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CPA as a spring board to MBA as a spring board to..

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CPA as a spring board to MBA as a spring board to.. [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2011, 13:53
Hi all,

I'm a 24 year old Certified Public Accountant in a regional (unheard of) CPA firm. While my firm does not have a big name, the work I do is certainly equivalent to any small Big 4 or top 20 accounting firm office. I work with a lot of manufacturers who have international operations as well as some relatively large coal/gas companies.

Anyway, my desire is to jump ship from public accounting and get a management track position in a corporation, preferably a large manufacturer or energy company. Jumping into a corporate position on a possible management track is a fairly common thing in public accounting, however, my school does not have the national brand that I think is necessary to get me into a larger corporation in a larger market. My state is extremely small, and my firm is only the 4th or so largest firm in the state.

I guess I'm curious as to whether or not this is a legitimate enough reason to get an MBA from a more respected institution (lower 1st tier, or solid 2nd tier). I really just need more geographic mobility. Theoretically, I could probably break into a larger market, say Charlotte, with a few more years experience. But from what I can tell, I would either be making a lateral move or even possibly a downward move if I were to leave where I am at now to go to a larger market.

Any advice is appreciated. Also, while I'm on the topic, is anyone familiar with how helpful being a CPA can be in the application process? For many in public accounting, the CPA is as far as they ever need to go professionally speaking. But as I said, I would much like to branch out into a larger corporate environment, and I need a method by which to do that.
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Re: CPA as a spring board to MBA as a spring board to.. [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 05:59
The MBA can certainly help with a transition to a management track and, depending on where you do your MBA, can help overcome the challenges you mention regarding the brand of your work and school. As a CPA, I can tell you the CPA isn't much help in the application process. There are plenty of CPAs, CFAs, and all sorts of alphabet soup of business credentials applying to MBA programs so it really doesn't set you apart. The main question I'd have after reading your profile is what sort of management track are you looking for? Finance, marketing, general management, etc.? If/when you apply for an MBA, you should be able to tell a compelling story about where you've been in your career, where specifically you are going, and how the MBA will help you get there.
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Re: CPA as a spring board to MBA as a spring board to.. [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 07:13
I'm hoping the fact that my firm is very non-traditional will help set me apart. I'm young, but I've already been the "in-charge" on a couple jobs, and by the time i apply to grad school I'll have been the auditor in charge of at least one large manufacturing client. From what I can tell, it's fairly rare for someone my age to have such experiences as a junior/senior staff person in a Big 4 firm. Also, the clients i've been working with are also in the industries that i'm interested in such as heavy manufacturing, banking and energy (coal and nat gas).

--- Honestly, I don't currently know what I want to focus on! Coming from the field of public accounting, I obviously enjoy quantitative things. But I don't want to get pigeonholed into anything mind numbing (like public accounting, haha). I feel like I WANT to do general management, but I guess I just have a bad impression of "management" because of the undergrad i went to. At my alma mater, management was one step above sociology (no offense to anyone), and nobody valued those degrees. I'm afraid that focusing on general management instead of something more intellectually demanding may have an impact on the value employers place on my education. Am I correct in this, or is this just my skewed interpretation based on past experiences?

Also, if I choose a more more technical area, say finance, will that limit my "management" ability moving into the future? My end goal is CEO/CFO position in my lifetime. Not necessarily a F500 company, but I most certainly want to be a leader.

Any thoughts?
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Re: CPA as a spring board to MBA as a spring board to.. [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2011, 11:31
From what I can tell, you still have some time to figure out what you want in life. If you like general management, that's good. Don't let your undergrad impression influence your decision now as now you are in a professional work. You can interact with people who are in the general management in your company, and figure out if that's remotely what you like.



MU2011CPA wrote:
I'm hoping the fact that my firm is very non-traditional will help set me apart. I'm young, but I've already been the "in-charge" on a couple jobs, and by the time i apply to grad school I'll have been the auditor in charge of at least one large manufacturing client. From what I can tell, it's fairly rare for someone my age to have such experiences as a junior/senior staff person in a Big 4 firm. Also, the clients i've been working with are also in the industries that i'm interested in such as heavy manufacturing, banking and energy (coal and nat gas).

--- Honestly, I don't currently know what I want to focus on! Coming from the field of public accounting, I obviously enjoy quantitative things. But I don't want to get pigeonholed into anything mind numbing (like public accounting, haha). I feel like I WANT to do general management, but I guess I just have a bad impression of "management" because of the undergrad i went to. At my alma mater, management was one step above sociology (no offense to anyone), and nobody valued those degrees. I'm afraid that focusing on general management instead of something more intellectually demanding may have an impact on the value employers place on my education. Am I correct in this, or is this just my skewed interpretation based on past experiences?

Also, if I choose a more more technical area, say finance, will that limit my "management" ability moving into the future? My end goal is CEO/CFO position in my lifetime. Not necessarily a F500 company, but I most certainly want to be a leader.

Any thoughts?
Re: CPA as a spring board to MBA as a spring board to..   [#permalink] 02 Jul 2011, 11:31
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