Business Booming for Those with a Graduate Business Degree

Posted By Terri Williams on February 17, 2017 at 8:39 am
Business Booming for Those with a Graduate Business Degree

A business degree is one of the best bets for landing a job that pays a good wage and offers a relatively high level of job security. A graduate business degree is an even better bet.

Business skills are in high demand – even among those who majored in other non-business areas. In fact, Harvard Business School recently launched an online program to help students from any discipline develop business skills. Business degrees also are popular among college students. According to Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce, the three most popular majors among college students are business management and administration, general business, and accounting.

But some companies also want the advanced level of education and training that students gain while pursuing a graduate degree.

The Year-End Employer Poll Report by the Graduate Management Admission Council® reveals that applicants with graduate business degrees are on the radar of many employers. Among the companies that participated in the GMAC survey, projected hiring plans are as follows:

Hiring plans for 2017 and the graduate business degree advantage

Graduate Degree Percent of Employers Planning to Hire
MBA 79%
Nonbusiness master’s 50%
Other business master’s 41%
Master in Management 31%
Master of Accounting 29%


Also, 85% of responding employers plan to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree, and 93% plan to staff their organization with experienced industry hires.

Expected Starting Salaries for Business Grads

Some graduate business degree holders will command significantly more than others:

Graduate Degree Median Starting Salary
MBA $105,000
Master in Data Analytics $85,000
Master in Marketing $85,000
Master in Supply Chain Management $75,000
Master of Finance $75,000
Master in Management $70,000
Master of Accounting $62,000


The lure of graduate degree holders

Both hiring projections and starting salaries have increased, especially for those with an MBA or a Master in Accounting. Gregg Schoenfeld, research director of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, isn’t surprised by his company’s findings.

“Employers continue to be optimistic about the future and this is reflected in their 2017 hiring projections,” Schoenfeld tells GoodCall®. “Ninety-six percent of employers say that recent business school graduate hires create value for their company, and most companies expect to increase base salaries for new hires in 2017, thereby supporting the value proposition of a graduate business education.”

Company goals vary by sector and organization. However, Schoenfeld says that regardless of corporate goals, business school grads are in demand. “A majority of the companies, whether they are expanding or overcoming challenges, are seeking business school talent for their organizations.”

And he advises applicants to use this information to their advantage during interviews. “I recommend that they use the interview to highlight their skills, abilities, and experiences to assist companies in achieving their goals.”

So why should students and professionals consider an MBA or nonMBA graduate degree?

Schoenfeld believes that a graduate business degree provides a plethora of advantages. “Business school provides you with the leadership skills, business knowledge, and networking opportunities that are valuable to your career.”

And whether it’s an MBA or another type of graduate business degree, Schoenfeld believes these applicants have a competitive edge in the job market, in addition to the increased opportunity for career advancement. And, as noted above, they tend to also earn higher wages. On average, a graduate degree holder earns $17,000 more a year, but for business majors, it’s typically $20,000 more.

Sean W. Hansen, PhD, MBA program director and associate professor of Management Information Systems at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business, believes that a variety of factors have combined to create a favorable environment.

“On a range of measures, such as hiring intentions, on-campus recruiting activities, salary increases, and return on investment, the marketplace is consistently signaling the tremendous value of the MBA and other graduate business degrees,” Hansen tells GoodCall.

And an MBA, in particular, prepare graduates to take advantage of the current climate. “An MBA program really nurtures what is often referred to as a T-shaped personality – the combination of broad-based knowledge and collaborative inclination (the horizontal stroke of the ‘T’) with greater depth of knowledge in a specific domain or discipline (the vertical stroke),” Hansen explains.

Like Schoenfeld, he believes that regardless of the industry or sector, employers want MBA grads to strategize and provide leadership. “There is a lot of evidence that those are skills and sensibilities that organizations need to navigate complex and turbulent markets, and I think it’s a significant driver of the positive trends that we’re seeing,” Hansen concludes.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

You May Also Like