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MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work?

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MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2014, 20:24
Hi! I am thinking about applying to a MAcc program for the fall (most likely Penn State or William and Mary) and have some questions about the recruiting process for big 4. I've heard that most of the recruiting starts right away in the fall, is this true?

I guess my main concern, if recruiting does start in the fall, is that my undergrad GPA was kind of low (3.3). If big 4 firms start recruiting in the fall, I wouldn't have any official MAcc grades to report yet.. so my resume would most likely still list my undergrad 3.3. Would this be a problem?

Or would firms understand if I tell them that half way through the semester I have excellent grades in my MAcc program etc... which figures would they place more weight on? Is the undergrad GPA even relevant at all to big 4 firms once you are enrolled in a MAcc program?

The other option I was considering was to enroll in a program and wait until the end of 1st semester (once I've registered some grades) to even try for big 4. Would this be feasible? Do others try this?

I know this is a lot, but I'm really trying to decide if getting a Masters in Accounting would be worth the cost if I don't have a good chance at a big 4 position. If anyone has any information or input, about my questions or the recruiting process in general, I would love to hear it. All of your help is appreciated! Thank you.
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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2014, 23:40
You should try to do a summer intensive program at your school if they offer it. This will allow you to write down your master's level courses/grades
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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2014, 06:38
Hi Laser,

Thank you for getting back to me! Even though I was finance undergrad I still took 12 accounting credits and for most schools would need none or at most 1-2 more accounting classes. Would it still be worth it to shell out tuition + living expenses for classes i've already taken?

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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2014, 06:53
shivenshiven wrote:
Hi! I am thinking about applying to a MAcc program for the fall (most likely Penn State or William and Mary) and have some questions about the recruiting process for big 4. I've heard that most of the recruiting starts right away in the fall, is this true?

I guess my main concern, if recruiting does start in the fall, is that my undergrad GPA was kind of low (3.3). If big 4 firms start recruiting in the fall, I wouldn't have any official MAcc grades to report yet.. so my resume would most likely still list my undergrad 3.3. Would this be a problem?

Or would firms understand if I tell them that half way through the semester I have excellent grades in my MAcc program etc... which figures would they place more weight on? Is the undergrad GPA even relevant at all to big 4 firms once you are enrolled in a MAcc program?

The other option I was considering was to enroll in a program and wait until the end of 1st semester (once I've registered some grades) to even try for big 4. Would this be feasible? Do others try this?

I know this is a lot, but I'm really trying to decide if getting a Masters in Accounting would be worth the cost if I don't have a good chance at a big 4 position. If anyone has any information or input, about my questions or the recruiting process in general, I would love to hear it. All of your help is appreciated! Thank you.



1st. regarding your GPA. I think yes, it will affect your chance. 3.3 Your application may not even be handed to the Big4 firms, since the campus career office will be likely the 1st to select candidates for the on-campus interview round.

2nd. The recruiting season is mostly around September - October. I am not sure if you will have chances after your 1st MAcc semester.

Finally, I would recommend you to apply for small-size programs with strong recruiting network. You don't want to be lost in a big crowd.
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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2014, 08:37
Hi hangham,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. And I understand, that's exactly what I was afraid of. If I'm not going to be eligible for big 4 due to my undergrad GPA I guess I don't really see the value of doing the MAcc.

Do you know maybe what other jobs might a MAcc open up for me after I graduate with a great GPA? Also, any suggestions for small programs by chance? I guess W&M might fall into this category.

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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2014, 12:46
shivenshiven wrote:
Hi hangham,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. And I understand, that's exactly what I was afraid of. If I'm not going to be eligible for big 4 due to my undergrad GPA I guess I don't really see the value of doing the MAcc.

Do you know maybe what other jobs might a MAcc open up for me after I graduate with a great GPA? Also, any suggestions for small programs by chance? I guess W&M might fall into this category.

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I would suggest you taking a look at Vanderbilt. Great program n recruiting network.
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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2014, 13:09
I have considered Vanderbilt and liked what the program had to offer indeed. I'm just worried it's a reach...

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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2014, 13:13
shivenshiven wrote:
I have considered Vanderbilt and liked what the program had to offer indeed. I'm just worried it's a reach...

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its worth giving a try. Try University of Nevada at Las Vegas too. rank 17 on MAC w <25 professors
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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2014, 13:45
Okay, thanks! I will give UNLV a look as well then! I really appreciate all of your input. One last question I had, hangham, was regarding other potential routes to the big 4. Is fall OCR really the best bet? What if I waited until after graduation to apply at big 4 and in the summer after graduation did another fin/accounting internship maybe in industry or a smaller accounting firm?

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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2014, 16:39
shivenshiven wrote:
Okay, thanks! I will give UNLV a look as well then! I really appreciate all of your input. One last question I had, hangham, was regarding other potential routes to the big 4. Is fall OCR really the best bet? What if I waited until after graduation to apply at big 4 and in the summer after graduation did another fin/accounting internship maybe in industry or a smaller accounting firm?

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do you mean you plan to apply for big 4 as an experienced staff? For entry level jobs/associate positions, there are 2 ways you can be connected with Big 4: 1. campus recruiting 2. internal referral. For the 2nd option, it is likely that you need CPA license by the time of application. 1st option is a much easier way to follow. Graduate school helps you not only fulfill 150 credit requirement but also find recruiting opportunities with the firms. Hope it helps.
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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2014, 23:08
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While grades a great filter to an application, it is not a complete deal breaker. If you go to a program with strong recruiting, you get to interact with the Big 4 and other firms professionals many times way even before they get to see your applications. If you leave a good impression with the professionals, even the Big 4, your "low" undergrad GPA hardly matters. They want humans that can interact with other human beings, rather than a bookworm. I am qualified to say this because I have accepted a fulltime offer with one of the Big 4 with GPA lower than 3.0.

