Posted by: Louis Lavelle on February 5, 2010
Not to beat a dead horse, but the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) recently came out with a new survey of MBA alumni that does a terrific job of quantifying what by now has become an all-too-familiar reality: 2009 was a tough year to be a b-school graduate.
I won’t bore you with all the details—you can check out the report yourself at the GMAC web site. But I will share a few highlights.
First, the big-picture number: when GMAC conducted the survey in September, three out of four graduates who earned MBAs from full-time programs in 2009 had jobs. GMAC views that in a positive light—GMAC’s CEO Dave Wilson was quoted in the press release saying it’s evidence of the “high value employers place on management education.” But what it really shows is just what an equal-opportunity career killer this recession has been. When we reported on the placement records for Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s top 30 full-time programs three months after graduation, those top schools had for the most part fared better than the GMAC average. But even among the top schools there were several that did no better, and a few that did a bit worse. Apparently even top tier schools are no safe harbor when the economy is circling the drain.
Another little factoid I found interesting was just how limited were the choices many b-school grads faced after graduation. We all know that the days of wine and roses (and a half dozen six-figure job offers) more or less ended the day Bear Stearns collapsed. But GMAC found that the number of job offers that many 2009 graduates received left them no choice at all—in fact for 56% of them, there was just one offer, up from 21% in 2008. Among women, the situation was even worse: 63% garnered only one offer.
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of 2009 graduates reported high levels of satisfaction with their new jobs—92% felt they made the right decision.
Since salaries actually declined somewhat (less than 1% to $79,271) and most graduates were not entertaining an abundance of choices, you have to wonder if having any job, even one you weren’t planning on when you were writing those tuition checks, was enough to make everyone feel a little bit lucky. Dodging bullets will do that to you.