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Monday, March 21, 2016

MBA Career Opportunities in the Auto Industry

As one of the engines of economic growth in China, the automotive industry enjoyed more than 10 years of rapid development, though the growth is beginning to slow. For MBAs wishing to embark on careers in the fast lane of this evolving industry, upgrading skills and broadening ones knowledge is still the top priority.

The CEIBS Career Development Centre has found that companies in this sector currently have the greatest demand for MBAs in marketing, project management, procurement, sales management and operations positions. Both multinational and domestic car makers have a large presence in the Chinese market. International MBA talents may find there are some interesting opportunities with domestic companies such as SAIC, GAC, Chery who are expanding overseas and require international talents who are well-versed in the Chinese market, yet also have a global vision. This has always been one of the strengths of CEIBS MBA graduates. CEIBS has also been expanding its roster of partner employers in the automotive industry, with Chinese automakers such as SAIC and Chery joining long term cooperation partners such as Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Michelin and Continental.

Rapid advances in technology and the fast development of the after sales service market in China are driving most automakers to rethink their strategies. The integration of intelligent technology is driving smart car development while also disrupting many areas of the industry, causing many transitions in business models. This can create opportunities for MBA graduates who have an advantage in the functional areas of strategic planning, business development and cross-industry experience, and will bring unique value to employers transforming their business models. Read on for some of the major trends that are emerging in this industry. 

The Rise of the Electric Car - China’s goal of reaching 5 million new energy vehicles by 2020 has been buoyed by the performance of local electric/hybrid brands which account for 80% of the national market in this segment. Chinese companies had three of the world’s top 10 bestselling electric car brands in Q1 2015, according to EVSales data, with BYD occupying pole position.

The Smart Car - Vehicle manufacturers are creating partnerships with chip manufacturers, content providers, tech giants and system integrators to develop intelligent driving solutions.  Around 40 auto brands have already joined Google’s Android Auto platform, paving the way for more technology integration as mobile phone features are made accessible through car dashboards.

The Connected Car - Chinese Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are developing Internet automotive products and have each established special Internet automotive funds to lead the development of the ‘Internet of vehicles’.

The After-sales Service Market – The markets for second hand car dealerships, auto maintenance, and financing are still relatively under developed in China, and recently have attracted intense venture capital interest. Almost half of the VC investment in the auto industry has been in this after-sales segment. It is estimated that the domestic auto service sector has attracted around US$20 billion of investment capital between 2006 and 2014. In 2014 alone, the amount of venture capital invested in the used car segment exceeded more than the sum of the previous years’ put together, reaching close to US$ 800 million. With its relatively low barriers of entry, it has become an "entrepreneurial hot spot." The startup Crocodile Car Maintenance, founded by CEIBS MBA2011 Yang Guang, is an example of one of the many new entrants in this market. 

As with every sector, employers pay special attention to the development of both hard and soft skills when making MBA recruitment decisions. Desired skills include strategic thinking, analytical ability, leadership potential and communication skills. They will also consider whether the candidate's experience has provided the skills that can transfer to the requirements of the new job. MBAs should consider their strengths to find the most suitable point of entry.

Talents are the key to a company’s success. The CEIBS CDC pays close attention to job market trends and is constantly developing new initiatives to meet the changing demands of local recruiters and meet the career goals of international students. Full-time career development counsellors and international alumni networking opportunities are also organized to help international students realize their career objectives. CEIBS MBA training together with our CDC team and lecturers can help to place you in the driving seat if you are looking to pursue a career in the automotive industry.

Read about MBA 2014 Rishi Dhawan's career switch into the auto industry:


For more information on recent articles and automotive industry events hosted by CEIBS see the following links: