While those stories represent a worst-case scenario, it’s true that finding a job ranks high among the concerns of graduating college students.
But there seems to be an antidote to the problem.
Those who obtain a master’s of business administration (MBA) are likely to have job offers waiting even before they graduate, according to the 2014 Global Management Education Graduate Survey Report from the Graduate Management Admission Council.
The council surveyed more than 3,000 students graduating from master’s programs – 78% from MBA programs, with the remainder from other specialized master’s-level business programs.
Job Offers by the Numbers
- 57% of students surveyed received at least one offer of employment in 2014. That’s actually down from the 60% recorded in 2013, but still way up from the 32% in 2010.
- Those from two-year programs were more likely to have a job offer (60%) than those from a one-year program (45%).
- The median number of job offers was two.
How Business School Helped Students’ Careers
Students recognized that graduate school was helpful in gaining a foothold in the business world.
Five of every six students (84%) said their educational experience improved their chances of finding a job that exceeded their expectations, while 83% said it provided a competitive advantage in the job market. A similar percentage said their education prepared them to meet job challenges.
And 79% said their education “empowered them to be in control of their employment outcomes,” while 77% said they were introduced to career opportunities they hadn’t considered before.
Searching for jobs
Technology has changed many things over the years but one thing remained constant – the most common way to look for a job is to apply directly to a company, which was used by 58% of students, followed closely by career services at 57% and using classmates and alumni at 55%.
School job boards (54%), friends and family (47%), job fairs (47%) and internships (44%) were other common search methods.
The method that actually had the highest success rate was the use of career services, which worked for 56% of those who tried it, followed by internships at 49% and job fairs at 34%. Applying directly to a company only was successful 31% of the time.
Money, Money, Money
Securing a master’s degree paid off handsomely, according to most students surveyed.
Students receiving a job offer said they saw a median increase of 80% compared to their pre-degree salary. That’s up from 73% a year earlier.
The less time the student had in the workforce, the higher the recorded increase. Those with three years or less experience saw a 104% salary hike, compared to 83% for those with three to five years experience and 58% for those with six or more years of experience.
And while women still generally lag behind men in terms of salary – they receive, on average 78.3% of what a man makes in all professions, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – that gap may be narrowing for those with master’s degrees.
Women with three years or less experience enjoyed a pay hike of 132%, while those with three to five years experience jumped 92%. The increase for women with six or more years of experience, however, was 51%, which was less than the 58% growth that men saw.