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Data & Trends

Alumni Survey Shows Glimmers of Hope for Economic Recovery

The class of 2009 entered the job market in the midst of the global recession. So how did they fare?

GMAC’s 2010 Alumni Perspectives Survey shows that 84 percent of ’09 alumni of graduate management education programs had jobs by the time they graduated. That’s about 4 percent lower than in each of the past four years—but still a strong showing in a challenging market.

As for compensation, employed alumni from the class of 2009 reported a median salary of US$66,694 and a mean salary of US$70,938 on their first job after graduation. While salaries were down slightly from those reported in last year’s alumni survey, two-thirds of the 2009 respondents (66 percent) say their salary met or exceeded their expectations.

Among other survey findings:

  • European and Asian citizens faced a tougher labor market compared with US citizens, with 76 percent of Asian and European respondents finding employment upon graduation, compared with 87 percent of their US peers. Similarly, a greater proportion of US citizens (33 percent) considered the global economy stable or strong at the time of the survey, compared with 19 percent of Asian and 20 percent of European respondents.
  • While the class of 2009 received fewer job offers than classes in previous years (1.9 offers on average in 2009 vs. 2.7 in 2008, for example), forthcoming GMAC data show that by certain measures the economic impact of the current recession is not as severe as that of the last recessionary period, 2002-2003.
  • More than half (58 percent) of employed alumni indicated their first job was definitely the kind of job they were looking for; 34 percent said it was somewhat like the job they were looking for. These figures are similar to those from recent years (2003-2008), when between 55 percent and 66 percent of alumni indicated that the post they took was definitely the kind of job they were looking for.
  • More than three-fourths of alumni (78 percent) indicated their graduate management degree was essential to landing a job once they left graduate school, a percentage that is also on par with previous years.
  • Among the alumni from the class of 2009 who were unemployed, 76 percent still believed that their education had prepared them for their professional careers.
  • The primary reasons cited by the class of 2009 for their inability to find a job included a lack of relevant industry or functional experience (45 percent) and lack of job openings for which to interview (39 percent). In addition, 34 percent felt that they have not found a job because they lacked work experience.
  • Among those from the class of 2009 who were employed, 79 percent worked for an employer and 5 percent were self-employed.

The survey includes input from questionnaires sent in April and September of 2009 to prior respondents of the GMAC Global Management Education Graduate Survey of management students nearing graduation. A total of 3,708 alumni responded to the April survey, representing graduates from the classes of 2000 through 2008. A total of 3,966 alumni responded to the September survey, which also included the newly graduated class of 2009.

How can my program get involved?
Participants in the Alumni Perspectives Survey come from those Global Management Education Graduate Survey respondents who agree to the follow-up study with GMAC. Keeping a pulse on your program’s graduates and alumni by participating in surveys that offer insight into career progression, return on investment, education needs, and alumni retrospective views about education. You also receive individualized benchmarking reports that anonymously compare your program with those of your peers. Sign up your program’s graduates before February 1.

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