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An MBA programme may be expensive and time-consuming, but going to business school is one of the most consistent ways of achieving a hike in salary and getting a seat on the corporate board.

Ninety per cent of business school alumni say their graduate programme was directly responsible for increasing their earning power, according to the latest research from GMAC, authors of the GMAT business school entry test. Meanwhile, 10 years after graduation, one in four alumni surveyed held executive-level positions in their companies and 5 per cent were in the “C-suite”.

One of the most interesting pieces of data from the survey calculated the increase in salary enjoyed by business school graduates from different regions. In the US, for example, the median salary of respondents with a graduate business degree was double that of residents of the country more generally. In Germany, business school graduates enjoyed a salary hike of 2.1 times the average, while in France and the UK the salary premium was even higher: 2.2 and 3.6 times respectively.

But it is in developing economies where the salary premium is greatest. Business school alumni in China reported median salaries 5.6 times that of the average, while in India there was a salary premium of 6.2.

“A graduate management education isn’t just a degree, it’s a career catalyst,” says Sangeet Chowfla, president and chief executive of GMAC. “Graduate management degree-holders consistently tell GMAC their education is a solid investment and a spur to personal, professional and financial achievement, even in up-and-down economies.”

The GMAC survey reflects the views of 12,000 graduate business school alumni who completed their degrees between 1959 and 2014. Between them the respondents attended 230 graduate business programmes at 71 universities in 16 countries.

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