Getting into big 4

<p>I'm in the process of applying to grad school for my first accounting degree (I was a liberal arts undergrad). I am posting on here because I am pursuing a couple of different options and I would love some insight on them. I will be funding everything myself and through loans, so cost is definitely a factor. At the same time, I would like to do Big 4 in the next few years, so I feel like prestige matters too. Later down the line, I am interested in doing management consulting</p>

<p>Option 1: Macc program. I just turned in my applications to UNC and USC. I feel like my chances at USC might be slim, and even if admitted, I doubt scholarship will be an option. UNC is also a great school, so I'm not sure what my chances are. I went to UNC for undergrad, so I don't know if that will hurt or help my chances. The nice thing here would be in-state tuition.</p>

<p>Option 2: MBA with Finance concentration. I was not originally planning on applying to MBA programs because I only have one year of work experience and I'm not sure it would do much for the finance path I am aiming for, but I applied to Pepperdine's MS in Applied Finance program and they recommended this program as a better fit for my experience. This would not provide me with enough accounting hours to sit the CPA exam, but it might be a better fit for my eventual goal of consulting. I have been admitted to the program, and though I have not received my scholarship offer, I was told that my GMAT score is in scholarship range, so I feel like there is a good chance of getting some money.</p>

<p>Option 3: Certificate Program. I saw a post the other day where someone was advising just taking the courses necessary to sit the exam part time while working. UCLA Extension offers a certificate of Accounting that you do over the course of up to five years while working full time. The total cost is about one fourth the price of one year at USC. While this is probably the best option in terms of cost, I am nervous that employment with the big four will be more difficult. If I do well on the exam, will it matter that I did a certificate program as opposed to a Macc?</p>

<p>Any advice at all would be appreciated.</p>

<p>I did liberal arts for my undergrad and am aiming to start out in big 4.</p>

<p>I just got into UNC's Mac program. It was my top choice so I didn't apply anywhere else. I'm sure you're looking at it for the same reasons I did--not having accounting prereqs. I had audited an accounting class and loved it and after trying to find a decent job with a sociology bachelors, accounting seemed very appealing.</p>

<p>What's your GMAT/GPA?</p>

<p>An important thing about Macc programs is that you will probably end up working somewhere near the school you go to. I live in Florida now but I want to relocate and start out work in Charlotte or Raleigh after the program. They place into Atlanta, DC, even NYC, but they warn you that you need to have a really good reason if you want to interview outside of NC... the alumni network is there for a reason, and on campus recruiting is a gift. Read that you went to UNC, shouldn't hurt you about half the program is UNC kids (though most of them got undergrad business degrees). The question is would you be willing to up and move to LA if you went to USC? Cost of living is crazy and everything I've read said it's less friendly to students new to business.</p>

<p>An MBA is a terrible thing to waste. It's there for you to network and reposition yourself in your career. One year of work experience really isn't substantial enough. Plus, if you go back into the applications cycle after several years of work experience at a big 4, you'll have much better chances.</p>

<p>So given your financial situation, I'd say go UNC. Their big 4 placement statistics are really great and in-state tuition will make them a very reasonable option.</p>

<p>My GMAT was 650 and my gpa was 3.35. I was just offered an interview with USC, but have not yet heard back from UNC.</p>

<p>I definitely want to work in the Los Angeles area after graduation, so USC seems like a no-brainer, but UNC will be about 30,000 cheaper in tuition alone.</p>

<p>I got into the Pepperdine MBA, but like you said, it seems silly to go so early in my career.</p>

<p>I guess my question really boils down to, is it worth taking out twice as much in student loans to be in the location from which I would like to recruit? How common are national big 4 recruiters at UNC (or is that just missing the point of the local alumni network?)?</p>

<p>Before you start you have to have your city of preference picked out. They said you'd need a really good reason if you wanted to work outside of North Carolina. A lot of their grads are in Charlotte and Raleigh, but also some it Atlanta, DC, NYC and so forth. I'm not sure about their west coast pull. If LA is what you want I'd do USC. It places superbly well out there and is regarded pretty highly. It's easier to manage some more debt than to get to LA after NC. Unless you wanted to work in Charlotte or an east coast city for a few years then transfer to LA, it'd just be a lot easier to start out in LA to begin with.</p>