GMAC released its 2014 Alumni Perspectives Survey this week – below are the highlights from the report:
• 21,000 b-school alumni from the classes of 1959-2013 responded to the survey.
• 83% of alumni from the classes of 1959-2013 reported that their graduate management degrees played an essential role in finding a job.
• 91% of 2010-2013 alumni rated their management education value from good to outstanding when compared to the cost of the degree. This compares to 95% of graduates from the classes of 2000-2009, and to 98% of alumni from the 1950s-1990s.
• 95% of alumni said they would recommend their MBA program, another sign of very high satisfaction.
• 45% of self-employed alumni who graduated in 2010-2013 started their businesses at graduation. Before 1990, that number was at just 7%.
• 66% of 2010-2013 grads say that their management education was financially rewarding. In the 1990s, the percentage was at 84%, and prior to 1990, it was at 87%.
• 77% of alumni give financially to their alma mater.
• 83% of alumni reported that they are satisfied with their jobs.
• 20% of alumni work in finance and accounting and 20% in products and services.
See the 2014 Alumni Perspectives Survey for more details.
Take-aways from the 2014 GMAC Alumni Perspectives Survey.
• The main conclusion to draw from this alumni survey, as with previous ones, is that alumni are overwhelmingly satisfied with their graduate education in business. Other graduate educational categories would love to be able to report the kinds of numbers that GMAC routinely presents.
In short, reports of the MBA’s demise are greatly exaggerated. (While the survey includes responses from non-MBA graduate management alumni, approximately 75% are from MBA alumni and more than half of the MBAs were enrolled in two-year, full-time MBA programs.)
• Cloud hidden in all the glitter. GMAC attributes increased satisfaction with the degree and specifically with the value of graduate management education among more senior alumni to the passage of time. The more senior the grads, the happier they are that they invested in an MBA.
However there could be a much more concrete contributing factor: Perhaps those changing numbers over time are also due to the increased cost of the degree over the last thirty years. In other words, more recent alumni see a lower ROI and are consequently slightly less ecstatic simply because the cost has increased.
This development doesn’t mean that the degree lacks value for you applying now or in the next couple of years. It means you need to do your homework and look at expected return on your MBA investment, just as you would analyze expected return on any other investment.
If schools don’t get tuition under control and MBA salaries stay relatively flat, those satisfaction stats will decline over time.
• MBAs are increasingly, although still in fairly small numbers, starting their own businesses upon graduation. In the past the overwhelming majority of MBAs worked as employees for at least three years before starting their ventures. However, since 2010, 45% of self-employed alumni started their own business immediately upon finishing their MBA.
• “Soft skills” taught in business school are among the top five skills business school alumni use on the job regardless of the alum’s job function. Perhaps critics who say you can learn what business schools teach from books or by taking a few business functional courses are missing key benefits of the education.
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.