A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree continues to be the most popular postgraduate degree in the United States, according to figures from the Graduate Management Admission Council. According to the council’s website, “GMAC is the nonprofit organization of 213 leading graduate business schools from around the world and the owner of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), used by more than 6,100 graduate programs.”

Data from GMAC’s 2015 “Application Trends Survey, which show the majority of full-time MBA programs in both two-year and one-year formats, report increases in volume compared with last year and 10 years ago” (GMAC.com). Among full-time two-year MBA programs, 57 percent report increased application volume this year. 51 percent of programs report application volume increases, compared with just 37 percent that reported growth in 2014. Again, according to the GMAC’s website, “Both program formats are performing better compared with 10 years ago — 60 percent of full-time two-year and 53 percent of full-time one-year MBA programs said they received more applications this year than in 2005.”

Motivated professionals looking for increased job opportunities (69 percent women vs. 63 percent men), opportunities for more challenging and interesting work (57 percent women vs. 52 percent men) and greater personal satisfaction and achievement (54 percent women vs. 48 percent men) are driving the strong, full-time MBA market and the growth spurt in MBAs. This year’s report also reveals that women MBA applicants have increased three to eight percentage points over the last five years for all program types, indicating that the efforts of graduate business schools over the past few years to increase the number of applications from women appear to be succeeding. MBA graduates continue to command higher starting salaries than other master’s graduates in the United States, the GMAC study reports, with a median base salary of $95,000 — or $45,000 higher than bachelor’s degree holders. Women see a 91 percent salary increase after earning a graduate business education (GMAC Global Management Education Graduate Survey, 2014).

The State of the Texas MBA

The good news about the state of the MBA globally is also good news for the Texas MBA. Texas ranked sixth in job gains in October 2015, adding 20,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The energy and manufacturing industries in Texas, the nation’s top oil-producing state, continue to suffer job losses due to depressed oil prices. However, the Texas economy continues to grow and jobs are being added every month. In January of this year, Texas added 31,400. Year over year, Texas added 157,300 private-sector jobs. In January, the national unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, and even lower in Texas at 4.7 percent.

According to the BLS, top executives, finance managers and some human resources positions call for MBA degrees. The GMAC Alumni Perspectives Survey 2015 reports that the majority of graduates say no matter what their business degree is in, it provided a competitive advantage and improved their chances of finding a job.

Technology is becoming one of the top industries for business school graduates, just behind banking and consulting. A handful of U.S. business schools graduated more of their students into tech jobs in 2014 than into any other industry, according to Bloomberg.

The Lone Star State has a number of top-ranked graduate business schools with regular MBA programs, executive MBA programs and online MBA programs available to prospective Texas MBA students. Each regular and online MBA program in Texas is designed to fit the needs, lifestyles and locations of students from all walks of life. Prospective Texas MBA students should explore a graduate business school’s quality as well as the flexibility of career and academic services to determine which one best fits them.

Learn more about the TAMUCC online MBA program.