According to a recent GMAC press release, the job market is strong for 2012 business and management graduates. The report states that 92% of grads surveyed were employed within three months of graduating; in 2011, that percentage was 86%. GMAC surveyed 834 members of the class of 2012 among the 4,444 MBA and graduate business alumni who participated in the survey.
Here are some more highlights from the press release:
- 77% of class of 2012 grads said that their starting salaries met or exceeded their expectations.
- 76% of grads said they wouldn’t have been able to secure their jobs without their management/business degree.
- Median salary for full-time two-year MBA grads was $85,000 last year; for full-time one-year MBA grads, that number was considerably less at $59,000.
- Self-employment rates ranged depending on where grads operated their businesses. In the Middle East and Africa, that rate was at 20%, while in the U.S. it hit only 5%. Self-employment rates in Latin America were 13%, in Europe 11%, and 6% in Asia/Pacific Islands.
- 95% of alumni value their business/management education as good to outstanding.
The GMAC Alumni Survey certainly provides encouragement to those seeking a graduate management degree because of the incredibly high degree of alumni satisfaction combined with improving employment rates, but one should also note that there are other factors that improve salaries upon graduation:
- 2012 grads with at least three years of work experience at matriculation earned $25,000 more on average at graduation than those with less experience.
- Alumni who had an internship during their program saw an average $21,995 increase in salary at graduation compared to those who didn’t have an internship.
Take-aways for MBA Applicants from the GMAC Alumni Survey
- Reports of the MBA’s near-term demise are overblown. That doesn’t mean that inexorably rising tuition and fairly flat salaries will have no impact. If these trends continue, they definitely will. In fact, they are probably pushing the schools to experiment more with accelerated programs, as Kellogg is doing, and to offer more specialized, one-year masters degrees, as many programs are doing. However, in the short-term the threat to the traditional two-year, full-time MBA comes from alternatives not from lack of satisfaction with the degree or poor employment prospects.
- Early career applicants are going to find increasing difficulty making a case for themselves when applying. Employment is a big driver of admissions decisions. And average salaries are a major factor in school reputation and several rankings. If less experienced applicants don’t command similar salaries, two-year programs are going to prefer more experienced applicants.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You need to arrive on campus with a clear idea of what you want from your MBA. Then you’ll know which internships to aim for. Internship recruiting starts within weeks of schools opening, and you want to be ready. Landing a great internship can put you ahead when you seek your full-time job and pay off big time as you can see from #2 above. If you flounder due to lack of focus and direction, you reduce the likelihood of getting an internship at all, which can shrink the value of your entire MBA experience. Let your MBA goals guide you.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.