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So my first choice firm rejected me...

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So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2009, 15:45
I interviewed with a whole bunch of firms (7) to be exact. All the Big 4, 2 national, and a regional. I only got one office visit at a Big 4, not my first choice. It was really weird because the interview I thought I did the worst at was the only firm to give me another chance. I have yet to do the office visit so hopefully something will come of this. If, however, nothing comes of it, which I kind of expect considering my current success rate, would it be possible to apply again for summer internships with the same firms/offices that have already rejected me? I really liked my first choice and was even told by an employee (only a senior, but still) that I would get an offer so I was really expecting/looking forward to this...I'm really having a hard time of this because I cannot fathom why all but one firm (even the smaller ones!) are not interested in me at all. It sucks. I have a 3.9 at a top program/highly recruited and I thought all my interviews went well. The interviews seemed to be more of them trying to sell the firm to me than anything else, but apparently that meant very little.

So my questions:
Are certain Big 4 more prestigious than others? From what I've heard there seems to be two tiers.

Also, would it be awkward/unacceptable to reapply for a summer internship or even a full-time spot in the next recruiting round at the offices I've already been rejected from? If people do do that, are they successful? Are they looked down upon?
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2009, 23:11
From what I can tell, they are all pretty much in the same bucket. To be honest, to a future employer, they don't care which one you worked for, just that you worked for one of them. I have met really intelligent and really un-intelligent people from pretty much all the big 4.

What I would suggest is to try and get feedback from the head recruiter at the office. Just make it sound like you want to improve your resume and he/she will likely spill the beans as to why you weren't offered a position (it could very likely be that they just dont have the positions). Based on the feedback, I would try and contact a different office (for even the same firm) and let them know that you are interested in that office and that firm for x, y, z, reasons. You might be able to get on that way. You can also start at a smaller firm and then make the move to the big 4 - happens more often than you think (typically when the economy is stable or growing).
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2009, 05:07
You can certainly reapply. I really wanted to work for one of the Big 4 and I applied there 3 times. I got the office visit the first time and nothing afterwards. I would not push it more than 3 times but you have to be persistent. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. I did not end up in public accounting and as I stand today, I am extremely grateful. I saw what auditors do first hand (when they come to audit my firm every year) and I know I would not be happy doing that. The bottom line is, even if you don't get into Big 4, there could be something better waiting for you out there.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2009, 11:21
Thanks for the replies. I realize that probably in the long run it won't matter which one I get into, but I really thought I'd be happy at this one in particular. I emailed a couple people from the one I really liked and had talked to during the interviews just as a friendly keep in touch thing. My worry lies in the fact that I only have one office visit, so hopefully I won't mess that one up otherwise I don't know what I'll do because I've already been rejected from the smaller sized firms.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2009, 18:08
ajk2010 wrote:
I interviewed with a whole bunch of firms (7) to be exact. All the Big 4, 2 national, and a regional. I only got one office visit at a Big 4, not my first choice. It was really weird because the interview I thought I did the worst at was the only firm to give me another chance. I have yet to do the office visit so hopefully something will come of this. If, however, nothing comes of it, which I kind of expect considering my current success rate, would it be possible to apply again for summer internships with the same firms/offices that have already rejected me? I really liked my first choice and was even told by an employee (only a senior, but still) that I would get an offer so I was really expecting/looking forward to this...I'm really having a hard time of this because I cannot fathom why all but one firm (even the smaller ones!) are not interested in me at all. It sucks. I have a 3.9 at a top program/highly recruited and I thought all my interviews went well. The interviews seemed to be more of them trying to sell the firm to me than anything else, but apparently that meant very little.

So my questions:
Are certain Big 4 more prestigious than others? From what I've heard there seems to be two tiers.

Also, would it be awkward/unacceptable to reapply for a summer internship or even a full-time spot in the next recruiting round at the offices I've already been rejected from? If people do do that, are they successful? Are they looked down upon?


