The Forum is sponsored by 

AAPL stock: Click Here

You are currently viewing the Tips and Deals forum
Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: mjgkramer
Date: March 02, 2006 05:35PM
Daughter, who is 40, very bright, and quite attractive, entered Texas A&M in 2002 and has finally finished her MBA. She had a job interview yesterday with a commercial properties developer in Bryan/College Station (Texas) for a position as assistant to the president. They want to hire her but want her to tell them her salary requirements tomorrow (Friday). They do not provide health insurance but supposedly include sufficient extra compensation to pay for it. She has no idea what to ask and does not want to ask too much or too little. I thought some of you might be able to help her come up with a number. Her qualifications and past experience include:

- Masters of Business Administration from Texas A&M
- Bachelor of Science Construction Science from Texas A&M, graduating "@#$%& laude"
- Bachelor of Science Advertising from University of Texas
- Apple student rep while at University of Texas
- Sales support for Apple Austin in university sales
- Senior phone in support instructor for Apple Austin
- Has real estate license
- Sold real estate for Century 21
- Sold home sites for residential developer
- Worked part time for Home Depot while at A&M
- Worked part time for Lowe's while at A&M
- Worked part time for A&M Food Service in computer support while at A&M
- Is proficient at carpentry, cabinet making, stained glass, and other crafts.
- Makes friends easily.

Any help would be appreciated.

She's the one in the middle.

Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 02, 2006 05:51PM
Hmmm, didn't somebody here recently post a website where you can look up average salaries by profession and geographical location...?

I didn't see it from a quick STF.

Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: March 02, 2006 05:58PM
I am by no means an MBA, but she could start with something like this. I have no idea how much the COL is in College Station, so, take this with a pound of salt.

Mortgage and escrow--$1300
Groceries $500
Utilities $300
Travel, fun and savings $500
Taxes $500
Insurance $800
(or so)

adds up to $50K (or so).
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: davester
Date: March 02, 2006 06:05PM
The person (interviewer or interviewee) who gives up the number first loses the game. A golden rule in interviewing is that you NEVER give them a number first. They see that as the upper bound and will then either negotiate lower or throw you out on your ear. The best thing to do is to tell them that she expects that they would be competitive based on her job responsibilities, benefits and opportunities for advancement. She should then ask them what the salary range they were budgeting for the job is and where they feel her responsibilities and qualifications fit within that range. I would then negotiate that up by bringing up the lack of benefits compared to competing firms (no health insurance is a huge cost issue...get some numbers on how much that will cost her in your locale) and by reminding them of some of the extra-good parts of her quals that particularly apply to the job. Any other "standard" benefits they are not giving...vacation, sick leave, disability insurance, life insurance, jury duty leave, etc?.

Also note that your starting salary negotiation is the most critical one of all. All future salary adjustments will be made based on a percentage of that salary. If you start low then that will affect all future salary adjustments...and don't believe any promises to the contrary.

At the first interview they have the upper hand because you are trying to convince them that you are good enough for the job. At the second interview you have the upper hand because they have already decided that they want you, have justified it to their management or colleagues, have discussed the salary range possible, and they are hoping that you will work for the lowest level of salary within that range. They don't want to lose you at this point so it is time to play the somewhat uncomfortable game of hardball (or at the very least don't play softball).

One more your homework! She should know what salaries are reasonable. Call up a couple of similar firms and ask to talk to the person who has the same position as hers. Tell them the situation and ask what salary ranges are reasonable. Also, by all means check out those online salary surveys.

"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/2006 06:11PM by davester.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: Todd's keyboard
Date: March 02, 2006 06:15PM
Used to hang out with a bunch of MBA students in the late '70s. That was when the degree really seemed to take off.

At the time it was considered pretty normal to be offered (your age X $1000)/year for a starting salary.

I assume that it must be closer to (2Xyour age X$1000)/year right now.

Here is a web page that shows a standard salary for an MBA-degreed employee in Texas is $70k.


Todd'$ keyboard
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 02, 2006 06:18PM
I pretty much agree with what davester is saying -- there was recent discussion here about how to handle the sticky salary questions, like "salary history" and "salary requirements".


... ah, and it was that last link that had the website I was thinking of, courtesy JoeM, who posted it:

(salary wizard on the right side)

Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: Effin Haole
Date: March 02, 2006 06:21PM
Davester pretty much nailed it.

I would say start a little high no matter what salary she is looking for, she can always negotiate lower, not higher.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: ATT
Date: March 02, 2006 06:30PM
What davester said.

She needs to find out what the salary for an typical assistant to the president for a commericial developer is. Also it would beneficial to figure out the typical experiences of people in those position and compare that with your daughter.

She needs to find out how much paying health insurance on her own is going to cost.

Given her background and experiences, I would expect she would get a higher salary compare to the typical candidate.

Other standard also included pensions.

Also, tell her to call/visit her b-school career service office and see if they can help her to figure out what the typical salary is for those position. Perhaps they can advise her on salary negoiation as well. (Schools tend to be very helpful to alumni just so they can ask for money later!)

FYI, here is the stats to businessweek of what a typical MBA from Texas A&M make a year...


The avg for 2005 is 77k and the median is 75k.

Hope this helps.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: mjgkramer
Date: March 02, 2006 06:32PM
Thanks for you guys' thoughts. I'll pass them on to daughter. I did some searching myself and came up with I also found a good article "Negotiating Strategies For New M.B.A. Grads" with several imbedded links to other articles.


