Most (70%) current MBA students chose the get an MBA to “acquire more skills and knowledge about the business world.” The next most popular reason was to expand a specific area of expertise. About half of current MBA student respondents said they chose to pursue the degree to gain a “broader understanding” of how to manage businesses (53%), make a career change (51%), and help differentiate themselves in the job market (49%).
At the bottom, just 12% of current MBAs reported earning the degree to help them earn more money in the short-term. One-fifth of respondents said they wanted to earn the MBA to learn how to better run an “ethically sound” business. And 27% reported wanting to earn the degree to achieve a promotion, learn how to run a profitable business, or learn to run a business with a greater good for society.
While some main reasons for earning the MBA has remained the same for current MBAs and MBA graduates, others have changed. For example, 70% of MBA graduates and current MBAs reported wanting to earn the MBA to “acquire more skills and knowledge about the business world.” However, substantially more current MBA students (11%) reported wanting to earn the MBA to enhance their business and professional network. Another 11% more current MBA students wanted to earn the MBA to learn about developing a sustainable business. And 10% more current MBA students reported earning the degree to be equipped to start their own business. This suggests what could be an increasingly entrepreneurial and socially-conscious MBA population.
“‘The reasons for completing an MBA among graduates have also largely remained constant over time,” Woods-Hale said. “The most variation in evidence comes among those that have graduated within the past year. This newly graduated cohort reported more motivation to complete an MBA to expand their areas of expertise and were more financially motivated than counterparts who completed the qualification in the 1990s or earlier. These recent graduates were also more concerned with ethical business, compared to MBAs of the 1990s and pre-1990s.”
EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS FOR MBAs ‘REMAIN PROMISING’
About a third (33%) of MBAs said they found the job position they wanted either while studying for the MBA or within six months after graduating. However, 21% said they still don’t have the role they want.
‘These findings also suggest that employment prospects remain promising for MBA graduates, with 33% of those that have graduated within the past year saying they landed their desired role during the degree, or within six months of completing it,” Woods-Hale said. “A further 26% of recent graduates already had the job they wanted before starting the MBA. It’s also worth noting that this is not to say that the remaining 41% were still out of work six months on from graduation, only that they had not yet secured their ideal – or dream – job, post-MBA.
“Volatility caused by geopolitical issues are set to continue and could even exacerbate challenges in the recruitment market, making future trends on MBA recruitment figures hard to predict. Yet, in spite of such uncertainty, AMBA & BGA’s survey of MBA students and graduates, combined with its survey of MBA employers detailed in the previous part of this study, indicates that both these groups are confident that MBAs have the skills and qualities that employers need to succeed, and are best placed to face these ongoing and unpredictable challenges.”
The survey was conducted between the end of March and end of May of this year, and was sent to 49,000 MBA students and graduates in more than 150 countries. The majority of respondents were male and 43% are based in Europe or the U.K. Another 13% of respondents were based in Africa with 12% coming from India and another 12% based in Asia and the Middle East (excluding India and China). Just 14% came from the Western Hemisphere.