It is always easy for people to say/think that a low GPA is a dealbreaker, it is not. You're applying for a job that involves more than your knowledge. By the way, your 3.3 GPA is far from low and very far-stretched to say that you don't meet the eligibility of the Big 4. I would understand if you're applying directly to the firm's website, rather than on-campus postings (and having interacted with the professionals at the firms before).

TLDR: Apply anyway. Your GPA is far from "too low." In fact, from my observation, the Big 4 people's average GPA probably lie around 3.5.

shivenshiven wrote:
Hi hangham,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. And I understand, that's exactly what I was afraid of. If I'm not going to be eligible for big 4 due to my undergrad GPA I guess I don't really see the value of doing the MAcc.

Do you know maybe what other jobs might a MAcc open up for me after I graduate with a great GPA? Also, any suggestions for small programs by chance? I guess W&M might fall into this category.

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Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work? [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2014, 11:47
shivenshiven wrote:
Hi! I am thinking about applying to a MAcc program for the fall (most likely Penn State or William and Mary) and have some questions about the recruiting process for big 4. I've heard that most of the recruiting starts right away in the fall, is this true?

I guess my main concern, if recruiting does start in the fall, is that my undergrad GPA was kind of low (3.3). If big 4 firms start recruiting in the fall, I wouldn't have any official MAcc grades to report yet.. so my resume would most likely still list my undergrad 3.3. Would this be a problem?

Or would firms understand if I tell them that half way through the semester I have excellent grades in my MAcc program etc... which figures would they place more weight on? Is the undergrad GPA even relevant at all to big 4 firms once you are enrolled in a MAcc program?

The other option I was considering was to enroll in a program and wait until the end of 1st semester (once I've registered some grades) to even try for big 4. Would this be feasible? Do others try this?

I know this is a lot, but I'm really trying to decide if getting a Masters in Accounting would be worth the cost if I don't have a good chance at a big 4 position. If anyone has any information or input, about my questions or the recruiting process in general, I would love to hear it. All of your help is appreciated! Thank you.


Hopefully I'm not too late on this -

I graduated from William & Mary's Macc program in 2010. I was in even worse shape than you - my undergrad GPA was 2.9. I was able to land a job with one of the Big 4 in DC, and I now work with one of the other Big 4 firms in Brazil (I wanted a transfer - my original firm was slow to make it happen, so I was able to land an offer with another one of the Big 4).

My overall advice is to not sweat the GPA. In the grand scheme of things, recruiting is a people-driven process, and grades are secondary. Your goal needs to be to make a great impression on everybody you meet down there: your teachers, other students, and especially the recruiters. At the end of the day, the recruiters want to give offers to people that they like. When talking to recruiters, the less time you spend talking about school, grades, work, and other boring stuff, the better you are probably doing.

In terms of how recruiting works, it is my suspicion that the process starts as soon as you walk in the door. I believe that the recruiters (who are typically former students) maintain contact with the professors there, and when push comes to shove they take the advice of the professors with respect to who is qualified and who is not. So your first goal is to make sure that you show up to class every day prepared not just to survive, but to impress. That means doing your reading and HW assignments the night before they are due, so that when your teacher discusses them in class you have already thought out your answers, and your only questions are for more nuanced parts of the material.

Additionally, one of the hallmarks of the program is that during the second module of the semester, the faculty will invite actual EY, Deloitte, KPMG, and PWC managers, senior managers, and partners to give weekly presentations on areas in which they are subject matter experts. Again, don't treat this as just another class. This is an opportunity to ask nuanced questions that show that you understand how this stuff actually works. Some of the guys giving the presentation will be the same ones giving input into the hiring decisions. These sessions go hand-in-hand with impressing your teachers (as mentioned in the previous paragraph) - if you're asking good questions in class, and taking a strong, well-supported stance in debates with the teacher, the teacher will possibly point you out during these sessions and give you an opportunity to present your arguments to the subject matter experts. That's when you really stand out - it's an implicit endorsement from your teacher.

As for the official recruiting process, it starts in September with a job fair where all of the major and minor public accounting firms from DC, Richmond, Norfolk, etc. send their recruiters to talk with students in the Macc program. This is a great opportunity to put yourself on the recruiters' radars. These guys are generally extremely extroverted people who have no problem remembering huge lists of people, so don't worry if you only get a chance to talk for 5 minutes or so. They will remember you. And remember - while some talk about work and school is inevitable, the real goal is for them to get to know you as a person.

In early October, the interview process starts. You'll submit your resume through W&M's online portal, and the employers will either accept or reject you for an interview. You do the interviews on campus. Supposing you make it to the next step, you will be contacted anywhere from several hours to several weeks after the interview, notifying you that they'd like to bring you to their office for the final round of interviews. That typically occurs towards the end of October to mid November (I have heard that the earlier you go, the better). Finally, you'll pretty much know whether or not you got an offer by Thanksgiving.

In my opinion, William & Mary was fantastic. If you have any more questions, let me know.

In terms of final placement numbers, if I had to guess it would be something like the following (based on memory - don't hold me to this):

80 total people
~25 were W&M undergrad accounting majors who already had internships with the Big 4 (and therefore basically were guaranteed full-time offers)
~25 other people (most of whom were not accounting undergrads) got full-time offers with the Big 4 (mainly EY and PWC DC)
~25 other people got full-time offers with non-Big 4 public accounting firms
~5 people got full-time offers in industry/government
Re: MAcc Job Recruiting Process - How does it work?   [#permalink] 31 Mar 2014, 11:47
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