GMAC Study Sheds Light on 2009 MBA Job Market

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.

Reader Comments

A.Marie

February 12, 2010 11:00 AM

I found this article interesting yet from my personal standpoint it seems alittle exaggerated. "92% of graduates are satisfied with their employment" I am a 2009 MBA Graduate and I am not at all satisfied with my place of employment. Actually the job I currently have is the same one I had prior to completing my degree, with no pay increase. In fact I have found this to be true with most of my MBA classmates who have recently graduated with A and B grades. I have been on numerous job interviews, I have revamped my resume 30 times this year, and I study and practice for the interview and still not even one offer.....

Tommy Marshall

February 14, 2010 1:48 AM

NEVER believe those surveys of grads. We will all lie to some extent. After foregoing $80K, plus two years of foregone salary, few people will be 100% truthful and admit how fully disappointed they are with their first job post graduation.

Ernest Henderson

February 16, 2010 6:58 PM

I have yet to receive an offer of employment with my mba and I graduated in 1999.

Ernest Henderson

D

February 17, 2010 1:35 PM

That is because MBA's are becoming a dime a dozen. There needs to be specialization. Many people nowadays are going back to school and getting an MBA to up their chances, not realizing that everyone is going back to school. Unless you specialize in a specific field, MBA's, soon, will be as valuable as a Bachelors.

SD

February 28, 2010 3:14 PM

I am into my second class of MBA studies. These comments are very dishartening. I'd rather spend my money in an IT certification than a "nothing"

Confused

March 11, 2010 8:48 AM

I am software engineer. Have 10 years of experience and I reached the top of my pay scale 110k. I am considering MBA and preparing for the GMAT. Even though I am planing to attend parttime, the program will cost me about 75K. Is it worth the investment? Just need an opinion.

Seriously

October 6, 2010 5:04 PM

@ Confused...are you serious? At 110k, you are hardly underemployed. Millions of people out there would kill to make that kind of money. Just how much more do you want? Sometimes, we should be grateful for what we have and learn to be happy. That's not to say we should conform, but give me a break.

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Read daily reports from BusinessWeek editors and reporters Louis Lavelle, Geoff Gloeckler, Alison Damast and Francesca Di Meglio and boost your chances of getting into your best-fit B-school.

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