Home » MBA » These Cultural Factors drive MBAs Overall Satisfaction

These Cultural Factors drive MBAs Overall Satisfaction

On TransparentCareer, candidates rate their current position on eight separate cultural factors, using a scale of 1-10. This report reveals the overall satisfaction ratings for 2015-2018 MBA classes based on factors across all major industries such as (1) Compensation, (2) Benefits and Perks, (3) Brand and Prestige, (4) Opportunity for Advancement, (5) Quality of Co-Workers, (6) Training and Development, (7) Stability of Firm, and (8) Balance and Flexibility the position offers.


The MBA is one of the most in-demand credentials for employers across a wide range of industries. The degree’s versatility and broad applicability make it almost universally valuable for companies and organizations of all sizes and as such, it is often difficult for a recent graduate to identify which sector of the job market will make them happiest. To answer that question, we have polled roughly 13,600 recent MBA graduates across 33 different industries to identify their overall satisfaction in their current positions.

The following industries scored the highest from candidates asked to rank overall job satisfaction. Note: the information in parenthesis indicate the average overall satisfaction on a scale of 1-10.

  1. Venture Capital (7.44)
  2. Private Equity (7.04)
  3. Pharma, Medical Devices, & Biotech (6.98)
  4. Consumer Products (6.82)
  5. Technology, Internet & Ecommerce (6.80)
  6. Restaurants, Hotels, Tourism, & Hospitality (6.66)
  7. Non-Profit, Social Impact & Social Work (6.61)
  8. Consulting (6.58)
  9. Food, Beverage, & Tobacco (5.57
  10. Computer Services & Information Technology (6.56)

The following industries scored the lowest Manufacturing (6.09)

  • Investment Banking (6.04)
  • Construction, Repair, & Maintenance (5.96)
  • Accounting & Audit (5.55)
  • Printing & Publishing (5.17)

From this poll of 2015-2018 MBA graduates, an average job satisfaction rating of 6.38 scores lower than the 6.44 rating we have found in other degree holders from the same graduating years. This comparison may suggest that pursuing an MBA degree may not be the best path to a happier work life. However, these lists could provide more information on the industries that MBAs usually target in their recruiting process.

The presence of the Venture Capital and Private Equity sectors taking the top two spots would not surprise those familiar with the MBA recruiting process, as they are the reason most look to earn their MBA, yet both Venture Capitalist and Private Equity firms have the lowest number of job openings. The competition to earn a spot in either of these two sectors could be a key propellant in their ranking.

While the popularity of an industry may contribute to overall job satisfaction, it does not always guarantee an MBA’s satisfaction. The top 10 list does include some of the more prominent destination industries for top MBAs, it’s noteworthy that once a once traditionally-considered powerhouse industry, Investment Banking, placed in the bottom five. Moreover, several other popular industries for MBA graduates report less-than-stellar satisfaction. Commercial banking only reached #27 on our list while Financial Services (#26), and Energy, Oil & Gas (#24) were also notable for their low satisfaction scores.


As mentioned, overall satisfaction was measured on an 8-factor scale. In Transparent users’ ranking their employers on these eight cultural factors, we have been able to identify how impactful different cultural factors can be when establishing overall satisfaction with one’s job.

Using information from our data team, we were able to identify the impact that each cultural factor has on overall happiness. The coefficient, indicated in parenthesis, reflects the expected increase in reported satisfaction- the higher the coefficient, the larger the impact.

  1. Quality of Co-Workers (.31)
  2. Balance and Flexibility (.24)
  3. Opportunity for Advancement (.14)
  4. Compensation, Benefits & Perks (.11)
  5. Training and Development (.10)
  6. Brand and Prestige (.07)
  7. Stability of Firm (.06)

These results are proof that some cultural factors have more influence on overall satisfaction than others. MBA holders, much like other employees, want to work with people they like, and will appreciate environments where they can more easily maintain a work/life balance. Moreover, factors such as Brand and Prestige and Stability of Firm fail to make any meaningful dent in how MBA holders establish satisfaction. Our analysis suggests that working at the most stable employer (10 rating on the factor Stability of Firm) will only be 5% happier on average than one working at the world’s least stable firm. On the other hand, employees moving from a firm with high quality co-workers to a firm with absolutely terrible ones will cause a 30% decrease in reported happiness. In short, coworker quality has nearly six times more impact on employee satisfaction than firm stability, and four times more impact than brand and prestige.

Ready to take the next step in your career?Create your account to connect with 4,000+ companies.