I've been an auditor with a Big4 firm for about a year now and have passed all four parts of my CPA. I've realized that audit is not for me and now that I have my one year of required work experienced can officially get licensed as a CPA, I am looking to move out of accounting/audit entirely.
Consulting is a field that really interests me and ideally, I would like to end up at an MBB. I realize this will take an MBA from a top school and getting into a top school will require quality work experience so I am looking to move out of my current audit role to something that will look better on MBA apps and be more interesting.
I have listed a few options below, please tell me if these are realistic transitions for someone in audit and which one will position me better for admission to a top MBA program/look better for MBB:
- Switch to transaction services: not really consulting related, but I feel this will also look good on MBA apps
- Try to switch to Deloitte's S&O Consulting Group: I'm at a non-Deloitte Big4 currently -- not sure if they even hire auditors into this group
- Try to get a position at tier 2 consulting firm such as Accenture: same as above -- not sure how they view auditors or if they even make experienced hires
- Problem Solving: Auditors are natural problem solvers though they will need to shift their focus further into big picture mentality. Auditors tend to focus on the task at hand more so than everything than the larger whole. This is often seen as a shortcoming of auditors. You need to be able to solve the problem as a whole rather than pieces or causes.
- Work Ethic: Since you've worked as a Big4 Auditor, you are no stranger to this.
- Communication: Know when to ask questions. Be good at working in a team environment. Understanding social subtleties and having strong people skills fall into this category as well.
- Personable: Since you'll be working directly with clients, you will need to be able to relate to them on both a business and personal level. They'll need to feel comfortable with you.
- Self-Awareness Be aware of your personal strengths and weaknesses. Show your most authentic self instead of who you think will get the job. Don't pretend to be someone you're not.
- Why Would Anyone Go Into Consulting?
- Why Consulting - Answering The Interview Question
- Thought Consulting Was My Dream...Now I Hate It
What are your thoughts on this?
How To Move From Audit to Consulting
If you're working through an internship, you should for sure finish it and get your CPA designation. This will open many doors.
Complete the internship, secure a full-time offer and then weigh your options. You will have options; I recently saw a Big 4 buddy hop from tax to advisory after 3 months of full-time work. Whatever you do, don't say anything about it during your internship.
Regardless of your experience, networking, as always, is essential.
Network as much as you can and demonstrate those people the value from your audit experience. Most people, especially at the lower levels in auditing, get little or no responsibility from their seniors and executives. Focus on changing from an audit to an "advisor" mentality where you can help your clients create value and improve their overall business performance. Being strategic about what examples you share with those around your network and potential employers will be key.
Take a look at this photos from Modern Muse for more traits of a Consultant.
Personality Traits Of Great Consultants
A career in consulting requires a strong combination of personal and professional skills. Be ready to share real-life examples of how you demonstrate these.
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