Graduate alumni survey published

How do graduate alumni feel about their Institute experience?

If you’re a graduate student, how do you think you’ll view your MIT experience once you graduate? In order to get the answers to questions, like how worthy the degree has actually turned out to be in real life, how satisfied the graduates are, and what is the range of salary a MIT graduate receives, MIT’s Office of the Dean for Graduate Education has surveyed alumni who graduated in 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007, and 2008. Among the 15,806 total graduate alumni, 3,692 responded, giving an overall response rate of 31 percent for Doctoral Alumni and 20 percent for MBA and other Master’s Alumni..

How satisfied were they with their MIT experience?

The general level of satisfaction was found to be slightly higher among the MBA alumni compared to others. 69 percent of doctoral alumni, 83 percent of MBA alumni and 70 percent of alumni having other Master’s degrees indicated they are very satisfied to be MIT graduates, while only 1 percent of each doctoral, MBA, and other Masters’ degree alumni are very dissatisfied to be MIT graduates. 92 percent of the MBA alumni — compared to 89 percent of doctoral alumni and 87 percent of other Masters’ degree — alumni thought their academic experience was very satisfactory. However, their satisfaction level was slightly lower regarding student life experience — 67 percent of doctoral, 81 percent MBA, and 77 percent other Master’s degree alumni were “appreciably satisfied.”

What did they do after graduation?

The report says that more alumni went to work than to higher education after graduating. For doctoral alumni, 62 percent went to work right after graduating and 37 percent went to postdoctoral appointment, whereas 94 percent of MBA alumni went to working. 40 percent of graduates ended up in Massachusetts for their first position after graduation, with California being the location of choice for 16 percent of alumni. 20 percent of the alumni went to work abroad immediately after graduation. As of the time they completed the survey, 22 percent of doctoral alumni, 39 percent of MBA alumni, and 25 percent of other Master’s alumni are currently working outside of U.S.

What is their field of work and quality of work experience?

About 70 percent of the alumni currently work in a field that is the same as what they graduated in from MIT. In terms of compensation for their labor, alumni on average earn $156,793 annually. On average, MBA alumni earn $214,488; doctoral alumni earn $144,320; and alumni with other Master’s degree earn $142,039. For better or worse, some alumni still feel pressure in their jobs similar to stress at the institute — 52 percent of alumni occasionally feel overwhelmed by the work they need to do in their job, while 23 percent never feel overwhelmed and 8 percent often feel very overwhelmed.

Are they entrepreneurial?

Graduate alumni have the entrepreneurial bug much like a lot of undergraduate alumni do. 43 percent of graduate alums have owned or still own a start-up company, 16 percent of them are employed by start-up companies, and 25 percent of alumni have invested in start-up. About 18 percent of them started a company that is based on their research at MIT. Among the alumni who own a start-up 2 percent started a company when they were an undergraduate at MIT; 8 percent when they were graduate student; 15 percent started company before coming to MIT; and 45 percent started their companies within 5 years of graduation.

In terms of leadership positions graduate alumni hold in companies, 14 percent of doctoral alumni, 36 percent of MBA alumni, and 21 percent of alumni with other Master’s degrees are currently on the board of directors of the company they work in. On the other hand, 15 percent, 3 percent, and 6 percent doctoral alumni, MBA alumni and alumni with other Master’s degree respectively are in the scientific advisory board of their employing company.

What skills do they think are of high importance as they enter professional life?

Alumni were asked to rate the importance of a variety of skills to their current work on a scale of not important to essential. Top interpersonal skills identified by alumni are critical thinking, being flexible and adaptable, responsive to changes, time management, taking initiative and resourcefulness. Among communication skills, 96 percent of alumni rate that effective one-on-one communication was identified as the most essential skill.

What is the condition of their intellectual involvement, family involvement and social life?

Around 5 percent of the alumni have at least 5 patents and/or inventions. 19 percent of doctoral alumni, 11 percent of MBA alumni, and 11 percent of other Master’s degree alumni have been invited to 10-30 lectures or presentations since they graduated from MIT with their most recent degree.

When students at MIT, 65 percent were satisfied with their ability to maintain a balance between academic and personal life but 18 percent were dissatisfied. A similar percentage of graduates answered that they feel the same about that balance in their current situation.

62 percent of doctoral alumni are still connected to their faculty advisor while only 9 percent of MBA alumni and 30 percent of alumni with other degrees are connected with their faculty advisor. However, more than 88 percent of alumni are still connected to their friends and acquaintances at MIT.