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Professional Certifications/Licenses

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New post 18 Dec 2018, 13:23
I am a licensed CPA and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and I am planning on applying to graduate school next year. How much value do these certifications typically add to an overall application? I scored extremely well on both sets of exams (received a state award for the CPAs). I am hoping that they can help makeup for the fact that I graduated magna cum laude from a less prestigious state school in the US and have only worked for a moderately prestigious firm (Big 4) in their advisory practice.

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New post 18 Dec 2018, 15:01
nmccull wrote:
I am a licensed CPA and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and I am planning on applying to graduate school next year. How much value do these certifications typically add to an overall application? I scored extremely well on both sets of exams (received a state award for the CPAs). I am hoping that they can help makeup for the fact that I graduated magna cum laude from a less prestigious state school in the US and have only worked for a moderately prestigious firm (Big 4) in their advisory practice.

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Hi and welcome to GMAT Club!

Certifications help on the resume and in the application to demonstrate your on-going development and your commitment to your path. With CFA/CPA Nobody will doubt that you are serious about Accounting and Finance and you had to work hard. The undergrad does have a bearing on your application and different colleges have a diff grading scale since that sets your accomplishments pre college. At the same time, it is all about your trajectory and what have you been able to make do with the resources you have had. E.g. Graduating from an average college while working, then getting a job and promotion at a less prestigious firm can be considered a great trajectory than someone graduating from Stanford and then coasting for the next 4 years with little to their resume and accomplishments list.

There are many traits that you want to showcase to the AdCom to get their comfort level up and feel proud for you. CFA/CPA show that and you are hard-working, that you are committed, and that you have a goal. Your CFA/CPA help support that even before they read your essays or interview you. These are helpful as you can also leverage them in your essays as very strong supporting examples - e.g. let's say you want to switch to Tech or Consulting or Marketing, you can say that you did not find Finance/Accounting all you thought it was to be but you still put in hard work into it and got great results. Nobody expects a 22-year old to know all the answers and never make a mistake, but everyone admires a hard-working person. Good for you for putting the effort in! :thumbup:

P.S. Your high GPA will help offset some of the not-so-cool undergrad concerns but that is what it is. Can't change it now.
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New post 18 Dec 2018, 15:29
Thank you for the insights!

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Re: Professional Certifications/Licenses   [#permalink] 18 Dec 2018, 15:29
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