Executive Assessment (EA) Predictive Validity

EA Validity Studies and GMAC

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) introduced the EA in 2016. The GMAC currently offers those schools that accept the EA an opportunity to participate in a predictive validity study. This is to help identify the relationship between EA scores, grades, and additional factors in predicting a candidate's performance in the academic program. This service is complimentary and seeks to validate the EA's correlation with concrete outcomes. Interested schools can contact the GMAC for more information. 

A 2017 study conducted by the GMAC found that EA scores had good predictive validity of a student's graduate GPA in EMBA programs. A second study published in 2020 examined the predictive validity of EA scores and undergraduate GPA in four part-time MBA programs. Researchers concluded that the EA Total score had the greatest predictive validity for graduate GPA, followed by Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. Undergraduate GPA was not especially helpful in predicting graduate GPA, but researchers highlighted the small sample size and recommended additional studies be conducted.

Job Prospects for MBA Graduates

Standardized tests function as “gatekeepers” for selective business schools, which place the highest percentage of their graduates in lucrative jobs. According to a corporate recruiter's survey from the GMAC, the median starting salary for MBA graduates at US companies in 2021 was $115,000. According to a 2021 article published in U.S. News & World Report, starting salaries and bonuses for graduates of the most competitive business programs are as follows:

Business SchoolAverage Starting Salary & Bonus
New York University (Stern)$181, 803
University of Chicago (Booth)$180,044
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)$178,692
Stanford University$176,956
University of Virginia (Darden)$176,167
Columbia University$174,114
Cornell University (Johnson)$173,185
Harvard University$172,774
Duke University (Fuqua)$172,627
Northwestern University (Kellogg)$171,528

Among the 134 ranked fulltime MBA programs that participated in the study, the average employment rate for graduates three months after graduation was 84.6%. MBA graduates who entered the consulting field reported the highest base salaries, within an average starting salary of $147,178, while those graduates who worked in government reported the lowest base salaries, with an average starting salary of $87,675. 

Based on the most recent information collected by the U.S. Department of Education, the average MBA student debt can range from $10,000 to $220,000. In 2015, the average debt carried by an MBA graduate was $66,300, and according to 2020 data, this amount has not only risen, but is predicted to continue to rise. Average MBA student debt can also significantly depend on the business program attended:

Business SchoolAverage MBA graduate debt
Northwestern University$162,886
Duke University$95,432
University of Chicago$79,808
Columbia University$72,314
Yale University$58,493
University of Michigan$56,055
Stanford University$51,246

The MBA program you attend plays an important role in the starting salary and bonus you can expect to receive upon graduation, just as it also plays a role in how much debt the average student can expect to graduate with. It is always worth doing your own research to fully understand the full financial benefits and potential obligations of obtaining an MBA, as often the debt a student graduate owing is actually higher than the average starting salary a graduate of that particular program can expect to make. Assessing the ultimate worth of a graduate business degree can be a time-consuming process, but it is an effort that will pay great dividends.