Fresh masters of business administration are still relevant, but many are considering using their new qualification abroad
An MBA has always been regarded as a one-way ticket to a shiny corporate career, propelling the holder on a swift flight from business school to the top office and yielding a nice, fat pay cheque along the way.
And it appears that this, more or less, is what many MBA graduates have enjoyed, according to the latest career survey published by the Association of MBAs. At least, that is what they enjoyed until June last year.
The association’s snapshot survey, on the state of 2,000 MBA holders’ careers in June 2008, showed that the most popular sectors in which graduates worked were finance and consulting.
Ten years after graduation 39 per cent were employed as senior managers, 13 per cent as board directors, partners or vice-presidents and 11 per cent as chief executives or presidents.
Times have changed greatly since June, but Diane Morgan, the director of career services at London Business School, says that banks, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Nomura and Merrill Lynch, are still keen to recruit MBA graduates.
“They still recognise the importance of having good, smart, entry-level workers,” Ms Morgan said. And basic salaries are holding strong, although it is too early to say how much bonus pay might differ for this year’s graduates.
However, Ms Morgan did say that competition for positions was keener than ever, with some banks looking for specific experience and with graduates competing for jobs with professionals who have been made redundant.
There was also a trend of students looking at starting their careers abroad rather than in London. They might consider China, where, according to the survey, MBA graduates are in high demand and can expect to boost their salary by 126per cent with an MBA.
The survey conducted for Time Online http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/career_and_jobs/article5798063.ece shows that, worldwide, MBA recipients received an average salary rise of 46 per cent immediately after graduation, compared with their pre-MBA pay, 129 per cent three to five years later and 208 per cent six to ten years after leaving business school.
In the UK the average salary for a male MBA graduate was £74,441 plus a bonus (or other variable earnings) of £27,179. For women it was £59,309, with variable earnings of £11,230.
The highest-paying sector was pharmaceuticals and healthcare (£97,889 average salary, plus £51,657 variable earnings), followed by finance. However, UK graduates were not the world’s highest paid -those in the United States and Germany earned more on average.
The majority of graduates worked in general management or corporate strategy. However, MBA graduates do not merely stride about the corporate corridors of power – 41 per cent worked in companies with a turnover of less than £4.9million.
Jeanette Purcell, chief executive of the Association of MBAs, said: “The movement to small firms is great because small firms are the ones that particularly need people with these skills – generalist managers who are able to cope with change and uncertainty to grow the business.”
Business schools are seeing plenty of people using their redundancy pay to fund an MBA course in the hope that stability will have returned to the markets by the time they finish their studies.
By 2010 or 2011, perhaps, employment prospects may be as rosy as those enjoyed by their peers who graduated before the credit crunch.