I am not gonna go into whether one Big 4 is more prestigious than another. It's controversial. Prestige really don't mean much. Every Big 4 is really the same, with few minor differences.

For applying to summer internship to the same firm for the second time.....most people don't try this because if they end up staying at their current school (Bachelor's + MS 5th yr program), many schools allow you to use On Campus Recruiting for internship for 1 year. Then you have another year of eligibility left for actual staff position interviews. I wouldn't advise you to apply to summer internship twice. Just wait and apply for staff positions.

In many cases, the recruiting for summer internship and actual job (staff positions) are completely separate. Person in charge (recruiter) might be a different person, depending on the organization.

In the meantime, you should work on your interview skills. Even the most brilliant and capable applicants end up having horrible interviews because he or she is not prepared well for the interview. You said yourself, "interviews seemed to be more of them trying to sell the firm to me than anything else".... It should be the other way around. You should be selling yourself harder than the firm selling itself to you. High GPA and a top school doesn't mean as much as it was 2 or 3 years ago. Many firms reduced size of recruiting compared to previous years and they have many many top candidates to choose from.

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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2009, 21:38
I agree with Nink. The other thing to remember is that you think you might fit in well with one of the big 4, but they really are all the same. Sure, culture might be a little different, but public accounting is public accounting...the industry is what the culture is based around and not quite as much the firm. Two bits of advice:

1) Try to re-apply - Sell yourself really hard this time!

2) Don't let the recruiters know that you have other options. Recruiting at the Big 4 is all about the competition. They assume that you are recruiting at all the Big 4, and they will want you even more if that is true...I'm not saying lie about anything, but you don't have to tell them that they are your last chance and cry on the spot.

Good luck!
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2009, 10:18
Thanks for the input. I've started to get over not getting my first choice, and I'm learning that other people are having a tough time getting second round visits too. Hopefully I can get something out of this office visit. What can I expect out of an office visit? It's a Thursday night and half day Friday. I'm guessing dinner Thursday and interviews Friday? Are the interviews the same structure as the on-campus ones?

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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2009, 10:27
ajk2010 wrote:
Thanks for the input. I've started to get over not getting my first choice, and I'm learning that other people are having a tough time getting second round visits too. Hopefully I can get something out of this office visit. What can I expect out of an office visit? It's a Thursday night and half day Friday. I'm guessing dinner Thursday and interviews Friday? Are the interviews the same structure as the on-campus ones?

Thanks


Night before is probably a dinner and cocktail with Senior Managers and Partners. You interact with them and try to make a conversation. Some of them can be your interviewer next day. Be formal, professional and don't drink even if they are drinking and alcohol is available and offered to you.

Interview next day is probably with at least one senior manager and one partner. Structure will be similar as first round. Don't think that your chances are better than R1 because you are in R2. They are still very much trying to find someone to eliminate.

Be prepped for interviews. Having a well prepared set of answers with examples will help tremendously. Be passionate about what you say and show them enthusiasm and why you will be an asset to the firm as an intern and eventually as a staff member.

If you pass this round, you will be given an offer. I don't think they do more than 2 rounds at target schools. Good luck.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2009, 20:35
SO how did it go?

I have been to a number of interviews with Big 4 here in California and judging from what I have seen, your chances are greater if you are a good looking person. I have seen very few unattractive people at Big 4 offices and those that were unattractive studied at top tier schools like UC schools or USC or private universities. What I want to say is it may not be your fault that you did not get that many second interviews or an offer. Perhaps you just don't fit their standard of good looks. You can laugh at this but it may very well be the bitter truth, at least here in California
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2009, 16:50
Funny you ask what happened. Today marks one week and I have yet to hear. This is so frustrating. In fact, it's kind of a nightmare. I just don't understand how I am literally at the top of my class (in my major) and am the only one without an offer. WTF. So because it's been a week, I'm assuming that I'm not going to be getting an offer.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do with a degree in accounting outside of public accounting? I really don't want to be a bookkeeper, but everything outside of something like an A/P clerk requires big 4 experience....which clearly I can't get. I know I sound whiny but I'm really irritated/frustrated/depressed however you want to call it. I'm thinking about changing my major to finance but this would require me to take 18 hours in my last semester of college and I'm not even sure I could do it because some of the classes are pre-reqs for other classes I would need to take at the same time. I'm really clueless as to what I can do. I don't even feel like I could get my PhD in accounting and teach because most of my professors are previous big 8 employees who went back and got their PhDs. I feel like I've wasted my time as an accounting major and wish I had at least double majored so that I would have a backup plan.

