The impact of the MBA on career outcomes: An analysis of male and female graduates

by Carlin, Kim M., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2011, 144 pages; 3449099


Human capital theorists assert that education is a key element in attaining personal success. Based on this assertion the attainment of the Master of Business (MBA) degree is a wise investment in one’s human capital. To date considerable research has focused on the financial return of the MBA as measure of career success. Current research offers little insight into other dimensions of career outcomes, in particular comparative delineation between extrinsic and intrinsic outcomes and how these career outcomes may vary by gender. The purpose of this study was to investigate the under researched topic of career outcomes for MBA graduates through four research questions. One research question was designed to examine career outcomes from the aspect of quantifiable extrinsic elements, such as financial benefit and promotional opportunities. A second research question was used to examine the self-reported subjective benefits of the MBA, such as individual feelings of success, and perceptions of confidence. Gender was used as an intervening variable for both of these research questions to form two additional research questions. The research design was quantitative, employing the use of a self-designed on-line survey instrument. This was completed by 520 participants. The data collected in this research included both past and current perceptions of the value of the MBA and the relationship of the credential to current career outcomes for alumni in North America. Participants were purposefully solicited through Zoomerang, a market research company. Descriptive statistics and measures of central tendency were used as statistical measures to conclude that having an MBA does lead to positive career outcomes for both men and women. The retrospective sources of value encompass both extrinsic and intrinsic career outcomes for both genders equally. A univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to assess if there were differences in outcome scores by gender. An interesting conclusion of this research was that gender did not prove to be a significant statistical factor in the degree of extrinsic and intrinsic career outcomes between men and women.

AdviserLilburn Hoehn
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Business education
Publication Number3449099

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