Proving the Value of an MBA or Business Master’s Degree

Posted by Maite Salazar
Maite Salazar is the Chief Marketing Officer at GMAC. In her role, she oversees global marketing solutions for the organization, including advocacy, market intelligence, brand, professional education, corporate communications, and digital marketing.

Posted on Dec 22, 2021 2:07:57 PM

Maite blog graphic_gray-1Business school alumni overwhelmingly report that their graduate business education was a highly worthwhile and valuable experience – 94% of business school alumni rate their graduate business education as good, excellent or outstanding, and report a favorable Net Promoter Score® (NPS) of 30, indicating that a high percentage of alums are likely to recommend graduate management education (GME) to friends and family.

The data has shown that most alumni are likely to recommend their graduate business school to a friend or colleague. Let’s be honest, most industries would love to have this kind of positive feedback from their ‘customers!’ With that being the case, why do some programs seem to struggle to fill a pipeline with strong, qualified applicants? Why do we feel like we are constantly answering the question “is an MBA worth it?” How can we better position graduate b-school degrees as a whole to capitalize on the excellent returns that degree holders experience?

A new research report from GMAC, “The Value of Graduate Management Education: From the Candidate’s Perspective,” takes a new look at the many benefits of GME for candidates worldwide professionally, personally, and financially. We surveyed close to 4,000 b-school applicants before they entered a program to understand their drivers for pursuing GME. We surveyed the same people after they completed their degree to understand if the experience delivered for them on the professional, personal, and financial levels. Simply put, did they get the jobs, financial improvement, and satisfaction they desired – is the payoff there, and how do we as an industry prove it?

This research delivers greater insights on behalf of the GME industry about the value of a business degree. The report examines each candidates’ specific motivations driving the decision to enroll in an MBA or business master’s program. What’s more important, the data shows how the impact of GME performed in achieving each individual’s goals.

How is this research different?

This unique study looks at the entire candidate experience across multiple dimensions: professional, financial, personal, and tracking thousands of b-school candidates (both MBA and business master’s) from the onset of a candidate’s first consideration of business school through graduation. The global sample enables a robust analysis of trends and insights between 2009-2021.

Questions addressed in this paper include:

  • Personally: What benefits do business school graduates experience?
    • Does a business degree increase international mobility?
    • Do alumni feel their new careers are meaningful?
    • Do alumni feel their new careers support their desired lifestyles?
  • Professionally: How quickly do candidates find jobs?
    • What percentage of last year’s MBA graduates received job offers within 90 days of graduating?
    • How many had job offers before they graduated?
  • Financially: Do graduates command premium salaries? 
    • Did a business degree increase an individual’s employability?
    • Did the credential increase their earnings power?

How can we use this information to help candidates along their GME journey?

Prospective students are hungry for information about how an MBA or business master’s degree can help them achieve their goals. On behalf of the GME community, GMAC is publishing a companion guide for candidates titled, “Is Business School Worth It?” Publishing on mba.com in January 2022, this guide will provide candidates with concrete information to help them decide how best to proceed and reinforce their decision to pursue a graduate management degree. It will also include insights and real-world testimonials that encourage prospective students to make 2022 the year in which they make GME a reality for them.

Advocating for GME

GMAC will make the study report and candidate guide widely available to the industry and general public to advocate for GME. School professionals can use these resources to develop program strategies, identify talent pools, inform recruitment efforts, and address perceptions of prospective applicants. In January 2022, GMAC will host a session at the annual Leadership Conference seeking guidance from school professionals, like yourself, on how to make the most of these new insights.

GMAC looks forward to working with you to help candidates worldwide pursue GME.

Topics: graduate business school candidate, graduate business school, MBA Program, MBA admissions

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