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Today’s MBA Graduates Follow Quicker Path to Entrepreneurship, GMAC Alumni Survey Finds

entrepreneurEntrepreneurial MBAs are starting their own businesses sooner after graduation than ever before, according to a worldwide survey of business school alumni released this week by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Of alumni entrepreneurs from the classes of 2010-2013, 45 percent started businesses at graduation, as compared with just 7 percent of alumni entrepreneurs who graduated before 1990. The average time from graduation to self-employment has grown shorter with each passing decade, from 20 years for graduates before 1980 to just three years for graduates between 2000-2009.

Despite this accelerating pace, business school alumni are still more likely to be self-employed the longer they have been out of business school, the 2014 Alumni Perspectives Survey finds. Just 5 percent of the classes of 2010-2013 report being currently self-employed, compared with 23 percent of those who graduated before 1990. Overall, 1 in 10 business school alumni is self-employed today.

“While entrepreneurship is a hot topic and is a very popular course of study at today’s business schools, these findings suggest that business schools have always prepared students to launch and manage their own businesses,” Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC, said in a statement. “Even if alumni don’t become entrepreneurs at graduation – something more common with today’s graduates – their business education provides the career flexibility and the skills that help them start businesses years later.”

The 2014 Alumni Perspectives Survey is the largest and most far-reaching of its kind that GMAC has ever produced. More than 21,000 business school alumni from 132 schools and the classes of 1959 to 2013 participated. In addition to the findings about self-employment, the survey offers insights into career progression, job and degree satisfaction and school engagement. Notably, 94 percent of MBA and other graduate business degree holders surveyed rate the value of their degree highly.

In other key survey findings, 83 percent of respondents report high degrees of job satisfaction, and 79 percent say their expectations for the financial return on investment of their graduate management education were met or exceeded. In general, the percentages of alumni reporting satisfaction with their business degrees, jobs and careers increased the longer they have been out of school, GMAC reports.

Returning to self-employment statistics specifically, entrepreneurship rates among business school alumni vary by world region, with higher rates reported in Asia/Pacific Islands, Canada and Latin American than in the United States, GMAC reports. All regions have seen the proportion of self-employed alumni increase with time out of school.

Learn more about GMAC’s 2014 Alumni Perspectives Survey.