Page navigation

What do Masters graduates do? - MBA

May 2018

A large majority of MBAs study part time, setting the subject apart from other areas of postgraduate study – and the employment outcomes for part-time students are excellent

It is important to note that UK MBAs are very popular internationally, but overseas graduates are not discussed in this article because they constitute a different group with different outcomes and the quality of data is not as high as for home students. Therefore, this article examines the data for 1,725 UK-domiciled MBA graduates from 2016.

Unlike many other qualifications, the large majority (81%) of MBAs studied part time, but full-time and part-time graduates will be examined separately. This is because, similarly to other Masters subject areas, full-time MBAs tend to be younger, have less work experience and consequently experience different outcomes.

Subject overview

  • 1,725 graduates
  • 19% studied full time
  • 81% studied part time


The difference in outcomes is quite significant. Part-time MBAs had excellent outcomes with only a small minority out of work after six months. But although the majority of full-time graduates were in work, nearly one in ten full-time MBA graduates were still seeking employment six months after graduation.

Outcomes for full-time MBA graduates were only marginally better than for Masters in business subjects as a whole, and their unemployment rate was higher than for their undergraduate counterparts. It is important for prospective students to think carefully about exactly how they intend to use the qualification considering the cost, as it is not an automatic passport to a better career.

Full time work,73.52024922,89.40256046
Part time work,6.853582555,2.631578947
Working and studying,2.180685358,2.773826458
Further study,4.049844237,0.853485064


The industry data shows interesting characteristics. Although MBA graduates tend to be concentrated in a relatively small variety of jobs, they work in a range of industries. Only one specific industry, management consultancy, is significantly more important than any other for full-time graduates and even that only accounts for 15% of them. Many different sectors employ small numbers of graduates.

For part-time graduates, the higher education sector itself is the largest employer, with the NHS and banking just behind. Other important industries for part time MBAs include management consultancy, defence and IT consulting. Many sectors appear to welcome these qualifications, not just the finance industry.

Industries,MBA FT,MBA  PT
Construction · engineering · research and development,5.747,7.455
Hospitality & tourism,4.598,1.355
Media and publishing,2.299,1.958
IT and telecoms,9.579,11.069
Legal and accountancy,3.831,3.539
Management consultancy,15.709,3.991
Other business and finance,21.073,14.458
Marketing and PR,2.299,1.355
Social care,0.383,2.184
Local and central govt,0.766,7.53
Arts · sports and leisure,1.533,0.753
Other industries,0.383,1.657


The difference between the two groups of graduates is again obvious. Some 29% of full-time MBA graduates were working as management consultants after six months, and overall half of all full-time MBA graduates were working as:

  • management consultants
  • financial analysts
  • accounts managers
  • marketing executives.

Part-time MBA graduates were more likely to work in management, although the most common jobs were in project management and management consultancy (and therefore in the business and finance category in the occupational graph) rather than in personnel management. This again demonstrates the value of the MBA in continuing professional development.

Health professionals,0.754716981,2.700675169
Education professionals,2.641509434,3.300825206
Legal · social and welfare professionals,0.754716981,1.050262566
Science professionals,0,0.450112528
Engineering and building professionals,1.132075472,2.175543886
Information technology professionals,4.150943396,8.852213053
Business · HR and finance professionals,46.79245283,20.93023256
Marketing · PR and sales professionals,14.71698113,10.27756939
Arts · design and media professionals,0.754716981,0.225056264
Other professionals · associate professionals and technicians,1.886792453,3.075768942
Childcare · health and education occupations,0.377358491,0.450112528
Clerical · secretarial and numerical clerks,3.396226415,1.575393848
Retail · catering · waiting and bar staff,1.509433962,0.300075019
Other occupations,2.264150943,0.750187547
Unknown occupations,0,0.225056264


The MBA labour market is exceptionally concentrated in London. Over half of all full-time UK-domiciled graduates started their post-qualification careers there. Part-time graduates were a little less focused on the capital but half worked there or in the south east of England.

The nature of part time work and of industries interested in MBA gives rise to interesting patterns of employment. For 2016 graduates, the most common cities outside London for MBA graduates to work in were, in order:

  • Aberdeen
  • Sheffield
  • Cambridge
  • Manchester
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh.

However, none of these cities employed MBAs in great numbers and a change in policy in one industry – an individual university looking for MBAs in senior management or funding staff training, for example, can alter this pattern.

At this stage most MBA opportunities seem to be in London and nearby, with implications for social mobility and guidance.

Location,MBA FT,MBA PT
North East,0.454545455,1.993620415
North West,5,7.01754386
Yorkshire and The Humber,1.818181818,7.894736842
East Midlands,5.454545455,4.385964912
West Midlands,8.181818182,6.140350877
East of England,3.181818182,7.336523126
South East,5.909090909,13.79585327
South West,4.090909091,4.226475279
Northern Ireland,0.454545455,1.834130781
Guernsey · Jersey and the Isle of Man,0,0.159489633

Also in this series

Get insights in your inbox!

Related articles

Loading articles...





This article is tagged with:

Event: {{}}



This event is tagged with:

Loading articles...