I'll start with my background. I attended a State University of New York (SUNY) school for undergrad and my degree wasn't in Accounting or Business. Now I'm getting a masters from, a non-traditional school, Keller. I understood that a lot of people might look down on a degree from Keller which is why I also want to get my CPA (to start, CMA or CGMA after that), I thought this would prove that I actually do know something.
Now I'll tell you where I want to end up. I don't have delusions of grandeur, however, I would like to be CFO some day, or at least work towards that position my entire career even if I don't reach it.
So here is where I am now and my questions. I began looking into opportunities at the big 4 accounting firms and it appears they really only take students from big name universities. Is this true? Would anyone think it is possible to get a job at one of the big 4 with my background? I ask because it appears they are a great place to start to sling shot your career, a lot of positions say "big 4 experience preferred". Is there another good alternative to working for a big 4?
Thanks in advance for the Help!
Any of the Big4 or Regional firms (Grant Thornton, McGladrey) are great places to start. You have the right idea with that. They do select mostly from big name universities that they do recruiting with. For instance, they host career days with Texas U and University of Illinois, but that doesn't mean they will overlook you. If you have an M.acc and are eligible to sit for the CPA, or even have a section passed, they will definitely take you over candidates from big name schools.
As for your choice in Keller, it was a smart choice. Did you know Keller uses Becker CPA review material in their accy courses? I would recommend taking the CPA review courses as well at the end of your degree to help you prepare. The review courses also use Becker. Big4 firms recommend their employees use Becker, that is why we students think highly of it and why you made a good choice of Keller U.
With that, keep in mind recruiting season starts in the fall for the upcoming year (This fall 2012 will be recruiting season for summer 2013). Have a professor that has experience in accy firms take a look at your resume before submission as they should know what firms look for in resumes.
Best of luck,
Building on what Mars said, your impression of Big 4 firms recruiting only from "big-name universities" isn't entirely true. They recruit at many different tier schools, but logically they choose schools with solid accounting programs. Your reputation as a prospective job candidate is partially built upon all the students that preceded you who went through the same program. So to answer your question, yes, it is possible to obtain a position with a top-tier firm at a lower-ranked school, but you wouldn't have to compete as hard for a position at a top school because that's where they go first to find the best of the best! I would advise to keep your options open to see which is your best fit; firm culture varies greatly from small firm to mid-level firms to big-firms.
Well said Mars, SS concentrate and pass out with good score in CPA. The college name wont be any problem if you have other qualities to enter in Big 4.
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