MBA Job Outlook Strong for Grads

Posted by: Alison Damast on May 10, 2011

To no one’s surprise, the Graduate Management Admission Council reported today that 2011 MBA graduates are having an easier time in the job market than graduates from recent MBA classes. More than half the class of 2011, or 54 percent, received at least one job offer, up from 32 percent last year, according to the report. The finding are based on a survey, conducted in March, of 4,794 recent or soon-to-be graduates at 156 schools around the world.

On average, students with job offers submitted approximately 16 resumes and applications, received six job interviews and obtained two offers of employment, according to the survey.

Students benefitting the most from the buoyant hiring outlook are those from the Asia-Pacific region. About 67 percent had received offers by March, and of all those surveyed, 72 percent indicated that economic factors would have no impact on their future job search plans. U.S. students fared the second best, with about 54 percent of MBA students securing a job, the survey said. The economy weighed heavier on U.S. students’ minds than their Asian-Pacific counterparts, with only 55 percent of those surveyed indicating they didn’t expect the economy to alter their plans, the survey said.

The improved job climate was especially beneficial for students from part-time MBA programs, with 55 percent reporting at least one employment offer, up from a dismal 22 percent in 2010. However, their salaries lagged the most among graduates of business programs, with only 49 percent of part-time students with job offers reporting an increase in their annual base salary, down from 55 percent in 2010. Graduates of two-year full-time MBA programs had better luck when it came to starting offers, with 73 percent of students with job offers reporting an uptick in their annual base salary, up from 64 percent last year. Of one-year full-time MBA graduates, a whopping 80 percent reported a salary increase, up from 62 percent last year.

The good news comes at a time when more companies are feeling upbeat about their long-term outlook, and, as a result, are more inclined to hire a greater number of MBA students, said Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officer of GMAC, in a press release.

"There is a clear connection between the optimism employers are expressing and the improving job prospects business school graduates are seeing," said Wilson.

Campus recruiting, a key hiring indicator, has begun to improve and is up about four percentage points from 2010, according to GMAC's Corporate Recruiters Survey, which surveyed 1,509 participants from 905 companies around the world. Another encouraging sign? The average salary employers expect to pay business graduates has inched up this year to $91,433, up from $89,141 last year and $86,299 in 2009.

If you're a recent or soon-to-be MBA graduate, please share your job hunting story. Will you be walking away from commencement with a job offer in hand? How challenging has you job hunt been so far?

Reader Comments


May 14, 2011 1:45 AM

Is this article a joke. I am graduating from one of the "top MBA programs" according to businessweek. The number of students with full-time jobs is 55%. With the exception of 3 or 4 students who came straight from undergrad, 100% of us had jobs that we had to quit in order to return to school. This means for nearly half of my classmates, including myself, coming back to business school was a horrible mistake.


May 19, 2011 6:30 PM

Anon, I'm with you on this one! I'm highly skeptical of the information that this article states. As a recent MBA grad, I've been struggling unbelievably hard to land employment and am having to encourage myself everyday to keep going. I had an outstanding GPA, great school, and pretty much anything else that is recommended for us grads to have in place. I am still seeking work 5 months after graduation! Good luck Anon and the other grads like us out there who might read this suspiciously optimistic article.

BW's Louis Lavelle

May 20, 2011 1:30 PM

Sorry to hear you guys are having a tough time finding a job. But that doesn't mean the market for MBA talent isn't improving--it's just improving in fits and starts. Everybody is in agreement on this--surveys of students, surveys of recruiters, and surveys of schools all show an improvement over last year in job postings, internship conversions, full-time job offers, even salaries. If you guys are having a tough time it may have something to do with the region of the country you're in, the positions you're seeking, or the industries you want to work in--or some combination of all three. Hang in there guys. You'll eventually get what you're looking for. Louis Lavelle Associate Editor Bloomberg Businessweek


May 29, 2011 12:37 PM

I find it hard to believe that mba grads are finding those 90k a year jobs right out of the gate. I'm like most and graduated with a high gpa in the program. I found myself 50k in debt and still in the same position before I went back. I wish that I had not went back. What really gets me is that I have a higher level of education than 80% of my coworkers and yet I make less per year than them. The job market has turned to political and were not getting ahead. If you know where these jobs are please for Gods sake email me.

