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How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax?

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Intern
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How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2010, 11:43
Hello Everyone!

May I please ask the intelligent and wise gmatclub posters on how to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? I have recently graduated from UMass - Boston with an undergrad degree of Accounting, and wanted to go work for Big 4 audit/tax. I know Big 4 recruiting season starts in Fall, and I was just wondering how do I get myself part of the recruiting process aside from the career services in school (I will definitely ask career services about this, but I want to know other ways)?

If anyone here works for Big 4, can you please describe how you were recruited?

Thank you!

My GPA is 3.85, and currently preparing for the CPA exam.
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VP
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Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2010, 13:35
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Having recently graduated is a disadvantage. Your best bet is to know the websites so you can make sure you submit an application, and then to use your school's alumni to network. Meeting, learning and networking are the best chances you have of getting an interview (your GPA is good, but many of the year below you ought to be applying this coming year).

Entirely as an aside, I am glad you didn't ask whether you should go into Big 4 Audit or Tax. I am entirely glad that someone wants to do it though.
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Intern
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Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2010, 16:14
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Definitely network - see if any of your friends or folks at your career center can perhaps pass along a resume to HR. While you should fill out the online application, don't be afraid to send a few e-mails to HR at some of the firms you're interested in along with your resume. As long as you are polite and respectful, you have nothing to lose.

I would say from my experience that 1) GPA (3.7+) and 2) interest in obtaining a CPA are two of the major keypoints that we look for when giving out interviews. With your 3.85 and plans to sit for the CPA, you seem like you would pass both requirements.

Furthermore, if your search for a full-time offer doesn't prove to be very fruitful, consider applying for a summer or winter internship. Typically, internships will lead to full-time offers, and it gives you an opportunity to give the firm and industry a trial run.

Best of luck!
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Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2010, 16:22
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I can't imagine its that difficult getting into the Big4. I had a much lower GPA 3.2 at the time at an equal caliber school and absolutely no background in accounting or tax and managed to get an offer.

I assume they come to campus to recruit, so if you don't mind being down a year interview on campus when they are there. At my school because of the recession at a bunch of my interviews there were recent grads as well so I don't think its that uncommon.

Good luck!
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Intern
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Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2010, 17:37
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Just to clarify - 3.7 is ideally what my particular firm looks for, but many applicants from 3.0 - 3.5 do receive interview invites from what I've seen.

I only mentioned 3.7 because it was generally the cutoff in which an applicant was almost automatically given an interview invite (barring a really poor resume, etc.) as an indication that Manila should reasonably be able to obtain an interview with his current GPA.

Sorry for the confusion, run4run!
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Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2010, 18:27
Thanks for posting 3underscore, bosunnusob, and run4run! Your posts were very informative.

I have checked the Big 4 websites, and so far only Deloitte has job postings for entry-level candidates, while PwC allows you to create a talent profile. Hopefully, I would be able to get an interview invite, but I'm not hoping that much, as 3underscore have said, having recently graduated is a disadvantage.

If it doesn't go well, my other plan is to pursue an MSA/MST/Masters in MIS where Big 4 heavily recruits.
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Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2010, 13:40
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As a former Big 4 manager who was involved with recruiting, hopefully I can shed some light as well. My firm, and from what I understand the other 3 were the same, divide recruiting into campus recruiting - which looks for new associates coming right out of undergrad - and experienced recruiting - which looks for people who have a few years experience after school. The campus recruiting process follows a pretty rigid timeline, with big intakes every fall of people who graduated the previous spring, and were recruited during the fall of their senior year in school. Each firm has a list of target schools at which they do recruiting, and the vast majority of new associates (read: I think I met 1 person who was a campus hire from a non-target school in my 8 years at the firm) come from these schools. Experienced recruiting is more flexible, with candidates being interviewed and given offers as resource needs come up at the firm.

Generally, all the new associate (people who just graduated from school) positions are filled through campus recruiting. So since for whatever reason you weren't involved in the on-campus recruiting during your senior year, I'd say the chances of you getting a job with a Big 4 firm in the next 8-12 months are pretty slim. My advice would be to start networking with people at the firms in the groups you're interested in joining (start by contacting alumni from your school) and look for an accounting job elsewhere in the meantime so you have something to talk about with the firms, and how you have the skills to come in as an experienced hire.
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Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 26 Jul 2010, 16:42
Try and get an interview by contacting recruiters directly, or by having a friend send you resume for you. If that doesn't work, then enroll in a Masters of Accountancy and make sure that you schedule an interview with all 4 big four during the fall. The Big 4 typically like Masters candidates, especially if they have an undergrad in accounting as well.
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Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax? [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2010, 01:27
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Jerz's advice is spot-on from my experience.

Big 4 typically look for three things in candidates:

1) GPA 3.5+ (so you're good there)
2) work experience (doesn't have to be acct related- just that you balanced school/work)
3) a leadership role in a campus organization

If the Big 4 DO recruit at your alma mater and you just missed them before, find out about the dates they'll be on campus and show up to every single event possible. Many of the companies participate in 'mock interviews' prior to actual interview week, see if you can get registered for that.

Once you're at the events, identify the head of recruiting at each company and make sure that person knows who you are. Be flexible about the possibility of a winter internship- we almost never hire anyone completely blind. Many times the full-time offers are all gone by the time we get to campus in the fall, to our previous year's interns who we start courting their sophomore year in college in my former U.S. market.

In the meantime, study hard for the CPA exam, let the companies know that you are eligible to sit and will be doing so on X date, and figure out whether you want to go into tax or audit. If you're truly not sure between the two, identify which companies are stronger (read: larger and make more hires) in each area, and target the stronger division at each company. So you might apply for Audit at KPMG & PWC, and Tax at E&Y & Deloitte (depending on your market).

Be sure to have compelling reasons why you were missed previously- we don't want to hear that you were too busy, or unfamiliar with the timeframe last year.

Good luck!
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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

Re: How to get in to Big 4 audit/tax?   [#permalink] 27 Jul 2010, 01:27
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