Two-Thirds of Job Offers Include Signing Bonuses,
GMAC Survey Also Finds

Newly minted MBAs are commanding significantly heftier salaries in 2006 than their counterparts did last year, with the average business school graduate’s starting base salary topping $92,000, according to new research from the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®).

Amid a healthy recruiting environment built on strong employer confidence in the economy, the average new MBA with a job offer in hand will earn $92,360 during their first year of employment, up 4.2 percent from the $88,626 graduates in 2005 received. Moreover, two-thirds of job offers to MBAs in 2006 come with signing bonuses that average $17,603, up slightly from last year.

“The MBA continues to demonstrate its strong value proposition,” said David A. Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC. “In a knowledge economy, leadership and management demand a complex portfolio of skills and talents. A selective MBA program gives its graduate those skills.”

In addition to earning bigger paychecks, more MBAs are finding jobs while still in school, continuing a multiyear upward trend. Fifty-two percent of respondents to the 2006 GMAC Global MBA® Graduate Survey said they had received or accepted a job offer before graduation, compared with 50 percent in 2005, 42 percent in 2004 and 36 percent in 2003.

The survey includes responses from 6,139 students at 147 business schools worldwide. A third of the respondents are citizens of countries other than the United States.


Also See: MBA Entrance Exams


GMAC researchers also found that most MBA students feel their investment in business school was worthwhile. About two-thirds of respondents to the survey rated their degree as an outstanding or excellent value, and another 29 percent said it was a good value. Students revealed that they based their opinions about the value of their MBA on factors such as the quality of the curriculum, their ability to develop key skills and abilities, and the culture of the school they attended. Six percent of participants in the survey said they placed strong emphasis on the potential to increase their financial well-being when assessing their investment in graduate business education.

In addition, the survey found that MBA graduates are, on the whole, interested in the kinds of jobs that employers say they would like to fill. For example, nearly half of respondents said they hoped to land a midlevel position—the type of role for which recruiters say they are most likely to be hiring.

The greatest percentage of students said they are interested in working in the finance/accounting industry, followed by the products/services and consulting sectors. Respondents were least likely to express interest in entering the energy/utilities industry.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (, based in McLean, Va., is a nonprofit education organization of leading graduate business schools worldwide dedicated to creating access to and disseminating information about graduate management education. GMAC annually surveys thousands of corporate recruiters, MBA students and business school alumni to gauge their feelings about the job market and collect other data. The organization also owns the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®), used by business schools around the world to assess applicants. The GMAT was created in 1954 and remains the first and only standardized test specifically designed for graduate business and management programs.