MBA Job Market Continues To Improve

by John A. Byrne on

Some 92% of those with graduate degrees in business and management last year found employment within three months after graduation, according to a survey of 2012 grads by the Graduate Management Admission Council released yesterday (Jan. 22). It was the highest employment rate reported in this survey for any graduating class since 2003 and a full six percentage points higher than the 86% of the Class of 2011 graduates polled at the same time a year earlier by GMAC. Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) graduates secured their job before leaving graduate school.

As previously reported by PoetsandQuants, placement rates were even higher at some of the more prominent business schools last year. Emory’s Goizueta School posted the highest job offer rate this year, with 98% of the Class of 2012 with offers of employment within three months, up three percentage points from 95% in 2011. Four other well-known schools followed Emory, each with 96% of their graduates getting job offers within three months: UC-Berkeley Haas, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, MIT Sloan, and Columbia Business School.

The new GMAC study found that some 77% of the class of 2012 graduates surveyed said their starting salary met or exceeded their expectations, and 76% said they could not have gotten their job without their graduate management education.

“As the economy improves in many parts of the world, employers who are hiring look for skilled managers to lead the way,” said Dave Wilson, GMAC president and CEO, in a statement. “MBAs and other graduate degrees provide the skills people need to manage tough problems in today’s complex marketplace.”

GMAC said a variety of factors affect compensation, such as pre-degree salary and experience, industry and job function, and median salaries of the class of 2012 showed significant differences by program type. For example, those graduating from full-time two-year MBA programs had a median salary of $85,000, with additional compensation of $10,000, whereas those graduating from full-time one-year MBA programs had a median salary of $59,000 with additional compensation of $5,500 (age, program location, and work location are confounding factors). Median starting salaries of 2012 graduates varied most widely by work location (shown in US dollars):

  • Europe: $105,120
  • US: $83,000
  • Canada: $81,443
  • Asia Pacific Islands: $52,329
  • Latin America: $48,557
  • Central Asia: $27,818
The best placement rates were reported in India where 88% of graduates reported receiving a job offer before graduation. That success rate exceeded the U.S. where 73% of grads had received an offer before commencement (see table below). The worst market? Latin America where only 36% had job offers before graduation. Overall, more than two-thirds (68%) of Class of 2012 alumni had obtained an offer of employment before graduation. An additional 15% of Class of 2012 alumni had a job offer in hand within a month after graduating.

Source: GMAC alumni perspectives survey

When searching for a job, GMAC said alumni found their greatest number of employment opportunities through three main channels: networks of personal contacts (23%), school career services (22%), and on-campus interviews (21%). These are also the top methods employers use to recruit new graduate business school talent.10 As reported in GMAC’s 2012 corporate recruiters survey, companies primarily seek new business school hires through referrals and on-campus recruitment.

Not only were Class of 2012 alumni successful in landing job offers, the vast majority (92%) said they took a job that they wanted, according to the GMAC study. For those who received job offers within a month after graduation, 95% indicated the job they took was the one they sought. On the other hand, alumni who received a job offer more than a month after graduation were less likely to take a job that matched what they were seeking (84%).

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