Crowdsourcing B-School Alumni: Four Career Action Steps for Business-Minded Undergrads

Mar 19, 2015
Tags: Alumni, MBA, Official GMAT

Imagine if you could crowdsource the advice of more than 12,000 alumni from over 230 business programs at 71 universities across 22 countries—wouldn’t that be great? Thankfully, GMAC has made this as easy as flipping through the 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report, released February 2015

Below are some career action steps for business-minded undergrads based on alumni responses.  

1. Make a Plan to Accelerate Your Career Progression that Includes a Graduate Business Degree

A good reason to be thinking about a graduate business degree (like an MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Finance, etc.) is that it can accelerate the pace of your future career. A snapshot of four decades of career data from b-school alumni indicates that graduate business degree-holders ascend to higher organizational levels at a remarkably consistent rate.

Career Acceleration 

Just one year after completing a graduate management education, the majority (74%) of alumni hold mid-level positions or higher. Five years after graduation, 53% have already been promoted to senior level positions or higher. Ten years out, 66% are senior level or higher, and more than one in ten alumni own and operate their own business (11%).

Five percent of b-school alumni surveyed occupy the “c-suite”, which includes positions like CEO, CFO, COO, etc. It’s clear that the time, money, and effort applied to a business degree pays off at the top—c-suite alumni are more likely than alumni at any other level to assert that in their job they use the knowledge, skills, and abilities they learned in b-school.[1]

2. Invest in Your Education to Increase Your Earnings

Ninety percent of alumni say their graduate management education increased their earning power.[2] The data below shows the median salaries of b-school alumni by job level.

Median Salary by Job Level 

In addition, salaries for graduate business degree-holders are internationally competitive. Looking solely at median base salary by work location, b-school alumni working in Switzerland, UK, Singapore, UAE, and US earn the most compared with alumni in other countries.

For the first time, GMAC’s annual survey of alumni analyzed the purchasing power of alumni salaries in countries from around the world. Measured in this way, the value of a b-school degree is particularly high in countries such as India and China, where alumni enjoy purchasing power 6.2 and 5.6 times that of the average resident, respectively.[3]

Purchasing Power of B-school Alumni 

3. Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

In today’s global economy, the companies that thrive will be those that find ways to continuously innovate, take risks, improve processes, and quickly bring new products to market.

As a result, forward-thinking organizations are actively seeking “intrapreneurs”—professionals within established companies who have an entrepreneurial orientation, defined by the traits of proactiveness, innovation, and social risk taking.

Among the alumni GMAC surveyed, a clear trend emerges: individuals with prominent levels of these characteristics have risen to the top levels of organizations. C-suite leaders within established companies and entrepreneur alumni who lead startups are the most likely to describe themselves with these traits.[4]

Past research on b-school graduates indicates they take way from their experience a solid grounding in basic business knowledge, financial and management skills, leadership discipline, and other skills related to being an effective intra- or entrepreneur.

See related blogs: “Thinking of Launching a Business After B-School? You’re in Good Company” and “B-School is a Launchpad for Entrepreneurs”

4. Cultivate a Strong Network to Get Ahead in Today’s Market

Recent alumni from MBA and specialized business master’s programs—more so than older alumni—indicate that networking is an important factor to career development, and report that b-school is a great place to build a network.

Alumni from 2010 and later attribute more of their career success to networking and less to personal effort and hard work compared to alumni from earlier years. These recent alumni are also more likely to say their b-school experience developed their network to the fullest: 84% of alumni from 2010 and later credit their b-school with doing a good to excellent job developing their network, compared to just 55% of alumni from 1980 or earlier.

Professional Network

Recent alumni know networking doesn’t end in b-school, too. They are more likely and to stay connected with other alumni through Facebook or LinkedIn and to want additional networking events from their Alumni Association compared with older alumni. [5]

This means undergrads considering business school can look forward to an alumni base eager to connect through the common bond of their alma mater—a bond that often leads to job opportunities and beneficial professional friendships.

Here's the Recap:

  1. Make a Plan to Accelerate Your Career Progression that Includes a Graduate Business Degree
  2. Invest in Your Education to Increase Your Earnings
  3. Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset
  4. Cultivate a Strong Network to Get Ahead in Today’s Market

Bottom line: 95% of b-school alumni rate the value of their degree as good to outstanding and 93% would recommend their program to others.[6]

How do you get started? Your first step is taking the GMAT® exam—and there’s no time better to start planning for it than right now, while you’re still an undergrad. Register at mba.com to access free GMATPrep® software to help build your confidence. The new GMAT® Enhanced Score Report provides more information about your exam performance than ever before so you can better focus future study, preparation, test-taking strategy, and speak more authoritatively about your skills with admissions staff. And, since GMAT scores are good for five years, when you’re ready to apply your scores are still able to be used for your application.

Click here to book your ticket to career success today.


[1] GMAC. 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.
[2] GMAC. 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.
[3] GMAC. 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.
[4] GMAC. 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.
[5] GMAC. 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.
[6] GMAC. 2015 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.

OK