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senior trying to get into big 4

I'm going to be an undergraduate senior with an accounting minor at UCSD this coming fall. What's your advice to getting ahead of my peers prior to fall recruitment? I've been emailing recruiters and trying to reach out to the audit staff but getting their actual contact info is difficult.

Thanks to the commenters for some good responses to this question. Other than their advice, I can offer the following -
a) consider switching to an accounting major b) apply to a smaller firm. You can always try and get into a big 4 firm later. c) consider expanding your geographic choices and look outside of the bay area.

If you were an accounting minor, and only want to do it so you can get a job, then I'm not really sure if you want to pigeonhole yourself into accounting.


Anonymous said…
Just joined one of the big 4 as a first year senior. Any tips on how to succeed and navigate the political side of things? Any other general tips?

Love the blog. Been following it for a long time.

Anonymous said…
I've been following your blog since last summer. The inside take on the job is much appreciated! Thanks!

Now, I have some ambitions to become a business professor one day. I am about to start at a Big 4 as an audit associate in the fall. I hope to get some real life experience before jumping into any PhD programs (if I still want to do that at that point). Have you heard of anyone pursuing the academic path? What year did they leave? Was their choice encouraged by mentor/superiors? Any tips on this?

Anonymous said…
To the PhD question, I'm a grad student starting with a Big 4 next year. Two of my professors have encouraged me to ge my PhD. As such, I've done a bit of research and thought I'd share.

Pros: There's a huge demand for accounting academics right now. PhD students here get a moderately small stipend ( think $20 - 25k) and their tuition waived. Salary can be good if you come from a god program. Anywere from $100k to 140k is not unrealistic. However, it just depends. In addition, the professional experience many professors have is not that much at all. Think 1-2 years public or corporate accounting. Some have more and some less, but the point is that it's not a high threshhold. Finally, the academic life is made for people interted in research, teaching, or both. If you constantly wonder about certain issues or problems in e accounting world and wished you could solve them, then a career in research might satisfy yoyr intellectual cueiosity. It can also have the benefits of flexible schedules, sabbaticals, and tenure (if you get there).

Cons: Going to more school for four or five years can be brutal. Many PhD students have families and this makes it that much harder to live on such a small stipend. In addirion, if you think of the opportunity cost of four or five years of work, then leaving a Big 4 gig will seem hard to do. Not only can you make close to the same salary working after five additional years, but you make more than twice what you can during your PhD student years. Finally, if you think office politics is brutal, don't even think about PhD. These academics are highly driven and many are downright ruthless when critiquing a research article. Like they say in academe, "publish or die". The pressure can be enormous and the hours just as long as in a Big 4.

I completely ignored the teaching aspect, but as a former student yourself you can probably fill in the blanks.

Wow this got long. Hope that helps a bit.
Anonymous said…
Correction from above "salary can be good if you come from a GOOD program". Not "god".
Anonymous said…
Thanks for your response! I have done some research myself and agree with everything you said. I still have at least one or two years to think about it and do more research. I hope time and my gut feeling will point in me in the right direction. Good luck to you!
notfordisplay said…
Thanks for the response to the Phd question. Many accounting firms actually sponsor a Phd program for audit professionals. They advertised it at my firm a few years ago. Check it out.

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