Post MBA Jobs UK: Consulting Beats Finance, IT Emerging & the Crucial Role of Career Services in Top MBA Programs

The United Kingdom offers an extremely attractive market for MBA students. Some of the best Business Schools like London Business School, Cambridge's Judge Business School and Oxford's Said Business School are located here. London is the world's #2 largest financial hub and is a premier shipping and trade hub. UK has a strong Software and IT services market, which is worth £58 billion each year that include over 100,000+ software companies.

Although Visa restrictions have come into place for low-end contributors and graduates from 2nd tier B-Schools, international students planning to join premier MBA institutions can look forward to several benefits. Aston Business School for instance saw its MBA’s salary leap a massive 85% over the pre-MBA earnings. UK also lives up to its reputation as a global hub. London Business School's MBA class of 2011 had 89% International students. On completing the course, students were employed across 64 cities in 30+ countries. An MBA is also a stepping-stone to find employment in the UK itself. Among Cranfield's class of 2011, just 30% of the class relocated to Europe (Including Eastern Europe) for Post-MBA jobs, but 65% of the class found employment in the UK.

Here's a close look at the post-MBA job trends in some of the major sectors in UK:


Consulting is now officially the #1 recruiting sector for MBAs in the UK. Finance once ruled the roost, but the economic downturn followed by the Euro Crisis has seen consulting push finance from the top spot. Take the case of London Business School, located just beside the financial district, with a host of alumni in leading positions among the financial majors in London. 2011 saw 36% of the outgoing batch placed in Consulting, with 34% going for Finance. While the difference may not seem much, this has been a historic turn around, the only time in the last seven years that it has happened. In fact, in 2005, Consulting had just 25%, proving just how much this sector has progressed.

This trend has been reflected at other schools, with Consulting leading at Cambridge's Judge Business School (28%), Cranfield University's School of Management (24%), and Imperial College Business School (28%). Only Oxford's Said Business School's latest recruitment data shows Finance (34%) beat Consulting (31%), but that is likely because the data is from 2010.

Earnings in the consulting sector are also impressive. LBS saw an average salary of £73,860, which compares well with the Finance sector's average of £73,739. Judge had an average total package of £88,256, with the highest salary among all UK colleges at an astonishing £137,294.

Well known Consulting Companies that recruiter in the UK include McKinsey, BCG, Accenture, Bain & Co, Accenture, IBM Consulting, A.T. Kearney, Accenture, Deloitte and E&Y.


Finance has always been a major recruiting sector, especially for the London colleges. Being one of the world's most important financial hubs, London offers diverse job opportunities and immense career growth potential. While the American sub-prime and the Eurozone crises have hit the sector, MBA graduates continue to be employed in Finance sector at a healthy rate.

At LBS, the past seven years saw a recruitment share of 42%, 42%, 46%, 44%, 36%, 38% and 34%. Although a downward trend is visible, 34% is still a strong number, second only to Consulting by just 2%. The average base salary was £73,739 and the highest salary was a very impressive £122,032, higher than Consulting's highest at LBS - £109,261.

The major financial sectors were Investment Banking (14%), Private Equity/Venture Capital (7%), Asset Management/Hedge Funds (6%) and Banking (4%). This goes to show that the sectors that were hit by the crises are on the path to recovery.

At other top UK B-schools, the Finance Sector's recruitment share was: Imperial (15%), Judge (22%), and Cranfield (14%), with Judge having an average salary package of £92,006. One interesting trend about the financial sector is that it usually does not witness too many industry switchers. At Cranfield, 14% of the class were employed in the financial sector while the class profile had 14% Pre-MBA Finance background.

Well-known recruiters in the financial sector include Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Citi, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Wealth, Standard Chartered Bank, Santander, HSBC and J.P. Morgan.


