Prospects are bright for MBAs

May 13 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Studying for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree demands a sizeable investment of time and money, but most graduates discover that the rewards in terms of career prospects and salaries far outweigh the costs.

The Salary & Career Prospects Survey, published today by the Association of MBAs confirms that base salaries of UK graduate MBAs continue to rise consistently and remain ahead of average earnings despite the current economic climate.

The base salary of the 900 MBA graduates who took part in the latest survey averages £64,000 per annum. In real terms this translates to a 39 per cent increase in salary upon graduation. Salaries rise incrementally with seniority and Directors' base pay shows a leap of 20 per cent whilst the base pay of senior managers has risen by 15 per cent.

An analysis of turnover against salary highlights that MBAs who have notched up key post MBA work experience before joining growing businesses are paid more than their corporate counterparts. MBAs working for SMEs with a turnover of £1m-£4m can average a salary of £79,000 whereas MBAs working for larger employers (£100m-£499.9m turnover) can expect to earn an average of £70,000.

When it comes to salaries by function, MBA graduates working in general management are the best paid on an average salary of almost £80,000 (£79,687). Those in administrative roles received the lowest mean salary (£41,450).

The research was based on a survey of 900 graduates of accredited MBA programmes offered by business schools across Europe. Other findings show that:

  • People choose to take an MBA for a number of reasons: to improve their prospects with their current employer (65%), to move into a different industry sector (54%). One quarter of entrepreneurs (22%) set up their own businesses with a further 15 per cent choosing self-employment.
  • The vast majority (90%) said that achieving an MBA had given them increased self-esteem and 82 per cent felt that their MBA has helped with their confidence levels and allowed them to become more assertive.
  • Half of the respondents (50%) found a new job through word of mouth, highlighting the importance of networking. Personal referrals and recommendations continue to be a key source of new business with sixty per cent of new business being attributed to their MBA network.
  • The increasing popularity of distance and part-time courses continues, with family and work influences playing a major factor. Full-time respondents account for 35 per cent of the sample and distance MBAs and part-time MBAs for 65 per cent
  • Employers continue to invest in the MBA qualification with 75 per cent of organisations providing some form of financial support.
Commenting on the findings, Paula Glason, Marketing Manager, at The Association of MBAs says: "It's really positive news that the MBA remains a popular qualification and a good long-term investment at a time when job prospects are less than rosy. The findings also highlight the value of the MBA network which is perceived to be as important as the management skills and tools gained."

To see the full findings visit