Graduate Management News
Data & Trends

MBA Alumni Perspectives Survey Reveals ‘Class Differences’

The results are in, and it seems that the most recently graduated alumni have had a different postgraduation experience than their predecessors.

In March 2003, the Graduate Management Admission Council  (GMAC ) surveyed 2,383 MBA alumni from the classes of 2000, 2001, and 2002 to find out how satisfied they are with their degree and how they feel about some of the choices and issues they have faced since graduation. The survey results showed some variations in responses that break down along graduation class lines. They also revealed discrepancies in the responses of alumni working in different industry groups.

Specifically, the survey asked questions on the following topics:

  • the value of the MBA degree
  • the effects of recent corporate scandals on business (new this year)
  • respondents’ employment status
  • respondents’ job security
  • respondents’ job satisfaction
  • respondents’ feelings about their
  • employers/organizations
  • respondents’ change in job responsibilities
  • respondents’ salaries

Results to the survey—including overall findings and breakdowns by graduating class and employing industry—are available online here.

Graduation Year Affects the Perceived Value of the MBA

More than half (55%) of the alumni surveyed rated the overall value of their MBA degree as outstanding or excellent. Twenty-nine percent rated it as good, and 16% gave the degree a rating of fair or poor. But when the value ratings are broken down by graduation year, it is evident that the class of 2000 is more satisfied with the value of their degree than the class of 2002. Whereas 68% of alumni from the class of 2000 rated the overall value of their degree as outstanding or excellent, only 50% of 2002 alumni did so.

Considering satisfaction as a measure of how well expectations are fulfilled helps to explain why the class of 2002 rated the degree excellent or outstanding less frequently than the class of 2000. The class of 2000 entered business school when the MBA was considered a guarantee of a lucrative and rewarding career and unlimited upward mobility, and they graduated when the job market was still growing. It was the successive classes, particularly the class of 2002, who have had to reckon with a downcycle economy, repercussions of terrorism, war and geopolitical instability, layoffs, and limited recruiting by employers.

Helping students set reasonable, real-world expectations from the beginning is one way business schools can help improve the perceived value of the MBA degree.

(For complete results of the latest GMAC MBA Alumni Perspectives Survey, click here.)

Stay Tuned for the Next Installment

GMAC conducts two MBA Alumni Perspectives Surveys a year, asking different questions in each. Results of the second MBA Alumni Perspectives Survey of 2003 will be released in November. Look for them at

For More Information

If you would like to know more about the MBA Alumni Perspectives Survey or any other GMAC survey, please contact Rachel Edgington, manager, applied research, GMAC, by phone at 1-703-749-0131 or by email at

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