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Is current salary a factor?

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Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2011, 18:29
Like many other R2 applicants, all my applications are submitted and now I'm anxiously waiting for interview invites. Thus I find myself often pondering over my profile and constantly thinking - 'is it good enough', 'what is adcom looking for', 'will my inbox be flooded with dings or invites'? I know many of you can relate. For the most part my profile fits in with the means of the schools I'm applying for, except when it comes to my current salary. I'm WAY on the low end. I work in a marketing role in fashion retail and supposedly (according to my company) my salary is the industry standard. But my company could be a tad bias and I haven't done the research on my own. So I'm wondering if that could work against me. It's definitely been going up throughout my 6 years of WE, but no major leaps.

I'm thinking it could because schools publish the salaries of their graduating class (the higher the better), and it might be tougher for someone with a lower salary going in, to secure a 100% or so increase upon graduation, right?

Thoughts?
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2011, 20:02
Don't they also document salary growth in some rankings? If so it could be argued that starting with a low salary would help that part of rankings. I know that schools make decisions based on how it affects rankings which is so messed up but doesn't seem like coming from a low paying field would really harm your chances. But I suppose you can let us know how it all turns out.
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 05:29
Salary can be used either way. Basically, if you don't think you make as much as someone who works on Wall St, and if you believe that may hurt your chances ~ well, it doesn't quite work that way. There are various factors - such as the region you are from (standard cost of living adj in your salary, etc), your industry, your experience, etc.

Plenty of people get admitted to top schools and they make less than published "avg salary" for a given bschool. However, if someone embellishes his/her responsibility on his/her resume (i.e. - this ship can't run without me.) but his/her salary shows zero progression that supports other factors in his/her application, well, then that may cause an issue.
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 06:45
nink wrote:
Plenty of people get admitted to top schools and they make less than published "avg salary" for a given bschool. However, if someone embellishes his/her responsibility on his/her resume (i.e. - this ship can't run without me.) but his/her salary shows zero progression that supports other factors in his/her application, well, then that may cause an issue.


Exactly. I think you need to ask yourself, why are the b-schools asking this question? They are looking for many different indicators of a solid career progression. I don't think the absolute dollar amount matters all that much.
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 07:00
I wouldn't worry about salary AT ALL!!

I know two people who went to Wharton who are from Africa. They worked in blue chip companies there but were paid local salaries of $200/month. I am absolutely serious. They had no problem getting into schools. On the contrary, they probably boosted the school's "pre-mba vs post-mba salary" statistics enormously (which is a good thing from the school's point of view)!!

So relax.
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 09:28
First, I think that the example of students from Africa isn't strictly relevant. Adcoms would obviously understand the relative value of their salaries in their home countries and judge them accordingly. With applicants from the US, however, adcoms may expect certain numbers. Don't know.

I wonder about the OP's question a lot. I'm a non-traditional applicant who has taken jobs that interest me but that happen to pay less than jobs most MBA bound students have. My current job is with a very small firm where I have had an enormous impact. My recent 10% raise represents, if not a lot of money, the only raise in the firm at a time when executives were taking pay cuts and staff were being laid off. I really hope that my decision to take jobs that interested me and provided me with opportunities to develop doesn't keep me out of my dream schools...
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 09:49
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skahuh wrote:
First, I think that the example of students from Africa isn't strictly relevant. Adcoms would obviously understand the relative value of their salaries in their home countries and judge them accordingly. With applicants from the US, however, adcoms may expect certain numbers. Don't know.

I wonder about the OP's question a lot. I'm a non-traditional applicant who has taken jobs that interest me but that happen to pay less than jobs most MBA bound students have. My current job is with a very small firm where I have had an enormous impact. My recent 10% raise represents, if not a lot of money, the only raise in the firm at a time when executives were taking pay cuts and staff were being laid off. I really hope that my decision to take jobs that interested me and provided me with opportunities to develop doesn't keep me out of my dream schools...


If your raise story is a fact, I would strongly recommend you to write that somewhere in your essays. That's a concrete indicator of success, and one that they care mostly about. Whether you make $20K or $100K doesn't really matter in their eyes, as long as you make within the range of the people who are applying with similar job functions. If you are an I-banker making $20K, that's just going to look odd. If you are making $0 but you are doing it as pro-bono work to learn something about I-banking, that'll look great.
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 09:58
I think while admissions committees would publicly say no, I would anticipate some pause in the thought process if the incoming salary is very HIGH. A highly compensated individual has likely progressed to a more senior level in their current career track, which may supersede the entry level responsibilities of a typical incoming MBA in a standard firm. To come from a point of higher leadership and become the lower person in the totem pole is only acceptable if the landing platform is a candidate's dream career path. To me its a bit of a tougher sell (not impossible, but tougher).

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Aveek Guha, President, http://www.mbadaycamp.com
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 10:01
aveekguha wrote:
I think while admissions committees would publicly say no, I would anticipate some pause in the thought process if the incoming salary is very HIGH. A highly compensated individual has likely progressed to a more senior level in their current career track, which may supersede the entry level responsibilities of a typical incoming MBA in a standard firm. To come from a point of higher leadership and become the lower person in the totem pole is only acceptable if the landing platform is a candidate's dream career path. To me its a bit of a tougher sell (not impossible, but tougher).

Thanks,
Aveek Guha, President, http://www.mbadaycamp.com


I disagree. There are individuals who already make a lot of money but they just need to have an MBA to get to that next step. For example, if a candidate wants to open an off-shore investment firm, and wants to learn about how to do business abroad, he/she might want to go get an MBA first. But that individual could also have a pretty high salary if they're coming from a top hedge fund.

There are just too many variables to make that statement in my opinion, especially considering the entrepreneurial track available on most business schools.
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 10:04
Wow - thank you everyone for the insight. Very helpful and interesting.
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 10:05
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Ok, you guys seriously worry and overanalyze everything too much, its not healthy. YOu CANNOT control the admissions process so STOP freaking out about every single insignificant detail.

Maybe my story will help give you guys a reality check. My salary over the last four years has gone DOWNWARD. Yes, thats right. My current job pays me 30% less than my previous one, which went out of business. I've had four jobs in four years. I also had a really average gmat score of 680, ordinary gpa, and no great ECs. I was worrying about everything like you. But when I ended up getting admission to CBS and an interview at Wharton (which I voluntarily turned down for CBS), I realized that all that worrying was foolish. You really DON"T KNOW what the adcom person will think. YOu will never truly figure out how the process works, no matter how much time you waste researching about it. And there is a huge element of luck as well. My advice is CHILL OUT and have faith that you did the best you could. PERIOD.
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Re: Is current salary a factor? [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2011, 10:57
cwhs wrote:
If your raise story is a fact, I would strongly recommend you to write that somewhere in your essays. That's a concrete indicator of success, and one that they care mostly about. Whether you make $20K or $100K doesn't really matter in their eyes, as long as you make within the range of the people who are applying with similar job functions. If you are an I-banker making $20K, that's just going to look odd. If you are making $0 but you are doing it as pro-bono work to learn something about I-banking, that'll look great.


The story is a fact but, unfortunately, I didn't mention it in my essays, which are all submitted. But thanks. Good input.

@globalcitizen: you're definitely right. Totally over-analyzing. But then I don't have admits from Wharton or CBS. :(
Re: Is current salary a factor?   [#permalink] 11 Feb 2011, 10:57
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