Beyond the Software & IT services market, which is worth £58 billion each year, the UK has among the most lucrative ICT markets in the EU, with an overall spend of £140 billion. This is why the IT sector is the next big thing and is expected to follow the growth path that consulting has shown. While the impression is that the industry is still finding its feet as far as MBA hiring volumes go, the facts tell a different story. At Cranfield, the technology sector saw 18% of the class joining it, taking over the #2 spot from Finance which had 14%. At Imperial, the technology sector's employment is 13%,narrowly in 2nd place behind Finance's 15%.

According to payscale.com, a Project Manager in the IT field earns an average of £45,179, a figure that can be expected to go up when the MBA is from a top school. One interesting trend is that most students with a pre-MBA background in Technology tend to shift to other sectors. While 42% of the students had an IT background before joining the course, just 18% was employed in this field. This is probably because these professionals were looking to shift to a non-tech sector, and sectors like Consulting offered better pay packages.

Amazon, Bloomberg, Google, IBM, iDiscoveri, Intel and Microsoft are some of the top tech firms that recruit from the UK.


Industrial revolution started in the UK, and it is now the location for numerous world class manufacturing companies. While this sector is not as popular in the new economy as it once was, the recruiting trend varies depending on the school. Said Business School had 9% and Imperial College 4% joining the Engineering/Manufacturing/Industrial sector. At the same time, Cranfield's class of 2011 saw 29% of its class join the same sector. The apparent reason is that Said and Imperial are located in London, not known for its manufacturing prowess. One intriguing fact is that Cranfield's class of 2011 had just 19% with a pre-MBA background in the Engineering/Manufacturing sector.

In the increasingly globalized world, every industrial firm has to treat the world as its marketplace. MBAs offer international expertise and cross cultural perspective. They also are adept at handling complex multi-national distribution networks and supply chains, making them an easy fit with the world's best industrial and manufacturing firms.

The top manufacturers that recruit in the UK include BP, Jaguar Land Rover, Saint Goblin, Rolls Royce and BAE systems.

Career Services offered by the Best UK Business Schools

A large part of the value offered by Business Schools is related to Career Services. The purpose of this team is to ensure that MBA Students present their best to hiring companies.  The Career Service has developed processes that add facets to a student’s personality and smoothens out any rough edges that may exist. It starts from the time a student joins the B-school with counseling sessions that help a student discover his or her goals, talent and aptitude. It assists students in choosing the right subjects, clubs and activities to enhance their desired career path.

Many schools offer a personal career coach for each student. This may include having a professional career consultant visit the campus. Most schools have a mentor, assigned to each student, who could be a faculty member, or even an alumnus. As the recruitment program nears its climax, schools evaluate resumes, hold career workshops, conduct individual and group coaching sessions, teach negotiation strategies and make use of alumni's expertise to prepare students for interviews with similar companies.

Business Schools typically have a dedicated Career Center. Most of the coaching occurs on their premises. They are also involved in bringing the best companies onto campus for the final recruitment process each year. They even bring in the companies for summer internships. Career Centers help co-ordinate a gamut of other activities like global treks, industry visits, live projects and other experiential learning elements for real-world experience. The most important task is to facilitate networking between students and industry leaders, for which it hosts many networking events that include career fairs. Another important function is to give students as much exposure to different sectors and job functions so that students may make an informed decision regarding their future career path.

Cranfield School of Management's Career Development Service is known for its Leadership Assessment & Development Centre and a variety of bespoke career services. Cass Business School has a diagnostic approach to career development where students first submit a professional resume, after which the Cass Career Service team suggests a holistic list of development activities with a choice of electives, networking programs and clubs. The Imperial Career and Professional Development Service has a different approach. It takes a five-step process - Understanding oneself, Understanding the function & the market, Analyzing opportunities, Marketing oneself and Choosing among offers. At Judge Business School, the focus is on employability skills like 'Presentation Skills', 'Strategic Networking' and 'Salary Negotiation'. Its MBA Career Services also co-ordinates with industry-specific special interest Groups to identify conferences, speakers, industry visits and alumni interaction to facilitate careers in that sector. London Business School addresses career development with the Leadership Launch development program, and offers other services that include creative problem solving classes. Aston Business School has a unique three-way approach to career management that guides students to achieve their career goals.

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