Eight Insights About B-School Alumni Entrepreneurs

How much they work, how much they earn, their perspective on the value of a b-school degree

Jan 17, 2017

B-School Outcomes

Business school graduate entrepreneurs

According to Entrepreneur magazine, there are 400 million entrepreneurs worldwide. That means that 1 out of every 18 people owns their own business. Data from the 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey indicates that number is about 1 in 10 among business school alumni. Here are eight insights about these self-employed business school graduates.

Most own businesses in either the products and services or consulting industries. Business school alumni entrepreneurs run businesses across a broad range of industries. Most operate either in the products and services (31%) or consulting (25%) industries. Others work in finance and accounting (16%), technology (12%), health care and pharmaceuticals (6%), manufacturing (5%), energy and utilities (3%), and government or nonprofit (3%). 

Their businesses tend to be small. About half of alumni entrepreneurs operate businesses with fewer than five employees (49%). Roughly equal shares have between 5 and 24 employees (27%) or more than 25 employees (24%). 

They work a median of 50 hours per week. This is the same median amount of weekly work hours reported by senior, executive, and C-suite level alumni, and five hours more than the median for entry- and mid-level alumni. 

They tend to earn more money than the average business school alumnus. Self-employed alumni report a median salary of US$145,000, compared with a median of US$115,000 for all business school alumni. Entrepreneurs’ median salary is greater than that of senior-level alumni (US$135,000), but less than that of executive-level alumni (US$175,000). 

Most are satisfied with their experiences as an entrepreneur. Job satisfaction levels for self-employed alumni are high, rivaling that of C-suite alumni. More than 4 in 5 entrepreneur alumni indicate they are extremely or very satisfied with their careers (81%). This is substantially higher than the 65 percent satisfaction level noted among business school alumni employed within an organization. 

They value their business school education. Ninety-six percent of self-employed alumni rate the value of their graduate business school education as a good, excellent, or outstanding value. The vast majority of these alumni entrepreneurs say their graduate management education was rewarding personally (92%), professionally (89%), and financially (75%). 

They are great promoters of graduate management education. The Net Promoter Score® (NPS®), a widely used metric of customer loyalty, of self-employed business school alumni for graduate management education is +51, slightly higher than the NPS for the general business school alumni population (+45). 

Knowing what they know now, they would choose to go to business school again. After taking stock of their life and career following business school, the vast majority of alumni entrepreneurs would make the decision to go to business school again (94%). A likely factor in this assessment are skills they developed as a part of their program. Most entrepreneur alumni agree their business school experience developed their qualitative analytical skills (90%), quantitative analytical skills (86%), and leadership abilities (83%). 

For more data and insights on business school alumni entrepreneurs, as well as all other alumni, download the 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report at gmac.com/alumniperspectives.