What's the worth of an accounting degree from a good accounting school?

<p>I know for finance majors, going to a Top business school vs. going to a general school is a big difference in getting I-B internships/jobs.</p>

<p>But for accounting majors, the majority are fighting for the Big4 internships/jobs after undergraduate.
--If the Big4 recruits at my current school, is there any more value in going to a top accounting program? (Got into Illinois-Urbana, which I believe is #2 or 3 in accounting)</p>

<p>What benefits can I get from going to Illinois as to George Mason (lesser known accounting school) if the Big4 recruits at both schools? Any major benefits worth $40k/year?
Would going to Illinois help me in going to a good MBA school? Would their alumni network help me get better jobs? Would I learn significantly more about accounting at a good school?</p>

<p>Yeah, 40K per year is alot. </p>

<p>Here is what i think: Your opportunity to get a big 4 gig will be equal to what you have now. But an advantage that illinois might have is that it could have more recruiters from different top companies. Regardless of what people say, the big4 do not recruit all the top students. And hey, you might not get a big 4 gig or you might actually decide you don't want to go into public accounting. </p>

<p>Illinois may have enough other companies recruiting at it to hire all top students. Also, maybe the quality of those other companies is better at Illinois. </p>

<p>Not knowing much about your current school and illinois, thats all I can think of. </p>

<p>I have no idea about your other questions, although it is my understanding that most accounting curriculum is pretty standard. Most courses, across schools, teach the same exact topics from often the same exact books. I think this is to both maintain accreditation and to prepare students for the CPA exam.</p>

<p>Go for the better school, unless you got a full scholarship.</p>

<p>You have much better employment odds at UIUC. Top finance schools open many more doors than top accounting schools vis-a-vis their lower ranked counterparts, but doors that are opened a crack at lower ranked schools are more like floodgates at the top ones for accounting. Now, where I work there are people from a higher ranked school who have a ton more debt than those of us from other places...but they took a smaller risk than we did as far as employment options. If you are totally awesome and are the kind of guy that nails interviews, has the drive to make a name for yourself in student organizations and doing other extra curricular stuff, and make great grades...it probably won't matter where you go if Big Four is your goal. If you aren't any of those things, definitely choose the best school you can. </p>

<p>For the MBA thing...don't think it will matter much. People are aware of George Mason. UIUC is not Princeton. To the extent UIUC helps you get a job where you get quality work experience, that will help. That's the most important thing.</p>

<p>The accounting curriculum is the same. You won't get "better" teachings of accounting at Illinois or any other school IMO as it totally dependent on the professors and faculty who teach there. The material will all be the same, so it shouldn't be a factor in choosing schools.</p>

<p>If you're local to Mason, I would stay there to cut costs for in-state tuition as Mason is growing their reputation in their business school for undergrads/grads with their new selection process and not carry the 40k debt if you were to transfer to Illinois (that's personally just my opinion). </p>

<p>Big 4 do recruit at Mason but it will be competitive just like any other school because they recruit only the best and brightest for their positions but if you want to work in the Illinois area for the Big 4, then by all means I would be strategic about transferring to Illinois. You will be interviewing with Illinois offices mainly if you go to UIUC.</p>

<p>^"Best and the brightest" amongst Accounting grads is a really inappropriate phrase to describe them. I would definitely not call it that. There is no need to give them ego boosts by calling them that. There are plenty of bright Accounting grads who don't get chosen by big 4 companies or who don't want to be in big 4 companies anyway.</p>

<p>Well, yes, that may be so. But, it's liking saying many aspiring management consultants that "don't want to be in" the Big 3 consulting firms or get rejected from them are actually quite bright. I'm sure such people are, by and large, intelligent; the body of Big 3 consultants are unarguably the best of the best managerial consultants. A similar conclusion can be made for Big 4 accountants as compared to other firms.</p>

<p>As for the original question, I can sympathize because I was trying to figure out why should I spend 30k extra to go to BC over a state school. I know that I could fairly easily get a Big4 job going to my state school of OSU, but the far superior base of knowledge I will have coming from Boston College will help me beyond the first job. The reality is that Big 4 is not very hard to achieve as long as you have some passion for accounting and perform well gradewise (3.5+). Being able to perform at the job, however, is a different story.</p>

<p>Trizz you are mistaken if you think you are going to learn different things at OSU vs BC. Accounting is very standardized, you learn the same stuff everywhere. Rank is a function of a lot of things, the amount of stuff they teach you is not really an input. Maybe if you majored in finance or something else that would be be different. </p>

<p>As far as what sp1212 was talking about, I suspect many of the "best and brightest" end up in places that don't soak up tens of thousands of accounting grads every year. Banking, Big Oil, whatever. I would generally agree that the Big Four probably have more talent than middle market public accounting firms.</p>

<p>I think to use your Big 3 example, the appropriate population to look at isn't wannabe management consultants, but top MBA graduates. Sure McKinsey gets a lot of the top talent, but the best and brightest are shooting for Google, Facebook, elite PE/HF/VC, etc.</p>

<p>You'll get offered $55-$60 starting in the NY area--[NY, NJ, CONN, etc.) My school places quite a few at top 4 every year.</p>

