Undergraduate Pipeline Quarterly Update

Over the past few months, we’ve been busy attending conferences of student organizations, including Beta Alpha Psi, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Golden Key. These fantastic organizations are home to ambitious college-aged men and women who will lead significant careers in their fields. At these conferences, we were able to interact with hundreds of curious and motivated undergrads and chapter advisors, getting a sense of their educational and professional goals.

Despite each organization having a different emphasis, we heard the same questions over and over again.

  • Why should I go to business school?
  • What’s the difference between a Masters and an MBA?
  • When should I go to business school?
  • What’s the difference between the GMAT exam and other exams?
  • When should I take the GMAT exam?
  • Or our favorite – what’s the GMAT?

And even among this high-achieving audience, there is the sentiment we also hear often: I don’t need business school; I already have a job lined up. In a strong economy, it makes complete sense that an undergrad, already saddled with student loans and on a clear path to immediate employment, would consider the additional investment of graduate business school. For those few moments when you may get a student’s attention, however, an interesting story presents that pulls away a shred of that confidence.

  • You got your first job. Great. What happens when you want the next job?
  • Employees with graduate degrees significantly increase their earning potential.
  • Taking tests is a skill in itself. How about getting that part out of the way while you’re in the zone? Save some dough and take the GMAT exam now with that special pricing for undergrads.
  • Your scores last for five years and you have no idea where you’ll be then. With a GMAT exam under your belt, you have options.

The 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey and the 2017 Corporate Recruiters Survey each have some interesting data points that support the value of business school, even if students aren’t yet ready to consider it in the short term.

  • 86% of companies plan to hire recent MBA grads (up from 79% in 2016)
  • 3 in 4 start ups plan to hire MBAs in 2017
  • More than half of employers report they will increase starting salaries for new MBA hires
  • Average base salary in the US is $110K for an MBA and up to $95K for a business master’s degree
  • 75% of alums said their MBA accelerated their career advancement
  • 86% said their MBA prepared them for leadership positions
  • 3 in 4 said business school helped them develop a professional network

Undergrads have a lot of options ahead of them and our goal is to tell the story that market research (and the benefit of hindsight!) makes fairly clear.

Undergrads have a lot of options with the GMAT exam

To address some of these questions and tell this story of providing undergrads with options, we created a digital tool kit for schools to use when having these conversations. It includes flyers, resources, social media messaging, as well as information on undergrad pricing. Feel free to send me an email at cjohnson@gmac.com for access to this tool kit. Stay tuned for our next quarterly update where we’ll share our Fall 2017 results and learnings in the undergrad space.