• Career Center

    Should CPAs Consider an MBA?

    By | May 5, 2015
    In the next few weeks, business schools around the world will be starting the application process for the MBA class that will start in the fall of 2016. Most MBA programs do admissions in rounds, with the first round applications due by October, and second and third rounds coming later.  Only 30% of applications are filed for the first round, and it is often thought to be easier to get admitted in the first round rather than in the later rounds.
    Top MBA programs take two years and cost upwards of $100,000 in tuition alone. Add in missing two years of salary and promotions and young CPAs need to think twice about whether getting an MBA makes sense. I think there are two good  reasons to get an MBA. 
    The main reason to get an MBA is to make a career change. An MBA from a top school can open up new career paths for you. So, if you no longer want to pursue a career in tax or financial reporting, getting an MBA might be the best way to head in a new direction.
    Getting an MBA can also cleanse your resume of a less than stellar undergraduate degree. Get an MBA from Harvard or Stanford and no one is going to ask you again about where you did your undergrad. The ranks of top executives are heavily populated with people who went to top schools – that is not a coincidence. The biggest benefit of an MBA is usually the networking with classmates and alumni from great schools who disproportionately go on to do great things. 
    I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to abandon a successful public accounting career to get an MBA unless you go to one of the top programs. I’d suggest the 25 top ranked programs in the Financial Times (FT) rankings. I would not be too rigid in the cutoff –- in my view there is no meaningful difference between #25 UCLA and #32 University of Virginia. But the top five, #1 Harvard, #2 London, #3 Wharton, #4 Stanford, and #5 Insead are in a different class from those ranked near #25. I am not dissing #5 Columbia, #8 MIT, #9 Chicago, or #10 Berkeley –- all are fine programs. But #4 is a long ways ahead of #14. 
    CPAs are in good shape to get into a top MBA program. Three years of public accounting experience appeals to admissions officers. You also need a good undergraduate GPA and high GMAT scores if you want to get into a top program, and you will need to write a compelling essay. The top 25 programs are looking for GMAT scores over 700, which is the top 10% of people who take the test. Top schools do admit a few students with lower scores who have amazing stories, but those stories are probably not tales of toil on the audit trail.
    Think about doing your MBA in a foreign country. The FT top 25 includes schools in the UK, Spain, France, Singapore, China, and Switzerland. An international MBA can lead to an interesting career overseas.  The international perspective will be of increasing value even if you pursue a career at home. 
    Does it make sense financially to get an MBA? FT says that graduates of the top 25 MBA programs earn an average of $152,000 three years after graduation. If you are a first year senior currently making $65,000 should you take two years off and pay $100,000 to get an MBA? You may get that average salary of $152,000 three years after graduation, but you paid $135,000 or so in two years of missed salary and $100,000 in tuition for a total of $235,000.
    Had you stayed at a Big Four firm you would probably be a 3rd year manager making $100,000 at that three year point after MBA graduation. So, you might pay for your MBA investment in less than five years with the higher salary and your career earnings might be significantly higher if you can hold that premium. If you are good enough to get into a top 25 MBA program, life is going to be good for you either way. You likely have the right stuff to make partner if you stay in public accounting. Get an MBA and you likely make as much or more, but on a different path. It really comes down to what you want to do with your career.  If you want to be a partner, stay in public accounting. If you want to be a CFO or a CEO someday, invest in an MBA. 
    There are other MBA options. Online programs are gaining in popularity. I think you can learn as much in an online program, but you miss developing the close interpersonal relationships that are the most valuable feature of an MBA. I don’t recommend the top 25 programs because the teaching is better (it often is worse); I recommend top 25 programs because your classmates will be better. They will help you learn more, and help build you a network that will serve your career well. If you decide against getting an MBA, I highly recommend taking some courses online – some of the content is very good and many of the courses are free
    Another option is the executive MBA (EMBA) that is targeted at mid career professionals. I think an EMBA is an excellent program for new partners. I will explain that in a later column. 
    • TurtlyEnough

      Also, you might land a job that is actually interesting and engaging…

      Good article.

