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Grads Praise MBA for Helping Land Jobs, Increase Pay, Expand Horizons

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In a survey this past fall of 1,000 business school graduates from the Class of 2016, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which owns and administers the GMAT, found that the vast majority is highly satisfied with the decision to seek an MBA.

For starters, more than one in four graduates surveyed (28 percent) told GMAC they joined an industry completely different from the one they considered prior to starting business school. This data point, argues GMAC, serves to highlight how a graduate management education can expand graduates’ career horizons. Reports of rising salaries and high levels of job satisfaction further support the value of a business school education in the minds of alumni, according to GMAC.

We should note that the survey in question included responses from graduates of full-time two-year MBA programs  (29 percent of respondents), executive MBA programs (11 percent) and part-time MBA programs (33 percent).

In terms of industries, 28 percent of those surveyed took jobs in products and services, followed by technology and consulting, which tied for second with 13 percent each. Finance and accounting drew 11 percent. In terms of job function, though, finance and accounting led the way, at 24 percent, followed by marketing and sales at 23 percent, operations and logistics at 17 percent and consulting at 13 percent.

An solid 88 percent of surveyed 2016 graduates reported that their degree was of viable importance in attaining a job. Unsurprisingly, a nearly identical number of graduates said their knowledge (87 percent) and skills (89 percent) learned at school were also crucial in earning a job after graduating. Another 62 percent credited the networks developed while in school as aiding in their job search.

Ninety-one percent of all graduates surveyed reported being employed when the survey was taken, approximately four to six months after graduation. Of those, five percent reported working as entrepreneurs. Close to half (43 percent) say they launched their ventures while enrolled, compared to 34 percent who were working on them before starting school and 17 percent who launched after graduating.

Entrepreneurs Take Advantage of School Resources

Many Class of 2016 entrepreneurs reported taking advantage of university resources to get their businesses off the ground, with 66 percent seeking guidance from professors, 56 percent turning to other experts within the business school community and 53 percent making use of available specialists, such as programmers. Others made the most of entrepreneurship-related courses outside the regular curriculum (41 percent), dedicated start-up work spaces (31 percent) and school funding to support entrepreneurship (22 percent). Though fewer than one in every five Class of 2016 entrepreneurs (18 percent) sought venture capital for their business, 60 percent of those who did were successful. The entrepreneurs proved an confident bunch when asked to evaluate the level of success of their young businesses: more than half (53 percent) said their business is “somewhat successful”; a third (33 percent) said “very successful’ and 13 percent said “extremely successful.”

Potential For Higher Salaries

The median total compensation of all 2016 MBA graduates was $105,000 USD, which includes graduates from full-time two-year programs, executive programs and part-time programs. Of course, salaries varied based on industry and program type.  “Among full-time two-year MBA graduates, for example, the median total annual compensation is $120,000, compared with $60,000 for Master in Management graduates, who typically have less professional experience,” according to the GMAC survey.

Though this recent survey focused on Class of 2016 graduates, Class of 2017 grads could have cause to celebrate as well. GMAC’s 2016 Year-End Poll of Employers Report found that 58 of employers plan to increase salaries in 2017.

Click here to read the Alumni Perspectives Survey analysis. The full report will be available in early March.

Matthew Korman
Matthew Korman is a contributing author and editor for Clear Admit. Since graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism and political science, Matthew has worked with numerous academic institutions, in addition to roles as a music industry writer, promoter, and data analyst. His works have appeared in publications such as NPR and Sports Illustrated.