Big Four Corp. Fin. Advice

CorpFinHopeful's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,409

Dear All,

I am writing in the hopes getting some insight into how best to approach breaking into the corporate finance division of a Big Four firm, preferably KPMG.

I am 21 years old with one full-time year spent working in Big Four audit whilst completing two years of uni via distance learning. I have completed my studies and will receive my diploma next summer with only the defense of my dissertation left. In the meantime I am doing some ACCA exams and am aiming to take the CFA L1 exam next June.

I completed a BA in Finance and Accounting in one of the top schools in my home country in Eastern Europe which means little in international terms, but it does offer a joint degree with a top 50 UK university. My grades are overall good, and I have received a full scholarship in my first semester, however the grades I received for the courses I took during my year of work are somewhat lower on average as would be expected. In addition I have supplemented my studies with auto didacta studying from mainstream texts such as Damodaran's Investment Valuations, McKinsey's Valuation book, and the Investment Banking book by Rosenbaum, Pearl, and Perella for expanded knowledge.

I would be curious to get the opinion of anybody experienced with Big Four corporate finance or perhaps an Investment Bank or other M&A advisory shop of comparable size/stature as to whether I would have a chance at gaining a position next summer based on the above information, and what I could potentially do over the next 6-7 months to improve my chances (other than networking). I would also be very grateful for any general insights as to what one can expect in terms of analyst-level tasks, culture, comps, dealflow, etc.

Thank you in advance for any and all help and information.

Comments (10)

Nov 6, 2013

All your courses are meaningless. So did you intern at a Big 4 or did you work full time? I would start leveraging the network you have there.

Nov 6, 2013

I worked full-time, as per my original post. I am currently in the process of networking, thank you for the advice in this regard. However I am curious as to why all of my courses are meaningless. Could you please elaborate?

Nov 6, 2013

Unfortunately your distance learning course will most likely not be taken seriously at all (at least, wouldn't be in many, if not most places). However, if you are looking to find big 4 corp work in your home country, your BA is probably viewed very favourably. Reach out to alumni from your university and network with them. Also, while it's nice that you've read all those books and have taken it upon yourself to study, those aren't recognised qualifications- while you might be able to work them into conversation as a talking point, that kind of stuff shouldn't be on a resume.

    • 1
Nov 6, 2013

If you are in a Big 4, you should attempt to move into TAS/TS first. It is possible to go from audit to corp fin, but TAS/TS guys have a better chance if you don't have IB experience. TAS/TS is a solid bridge from audit to corp fin.

Relax on the ACCA and accounting courses. They are no longer going to be helpful. CFA will help minimally. Spend more time using WSO and other interview guides.

Network w/school alumni or those within corp fin at your accounting firm.

    • 1
Nov 7, 2013

Thanks for the advice. I have thought of this myself, and a senior manager has agreed to help me get into TAS this coming summer. My only issue there is that when dealflow is spotty, TAS associates are assigned to audit engagements as regular auditors.

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Nov 7, 2013
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