Stock Market Hacker

June 3, 2011 3:03 PM

I concur. I am also graduating with an MBA soon and I have not even gotten a single job interview (BS and MS in engineering). So, I do not know where these jobs are...


June 7, 2011 1:06 AM

I agree with all of you. This article is definitely one to question. I'm a recent MBA grad, did well in my courses, and am still struggling to even get a call back after 6 months of active searching and applying.


June 28, 2011 4:22 PM

Although disappointing, it is nice to hear that everybody else appears to be in the same boat that I am. I am a soon-to-be MBA graduate and I am finding that my education was absolutely worthless!! I came back to school in hopes of making myself more employable opening up new fields of industry. But, today (one month from completion) I find myself applying for jobs that I'm overqualified for, not interested in, or in an area of the country that I don't really want to live in.


July 6, 2011 9:15 PM

I could not agree more with all you guys...No offers..No jobs...$55,000 DEBT..I am still doing the same thing...


July 7, 2011 2:09 PM

Agreed. After scoring a near perfect MBA, I'm back doing what I did before. After sitting out of the job market for nearly a year after graduation. Seems like the MBA schools took our money.

It cracked me up to hear Obama talking about retraining our work force, when I've got BS in Engr. and an shinny new MBA (gpa 3.93) and no job, no offers, no interviews.


July 19, 2011 9:14 AM

After graduating from top 20 business school in europe with excellent grades i am having problem to find a job in my field for 7 months. Finally i decided to work for bank basically on starting position with salary below pre-mba's.


July 25, 2011 5:19 PM

I'm also a recent MBA grad from a US program ranked in 30s, High GMAT, and good GPA. To date I have sent out 79 applications resulting in 1 offer out of two interviews.

I declined the offer since it was only a slight increase from my already low pre-MBA pay. What's alarming is that a fair number of my classmates have received no offers although they have similar profiles.


August 12, 2011 7:57 PM

Thank you all for sharing your stories. I am also a recent MBA graduate struggling to get a job. I hope the job market will get better soon. Goodluck everyone.


August 25, 2011 12:56 AM

Unfortunately you all seem to have the wrong idea of what it takes to succeed. I worked in industry for 13 years prior to starting my MBA. I established contacts and a work history and now will just bolster my resume when my MBA is completed. Your educational track record is just part of the puzzle. People want job performance and integrity. And no degree provides that on it's own merit.

Frank M

October 14, 2011 3:24 AM

I believe personality plays a large role in landing any job. The majority of us are educated and talented enough to exceed expectations for any of these jobs. But does the guy hiring us WANT to spend every day with us for the next 10 years?


October 19, 2011 11:18 PM

I graduated with a MBA in May and still have no job. I have a sciences degree and MBA, but during the time while I was in school for both degrees I had done several federal government internships. I have some experience which is helpful, but it is still hard to attain a job. When I was a junior during the spring semester when studying science the pharmaceutical companies had major layoffs. I knew I wasn't going to land a job in the sciences so I went to do my MBA and worked as a student intern.

I will tell you this that it's very important for students to take advantage of extracurricular activities or join student chapters, student internships, or do volunteering because it is about building your resume during college. It's not all about the GPA or what school you went to, but what can you bring to the organization.

I did a lot of volunteering in my community, joined couple student chapters, worked in federal government, and graduated with a high GPA, but it's still hard knowing there is a lot of competition for jobs. I will say this if you have an impressive resume you will get at least your resume looked at by a hiring manager.

I believe more students should build their resume while in school and because if you don't have work experience or something else to show then you will have a difficulty getting a job and paying off these student loans and other things.

I really encourage students to do student internships at organizations whether it is paid or not paid (volunteer) and make the sacrifice because you need to have some work experience. Don't believe what all these stats say because all of them are rubbish. Majority people have a hard time getting a job and it doesn't matter if your graduated in 09 or 10 or 11. It's very hard.

I know couple of federal agencies have cut the student paid internships and now have volunteer ones, but it's better for college students to try that then have nothing on the resume. So my advice to students in school whether in undergrad or grad school is to build your resume.


October 28, 2011 10:49 AM

I'm an international student, hoping to complete my MBA from a top university in the US.
All this talk is really demoralising, at the same extremely informative and enlightening.
I hope to gain more perspective regarding the current job scenario in the US. From the looks of it,I think it would be best to gain more work experience in the field I'm interested in while this unfortunate situation, hopefully,eases off.
Thanks alot guys for sharing your suggestions and experiences.
Hope things get better for you all.


