GMAC: Job Prospects Strong for MBA Grads

A new survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council paints an optimistic picture for MBA graduates.
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Published on July 9, 2024
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  • Hiring looks strong globally for MBA graduates, according to a report from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).
  • The GMAC 2024 Corporate Recruiters Survey found strong earnings and increases in planned hiring for business graduates.
  • Corporate recruiters said that MBA graduates had a projected median starting annual salary of $120,000 in 2024.
  • Hiring globally was generally more robust than in the U.S.

Hiring prospects look good for master of business administration (MBA) graduates.

U.S. employers showed a high demand for MBA graduates in the 2024 Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) Corporate Recruiters Survey. That annual survey showed increasing demand year over year for MBA graduates.

Roughly 25% of U.S. employers who responded to the survey indicated that they planned to hire more MBA graduates in 2024 than in 2023. A further 46% said they expected to hire the same as in 2023.

Only 12% of U.S. employers indicated that they didn't plan to hire MBA graduates in 2024, whereas that figure was 16% for 2023.

More than half of U.S. employers didn't expect to hire other business master's degree types like master in management, master of accounting, and master of data analytics graduates.

However, for those who planned to hire graduates from those more niche business degrees, planned hiring was projected to increase year over year.

MBA hiring expectations were stronger globally than in the U.S. alone. Employers globally were also much more likely to plan on hiring other master's degree-holders, like master of data and business analytics graduates.

More than a quarter of employers plan to expand their hiring of GME (graduate management education) grads in 2024, with a plurality planning steady hiring across degree types, the report reads.

Demand for GME graduates is expected to grow much faster globally than in the United States alone. Employers globally were, as a whole, more likely to indicate increasing demand for graduate management education students than in the U.S.

Global employers were most likely to hire MBA graduates in the manufacturing industry, with other sectors like finance holding strong.

What Graduate Business Degree Made the Most Money?

The MBA was by far the highest-earning degree type, with a projected median starting annual salary of $120,000 in 2024.

That's no surprise: MBA graduates usually already have work experience, and the degree can lead to higher-paying leadership positions and roles in lucrative sectors like consulting.

Those higher earnings can bring MBA graduates a strong return on their investment.

BestColleges previously reported that an average MBA program costs $31,300 yearly, including costs for tuition, fees, books, living expenses, and personal expenses. That number varies widely by program format, with online, part-time programs typically running cheaper.

Experienced hires directly from the industry rather than higher education made a median annual starting salary of $90,000. Other graduate business degrees, where students typically have less real-world experience, tended to make less starting off:

  • Master of business analytics: $80,000
  • Master of data analytics: $80,000
  • Master of finance: $80,000
  • Master of marketing: $79,500
  • Master of accounting: $75,000

Corporate recruiters said that new hires with a bachelor's alone would likely make a median annual starting salary of $69,320 in 2024.

Those findings are overall similar to the GMAC's 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey, but GMAC officials cautioned in the report that methodology changes don't make those figures entirely comparable.

Additionally, starting salaries and short-term projections don't necessarily reflect the full, long-term return on investment of graduate business degrees.