Is it just progression that they are looking for?
I ask because I've been looking at eMBA programs at the top 3 or 4 schools, and - coming from the healthcare and not-for-profit fields - have been a bit intimidated by the incoming salaries of their intakes... $165/170k at Wharton?!? All of my numbers are in line with the class profile, and I have a graduate degree from the IvyL, but I just can't see them taking seriously someone who is making 60k. Is this a valid fear?
Thoughts on this? Anyone else in a similar spot; academically serious, steady salary growth, but low salary industry? Maybe Wharton doesn't want my 60k salary pulling down their average?
I seriously doubt it - I live in the UK and had to report my salary in US$. Average salaries are a lot lower here, even for generally well-paid positions. I'm not in finance or consulting but I'm also not in non-profit, education or charity. My salary would be a tiny fraction of what people in similar roles would report.
If they were really that concerned about the average, they wouldn't take international students
I think compensation matters more if you work for a large corporation (i-bank, PE fund, consulting, F500) where there are clear correlations between certain job titles and salaries. At banks for instance, the analyst and associate base salaries are well known, and adcom knows roughly what the bonus buckets are depending on how well you performed. So if they're looking at 2 bankers from goldman who are both say 1st year associates and one guy got a larger bonus, they could probably assume that he performed better than the other guy. For smaller and more niche firms, even within finance, the picture becomes murkier. At my firm, for example, we don't even have traditional job titles such as "analyst," "associate," "VP," etc. As a matter of fact, it's not uncommon at all for someone to be doing very well and have the same job title for 10 years because of our firm's unique structure.
So my point is, don't stress out too much about this. Adcom knows about this and are not going to hold it against you.