Hey Everyone!

There's a wealth of knowledge here, and I'm looking for a little help on salary pricing and career advice.

I'm 24, and will be completing two degrees this year: BS in civil engineering and an MBA (at Iowa State University). I plan to go into business, and use my engineering background solely as a skill set in qualitative problem solving, statistics, and so forth. In my experience, many firms find this attractive. I have found a strong passion for the pure business side of things, and am very interested in areas like process improvement, strategy, supply chain and general consulting.

I have 6 years of experience in the Marine reserves. I have held leadership positions in small teams, including patrol teams while deployed to Iraq in 2005/06. I have had internship experience in engineering design, commercial real estate and operational risk research. This summer, I am taking part in a leadership education internship with a Fortune 100 transportation company.

If the internship goes well, the company is interested in me for a new line of positions opening up as quality analysts who will be domiciled with Division VP's. The position will be responsible for statistical analysis of operations around their VP's division, and assisting leadership units in identifying improvements that can be made. Over 50% travel, which I enjoy (for now).

I've been asked what I expect for a salary, and it's very difficult for me to say. I have a friend who was MBA/Industrial Engineering (same school), and went to a major ag manufacturer to handle supplier accounts for ~$62,000.

So I have two questions:
1) What, based on your thoughts, should I ask for a salary?

2) Based on my descriptions, would you say I might have a good chance of finding a higher-value or responsibility opportunity?

(note here: I want to leave the midwest for some years, hopefully to a coast, or overseas)

Apologies for taking up board space like this on so much personal information. I know it can be annoying. I hope this might be an appropriate place.


sklosky's picture


I suggest you check out the various websites that provide salary data on the web. Something like (there are others . . .)

Many companies use this type of data as a basis for salary determination.


jprlopez's picture

I believe there was another thread about this but I can't find are two more websites you can try:

jhack's picture

Forget about the market for a second. Calculate your living costs, in detail (gotta love Excel!) and know your budget, including money going to savings. This is your floor, the number below which you cannot go. You should know this number before you move forward.

Then look at the market, recognizing that Monster, etc, often have a very high error amount. Like real estate, good technical managers are unique properties that can vary greatly in price despite being in the same neighborhood.

Don't talk salary unless they ask.

And your answer should be: "I know you'll make a fair offer, and I want an offer from you. The opportunity here is compelling and I wouldn't want to close the door over this issue..."

[TRICKY PART: you have to decide whether to specifically answer the question right here, or if you want them to ask again. As a hiring manager, I don't mind if the candidate says the above and stops; I just ask the question again. ]

"...xy,000 dollars per year would be in my range."

Boom. Done. A good hiring manager will make an offer if they want to hire you. If you've done your homework, your number should be fair and it won't put them off.

And whether you talk salary or not, ask for an offer.

Good Luck!


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

That's best left to your research... if it's a Fortune 100 firm, they will likely treat you fairly. And, if it's based on an internship, the SCHOOL should be telling you nearly EXACTLY what they'll offer.


FlatFeeKing's picture

hey great advice on how to handle the "how much money do you want" question, classy and manipulative. Thanks