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Data & Trends

Job market for business school graduates bounces back

The business school class of 2011 is graduating into an improving job market, as more companies plan to hire new MBAs and more students are graduating with offers in hand, according to separate surveys of employers and graduates released concurrently by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

“After two years of contraction, we see a pronounced improvement in the job market for business school graduates,” said Gregg Schoenfeld, GMAC director of research and author of the graduates’ survey report. “Based on job offers, hiring is up in all industries, and more than half of the students who were looking for work had job offers two months before graduation. Last year, that figure was lower than one-third.”

Conducted in February and March of this year, the Corporate Recruiters and Global Management Education Graduate surveys explore job market expectations, skill development, and the value of a graduate business education from the perspective of employers and graduating students. As in previous years, both surveys find a high level of satisfaction with the skills gained in graduate management programs and the value of the degrees. And this year’s optimistic employment findings in each survey confirm the other:

  • Job market rebound.  In 2011, 54 percent of all graduate business students looking for a job had at least one offer at the time of the survey, up from 32 percent in 2010, and the average number of offers was 2.0, up from 1.8 in 2010. Meanwhile, more employers expect to hire recent MBAs (67 percent, up 5 percent from 2010) and master’s in business graduates (22 percent, up 4 percent from 2010), and the average number of expected hires is up in most sectors. Also, 68 percent of the recruiters planned to recruit on campus, up from 64 percent in 2010.
  • Salaries up. Graduates of full-time MBA programs with job offers generally expected a higher salary increase than the classes of 2010 and 2009. The corporate recruiters reported plans to offer an average base salary of US$91,433 to MBA students in the US, a figure matched by European employers at $91,693.
  • Program trends.  Of those with job offers, full-time graduates of both one- and two-year MBA programs, as well as non-MBA master’s programs, expect greater salary increases than the classes of 2010 and 2009. Although part-time MBAs’ average salary increase lagged, some 55 percent of those looking for jobs had offers, a five-year high. Employers, meanwhile, are significantly more likely to hire full-time MBA graduates but significantly more likely to sponsor part-time MBAs.

“In 2011, more companies are focused on growth and expansion, and less on overcoming economic challenges and cutting costs,” said Rachel Edgington, author of the GMAC 2011 Corporate Recruiters Survey. “We see a definite shift from a ‘surviving’ to a ‘thriving’ mode.”

The 2011 Corporate Recruiters Survey includes responses from 1,509 employers from 905 companies in 51 countries. The survey report and interactive tool with data on hiring plans, MBA hiring, and salary by country and sector are available to the public; a comprehensive interactive data report is available exclusively to survey respondents and the 127 business schools in 34 countries that facilitated the survey. 

The 2011 Global Management Education Graduates Survey includes responses from 4,794 members of the class of 2011 at 156 graduate business schools worldwide, including 88 percent form MBA programs and 12 percent from other master’s programs. The survey report is available to the public; a comprehensive interactive data report is available exclusively to the participating business schools. 



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