Millennials and the MBA


So Who Are Millennials?

Rarely has anything been discussed more than the Millennial generation. You’ll find articles about millennials on every major news site.


Because, Millennials are changing the face of the U.S. Born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, millennials represent nearly one-third of the total U.S. population, so their voice, opinions, and desires have a big impact.

What does this mean for the MBA? The truth is that the millennial generation is so different from all previous generations that business schools and businesses are having to scramble to keep up and be relevant. And now that the oldest millennials are reaching their mid-30s, the MBA has never been more poised for change.

Hipster style bearded manDifferent Priorities

Millennials have unique perspectives and values for their career, as well as for MBA programs. According to a study by the Young Entrepreneurs Council, millennials are idealistic, diverse, digitally enabled, social, and ambitious. What does this mean for MBA programs? Business schools that offer mentorship opportunities, as well as opportunities for applicants to influence their program, are far more attractive (75% of millennials want a mentor, and 90% want senior people to listen to their ideas and opinions).

Career Placement

Post MBA, millennials are looking for different jobs than their predecessors. While, in the past, most MBA grads focused on high-paying industries, 83% of millennials are “looking for a job where creativity is valued” according to MTV’s No Collar Workers study. They’re also more motivated by companies that are transparent. In fact, 95% of millennials (in the same survey) said that they’d work harder if they knew where their work was going.

This change in direction means that career placement staff at top business schools need to offer the right employment and internship opportunities. Millennial MBAs are looking for jobs that are sustainable and in non-traditional fields. Programs should provide student support services that take a more independent job search approach.

Even further, many millennials are interested in starting their own business and keeping their destiny in their hands. For example, at the Wharton School, 55 MBAs from 2014’s class started their own business or were self-employed, up 50% from five years ago. As for the London Business School, MBA grads going into financial services fell to 28% from 46% in 2007.

Technology Focused

Millennials were born in a world of constantly changing technology. Previous generations witnessed new technology in their later years, but for millenials, it happened as they were growing—making them one of the most tech-savvy generations. As a result, business schools have to work to stay ahead of the curve in their classroom technology as well as their recruiting technology.

70% of millennials use social media according to Ernst & Young, so they’re looking for MBA programs that speak their language. They’re comfortable in environments that allow on-demand class content, lectures on tablets, and homework that can be downloaded to their smartphone. The more technological enhancements an MBA program offers, the more attractive the program will be.


millennialsThe millennial generation is also all about diversity. The same Ernst & Young survey revealed that millennials have a more open-minded approach to business and everything else. They look for environments that refrain from discriminating based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. MBA programs looking to attract millennials should have a diverse class with students from many different hues and accents.

In fact, a study from Deloitte interviewed 3,726 millennials and found that 71% of them view cognitive diversity as a necessary element for innovation. For millennials, different ideas and perspectives have a positive impact on business, and they want the same in their MBA program.

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About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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