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The BW Data Dump

To crank out its new 2012 ranking of the best full-time MBA programs yesterday (Nov. 15), Bloomberg BusinessWeek asked 18,640 of this year’s MBA graduates what they thought about their experience. The students gained their degrees from 114 of the best schools in North America, Europe, and Asia.

With 10,439 graduates responding, a response rate of 56%, the magazine collected a wealth of fascinating information on the Class of 2012 and shared some of it with readers today (Nov. 16).

Gripes? You bet. BusinessWeek says that students’ “most common complaint centered on career services, specifically that more personal attention was necessary for those not looking for jobs in finance or consulting.” That’s been the number one complaint since BusienssWeek started surveying graduates for their opinions in 1988. Some grads also believed that their schools could benefit from better branding or more rigorous screening of potential students.

MBAS OVERWHELMINGLY AGREE THE DEGREE IS WORTH THE MONEY AND THE TIME

Still, the majority of graduates said their MBA experience exceeded expectations, and 88% percent said they felt the degree was worth the cost in time, tuition, and lost earnings. That’s another remarkable endorsement of the value of the degree, especially because BusinessWeek’s survey reached across more than 100 business schools.

The magazine also found that seven of every ten MBAs this year graduated in debt, with the average outstanding loan amount just under $74,000. It is an ongoing burden that makes the 88% number even more impressive.

Here’s the bottom line: About 82% of respondents had received a job offer by graduation, an increase of 6% from 2010. MBAs had an average of 1.7 job offers each, up 13%. On average, students interviewed with a half dozen companies, BusinessWeek said.

MEDIAN PRE-MBA SALARY WAS $60,000 — OUTGOING AVERAGE MBA SALARY WAS $103,000

The average starting salary reported by MBAs was just over $103,000 and the average signing bonus was $23,000. These numbers remain unchanged from two years ago, but reflect impressive gains over pre-MBA pay (the median was $60,000) nonetheless—and they are the average over some 114 schools.

As the magazine explains, “In 2010, most grads didn’t have the luxury of being picky when it came to job offers. So when asked about why they accepted their jobs, respondents were quick to identify areas such as “challenging duties” and “room for advancement” as top priorities in evaluating an offer. While those two options remained popular among grads this year, there was a 35% jump in students who said ‘pay package’ was the most important attribute in accepting a job offer.”

Other interesting tidbits:

  • On average, the Class of 2012 MBAs applied to 3.7 programs, versus 3.6 in 2010.
  • Roughly 18% of the responding MBAs applied to only one school.
  • Only 2% applied to ten or more business schools.
  • The most important factor in deciding which MBA programs to apply was the quality of the education, followed closely by MBA rankings and successful job placement.
  • The three feeder schools that sent the most grads to the 114 business schools were Brigham Young University, the University of Michigan, and Cornell.
  • The average GMAT score for responding MBA grads was 687, though 29 grads scored lower than a 500
  • Slightly less than 14% reported using an admissions consultant to help them apply to business school
  • About half the responding MBAs said they returned from their summer internships with a job offer, up from 42% two years earlier.

DON’T MISS: CHICAGO BOOTH RETAINS ITS NO. 1 STATUS IN NEW 2012 BUSINESSWEEK RANKING or WINNERS & LOSERS IN THE 2012 BUSINESSWEEK MBA RANKING