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Despite COVID, Global MBAs Still Mostly Satisfied With Degree: Poll

MBA Students walking together

MBA students around the world are still mostly satisfied with the degree, according to research from the Association of MBAs and Business Graduates Association. More than half of respondents to the survey of hundreds of MBAs from around the world said that so far the degree was either “partially exceeding” or “completely exceeding” their expectations. Another 33% reported the MBA meeting their expectations. Only 16% reported the degree either “partially” or “completely” falling short of expectations.

The survey and its results should be taken with a sizable grain of salt, however. For one, only around 700 MBAs responded, which is a very low sample size for a global survey. Second, the survey was conducted between March 27 and May 27, 2020, when many schools were still transitioning to online learning. It would be more pertinent to see how current and recently graduated MBA students respond to these question prompts now.

From the AMBA and BGA report

Nevertheless, the survey results offer reassurance for business school deans and program directors in a still-uncertain higher education market.

“For most of the world’s population, the year 2020 has been a year defined by worry, disruption, and lockdown,” said David Woods-Hale, the author of the report and AMBA & BGA’s director of marketing and communications. “The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on business education could never have been predicted just mere months ago. AMBA’s International MBA Survey sought to take a pulse of how students are managing to balance their studies and other commitments, in the face of an unprecedented pandemic.”


The high marks among respondents likely stem from high satisfaction for the professors and teaching in MBA programs and the value respondents see in the degree. More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents said the quality of teaching in their MBA programs were either “excellent” or “very good.” Another 24% said the quality of teaching was “fairly good.” Some 6% said the teaching was neither poor nor good. And just 3% rated the teaching as “fairly poor” or “very poor.” No respondent rated the teaching at their MBA programs as “terrible.”

From the AMBA and BGA report

When asked if the degree was a “good” or “poor” value for the money, the results were also overwhelmingly positive. Four-fifths (80%) of respondents said the value of the degree was either “very good” or “fairly good.” Another 12% said the value of the degree was neither good nor poor. Just 6% said the degree was “fairly poor” or “very poor.”

“The findings reveal that, for the most part, the class of 2020 was riding the chaos of the current global uncertainty and making the most of their unique MBA experience,” Woods-Hale said. “Participants also recognize the work being done by their Schools to mitigate the challenges caused by social distancing and remote learning, with several remarking that the continuity arrangements were impressive, allowing them to still enjoy their experience, despite the effects of Covid-19 lockdowns, that were out of the hands of their Schools.”


From the AMBA and BGA report

Respondents were also asked to say what aspects of the program they’d like to see improved. At the top of the list, 50% of respondents said they’d like their school to provide better networking opportunities. Some 43% said they both wanted to see their MBA programs improve on building corporate partnerships with industry and improvements in teaching modern business trends like big data and artificial intelligence. Another 40% reported wanting to see better quality in teaching and improved career departments.

At the other end, just 12% said they’d like to see more curriculum aligned with specific jobs. Only 13% said they wanted to see more or improved research faculty. Just 15% said they wanted to see more content around business ethics and sustainability. And only 17% they wanted more content looking at broader issues facing society.

“The results showcase a discerning group of students, with a shared passion for lifelong learning,” Woods-Hale said, “but with a diverse set of views around their own ambitions and how their Business Schools can – and should – be supporting them on the path to their aspirations.”

See the entire report here.