Nearly nine in 10 Class of 2016 graduates (88%) say their degree was important to attaining their current job.
As a part of its Alumni Perspectives Survey conducted last fall, the Graduate Management Admission Council surveyed more than 1,000 members of the graduate business school Class of 2016 and received valuable insights about their business school experience, their job searches, and employment outcomes. Overall, the Class of 2016 gives high marks to the knowledge and skills they acquired in their graduate business program, and the path their degree provided to a diverse array of career opportunities. More than 1 in 4 Class of 2016 graduates (28%) report currently working in an industry they had not previously considered before business school, highlighting how a graduate management education can expand graduates’ career horizons.
Respondents graduated from a variety of program types, including full-time two-year MBA (29% of respondents), executive MBA (11%), and part-time MBA (33%). Overall, two-thirds of respondents were male (67%), and most were between the ages of 26 and 30 (36%) and 31 to 35 (27%) years old.
Job Search and Employment
At the time of the survey—approximately 4 to 6 months following graduation—91 percent of the business school Class of 2016 report being employed, either for an employer (86%) or working for themselves as entrepreneurs (5%). Most Class of 2016 alumni began their job search before completing their graduate degree program (70%). Among them, 14 percent started the job search before their program began, 33 percent started during the first half of the program, and 46 percent began their job search during the second half of their program.
Class of 2016 graduates found full-time employment in a broad array of industries, the most common being products and services (28%), technology (13%), consulting (13%), and finance and accounting (11%). The most common job functions they hold are in the areas of finance and accounting (24%), marketing and sales (23%), operations and logistics (17%), and consulting (13%).
Nearly 9 in 10 Class of 2016 graduates (88%) say their degree was important to attaining their current job. A similar share of graduates says the knowledge (87%) and skills (89%) gained or developed through their program were important for securing their postgraduate job. Another substantial share of graduates says the networks they developed during their time in their program was important to landing their job (62%).
In total, five percent of Class of 2016 respondents run their own businesses as entrepreneurs. Among them, 34 percent started their business before beginning their graduate business program, 43 percent started their business while enrolled, and 17 percent started immediately after graduating.
Many Class of 2016 entrepreneurs report making use of university resources to get their businesses off the ground. The majority report seeking guidance from faculty (66%) and other experts within the business school community (56%), as well as accessing specialists, such as programmers (53%). Additional entrepreneurs took specific courses beyond the regular curriculum related to entrepreneurship (41%), made use of dedicated workspace for start-ups (31%), and received funding from their school (22%). About 1 in 5 Class of 2016 entrepreneurs sought venture capital for their business (18%). Among them, the majority were successful in securing venture capital funding (60%).
When asked to evaluate the level of success of their young businesses, most say their business is ‘somewhat successful’ (53%), while a third say ‘very successful’ (33%), and 13 percent say ‘extremely successful’ (13%).
Among all Class of 2016 survey respondents, the median total annual compensation—including signing bonuses, moving allowance, stock options, etc.—is US$105,000. This varies by program type. Among full-time two-year MBA graduates, for example, the median total annual compensation is US$120,000, compared with US$60,000 for Master in Management graduates, who typically have less professional experience.
Most graduates (55%) report having negotiated their starting salary for their current job. Among those who negotiated, 69 percent report that their salary was increased as a result. About 4 in 5 Class of 2016 graduates (79%) agree their graduate management education increased their earning power.
Looking ahead to the 2017 graduating class, early indications signal that starting salaries may rise. The results of the 2016 Year-End Poll of Employers indicate that 58 percent of employers plan to increase starting base salaries for new MBA hires in 2017.
Overall, Class of 2016 graduates report very high levels of satisfaction with their graduate business education. Ninety-six percent rate the overall value of their degree ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’, and 91 percent say they would pursue their degree again if given the choice. Additionally, the majority agree their education was rewarding personally (93%), professionally (91%), and financially (68%).
Class of 2016 graduates also agree their education:
- Prepared them for leadership positions (88% of graduates),
- Developed their professional network (87%),
- Prepared them for their chosen career (84%),
- Offered opportunities for quicker career advancement (73%), and
- Improved their job satisfaction (66%).
The Council soon will release the full 2017Alumni Perspectives Survey Report, which analyses all survey responses received last fall from nearly 15,000 graduate business alumni, representing three generations of graduates located worldwide. Learn what Net Promoter Score alumni assign their programs to rank their likelihood to recommend their program or school to others. Visit gmac.com/alumniperspectives in early March to download the full report.
Stay up to date on the latest GMAC research findings by visiting the Research Insights page at gmac.com/researchinsights.