Do companies care where you get your MBA? Illustration of woman considering choices

As much as you may want to hear a simple yes or no answer, a more accurate reply might be, “It all depends.” Let’s dive in and find the answer for your circumstance.


Do employers look at where you got your degree? 

It might be best to first determine who the employer is. Oftentimes, top employers in industries like finance, banking, private equity, and marketing–industries closely aligned with your degree–will review where you received your education, looking for the best MBA programs.

Conversely, while some companies focus on the institution, others are most interested in the specifics of the degree and your area of specialization.

Do employers care about GPA?

Whether or not you are considering one of the top MBA programs, think of your school choice and your GPA as just two pieces of a puzzle. To complete that puzzle, you need multiple pieces:

School/education – While some companies look at your school, more important for others may be you having an MBA from an accredited institution like the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business.

GPA – A few top-tier companies that hire graduates from full-time MBA programs do evaluate and consider GPA when reviewing resumes. However, for most businesses, a credential from a great school will meet their hiring requirements. A great GPA certainly won't hurt your chances, so add it to your resume especially if its 3.5 or above.

Area of Expertise – When getting your degree, you will be drawn to a specialization. Maybe yours is finance, entrepreneurship, or business analytics. Employers will notice.

Experience – What groups will you be involved in during your studies? What kinds of hands-on projects will you tackle during your time in school? The closer they relate to your future aspirations, the better off you will be when it is time to get hired.

Network – There is no better time to expand your professional network than when you are studying for your MBA. Programs are filled with connections that are key to laying the groundwork for your business future.

Partnerships – Before deciding on a school, see if the institution has partnerships with any companies of interest, including the company you may be working for. Speak to your employer or share the Iowa MBA Employer Guide with your supervisor to start the conversation.

Resume – First impressions matter. Make your case for employment by including on your resume everything you have done that directly connects you to the role you want. It is your chance to tell the hiring manager, “This is why you should hire me.”

Interview – Second impressions also matter. This is it: the moment where all the hard work pays off and you get to shine. If you've paid your dues and done your homework, they won’t be able to say no.

It's worth noting that a specific school is not a free pass to employment. Regardless of your school choice, you still need to put in the time and effort to land the role of your dreams.

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Does it matter where you get your degree? An interesting stat points to yes.

According to U.S. News & World Report, among the 149 ranked full-time MBA programs that supplied three-month employment data, the average employment rate for 2022 graduates three months after graduation was just over 86%. Pretty great, right?

But three-month employment rates at these schools varied widely, from a high of 100% to a low of 38%.1

If your alma mater is one of the top MBA programs in the world, the numbers may work in your favor. If not, it may just mean you need to work a little harder to stand out from the crowd of graduates.

Back to our original question. Do employers care where you got your master's degree?

We talked with a couple of people who would know. Professionals who hire. People who understand the benefits of an MBA degree to a company.

“When I’m looking at an MBA, it needs to be from a school that’s accredited and recognized. The reality is that all schools—and all MBAs for that matter—are not created equal and affiliation matters.  It comes down to recognition, quality, breadth of opportunities, and confidence.” 
David Fritzinger, Chief Information Officer, Nystrom

We posed a similar question to another executive: Does it matter to you where a candidate earned their MBA?

“This is something that is taken into consideration. The rigor of the program is paramount to the value placed on the degree earned there.”
Sarah Woods, Chief Operating Officer, DockYard, Inc.

While companies do seem to care where you received your MBA, it may be more important that you simply have an MBA.

Do degrees matter? If you’re still asking yourself, “why should I get an MBA?”, according to a report in 2022 from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, people fresh out of an MBA program earned a median salary of approximately $84,700. Students who had just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration had a salary of approximately $56,400.2

That’s a nearly 50% pay difference…and for you, that may make all the difference.

Interested in learning more about an Iowa MBA?

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Related articles

  1. Ilana Kowarski and Cole Claybourn. “Find MBAs That Lead to Employment, High Salaries.” U.S. News & World Report, April 2023.
  2. First Destinations For The College Class Of 2021 Findings And Analysis.” National Association of Colleges and Employers, October 2022.