4 Tips on How to Negotiate a Salary Increase after an Executive MBA

The successful completion of a programme such as an Executive MBA (EMBA) represents a turning point in your salary negotiating power. And yet, conferring with your employer about a pay rise can often be a bumpy road that doesn’t yield the results you hoped for. Here are some tips to get that salary increase you deserve. 

Reading time :
10 Jan 2023
Tips to negociate your salary in 2024

Negotiating a salary increase is an integral part of one’s professional growth. Key achievements that add value to your role should be recognised and rewarded accordingly. The successful completion of a programme such as an Executive MBA (EMBA) represents a turning point in your negotiating power. And yet, conferring with your employer about a pay rise can often be a bumpy road that doesn’t yield the results you hoped for.

Below are 4 negotiating tips that will help you obtain the salary increase you deserve:

1. Why a salary increase now? Believe in your arguments and prepare them well

Negotiating a salary increase requires both practical and mental preparation. This will be the case even if you have an amicable relationship with your manager. Brainstorm beforehand and list all the reasons which you feel will legitimise your request.

  • What personal growth have you achieved in your current role? 
  • What have you brought to the company in terms of tangible numbers and success stories?
  • Most importantly, why are you asking for a salary increase now? What is it about the Executive MBA that will make you a greater asset to the company? Be clear. Be specific.
  • Are you asking solely for a pay rise or also for a promotion in your role and job title?
  • Make your salary negotiations about what you can bring to the company. Be convincing.
  • Know your worth and what salary increase you would be happy with.

As far as psychological preparation is concerned, a certain level of stress and angst is to be expected. Some adrenaline can be helpful. Try to prevent unnecessary amounts of anxiety, by anticipating your employer’s questions, doubts, and unfavourable reactions. If you feel confident in the legitimacy of your arguments and have prepared significantly, the odds will be in your favour.

2. Choosing the right moment for negotiating a pay rise is key

Your annual review, although a privileged time with your manager, is not necessarily the best opportunity for negotiating a salary increase. Keep the below factors in mind before deciding to broach the subject:

  • Consider the company’s financial situation at the time of your meeting request. It would be frowned upon if you were to try negotiating a salary increase while the company is undergoing financial strain.
  • Consider the workload. If your manager or the decision-maker is traversing a particularly stressful and busy period, your request may not be given the time of day. You may come across as being oblivious to the realities the organisation is facing.
  • Company culture. Figure out what the norm is at your organisation. Sometimes companies have certain protocols for these types of meetings, such as who should be present (manager / HR, etc.). Often, it’s as simple as letting your manager know that you would like half an hour of his/her time and then determining when would be suitable for him/her.  Whatever you do, don’t try negotiating a salary increase via email! Meeting face-to-face is essential.
  • Get the timing right. If your request for a pay rise is linked to the completion of an Executive MBA, it would be in your interest to schedule the meeting after you have received your diploma. This will give you more negotiating power based on facts instead of assumptions.

3. Don’t sell yourself short when negotiating a salary increase

Your arguments supporting a request for a pay rise need to be air-tight. You owe it to yourself to delve into the important details, facts, and figures of what you have brought to the organization so far. But also, how you have become an even greater asset following the completion of an Executive MBA. If you are lucky, your manager may have also obtained an Executive MBA and will be well versed in the value-added. If not, it may take a bit more explaining. Be factual. Show motivation and enthusiasm about your department’s and company’s future.

Don’t fall into the trap of only discussing certain successful projects that you implemented during your time in the company. This could translate into receiving a bonus for such projects in the future, instead of a well-deserved salary increase. Instead:

  • Discuss how your success is linked to the success of the company. Can you explain why giving you a salary increase will be worth their while?
  • Remember to present numbers and concrete evidence of your value to date.
  • Then delve into how these will be amplified following your completed Executive MBA.
  • Show long-term dedication to the company and express your shared values and interests.
  • Bring your soft skills to the forefront.

4. Make your EMBA the focal point of negotiations for a salary increase

Regardless of whether the company you work for encouraged you in your Executive MBA journey, you will be returning to work with a whole new skillset and world of knowledge. The organisation will be able to reap the benefits of your transformation.  While negotiating your pay rise, list all the new skills that you have acquired and how you plan on implementing them.

Keep in mind that if the company fully or partially financed your EMBA, management may push back on your request for a salary increase. In the case of agreed financing (or co-financing), it would be in your best interest to begin the pay rise negotiations before starting the EMBA programme. Agree on a mutually beneficial evolution of both your salary and responsibilities. This would help you avoid negative surprises further down the road. Instead of an immediate pay rise, perhaps the company could agree to increase other benefits.

According to the Financial Times “for students, the return on investment is clear, even though EMBAs are expensive. Three years after graduation, the average salary for alumni of schools in the FT’s 2018 EMBA ranking was $220,000, (approx. 195 000€) up 59 percent on the average pre-programme salary.” In general, Executive MBA alumni receive a considerable increase in combined salary and bonus compensation, many, like Stephanie even received a promotion during the EMBA course. 

When the benefits to your employer are multifaceted, successfully negotiating a pay rise and having a subsequent return on investment (ROI) are a lot more likely. But how satisfied you will be with the numbers, will also depend on:

  • How well you prepare for your salary increase negotiations.
  • Your performance during the Executive MBA programme and its successful completion.
  • The dedication you show in following through with the promises you have made to your company.

Are you ready for that payrise? Take your career to the next level with an executive MBA!

The EDHEC EMBA is a 16-month part-time programme designed to equip you with the insights, knowledge, and personal resolve to lead the transformation your career and your business need:

  • Refine your strategic, financial, and business leadership competencies. 
  • Challenge your perspectives and develop new ways of thinking by building an international network of experienced professionals.
  • Develop your capacity to lead with confidence and authenticity.  

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