Here's the article, which was dated June 2, 2005:

Negotiating Strategies For New M.B.A. Grads
By Lex Kaptik

From The Wall Street Journal Online

As graduating business-school students hit the job market, they may be in store for more opportunities and better pay than recent grads. A survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that recruiter optimism about the economy is translating into more openings this year. Overall, the estimated starting salary for M.B.A. graduates for 2005 is $78,040, up from $72,021 in 2001-2002. When benefits and perks are added, the overall compensation package for an M.B.A. hire averages $96,657.

WHAT TO DO: With signing bonuses making a comeback for M.B.A.s, see advice in this WSJ article (1) on how to snag one. Learn about how to evaluate pay packages (2), and get advice on how to sharpen your negotiating skills. Even hiring a pay expert may be in your interest, this article says. Check out a list of recommended reading on negotiation strategies from Plus, review what M.B.A. recruiters' look for in new hires (4).

Can I Get a Raise?

Employers in a recent survey reported base starting salaries that ranged from a low of $34,000 to a high of $103,000. More than half plan to pay their new M.B.A.s more than $75,000 a year. And more than half of the respondents, 58.3%, expect to "sweeten the pot" with a signing bonus.

Starting M.B.A. Salary % of Employers Offering
$50,000 or under 14.9%
$50,001 - $75,000 32.4
$75,001 - $100,000 51.4
$100,001 or more 1.4
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: ATT
Date: March 02, 2006 06:34PM
Here is one more link, right from her business school program.


I am pretty up on all these data, because I am in the process of applying to b-schools.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/2006 06:35PM by ATT.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: 3d
Date: March 02, 2006 06:50PM
No health insurance? I'm assuming there's no dental either...

80k sounds about right for an MBA.
They'll say it's too high. They'll offer. 72k.
You counter with 77k. Not a penny less.
They'll re-counter with 74k.

At this point YOU stop calling them. Let THEM wait.

After a few days.. the President of the company will be calling some pencil pusher in HR.
The conversation will go something like this:

Pres: Where the heck is that woman i wanted to hire? Why is she not working yet?
HR: She countered with 77k. We re-countered with 74k. But haven't heard back from her.
Pres: Are you F#*! insane!!? You're nit-picking over 3G's a year!? Call her back and offer her the job at 77k like she wanted. I need her to start work NOW for chrissakes. Am i working with idiots here? If she took another job and we lost her, you're FIRED.
HR: Yes Mr. President. Right away Sir. Sorry for the delay.

Take the position into consideration. This is not some anonymous file clerk position. This is the assistant to the PRESIDENT of the company. Very high profile. They want you to work there. Let me repeat that. They WANT you. Stick to the game plan.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: Guitarman
Date: March 02, 2006 11:57PM
They pay you that much and all you need to do is get a stupid degree from some college? You mean it's not based in any way upon any sort of business accomplishment at all? Geeze.

Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: msienkiewicz
Date: March 03, 2006 12:07AM
Coming in late with another 'what davester said'... saw that discussed in a recent Working Wounded column on the ABC news site:

Also, in last week's Working Wounded column:
Our winning strategy for dealing with a salary negotiation comes from K.M. in cyberspace:

"When the question comes up, I respond with a question: 'What is the salary range for the position and what other benefits are included? Is a bonus plan in place and how does it work?' The typical response is the range for the position within the organization. I then will respond that it seems fair or reasonable or will meet my expectations if it does. If it does not, then I won't say anything and might make a comment about the benefits. In this manner, it allows me to avoid the detailed response and normally leaves the negotiation process open until an offer is made. Other items will also be negotiated. Items such as parking, vacation, pension contribution commencement period, and health gym fees to name a few can add up to a considerable sum as well."

Maybe not so useful for your daughter but might help the next time this discussion comes up. Anyway, good luck.

That photo brings back memories, I have a very similar one with me and my parents, taken 24 years ago when I got my MS at Texas A&M.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: mikebw
Date: March 03, 2006 12:12AM
Yeah, welcome to America.

The job I'm working now really has nothing to do with my degree, but because I simply had one I got the job.

And what's worse is I can't seem to find a job to fit my degree, something I would actually enjoy doing...
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: mjgkramer
Date: March 03, 2006 07:24AM
Again thanks for all the input. As for working in an area related to the degree, I graduated from Rice in Houston in 1963 with a BA and a BSME. In the 36+ years I worked for Shell, I rarely used the ME education. The last 27 years I worked in oil and gas production automation software development as a project engineer. Never had a computer-related course at Rice (daughter would quickly say they hadn't invented then).
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Need Advice on Starting Salary
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: March 03, 2006 02:01PM
A lot of the advice given here is for a big company with an HR department, salary ranges, frequent hiring decisions, etc. A commercial properties developer in College Station is more likely to be a 5-12 person firm, only a couple of them in professional positions, and this may well be an entirely new position, created when the president decided one day he needed an assistant. So the firm may have no idea what to pay.

More than health club dues or even medical insurance, I'd be worried about how much the president will expect her to make the business her life the way the president (and probably founder) does. Instead of looking entirely at salary, she may want to negotiate a performance bonus of some kind so that she's not eating and sleeping the job solely for someone else's profit. On the other hand, she may want to get a high salary figure so that when she goes elsewhere in two years she'll start from a higher point.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 499
Record Number of Users: 186 on February 20, 2020
Record Number of Guests: 5122 on October 03, 2020