Please evaluate my chances for Masters in Accounting : MS Accounting
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# Please evaluate my chances for Masters in Accounting

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Joined: 02 Jun 2010
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02 Jun 2010, 19:03
Hello,

If I could have your input on my chances for a masters in accounting that would be great.

I graduated from a large average state school in New England with a 3.2 GPA as an economics major and biochemistry major. I scored a 640 GMAT but I have plans to retake it. While as an undergrad I:

was on the rowing team (awarded coaches award)
interned at a hedge fund-of-funds
traveled to Peru for an alternative spring break
and worked in 2 biochemistry labs

My goal is to go to get accepted to a program like Boston College, USC, or UNC. I am worried about my GPA because it is a little under the average of these schools. Please let me know your thoughts.
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03 Jun 2010, 03:02
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I think your scores are fair. GPA is low, but can be saved by a higher GMAT score. I know that Texas MPA (comparable to USC) student's average GPA is 3.7 and GMAT is 670. If you retake the GMAT, aim for a 700 to really standout.

I like the economics degree, but the Biochem degree is unrelated and raises a red flag for me. For the essay, you should have a solid explanation of your degrees, why you didn't do accounting as an undergrad, and why you want to do accounting now. If I were reviewing your app, I'd be place extra scrutiny on your essay response relating to Biochem.

The extracurricular activities are good and could help you standout. I like the first 2 extracurricular activities, but the alt. spring break needs further explanation and mentioning Biochem again might hurt you. I've heard of alternative spring breaks (ASB) hosted by Deloitte that invited students to volunteer cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina. If this is similar to your ASB, then great because you can mention working alongside accountants. You need to make sure you explain the significance (did you have to apply to the ASB/was it prestigious) of your ASB, because spring break is only 1 week long. I think you could leverage the lab to show you have work ethic, but again, you do not want to place any extra emphasis on Biochem as it is unrelated to business/accounting.

Make contact with admissions/alumni/students to get an idea of what to put in your essay.

I've only researched the Texas MPA program which is typically ranked comparably to USC. I don't know anything about the other 2 schools except for their locations which makes me wonder, why did you pick these 3 schools? Their locations are allover the place. Are they top ranked and is ranking your only criteria?

You didn't provide much information about what you plan to do with a masters in accounting. I could help you out more if you provided more details. Without any other information, I'd recommend researching accounting career paths and talking with accountants about their career paths.

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03 Jun 2010, 05:45
Hello ael719,

Thank you for the insightful post, I really appreciate it. Just a little background about myself, I started off as a biochemistry major but I realized it was not for me so I added economics as second major. I have taken financial accounting and managerial accounting and received As in both. I would have liked to be an accounting major but it was too late in my studies to add an accounting degre.

I picked UNC and USC for their rankings and also I am interested in Boston College due to its location (close to my home town). I am also applying to Bentley because of their location. My end goal is to work in audit for the big 4. At this point the schools ranking is pretty important to me.

Thank you for your help, if you have any more thoughts please post them!
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03 Jun 2010, 07:32
If your goal is to work for the Big4, make sure you attend schools where they recruit on campus. I'd guess that the Big4 recruit at UNC, USC, and BC. I'm from the Southwest so I've never really heard of Bentley and wouldn't be able to assume whether the Big4 recruit there. The Big4 and even grad schools push students into the CPA or other certifications. Research the requirements for the CPA and plan out when you might want to take it.

Another topic you should research is masters of accountancy vs masters of taxation. I've read a bunch of forums and generally, most people say that tax is a skill and a masters of tax is a way of proving your tax talent. You should look into career paths and try to choose between audit or tax. My schools career services provides access to websites like Wetfeet and Vault.com which publish accounting industry guides and profiles top firms. Try to get access them as they would be helpful in writing your essay and provide more perspective on a potential career path.

If you want to work near your hometown after graduating, then look at more schools in state. Check out the forum for another post where someone was choosing between UT vs USC. There are more replies and details about location. They basically say to go to a school closer to where you want to work (ie within the same state).

In your essay, make sure you have a solid reason for finishing the Biochem degree (as opposed to dropping and not completing it or was it just that late a change?). Emphasize on your accounting courses because the A's help your case and prove interest. Also, I know Big4 hires econ majors (usually grad or Phd) so be able to explain why a masters in accounting and not economics.

How did you get the internship at a hedge fund-of-funds? Was this while you were still in Biochem? Maybe there's a way to link your experience with accounting?
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Please help me towards my goal of GMATclub tests and press +1 (kudos) if you like my posts.

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03 Jun 2010, 09:33
Hi ael719,

Thanks once again for the reply. I picked BC, USC, UNC and Bentley due to the fact that the Big 4 all recruit from there.

The one thing I am a little worried about now is the biochemistry degree and my previous internships. One of my internships was with Harvard Medical School and the other was with UMass Dartmouth. It seems like time spent studying biochemistry is more of a liability than an asset (I thought it would be beneficial). The reason I continued to study biochemistry was because it was challenging and I liked reading about the subject but I would never want to make a career out of it. Working in the research labs could drive anyone crazy (lack of personal contact).

I am currently applying to local accounting firms in the hopes of getting an internship and getting more hands on experience in accounting while I retake the GMAT. Thank you for your time, I look forward to yoru response.
Re: Please evaluate my chances for Masters in Accounting   [#permalink] 03 Jun 2010, 09:33
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