An MBA Opens Doors to a Variety of Careers

MBA graduates apply their skills to a wide array of jobs across industries.

Jun 7, 2016

B-School Outcomes

MBA candidate bounds up set of outdoor stairs

Admissions officers at business schools frequently encounter a misperception that an MBA is only for a certain type of person, looking for a certain type of job. In reality, the prospect of earning an MBA is appealing to candidates with widely different backgrounds—from the analytical to the creative, from the extroverted to the introverted, and those with business and nonbusiness professional and educational backgrounds.

Reflecting the diversity of the inputs are the variety of career paths MBA graduates chart after earning their degree. Equipped with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of business and management, the skills to be an effective leader, and the support of a robust alumni network, graduates go on to have successful careers across a wide array of industries and job functions. 

There’s no one thing that MBAs do

Data collected from more than 4,750 alumni of full-time two-year MBA programs who responded to the GMAC 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey show the versatility of their degrees—they are employed across all sectors of the economy with no more than 1 in 5 currently working in any one particular industry. The largest share of full-time two-year MBA alumni work for organizations in the products and services, tech, and finance and accounting industries. Others hold jobs in government and nonprofit organizations, and in the consulting, manufacturing, health care and pharmaceuticals, and energy and utilities sectors. 

The job functions of full-time two-year MBA alumni also vary widely. About half of alumni have marketing and sales or finance and accounting roles at their companies, and the other half are spread across general management, consulting, operations and logistics, human resources, and IT or MIS roles. 

Full-time two-year MBA alumni industries and job functions
This diversity speaks to the wide applicability of the MBA curriculum to all types of businesses, and the desirability of the MBA skillset among employers seeking new management talent. According to results of GMAC’s 2015 Corporate Recruiters Survey, 95 percent of corporate recruiters across all industries agree that hiring recent business school graduates creates value for their companies.

Through their MBA programs and the professional guidance provided by their business school career services office, MBA students are able to identify the job opportunities that appeal to their interests and match their individual talent and aspiration. Across all industries and job functions, 96 percent of full-time two-year MBA alumni say their degree has been professionally rewarding, and 92 percent report being satisfied with their current job.

An MBA can help you make a career change

Findings from the 2016 Prospective Students Survey indicate that more than 2 in 5 prospective MBA students (43%) plan to use their management education to pursue opportunities in industries or job functions where they have never worked before. These MBA candidates outnumber those who want to continue along their current career path (27%) and those who want to start or continue their careers as entrepreneurs (29%).

About half of full-time two-year MBA alumni report that making a career change was a key factor that motivated them to earn an MBA. This includes alumni who wanted to change job functions (51%), and alumni who wanted to change industries (46%). 

Nine in 10 of these alumni say earning their MBA met their initial investment expectations to change careers. Ninety percent of those who wanted to change job functions report being satisfied with their investment to do so, and 89 percent of those who wanted to change industries report the same. 

For more on alumni’s career outcomes, download the 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.