Plight of the New MBA: Fewer Jobs, Lesser Pay

Having degree no longer gets you into 'exclusive club'

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 7, 2013 8:12 AM CST

(Newser) – If you ditched your law school dreams and took the MBA route instead in the hope of actually finding a well-paying job upon graduation, the Wall Street Journal has some really depressing news for you. The paper today takes a look at the plight of recent MBAs, who are emerging into a job market glutted with new grads that's paying less than it once did. A recent analysis found that MBAs with less than three years of experience had a median pay of $53,900 last year, a 4.6% decrease from 2007-2008; meanwhile, tuition and fees for the degree have jumped 24% over the last three years.

Two decades ago, companies would often scoop up as many as 100 new MBAs; "some of those companies would hire today barely in the single-digits," says the head of an MBA council. Many US-based multinationals are increasingly hiring foreign MBAs, and other companies are turning to cheaper undergrads they can train. Some of the problem lies with the MBA itself: An influx of part-time, executive, and online programs has produced MBA growth that has outpaced population growth—a record 126,214 MBAs graduated in the US in 2010-2011, a 74% jump from a decade prior. "An MBA is a club that is now not exclusive," says a Georgetown business professor.

Graduates from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business wave "MBA" towels as they are declared degree candidates, during NYU's 180th commencement ceremony at Yankee Stadium, May 16, 2012 in New York.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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