Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Accounting Student @ Target - Need some major guidance!

big 4 recruiting guidance

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 bruce.wayne

bruce.wayne

    Newbie

  • CPAnet Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:34 AM

Hey everyone,

 

I am currently a rising junior at the University of Texas - Austin as a BBA accounting major. I completed my sophomore year with a 3.25 GPA increasing from a dismal 3.0 GPA from my freshman year (although the point increase is not very impressive). As far as my career goals/interests go I would like to see myself getting an internship in industry/fortune 500 (GE or Boeing ideally) or at one of the Big 4 in their Audit division (ideally PwC).

 

There are a few problems with my career path though. Firstly I have no major significant work experience. The only remote business related experience I have had was as a corporate relations/development intern at a non-profit firm and that was the summer prior to my freshman year in college and also I served as a Tax intern this past spring at a Tax firm locally. This year I started to heavily recruit using our online recruitment system and some local places (literally applying daily and consistently) but with no luck I didn’t receive any interviews and I also got the same response from the HR people “Sorry we are only look for juniors. Try again next year”. With this I couldn’t find ANYTHING for this summer and so I spent this summer traveling and I don’t know how this will fare when recruiters see that I haven’t done anything finance related this summer. This was a little sample of my terrible luck.

 

The other issue is my GPA. Although I have a decent alibi for it being fairly low in the beginning (I took all my hard major classes in the beginning like an idiot) I feel like its still going to kill my chances slowly. The good thing out of this though is that now I don’t have any necessarily difficult classes now that I knocked them out, but this still puts me at a disadvantage because I feel like I am automatically booted from all the company positions that I would like to apply to. For the companies that I am interested in I have noticed that the GPA requirements are a minimum of a 3.25 (and some even 3.5 especially Deloitte and PwC) so that automatically puts me at the lower end of the range almost realistically killing my chances of getting an interview.

 

Lastly but more worse is that I recently was notified that I didn't get into the 5 year BBA/MAcc integrated program here at UT Austin. For those of you not familiar it is a program that allows students to get their Masters in Professional Accountancy Degree and BBA degree in 5 years and be able to sit for the CPA. This is specifically worrisome for me because there are rumors here that those in the integrated MAcc program steal all the Big 4 jobs from the regular BBA Accounting students so I am really worried about that.

 

With this my questions are:

 

1) How badly does my GPA and lack of Work experience hinder me from getting a Big 4 audit position or Fortune 500 corporate finance position( preferably out of Texas)

 

2) If any of you know do the integrated MPA students steal all the Big 4 positions from those who aren't in such a program? Or is it they get a boost because they will be able to sit for the CPA exam before actually working full time?

 

3) If the big 4 do take traditional BBA accounting students how would the job progression work since I am looking to enter work after graduation? Do they let you go after 2 or so years since you don't have a CPA or do they reimburse you to go back to school get a MAcc and sit for the CPA?

 

4) If I don't happen to get in to the integrated program again next year is it worth applying to an MAcc program/MPA program separately or should i just immediately sit for the CPA once I reach my 150 hours? IS there a necessary benefit to doing a MAcc?

 

5) **For those that do know: How heavily do other Big 4 offices recruit here at UT Austin if known? Are we limited to Texas Big 4 offices only or other major city offices?

 

 

I apologize for such a long post but I am sort of freaking out here!

 

 

I appreciate you all for taking the time reading this. Any suggestions, tips, help is very much appreciated

 

Thanks



#2 Oblivion.Night

Oblivion.Night

    Member

  • CPAnet Member
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:23 PM

You have time to improve your GPA. Your main focus I think should be getting a great GPA this semester so that you can leverage that when applying for internships.

 

In my opinion applying online is great, but talking to recruiters and other employees thru info sessions or other events is way more fruitful. That way you can get your story through and not be auto-disqualified by a computer based on your GPA or lack of some keywords. Also, talk to your career office and find UT alumni at big 4. Email them. You don't realize how easily that can get you into the door and getting in the door can lead to an offer.

 

I work in Big 4 in NY office so I don't know the answers to some of your questions but I'll do my best.

  1. GPA is the biggest factor for on campus hires in my opinion. Fit and personality are big also but the GPA metric can disqualify you almost immediately. 3.5+ is where most of the Big 4 hires probably are so I would reckon that's where you want to be. In the hiring process people will generally look to see if you have that GPA then beyond that focus on fit, personality, and basic accounting knowledge.

