a full-time job yet (73% vs. 63%).

When it comes to the type of program completed, online MBA students seemed to have fared the best in terms of employment outcomes. Of online students, 57% say they do have a full-time job after graduation. Only 24% of hybrid students and 28% of in-person students say the same.

“In recent times, the recruitment of MBA grads at our company has indeed slowed down. We are in the finance industry, and the challenging economic climate and uncertain business landscape have led to a cautious approach in hiring practices. It is understandable that during tough times, companies such as ours may be more hesitant to invest in expensive MBA candidates which typically command high starting salaries, often in the range of $200k,” says Paw Vej, COO of

“As a result, we have adjusted our hiring strategy and are currently hiring fewer MBAs compared to previous years. While we recognize the value that MBAs bring to an organization, we currently cannot afford to onboard new ones, specially fresh graduates, and instead rely on our current line up of employees, most of which were hired pre-pandemic. This is a reflection of the overall market dynamics and the need to manage costs and resources effectively in our company,” continues Vej.

Bonnie Whitfield, human resources director of Family Destinations Guide, has a similar take.

“Recruitment for MBA students and graduates has slowed down recently at our company,”  Whitfield says.

“The main reason for this is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel industry. With travel restrictions and a decrease in tourism, our company has experienced a decline in demand for our services, leading to a reduction in hiring needs across various positions, including MBA roles. However, we remain optimistic about the future and are actively monitoring the situation to adapt our recruitment strategies as the industry recovers.”

3 in 10 With a Full-Time Job Won’t Start Until 2024

Nearly 3 in 10 students (28%) who have a job lined up won’t start until 2024.

Forty-four percent have a start date in May-August 2023, 28% in September-December 2023, 17% January-April 2024, 6% May-August 2024, and 4% September-August 2024. Another half of a percent say that they will start in 2025 or later.

Of the students who have a full-time job lined up, the majority will earn over $100k. Only 14% will earn less than $100k, while 42% will earn $101k-$150k, 32% $151k – $200k, and 11% more than $200k.

The majority say they also received a signing bonus (63%), starting bonus (58%), and/or moving stipend (62%).

Eighty-three percent of students say they took out student loans to pay for their MBA program.

“The MBAs we recently hired will not start immediately after graduation but rather in 2024 or later. This is because we have a structured onboarding and training program for new hires, which requires some lead time to prepare and ensure a smooth transition into their roles. Additionally, by starting in 2024, we can align their arrival with our projected business needs and provide them with the necessary resources and support to thrive in their positions,” says Whitfield.

MBA Grads With ChatGPT Experience More Likely to Have Landed a Job

The majority of respondents say they have ChatGPT experience. Overall, 29% say they are ‘extremely experienced,’ 31% ‘very experienced,’ and 26% ‘somewhat experienced’ with the AI tool. Only 10% say they are ‘not very experienced,’ and 4% have no experience.

According to the results of this survey, those who have ChatGPT experience are more likely to have a full-time job lined up. Perhaps this is because so many employers are looking for candidates with ChatGPT experience.

Eighty-two percent of graduating MBA students say they’ve applied for jobs where ChatGPT experience is preferred and 78% where ChatGPT is required.

“Many companies are being cautious about hiring, given layoffs in media and technology which then impact other sectors such as advertising and real estate. When they are hiring, they are looking for candidates who demonstrate flexibility and lifelong learning habits, and who can bring new ideas into the organization,” says Professor of Strategic Communication at Ithaca College and Principal of Gayeski Analytics Diane Gayeski, Ph.D.

“It’s always been true that companies prefer to hire candidates who show the initiative to develop expertise in new technologies and practices. Students who have developed skills in using ChatGPT and other AI tools most likely have done that learning on top of their regular coursework, since these are not yet infused into most university curricula.”


All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish on May 12, 2023. In total, 1000 graduating full-time MBA students were surveyed using a convenience sampling method.

Appropriate respondents were found through demographic criteria and screening questions.

For more information contact [email protected].

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