      • iamthelolrus

        That’s why I want to go. It’s not about the money (though it makes the degree not a total money sink), it’s about being able to get into a role that matters.

    • BasisPoints

      So… many… things… aggravating…

      I’ll wait until the end of this “series” to give a full critique, I suppose. However, I can’t hold back this one bit: WTF seriously Darden isn’t good enough for you!? That place turns out top strategists left and right! Are you suggesting top 10 USA just doesn’t cut it anymore?

      • As I said, I don’t see much difference between #32 UVa’s Darden and #25 UCLA’s Anderson. Other than Darden, there is a big drop off in expected compensation after #25, There are 14 US schools in the FT Top 25. The pool for management talent is now global, which is why I think the FT rankings are more useful than US only rankings.

        • iamthelolrus

          Is there a reason you are using FT’s rankings instead of USNews?

          And from what I’ve heard, US schools are still by far the best if you want to work in the US. For example, it’s hard to get a NYC banking job from LBS, they mostly place in London.

          • There is little difference. There are 14 US schools in the FT top 25. The only difference other than order is that Darden makes the top 14 (#10) in US News pushing out Anderson. I would not make a decision on such minor differences. Ratings are not that precise.
            I prefer FT because it is global, and you are getting an MBA for the next 30 years, which I believe will be much more globally focused. NYC was the place to be in the 90s, Shanghai is probably the spot for the 30s.

            • iamthelolrus

              I think you’re right that business is going more global, but I find it hard to believe that (at least in finance) NYC will not be the place to be for quite a long time.

              I also doubt that silicon valley will cease to be the world’s high tech hub.

              For people going directly into manufacturing or other consumer product industries, China may very well be the place to be. However, the US still has a stranglehold on professional services, finance, and tech, all of which are very common places to recruit out of business school.

              To build on that, if you’re getting a full time MBA, it seems that long term career wise, the school you went to is much less important than your first job out of school. Like, sure that degree from Kellogg is impressive but the two years at McK afterwards are what get you your next job. If you’re trying to work in China eventually, it might be even better to go to a US school and start at a prestigious firm rather than go to an international school and recruit directly into China.

              Sorry this post isn’t more organized but that’s my two cents on the issue.

        • IndenturedServant

          lol @ UCLA being above Darden

          lol @ anybody who thinks going to INSEAD is a better career move than going to MIT Sloan.

          • iamthelolrus

            INSEAD is shit compared to any M7 imo

    • Ed Flanders

      Where does my MBA from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management rank?

      • advisorynerd

        Just below your CGMA and Masters of Accountancy

    • advisorynerd

      I’d be interested in reading your article on the EMBA programs. I did not attend a traditional MBA program, but would have liked to. By the time I would be able to, due to family and cash constraints, I will be in my mid-30s, with 10+ years of work experience. At that point I”d have the resume, but the salary bump would be negligible so I’d essentially be paying a ton of money in tuition and opportunity cost for some new career opportunities.

      If in that article you could address the following points it would be greatly appreciated:

      1. Do you need an MBA to get into a to EMBA program?
      2. Does a top EMBA provide the same career pivoting opportunities that a top MBA program has?
      3. What is the typical cost of an EMBA, are they harder to get into, and are they more of a part-time/night school type of program?
      4. What is the typical age/experience level where people are seeking these degrees?

      • iamthelolrus

        Hey buddy I’m no expert but I’ve done a fair bit of research into MBA programs. I can answer your questions briefly but it might be info you already know.

        1) No, not at all. In fact, MBAs in general are designed to be a terminal degree. Most reputable (that is, top 25-50 depending on who you ask) schools won’t accept people into either a full time MBA program or EMBA if they already have an MBA. Therefore, you might be screwed on this front.

        2) EMBA gives you literally the exact same degree (piece of paper) that a full time MBA gives you. HOWEVER, they severely limit your on campus recruiting opportunities- I’ve always been told that you do full time for a career change, and EMBA to get promoted in your current company.

