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Business schools open door to entrepreneurship

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Querying alumni from 132 participating business schools worldwide, the 2014 Alumni perspectives survey is the largest and most far-reaching alumni survey GMAC has ever done and offers insights into career progression, job and school satisfaction, and school engagement of alumni spanning more than five decades.

Around the world, the vast majority of MBA and other graduate business degree holders rate the value of their degree highly (94 per cent), report high degrees of job satisfaction (83 per cent), and say their expectations for the financial return on investment of their graduate management education were met or exceeded (79 per cent). In general, the percentages of alumni reporting satisfaction with their business degrees, jobs, and careers increased the longer they have been out of school.

The survey found that overall, 79 per cent of alumni from the classes of 1959-2013 currently work for an employer, 11 per cent are self-employed, and five per cent were retired. 

The findings include a snapshot view of business school alumni entrepreneurs:
the percentage of business school alumni who are now self-employed ranges from five per cent of the classes of 2010-2013 to 23 per cent of those who graduated before 1990. Average time from graduation to self-employment also varies by graduation decade: three years for the classes of 2000-2009, nine years for 1990s graduates, 15 years for 1980s graduates, and 20 years for those who graduated before 1980.

Forty-five percent of alumni entrepreneurs from the classes of 2010-2013 started businesses at graduation, as compared with just 7 percent of alumni entrepreneurs who graduated before 1990.

Some 14 per cent of recent (2010-2013) alumni entrepreneurs work in the technology sector, compared with just two per cent of those graduating before 1990. More than three in ten self-employed alumni also work in both products and services and consulting (each 31 per cent).

“While entrepreneurship is a very popular course of study at today’s business schools, these findings suggest that business schools have long prepared students to launch and manage businesses,” says Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC. “Even if alumni don’t become entrepreneurs at graduation, their business education provides them career flexibility and a foundation that can help them start businesses years later.”

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