I'll take any suggestions.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2009, 21:07
ajk2010 wrote:
Funny you ask what happened. Today marks one week and I have yet to hear. This is so frustrating. In fact, it's kind of a nightmare. I just don't understand how I am literally at the top of my class (in my major) and am the only one without an offer. WTF. So because it's been a week, I'm assuming that I'm not going to be getting an offer.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do with a degree in accounting outside of public accounting? I really don't want to be a bookkeeper, but everything outside of something like an A/P clerk requires big 4 experience....which clearly I can't get. I know I sound whiny but I'm really irritated/frustrated/depressed however you want to call it. I'm thinking about changing my major to finance but this would require me to take 18 hours in my last semester of college and I'm not even sure I could do it because some of the classes are pre-reqs for other classes I would need to take at the same time. I'm really clueless as to what I can do. I don't even feel like I could get my PhD in accounting and teach because most of my professors are previous big 8 employees who went back and got their PhDs. I feel like I've wasted my time as an accounting major and wish I had at least double majored so that I would have a backup plan.

I'll take any suggestions.


Aren't you only a senior in undergrad? This is not the end of the world. You still have a shot next year for FT Staff recruiting and you can start over from scratch.

Also, if you don't want to do accounting anymore, your outstanding GMAT score and GPA will qualify you for other grad school programs, such as MBA (one's that allows applicants straight from college) or you can try LSAT and consider law school. Or you can just graduate and take some time off, although many people are afraid of doing this.

What I am trying to emphasize here is that you need to take you mind off of this. You had a bad recruiting season for internships. But trust me, this is not the end of the world. Let this be a good experience and you can perhaps work on your interview skills and other areas that you think you can improve on (besides school grades) and try again next Fall. But try not to think about this anymore. What's done is done, and leave it all in the past. You have to move on. Sooner or later, you will figure out what you should do. But don't make any hasty decisions right now.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 00:37
ajk2010 wrote:
Funny you ask what happened. Today marks one week and I have yet to hear. This is so frustrating. In fact, it's kind of a nightmare. I just don't understand how I am literally at the top of my class (in my major) and am the only one without an offer. WTF. So because it's been a week, I'm assuming that I'm not going to be getting an offer.

I'll take any suggestions.



Are you a guy or a girl? And are you a hot girl or a good looking guy? Again, no matter how ridiculous it may sound, Big 4 are very shallow and they would rather take an average but hot girl than a brilliant average looking girl or a guy. It is a fact of life and it happens all the time, just look at a typical Big 4 auditor. Unless you are from a very expensive university.

What state are you?

What questions did they ask you at first and second interviews? Did you give them real life examples of situations they asked you about? Sometimes it makes sense to rewrite the history and make the story fit a nice textbook scenario, especially when it is about teamwork and difficult persons. All these interviews are a game, in which the ones with polished, nice sounding stories are likely to win. It is also a lottery. Many times there is no rhime or reason to their hiring patterns. They may say it is about having a good personality , interview skills, but in reality most people who are ambitious enough to want to be in Big 4 realize that and act accordingly, which means one will only be marginally more personable than the next guy. That's when being attractive helps you a lot, since you can't learn being hot

And you sure can try and reapply. Chances are it will be another person interviewing you next time if you are invited.

