Where to start if ultimate goal is F500/corporate finance

I asked sort of a similar question not too long ago, got some good responses. Just sort of some more clarifying questions.

My ultimate goal as of now (who knows how I'll feel 5-10 years from now) is to end up in some sort of upper level position at a F500. I'm an accounting major at a public Florida university, so I'm not exactly at a target school obviously. I plan to do a master's in accountancy either here, at Baruch, or somewhere in Chicago in order to have enough credits for a CPA. I enjoy studying accounting, but am feeling like I've pigeonholed myself into ONLY being able to have an accounting career in the future. Finance and consulting also seem interesting to me.

So my question is, if my ultimate goal is a nice "upper level" position at an F500, what would be the best place to start? Is Big 4 audit a good path? How about a second tier consulting firm like Oliver Wyman? Is it even likely that I could break into OW as an accounting major at a non-target school?

Thanks for any help,
--Art Vandelay, Importer/Exporter

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Comments (6)

Best Response
Jul 9, 2012 - 7:02pm

[quote=Ultima-RDK]If plenty of FLDP programs out there. If your ultimate goal is corporate finance, I'd skip the whole audit/big 4 thing and go straight to a F500 and aim for CF there. It's competitive, but there are tons of great programs out there.

Check out this thread:

Thank you for the link. I'm just now learning about FLDPs. Never heard of them before coming onto WSO.

I have pretty much set myself up for an SLP at a Big 4 firm the upcoming summer, then an internship at one the summer between senior year and my master's, and then hopefully a full time offer.

Is an FLDP at an F500 something that you intern at before, and then get a full time offer after undergrad completion? Is this still an option to me as an undergrad accounting student at a non-target? I'm not very knowledgeable on this. All my research has gone to Big 4 accounting lol.

--Art Vandelay

Feb 21, 2013 - 1:42pm


You do NOT need to intern at a F500 FLDP before getting a FT offer. one of my friends got an offer for a F100 leadership program without having ANY corporate finance experience FT. Networking and being "likeable" or at least "well-connected" is infinitely more important for these FLDPs and the interviews are not technical at all. Most of the kids at my school who got F150 offers (not necessarily true universally of course, but just stating my experience) were "likeable" frat bros that were well-connected and had an OK GPA/some ECs, so if you're good at fit interviews and have at least decent grades (3.5+), you'll be just fine for an FLDP.

Furthermore, you do not need to be at a target but rather you need to either be at a school that gets OCR or a school that's close enough to the company you want to work for that they'll recruit there (I guess that's OCR). Therefore, a top-tier public like Michigan, Texas, UNC, Berkeley, UVA, UCLA, etc. or a public school near a major city will probably serve you well enough. I went to a non-target in a non-finance heavy city, but my school still got 2 F100 companies to recruit for FT OCR because they had major finance operations in the region. Finally, I think Big 4 and FLDPs are both solid options for doing CF later on (although they're still a huge step behind IB/Consulting, particularly for top jobs). If you do a search for jobs, a lot of upper-level finance positions will want public accounting (big 4 preferred) experience and if you want to be a CFO of a company, it definitely wouldn't hurt given how a lot of their jobs deal with reporting to stakeholders, SOX compliance, etc..

@kfactor: I'm curious, as someone who will have to choose between Big 4/FLDP, how many people within finance departments like FP&A had Big 4 backgrounds? I can live with not being in corp dev, but I'd like to at least be in a heavy "analysis" role in an FP&A group at some point and am trying to see how helpful a Big 4 background is for these roles.

Feb 21, 2013 - 2:25pm

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