        3) About the same as a full time MBA cost wise. VASTLY, VASTLY easier to get into. Schools with <10% acceptance rates for full time can be 60-80% acceptance for PT/EMBA. Primarily part time. Again, these are for people trying to stay at their company and get promoted, so it's going to be people who work full time and go to school.

        The value proposition here for students is that you can go to a school that you don't have a shot in hell of getting into FT, and have that on your resume. The downside is you pay the same amount and don't get OCR opps.

        4) I think it varies but expect to see a lot of middle management F500 types who need an MBA to get promoted.

        Full disclosure: I'm just a guy who wants to do an MBA in the future, not an expert of any kind. But hopefully this helps.

        • Good response. Just to add on.
          1. No, in fact some schools will not take you if you already have an MBA.
          2. Usually these are for people looking to get promoted, not people looking to change careers.
          3. Same or higher than a full time MBA. Some programs are over $150,000. Students are often sponsored by their employers (meaning the employer pays). The programs are on weekends so you can keep your job.
          4. Usually 10 years of experience and average age about 40, compared to 3-5 years experience and average age 27 for full time.
          I will write more in my forthcoming article.

    • Sin City Auditor

      I don’t think Top 25 is even worth the opportunity cost any more. M7 is pretty much it if you’re looking to be gainfully employed after graduation, unless your employer is footing the bill.

      • The M7 or Magic 7, is a self selected group of the top 7 MBA programs in the US. They are Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan and Northwestern’s Kellogg. All are in the FT top 25. Ratings are highly political, and people have strong feelings against any rating system that does not rank their school highly.

        Here is an interesting discussion of the FT rankings and the M7:


      • iamthelolrus

        Bulge Bracket IB and MBB (the two biggest things people want when career switching) both recruit from the top 15-20 schools, just not as heavily. So it can still be worth it.

        F500 rotational programs (what people go for when they want some semblance of work-life balance) recruit from top 50 or so.

        It can be worth it to go outside M7 if you know what you want and are confident in your interviewing skills.

    • I’d like to read that research. I don’t think I have ever seen a CFO with a PhD but I am sure there are a few, but far fewer than those with MBAs.
      Yes, it is possible to become a CFO without an advanced degree, but it is probably not the easiest pathway.

      • I have a PhD, and don’t believe PhD studies are likely to have any benefit to a CFO, other than honing your analytical skills.
        The CEO you link to is with Gilead, a biotech firm, where a PhD might be more relevant to a CEO. Gilead’s CFO has an MBA, from Pepperdine, not a top school.
        I would expect a lot of the CFOs who don’t have MBAs were internal promotions of people with long tenure with the company. I think that is how many CPAs become CFOs.

    • Sammy K

      “Getting an MBA can also cleanse your resume of a less than stellar undergraduate degree.”

      -What? This makes no sense. If you are a CPA what was your undergrad degree in? Poetry? So either you majored in business or a business subject or you hold a masters in accountancy (which would make your undergrad degree meaningless anyway).

      “But the top five, #1 Harvard, #2 London, #3 Wharton, #4 Stanford, and #5 Insead are in a different class from those ranked near #25. I am not dissing #5 Columbia, #8 MIT, #9 Chicago, or #10 Berkeley –- all are fine programs.”

      -Another absurd comment. You would thank the ground you walk on to be admitted to Columbia, MIT, U of Chicago, or Berkeley. In fact, I would rather go to Columbia, MIT, U of Chicago, or Berkeley over Insead any day of the week. More so, I’d go to Columbia or U of Chicago over Wharton because at least I’d be near an epic business community.

      • Commando

        Duh, you got to San Jose State by mistake, but get into Cornell for MBA. From that day forward you are an Ivy League grad.

        • Sammy K

          Read the quote again – I think it says “degree” not “school”. So he is talking about the degree they got not whether they went to a state school vs an Ivy League. Understand?

          • Commando

            Do you have any friends?

            • Sammy K

              Your mom.

            • Herbie Hancock

              Apply burn cream as needed.

