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GMAC Study Shows Graduate Business Programs Inspire New Career Outcomes

Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a nonprofit organization of leading graduate business schools in its latest released report state that, “More than half of graduate business school alumni are currently employed in an industry or job function they did not have experience in prior to entering business school”. The Council’s 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey show that 39 percent alumni currently work in an industry they hadn’t considered prior to starting business school; they learned of the opportunity while enrolled in a graduate business programs, with 88 percent sharing that they are satisfied with their job and employer.

President and CEO of GMAC Sangeet Chowfla said “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 them and industries are disrupted.”

The 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report is concluded with the research on the details of the education and career of nearly 15,000 graduate business alumni representing 1,100 graduate business programs located around the world. The report highlights that regardless of graduation year or program type, the value proposition of a graduate business degree is high.

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Key Conclusions of 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report

  • Graduate Business Programs / School Compensation

95 percent survey respondents, rate their graduate management education (Graduate Business Programs) a good to outstanding value. On average, the total compensation package for graduate business school alumni can range from a median of US$75,513 for an entry-level position upward to a median of US$440,122 in total compensation for a C-suite executive. Business school alumni earn 76 percent of their total compensation in base salary, on average. As they advance up the career ladder, a greater proportion of their compensation comes from non-salary sources such as bonuses.

  • Employment Profile

From the 92 percent of currently employed survey respondents, 81 percent of  worldwide are employed with a company and 11 percent are self-employed entrepreneurs . Globally, the products and services (27 percent), technology (14 percent), and finance and accounting (11 percent) sectors employ the greatest proportion of alumni represented in this survey. 

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As for job functions, MBA alumni are more likely to hold positions in marketing, sales, operations, logistics, and general management. Alumni of non-MBA business master’s degrees are more likely to work in finance, accounting, and human resource positions.

In total, more than 4 in 5 alumni agree their education prepared them for leadership positions (86 percent), prepared them for their chosen career (85 percent), and increased their earnings power (82 percent).

  • The Entrepreneur

 Most alumni delay their entrepreneurial activities until after graduation. In fact, 2 in 3 alumni entrepreneurs began their business after graduation following employment at another company. One in 8 alumni entrepreneurs sought venture capital and 72 percent of these individuals received such funding. Half of the alumni entrepreneurs say their university provided faculty guidance, experts from the community, and mentors to guide their entrepreneurial activities.

  •  Most Valued Skills in the Workplace

Alumni rank interpersonal skills as most important in the workplace, regardless of job level or function. Among the top five talents important to their job, the ones related to “people” skills or emotional intelligence are highly ranked by alumni, with interpersonal skills (e.g., active listening, persuasion and negotiation, time management) topping the list.

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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.

  • Net Promoter Score

Most alumni are very likely to recommend their graduate business program to colleagues and friends. The overall Net Promoter Score that business schools receive from their alumni is 47, which is greater than scores received in many sectors of the economy. Net Promoter Scores differs by program type range from 22 for Master in Management programs to 62 for full-time two-year MBA programs.


“It’s clear from the results that alumni feel their education helped prepare them for leadership positions, as well as enhanced their earnings potential and guided their career development. Graduate business programs expose students to a wide range of opportunities and provide alumni with access to a variety of career outcomes. This positivity is reflected in their recommendation of a graduate management education to others.” said Chowfla.


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