90% of IBS students reach their career goal upon graduating

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More than 90% of recent IBS graduates are either employed (70.5%) or study further (20%) almost immediately upon finishing their studies.

Survey rationale and executive summary

International Business School launched its Employability Survey to follow up on the career or further education success of its fresh graduates. Six months after our graduation ceremony, we have reached out to our former students to inquire about their career paths, further education choices and to ask them to briefly reflect on their studies at IBS in light of their new experiences. In September 2016, IBS issued degrees to 181 students, who finished an under- or postgraduate programme and earned a degree of The University of Buckingham. In our current survey we managed to get in touch with 105 of them, i.e. 58% of the entire cohort, which is an exceptionally high response rate especially compared to other university-managed employability surveys in Hungary[1].

The results of the current survey paint a truly inspiring picture. More than 90% of recent IBS graduates are either employed (70.5%) or study further (20%) almost immediately upon finishing their studies. The vast majority of students earn a gross salary of more than 300,000 HUF per month, and 54% of MSc graduates make more than a gross salary of 400,000 HUF. The majority of students who study further continue their education at IBS (62%), while those who chose a different higher education institution tend to do so abroad. According to our graduates, the top three skills earned at IBS are communication, teamwork and English language skills. The overwhelming majority of students (82% of those who are employed and 85% of those who study further) have reported that they find the use of the skills and knowledge acquired at IBS ‘remarkable’ or ‘excellent’ in their current roles.

Methodology

The population of the survey were IBS students who graduated in September 2016 from either the undergraduate or graduate provisions that lead to the degree of The University of Buckingham. The survey was managed through short interviews via telephone by the Student Centre at International Business School. The answers were collected, saved and managed via Google Forms.

Limitations

A significant portion of the non-response rate can be attributed to the fact that many of our non-EU students leave Hungary upon graduation and discontinue their mobile phone subscriptions. We are currently introducing a new procedure to collect up-to-date contact data from prospective graduates via Moodle during their final months studying at IBS.

As illustrated by Table 1 (see above), the 2016 IBS Employability Survey had an overall response rate of 58%. Several cohorts outperformed the latter rate, e.g. graduates from the Business and Diplomacy, Business and Psychology and Business and Arts Management programmes with survey response rates of 83.33% and 77.78%. The lowest survey success rate was produced in the BSc in Management and MSc in International Business programmes, possibly a result of either (i) high portions of non-domestic students and the above detailed difficulty to reach them and/or (ii) the possibility that students on relatively smaller programmes maintain a closer relationship to the business school even after graduation. Chart 1 (see below) displays the programmes of the survey respondents: approximately 50-50% come from IBS’ Bachelor’s and Master’s provision.

Findings

Employment and further education

Graduates of International Business School have outstanding career prospects, as illustrated by Chart 2 below: 61.3% of our BSc graduates are either employed part-time or full-time, while 30.7% of them pursue further studies. The employment rate of our MSc graduates (see Chart 2) is understandably even higher, as many of them concluded their years in higher education as 83.73% of the cohort is employed.  

Nine students have reported that they are currently looking for their new place of employment, while one person declined to comment. Consequently, more than 90% of our former students have either secured a place of employment or decided to continue their studies at a higher education institution for a Master’s or MBA degree. Interestingly, among those currently employed, the share of former undergraduate and postgraduate students is roughly equal at 51-49%.

Top employers

The top employers within the 2016 cohort are clearly financial services and advisory firms: Morgan Stanley, KPMG and Citi each employ 3 of the 74 respondents, while GE, Ernst & Young, IBM, ExxonMobile and Vodafone each employ 2 recent IBS graduates. Big Four firms (KPMG, Deloitte, PWC and Ernst & Young) altogether employ 7, almost 10% of our recent graduates, while the broader financial services sector have signed on more than 30% of our former students in 2016. The latter trends are primarily influenced by the high response rate from our former Financial Management cohorts both on the BSc and MSc level: 43% of respondents who are employed graduated from these two programmes.

