Big 4 to Corporate Finance Transition for MBA

Hi all - long time lurker, first time poster.

I have been in Big 4 Audit for 3 years and want to leave and transition to a corporate finance/FP&A role. Long term I see myself working in corporate finance, in a more strategic role in running a company and "making the numbers," rather than "checking the numbers."

I am intending on getting my MBA in the next 3-ish years. So essentially for my next job I am looking for a corporate finance role that will best position me for a Top-15 MBA.

I am curious as to the pull of the "name" of a company (F50, F100, F500). Given the below article on Poets & Quants, it would appear that getting accepted to a top-ranked MBA is largely dependent on where you work. If I were to accept a job offer at a smaller, private company, would I be putting myself at a disadvantage? Obviously tough to say given the limited information I've provided, but just wondering if anybody has had any experience with this.

Thanks!!!

http://poetsandquants.com/2011/08/08/getting-into…

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Comments (6)

Jun 26, 2012 - 10:56am

Work pedigree plays a very large role in the admissions process. Given two equal candidates aside from work experience, the one from GS, MS, or JPM IBD will have a leg up on the person from Piper, RBC, etc...

The same goes for consulting. BCG, McK, Bain vs. Deloitte, Accenture, etc...

All of the above companies are great firms to work for, but unfortunately schools do pull from the cream of the crop.

Jun 26, 2012 - 8:41pm

Thanks for the quick response. Pretty much what I figured.

Just had a conversation with a recruiter in which he basically told me I "wasn't competitive" for FP&A type jobs and that an intermediary position (revenue accountant, etc.) is necessary to make the switch from auditing. Obviously it's in this guy's best interest to just place me in any position as quickly as possible, and I want to call BS. But without going through a recruiter I'm relying on applying through company websites or LinkedIn. The guy was so derogatory and dismissive on the phone when I indicated my desire to switch to an FP&A position, saying that I "just don't fit the profile" and that there are simply too many better candidates than me.

I'm (almost) a CPA, Top-30-35 undergrad, average/low GPA (3.3)...expecting a 750+ GMAT. GPA is low but can't do anything about it now. I just hate how people who went to community college and then start with a no-name firm are working right alongside me in the Big 4 when I was here all along. I know there have been a bunch of threads on this in the past, usually about "breaking into banking"...but seriously, all I'm trying to do is get a job where I can use my brain a little and have an impact on a company, as opposed to feeling like I'm wasting my life serving no purpose.

Everything I've read indicates that b-schools don't look kindly upon auditors...very few people at my firm have gone from a senior role, and those that have generally didn't go to a Top 15. So I've decided I need to get a job in the interim that will help alter my profile and demonstrate career development on the way to b-school. Does this seem like a reasonable plan?

Jun 27, 2012 - 10:01pm
marathon218:
I just hate how people who went to community college and then start with a no-name firm are working right alongside me in the Big 4 when I was here all along.

Having this attitude will be your downfall.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jun 27, 2012 - 9:53pm

You and everybody else - this is the position 99.9% of Big 4 auditors find themselves in. I highly doubt you will have a very good chance getting into a top B-school if you go into industry right now. Try to transfer into an advisory or consulting role at Big 4. If you look at the lists of top feeder companies to top B-schools, Deloitte and PwC are up there.

Audit is frustrating, but you have to stick it out or find a better job (i.e. consulting) to move forward. Going into industry now is only going to put you back.

Good luck man.

Jun 28, 2012 - 10:32am

Bfin - totally agreed. That comment was childish and emotional. I hope you understand the soruce of my frustrations, however. If other people can be upwardly mobile, why not me? (Probably because I'm complaining and not doing anything about it).

808 - appreciate the advice. Transferring to advisory/consulting within the Big 4 seems like my best bet.

Jun 28, 2012 - 10:36am

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

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