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Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program

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Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2010, 13:49
Hi I have been seriously considering on pursuing a PhD in Accounting for Fall 2012. To give you a background on my stats, education and experience:
30 yr female
BA in History (UCLA): 3.0 GPA (3 semesters of Calculus, 1 semester of Diff Equations rec'd all As)
JD (3rd tier law school): salutatorian, magna cum laude 3.78 GPA
MBA (regional school): 3.86 GPA
MS in Acct & Tax: currently 4.0 GPA (will not graduate until the end of the summer)
Undergraduate Accounting Classes: 3.68 GPA (Linear Algebra, Econometrics, Probability & Stats rec'd all As)
2 yrs experience as senior accountant (not a Big4, but small boutique firm)
Licensed to practice law in FL & NY; 2 years experience in law outside of tax

I have not taken the GMAT; I want to commit to about 6-8 months preparing for it to get a desired score of 760. I also need to finish sitting for the CPA exams!

My questions are the following:
1. How important is Big4 experience? I feel as though I have been exposed to just as much of a workload and experience. I also have a legal background.
2. When is the latest I can take the GMAT for Fall 2012 entrance? I have noticed a lot of posters here take it in February or March. Why is that? I wanted to take the exam in August of this year. Is that too early or too late?
3. My desired schools are either Washington, Berkeley, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). Are any of these too unrealistic?

I appreciate any and all reality checks. I suppose I would be willing to delay applications for another year if I needed to work at a Big4, but in all honesty, I rather jump start my academic career.

Last edited by atara on 17 Jan 2011, 16:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2010, 16:54
To answer your questions:

1. I don't think work experience plays the biggest role in admissions (as long as you have shown interest in the accounting field). Although I do think Big4 experience is easier for adcoms to judge since most people are very familiar. I don't think it matters too much though and certainly wouldn't delay apps for a year to get some experience.
2. August is definitely ok. I took the GMAT in October and had no problems.
3. I think it's too early to give any definite school selections yet because you don't have a GMAT score. Also, you didn't identify what your research interests are. The schools you named are all fairly different so you definitely want to have a general idea of what you want to do (especially methodology).

Overall though, I think you're biggest concern (after nailing the GMAT :) ) should be to explain in your SOP why you want to do accounting research. I think adcoms will look at your profile and see HIstory undergrad, MBA, MS and JD and wonder where the research idea came from. You might have valid justifications that I just didn't pick up on, so this isn't meant to be a criticism.

Good luck!
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Re: Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2010, 05:51
I haven't narrowed my concentration yet. My interests include mainly capital market valuation and financial statement analysis of which it looks like I won't have difficulty finding mentors in any of the schools. I have considered a minor concentration in tax due to my tax law background. My graduate degrees certainly would not contradict such research interests.

I've noticed from your other posts that you have been published a couple of times. Did you publish notes/comments or articles? Could you tell me how long of a process from start (beginning of research) to finish (actual publication) it took?
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Re: Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2011, 08:58
Kinda agree with fish here, your profile seems messy. If you nail a 760 or really anything in the 7s, I'm sure you will get in somewhere, but doubtful about anything near the caliber of Berkeley or Michigan.
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Re: Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2011, 07:50
Thanks I appreciate the initial impressions you both have offered. I will be sure to write my SOP with that in mind.
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Re: Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2011, 00:48
Based on your profile, I think all of the schools that you listed will be reach schools, except for maybe Michigan State, which might be a target school.
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Re: Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 11:56
I have decided against pursuing a PhD. I've looked at profiles of current Accounting PhD students at all of those universities and I can see that I am not the type they desire.
Re: Reality Checks for Accounting PhD Program   [#permalink] 24 Feb 2011, 11:56
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