3 years work experience in big 4, Ms Finance or MBA? Could you please give me some advice?

Hi everyone, I happened to know this website when I searched the keyword HEC Paris on Google. I find it very useful, and everyone here is very nice and helpful. I am now working at KPMG audit and seeking a change in career, here is my concern:

Myself:

  • 2 years in KPMG Shanghai office and 1 year in KPMG HongKong office
  • Bachelor in Audit from a non-target school and low in GPA
  • suppose my GMAT is 740

I am not interested in audit at all, I know it's hard to transfer from audit to IB or famous consulting companies, so at first I thought maybe I should get an MBA, but the thing is:

  1. The cost is quite expensive, more than USD 150k, I need to get a loan.
  2. I still need to work more than 2 years if I want an MBA, but you know, even 5 years in audit may not help me a lot in applying for an MBA, and the longer I work in audit, the less possible I can change my career.
  3. The average age to enter MBA is like 28-30 years old, I am quite special here, I graduate from university at the age of 20, yes, it's uncommon but I entered university when I was only 16 years old, so by the time I apply an MBA, I would be only 24-25 years old, and that's not a proper age for MBA degree I think, since MBA is less academic and more concentrate on social.
  4. It's impossible for me to get a top ranking MBA offer considering my undergraduate school and score

So my plan is:

Apply for a MS fin in LBS/HEC paris/ESADE/LSE, and find a FT job in IB in Europe or Singapore or Hongkong. And apply for M7 MBA several years later (maybe when I was 28 years old)

Is that possible? I mean will it be a waste of money to have 2 masters' degree? Could you please give me some advice on career change?

Thanks a lot.

Comments (13)

Jan 31, 2019

I don't see any reason why you can't get into a prestigious MBA program. You have a decent job, international experience, and possibly good academic record. MFin seems like a waster of time for someone with more than three years of accounting experience. If you are looking for a change in career, go with MBA.

Feb 1, 2019

hi Hoggie T, thank you for answering my question. Because from my point of view, 3 years audit experience and non-famous UG school are tough for me to get a T25 MBA offer, I think a better school and more work experience in IB/PE will increase my chance in the future.

Jan 31, 2019

I still think you should go with MBA. A 20 or so ranked MBA is still a better choice than a top MSF. Not even the best MSF program can get you into IB, unless you are one of those outstanding geniuses, a case in which it is you rather than your program that got you the job. On the other hand, there are plenty of people coming from average MBA programs, by which I mean the verge of semi-targets, to decent jobs at IB. You can always find you way to make best use of all the resources in MBA, but there just isn't much for you to maneuver in MSF.

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Feb 1, 2019
HoggieT:

I don't see any reason why you can't get into a prestigious MBA program. You have a decent job, international experience, and possibly good academic record. MFin seems like a waster of time for someone with more than three years of accounting experience. If you are looking for a change in career, go with MBA.

agreed.

Feb 1, 2019
soylatte:

Hi everyone, I happened to know this website when I searched the key word Hec Paris on google, I find it vey useful, and everyone here is very nice and helpful. I am now working at KPMG audit and seeking for a change in career, here is my concern:
Myself:
2 years in KPMG ShangHai ofs and 1 year in KPMG HongKong ofs
bachelor in audit from non-target school and low in GPA
suppose my GMAT is 740
I am not interested in audit at all, I know it's hard to transfer from audit to IB or famous consulting companies, so at first I thought maybe I should get an MBA, but the thing is:

1 the cost is quite expensive, more than USD 150k, I need to get a loan.
2 I still need to work more than 2 years if I want an MBA, but you know, even 5 years in audit may not help me a lot in applying for an MBA, and the longer I work in audit, the less possible I can change my career.
3 The average age to enter MBA is like 28-30 years old, I am quite special here, I graduate from university at the age of 20, yes, it's uncommon but I entered university when I was only 16 years old, so by the time I apply an MBA, I would be only 24-25 years old, and that's not a proper age for MBA degree I think, since MBA is less academic and more concentrate on social.
4 It's impossible for me to get a top ranking MBA offer considering my undergraduate school and score

so my plan is:
Apply for a MS fin in LBS/HEC paris/ESADE/LSE, and find a FT job in IB in Europe or Singapore or Hongkong. And apply for M7 MBA several years later (maybe when I was 28 years old)

Is that possible? I mean will it be a waste of money to have 2 masters' degree? could you please give me some advice on career change?

