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Salaries pre- & post-graduating from your Master's program of choice


Salaries pre- & post-MPP, MPA, MID, MUP, MHA, etc.   

33 members have voted

  1. 1. What was/is your salary prior to entering your Master program?

    • <$35,000/yr
      3
    • $35,000-55,000/yr
      14
    • $55,000-70,000/yr
      5
    • $70,000-90,000/yr
      8
    • $90,000-120,000/yr
      2
    • $120,000+
      1
  2. 2. How much of a salary increase are you expecting after your Master's program of choice?

    • $0-5,000/yr
      5
    • $5,000-10,000/yr
      6
    • $10,000-15,000/yr
      9
    • $15,000-20,000/yr
      7
    • $20,000+/yr
      6
  3. 3. What salary range are you expecting after completing your Master's program of choice?

    • $35,000-55,000/yr
      0
    • $55,000-70,000/yr
      10
    • $70,000-90,000/yr
      14
    • $90,000-120,000/yr
      5
    • $120,000+
      4


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Curious about the salary ranges of people on here applying and entering into MPP, MPA, MUP, MHA, etc programs and what they expect or end up making after graduating

I know this is obviously a flawed way of collecting this data. The data that schools post is limited by their response rate. Share what your impressions are based off what you've seen in the fields: Nonprofit, Local/regional government, Federal government, Law firm, Consulting, etc

What are the best strategies & resources you've encountered in trying to parse this out?

Edited by studious_kirby
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3 hours ago, 2711383 said:

Man, the people saying 90k+ on a Government Affairs forum sure are optimistic lol

If you do the PMF program and you are coming in super experienced 90K sounds right with cost of living adjustment in DC. 

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15 hours ago, studious_kirby said:

Curious about the salary ranges of people on here applying and entering into MPP, MPA, MUP, MHA, etc programs and what they expect or end up making after graduating

I know this is obviously a flawed way of collecting this data. The data that schools post is limited by their response rate. Share what your impressions are based off what you've seen in the fields: Nonprofit, Local/regional government, Federal government, Law firm, Consulting, etc

What are the best strategies & resources you've encountered in trying to parse this out?

I actually knew people who took a salary cut to go to grad school. Like Consultants, Hedge Fund folks, and etc. who wanted to "make a difference" and have better work life balance going to grad school to transition into a more public service role. Their pay cut was $20K to $100K at times. 

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10 minutes ago, studious_kirby said:

Planning to stay in nonprofit the whole time? Must be a pretty well-resourced nonprofit. In DC/NYC perhaps?

So, you have to realize, Non-Profit is actually a super large category.

This includes medical centers, foundations, and etc. (AKA: places with money)

I knew people make 6 figures going to Gates foundation

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On 2/9/2021 at 7:48 AM, 2711383 said:

Man, the people saying 90k+ on a Government Affairs forum sure are optimistic lol

Actually, it’s not that optimistic, but rather straight in the middle of the road of federal government salary. If you already had 3-4 years of germane experience and graduated from one of the top 8-10 public policy programs, getting hired at a GS-12/13, which is considered either on the lower tier of management or a specialist would not be overly ambitious: the salary range for the DC area would be starting in the low six figures up to about 140k.  These are not political appointed positions or senior management but rather pedestrian positions in the greater scheme of federal government jobs.

 

See: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/salary-tables/pdf/2021/DCB.pdf

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1 hour ago, Boolakanaka said:

Actually, it’s not that optimistic, but rather straight in the middle of the road of federal government salary. If you already had 3-4 years of germane experience and graduated from one of the top 8-10 public policy programs, getting hired at a GS-12/13, which is considered either on the lower tier of management or a specialist would not be overly ambitious: the salary range for the DC area would be starting in the low six figures up to about 140k.  These are not political appointed positions or senior management but rather pedestrian positions in the greater scheme of federal government jobs.

 

See: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/salary-tables/pdf/2021/DCB.pdf

Yeah I think that it really depends on the jurisdiction you work in. The city and county I live in has lots of lower/mid-level management roles between $80-130K. However, I know that pay is much lower at less urban cities and counties.

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2 hours ago, AdvancedDegreeAlumnus said:

Almost certainly won't stay in the nonprofit space in the long term. But, I am happy in my current role for now. 

Yep, large 401(c)(3) located in a major city. 

Just to chime in, but I have many colleagues and friends that work for larger non-profits, think along the lines of Ford, Hewlett, MacArthur, Rand, Walton, Gates—all doing serious policy level work, and without exception, they all make 200,000 plus a year.

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12 hours ago, Boolakanaka said:

Just to chime in, but I have many colleagues and friends that work for larger non-profits, think along the lines of Ford, Hewlett, MacArthur, Rand, Walton, Gates—all doing serious policy level work, and without exception, they all make 200,000 plus a year.

Exactly - remember nonprofit is a large field. These places are trying to poach talent from top tier consulting firms, investment banking, and the federal government. Salaries reflect this focus.

Obviously people going into these programs need to be realistic. If you are straight out of Peace Corps then you aren't getting 6 figures in the nonprofit space (think ~$50K). But if you have real work experience and you hustle you can get high salaries out of these programs. 

Lastly, before I get off my soapbox, I made an account on here because I regularly see programs (including mine) trashed on here by specific people. Let me just be as crystal clear as possible, it does not matter where you go to grad school in almost all cases, your pre-graduate school professional experience is what matters. Literally nobody has ever asked or cares what I studied in graduate school.

