Business School graduates confirm MBAs offer a varied source of value to their professional and personal development

Research launched this week at the Association of MBAs (AMBA) Global Conference showcases findings exploring MBA graduates’ programme experience; the skills they have acquired; and their favourability towards their MBA.

In total, 1,591 former MBA students, who have graduated since 2017, responded to AMBA’s online survey.

Perceived skills developed as a result of completing an MBA

The survey results indicate that graduates see a substantial uplift in their skills following their MBA, with 93% of graduates agreeing that they have gained substantially more skills and that these help them do business better.

The findings also point to a boost in the reach and mobility of graduates. Most agree that they have been able to improve their professional networks considerably (79%) and are more confident about working abroad in the future (78%). This suggests that graduates are more confident about engaging with more people and the prospect of offering their skills in different economies, which could well have a positive impact on their future opportunities.

But the skills graduates believe they have developed extends further than specific business attributes to encompass a more robust mindset.

Almost nine in 10 (86%) agree that the skills they have learned during their MBA have helped them become more mentally resilient, and half (51%) strongly agree with this sentiment. Given the mental strength requirements that leadership and management roles are likely to present, this suggests that future leaders feel better equipped to work through potential psychological challenges.

Many graduates also positively report on the impact their MBA has provided, or is likely to provide, after graduation.

More than three quarters believe that they can apply all the skills they acquired during their MBA studies (78%) and feel equipped to reach the salaries they want to achieve in the future (72%). This is significant, given the financial investment required to undertake an MBA and common concerns potential MBA students may hold about a shortage of financial opportunities for those with an MBA.

Graduate contributions to organisations

Graduates largely feel that they can contribute positively to their organisation having completed an MBA. Four in five (81%) state that they are more likely to make better business decisions and there is further belief in the contribution of a wide range of skills. More than seven in 10 think that they can help their teams operate more efficiently (73%), are likely to come up with ideas and solutions which change the way the organisation works for the better (72%) and help their organisation as a whole to be more efficient (72%).

Graduates are less likely to state that ‘I am now an asset to the business community’ (42%) and ‘I can earn substantially more money’ (35%). This is likely to be due to beliefs about external factors (for example the state of the economy and other individuals’ perceptions) and the fact that, for some, these are long-term aspirations which are more likely to derive from very senior roles.

Will Dawes, Research and Insight Manager at AMBA & BGA, said: ‘The findings demonstrate that MBAs provide a valuable source of upskilling for graduates, both in terms of their management acumen, their personal development and how they can make a difference to the organisations in which they work.’

Favourability towards MBAs

The second element of this research looked at perceptions of the individual MBA programmes completed by graduates.

A key measure for any qualification is how positive relevant individuals are towards it, and for an MBA the favourability of its participating students and graduates is a crucial barometer.

The MBA is positively viewed among a clear majority of those who complete one. Almost nine in 10 (89%) are favourable towards an MBA, saying they would speak favourably about an MBA to someone who might want to complete one in the future. Three fifths (61%) are ‘very favourable’. Just 7% are neither favourable nor unfavourable and 3% are unfavourable.

How favourable or unfavourable would you be towards an MBA to someone who might want to complete one in the future?
Very favourable 61%
Fairly favourable 28%
Neither favourable or unfavourable 7%
Fairly unfavourable 2%
Very unfavourable 1%


Graduates who are favourable towards their MBA experience cite a range of factors, such as their networking opportunities, increased business knowledge, societal understanding, their ability to think critically and open mindedness.

For example, one graduate commented: ‘It broadened my world view. I feel more comfortable when engaged in business discussions, especially those related to strategic planning and project implementation. It rounded off my professional career in a nice way and it feels good to have it.’

Dawes concluded: ‘The findings demonstrate the substantial impact an MBA can make on the large body of individuals who complete one, with positive effects crossing personal, professional and organisational benefits. Favourability towards MBAs is very high. However, this does not mean that MBA programmes are immune from critique and areas in which they can improve. In fact, graduates cite a range of areas in which MBAs can better serve students, such as a belief that standards of teaching are not always as high as they can be and improved networking opportunities to enable them to make connections for the future.’

Notes for editors

For more information, please contact: David Woods-Hale, Head of Communications, AMBA & BGA

The full report on perceptions towards MBA programmes, due out shortly, will explore some of these factors related to MBA favourability, including feedback from those who are less favourable and analysis on why, despite high levels of favourability, many feel that their MBA can be improved on for future cohorts.

About AMBA & BGA

Spearheading excellence and trailblazing innovation, for more than 50 years the Association of MBAs (AMBA) has been the impartial authority on post-graduate management education.

AMBA established that vision in 1967 and, in a volatile, uncertain world, it’s as relevant today as it was then.

We are committed to raising the profile and quality standards of business education internationally, for the benefit of Business Schools, students and alumni, employers, communities and society.

  • Our accreditation service is the global standard for all MBA, DBA and master’s degrees, currently accrediting programmes from the top 2% of Business Schools in more than 75 countries
  • Our Research and Insight Centre produces a rich body of reports exploring global trends in the business education sector. This drives our global thought leadership and public affairs campaigns
  • We are the only professional membership association that connects MBA students and graduates, accredited Business Schools and MBA employers throughout the world
  • Through our members, AMBA is building an international force for good, championing best practice, responsible management and sustainability. Membership to AMBA means being part of an international community of peers with access to business strategy thought leadership, career advice and knowledge, and an MBA jobs portal
  • Our multi-award-winning events offer networking opportunities online and in person across all continents in association with international corporate partners and thought leaders exclusively for our members and accredited Business Schools

The Business Graduates Association (BGA) is an international membership and accreditation body of world-leading and high-potential Business Schools that share a commitment for responsible management practices and lifelong learning, and that are looking to provide a positive impact on their students, communities and the economy as a whole. We offer:

  • Quality assurance services to Business Schools and similar institutions, aimed at continuous improvement and positive impact to increase a Business School’s credibility and influence
  • Consultation and mentorship services to Business Schools to improve their marketing and admissions, programme design, alumni interaction, teaching methods, and career development services
  • Award-winning international events for Business School professionals, focused on continuous learning
  • Student and graduate membership, which includes social networking events worldwide, professional development tools, a Career Development Centre, and much more
  • Leading and award-winning content on responsible management, professional and personal growth, and influence via the Business Impact content hub

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