Salary range

27% of students that are either employed full-time or part-time have declined to comment on their salary range. The majority of recent IBS graduates make between 300,000 HUF and 600,000 HUF (40.6%),  while approximately 11% take home between 200,000 and 299,000 HUF a month, and merely 12.2% and 9.5% constitute the ends of the bell curve with salaries lower than 200,000 HUF and higher than 600,000 HUF as shown by Chart 3 (see below). The aggregate salary range of current IBS graduates is higher than the average national salary level measured the Hungarian Central Statistical Office[1]. Many IBS graduates appear to earn more than their peers who graduated at other higher education intuitions with degrees in business and management, however, the current data is difficult to compare to available national surveys (‘DPR’), as the latter conducts surveys with students who graduated 6 months, 2 years and 4 years prior to the survey date[2].  

64% of BSc graduates earn more than 300,000 HUF, 40% of them take home between 300,000 and 399,000 HUF a month (see Chart 4). Students with Master’s degrees make somewhat more than graduates with a Bachelor’s degree, presumably in more senior positions: 83.3% of former MSc students make more than 300,000 HUF and 25% of Master’s students make more than 600,000 HUF (see Chart 4).

57% of IBS graduates specified their current roles within their organizations: they predominantly (65%) work in finance-related roles, including as Accountants, Controlling Specialists, Analysts, Consultants and Project Managers.[4]

Further education

As illustrated by Chart 5, the vast majority of IBS Bachelor’s programme graduates stay on with their alma mater – 62% of those who chose to study further have done so at one of the Master’s programmes of International Business School. Out of the remaining respondents only one student has decided to study further in Hungary, while the remaining 7 students currently pursue further studies in Italy, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Germany and Nigeria. Students staying with IBS primarily chose the MSc in Financial Management and MSc in Marketing Management programmes.

Essential skills acquired at IBS

Graduates were asked to determine their top three skills acquired at IBS: those who are currently employed feel that their communication skills (69%), teamwork skills (60%) and English language skills (53%) were most profoundly shaped by their education at IBS (see Chart 6). Similar results were measured among students who decided to study further after graduating from IBS: teamwork skills (67%), communication skills (62%), and English language proficiency (52%) were marked as key skills acquired at IBS. In both of the above cohorts, problem-solving skills and research and analytical skills were close runner-ups, while organizational skills relatively underperformed vis-à-vis other soft skills.  

Overall experience about the value-added of studies at IBS

Students were finally asked to determine the overall usefulness of the skills and knowledge earned during their studies at IBS: the majority of students who are currently employed consider the skills and knowledge earned at IBS remarkably useful in managing their everyday tasks (47.3%), and more than one-third of them (35.1%) marked ‘excellent usefulness’ in terms of the skills acquired at IBS.  57.1% of graduates who study further have an exceptional experience with regard to the transferability of skills and knowledge earned at IBS; this is further underlined by the fact that more than 60% of students who engage in further education do so at IBS.  

[1] The gross average monthly income in terms of the entire economy stood at 281,900 HUF. Source: Hungarian Central Statistical Office (2017). Gyorstájékoztató – Keresetek, 2017. január – március. [Online]. Available at: https://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/gyor/ker/ker1703.html

[2] A net salary of 207,000 HUF was measured in the above detailed mixed aggregate cohort. Source: Oktatási Hivatal Felsőoktatási Elemzési Főosztály (2015). Diplomás Pályakövetési Rendszer országos kutatás. [Online]. Available at: https://www.felvi.hu/pub_bin/dload/DPR_tanulmanyok/frissdiplomasok_zarotanulmany_2015.pdf

[3] The nationwide ’DPR’ survey has reported an 11.3% response rate in its most recent 2015 survey. Source: Oktatási Hivatal Felsőoktatási Elemzési Főosztály (2015). Diplomás Pályakövetési Rendszer országos kutatás. [Online]. Available at: https://www.felvi.hu/pub_bin/dload/DPR_tanulmanyok/frissdiplomasok_zarotanulmany_2015.pdf

[4] This trend is also potentially shaped by the relatively high response rate from our BSc in  Financial Management and MSc in Financial Management programmes.

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