Pausing your career to enrol in a full time MBA programme is neither a cheap nor a simple task. The vast majority of MBA students take the course for one reason only: They hope it will propel their careers and allow them to reach top management level much sooner than might otherwise be the case.
For most of these people it is important to see an immediate return on their money. An MBA in the US can cost anything up to $80,000 to complete. In the UK and Europe the figure is closer to $50,000, which is still a great deal of money and nobody wants to spend a year or two after graduation before finding a job.
Traditionally, most MBA students are highly successful in finding work. The current recession has, of course, had a negative impact even on the career prospects of MBA graduates, but on average they are still better off than someone without the qualification.
An MBA programme’s job placement rate within three months of graduation will give you a good idea of whether your investment in that programme will pay off in the short term. US News recently conducted a survey among 141 business schools and according to the results 73 percent of 2010 graduates found a job within three months of graduating. In fact 16 schools reported a hiring rate of 90 percent or more within three months. Conversely, 50 percent of students of the bottom 15 schools were not able to find jobs three months after completing the MBA course.
At the top of the list was Abilene Christian University with a three-month placement rate of 97.1 percent. They were closely followed by Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business with a three-month job placement rate of 96.8 percent. Another State University College, that of Iowa, took third place with a 96.3 percent placement rate after 90 days.
These results might surprise many, who would have expected to see more prominent names, such as Harvard, on the list.
In Europe the job market has been hit hard by the financial crisis, but MBA graduates still seem to be doing better than their unqualified counterparts.
Most European business schools still report very high placement rates for their MBA graduates. The Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School reports a 100 percent placement rate after three months, while the IESE Business School reports a figure of 98 percent. In the sub-continent, the Indian Institute of Management, in Ahmedabad, claims a 100 percent placement rate after 90 days, as does the Indian School of Business.
A vital resource to help MBA students find jobs is of course the MBA alumni network. Alumni in large technology and industrial companies regularly turn to MBA campuses to look for fresh talent. The Career Director at Cranfield School of Management, Peter Fennah, agrees with this view. He said, “The big difference compared to last year, is that it is taking longer to find jobs, it is harder for people to switch careers and more of our MBAs are entering maverick roles, like the booming online gaming industry or joining smaller companies through our alumni network.”