What Motivates MBA Graduates

They are qualified, they are secure and above all, they are in demand. MBA holders do not have the same motivations, and attracting them to your business means you better get to know them.

The US-based Graduate Management Admission Council conducted a survey with Ipsos among 6,000 candidates who had applied for an MBA in the past two years in 15 countries, including Canada. The conclusion: the motivations are far from being the same for all. Seven profiles stood out. Here is an overview.

The ‘status searchers’

They are looking for better social status and want to receive the approval of others. So, they choose their university and work as recommended by friends and family as well as based on the reputation of their institution.

The ‘tightrope’

The work-family-leisure balance is very important to them. Without limiting their ambitions, they refuse to sacrifice one sphere of life for another. Moving to the other end of the country will require some serious thought on their part… and much persuasion on the part of the employer.

The ‘worker seeking constant improvement’

Being recognized as competent by their peers is the ultimate goal for this type of MBA holder, who wants their future employer to see in them the same measure of competence they see in themselves. For them, the MBA is a career booster… and it does not stop there.

The ‘worldly ambitious’

No way this person lets a country’s borders limit their ambitions! Travelers and adventurers, they are willing to relocate anywhere, often to improve their careers. Be careful though, since competition among employers is even fiercer on the global stage.

The ‘converted’

The MBA is, for them, a real transformation. This degree is an opportunity to change careers or to reinvent oneself. It is therefore important to understand how this type of candidate will thrive, in order to offer them the environment they need.

The ‘ladder climbers’

Their children’s future is paramount, and an MBA will help these candidates to ensure them a better life. Paving the way, they hope to share their knowledge, experience and contacts…!

The ‘impactful innovators’

Not only are they ambitious, but also want to change the world in a positive manner. Humanitarian projects and philanthropy are in their blood. The impactful innovators will be tempted more than others to be the head of a non-profit organization and put their knowledge to the service of the community. Leadership and their heart on their sleeves!


According to Bradley Lawrence, an MBA from the Harvard Business School and executive officer at LinkedIn, to attract such high-quality students, the company must propose a vision that is attractive to potential candidates. Whether seeking a social commitment or a career in the higher spheres of their field, the company must strike the right chord. It may decide to aim for profiles that match its mission and make clear what the candidate’s role within the company will be during the job interview. If the operation works, these new employees become true brand ambassadors within their network of contacts… full of MBAs!

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