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Get a MAcc or Go to Work

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Get a MAcc or Go to Work [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2012, 19:49
I am conflicted between receiving my MAcc degree and entering the workplace. I am a senior receiving my BBA this spring. I have been accepted to a top 10 MAcc program that costs $50,000 and I have received a job offer paying $55,000 in the Northern Virginia area.

I will likely require loans to pay for the majority of this cost if I choose the MAcc program but I will have the opportunity to attend a great program and begin to pursue by CPA requirements. The position that I received in NoVa is by no means my dream job and the location is not where I would like to be long term (partly because of the high cost of living and the distance from my family).

If I take the job, I will still have the opportunity to pursue a Masters degree and work toward becoming a CPA, but it probably will not be at as prestigious of an institution. Is the cost of the MAcc worth it? Will the prestige of the program make enough of a difference in salary?
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Re: Get a MAcc or Go to Work [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2012, 21:17
There are many, many factors in play here that I am in the dark about regarding your situation, but I will try to help out the best I can.

$55,000 is great money coming straight out of college. The typical starting pay in Big4 audit is typically $50-55k in most areas (obviously not in places like NY or LA) with a small signing bonus (around $2k) and a CPA bonus ($5k if you pass within one year of starting or before you start). Tax pays similarly, Advisory pays a little bit more. I don't know what line of work you are in, so I don't know about your earnings potential and pay raise scale. However, I would never recommend someone to do something they don't like or to live where they don't want to. You really can't put a price on that.

The prestige of the school will not net you more money than someone who went to an unranked school. The Big4 is very regimented in pay. A staff-1 auditor in Dallas, for example, will make the about the same amount whether they graduated from #1 ranked UT or unranked UNT. However, going to a more prestigious school may open you up to other service lines (e.g. Advisory) and make it significantly easier to land a Big4 position.

I would suggest that you look for the type of job you want (service line and location), then trace back to the schools that are recruited for those positions. Just because the school is prestigious (and expensive) doesn't mean that it is the best way to get the job at the location you desire. You don't want to be in a similar situation you are now where you only have an offer in a place you don't want to be.

Best of luck!
Re: Get a MAcc or Go to Work   [#permalink] 29 Jan 2012, 21:17
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