November 1, 2011 5:54 PM

I am in almost the same boat. Graduating from a highly ranked European MBA program that has a growing international reputation. I have a job offer, but it's quite low and the future prospects of this job are not encouraging. No callbacks or other interviews at all. I am not placing any limitations on myself in terms of geography or type of company. At the end of our program, barely above 50% have a job.
I still think getting an MBA is worthwhile. I was able to process things that happened in my previous work experience in new ways, and have gotten skills that will be useful in entrepreneurship.
My advice is to pick the school you go to well. Learn as many languages as you can and be open-minded.

MBA in Columbus, OH

November 6, 2011 1:46 PM

I've had my MBA for 6 years now. Was able to find a job right after school at a fortune 100 company but only making $30K per year. Very few advancement opportunities and no pay raises in the department for the past 4 years due to economy.

Current grads may be finding work, but it is likely not at the Masters level.

My degree was later in life and have years of experience as a supervisor and analyst. Was laid off at my job in '04 while attending full time school for my MBA degree. Stayed with completing the degree, but now I've not been able to get back to the level I was before entering the MBA program.

The job market is still tough.

MBA Aspirant

November 8, 2011 4:02 PM

Reading these comments is troubling. May I request that you mention the name of the Business School that you are attending/have graduated from?

These comments make Part Time and Executive MBAs look even better. I am very jittery about leaving my $80K job.


December 7, 2011 6:25 PM

I graduated three months ago from an Executive MBA Program, ranked inside the top 10 by Business Week every year.

I have sent out 25 applications and have had 3 interviews, each of interviews went really good but I was not extended an offer. Each time potential employers were reluctant to hire someone due to high degree of uncertainty in thier industry due to pending regulatory changes.

I have a feeling at least 70% of posted position are fake or employers seeking a knight in shinning armour or a super MBA. They want an MBA with good grades and years of experience for sure, but they want an MBA that can do it all...increase sales, improve operations, manage change, perform technical work, develop software, assess business risk, wash thier cars, wax thier floors, clean toilets, smile a lot...all for $70,000.00 on a 90 day trial period..

I strongly believe employers have a sense the labor market is very loose and they can be very very picky, or post a position and withdraw multiple times or wait till they can automate that function all together..No one wants the risk of new staff, because they are so uncertain about thier own future.


December 14, 2011 9:34 PM

I agree with you guys about the lousy job outlook. I don't know where GMAC gets the job data outlook from. I have a science degree and about to get my minted MBA in 4 months. I just got layoff from my science job and from the resumes I send out so far. The job market for MBA is not as rosy as GMAC painted it to be.


December 16, 2011 2:33 AM

The article is overoptimistic. I have graduated from MBA in April 2011 with cum laude. Out of 40 grads from my group only 5 started looking for a new job, aiming to improme their staus. Others were wise enough to hold their existing positions during the crises in Europe. I spent 6 months trying to find a job, sent 400 CVs, had 20 interviews and received only 1 offer. I know that some of my collegs are still looking for a job. Good luck!


January 11, 2012 2:15 PM

I am scheduled to graduate with my MBA from a top Business School (Carnegie Mellon) in May and have already had multiple interviews and know others with offers (over six figures). There is so much more that goes into an 'MBA level job' besides the degree. For every complaint or whine that you make, that should have been another application. I have 6 years work experience utilizing my undergrad degree, Mechanical Engineering, and do not expect to have interview everywhere I apply. If you truly graduated from a top business school GPA does not matter. I have had interviews with consulting firms and large busineses including leadership development programs, which I think is the way to go if you are accepted. MBAs have become so common but the fact is these articles are written based on stats and info from the top schools.

Anthony Byerley

January 20, 2012 11:51 PM

I graduated after earning an MBA in 2010, and have seen no pay increase in my current position. I have applied everywhere and have not even had an in-person interview yet. I accepted a lateral move at my current job and am performing very well but have yet to see any financial impact. (outside of the student loan companies calling me wanting their money) I even earned an MA in leadership in 2008, in leadership and management with distinction and honors - along with a 4.0 GPA. My family is capable and willing to relocate. This is not at all happening the way that I planned. Hoping to see ROI soon!

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