Graduating - MBA in a few years?

<p>In about a month I'll be graduating from a UC school with a degree in economics and a GPA between 3.8 and 3.9. I finished my degree in three years for financial reasons, interned in audit with a big four accounting firm last summer, and will be starting full time with said firm in the fall. </p>

<p>For the first half of my undergraduate career I thought I would go to graduate school straight out of undergrad before realizing that I would have no chance without any work experience. During my internship I had a really great experience working with a lot of people my age and making a decent amount of money. As of right now, I'm intent on working between four and five years before going back for an MBA.</p>

<p>However, I'm afraid that as my career in accounting progresses I'll find it harder and harder to justify the opportunity cost of going back to school. Has anyone had any experience with this? Was making the decision to pursue an MBA easy or difficult? Looking back, did you have any serious doubts and/or fears about your decision and how it might impact your life on both financial and personal levels?</p>

<p>Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.</p>

<p>Having finished your UG in 3 years it seems unlikely that you've satisfied the 150 hour requirement for CPA licensing. Also, with a major in Econ it seems likely that you may also be short of the required accounting hours. Do you know if you meet the CPA requirements for the state that you plan to work in?</p>

<p>If not, you'll be heading back to school for a MPA or MBA relatively soon in order to get certified to continue your accounting career or to switch careers. Your firm might even pay for it if you're lucky.</p>

<p>If your Econ degree was mathematically intensive, you might want to consider a PhD in Finance or Accounting.</p>

<p>Yes, I have the necessary accounting and overall units to sit for the CPA. I overloaded my coursework and took summer school in order to graduate early. I understand the requirements to take the CPA exam and I can assure you that the eight accounting courses I have taken during undergrad make me eligible to sit.</p>

<p>As for obtaining a masters degree prior to entering public accounting, I know co-workers from my internship who returned to school for their masters in audit. From what they've told me, their salary next year exceeds mine by about $3k. That's about sixty dollars a week and for that kind of money I can't justify the total costs of going back to school just to work as a first year associate.</p>

<p>It's remarkable that you've accomplished so much in such a short time. You should have a great career in accounting if it turns out to be what you really want to do. The winds of the market are at your back. </p>

<p>Given that, I think that you're right that by the time you're ready to apply to MBA programs the present value of anything other than a top 10 program is likely to be negative. However, MBA programs are generally enjoyable, so they can be worth it even when their present value is negative.</p>

<p>In your case, you may not have much to gain from it unless you want to switch out of accounting. By that time, you should be close to the senior/manager transition point. Ironically, a rapid promotion to manager would do a lot to bolster your application to an elite MBA program while at the same time making your accounting career more rewarding and interesting. I think that you're right that it could be a tough call.</p>

<p>It seems as though being so successful that you find your self with an attraction-attraction dilemma should be your goal rather than a source of worry. That said, I think that by the time you get there, you'll know much more about yourself and your life goals and the decision to go back to school or keep working will not be as hard to make as you fear. The circumstance under which it is likely to be complicated is how it affects your family life. If you find that accounting is not your calling but you have acquired a spouse, children, and a mortgage, then the decision will be very hard. </p>

<p>Whatever you do, don't avoid the spouse and/or kids out of career concerns. They're the best reasons for career concerns in the first place. The mortgage and car payments are different story. The secret to keeping your options open is minimizing your fixed costs and maximizing the amount and liquidity of your net assets.</p>

<p>So my advice would be to keep your options as open as possible so that you have the financial freedom to follow your heart rather than becoming a slave to your possessions. Success ought to provide you with greater freedom and security but it frequently has the opposite effect.</p>