Graduate Management News
Data & Trends

Survey Shows Alumni are Optimistic, Successful

In the midst of the global economic downturn, alumni of graduate management programs gave their education high marks—and continued to make personal progress in their careers. The trends are reflected in data from GMAC surveys of alumni conducted in April and September, 2008. The results have been published in the 2009 Alumni Perspectives Survey.

The September survey was taken in a month in which the economy dominated the world news, with Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac placed in government conservatorship, Bank of America buying Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers filing for bankrupcy, and the US government bailing out AIG.

Nonetheless, the survey’s employment statistics suggested that investing in graduate business education yields impressive returns. Even though 47 percent of participating alumni categorized the global economy as weak—and 67 percent said their regional economy is frail—respondents’ average earnings continued to outpace inflation, and alumni unemployment rates were lower than national and regional rates.

In terms of compensation, for example, alumni who continued working post-graduation for the same employer received a 21 percent salary increase after completing their studies (median pre-degree salary US$60,000; median post-degree salary US$72,500). The median salary increase between pre-degree salary and salary six months after graduation was 53 percent for full-time MBA graduates and 29 percent for part-time MBA graduates. The median annual increase thereafter was 9 percent among full-time MBA graduates and 12 percent among part-time MBA graduates.

On the employment side, 94 percent of alumni were working. The unemployment rate among alumni was lower than area-wide rates in the United States and the European Union. Only one in five alumni reported concern about their job stability. The vast majority of alumni were satisfied with their current employer and their current job.

As evidence of continued belief in the value of business school, four out of five alumni from the class of 2008 who landed a new job after graduation indicated they could not have obtained that job without a graduate management degree. Nine out of 10 alumni indicated their education met or exceeded expectations.

As a window to experiences on the job, survey results show how employers place a high premium on budgetary accountability, and an even higher value on supervisory responsibilities. Alumni with both supervisory and budgetary responsibilities earn 22 percent more than those with only budgetary responsibilities and 13 percent more than those with only supervisory responsibilities. Regardless of job level, interpersonal skills were viewed as the most important job abilities.

Overall, 86 percent of graduate business school alumni considered their education to be a good-to-outstanding value, and 95 percent would still pursue a graduate business degree knowing what they knew when they completed the GMAC survey. Commenting about their education in general, 97 percent said it was personally rewarding, 94 percent said it was professionally rewarding, and 89 percent said it was financially rewarding. Overall, 91 percent of alumni felt their job somewhat or very much matched the type of job they wanted.

The 2009 Alumni Perspectives Survey report reflects data from two Alumni Perspectives Surveys. The April 2008 survey polled graduates from 2000 through 2007. The September 2008 survey additionally included the newly graduated class of 2008. A total of 3,261 alumni responded to the April survey and 3,828 alumni responded to the September survey.
Graduate Management Alumni Satisfaction with Program







Most alumni of graduate schools of management said they made the right decision in pursuing their degrees. This outcome has remained relatively stable over the past six years. The figure above shows the percentage of alumni from the class of 2008, by the program type from which they graduated, who reported they definitely made the right decisions related to their education.

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