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Business Education Holds Its Value Through the Great Recession, 21st Century Alumni Say

Even through an economic downturn dubbed "the Great Recession,"the vast majority of MBAs and others who earned graduate management degrees in the first decade of the 21st century are employed. And most rate the value of their degree very highly, according to new research conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

Out of 3,387 alumni from the classes of 2000-2009 surveyed in April, 94 percent were employed, and 89 percent rated the value of their degrees as outstanding to good. GMAC’s semi-annual Alumni Perspectives Survey of graduates from business schools worldwide is conducted in April and September of each year.

"Nearly all alumni felt they were well prepared for their careers as a result of their graduate management education. In fact, the vast majority of alumni (94%) felt they had a competitive advantage compared with non business graduates," said Sabeen Sheikh, GMAC survey research manager who conducted the study.

The vast majority of alumni were extremely or very satisfied with their graduate management education in relation to their career goals, and 96 percent were satisfied with their decision to pursue the degree. Classmates, a relevant curriculum, and committed faculty were among the factors alumni valued most about their education, suggesting that the value of graduate management education goes far beyond a job market credential.

Other findings:

  • Median salary for all respondents was US$94,829, with a range of US$82,000 for the class of 2009 and US$135,000 for the class of 2000.
  • Of the 94 percent of who were employed, 88 percent were working for an employer and 6 percent self-employed.
  • More than half (53 percent) of those who were self-employed managed more than one employee, and 41 percent report more than US$250,000 in total revenues.
  • Nearly half of those not working (48 percent) are considering starting their own business.
  • Considering their career goals, four out of five alumni were satisfied with their decision to pursue a graduate management education. More than half of alumni have achieved, in part, their short-term and long-term career goals.

The April 2010 Alumni Perspectives comprehensive interactive data report is available only to GMAC member schools and participating alumni. General findings from the survey are available in interactive format. Overall 2010 survey results, with the class of 2010 to be surveyed in September, will be released early next year.

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