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Odd Situation and Looking to become a CPA

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Odd Situation and Looking to become a CPA [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2011, 21:36
So as I sit here dejected from yet another job search and wondering where I turn to next, I found this site. I've been contemplating finding a school to go to get either an MBA or an MAcc sometime soon.

Here are my details: I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in Economics, (GPA <3.0) in December 2008. After I was awarded this, I set out to find a job knowing that the market would be incredibly brutal. It was worse than I though, and I know that my GPA had to be a key as to why I couldn't find any work at all. So I went to a regional school for an Accounting degree. I left that school in May 2011, degree in hand (GPA 3.6), and while I have found some temp accounting work and some interviews with some large oil & gas firms and a Big 4 accounting firm, I feel that my resume doesn't pack the right punch and that I am constantly being judged by my bad grades on my first degree. I currently have the hours to qualify for the CPA exam.

I currently am wondering if I need to go back to school to get some sort of Master's degree to become a more viable candidate for a Big 4 firm. While that is starting to become a more viable option, I would prefer not to do it if I didn't have to (meaning find entry-level accounting work). If I do go ahead and pursue a Master's, then what can I look at as viable options for someone with my resume and lack of work experience? I have not taken the GMAT yet. I do not believe I can be placed into a Top 25 MBA or MAcc program, so I am also wondering how many people get placed into Big 4 accounting firms from outside those schools. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.
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Re: Odd Situation and Looking to become a CPA [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2011, 22:55
It sounds to me that the real reason for you school search is your job search. This does not seem to be the best reason to start a school search. I think that you'd be best served with continuing with your job search.

Where do you live? Are you looking for a job in too small of a geographical area? If the job search is getting you down, I would like to remind you that a job search is a rollercoaster ride. It has its ups and downs. One day one door closes, and the next day another opens. I big 4 accounting firm job is not open to everyone. Every finance major wants to work at Goldman Sachs, but this won't always happen.

I would keep your head held high, and go back to school if/when it is right for you. It won't be the opening to every job for you, and a promise that a low GPA won't keep you from achieving your goals. You just have to find what is right for you, and find a place that you can get experience. It isn't easy out there, but don't loose motivation or hope. The average job search is 6-12 months!

I was a 2008 graduate, and of course I wanted to work in real estate. Guess what? this was the worst time in history for a real estate guy. But I found a job with a small shop and worked there for a couple years and moved on to a top bank in the country. I'm now going back to Bschool to send my career to the next level. My first job search took 5 months, and the second took almost a year (while i was working), so don't lose hope! If grad school is really what you are looking for we are here to support. But don't find dejection over a job search as your motivation. There is something out there for you, you just need to find it. I would consult you college career center, and take all their recommendations to heart. They can really help you land that job that could be the stepping stone to your dream job! You are young, and 20 years down the line no one will care what you were doing in 2011, just what experience you have now.

Good luck!

PS, if you are ready to get your CPA, what not get it? You will have a certification that can truly make you stand out. I would go for it...
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Re: Odd Situation and Looking to become a CPA [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2011, 00:29
Don't go back to school.

Get into the best regional or local firm you can. Work there for at least 2-3 years, then see if you can lateral into a Big 4.

In the meantime, work your butt off for the CPA exam and see if you can blow it apart (i.e. pass all parts first take, avg > 80) to offset your GPA.

I did this back in 2002. Graduated with a degree in Econ, subpar GPA. Took an entry-level accounting job at a start-up that was going bankrupt. Promoted to Controller after we entered bankruptcy. Didn't know what I was doing, but I was barely getting paid and the experience was excellent on the resume.

Leveraged this to get into a good regional firm in California. At that time, SOX was starting to get underway, so Big 4 were hiring like crazy to do controls work. In 2005, after 2 busy seasons at regional firm, lateraled into Deloitte. Had to redo my 2nd year, but it was definitely worth it.

Spent 3.5 years at Deloitte, another year at an international NGO, then went to bschool.

PM me if you have other questions.
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Re: Odd Situation and Looking to become a CPA [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2012, 20:59
Just don't include your undergrad GPA for your Econ degree. If they ask, be honest and tell them what it is. My guess is that you may not even have people care if you have a subsequent degree and did well.
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Re: Odd Situation and Looking to become a CPA [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2012, 22:11
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Re: Odd Situation and Looking to become a CPA [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2012, 20:06
If you are just going for the audit/acctg side of the big 4, CPA is definitely worth more than MBA. You will have to pass 4 exams in total for CPA, but you don't have to write them all at the same time. I spread mine over 1 year while working full time. You either pass or fail so there is no need to re-do the exam for a higher score if you passed (unlike GMAT)...Note that different state has different requirement for CPA (i.e. education hours and such) so you will need to reseach on the state-specifics.

I've been in public acctg for almost 4 yrs now and am thinking about my next step and that's why i'm thinking doing a MBA....sigh
Re: Odd Situation and Looking to become a CPA   [#permalink] 08 Feb 2012, 20:06
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