Thanks a lot.

i honestly think you have chances to get into a top 10 MBA. Considering your work experience, don't waste time/money attending a Msc Finance. Btw Esade/LSE/HEC are Pre experience (work experience< 1 year).

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Feb 1, 2019

Your academics and work experience are on target to be a competitive applicant to a top MBA program in the US. Adcoms worry less about your age and more about your experience, not just in years but in the progress, contributions and impact that you have made.

You didn't mention anything that about leadership experience. You could stand out from similar candidates by bolstering your leadership profile. Here are some tips .

Do you have a CPA? If yes, you could qualify for the 1Y MBA from Cornell which places well into IB in NYC. Another option might be Kellogg's 1Y program (if you have taken economics, marketing, statistics and operations).

For some tips specific to your profile:
CPA to MBA: Conduct a pre-MBA Audit

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Feb 1, 2019

Yesss, I don't know if CICPA can be helpful. I am promoted to assistant manager this year, and got high performance, I have been the in-charge of engagement in my 2st junior year. I also got an award from KPMG to recognize my hard work. And thank you for your advice, it is really very helpful to me!!

Most Helpful
Feb 4, 2019

My advice is quite different from the people above (including @susan.cera ). Having attended a top MBA and seeing the full class profile at other top MBAs (as we also hire MBAs), I can generally count the number of students with only audit experience on one hand. True, there are accountants there, but almost all of them either moved to advisory/banking or finance in corporates a few years before MBA.

Further, you stated that you came from non-target university with a low GPA. I assume you are also Chinese. We need to be realistic here. That automatically puts you in a very competitive pool where your stats are not great. A high GMAT, 750+, would help with some of that.

However, my suggestion would be to move to KMPG advisory/consulting or to finance in a brand name company as soon as possible. That would highlight a move to a role that is seen as more selective by Adcom.

I think for the MS you may be too experienced. You need to check their application requirements for that, but they are typically tailored for people with 0-2 years of experience.

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Feb 1, 2019

Thanks SReaper, that's what I worried about, I knew I am not great when I saw those students profiles of top MBA, but I will try. I will try my best to get a GMAT score 750+ or see if there is any chance to move to advisory or consulting. Yes I am Chinese, and today is Chinese new year (lunar year), we are celebrating the spring festival all over the country, just wish you happy Chinese new year here. Thanks for your kind help.

Feb 4, 2019

An MBA is less expensive than MBA + MSF

Feb 10, 2019

Hi, I'm in a slightly similar situation as yours. My GPA is also lowish (~3.5), I'm also at KPMG in South East Asia but have been doing Deal Advisory/Valuation since graduation. Will be sitting for CFA Level I exam this summer. I'm also trying to figure out my next moves.

I've seen several ex-auditors in my country going to M7, but usually they do audit for 2-3 years then move on to investment banking/consulting (for another 2-3 years) etc., and most of them end up with 4-6 years of experience before applying to MBA. Some even go the audit -> TAS -> IBD route, so if you can't get in IBD straight away (which is extremely competitive in Hong Kong/Shanghai I presume), moving to TAS could also be a viable choice.

This is my opinion only but I don't think MSc are worth it, unless you study it right away after graduating from university. What you study at a MSc could be partially covered by CFA/CPA programs. If I had 3 years+ of experience, I'd consider MSc Finance if only was from Oxford/Cambridge/MIT/Princeton/Columbia (and a couple of other top schools) for the brand name/networking/on-campus recruiting. However, generally, CFA (or CPA/ACCA/ICAEW etc. if you already got one) + MBA is golden, I think.

Feb 11, 2019

Have you looked into CFA?

Feb 11, 2019
Comment
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