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How Many Business Graduates Are Seeking Employment—And Do They Find It?

August 2015

By Jessica Brown, Senior Manager, Knowledge Services, AACSB International

Many students seek to earn a degree as part of their overall career path, and AACSB member schools strive to help those students by providing exceptional educational opportunities and support through their degree programs. These schools also tend to have advisors or counselors who are knowledgeable about the available career services areas to help students turn their education into a valuable career. This can include everything from advising on the proper courses to supporting a specific career path to helping students find internships and employment offers. After graduation, students move on to further their career trajectory or seek additional educational opportunities. These graduates can be more difficult to track, but most schools have some sort of alumni survey, exit interview, or other tracking opportunities in place to help them follow the ongoing successes of their students.

As mentioned in an earlier article using preliminary data from the BSQ Employment Module, AACSB International launched a new data collection initiative in December 2014 combining data sections from AACSB and MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA) into a single survey to enhance the types of information available about employment outcomes for students receiving degrees in a business or management field. Upon completion of the data analysis, a total of 202 schools had participated in the joint data collection effort. As this was the first year of the survey, schools were given the option to report data for the component fields, total fields, or a combination, as determined by their data availability, so some schools may have reported data for only specific components, such as the MBA degree title, if the data for the more comprehensive categories were unavailable. The data for the charts below are all based on the full list of schools that participated for each item.

Undergraduate

At the undergraduate level, 55.3 percent of graduating students were reported as seeking employment. As of three months after graduation, 75.2 percent of those seeking employment reported acceptance of a job offer, indicating that the majority of students seeking employment were successful in their job search with their undergraduate degrees from AACSB member schools.

Master’s-Generalist/ MBA Equivalent

At the Master's-Generalist/ MBA Equivalent education level, 83.4 percent of students reported as seeking employment accepted a job offer within three months after graduation. In other words, more than four in five job-seeking graduates were successful in finding employment after graduation with a Master’s-Generalist degree.

MBA Degree Title

For the purposes of this survey, degrees that are specifically given the MBA degree title (which can also be included in the Master’s-Generalist category) are also broken out separately to get a better view of the MBA graduates. Unsurprisingly, students earning an MBA and seeking employment were reported as accepting jobs by three months after graduation in 82.6 percent of cases—a similar rate to that across the entire set of Master’s-Generalist degree program graduates reported.

EMBA Degree Title

The EMBA provides an interesting contrast to the other degree levels. As a degree program that is commonly sought by working professionals, the percentage of those seeking employment was much smaller, with only 3.9 percent of graduates reported within these programs listed as seeking employment. However, even with the small percentage of graduates seeking new employment, job acceptance was reported at 86.7 percent by three months after graduation.

Master’s-Specialist

With the Master’s-Specialist education level, the percentage of those seeking employment is back up to 60.9 percent, with 78.0 percent of those seeking reported as accepting employment by three months after graduation. The ongoing rise in enrollments and specialized programs offered means that these programs are likely to continue gaining in popularity and see additional job seekers and graduates looking to enter the job market in future years.

Doctoral

As the highest education level available, it’s probably not a surprise to see that 86.6 percent of graduates are reported as seeking employment. This is the time when we expect the graduates will be searching for just the right position as business school faculty or seeking to use their experience within positions in industries around the world. Based on this survey data, the graduates seem to be met with overwhelming success, with more than 90 percent of doctoral graduates seeking employment reported as accepting a position within three months of graduation.

What Does It All Mean?

While these data are based on only one year of collection and a smaller set of 202 member schools that participated in the pilot year for this survey, it seems clear that AACSB schools are seeing strong success rates in their students’ abilities to find employment after graduation. The data set seems to be a strong indicator that earning a business degree is working for those students seeking new employment—which is good news for current and prospective students looking to pursue a degree in one of the business- and management-related fields.

Note: Additional reports and data from the BSQ Employment Module—AACSB and MBA CSEA Sections will be released over the coming months by both AACSB International and MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance. For more information about reports and data available, please email datadirect@aacsb.edu for AACSB International data requests and execdirector@mbacsea.org for MBA CSEA data requests.