The 2010 Student Exit Benchmarking Survey from the Executive MBA Council, which saw participation of 3,674 students from 116 programs, has reported a healthy rise in average salaries and bonus of executive MBA graduates in 2010, even when the global economy and business were trudging to a slow recovery.

 According to a release from the Council, salaries and bonus amounts of those who completed their EMBA in 2010 rose by 11.4 percent (against 9.4 percent in 2009) over the period between the start and end of the program. In addition, 37 percent of students in the survey reported receiving promotions and 68 percent reported receiving new responsibilities during their time in the program.

As part of the survey's loyalty index, which rates EMBA programs on a range of attributes graded on a 10-point scale, participants' willingness to recommend their program to a friend or colleague turned up a score of 8.8. This meant that a majority among the students were largely satisfied with the experience as a whole and its outcome. Among other parameters captured by the Index, the probability of students supporting the program as alumni also appeared bright.

The Executive MBA Council conducts the Student Exit Benchmarking Survey to track the perceptions and opinions of EMBA program graduates and to help measure the return on investment of the degree.

The EMBA, which has emerged as a very popular option for working professionals seeking to retool themselves either for a horizontal or vertical shift in their careers, had seen a shrinkage of corporate-sponsored candidates during the recession. However, most schools claimed that the overall applicant pool had not shrunk significantly as there were many eager candidates who reposed faith in the value of the experience and degree, and were thus willing to work around financial constraints to self sponsor their education.

Speaking with TopMBA earlier this year, Hannelore Forssbohm, Program Manager of the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA said, If anything, the quality of candidates is on the rise, as in tough economic times only the most serious and motivated candidates will jump over the financial hurdles to see their EMBA project through. The value of the EMBA and the continued focus of candidates even in challenging times appear to be borne out by the recent findings of the Council's survey.