Remember Michael Keaton in “The Paper Chase,” scrambling for that coveted Harvard Law spot? The prestige, the networks, the guaranteed job placement – that was the holy grail of higher education and MBA recruitment.

Fast forward to 2024, and the narrative around top-tier MBAs is shifting. Headlines blare about a 10% drop in job placements at Harvard Business School, and whispers circulate about a “cooling” MBA market. CEOs and DEI leaders don’t dismiss this talent pool, yet any statistical decrease gives pause to current methodology. The way we recruit from campuses is changing, so let’s update the rules.

Imagine you’re building a rocket, aiming for the moon. You scout the best universities, recruit the brightest minds, and pack them into your meticulously designed capsule.

What if all the recruits, brilliant as they are, come from the same area, are taught by the same teachers, worked on the same projects, and run in similar social circles? What if something fails mid-mission and no one onboard has the experience solving a problem even remotely similar? 

Our rocket might crash and burn from homogeneity. It lacks the diverse perspectives and experiences needed to navigate the issue at hand, let alone a celestial void.

That’s the potential pitfall of relying solely on elite campus recruitment for your MBA hires. You get a polished product, sure, but one crafted from a limited talent pool. You miss out on creative people, hard workers, and different voices that may not have had access to similar opportunities. Each brings their unique perspective and may just inspire your next great idea.

The 10% drop in job placement at Harvard doesn’t tell the whole story. While some industries like tech are pulling back on MBA recruitment, others like healthcare and social impact are crying out for skilled MBAs.

Healthcare, in particular, is facing a unique challenge. The industry is undergoing a digital revolution, but it lacks the business acumen needed to navigate this complex landscape. MBAs, equipped with their skills in strategic planning, financial management, and innovation, perfectly position themselves to fill this gap. Better yet, the more diverse candidates they can recruit for these roles, the better, as there is no more diverse customer base than those in the healthcare industry.  

However, traditional recruitment methods like campus recruitment often overlook candidates who have the right blend of business skills and lived experience. By embracing a more diverse recruitment approach, healthcare organizations can attract the talent they need to revolutionize patient care.

This isn’t a crisis for recruitment, it’s a redistribution of talent. A more fluid, decentralized ecosystem is challenging the rigid campus recruitment model. Forward-thinking leaders in any industry can solidify their place among the most desirable companies to work for when they diversify their traditional recruitment methods.

So, how do you rewrite the rules? Here are a few original tactics to add to your MBA recruitment toolkit:

 

Embrace virtual channels:

The pandemic showed us the possibilities of the internet and that online channels represent an opportunity to expand reach beyond the usual suspects. Try LinkedIn, professional communities, niche job boards – cast your net beyond the ivy-covered walls. Target specific skill sets and experiences instead of just pedigree. Some of our favorites include:

Think beyond resumes:

Host Case Challenges, case studies, or online hackathons. Let candidates showcase their problem-solving prowess and passion, not just their GPA. Download our list of case competitions or join WeSolv’s next Case Challenge. 

Prioritize diversity:

Partner with organizations focused on underrepresented talent in business. Attend conferences, workshops, and events that attract diverse MBA grads. We’re big fans of:

Rethink your interview process:

Move beyond the scripted behavioral questions. Use standardized interviews that measure candidates on the same scale, assessment of specific skills and competencies necessary for a role, group activities that assess collaboration, or even brief projects in context of the actual role to uncover hidden talents and cultural fit. 

 

You can find more talented MBAs by looking beyond the usual campus recruitment. This will help you create a diverse and innovative team. Ultimately, it will lead to achieving success.

Remember, the moon awaits, and the future of business needs diverse minds and unique thinkers. Let’s rewrite the recruitment playbook and make the sky the limit for all talented MBAs

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