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Data & Trends

Alumni Perspectives Survey Finds Expanding Job Search Pays Off for the Class of 2010

A slowly recovering economy combined with more creative job search strategies and a willingness to expand their search criteria  have helped the business school class of 2010 fare better on the job market than the class of 2009, reveal findings from GMAC’s Alumni Perspectives Survey. Out of 824 recent alumni from the class of 2010 surveyed in September, 88 percent were employed, up four percentage points from the class of 2009, surveyed a year before. 

“About one in three alumni from the Class of 2010 said the economy did not affect their job search. For many, economic impact resulted in an expansive job search, which meant being more open to different industries, work locations, and compensation levels. The new class didn’t want to minimize their job search, and their extensive efforts led the vast majority of them to employment,” said survey author Sabeen Sheikh, a research manager at the Graduate Management Admission Council. 

Key findings for 2010 graduates:

  • Those surveyed sent out an average of 33 resumes or applications (23 median), went on an average of six (five median) job interviews, yielding 1.9 job offers (two median).
  • Fifty-nine percent of respondents reported that the job they acquired was definitely the one they desired, and 37 percent said it was somewhat like the job they desired. Broadening their job search methods and targeting a wider segment of the job market allowed them more options on which to base their career decisions. (See graphic below.)
  • Although most made cold calls to companies (62 percent) and monitored online job boards (61 percent), actually landing their first post-graduation job often required more direct connections. The methods most credited with getting a job were networking with personal contacts (37 percent) and on-campus interviewing (20 percent).
  • With a median starting salary of US$78,820, 70 percent said their starting salary met or exceeded their expectations, and 76 percent indicated their graduate business degree was essential to the success of these efforts.

The 2010 graduates were surveyed as alumni for the first time in September as part of a longitudinal survey of recent business school graduates. Conducted in April and September, the Alumni Perspectives Survey documents job characteristics and changes in employment among approximately 3,400 business school graduates from the classes of 2000 to 2010.

The overall survey found:

  • 93 percent of all business school graduates surveyed from among classes of 2000 to 2010 were employed, 3 percent higher than last year’s survey and further signals an improving post-recession economy.
  • Overall median salary for b-school alumni from the past decade was US$94,542─and the longer alumni spend with the same employer, the higher their median salary. Compensation appears to be a byproduct of career progress and an integral part of job satisfaction.
  • Becoming involved with high-profile projects (54 percent) and building relationships with upper management (53 percent) are the most common network-based strategy MBAs and b-school alumni use to develop their career.
  • Alumni appeared to evaluate the services offered by their schools differently, with US alumni from full-time and executive programs rating networking opportunities the highest, and alumni from part-time programs giving their highest rating to alumni events offered by their schools. And the higher alumni rated their schools’ alumni services, the more likely they were to recommend their graduate management program to someone else.

The Alumni Perspectives Survey is a longitudinal survey of participants in GMAC’s Global Management Education Graduates Survey, which queries graduating business students. Both are part of GMAC’s suite of surveys, which provide a comprehensive view of management education from potential student to alumni. Schools can sign up to participate in the 2011 Preliminary Application Trends Survey through February 16 and receive a free benchmarking report.

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