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1 hour ago, AdvancedDegreeAlumnus said:

Exactly - remember nonprofit is a large field. These places are trying to poach talent from top tier consulting firms, investment banking, and the federal government. Salaries reflect this focus.

Obviously people going into these programs need to be realistic. If you are straight out of Peace Corps then you aren't getting 6 figures in the nonprofit space (think ~$50K). But if you have real work experience and you hustle you can get high salaries out of these programs. 

Lastly, before I get off my soapbox, I made an account on here because I regularly see programs (including mine) trashed on here by specific people. Let me just be as crystal clear as possible, it does not matter where you go to grad school in almost all cases, your pre-graduate school professional experience is what matters. Literally nobody has ever asked or cares what I studied in graduate school.

Yes, your prior professional experience can be the most important factor if you a. aren't really making a career pivot post graduate school or b. you have an illustrious prior professional experience and your grad school is essentially time to recruit for a new job.

HOWEVER... if you are trying to make a career pivot, the direction you take can be heavily influenced by the portfolio of opportunities afforded by your graduate program. This is everything from research opportunities, experiential leaning, alumni base, and etc. At the end of the day, everybody makes their future from the opportunities available. In the longer run, alumni bases can still matter, if you choose to leverage them. I know security analysis firms that have target recruiting goals for SAIS alums for example. 

The experiences your grad school afford you (and how well you to take advantage of them), can also determine how well you pivot for grad school. For example, my grad program was clueless on guiding a former wealth management advisor on career pivots, so he ended up in a data analysis shop (not one of his desired options), making 50% of his previous salary after graduation. However, because my grad program has lots of urban policy advocates trying to upscale, one of my classmates was able to increase her salary by 40% using our school's connections to the top echelons of DC government. 

The bottom line is that it helps if your school has a strong history of supporting people like you and your career goals. 

 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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Can confirm. Once you're out, people see 1) that you have a master's, 2) that it's in IR, which doesn't imply anything in particular about what you know or can do. The hair-splitting about the relative prestigiousness of various IR programs that goes on in this forum is pretty silly. If you're going to get this degree, praise be to god, get one that doesn't put you in a financial hole. Everything else is very secondary.

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23 hours ago, ExponentialDecay said:

Can confirm. Once you're out, people see 1) that you have a master's, 2) that it's in IR, which doesn't imply anything in particular about what you know or can do. The hair-splitting about the relative prestigiousness of various IR programs that goes on in this forum is pretty silly. If you're going to get this degree, praise be to god, get one that doesn't put you in a financial hole. Everything else is very secondary.

So I think @ExponentialDecay and I have a minor, yet distinct and important to difference of opinion on this.

Where We Agree:

Getting a marginally grad school brand name is definitely not worth getting into debt into (or even paying more tuition for).

Where We Disagree:

I believe you where you go to school can have a meaningful impact upon your career outcomes (if you make the effort to take advantage of things + have some good luck your way). Three things I want to highlight:

a. Professional Culture - a policy / IR school that improves your professional ethos by virtual of having an amazing professionally oriented culture can make you a more attractive job seeker. I know of people who had terrific backgrounds who struggled to find internships/jobs post grad school, because they succumbed to the grad school's weak professional ethos.

b. Specialty Areas - out in the job hunting world - it matters if you can seek the language, highlight your competencies, and etc. relevant to a policy/IR focus area for specialty that you are seeking jobs from. If you care to work in local non-profit, but your school focuses heavily on security relations, then you aren't helping yourself professionally. I have seen plenty of people really take advantage of a school's strength to develop themselves into subject matter experts and acquire a related job accordingly.

c. Network - some schools don't really have strong brand recognition or alumni network to support you. That means less opportunities to explore career paths. Those that do really can open doors for you. 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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On 2/18/2021 at 11:52 AM, GradSchoolGrad said:

So I think @ExponentialDecay and I have a minor, yet distinct and important to difference of opinion on this.

Where We Agree:

Getting a marginally grad school brand name is definitely not worth getting into debt into (or even paying more tuition for).

Where We Disagree:

I believe you where you go to school can have a meaningful impact upon your career outcomes (if you make the effort to take advantage of things + have some good luck your way). Three things I want to highlight:

a. Professional Culture - a policy / IR school that improves your professional ethos by virtual of having an amazing professionally oriented culture can make you a more attractive job seeker. I know of people who had terrific backgrounds who struggled to find internships/jobs post grad school, because they succumbed to the grad school's weak professional ethos.

b. Specialty Areas - out in the job hunting world - it matters if you can seek the language, highlight your competencies, and etc. relevant to a policy/IR focus area for specialty that you are seeking jobs from. If you care to work in local non-profit, but your school focuses heavily on security relations, then you aren't helping yourself professionally. I have seen plenty of people really take advantage of a school's strength to develop themselves into subject matter experts and acquire a related job accordingly.

c. Network - some schools don't really have strong brand recognition or alumni network to support you. That means less opportunities to explore career paths. Those that do really can open doors for you. 

Ditto ditto to GSG.  Not every institution and program is created equally—is it fair or even accurate—no—but it is the reality of the situation. The name of the institution will not carry you through your entire career, but a very small group of those on the tippy top, will allow you an entrance and an appreciable conversation to certain opportunities that most will not ever be able to entertain, this is especially true in the first five years of post-graduation. I mentioned earlier that the Jackson School at Yale, which is IR focused just  got an internal infusion of 150 million, a significant portion of this will go to full fellowships-which in return, will greatly impact their  recruiting. At a place like Yale, and in the same regards HKS and Princeton, professional placement is not just within the confines of the public policy school, but really the entire apparatus of the intuition.

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