Brexit Effect on MBA Job Prospects “Less Severe” Than Expected

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 12am

The impact of Brexit on MBA job prospects has been, “much less severe,” than expected, according to Sir Andrew Likierman, dean of London Business School (LBS) — but he admitted that, “significant challenges remain.”

“We’ve been very encouraged by the response as far as recruitment is concerned,” he said. “We’ve had 94% employment for full-time MBAs and 95% for the Masters in Management.”

Britain’s impending departure from the European Union (EU) has stoked fears that there will be a mass exodus of jobs, as companies move operations overseas to continue trading freely with the block. However, the comments from Likierman suggest that the impact on MBA job opportunities has been muted, for the time being at least.

Oliver Wyman, the consultancy firm, said in October that London could lose 75,000 jobs in financial services — typically one of the largest employers of business school graduates, while in November EY said as many as 232,000 jobs could be lost in the UK as a whole because of Brexit. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and HSBC have all warned recently that they may move banking jobs abroad.

London Business School dean encouraged by tech expansion

However, Likierman said that he was encouraged that two of the world’s biggest tech firms — Apple and Google — have announced that they are going to increase their presence in London, creating 1,400 and 3,000 more UK jobs, respectively. Amazon has also said it will hire more than 1,000 new employees in the UK, despite Brexit.

Elle Connor, an associate recruiter at Morgan Stanley in London who is responsible for hiring MBAs, said that the bank has no plans to cut back on their MBA job opportunities in the UK because of Brexit. “So far, we have positive views. Headcount remains the same.”

Niels Turfboer, an MBA graduate of IE Business School and UK managing director of fintech business Spotcap, said he was unconcerned by Brexit and that it would not impact his hiring plans. He says that fintech is a, “huge, booming sector where a lot of people find great jobs,” and that he saw, “a lot of talent,” in London. He added: “When we get good candidates from business schools, we definitely hire them.”

Impact of Brexit on visa rules remains a concern

There are still concerns about the impact of Brexit on visa rules. Any further tightening of the visa regime — the Tier 1 (post-study work) visa that allowed graduates to stay in the UK for two years to find jobs was abolished in 2012 — would make it difficult for MBAs from outside Europe to secure the right to work in the UK. The UK’s prime minster, Theresa May, has controversially refused to remove international students from the UK’s net migration target.

The big concern for business schools — and employers — is that immigration rhetoric is making the UK seem less welcoming.


Jorgina Busquets, an LBS MBA graduate who is originally from Spain and works at Boston Consulting Group in London, said: “Something has changed. I used to see the UK as an amazing place to work because of the openness and the UK’s privileged connections with Europe and the US. Now, with Brexit, I feel we have lost some of those advantages. I don’t think the UK is as attractive as it was when I first came here.”

She added that because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit, “some of my friends from Spain and France who were thinking of coming to the UK have changed their minds.”

Business schools, which thrive on diversity, fear that the visa regime may also negatively impact their ability to recruit both international students and faculty. However, applications to London Business School’s full-time MBA rose 15% this year, according to David Simpson, admissions director.

He said: “Being a global environment is in our DNA and we are located in the heart of one of the most important global business hubs.”

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