MBA Students Report Improved Full-Time Employment
UT Dallas Associate Dean Surveyed Students From Numerous Universities

A survey of graduate students shows those seeking MBAs are increasingly employed in full-time jobs.

For the last two years, Naveen Jindal School of Management Associate Dean Monica Powell has surveyed part-time business administration graduate students, collecting information on everything from classroom preferences, to program design, to best communication methods to career outlook. She is continuing to expand her surveys to other student populations.

“I wanted to give MBA administrators a tool to gauge how their programs are faring, relative to students’ expectations and needs,” Powell said.

The latest survey brought more than 1,200 responses from 10 public and 12 private programs, which was an expansion of the study from the previous year.

Her research revealed the following:

  • The part-timers registered a significant uptick in their full-time employment, up 7 percent. Eighty-four percent of respondents reported working full time — up from 77 percent in 2010. Correspondingly, unemployment dropped, from 11 percent in 2010 to 5.9 percent in 2011.
  • Job-market good news did not translate into an optimistic occupational outlook. Instead, respondents tallied declines from the first survey in postgraduate career expectations, with fewer looking forward to promotions, new jobs, an industry change or professional growth.
  • More and more millennials — students born since the early 1980s — are arriving on campuses and they expect a “dazzle factor” in the classroom. Sixty percent of 2011 respondents expected not only a lecture, case study or a combination of the two, but also group activities, business-problem simulations, YouTube videos and more.
  • Students are increasingly using websites to shop for graduate schools, but once they enroll in a school they prefer email communication rather than social media.
  • The percentage of part-time students who expect online course options jumped from under 40 percent in 2010 to 47 percent one year later.

Powell said it is important for schools to pay attention to some of these trends to shape their programs to the needs of students.

“I wanted to give MBA administrators a tool to gauge how their programs are faring, relative to students’ expectations and needs.”

Dr. Monica Powell,
assistant dean,
Naveen Jindal School
of Management

“Domestically, MBA program-enrollment numbers are trending down,” Powell said. “It seems to me, this is going to create greater competition for students. As the numbers shrink, differences in student expectations are going to become an important marketing factor.”

Powell said that one of those changes may be in how business schools connect with prospective students. Fewer students reported attending in-person, informational recruiting sessions. In 2010, 68 percent of respondents reported going to a session, but in 2011, that figure dropped to 59 percent.

“We are trending way down in terms of face-to-face selling of graduate schools of business,” Powell said.

She said this means prospective students are relying on Internet-based information, so schools should be creating websites that “convey not only the essentials but also the essence of their programs.”

For more information on the MBA Student Expectations Surveys, contact Powell at [email protected].

Naveen Jindal School of Management Associate Dean Monica Powell seeks feedback from MBA-seekers to help business schools sculpt programs.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].edu.

Tagged: JSOM MBA research