I also suggest you search for cpa forums and look at their career threads. You will find a lot of useful info there
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 09:52
socal, I'm an average/below average looking female 8-) so I can always blame my parents, right? :wink:

I'm feeling a little bit better this afternoon. Last night was a little rough as it marked one week with no phone call. I guess I have a little hope as they had a second group in for office visits yesterday so I'll say maybe they were waiting to get that group through before calling. Anyway, I think this whole process has made me think of my options outside of public accounting. I've started to look into MS Finance programs instead of trying to cram another major into my last semester. I think finance may suit my personality better anyway; my smarts far outweigh my interpersonal skills and I doubt I'd last long in public accounting once I had to start bringing in revenue for the firm.

Hopefully I'll get the internship, but either way I think I'm still going to apply for some MS Finance programs.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 13:18
ajk2010 wrote:
socal, I'm an average/below average looking female 8-) so I can always blame my parents, right? :wink:

I'm feeling a little bit better this afternoon. Last night was a little rough as it marked one week with no phone call. I guess I have a little hope as they had a second group in for office visits yesterday so I'll say maybe they were waiting to get that group through before calling. Anyway, I think this whole process has made me think of my options outside of public accounting. I've started to look into MS Finance programs instead of trying to cram another major into my last semester. I think finance may suit my personality better anyway; my smarts far outweigh my interpersonal skills and I doubt I'd last long in public accounting once I had to start bringing in revenue for the firm.

Hopefully I'll get the internship, but either way I think I'm still going to apply for some MS Finance programs.


What state are you in? Do you have big name schools with MAcc programs there? If you have $40 000 to spend on this degree, you may have a good shot at getting in Big 4. They do love people from such programs and the investment will pay off quickly. That's what I would do if I had the resources.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 15:06
I'm in NC. I'm already paying $40k a year for my undergrad and have been accepted to my school's MAcc program. I was told at my office visit that the firm was only recruiting from two schools this year, mine and one other, so I'm already at a good school that the big 4 pool from so I don't really know what I'm doing wrong. Whatever. I'm trying to look at other options now because I don't think it will work out in public accounting. Even if I were to apply again next year, the recruiters would all be the same and they'd all ask why I don't have an internship from this year (an internship is built into the curriculum). Not only would I not be able to answer their question (because I don't know myself, other than perhaps I have no personality lol), but I am assuming that they would be hesitant to consider me knowing that no one wanted to offer me an internship this year.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 15:29
Since it is an expensive school, this may have happened because the firms hired very few people this year and all offers went to officers of your accounting society . Do you know who got the offers? Are they officers of the society? Were there really hot girls among those who were hired and who were not officers of the society? It is most likely not about your personality unless you acted like a cave woman or took very very long to answer the questions. What kind of questions did they ask you?
It is really very odd that you did not get in, considering the ranking of your school and your academic performance. Here in Southern California I know of a girl from a state school who got 3 offers but she is a doll.

How big are the Big 4 offices in your area? You could get lucky next year if they are big enough
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 15:43
Most people got offers. As of right now I think I only know of one other person who does not have an offer (but her gpa is sub 3.0). So yes most people who got offers were not officers in the accounting society. All the questions were behavioral and I feel like I at least got better at answering them after 12 interviews, and if I still suck I'm not sure how much better I'll get. The offices are like 200-300 total (including assurance, advisory, and tax) so not really sure if that's big or not. If I decide to continue to pursue PA I may try to get into a different master's program in a different area so that I won't have to deal with the same people.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 15:59
I am speechless then. You really got a raw deal here. But it is possible that next year it will be different recruiters. If there are about 1000 people in all Big 4, audit being around 400 people, they could be hiring 40-50 new entry level people each year, so you should try again.
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2009, 08:06
Got the offer this morning! Over three weeks after the second round interview! Glad this worked out even after such a long wait. Thanks for all your help, folks!
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me... [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2009, 08:26
ajk2010 wrote:
Got the offer this morning! Over three weeks after the second round interview! Glad this worked out even after such a long wait. Thanks for all your help, folks!


Congrats! :-D
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Re: So my first choice firm rejected me...   [#permalink] 10 Nov 2009, 08:26
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