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Why is Ross's median tech salary so low?

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Why is Ross's median tech salary so low?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2019, 09:32
Hi everyone, I spent a while looking at each top school's Employment Report. I am most interested in Tech (likely product management) so I compared average salary numbers for each school. Stanford is the only school with an average tech salary of $135,000. All of the following schools have a median salary in Tech of exactly $130,000:
- Harvard
- Wharton
- Booth
- Kellogg
- MIT
- Duke
- UCLA
- Berkeley
- Yale
- Dartmouth
- Carnegie Mellon

Here's the next tier down:
- Ross ($122,650)
- Darden ($122,615)
- Cornell ($122,037)
- NYU Stern ($121,500)

What's the deal with this disparity? It seems that Tech is massively undervaluing Darden, Ross, Cornell, NYU. Why? What's going on here? Would love to hear everyone's thoughts.
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New post 23 Oct 2019, 11:53
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I have a bunch of thoughts but I am also at an airport about to board, so I will leave them here a bit disorganized. BTW, I interned at FAANG for my summer as a PM and have a fair idea about tech recruiting in top schools.

1. The differences may not be statistically significant. You need to run an actual analysis to see if the differences are of any natural importance.
2. Tech is really weird. People lump different tech jobs into the same tech bracket. For example, tech could mean operations at Amazon, retail at Walmart eCommerce or finance at Microsoft. They are all tech roles but functionally very non-tech, and as a result, have different salaries.
3. Companies do not pay the same for different roles. I will give you one unique example - Amazon PMTs earn about $145K base + $105K sign-on (split in two years) and about $140K (vested in 4 years) which is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than any finance/consulting roles out of business school. Google and Apple also pay similarly - a lower base but a much higher total comp which often does not reflect in the salaries.
4. Schools in west coast will place more for PM positions than other schools, and as a result will draw a higher tech salary.
5. There are industry outliers - Facebook pays a LOT more than any other tech company and does not traditionally hire from MBA (or Ross/Tuck/Stern etc for PM roles).

So all of this taken together, explains some of your disparity. Hope this helps!
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Re: Why is Ross's median tech salary so low?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2019, 12:08
souvik101990, So in other words, those numbers are a crapshoot? :)

Anything those numbers could tell us actually?

P.S. Interesting that Tepper is in with the big boys
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New post 23 Oct 2019, 12:22
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I’d say it depends! Some schools may place fewer students in tech but more in PM roles which increases the overall average!

So I would rather look at the companies and the roles rather than the median salary. It’s not like they will pay you less if you went to a lower ranked school! However leverage and competing offers help negotiate.

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New post 23 Oct 2019, 12:39
souvik101990 What do you think about the concern (my main concern) that Darden, Ross, NYU, Cornell are paid less because tech companies view them as less viable MBA programs? In practice, that might mean that graduates from these 4 programs are viewed less favorably by tech for the prized PM roles and are discounted in the face of even Duke, Dartmouth, Carnegie Mellon candidates?

Do you think there's some institutional disadvantage to these 4 schools that's causing this issue? Do you think recruiters are skeptical of these schools?
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New post 23 Oct 2019, 15:13
Classof2022 wrote:
souvik101990 What do you think about the concern (my main concern) that Darden, Ross, NYU, Cornell are paid less because tech companies view them as less viable MBA programs? In practice, that might mean that graduates from these 4 programs are viewed less favorably by tech for the prized PM roles and are discounted in the face of even Duke, Dartmouth, Carnegie Mellon candidates?

Do you think there's some institutional disadvantage to these 4 schools that's causing this issue? Do you think recruiters are skeptical of these schools?


Did you read my post?

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New post 23 Oct 2019, 15:33
souvik101990 Yeah sure did. It was very insightful. It certainly explains some of the disparity. Your 4th point ("Schools in west coast will place more for PM positions than other schools, and as a result will draw a higher tech salary.") gets the closest to answering my particular question about potential institutional advantages/disadvantages of each MBA program.

There is still much left to be figured out though in regards to any potential institutional differences. Here's some potential considerations that I have yet to find a clear answer to (this forum is just 1 more data point towards answering these questions):

- Do recruiters have an institutional bias against the 4 lower paying programs (i.e. thinking the schools aren't "prestigious" enough) mentioned above such that higher paying/more desirable jobs are less likely to go to them?
- Are students from these 4 schools just getting paid less for the exact same work (i.e. the recruiters think these schools aren't "prestigious" enough and therefore the students will accept less money)?
- Do the 4 schools have poorer connections to tech companies?
- Is the student body at the 4 schools just less desirable? (e.g. less experience, backgrounds are more often in non-tech industries, etc.)

Thank you for your previous reply. It's all helpful and there's lots more to figure out.
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Re: Why is Ross's median tech salary so low?  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2019, 16:22
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Classof2022 wrote:
souvik101990
- Do recruiters have an institutional bias against the 4 lower paying programs (i.e. thinking the schools aren't "prestigious" enough) mentioned above such that higher paying/more desirable jobs are less likely to go to them?
- Are students from these 4 schools just getting paid less for the exact same work (i.e. the recruiters think these schools aren't "prestigious" enough and therefore the students will accept less money)?
- Do the 4 schools have poorer connections to tech companies?
- Is the student body at the 4 schools just less desirable? (e.g. less experience, backgrounds are more often in non-tech industries, etc.)

Thank you for your previous reply. It's all helpful and there's lots more to figure out.


That <$10k delta is well within the amount of negotiating room on a lot offers in this space.

It's also very possible that depending on the specific companies schools are placing people into that there are different salary/bonus/RSU splits. The total comp picture could look different and we wouldn't really know.

I doubt that the same company would make a higher offer to a candidate because they went to a slightly higher ranked school, but I am very sure that a company would make a higher offer to a candidate who 1) was better prepared for the job, which could be a self-selectivity thing depending on the profiles of candidates top programs are accepting, or who 2) have multiple competing offers. As in, if a higher ranked school on someone's resume catches more recruiters' eyes and leads to more initial offers at the same number, or if a given school's career services team coaches peoples interview strategy differently, a candidate with more offers even at the same starting number will end up with a higher final number by virtue of their stronger negotiating position. The same is true if at one campus companies are just better for whatever reason at closing candidates quickly. Or maybe it's just that the top 10% of candidates at top programs skew the average up and the median offer at HBS and Ross are actually the same? Who knows.

TLDR: there's a whole bunch of selection, interviewing/negotiation, and comp structure factors that confound this picture, and I don't see much evidence to support the idea that companies are somehow "lowballing" candidates who "only" went to Ross.
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Re: Why is Ross's median tech salary so low?   [#permalink] 24 Oct 2019, 16:22
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