    Workex is less of an issue than you think. You still have 1 more internship to go before full time jobs and (assuming its a relevant one) with that your workex will probably be on par with the average new hire. A big 4 internship in your junior year will really open a lot of the doors you are looking to have opened. Workex before the internship year is not really that important so I think you are doing fine on that front.
  2. A lot of people are hired at the undergraduate level. So no masters programs do not steal all the jobs
  3. Big 4 do have tuition reimbursement programs. If all you need is credits you could just take some cheap community college courses to get you where you need to be (which is quite common) while you are working. Again tons of people are hired at the undergraduate level and make a career at Big 4.
  4. Masters holders generally get paid more. But that is also not always the case. This is something which you need to weigh the benefits of. Maybe it makes sense to apply and see where you get in (both to jobs and masters degrees).
  5. While I don't know about UT, I do know that people do transfer internally. So if you want to move to NY/ a bigger city if you show you're a top performer in Texas it should not be an issue.


#3 Virgil-redux

Virgil-redux

    Advanced Member

  • CPAnet Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:38 PM

1) How badly does my GPA and lack of Work experience hinder me from getting a Big 4 audit position or Fortune 500 corporate finance position( preferably out of Texas)

 

Well, its not just one thing or another. It's a combination of things. Low GPA, little work experience, and no extracurriculars to speak of (you didn't mention any so I'm having to assume) basically paints a picture of someone who wasn't terribly busy. Not only did you not use the extra time to get above average (3.5+) grades, you actually did worse than your peers with the extra tinme you had.

 

Not trying to depress you, but this is what your situation tells me on paper. So it's a combo that will hinder you if you don't do something about it soon.

 

 

2) If any of you know do the integrated MPA students steal all the Big 4 positions from those who aren't in such a program? Or is it they get a boost because they will be able to sit for the CPA exam before actually working full time?

 

Lol, @ steal. Yes, they get preference due to their CPA eligibility, and the added competitiveness to get into the program indicates they are higher caliber candidates.

 

Another thing to relaize is that a 5 year program student will always have an advantage over a candidate with two Bachelors and who is CPA eligible as well. This is because the Big 4 firms, in concert with the school, have created a pipeline of talent thorugh this program. So the preference is already built in from the start. Which makes sense because Big 4 is viewed as the top of the acocunting field. More recruits means a better reputation for UT. So of course the school is going to help Big 4 firms create and cultivate this talent pipeline.

 

Edit: Just read Oblivion's post and it seems his/her experience is different than mine and others I've talked to. At least at our school, 5 year program kids always got priority. Bachelor's got hired for internships, but in my opinion that road is tougher than compared to the 5 year candidate.

 

 

3) If the big 4 do take traditional BBA accounting students how would the job progression work since I am looking to enter work after graduation? Do they let you go after 2 or so years since you don't have a CPA or do they reimburse you to go back to school get a MAcc and sit for the CPA?

 

Well, I have never seen a BBA student go to work for a big 4 without already being in a Masters program. I have seen a student finish her graduate classes while being employed at a Big 4. But I'd say that's a rare exception, and has more to do with her connections and the specific situation in the school. So I wouldn't focus on that as a major possibility, but wouldn't discount it completely. Just don't count on it.

 

More typical is a BBA student not being recruited, then eventually getting into the Masters program, and finally being recruited as a full time hire after gradution. I've seen someties where the grad student delays graduation in order to do an internship, but that's obviously far from ideal.

 

Also, not aware of any reimbursement for Macc tuition.

 

4) If I don't happen to get in to the integrated program again next year is it worth applying to an MAcc program/MPA program separately or should i just immediately sit for the CPA once I reach my 150 hours? IS there a necessary benefit to doing a MAcc?

 

I don't understand your question. First, are you expecting to work in a state that requires 150 hours? If yes, then what are you asking exactly in terms of the Macc/MPA? If you're expecting to work in a state that only requires 120 hours to sit for the exam, I'd say it's a decision you have to make based on your cost benefit analysis.

 

On one hand, doing a Macc without need is really a waste of money and a year or more of time you could be working. Also, while not a panacea, passing the CPA exam can give you a small boost in the recruiters eyes and gives you osmething to point to in terms of your potential and work ethic.

 

On the other hand, if you're looking at Big 4, having another yea ror more to take a shot at recuiting might be worth it. However, I'd advise that if you go this route that you need to seriously grow up, get as close ot a 4.0 as you can, and be as involved in recruiting/extracurriculars as you can while maintaining your high (4.0 right?) grades. 

