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Need some help on determining if this is even worth my time

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Need some help on determining if this is even worth my time [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2011, 12:01
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Hi everyone,

I recently graduated w/ a BA in Advertising from Southern Methodist University. I also have a minor in business administration (from the business school, SMU Cox makes you take a subset of 8 classes with a 3.3 overall GPA in order to get in, I met these requirements and received the Cox minor), and I would love to take on a MS accounting program to ultimately sit for the CPA. I have taken 3 accounting courses, all were subpar due to some family issues going on at the time but I absolutely loved the courses themselves and the content within. They were OK grades, but not outstanding. My dream job would be w/ a big 4 in a tax/audit position.

My dream school of where I would love to go for this is UT-Austin. I've also considered other schools (SMU, UTD, TCU). In terms of the prereqs, I already have everything that is required at UT -- My grades on them were: A in Macro, A- in Micro, A in Statistics, and a B in Financial Accounting.

I've recently started working on the GMAT by purchasing all of the books that I found recommended by others within the forum (a lot of the official guides, and a collection of all the manhattan GMAT guides, and then the official, general guide to give me a good background on the test and what to expect). I am a good test taker (174 LSAT when I was considering law school) so I feel fairly confident that I can come out with a good score with ample study time and attention.

However, not sure if I have a shot in heck at UT-Austin, and I'd like to get a ballpark figure on a GMAT that I would need to push me over the top in this program

Undergraduate GPA: 3.3/4.0 upper level courses (this is how they calculate GPA for UT) from Southern Methodist Univ. This has a shot of going up as I don't have a copy of my transcript that's readily accessible, I just guesstimated, and shot for lower than what I had thought if I wasn't 100% sure.
Somewhat relevant business work experience includes: I have worked as a teller at a bank for 6 months while in school. With my current employer, although I work at an advertising agency (200+ employees, 3 offices between Dallas, NY and Philadelpha to give you an idea of how large) - my job has a heavy emphasis on financial reporting and analysis. I work very closely with our Finance Manager, Senior VP Operations, and Director of Project Management and make a lot of effort to perfect our billable time (making sure everything that is billable has a billable rate associated, just for an example), in addition to manipulating lots of our financial data to get actual numbers to give to management throughout the company.

Because of the job above, I have extremely above average knowledge (completely proficient) in Excel - including formula creation and manipulation. Back in high school (although not relevant now) - I was a part of a Computer Applications UIL team and I placed 1st in District, 1st in Region and headed to the State Competition, and the entire contest was centered around the high level use of Excel.

My letters of recommendation (already confirmed) will include: Financial Planning and Analysis Manager from current job, 2 Professors from upper level undergraduate coursework (includes my capstone course professor), and the President/CEO of the bank that I have worked at. I am debating about throwing in one or two personal references, but as it stands, both the president and VP of the bank I worked at have known me my entire life.

I also have quite a bit of volunteer work for Campfire USA under my belt from undergrad.

What type of GMAT score do I need to be looking at to be competitive? I know my GPA is a little bit on the low side so I am trying to think of ways that I can compensate for that.

Would this work experience help me at all or does it even matter?

I am also a lifelong TX resident and first generation college student. First person in my family to obtain a Bachelors degree. Just wanted to put that out there too just in case.

Thanks for your help everyone.
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Re: Need some help on determining if this is even worth my time [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2011, 11:45
You probably need about 650 for the programs you're looking at. Your work experience will help as well.

Last edited by revan on 01 Dec 2011, 06:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need some help on determining if this is even worth my time [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2011, 06:24
Whitney,

I graduated from the Texas MPA program in 2007. First, I would definitely recommend the program to you and other readers of this message board looking to obtain a masters degree in accounting. As for your profile, how low were the accounting grades? Any C's? Many students entering the program have little or no undergraduate work in accounting, so the expectation is not that you are an accounting genius. However, one or more C's or D's in accounting or finance courses could give the admissions committee pause.

Remember, many students applying will have 3.5+ GPAs in upper-level accounting work, but few will have any hands-on work accounting work experience, aside from a 3-month internship. Therefore, I believe the quality of your recommendations from your employer will have a major impact on your admissions decision. Ensure that your recommenders highlight your technical financial analysis and MS Excel abilities in their recommendations.

The GMAT, given your lack of extensive, formal education in accounting, will also come into play. Applicants with high accounting GPAs, Big 4 internships, and 650-680 GMAT scores were generally admitted with scholarships. Those admitted (no scholarships) without an accounting background generally had higher GMAT scores 700-720. However, I agree with Revan, if you can score above a 650, applying is well worth a shot.
Re: Need some help on determining if this is even worth my time   [#permalink] 17 Nov 2011, 06:24
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