Graduate Management News
Data & Trends

MBA Alumni and Employers Agree on Opportunities for Improvement

Many business school alumni wish they had more training in the skills needed to thrive in the business world, according to a survey of recent MBA alumni conducted by GMAC. In particular, many graduates feel they could have received more practical training in areas highly valued by employers.

The GMAC 2004 MBA Alumni Perspectives Survey shows that a significant number of recent MBA graduates are finding that they depend heavily on leadership, oral communications, and creative problem-solving abilities to do their jobs—but wish they had been able to develop these skills more fully before finishing their degrees.

Approximately 70% of the 3,392 alumni who participated in the MBA Alumni Perspectives Survey said they depend on strategic thinking abilities in their current positions—but one in four survey respondents said they needed to strengthen those abilities. Similarly, a quarter of the respondents indicated that they needed better development of their leadership skills, an area identified by more than 60% of participants in the survey as one of the skills they use most on the job.

Almost 85% of graduates in the study said they use oral communication skills to perform their jobs. But a fifth of the respondents said they need to brush up on those skills despite having an MBA.

MBA graduates are not alone in reporting a need for more training in some of the most important aspects of management. Employers that participated in the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey 2003–04 also said the MBA alumni they hire need to strengthen skills that are necessary for a successful career in business.

The recruiters study found, for example, that about 80% of employers highly value strategic thinking skills even as more than 20% believe students need to strengthen this skill. Also, more than 60% of employers in the study said they highly prize leadership skills in MBA graduates—but a third said b-school alumni could improve those skills.

Look for more results of the MBA Alumni Perspectives Survey in the Research and Trends section of in the coming months.

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