Training & Development

Post-graduate business management courses offer “outstanding” value for money: Study finds

Yolanda Redrup /

Business school management course graduates have ranked their post-graduate degrees as outstanding value in both financial and personal terms.

A global survey by the United States Graduate Management Admission Council, responsible for the GMAT tests, has found 94% of respondents said their management course was good to outstanding value compared to its monetary cost.

Overall, 79% of alumni reported the course either met or exceeded their expectation of financial return.

“Not surprisingly, the further away from graduation, the more likely alumni feel their expectations were exceeded,” the report says.

“For instance, nearly half (48%) of alumni who graduated prior to 1980 say their ROI expectations were exceeded, compared with 38% of those who graduated in the 1980s, 33% of those who graduated in the 1990s, 26% of those who graduated in class years 2000-2009, and 16% of recent graduates (2010–2013).”

GMAC surveyed more than 21,000 people across the globe for the study, including 206 graduates from Australia, who completed courses dating from the 1950s to today.

As well as being financially worthwhile, 94% of respondents said their course was personally satisfying and 90% reported it was professionally rewarding.

Australian respondents on average found the degrees less financially rewarding, but said the courses had more personal value (96%).

Of the Australians surveyed, 86% were working for an employer, while 14% identified as entrepreneurs.

Globally, older graduates from before 1990 were more likely to be business owners, with almost a quarter being entrepreneurs.

GMAC chief executive Sangeet Chowfla said in a statement business school courses prepared people to start their own company.

“While entrepreneurship is a hot topic and is a very popular course of study at today’s business schools, these findings suggest that business schools have always prepared students to launch and manage their own businesses,” she says.

“Even if alumni don’t become entrepreneurs at graduation – something more common with today’s graduates – their business education provides the career flexibility and the skills that help them start businesses years later.”

The worldwide report, which was published yesterday, covered graduates in 145 countries and 132 business schools around the world and also found soft skills were the most highly valued by graduates.

For Australians, the top five skills used on the job were interpersonal skills; learning, motivation and leadership; conscientiousness; knowledge of general business functions and managing the decision-making process.

Overall business school graduates globally were happy in their jobs, with 83% of alumni saying they were satisfied.

“Very little difference exists in job satisfaction based on employee job tenure – 84% of alumni who changed companies are very satisfied/satisfied with their job compared with 82% of alumni who still work for their first employer since graduating from business school,” the report says.

Australian business school graduates were found to be some of the highest paid in the world, with the salary for mid-level respondents $US109,521 ($A120,800) compared to $US93,000 for employees in the US and only $US22,446 for people in India.

However, at the executive level, the median salaries of US and Denmark respondents exceeded that of Australians.

The median salary for people in Denmark was $US219,849, in the US it was $US175,000 while in Australia it was $US168,878.

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