A recent study of graduating MBA students found that half of the men had negotiated their job offers as compared to only one eighth of the women. As part of its mission to develop the women of Kellogg and help them achieve their professional and personal goals, the Women’s Business Association (WBA) recently hosted a panel to help tackle this disparity.
Open to both male and female Kellogg students, the panel consisted of four negotiations experts who are Kellogg professors in the management and organizations department: Professors Jeanne Brett, Victoria Medvec, Leigh Thompson and Nicole Stephens.
The conversation was an enlightening one that touched on several strategies and tactics to ensure both you and your future employer are satisfied. Below are a few key takeaways.
1. ALWAYS AIM TO HAVE ANOTHER OFFER TO INCREASE YOUR BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement).
If you don’t, you’re not negotiating. You’re begging.
2. DON’T EVER ASK THE QUESTION, “IS THIS NEGOTIABLE?”
The answer will almost always be no!
3. CREATE A PLANNING DOCUMENT.
This document should include the different components of the offer and your own personal scoring system, based on how you value those factors and how satisfied you currently are with the offering. Avoid focusing ONLY on salary – this is a common pitfall.
4. THINK ABOUT WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO THE EMPLOYER.
As you consider the terms that you want to negotiate, frame the conversation in a way that conveys the factors that are most important to the employer i.e. long-term commitment to the firm, willingness to relocate, travel or work on different projects or teams, etc.
5. ALWAYS NEGOTIATE OVER THE PHONE OR IN PERSON.
Use email only to arrange a time to discuss.
6. ASK FOR MORE TIME IF YOUR NEED IT.
This is an important decision with long-term implications. Ask for more time than you think you need in order to avoid a rushed decision making process. And only ask for an extension once.
In short, if done correctly with thoughtful consideration and planning, negotiations can help both an employee and an employer develop the optimal offer that meets both parties’ needs.
And of course, once you sign that offer, work hard and deliver those results!
Pooja Prasad is a second-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year MBA program. She serves as VP of Marketing for the WBA. Prior to Kellogg, she spent four years at Adobe on their social media team. For her summer internship, she worked on Microsoft’s media team.