Evidence-Based Innovation Blog

Percept Research Updates MBA Student Exit Survey Questionnaire

Posted on Apr 3, 2012 2:40:00 PM

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MBA student exit questionnaire update

Percept Research, the leading provider of MBA student and alumni satisfaction assessments for business schools worldwide, is pleased to announce a significant update to the firm’s popular MBA Student Exit Survey

The questionnaire for the 2011-12 fielding year has been revamped to reduce the overall interview length for graduating students while increasing the number of managerially-actionable metrics to help guide business schools in their continuous improvement efforts. This major update is reflected in each of the instruments specifically designed for full-time, part-time, executive MBA programs and specialized masters programs.

The MBA Student Exit questionnaire revisions include:

  • Refinements of existing metrics
  • 26 metrics removed based on relevance and actionable impact
  • 15 metrics added related to effective operational delivery and learning
  • Improved clarity and applicability of survey language
  • Consolidation of questionnaire dimensions for quicker survey completion

These enhancements reflect our continued commitment to improve and respond to contemporary assessment needs.

Trending Impact

To stay relevant, surveys are often revised and updated, affecting multi-year analyses such as trend studies or gap analyses. Several measures from the 2010-11 MBA Student Exit Survey, including benchmarks and individual survey items, are adjusted this year. This means trend lines will be interrupted and multi-year results will be less comparable across some metrics. However, we believe the overall impact far outweighs trending adjustments as this revision includes an increased number of actionable metrics in a shorter questionnaire; in effect, “doing more with less.” 

We encourage business schools to consider the implications of this transition and review their plans for multi-year analysis. Percept Research is happy to share a transition document with current clients that highlight adjustments from the previous year. If you would like to maintain trending for specific survey questions, our team can assist in designing these as a custom addition to your annual Exit survey.

Why Update?


The graduate management education industry is constantly changing and it is important for our MBA Lifecycle Survey Suite to stay relevant to the most salient issues and priorities of business school assessment. 

Long-time Student Exit Survey participants may recognize that the questionnaire is updated regularly with minor adjustments. We keep the questionnaire largely unchanged for business schools to facilitate year-to-year comparisons.

We release major updates to our student and alumni assessments at longer-term intervals such as the 2012 update. This approach balances the need of institutions to have year-to-year comparisons with industry’s need to respond periodically to changes in the higher education landscape, informed by a methodical research and collaborative discussion.

The graduate management education industry is dynamic, with increasing demands for data-driven decision-making (DDDM) and rapid adoption of new technologies for learning, curriculum innovation, high-impact practices, etc. This survey update will respond to these developments and ensure that the MBA Lifecycle Survey Suite continues to provide business schools with the best available information regarding student engagement.

Instrument Innovation Process

Percept Research employs a rigorous and collaborative approach to stay relevant to current issues and concerns. This innovation process involves:

  • Gathering ideas and feedback from MBA Lifecycle Survey users and from industry consultants
  • Consulting with leading industry associations such as the Executive MBA Council and MBA Roundtable
  • Examining the instrument’s psychometric properties
  • Conducting reliability and validity analyses with over 12 years of experiential data

We would like to send a special message of thanks to the Executive MBA Council’s Center for Research (CFR) team. This team is composed of volunteers with strong industry acumen and a drive to provide evidence-based management tools to the association. The CFR team met several times over the past year to provide guidance on the relevance and design of measures in the EMBA Student Exit Survey. Several of these innovations are reflected in our Student Exit instruments designed for full-time, part-time, and specialized masters programs. This contribution is a testament to the council’s commitment to foster excellence and innovation in Executive MBA programs throughout the world.

Share Your Ideas and Feedback

your survey your sayWe are continuously seeking your ideas, feedback and questions to help innovate all of our MBA Lifecycle surveys.  We recently established Get Satisfaction communities for our lifecycle studies: http://getsatisfaction.com/perceptresearch

These communities are dedicated areas where our clients can exchange ideas, provide detailed input on how to improve our services, and get answers to support questions. This insight allows us to deliver the best user experience possible and plan for future enhancements to our research and consulting services.

We look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions!


Brian Mahoney, author for this article, is a marketing research consultant and Managing Partner of Percept Research. Brian welcomes your questions and comments.

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Topics: Brian Mahoney, MBA Student Exit Survey, Questionnaire