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More Nordic MBAs are sticking closer to home, or looking to Asia


The latest crop of graduates from Nordic business schools seeking careers in finance might have good reason to be concerned.

The powerhouses of London and New York, which have traditionally drawn graduates from the Nordic region, are not hiring in anything like the numbers of previous years.

Yet, experts following the hiring patterns from the schools are seeing a large proportion still moving into finance, whether locally, or further afield in Asia.

Cecilia Frietsch, head of career services at Stockholm School of Economics, says initial surveys of graduate job success for the past year have been encouraging. “Although our placement report for 2011 is not yet fully completed but as far as we can see, there is no drop in hiring rates for SSE graduates. The number of graduates who had accepted an offer at the time of graduation is around 80%, and within three months 95%.”

She notes financial services is holding up rates as a whole although there has been a drop in placements abroad – most notably for investment banking in the UK, traditionally a very popular choice for SSE graduates.

“Swedish investment banks and other financial services have increased their share. The Swedish-based management consultants top the placement list with 18% of the total share, while consumer products and the manufacturing industry have increased notably,” she says.

“Obviously, the Swedish graduate job market is holding up well so far. The drop in SSE graduates going to the UK/London was expected. Not a single graduate went to the US – but there is a growing interest for Asia, in particular for China, which attracted higher numbers than ever before.”

Finn Kjerulff Hansen, a senior consultant in the careers centre of Copenhagen Business School, says: “So far we expect our graduates in general will find it more difficult to find a job compared to last year. Students coming to graduate soon are looking at the possibilities working in Asia and for employment in SMEs. Although it is a little harder to get a job in financial services compared to 2011 the situation is not quite as bad, as I would have expected. Fewer jobs in banks have been substituted with jobs in corporate finance in other industries, advisory or finance consulting.”

Although it doesn’t have any data for the last year, the 2010 graduate job market survey for the Norwegian School of Management, based in Oslo and other sites round the country, makes interesting reading. Almost a fifth of those who found jobs went into financial services comprising banking, general finance and insurance. They represented the largest grouping, ahead of auditing and accounting.

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