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# explaining low salary in the optional essay

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explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink]

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08 Apr 2013, 12:55
Is it wise to explain lower than average compensation in the optional essay?
(mostly on the lines of how the organization as a whole did not do too well and the environment was pretty challenging)

If yes, what other reasons could be acceptable?

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Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink]

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08 Apr 2013, 13:26

It's difficult to respond to your question without additional information. Are you concerned that the Admissions Committee will think less of your profile because your salary is lower than average?

In general terms, discussing your salary may be risky as you may come across as defensive or trying to hide something.

Instead, I'd focus on working with a (new?) organization that experienced difficulty (? growing pains?), specifically focusing on what you learned from the experience. What was your takeaway?

You can see where more information would be helpful here. Let me know if I can assist you further. I'd be happy to help - it's an intriguing question!

Wendy Flynn
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Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink]

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08 Apr 2013, 17:50
Salary is all relative and admissions is more concerned about your salary vis a vis how it compares to your peers in the same industry rather than the entire candidate pool. For instance, Peace Corps volunteers earn around $5000 per year, but every one who I have worked with ended up at a Top 5 program. I would tend not to volunteer information about your salary to admissions -- sometimes volunteering information is really not necessary and showcases an aspect of your candidacy that might not have been an issue. Good luck Kimberly Plaga Senior Admissions Consultant Manhattan Review Call for a free candidacy assessment. _________________ Manhattan Review GMAT Prep & MBA Admissions Consulting Web: http://www.manhattanreview.com | Phone: +1.212.316.2000 Receive 20% off Admissions Consultings as GMATClub member! Moderator Joined: 10 May 2010 Posts: 825 Followers: 25 Kudos [?]: 407 [0], given: 192 Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Apr 2013, 11:12 ManhattanReview wrote: I would tend not to volunteer information about your salary to admissions -- sometimes volunteering information is really not necessary and showcases an aspect of your candidacy that might not have been an issue. Its not wise to reveal your salary to B Schools unless you work in typical feeder profile like I-Banking/Consulting/High Tech. I believe its an optional information in most cases. _________________ The question is not can you rise up to iconic! The real question is will you ? Intern Joined: 22 Feb 2013 Posts: 6 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0 Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Apr 2013, 11:41 AbhiJ wrote: Its not wise to reveal your salary to B Schools unless you work in typical feeder profile like I-Banking/Consulting/High Tech. What is the logic behind that? I meant low salary compared to peers in the industry. AbhiJ wrote: I believe its an optional information in most cases. I'm not sure, but I think it is mandatory. Moderator Joined: 10 May 2010 Posts: 825 Followers: 25 Kudos [?]: 407 [0], given: 192 Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Apr 2013, 04:08 adCON wrote: AbhiJ wrote: Its not wise to reveal your salary to B Schools unless you work in typical feeder profile like I-Banking/Consulting/High Tech. What is the logic behind that? I meant low salary compared to peers in the industry. AbhiJ wrote: I believe its an optional information in most cases. I'm not sure, but I think it is mandatory. Adcoms are humans and donot know the exact circumstances of your work experience. For example if you were discriminated unfairly which has led to a lower salary, you would not want to disclose the salary because it will raise questions which you might want to avoid. _________________ The question is not can you rise up to iconic! The real question is will you ? Senior Manager Joined: 31 Oct 2011 Posts: 484 Schools: Johnson '16 (M) GMAT 1: 690 Q45 V40 WE: Asset Management (Mutual Funds and Brokerage) Followers: 38 Kudos [?]: 221 [0], given: 57 Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Apr 2013, 04:18 ManhattanReview wrote: I would tend not to volunteer information about your salary to admissions -- sometimes volunteering information is really not necessary and showcases an aspect of your candidacy that might not have been an issue. Good luck Kimberly Plaga Senior Admissions Consultant Manhattan Review Call for a free candidacy assessment. Don't most schools ask for your salary information at some point during the application anyway? While I agree that volunteering information that may be harmful is a bad idea, it seems that they'll have this data at one point anyway. The fact is, you can't change it, and you definitely shouldn't lie about it. It is what it is, and shouldn't be a reason for a ding. _________________ My Applicant Blog: http://hamm0.wordpress.com/ Admissionado Joined: 30 Nov 2009 Posts: 5287 Location: Chicago, IL Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School Followers: 72 Kudos [?]: 877 [0], given: 48 Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Apr 2013, 05:16 hamm0 wrote: ManhattanReview wrote: I would tend not to volunteer information about your salary to admissions -- sometimes volunteering information is really not necessary and showcases an aspect of your candidacy that might not have been an issue. Good luck Kimberly Plaga Senior Admissions Consultant Manhattan Review Call for a free candidacy assessment. Don't most schools ask for your salary information at some point during the application anyway? While I agree that volunteering information that may be harmful is a bad idea, it seems that they'll have this data at one point anyway. The fact is, you can't change it, and you definitely shouldn't lie about it. It is what it is, and shouldn't be a reason for a ding. You are right. Everyone is pretty much expected to report the salary (and I don't think it's optional). And even if it is, it isn't. @adCon: You right that if you have a lower salary than the industry average, it can look less than great. Whether or not you should bother to address this issue should depend on many things, one of them being HOW much lower it is than industry averages, and how good the reasons are. My reasoning is because for "issues" you explain int he optional essay you are still always bringing attention to something. So, if you are 5-10$ lower than the industry average, and the Adcom wouldn't notice so much anyhow, then maybe it's better if you don't explain. However if the difference is huge and you have a good reason (company underperforming or salary based on firm-wide profits, etc.) then it might be a good idea to explain it. But be careful of sounding like you are "making excuses."
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Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink]

