Career Services Spotlight: Setting Salary Expectations


A student may choose to enter the TCU MBA program for any number of reasons, but earning a higher salary often tops the list.

Neeley School of Business students graduate well prepared to achieve their career goals, including increasing their income. “We’ve seen students literally double their income upon graduation,” says LaTanya Johns, Director of Graduate Career Services.

But it’s not simply the MBA degree that helps students earn more after graduation. Throughout their MBA program, TCU students have multiple opportunities to build their resumes and gain practical work experience through internships and Neeley & Associates Consulting projects.

From the beginning, the Graduate Career Services team works with students to develop realistic salary expectations and ensure their desired salary is reasonable given the student’s background and experience. Students are also equipped with the tools needed to negotiate salary and benefits once they begin interviewing for jobs post graduation.

How TCU prepares graduates to negotiate salary.

TCU MBA students are taught to research the company as well as all factors that may impact salary, including undergraduate degree type, geography, graduate school, position and experience. This data is critical to providing the information students will need to back up their salary requests.

Students receive coaching and participate in role-playing to help guide them through various scenarios and avoid surprises at the negotiation table. “Every student is coached to negotiate,” says Johns.

Each year, Don Asher, an expert on MBA salary negotiations, explains the salary negotiation framework to incoming students and gives them the confidence they need going into the process.

The Neeley School of Business tracks all students’ employment and keeps the information in a database for reference. Graduating students are provided with TCU historical data on what TCU MBAs have earned at specific companies and in specific industries.

“When a graduate sits down at the negotiation table, they should have a solid, iron-clad case for what they’re asking for,” says Johns.

Tips for negotiating salary:

Do your research. “The biggest mistake I see graduates make when negotiating salaries is not doing their research,” says Johns. Don’t limit research to the company alone; investigate all variables that may affect your salary.

Be confident. “If you don’t believe that you are worth what you’re asking, the employer won’t either,” Johns says. Be confident in your skills, what you can contribute to the organization and why you are the best person for the job.

Negotiate every offer. Negotiate every offer you are given. First, review the offer and make sure all terms are understood. Acknowledge receipt of the offer and make a mental note of the offer’s deadline. Get feedback on the offer from Career Services and prepare your negotiated terms.

Salary negotiation is just another area in which students in the TCU MBA program benefit from the personal attention and connectivity among students and staff.

“We pride ourselves on our personal interactions with students and our ability to do one-on-one coaching,” says Johns. “We go above and beyond getting to know our students both personally and professionally.”

It is that personal relationship with each student that allows TCU faculty and staff to best position students for success in their future careers.

“While in school, students are the clients of our staff, but when they graduate, they become partners,” says Johns.

Interested in getting a TCU MBA? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program or apply now.
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