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GMAC Asked Employers: Are B-School Grads Well Prepared to Be Successful at Your Company?

Posted by Matt Hazenbush
Matt Hazenbush is the Director of Research Analysis and Communications at GMAC. He supports the organization’s commitment to presenting and disseminating actionable and relevant information about graduate management education through authoring reports, white papers, and briefs, which are available on He also leads presentations, workshops, and panel discussions at industry conferences. Matt earned a B.A. in History and Communication from Boston College and an Ed.M. in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Posted on Aug 7, 2019 11:00:00 AM

A new report based on the findings of GMAC’s annual Corporate Recruiters Survey does a deep dive on the employability of business school graduates.

By and large, business school candidates’ ultimate goal is not merely to earn a degree, but to leverage that degree to achieve their professional goals. Indeed, employability—the capability to gain initial employment, maintain employment, and obtain new employment if required—is a driving force for many in their decision to pursue graduate management education (GME).

For instance, about 1 in 3 respondents to the Prospective Students Survey say that what triggered their initial consideration of GME is that they started to look for a new job and realized that they were lacking the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be competitive. About 1 in 5 say they reached a plateau at work, and another 1 in 5 say that they lack the specific knowledge they need to do their current job. These candidates are drawn to GME because they have a reasonable expectation that a graduate business credential will lead to the improved employment outcomes they seek. In fact, more than 7 in 10 candidates say that they expect GME to significantly improve their careers. Whether or not GME will deliver on this promise depends in part on employers’ opinions of business school graduates. Do corporate recruiters think business school graduates are prepared to be successful at their companies?

Survey findings from more than 1,200 respondents to GMAC’s annual Corporate Recruiters Survey detailed in a new report show that employer impressions of recent GME graduates and their potential are overwhelmingly positive. The new report, titled Employability and Business School Graduates: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019, shows that overall nearly 9 in 10 employers agree that business school graduates are well prepared to be successful at their companies. Just 12 percent disagree, and two percent strongly disagree.

Access the report  

While the overall positive impressions of business school graduates are seen across the sample of corporate recruiters, analysis of survey responses by company world region, company type, industry, and size reveal interesting differences. Generally, larger employers tend to rate recent business graduates’ level of preparedness for success higher than smaller employers. For example, 39 percent of Fortune Global 100 companies strongly agree that business school graduates are well prepared for success in their companies, compared with 12 percent of startups. Additionally, US companies have generally more favorable attitudes about graduates’ future success than European or Asia Pacific employers. By industry, finance, technology, and health care employers tend to have the most confidence in the success of business school graduates.

Employability 1The new report also examines employers’ opinions on which specific skills are the most important for the job openings recruiters plan to fill with business school graduates and how well business schools prepare graduates with those specific skills. The graphic below—taken from the report—plots the level of importance employers place on skills for job openings they plan to fill with business school graduates against employers’ evaluation of how well business school prepares graduates with those skills. Skills in the top right quadrant are skills that employers say are both important to their job openings and skills that they say business school graduates are well prepared in. For more, access the report.

Employability 2For more from the Corporate Recruiters Survey, including trends in hiring and compensation for MBA and business master’s graduates, access the Business School Hiring Report: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019 in the GMAC Research Library and read coverage on GMAC Advisor.

Topics: Employment Outlook, Research Insights

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