What MBA Graduates Say

Overview of the yearly GMAC* graduate survey

What happens after you finish your MBA? What about your career progression? Is your salary higher? Has your position improved? Some answers to these questions can be found in the latest 2015 GMAC Survey. Each year GMAC publishes a report that measures graduates' attitudes towards their degrees, career development and satisfaction levels.

The Graduate Management Admission Council was founded in 1953 as a non-profit NGO with a focus on business education. It has developed and owns the famous GMAT test used for assessing the numerical, reasoning and analytical abilities of candidates for different graduate degrees. Their annual graduate survey gives us a closer glimpse at the profile of business education applicants and alumni, their results and achievements in academia and business.

84% stated their education boosted their career

More than 12,000 business school graduates from over 230 graduate business programmes at 71 universities in 16 countries took part in the latest survey for the 2015 report of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The classes of 1959 through 2014 were questioned about their professional development and were asked if their education had helped them to attain their goals.

The majority of respondents had reached senior-level positions or higher five years after they received their diplomas. In 10 years, roughly 25% were in executive level positions, and one in 20 was in the highest, so called "c-suite", level of CEO, CFO etc. Business graduates were unified in replying that they were satisfied with their degrees - 84% stated that the education they had chosen contributed to their faster career progression.  

It is also very common for alumni (or for 90% of them, to be exact) to link their education to the boosting of their earning power. The question of money is important, not least because, as you know, many students have to go into debt to cover the tuition fees and to sustain themselves during studying.

Business graduates are better paid

Business graduates indeed earn much more than the average person in the economy, as shown by the global geographical analysis of salaries. The difference is between 1.6 and 6.8 times higher in their favour. The ratio is highest in Nigeria (6.8), India (6.2) and China (5.6). These three countries provide a median annual income for graduates of 41,300 USD, 36,000 USD and 72,000 USD respectively. The leaders in absolute median pay, however, are Switzerland (164,800 USD), the UK (134,300 USD) and Singapore (127,000 USD). There, business studies alumni earn respectively 3.0, 3.6 and 1.6 times higher salaries than the median GDP per capita. In the US, the annual median remuneration is 110,000 USD, or twice the average; in France it is 2.2 times higher at 86,800 USD; and in Australia it is 2.4 times higher at 113,950 USD.

Money matters, but is not everything. Perhaps equally if not more important is the level of job satisfaction, as this encompasses factors other than just the salary. The GMAC statistic illustrates that job satisfaction grows in line with the rise in position. At entry level, 66% of respondents reported they were satisfied with their job, and at mid and senior levels 78% and 86% confirmed this. People in executive positions and the C-Suite are the happiest with where they stand – 93% of them said they were satisfied. 90% of entrepreneurs, or a total of 12% of all respondents, also reported satisfaction. On the whole, a staggering majority of graduates on all levels agreed that their education contributed to the level of job satisfaction.

This article has been produced by Advent Group and featured in the 2015-2016 Access MBA Guide

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