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Prospective CPA - Should I get a MBA?

MrClean123MrClean123 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
A little background on me -

I hold a Bachelors in accounting. Have 4 years of professional work experience as an accountant(industry & public). I am currently a financial controller (managerial role) for a small company. I am currently sitting/studying for the CPA exam. But I do not have the 150 credits in order to get licensed as a CPA once I do pass the exams. *Knock on wood I do..*

So basically I have to go back to grad school.

I do have a problem though, well a big problem. I did not focus in undergraduate studies well. I have a bad gpa from non accounting classes because I simply did not care.

I just don't see how a MBA will be helpful to me as well once I get a CPA, especially if it is not a top school. If anything I am leaning more towards a Masters in Data Science instead. I know an analytical degree will complement my accounting background. I don't feel like MBA is very analytical at all, and because of my low undergrad GPA I do not think it is worth pursuing it at a Tier 2 school.

Anyone else in a similar position? If not, any input/advice?

Replies to: Prospective CPA - Should I get a MBA?

  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 7,437 Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    Masters in Data Science or Masters in Accounting appear to be better options for you than an MBA

  • MrClean123MrClean123 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Yeah I was thinking that too. I am not going to pursue masters in accounting. It will be a waste of time for me unless I want to get into a phd accounting program in the future. thanks for your input.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 7,437 Senior Member
    Which Masters in Accounting programs have you looked into ? Aren't there two different types of programs ? Most focus on more in depth accounting perspective while others try to mimic a tax law LLM program.

    Regardless, data science is a growth area now for employment.
  • MrClean123MrClean123 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Yes @Publisher you are correct. Masters in Tax is, Masters in Accounting is another, etc. I did not even bother looking into masters in accounting because if you have a CPA it is kind of pointless to have a masters in accounting I feel. no one cares about it. Only reason I'd look into masters in accounting or taxation is if it's an ivy league i guess for networking purposes? hmm, maybe that is not a bad idea.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 7,437 Senior Member
    An MBA would be most useful if you wanted to switch from your current industry to another. For example, from accounting to investment banking or to management consulting.

    Also, depending upon where you live, graduate degree tuition can be quite reasonable (thinking of Florida & Arizona--although there are many others).
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,504 Forum Champion
    You should be able to get a Master's in Accounting with 30 credits. A MBA program will be closer to 60 credits. Think about what path you want your career to take.
  • MrClean123MrClean123 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Investment banking hire accounting background and CPAs so MBA won't be much help. Also a MBA program will not be 60 credit hours. In fact I already got accepted to a state university AACSB MBA program and it will be around 40 credits to graduate with if I want to pursue it that is.
  • UCBUSCalumUCBUSCalum Registered User Posts: 982 Member
    Generally, it is not worth foregoing your full time job income and going full time to a MBA school (or Master in Accounting/Tax), unless the program is a top 20 to 25 school. Sometimes if you have CPA from a Big 4 firm, the CPA is just as good as a top 20 to 25 MBA program.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 7,437 Senior Member
    @UCBUSCalum: Not worth giving up income & attending full time unless seeking to change employer & field. In that case an M-7 is usually all that is considered worthwhile, not top 20 or top 25.

    For a masters in tax, do it part time while working.

    Masters in data science, however, is the hot field currently.
  • allyphoeallyphoe Registered User Posts: 2,329 Senior Member
    If all you care about is being CPA eligible, pick up whatever hours you need, in whatever areas you need or want them, wherever is cheapest. 150 hours doesn't require a master's; it only requires hours.
  • UCBUSCalumUCBUSCalum Registered User Posts: 982 Member
    @Publisher : I am not sure if I agree that only M-7 is worth leaving a full time job to pursue a full time MBA. There are other quality MBA programs in the top 20 that I believe are worth leaving a job to go full time. There are non M-7 MBA's from schools such as Michigan, Haas, Duke, Cornell, NYU, etc. that I believe are worth leaving a job to attend full time, even if not changing careers or employers. My Company hires MBA's all the time and in recent years (the past 5 to 7 years) we hired MBA's from Stanford, Chicago, Northwestern, Penn (all M-7) and also some from non M-7: Dartmouth, Haas, Michigan, UCLA, Duke, and even Texas (Austin).
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 7,437 Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    @UCBUSCalum: You are right. My advice is very broad & for those in their mid-twenties. Much depends upon the specific programs in light of one's desired objective.

    But for those with a few years of work experience in their mid-twenties wanting to switch career paths & employers & wanting to work for the most prestigious employers "M-7" is the safest route--but not the only way. I assume that these ambitious mid-twenties applicants are giving up two years of lucrative earnings & paying a small fortune in MBA tuition, fees & living expenses.

    P.S. I agree that "M-7" should be "M-11 or M-12", but not top 20 or 25 unless a special situation (e.g. significant scholarship & special program within the MBA program to help one achieve his or her goals).

    In short, I agree with you that it is really a case-by-case basis, but that M-7 or M-11 is the safest way to go when making such grand sacrifices for an MBA.
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