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How do ad-coms view CPA's?

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How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 08:10
Hey Guys. I will be applying to school this fall and wanted to see if there are any CPA's or people with Big 4 accounting experience that might shed some light on how schools weight such experience. Is this a really popular demogrpahic or is it considered more specialized?

I know work experience is just a small piece of what goes into the overall b-school package, but if there are any accountants out there that have had any luck (or not much luck) I would like to be able to hear your thoughts on the app. process and what schools you applied to.
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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 09:39
Hey bluepic,
I am pretty much on the same boat as you. Big4/CA/CPA/Intl exp, applying for Fall 2010 admissions. I know some colleagues of mine who have joined INSEAD/LBS and the view i get from them is, although the brand has some equity, it’s what you bring to table that counts more.
Generally, accountants’ r perceived to lack communication skills and had labeled as "non-thinkers". Best thing is to distinguish “yourself” from the peer grp.
Another factor that counts is, what do you want to do after you get your MBA.
Feel free to ask for more info if you need.
:)

Bluepic wrote:
Hey Guys. I will be applying to school this fall and wanted to see if there are any CPA's or people with Big 4 accounting experience that might shed some light on how schools weight such experience. Is this a really popular demogrpahic or is it considered more specialized?

I know work experience is just a small piece of what goes into the overall b-school package, but if there are any accountants out there that have had any luck (or not much luck) I would like to be able to hear your thoughts on the app. process and what schools you applied to.

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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 13:39
Sniper -

Is the peer group considered to be other CPA's and public accountants? From what you have seen what are some specific ways that public accountants have been able to do this?
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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 15:32
I would say, its more of a big4 thing than a CPA.
I did not follow the 2nd part of your question.

CaliCpa wrote:
Sniper -

Is the peer group considered to be other CPA's and public accountants? From what you have seen what are some specific ways that public accountants have been able to do this?

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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 17:03
I was referring to how to distinguish oneself from his/her peer group. I was hoping you could provide any examples that you plan to use, or have seen other applicants use. Maybe thats the "non-thinker" in me, but just curious for some examples.

Also, just curious but what do you want to do post-mba?
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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 18:26
Sniper, thanks for the response. I actually don't have too many co-workers thinking about an MBA (at least not full time). I would like to do corporate strategy/development post-MBA. Hopefully recruitors will think a CPA is a nice compliment - not sure if people consider this a complete career change.

Eventually being a CFO would be awesome, but I can't see myself enjoying going the Controller (etc.) route.
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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 19:37
One of the things my colleague did was - took a rotation from his field of work into Structured finance and technology services. I think this gave him a bit of diversification from a pure number crunching arena to more of a consultant kinda role. This was viewed very favorably by the Adcom.
This could also be complemented by a location/country shift (as in my case)
Also, extra circ's help. Typically CPA's (in big4s) tend to have no life outside of work.

Post Mba - Trying to transition into more of "consulting" role. SmallPvt Equity/hedge funds also interest me.
I am a part time trader so i would like to do something around that. :-D
I m sure more opps will come to light as i attend school. Just starting for my Gmat for now.
Would be to interesting to know the tgt schools for fellow CPA's and Big4 peer grp.
Cheers!

CaliCpa wrote:
I was referring to how to distinguish oneself from his/her peer group. I was hoping you could provide any examples that you plan to use, or have seen other applicants use. Maybe thats the "non-thinker" in me, but just curious for some examples.

Also, just curious but what do you want to do post-mba?

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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 19:49
There is no doubt a CPA helps espc when one is coming from an accounting background. Also do prof qualifications like CIA, CISA etc.
On the point of co-workers, i pretty much have the same situation in my firm. Oh well, had, as i just got laid off last week. So, finally started with my MBA journey.
For Corp strat/consulting , which schools are you targeting ?


Bluepic wrote:
Sniper, thanks for the response. I actually don't have too many co-workers thinking about an MBA (at least not full time). I would like to do corporate strategy/development post-MBA. Hopefully recruitors will think a CPA is a nice compliment - not sure if people consider this a complete career change.

Eventually being a CFO would be awesome, but I can't see myself enjoying going the Controller (etc.) route.

