Skip to content

What Are Recruiters Looking For?

Recruiters are often part of life in Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. Some people characterize an MBA program as a “two-year job interview” because students receive advice and gain experience talking to recruiters about plans and goals. MBA recruiters work for hiring organizations, but they often work directly with the schools to identify talent early in the educational process. Management recruiters assess candidates for their individual organizations.

It is important to know what recruiters look for, given the intertwining of recruiters and MBA programs. Here is an overview of their focus and a few strategies you can adopt to be a successful candidate.

Job Experience Will Benefit You as a Candidate

The number one qualification management recruiters are looking for is job experience, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). Approximately 75 percent want to see three or more years of work experience, either prior to earning the degree or in conjunction with it. Of the management recruiters surveyed, 66 percent indicated that they want to see prior experience in a specific job function. Fifty-one percent look for experience in their respective industry.

Important Skills, Important Qualities and Fit

While job experience is number one, the skills students learn in an MBA program are highly important as well. Recruiters look for the analytic and quantitative skills an MBA program teaches, so the abilities to analyze a balance sheet, perform asset valuation and execute other MBA skills are critical. Recruiters also focus on a candidate’s leadership qualities (51 percent cite this as an important consideration), goal orientation, motivation, ability to take initiative, and ability to manage both people and tasks.
MBA recruiters look for experienced candidates

“Fit” — how a student’s personality, goals and other intangibles mesh with an organization — is also a key component. Both types of recruiters assess fit. Many MBA recruiters begin working with business school candidates while they are still in programs and will focus on fit for their organizations early in the assessment process.

Preparing for the Interview

Given that recruiters look for job experience, analytic skills, leadership skills as well as fit, you should prepare for interviews and other interactions with recruiters to provide them with this information. Prepare talking points that inform them about your experience and skills and how you have used them. Prepare some stories about your achievements that will give them a picture of skills and fit.

Research the company, too. Knowing a company, its products, its plans and how you might contribute before you interview impresses recruiters.

Network for Advice on Recruiters

Networking with other students and faculty is an excellent way to gauge what recruiters are seeking. Ask your classmates about their experiences. Tap faculty mentors for insight into the recruitment process and specific recruiters. If possible, attend recruiters’ visits to campus. These often happen on a regular schedule, year to year, so be sure to plan ahead. Prepare your talking points, examples and stories as you would for a specific interview.

A Flexible Program

An online Corporate Master of Business Administration (CMBA) program, like the one offered by Florida International University (FIU), is a flexible way to earn an MBA as you continue working. Your professors are part of FIU’s respected business department and are proud to serve as mentors.

You can complete this flexible program in as few as 18 months by taking two courses per quarter. Alternatively, you can complete it in two and half years by taking one course per quarter.

Learn more about the FIU online MBA program.


Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.

Request Information!
Request Information!
*All fields required.

or call 866-223-7720

By submitting this form, I am providing my digital signature agreeing that Florida International University (FIU) may email me or contact me regarding educational services by telephone and/or text message utilizing automated technology at the telephone number(s) provided above. I understand this consent is not a condition to attend FIU or to purchase any other goods or services.