SBC Scoop: Big 4 Public Accounting Career Goals

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

When Linda started working with us she was nervous about crafting compelling career goals and a case for her MBA. Linda was a CPA with four years of experience at a Big 4 accounting firm. She knew that accounting experience was generally less common in the business school application pool, and that while Big 4 public accounting experience was in high demand from employers, it was considered less compelling than some of the investment banking, private equity or hedge fund experience of her competition.

Linda was a high performer at work, and had been promoted to manager early. She started managing teams during her second year, and had extensive experience working directly with high profile clients. All of this experience created a strong story to sell her leadership ability, communication skills and work ethic. Incidentally, Linda was a graduate of Penn State with a solid 3.6 GPA, and had a 710 GMAT score.

Career switching is a common reason for a Big 4 CPA to seek an MBA. Most employees of public accounting firms are set up extremely well for positions within corporate finance, and Linda wanted a different career path. She enjoyed working with clients and being part of a team, but she was interested in solving a variety of problems and wanted to work in strategy. At the same time her passion was fashion and luxury goods. Ideally she wanted to be in a business development or strategy position within a large retailer. Linda’s plan post MBA was to work in management consulting and then transition to industry.

We worked with Linda to craft her career goals essay into a solid story. She would leverage her client and team leadership experience effectively in management consulting. To demonstrate that Linda was a creative and innovative thinker who would be well suited to management consulting and and strategy we pulled from her college experience as the leader of a club that put on fashion shows at Penn State. Linda highlighted the entrepreneurial nature of that activity. Linda’s passion for fashion and luxury was communicated in several places throughout the application, and set her up to make a convincing case for her long-term career goals.

Overall we highlighted where Linda stood out from her peers (creative college activities and long-term career goals) while also leveraging the assets of a prestigious firm and well-regarded work experience. As a result Linda was offered a spot at UVA Darden and NYU Stern, and decided to attend NYU to be closer to the fashion scene in New York City.

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