MBA For Career Change, 2 in 5 Alumni Land Jobs in Different Sector: GMAC Survey


The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a non-profit organization of leading graduate business schools, released its 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey on February 28 detailing the education and career outcomes of nearly 15,000 graduate alumni representing 1,100 graduate business programs located around the world.

The boost that an MBA degree provides to those looking for a career change is underlined in the GMAC 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey. It found that more than half of graduate business school alumni are currently employed in an industry or job function they had no experience in prior to entering business school. About 39% or 2 in 5 alumni members currently work in an industry they had not considered prior to starting business school.

The respondents of the survey stated that they learnt about the opportunity only after having enrolled in a graduate business program. Almost 88% had also stated that they were satisfied with their job and employer.

Year after year our research has shown that a graduate management education offers significant personal, professional and financial rewards. We’re now seeing strong evidence of how valuable the degree is with regard to changing careers,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC.

Given the current pace of change in the economy and the workplace, candidates can be confident in the knowledge that a graduate management education can prepare them with the skills and flexibility they need to be in a better position to pivot and adapt their careers when opportunities present themselves and industries are disrupted,” he added.

The report also reveals that the value proposition of a graduate business degree remains high regardless of graduation year or program type.

Compensation Package

Nearly all (95%) survey respondents have rated their graduate management education a good to outstanding value. On an average, the total compensation package ranges from a median of US$75,513 for an entry-level position upward to a median of US$440,122 in total compensation for a C-suite executive.

Business school alumni earn 76 % of their total compensation in base salary, on average. As they go up the career ladder, a greater proportion of their compensation comes from non-salary sources such as bonuses.

Employment Profile

The Survey found 92% of the respondents were employed. Almost 81% worldwide were working with a company. self-employed entrepreneurs constituted 11%. Globally, the products and services (27 %), technology (14%) and finance and accounting (11%) sectors employ the greatest proportion of alumni represented in this survey. Though alumni work across the spectrum of industries, their degree type often leads them in choice of career paths.

One in 8 alumni entrepreneurs sought venture capital and 72 % of these individuals received such funding. Half of the alumni entrepreneurs stated that their university provided faculty guidance, experts from the community and mentors to guide their entrepreneurial activities.

MBA alumni are more likely to work in technology, non-profit and government, manufacturing, health care, energy, and utilities, compared with alumni holding non-MBA master’s degrees, the Survey says.

Business Master’s alumni, for example, are more likely to be found employed in finance, accounting and consulting industries. As for job functions, MBA alumni are more likely to hold positions in marketing, sales, operations, logistics, and general management. Alumni of non-MBA business master’s degrees are more likely to work in finance, accounting, and human resource positions.

In total, more than 4 in 5 alumni agree their education prepared them for leadership positions (86%), prepared them for their chosen career (85%), and increased their earnings power (82 %).

Most alumni delay their entrepreneurial activities until after graduation. In fact, 2 in 3 alumni entrepreneurs began their business after graduation following employment at another company.

One in 8 alumni entrepreneurs sought venture capital and 72 % of these individuals received such funding. Half of the alumni entrepreneurs stated that their university provided faculty guidance, experts from the community and mentors to guide their entrepreneurial activities.

Interpersonal Skills Most Valued

The respondents ranked interpersonal skills as most important in the workplace, regardless of job level or function. Among the top five talents important to their job, the ones related to “people” skills or emotional intelligence were highly ranked by the alumni with interpersonal skills (e.g., active listening, persuasion and negotiation, time management) topping the list.

Other skills predominate as one moves up the corporate ladder. Alumni in higher-level positions were more likely to indicate that managing human capital, strategy & innovation and decision-making process as more important to their current job compared to alumni in lower-level positions.

Alumni Recommendations

Most alumni are very likely to recommend their graduate business program to colleagues and friends. The overall Net Promoter Score — a customer loyalty metric — that business schools receive from their alumni is 47, which is greater than scores received in many sectors of the economy.

Net Promoter Scores were positive for all graduate business programs, although differences by program type range from 22 for Master in Management programs to 62 for full-time two-year MBA programs.

If offered the choice, more than 9 in 10 (92%) alumni would have pursued their graduate management education knowing what they know now.“Graduate business programs expose students to a wide range of opportunities and provide alumni with access to a variety of career outcomes,” said Chowfla.

It’s clear from the results that alumni feel their education helped prepare them for leadership positions, as well as enhanced their earnings potential and guided their career development. This positivity is reflected in their recommendation of a graduate management education to others.”(Image


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