Take the news reporting on this year's IIM-Bangalore salaries for instance. I have been caught up in my own internship search that I did not notice the papers for the past 3 months. Two student's names have been pasted on every newspaper for getting highest international salary and highest domestic salary. One of the two names mentioned is a pretty close friend of mine. Many times, we have stayed up all night to argue on topics similar to the previously blogged about indecency of Indians to talk about salaries. Knowing him very well, I was not completely surprised when I saw this news.
The Times of India reporter is surprised that someone else can use their fundametal rights also. They have so far been touting "freedom of speech" to publish crap and now they are peeved that someone has the gall to think that the media is immature and shouldnt be trusted with this sort of information.
I got into a conversation/argument with a friend on this "differences in salaries" for 2 IIM students who are essentially joining the same firm (the 2 names mentioned above werent the only ones to get offers from the respective employers). Is it possible for the same firm to give 13 lacs per annum for one person and 30 lacs per annum for another person? We did some sort of analysis on why this was so and I'll share that in the hope that Blogs will probably serve as an alternate means to reach public. Ofcourse all this is my personal analysis and I have not consulted the IIM students mentioned above.
a) Analysts - who are typically people with undergraduate degrees and join the firm in starting level positions.
b) Associates - These are people with graduate degree like an MBA. Associates are 2-3 rungs above analysts in the firm heirarchy and Analysts typically require an MBA to advance to and beyond Associate positions.
Usually MBAs who join MC or IB have some sort of work experience before MBA and so they are recruited for "Associate" level positions. MBAs from IIM are usually considred different from other MBAs. Mainly because they don't normally have the requisite work-experience before MBA. So even though they have a graduate degree, they are recruited as an Analyst or a position that is 1-level above an analyst. While MBAs from other regular "feeder schools" would be 'Associates' - IIM MBAs may not always be Associates.
The 2 people mentioned in the newspapers (link provided above) are people with a graduate degree in the US and 2-3 years of experience in India/US. They are not representative of the general MBA population in IIMs. They might have got "Associate" level offers, which is the reason why their salary is remarkably different from another dude who got an offer from the same firm. Their salary (and their case) may not be typical and may not be representative of the general salary trends in IIMs. This information ofcourse has been conveniently eliminated by the media.
The other factor is the Base Salary + Bonus. The bonus is split into two parts (a) Real Bonus (b) Media Imagined Bonus. Yes! You read me right. The real bonus - for example - The salary reported for Gaurav Agarwal includes all sorts of bonuses he will/may get at the end of the year. This ofcourse depends on the economy and the bank's profits. The "imaginary bonus" is media creation to inflate the salary to an abnormal number. For example, one of the reported salaries is not what the person will get at all - even if you include bonus, tips, charity money, inheritance money etc. He says the number is a figment of media imagination and does not exist in reality. So there is news reporting for you.
The above argument could be considered moot when you ponder whether media has any business interfering in somebody's private information such as salary. Whats the point of flashing this news? What will this acheive? Perverse pleasure of knowing someone else's salary? This boils down to "lights on Sunil" we read in Kumudham or the "Thunukku Mootai" that comes in Vaara Malar. Cheap movie gossip that we know is false but is entertaining anyways. Not that such cheap entertainment is bad morally (I am not into such crap), I read those all the time. But just that it is not what is expected when you are talking serious news reporting (This is ofcourse my subjective opinion).
The logic that amazes me on this whole issue is that - it takes two people who have enough contempt for this bad habit to point to to IIM directors and Times of India that reporting 'news' related to a person's salary is really offensive and invasion of privacy. The IIM Directors and the main stream media couldn't figure this out on their own. They needed some one to tell them to stop the nonsense.