MBA students optimistic about employment prospects: survey

Almost 80% of respondents said they are “very” or “somewhat” confident about landing a good job.

By U2B Staff 

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MBA students are optimistic about their employment prospects, according to Training The Street’s (TTS) survey of more than 450 MBA students across the US.

Almost 80% of respondents said they are “very” or “somewhat” confident about landing a good job. Conversely, last year at this time, just 43% expressed confidence about their employment prospects; 57% said they were very or somewhat pessimistic. 


Only nine percent of those surveyed said they are dissatisfied with their job offers this year.

The TTS survey also found that an overwhelming majority (83.6%) preferred working in a major city. 

Most respondents also prefer a combination of working from home and at the office. Just 18.1% say they prefer to work “fully in-person,” compared with 54.8% who would like to be in-person three to four days a week. Nearly a quarter (23.5%) said one to two days of in-person work is ideal.

TTS provides training courses for Wall Street banks and financial institutions.

Their survey was conducted between April 9 and May 10. To collect the data, the organisation surveyed 451 students currently enrolled in a business school and pursuing an MBA. 

Over 50% of MBA students expect to earn over US$125,000 per annum

More than half of respondents (52.4%) with an internship or full-time offer said they expect to make an annualised salary of over US$125,000, and 73.9% of MBA students expect to make at least US$100,000 this year.

Despite this, 26% said they had not received a job offer, indicating the job market is very competitive, with graduates from 2021 also competing with 2020 grads. Placement rates for Class of 2020 graduates lagged amid the lagging economy, said the report.

A recent Poets&Quants’ analysis found that half of the top 26 business schools in the US said select graduates have struck it rich, with base salaries north of US$200,000 in 2020, while 17 b-schools reported large sign-on bonuses of US$100,000 or greater. 

Despite this, the overarching finding is that the MBA pay slumped during the pandemic last year.

The Poets&Quants’ analysis said: “…MBA pay slumped in the coronavirus year of 2020, growing — where it grew at all — more slowly than previous years and not keeping pace with the relentlessly rising cost of the degree.”


They reported that nine schools saw their total pay declined from 2019 to 2020, including two Southern California schools, USC Marshall School of Business (-3.3% from US$155,267 to $150,191) and UCLA Anderson School of Management (-2.1% from US$151,837 to US$148,704); between 2018 and 2019, only one school (Washington Foster School of Business) suffered that fate.

“Overall, pay in 2020 increased at a rate of 2.3% for the top 26 schools, less than half the rate it grew in 2019 (4.9%),” it said.

In total, the average US MBA salary in 2020 was US$137,888, up 2.1% from 2019. They also found that, overall, the average US sign-on bonus for the 24 schools for which they have data is US$31,635, up 2.3% from last year’s US$30,926.