2 Of 5 MBAs In Totally Unexpected Careers


What skills are most essential, and for what jobs? Alumni rank interpersonal skills — such as active listening, persuasion and negotiation, and time management — as most important in the workplace, GMAC found, regardless of job level or function. Among the top five talents that are key to their job, respondents ranked those relating to people skills or emotional intelligence most highly.

Other skills predominate as one moves up the corporate ladder. Alumni in higher-level positions are more likely to indicate that managing human capital, strategy and innovation, and the decision-making process are more important to their current job compared with alumni in lower-level positions.

“We see through this survey that business schools are there to provide a foundation of job skills,” Schoenfeld says. “Years ago, talking to business school faculty and admissions people, they also told me, ‘Business school is not really teaching you for your first job out of school, it’s teaching you for your second or third job out. They try to lay that foundation of strategic thinking, learning how to make appropriate decisions with the right information or sometimes the lack of some information and uncertainty. You can see that that’s the progression. It goes from that whole entry-level more tactical, to the more strategic as ou move up — which is intuitive.

“And of course ‘interpersonal skills’ has always been number one in those soft skills. And schools have picked on that by having a lot more teamwork projects where you have to deal with different personalities, so they are trying to instill these interpersonal skills within the curriculum.”


It all comes down to this: Business school alumni are, on the whole, happy with their educations and what they’ve achieved because of them. Looked at through the lens of the so-called Three Dimensions — personal, professional, and financial rewards gained because of their business education — alumni say they are happy in all three, having become better prepared for leadership positions (86%), better prepared for their chosen career (85%), and increased their earnings power (82%) since graduating from B-school. More than 9 in 10 alumni would pursue a graduate business degree again knowing what they know now, GMAC found, and most would recommend graduate management education to a friend or colleague.

Overall, 95% rate their education as a good to outstanding value.

Asked whether any of these levels of satisfaction were unusual historically, Schoenfeld replies succinctly, “No.” He adds, “Alumni have consistently reported a great value to their education. Those numbers have always been high, even when we look at what we call the three dimensions, the personal value, the professional value, and the financial value — those have all been relatively steady. In these cases we haven’t seen any major shifts.”

Adds Sangeet Chowfla: “Year after year our research has shown that a graduate management education offers significant personal, professional, and financial rewards. We’re now seeing strong evidence of how valuable the degree is with regard to changing careers. Given the current pace of change in the economy and the workplace, candidates can be confident in the knowledge that a graduate management education can prepare them with the skills and flexibility they need to be in a better position to pivot and adapt their careers when opportunities present themselves and industries are disrupted.”


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