Why Businesses Hire MBA Grads, Despite a Weak Economic Forecast

Because businesses don't know if the current administration will back business-friendly policies, they don't plan to grow.

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Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

Paul Danos is dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

For the past three years, employment statistics have hit an all-time high here at Tuck. At top business schools across the country, these statistics usually reflect business optimism—at least in the sectors that hire our graduates. The stock market, too, during a four-year period, has been quite positive. Again, this can normally be viewed as a reflection of forward-looking optimism. 

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

But most economic prognosticators see a continuing dull economy indeed, and the last 12 months of macro-economic data reinforce their gloom. I believe that businesses are hiring young leaders from top MBA programs because of an optimism based on real business prospects and capabilities. These include the desire to build and expand, along with the notion that there will be increased political and policy hostility and deadlock.  

This presidential campaign provides a stark contrast on the business-friendliness scale with perceived end points in terms of regulatory and tax burdens being far apart. Uncertainty in the prospects for the government's level of business-friendliness blunts planning for growth, and even though business leaders individually see great prospects, they are held back by the real possibility of more oppressive government policies. 

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