Female Grads Report 45% Rise In Salary

Business school women of the Class of 2011 reported sizable increases over their pre-degree salaries of 45%, outpacing the average increase of 39% for men, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council. Overall, 84% of the women in the Class of 2011 were employed at the time of graduation, and nine out of 10 said they got the type of job they wanted.

Of course, one reason why women outpaces men in terms of their immediate post-MBA salary boost was because they entered graduate school with lower salaries than the men. So the percentage increase looks much better. All that said,

GMAC also reported that 90% of women feel their advanced business degree–be it an MBA or a one-year master’s–is an “outstanding, excellent or good value”–on par with 93% of men. In the U.S., in fact, 94% of women who recently earned an MBA or other business master’s degree said their education was an outstanding, excellent or good value, versus 91% of the men.

GMAC also found that the number one reason women attend a full-time MBA program is to change job functions. Some 39% of women in the study cited this as the reason (see table left). The second top reason was to change industries, cited by 29%, while the third reason to pursue an MBA was to work outside their country of citizenship (25%), which reflects the largest number of GMAT test takers outside the U.S.

GMAC, which administers the GMAT exam, a record number of women took the GMAT test: 106,800, up from 105,900 a year earlier. It was the third year in a row that more than 100,000 exams were taken by women. All told, women represented 41% of the 258,192 GMAT exams taken last year by prospective business school students.

Chinese women are making up a surprisingly high number of prospective business school students and now account for 64% of all GMAT test takers in China last year (see table below). In 2011, women in China took 25,671 exams, second only to the women in the U.S. who sat for 45,735 exams, 39% of the total exams taken in the U.S. “The number of Chinese women taking the test is growing exponentially,” said Michelle Sparkman-Renz, director of research communications for GMAC.

What’s more, many of the Asian women taking the test are significantly younger with less work experience. “Of the 107,000 exams taken by women, more than 50% were younger than the age of 25,” added Sparkman-Renz.

“Decades ago the GMAT was used as a filter for U.S. business schools to identify prospective MBA students around the world. Today it’s used for an entire portfolio of master’s degrees in accounting, finance, marketing and public administration.”

Prospective female students reported spending less time in each of the main decision-making stages on route to B-school than their male counterparts last year. On average, women took 31.9 months from completion of their undergraduate degree to first consideration of graduate management education, compared with 36.4 months for men.

“Women not only enter the pipeline at an earlier age,” said Sparkman-Renz. “They move through it at a faster pace. Men will spend five years from first consideration to application. Women are moving in just over four years (4.4 years). The pace is strikingly different.”

The data was released today (Feb. 29) during a media webinar sponsored by GMAC. The organization put out a vast number of statistics on women in business schools.

Among prospective students, GMAC added, a greater percentage of women than men said they intended to pursue graduate management education for professional credentials (58% women vs. 54% men), personal satisfaction and achievement (58% women vs. 51% men, and to increase job opportunities (73% women vs. 68% men).