Continuing your education by earning a master of business administration degree from Stanford is usually a good career move. For academic quality, employment value and executive program experience, Stanford University is usually in the top five in any national survey.
Their graduates are usually financially comfortable, generally pleased with their place in life and change jobs numerous times and eventually become their own boss.
The Stanford Business School mailed a two page questionnaire to 4,000 graduates of the MBA classes from 1965 through 1989. A surprising 61 percent returned the survey and results were analyzed by the Pacific Consulting Group in Palo Alto. Janet Zich of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business released the results to the public.
The first job after graduation seems all important. Students tend to think it can make the difference between failure and success in later life.
Gerald Tomanek, MBA class of 1973 and a resident of Los Altos Hills, said he felt his first job was important, but he changed industry after the first job. After two more changes he came back to form his own company. Today, he is president of Bedrock Capital Management Inc. in Los Altos.
"The education foundation I received at Stanford helped me considerably. It provided an opportunity to understand modern portfolio practices and start my own company," Tomanek said.
The Stanford survey revealed that after 1969 there was a definite trend away from non-high-tech manufacturing toward management consulting and to a lesser degree, investment banking. After 1975 management consulting was the choice of 20 to 23 percent of graduates.
Investment banking rose from 6 percent in the 1970s to 16 percent in the most recent classes surveyed. Overall, graduates in the last 20 years are more than twice as likely to take their first job in consulting or investment banking than in prior graduating classes.
One third of the graduates have owned a company at least once in their careers and over half have been general managers or owners. The reasons for changing jobs were similar in all classes. In order they are: career advancement; interest in new opportunity; more money; lifestyle; unhappiness with the current job; progression blocked; and relocation. Thomas Arnet, a Los Altos resident and member of the class of 1957 said he changed jobs for all of those reasons. His Stanford education was a major building block for him.
"I used my Stanford education every step of the way," Arnet said. "The education I received at Stanford served me well in every endeavor I attempted."
Money may have ranked a poor third as a reason for taking a new job, but MBA graduates are well off. Today's median salary-plus bonus range of alumni/ae from the classes of 1965 through 1984 is $150,000 to $200,000. Corresponding figures for the youngest group of MBA's in the 1985 -1989 group is $100,000 to $300,000.
The most prominent trend over time is a migration to smaller companies. More than half the respondents to the survey originally came to business school from companies of more than 1,000 employees. Today, only 35 percent of the respondents work in organizations of more than 1,000 employees, and 33 percent are in firms of 25 or less. The "downsizing" held true across all the classes.
Finally, nearly three-quarters found their preparation for an MBA prepared them exceptionally well for their careers.