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10 Apr 2013, 06:35
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I'd probably opt for the tactic of emphasising that instead of merely looking to maximise your income you were instead focusing on broadening your skills set / gain valuable experience in your sector of choice. This might be viewed as a sign of strength and clear intent - in the early stages of a management career it's no bad thing to put personal and professional development ahead of filthy lucre (this can come later). Don't be apologetic, don't make excuses, don't dwell on it - and turn it into a strength.
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Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink]

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12 Apr 2013, 01:38
hamm0 wrote:
Don't most schools ask for your salary information at some point during the application anyway? While I agree that volunteering information that may be harmful is a bad idea, it seems that they'll have this data at one point anyway.

The fact is, you can't change it, and you definitely shouldn't lie about it. It is what it is, and shouldn't be a reason for a ding.

Yes, they will have it anyway. I'm not trying to hide or lie about it. My question was should I explain it in the optional essay.

@adCon: You right that if you have a lower salary than the industry average, it can look less than great. Whether or not you should bother to address this issue should depend on many things, one of them being HOW much lower it is than industry averages, and how good the reasons are. My reasoning is because for "issues" you explain int he optional essay you are still always bringing attention to something. So, if you are 5-10\$ lower than the industry average, and the Adcom wouldn't notice so much anyhow, then maybe it's better if you don't explain. However if the difference is huge and you have a good reason (company underperforming or salary based on firm-wide profits, etc.) then it might be a good idea to explain it. But be careful of sounding like you are "making excuses."

There is absolutely no way of finding 'objectively' that how low one's salary is compared to rest of the pool
Though I agree, I should not bring unwarranted attention to a negative/neutral point by writing an optional essay.

Flashman wrote:
I'd probably opt for the tactic of emphasising that instead of merely looking to maximise your income you were instead focusing on broadening your skills set / gain valuable experience in your sector of choice. This might be viewed as a sign of strength and clear intent - in the early stages of a management career it's no bad thing to put personal and professional development ahead of filthy lucre (this can come later). Don't be apologetic, don't make excuses, don't dwell on it - and turn it into a strength.

I can relate to this and is probably the best way to go about the situation. I'll have to push it into the main essays.
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Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay [#permalink]

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12 Apr 2013, 12:29
Looks like this issue is largely resolved, but I was in a similar position (maybe worse since I work for a large, well-known company, so it's easy to verify that my salary is in fact "below average").

I didn't dare draw any more attention to it than need be, and I'm very happy with how things turned out. As others have said, an optional essay on this topic has the potential to do more harm than help.

FWIW, I don't think salary is a deal-breaker, anyhow.
Re: explaining low salary in the optional essay   [#permalink] 12 Apr 2013, 12:29
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