I am preparing to graduate next month from a top-20 MBA university. My current employer has supported me and paid $50000 of the total tuition for this program. After I graduate I feel these new credentials will make me worth more and I would like to ask them for a raise. Is it likely they will give me a raise even though they covered my tuition expenses or not? If yes are there any negotiation tactics that will help receive the raise I feel I deserve.
The Career Doctor responds:
I don't want to sound too harsh here but your employer paid a chunk of your tuition for your MBA; thus you've basically gotten this amazing benefit already… sort of like a very large bonus. But I also understand your feelings because obtaining an MBA gives you the credentials to earn a much higher salary and I am sure as you watch some of the job offers your classmates get you are envious of them. Just about all employers who cover tuition will also recognize the degree with some sort of raise but in most of the situations I have seen that pay increase is much smaller than the jump you would get if you switched employers – partly because these employers feel like they have already given you such a great benefit and partly because you're still the same employee (now just with a new credential). So assuming your employer made you agree to stay with the company for a certain period of time in return for the tuition you are not in much position to bargain. That does not mean however that you cannot request a meeting with your supervisor to discuss it. As with all raise discussions your focus should be on the salary research you have done showing the average salaries for job-seekers in your industry and profession (and location) with a newly minted MBA. Logic and research always make more convincing arguments than asking for a raise for personal reasons (such as deserving it because all your classmates are getting such great offers). I'm hopeful your employer will be one of the handful that gives you more than a token raise but be prepared for that to happen.
And for those folks with an MBA that are looking for some online resources check out this section of Quintessential Careers: Job and Career Resources for Job-Seekers with MBAs.