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US Grads Get More MBA Jobs - But Europeans Are Paid Higher

MBAs of 2013 were employed in higher numbers than ever, but European graduates were the highest paid. US graduates topped the jobs chart - hear from US MBAs who credit b-school to their careers!

MBAs of 2013 were employed in higher numbers than ever – but US graduates top the charts. 95 per cent of US MBAs were employed by September this year, up from 87 per cent in 2009. The new figures, released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) this week, showed strong employment statistics across all regions.

90 per cent of alumni across the world are in full-time employment less than six months after completing business school, a six per cent increase on the global rate in 2009.

While US MBAs topped the charts, 92 per cent of Latin American graduates, 87 per cent of Indian graduates and 85 per cent of Asia Pacific graduates are in employment.

Although some economies have remained unstable this year, 74 per cent of 2013 alumni feel they could have landed jobs without their graduate management education, according to the report. But almost all (96 per cent) rated the value of their degree as outstanding, excellent or good.

While there has been increasing coverage of b-school graduates shunning traditional MBA Jobs in favour of entrepreneurship, GMAC reports that only five per cent of 2013 alumni polled defined themselves as entrepreneurs or as self-employed.

Finance, consulting and the products and services sectors continue to dominate the MBA careers world, with 57 per cent of business master’s degree-holders landing roles in those industries. Those seeking technology careers jumped up from 12 per cent in 2009 to 15 per cent this year.

Gregg Schoenfeld, director of management education research for GMAC, said that the outlook for business school graduates remains steady: “Regardless of employment status, the vast majority of alumni from the class of 2013 believe their education developed their skills, expanded their network, and prepared them for the job market,” he said.

Although graduates are the highest employed globally, European graduates from one-year full-time MBA programs are the most well paid.

GMAC reports that Europeans have US$101,093 median starting salaries. But US citizens who graduated from a full-time two-year MBA in 2013 have a median starting salary of US$90,000 – although bonus and additional compensation added on US$10,000.

For US grads on part-time MBA programs, median salaries were even lower at US$85,000.

These figures contrast starkly with Indian citizens who graduated from full-time two-year MBA programs, reporting a starting salary of just US$34,988.

Finance often affects the decision to attend business schools, but many US MBAs credit their studies to landing roles at top firms and Fortune 500 companies.

Deirdre O'Donnell, Associate Director at Dartmouth Tuck's Career Development Office, says that alumni connections are key to helping their MBAs get top jobs in the US. “Our alumni network is so loyal to the school and its students; there’s a great sense of giving back here,” she said.

"We're not just career coaches. We have significant backgrounds in the industry we represent and our own significant networks. I have the ability to go and advocate for my students directly with industry."

Kevin Williams, a former Navy SEAL officer who spent 11 years in the US Navy before studying an MBA at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business on the East Coast, banked a job in private equity thanks to the help of business school.

Kevin secured an MBA Job at 13D Research, a private equity firm, through the help of a tuck alumnus. "Students' loyalty to Tuck is greater than their organization," Kevin says. "People stop what they're doing when Tuckie needs help. You get put in front of banks, corporations and the consulting firms, but the connection to the alumni is great."

Eric Yang is studying an MBA at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in Washington. He just completed a summer internship with BAE Systems and is hoping to land a job with a Big Four consulting firm.

He says he got a lot of support from the careers centre at Georgetown, which helped him with interviews, perfecting a cover-letter, crafting a CV and networking. “I know some of the careers team personally and they were a great help,” he told BusinessBecause.

With US graduates almost guaranteed employment, it is clear that an MBA can be a savvy investment decision.

Finance is a key consideration when it comes to business school, and MBAs will hope to see a return on their investment. While US MBAs have the highest employment stats, European graduates are taking the lion’s share of base salaries.

In either case, business school seems an even more attractive option than ever before.