Five of Europe’s leading business schools have pooled resources to run a career fair for those companies that want to recruit MBA and finance students to work in Asia.
“The idea is to make the life of the recruiter as easy as possible,” says Javier Muñoz, MBA Career Services Director at the Spanish business school Iese.
MBA students from London Business School, which hosted the event, HEC Paris, Iese, IMD and the Rotterdam School of Management met representatives from 18 companies, all of which do business in Asia. These included global brands, such as Johnson & Johnson, and Asian companies, such as Fosun, China’s largest private conglomerate.
The demand for jobs in Asia is increasing among MBA graduates, says Fiona Sandford, executive director for Careers and Global Business at LBS. Last year 20 per cent of the LBS class got their first job after graduation in Asia or the Middle East – compared with a decade ago when LBS placed almost all its graduates in Europe, particularly London. Ms Sandford says the vibrancy of the Asian economy is the biggest reason.
In particular, she says, last year was the first time when LBS saw more Asian students return to Asia on graduation, rather than staying in Europe, with more than 75 per cent of Chinese students returning to China.
Pu Ping, vice-president of human resources at Johnson & Johnson, says her division is increasingly looking to European business schools. “We look for people with a global perspective. In the US the supply cannot meet our expansion.”
Kang Lan, executive director of human resources at Fosun, sees a particular appeal in students at European business schools. “If we go to the US it is homogenous. In Europe it is very different. Now we prefer people who speak three languages.”
Some 450 students from the five schools registered for the event, many of whom helped to organise the careers event. Although many of the attending students will be looking to work in Asia on graduation, others saw the event as an opportunity to lay down a marker for future jobs.
The event is the second event in the collaboration between Europe’s top business schools, with an earlier event, hosted by Iese in Barcelona, targeting jobs and recruiters from Latin America.
The schools are now considering further collaboration in the admissions process.