November 16, 2018

Big 4 Advisory Intern Wants To Squeeze Blood Out Of A Turnip

Your daily serving of vegetables, brought to you by GC.

Subject: Advice: negotiating a starting salary

GC,
I am graduating in December from a masters in accounting program and I am currently interning at Big 4 firm in advisory.  I am hoping to get an offer after the internship and join the firm in January.  Is it appropriate to try to negotiate my starting salary, signing bonus or even ask for them to pay for my moving expenses?  I am going to have to move across country and I've heard that is no cheap date.  I know that all of the firms want to keep college new-hire salaries at the same level, but I've always been told it can't hurt to ask.  I don't want to sound like a prick because I don't have any other offers (and I know that the job market is still tough), but the money would be nice to pay off some student loans.  Hopefully you and your readers could help a confused college student out with some advice.

You are correct in the fact that firms want to keep starting salaries at the same level within each office, and typically they do just that. Why? Because you are very, very replacaeble at this point in your career. Your internship has given you a mere few months lead on your campus-hire competition.  It'd be different if you were an experienced hire with years of experience, but this is not your sitch.

Negotiating salary/bonus/moving expenses is a lot like playing poker – you need to have a few aces in your hand.  But…you don't.  You don't even have an offer from your current firm, let alone a competitive offer from another firm to use as ammo. What leg do you think you have to stand on? Because you want more money? You deserve more money? C'mon, champ.  You go to a great school – you should be smarter than that.

You say, "the money would be nice."  Yeah, no shit. Welcome to a little thing we called life. 

My best advice is to hope you receive a fulltime offer from your firm and hope for the best. Oh, and do not ask for help with your moving expenses.  They WILL laugh at you.

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