MBA graduates have high expectations for their efforts at the university level. According to research by Universum Communications, of nearly 5,000 MBAs in the United States, Coca-Cola and International Business Machines (IBM) are out of the top 10 employers of choice, and Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley are "in."
Universum Communications, a consultant company designed to help corporations attract talent, says salary expectations differ with gender, with males expecting first year salaries of about $90,000 plus and $18,000 signing bonus; while females expect starting salaries of $82,000 with a meager $15,000 singing bonus. Within five-years time, males expect their MBA will earn them salaries of $184,000 per year, and females say their paychecks will average only $156,000. Work-life balance is more important for women, says Universum, which may account for lower salary expectations.
When the economy was booming due to 1990s Internet technologies in the United States, MBA graduates (and others for that matter) could pick anywhere they wished to begin their career. But flash-ahead to year 2010, and the San Francisco Bay area --the birth of the dot-com era-- expects a net job loss overall, according to Forbes Magazine. Professional jobs are leaving the United States, so must MBAs.
Interest in Asia is growing for its long-term potential as the next world economy. MBAs seek to enter the ground floor and move up quickly --much more difficult in the highly competitive United States-- and grow with a company that has unlimited potential as companies secure stronger partnerships with the Asian continent.
Sandra Kopensky, a 28-year-old Harvard Business School graduate, will begin her career for a high-tech, management growth strategy firm in India. "I had three offers, only one was here [United States] but I decided on India because that country's growth projections outpace anything the U.S. has seen," she said. Kopensky will earn $93,000 plus signing bonus and moving expenses.
Singapore's branch office of McKinsey & Company attracted Michael Levins, 27, with an opportunity he couldn't pass up. "I targeted McKinsey and expressed my interest in the Asian market." Levins has created a mock energy services company, but tied it to real-life oil exploration and market trends for a period of two years as the company's CEO. He wouldn't disclose beginning salary, but suspected it is less than what he might otherwise receive at the Washington D.C. office.
"China really represents the ground floor for innovative leadership in worldwide energy management," Levins said. "They already have decades of research from successful models in corporate U.S., so, Asian companies can basically begin ahead of our past mistakes."
Levins doesn't see himself staying in Asia for decades, eventually he said, "after I've got the international management skills on my resume," he would like to return to the states to consult on bridging corporate expansion into China.
Factors that influence the MBAs' decision to accept or reject an offer included salary/benefits (No.1,) followed by a challenging role (No.2.) The corporate culture, a clear path for advancement, and work-life balance also played an important factor when considering a new position.
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