 

In other words, going for the Macc means you need to strap in and go balls to the wall. That's true regardless if you need the 150 hours or not. Doing a Macc means you need to impress the recruiters and convince them to give you a shot. Anything less than that effort is wasting everyone's time IMO.

 

5) **For those that do know: How heavily do other Big 4 offices recruit here at UT Austin if known? Are we limited to Texas Big 4 offices only or other major city offices?

 

Hmm, well seeing that UT Austin is the #1 acocunting school in the U.S., it's most likely the heaviest recruited school in Texas, and probably top 5 recruited in the nation. But in terms of looking at other states? Yah, I have no idea. That's where being involved in the recruiting process would help. 

 

Hope that helps man. Let me know what you decide to do, and I think I can give you more specific advice/things to consider going forward.


  • bruce.wayne likes this

#4 bruce.wayne

bruce.wayne

    Newbie

  • CPAnet Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:16 PM

Thanks for the replies Virgil and Oblivion. Much appreciated and helped me a lot. 

 

@Virgil: I forgot to put up my resume. Hope this helps for a more in depth look at me. If you have any other feedback to help me out after glancing at my resume please do share! 

 

And If anyone else is reading this and has any suggestion/feedback please let me know!

 

ScreenShot2013-08-03at21523PM.png



#5 Virgil-redux

Virgil-redux

    Advanced Member

  • CPAnet Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:32 PM

Dude, your resume looks pretty solid. Gets those grades up, be very active in recruitng, and I think you'll be alright. Just get,to know the recruiters well is all I can say.

#6 bruce.wayne

bruce.wayne

    Newbie

  • CPAnet Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 04 August 2013 - 01:32 AM

@Virgil: I appreciate your feedback man. I think I am going to go ahead and try out recruiting for Big 4 and selling myself crazy to the recruiters this year and if that doesn't happen to workout then I will just vie for a Fortune 500 gig and then apply for the 5 year program again next spring and hopefully I will be at a better advantage for Big 4

 

I had a few other question in regards to Big 4 recruiting.  For Big 4 Audit seems to be the more common and also the biggest practice as far as taking the most students. How does a specialization like Big 4 Tax work, are they only reserved for CPAs or do undergrad people break into to Tax as well? Or moreover do regular BBA accounting ever break into Big 4 or is it extremely extremely rare?



#7 Virgil-redux

Virgil-redux

    Advanced Member

  • CPAnet Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 04 August 2013 - 01:59 AM

@Virgil: I appreciate your feedback man. I think I am going to go ahead and try out recruiting for Big 4 and selling myself crazy to the recruiters this year and if that doesn't happen to workout then I will just vie for a Fortune 500 gig and then apply for the 5 year program again next spring and hopefully I will be at a better advantage for Big 4

 

I had a few other question in regards to Big 4 recruiting.  For Big 4 Audit seems to be the more common and also the biggest practice as far as taking the most students. How does a specialization like Big 4 Tax work, are they only reserved for CPAs or do undergrad people break into to Tax as well? Or moreover do regular BBA accounting ever break into Big 4 or is it extremely extremely rare?

 

Tax recruit just like audit do, but in fewer numbers. However, if you're looking to go into recruiting, you should really just stick to one.

 

People who say, "Oh, I'm open to either one", just tend to come off as indecisive or desperate. It's not always fair to the student, since how the heck do you know which one interests you?

 

But my advice would be to plan on going to multiple recruiting events. At the first one you can say something along the lines of, "Well I've heard great things about both career paths, so I was hoping I could talk to people in both service lines in order to see which one would fit my goals and personality better."

 

After that I'd recommend picking one path and focus your energy on meeting and talking to people in that service line.

 

Otherwise, you have a solid plan I think. I'd highly recommend also attending non-Big 4 recruiting as well. BDO, BKD, Grant Thornton, Mcladrey...these are all solid options as well. I think students get too caught up with going Big 4 right out of the gates. I know I did when I was in school. However, it's not extremely difficult to transition to Big 4 after 1-3 years in other public accounting firms. The larger the firm the easier the transition to a Big 4. You just need to make sure you cultivate relationships with your fellow classmates now and continue to do so after graduating. That way a Big 4 recruiter is only a phone call or email away.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: big 4, recruiting, guidance