GMAC Survey of Undergraduates (2019)

The typical candidates for (pre-experience) master’s degree programs are students currently studying for their bachelor’s degree. But when do they start considering a graduate degree, where do they go for advice, and what resources do they consult?

In October 2019, GMAC launched their first survey specifically targeted at undergraduate students. The goals were to:

  • Understand what undergraduates want to do (if they know) after they've graduated
  • Understand attitudes towards further study
  • Explore expectations of further study, why they want to do it, and what they want to achieve
  • Identify influencers and resources

With responses from more than 2,000 current undergraduate students (28% Americas, 26% Europe, 20% Greater China, 16% Indian sub-continent, 7% Africa and the Middle East), the Council has a rich dataset to explore. Here are a few learnings:

  • Almost two-thirds have a graduate business program in their consideration set, with finance as the most commonly mentioned specialization.
  • In general, motivation for considering a business master’s degree falls within distinct clusters centred around seeking to either expand career options, improve job prospects, or study internationally.
  • Unsurprisingly, cost and affordability are the leading causes of uncertainty about further study, while information about the impact a graduate degree can have on employment and employability feature heavily in information that can change minds.

Findings from the undergraduate survey have been presented to schools and turned into actionable suggestions in the GMAC Advisor blog.