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In early July, the FT contacted alumni of the EMBA classes of 2007 to ask about their business school experiences and the impact it had had on their lives.

There were 4,600 respondents, and the data gathered inform this year’s ranking of EMBA programmes, accounting for half of the points available to participating schools.

A separate analysis of the responses reveals interesting trends. Almost half the alumni – 48 per cent – reported that they had changed employer since graduating in 2007. Self-funding students were the most likely to move on after completing their degree, accounting for almost two-fifths of all those that did so.

More than a third of students had all their fees paid by their employer. While most opted to stay in the employment of their benefactor, more than a third of those whose fees were paid in full changed employer within three years of graduation.

Data relating to salaries, both before starting the EMBA and three years after graduation, show the differing fortunes of career changers. The biggest salary increases were reported by those who changed employer but stayed in the same industry; they achieved an average increase of 61 per cent, reaching a salary of $174,300 three years after graduation (measured in purchasing power parity equivalents – see methodology, p32).

Graduates switching sectors were generally the lowest paid before starting their EMBA, reporting an average wage of $104,000. However, they enjoyed a sizeable increase in pay in their new positions, earning an average of $165,700 three years after graduating – a change in earnings of 59 per cent. Those who remained with their employer saw the smallest change in remuneration (an average pay packet of $165,600 three years after graduation is a rise of 54 per cent).

Differences in pay are also evident between employment sectors. Initially, sector averages are broadly similar; average salaries upon starting the degree range from $102,950 for those working in education to $112,000 for students in healthcare. The difference between sectors widens three years after graduation; education remains the lowest-paying sector, with EMBA alumni earning an average of $157,200. The highest-paying sectors are consultancy, finance and banking, and healthcare, each with an average of more than $172,200.

While movement of alumni between sectors and employers is one explanation for these changes in salary, another important factor is career progression. A comparison of job titles before the EMBA programme and three years after graduation shows that almost 60 per cent of alumni were promoted. A third of respondents identified themselves as professionals before starting their EMBA; 28 per cent said they were senior managers or executives. Three years after graduation, just 10 per cent of alumni described their job as that of a professional. The proportion of alumni in director or vice-president roles doubled, from 13 per cent before the EMBA to 26 per cent three years after.

Increasingly, would-be EMBA students are looking for a programme with a global perspective. The growth in the number of programmes that include some kind of international experience is testament to this fact. However, while overseas study trips, conferences and field trips have a part to play, the diversity of the student body itself is also key.

There were 99 nationalities in the class of 2007, as surveyed by the FT. Based on alumni survey responses, there were students from at least five nationalities on 70 of the 121 programmes that participated in the 2010 ranking. The largest group was from the US, at 38 per cent – a reflection of that country’s continued dominance in the ranking, with 42 of the 100 programmes listed in 2010 based there. The next-biggest groups were from China, Spain, Canada and the UK, each accounting for 5 per cent of the sample.

In spite of increased globalisation, mobility seems to be low on the list of priorities for EMBA students. When asked to rate the importance of the different aims of their programmes, international travel was near the bottom of the list, achieving an average significance score of 5.8 (where 0 = not important, and 10 = extremely important).

In spite of this, one in five alumni now lives in a different country from the one in which he or she was based before completing an EMBA. A similar proportion currently lives overseas. Those from France were the most likely to live outside their country of origin – 44 per cent of French alumni no longer live in France. Meanwhile, just 7 per cent of Chinese and US alumni are based overseas.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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