Job Outlook Good for MBA Grads. Especially the Optimists.

Good news for recent b-school grads in Monday’s Wall Street Journal: Both starting salaries and signing bonuses rose for MBAs last year. According to reporter Diana Middleton:

Students who graduated in 2010 received a median salary of $78,820, up from $66,694 for the class of 2009. Last year’s grads also reported bigger signing bonuses, a median of $13,318, nearly double the previous year.

However, she noted, salaries and signing bonuses have yet to retake their pre-recession heights. These findings come from a recent Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey of b-school alumni.

According to Dave Wilson, GMAC president and CEO, the numbers indicate that MBAs are in high demand, not only in traditional fields such as finance and consulting, but in diverse sectors such as health care, government and clean technology as well.

These findings should help soon-to-be MBA grads facing the job market this spring feel optimistic, which has benefits of its own. According to recent research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, MBA grads with an optimistic outlook enjoy better career prospects than their pessimistic counterparts. And that’s not all, according to a Fuqua School of Business press release:

In addition, optimists spend less time and effort searching for jobs and receive offers more quickly. And once in the working world, optimists are more likely to be promoted than their pessimistic peers in the first two years on the job.

It isn’t merely the optimists’ sunny disposition that has led to their greater success. The research also found that optimists are better at adapting and changing unrealistic goals into more practical courses of action. Chalk another one up for the power of positive thinking.

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