<p>jonahrubin: I believe trizz was talking about the courses outside of the Accounting curriculum. The accounting courses may be similar but the gen-eds and other classes one may take at BC will be considerably stronger than similar ones taken at OSU. Like he said, BC will prepare a student better for the business world in general beyond accounting.</p>

<p>there are alot of accounting students that have a passion for accounting and do well gradewise (3.5+) that dont get big4 offers.</p>

<p>is there really that big of a difference between the quality of education at high ranking universities compared to state schools? somehow i doubt that the quality of teaching is so much better that it effects the on-the-job performance of students in substantial ways. </p>

<p>Mostly, I think that the advantage of going to a high ranking school is mostly due to brand recognition and recruiting. A motivated state college student will likely be just as well prepared for job success. No substantial difference.</p>

<p>I am with strong accounting program, too. Although the material of a certain accounting course is the same in different schools, some programs have much rigorous requirements not only in the number of units and subjects in accounting, beyond the CPA education requirements, but also in the breath of business/communication/humanity/leadership that are very valuable in the real business world. It is well paid-off because the local offices of the firms know that.</p>

<p>We aren't talking about Yale here. I've been at a top state school(higher ranked than OSU) and a middle of the road state school, and the most important difference is in the students initial quality. As far teaching goes, nobody gives a damn about how well professors teach. Any of you undergrads thinking about one day getting a PhD, pay attention:</p>

<p>Top professors are top professors because of their RESEARCH, not their teaching. If you want to get tenure at one of these high ranked schools, you are FAR better off being a terrible teacher with a few oft cited articles in the Journal of Accountancy than you are being a great teacher with one article in the Wichita Journal of Bookkeeping Science. </p>

<p>Finally, even if you believe this stuff about all the wisdom you are going to get out of some other program, it's not going to matter if you are going to the Big Four because you are going to be a workhorse when you show up until you make senior. In fact, if you go in convinced you are much better prepared than everyone else as a result of your academic pedigree, you'll probably just annoy people.</p>

<p>"it's not going to matter if you are going to the Big Four because you are going to be a workhorse when you show up until you make senior. "</p>

<p>Senior is the worst position</p>

<p>I didn't mean that senior was easier, I meant that senior is when you have work that isn't all grunt work that a high school student could probably do. My point was that as a staff you are going to be measured by your ability to buckle down and do grunt work efficiently without annoying anybody, it's not like going to a top school is going to make it easier for you to match purchase orders with receiving reports.</p>

<p>Yes, most graduates can do that job. The point is, for an average student, the chance to get into those firms to match the orders is higher if coming from a solid/reputed program. </p>

<p>It is a fact that the firms hire much more from those programs. One has to be make to the top if coming from a non-target school. big-4 recruit in many schools, for some they take more than half of the acct majors; for others they only take a handful.</p>

<p>so then we agree that the benefits of attending a more reputable program are for recruiting purposes only and not so much for "quality of curriculum/instruction?" </p>

<p>do the big 4 recruiters actually do that (consistently recruit lots of students in one program and only a handful in others)? I thought that a benefit to attending a "reputable" program was that it would open the doors to Different companies. but not increase your chances at getting a gig at a company (big4) that recruits everywhere. I thought that big 4 give candidates equal shots at all the schools they recruit/interview at and that the percentages hired at one school as opposed to another, in the same area, would vary based on quality/likability of the candidates interviewed at each of the schools. Afterall, if the interviewer likes you, they don't care if your from a state school that they recruit at. Am I wrong?</p>

<p>I mean they are not going to hire someone they like less, just because of the name of their school.</p>

<p>
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so then we agree that the benefits of attending a more reputable program are for recruiting purposes only and not so much for "quality of curriculum/instruction?"

[/quote]

I would say for both. If the curriculum doesn't require a humanity course that demands massive reading, how many of the students would take that rather than a basket weaving class to boost their GPA, if not for self interests.</p>

<p>
[quote]
do the big 4 recruiters actually do that (consistently recruit lots of students in one program and only a handful in others)?

[/quote]

I forgot to mention there are other programs fallen in between.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I thought that a benefit to attending a "reputable" program was that it would open the doors to Different companies. but not increase your chances at getting a gig at a company (big4) that recruits everywhere.

[/quote]

Both.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Afterall, if the interviewer likes you, they don't care if your from a state school that they recruit at.

[/quote]

Of course, I absolutely agree.</p>

<p>
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I mean they are not going to hire someone they like less, just because of the name of their school.

[/quote]

I agree to that, too. You can always find students from "reputable" program failed to get big-4 offers.</p>

<p>Ok, so what your saying is that "normal" students have a better chance at getting a big 4 gig going to a prestigous college because _______? </p>

<p>You say they hire more from prestigous colleges but it seems like you believe/agree that interviewers will give you an offer if they like you, regardless of where your from. this implies that once your in the interview room, your on equal footing as all other candidates ( which makes sense to me). so how exactly do reputable/prestigous university students get the advantage? </p>

<p>do they just interview a whole lot more students at reputable universities? and that is what gives those students a better shot? because if not, then going to a state college VS going to a big name college, shouldn't make that big of a difference if your goal is big4. </p>

<p>However, regardless i think its still good to go to a top college, for the other opportunities (at other companies) that are likely available at the top schools but not available at lower schools.</p>

<p>You are wrong. They typically have a certain amount of students they want to take from each school.</p>