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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 21:27
Kellogg would be my dream school. On my short list now would to apply to Kellogg and Booth as long-shots, Duke and Darden as competitive schools, and UT McCombs as a back-up. I'll probably add one to two more by the fall. They are all great schools and I'm unsure how I stand, but I can't justify investing so much for school outside the top 20.
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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2009, 22:00
I am probably sitting about the same as Bluepic. Probably one other Finance minded like Columbia. Any idea which schools might be more accepting to BIG 4/CPA/CA than others?
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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 03:25
I work for a Big 4 firm and will be attending Kellogg this fall. I actually think CPA/Big 4 is relatively neutral to adcoms. It definitely demonstrates that you've got good quantitative skills, but raises questions around teamwork, leadership and other interpersonal skills. I think what's most important is what snipertrader said a few posts back - it's what *you* bring to the table that counts most. If you're an auditor and have just done audits your whole career, it's going to be harder to distinguish yourself from the other auditors applying. Try and branch out, volunteer for projects in other areas, get involved outside of work, look for experiences that show that you're more than just a number-crunching beancounter.

As for career switching, I am planning to go into product management or GM in pharma/biotech post graduation so it's definitely possible to get accepted as a CPA who wants a major career shift. As for whether CPA is seen as a positive by recruiters, you'll have to ask me next year. :-D

Last, in terms of schools I don't think any schools are CPA-friendly or CPA-unfriendly. There's a lot more to admissions than that. Again, it comes down to what you bring to the table - your skills, your personality and how well those fit with the school - that matter, not the letters after your name.

I think those were most of the questions you guys raised, but if you have more feel free to post them or PM me.
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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 04:16

Also a former Big 4/CPA until few months ago....
Just like Jerz mentioned above, CPA doesn't have much impact on adcoms. I think it's your goals, essays and fit that will help you with your admissions. For example, if you say your goal to pursue MBA is to become a CFO of a corporation, then you have to do more work to convince why MBA from [insert school here] is necessary because having a CPA will allow you to reach that goal to a certain degree.

However, if you say you want to switch your career and explain well, having a CPA means nothing to the adcoms. They will pay more attention to other factors - in my opinion.

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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 05:49
Nink-

As far as academics go, i think CPA is a + over and above ones BS/MS in accounting. I think the adcom will surely appreciate that. no? :roll:

nink wrote:

Also a former Big 4/CPA until few months ago....
Just like Jerz mentioned above, CPA doesn't have much impact on adcoms. I think it's your goals, essays and fit that will help you with your admissions. For example, if you say your goal to pursue MBA is to become a CFO of a corporation, then you have to do more work to convince why MBA from [insert school here] is necessary because having a CPA will allow you to reach that goal to a certain degree.

However, if you say you want to switch your career and explain well, having a CPA means nothing to the adcoms. They will pay more attention to other factors - in my opinion.

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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 07:13
snipertrader wrote:
Nink-

As far as academics go, i think CPA is a + over and above ones BS/MS in accounting. I think the adcom will surely appreciate that. no? :roll:

nink wrote:

Also a former Big 4/CPA until few months ago....
Just like Jerz mentioned above, CPA doesn't have much impact on adcoms. I think it's your goals, essays and fit that will help you with your admissions. For example, if you say your goal to pursue MBA is to become a CFO of a corporation, then you have to do more work to convince why MBA from [insert school here] is necessary because having a CPA will allow you to reach that goal to a certain degree.

However, if you say you want to switch your career and explain well, having a CPA means nothing to the adcoms. They will pay more attention to other factors - in my opinion.


I think a CPA would probably be viewed more favorably than an accountant without a CPA or other certification. But I think the point is that a CPA is not seen as inherently better than the engineers, consultants, bankers, marketers, military officers, and assorted other professions you will be competing against for admission.
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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's? [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2009, 07:25
Jerz wrote:
I think the point is that a CPA is not seen as inherently better than the engineers, consultants, bankers, marketers, military officers, and assorted other professions you will be competing against for admission.



I agree with what Jerz said above. Similar debate is available in CFA thread regarding impact of CFA certification on bschool admission.

Whether you have a CPA or a CFA, I don't think it gives you much advantage or preference, if any.


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Re: How do ad-coms view CPA's?   [#permalink] 27 Apr 2009, 07:25
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