      • iamthelolrus

        Regarding the first point, for career switchers it’s hard to get into some fields without having gone to a target school. So getting the MBA lets you make up for the fact that your undergrad wasn’t at a target school.

        On your second point, I agree completely.

        • Sammy K

          I agree with you, but he said “degree” not “school”. Regardless, I personally wouldn’t want to work somewhere that honestly believes that people who went to Harvard are smarter than those who went to UCLA or CU Boulder, etc. It would sound like a douchy place to work/study.

          • iamthelolrus

            They don’t think you’re necessarily smarter if you go to Harvard, it’s just another level of screening.

            Or: the average person that went to Harvard is smarter than the average person that went to UCLA, therefore it’s safer to recruit at Harvard.

            Also (in consulting at least) clients often want to see the resumes of your team, and if alma mater matters to your client, now it really fucking matters to you.

            Just wanted to point out that there are legitimate reasons, it’s not 100% douche.

            • Sammy K

              I mostly agree with you. I guess I’m thinking about those companies that list on the job application “top tier school” or “top 10 school” and the position isn’t client facing.

              In terms of consulting, I did not go to an Ivy League (although I admittedly went to a public ivy for my undergrad and a pretty low grade graduate school), but I was just hired by a tier one consultancy practice from another Big Four assurance practice. And at least from that, people can glisten that nothing definitively leads into something else or definitively blocks you from something. I’ll admit that in my undergrad I did extremely poorly – like a 2.8GPA, and I had to work my ass off, but I was eventually picked up by Big Four and then, as of a few weeks ago, was picked up by a major consultancy. I know that Firms use assumptions to make recruiting decisions, but I really hope people don’t buy into the theory that you can only get into McKinsey or BCG by having gone to an Ivy League.

            • iamthelolrus

              Thanks for your perspective.

              If you don’t mind me asking, what is your definition of tier 1? MBB+Elite boutiques? Just wondering because it’s pretty interesting that you were able to lateral directly from audit to a top tier consulting firm. I would be interested in more detail on that if you are comfortable with sharing.

            • Sammy K

              Absolutely – I’m happy to share. I would define Tier 1 as McKinsey or BCG. Honestly a lot of the lateral move had to do with luck, timing, strong networking, and a very particular skill they need. The hardest step is just getting the interview, which can be obtained by knowing someone. Fortunately I’m a very strong interviewer and I know a couple people who work at this firm including a partner. I got lucky with the questions they asked at the interview – like what is your favorite, which is easy, but many people respond with something silly like “uh…Harry Potter!”. I said Lolita from Vladimir Nabokov and then made a risky joke about being interested in the prose and not the pedophilia which they thought was pretty funny. They were explicit in the interview that I would be the most under qualified person on the project, but that they liked my personality and thought I could bring a new perspective to the team and they would be willing to train me. I’m not the prototypical auditor – I want to get my JD and I’m very good with clients. I also didn’t go straight from college to big four – I worked at a private equity fund for a few years. I also was able to network my way into a few management consulting engagements at my current Firm – so that definitely helped. Also, I really think it had a lot to do with timing. I was hired to do a specific engagement and I think they needed someone with a CPA license to help on the financial side of things and I was there at the time. But the application and hiring process took about 8 months in total. Overall, I would say there is a perception and then there is reality. Oftentimes people are too concerned with the perception to realize that the reality of any business is they need people to revenue money and sometimes even the prestigious firms don’t have quite as many applicants as people would guess. Finally, I would add that I had to take an exam first, and I’m very fortunate that it was on stuff that I was remotely familiar with. Who knows, maybe I won’t end up being very good at my new job.

            • iamthelolrus

              Thanks. Pretty much what I expected (luck+good interview). My plan is Big 4 (risk assurance)>MBA>MBB, we’ll see if it works out

            • IndenturedServant

              isn’t your uncle the PIC of your office? i’m pretty sure that’s the reason why you thought you did well in your interview.

              Hell, that’s probably why you had an interview to begin with.

            • N.E.R.D.

              “Admittedly my uncle is managing partner – possibly they realize I will just tell him :)”

              from the comments section in:

              “PwC Settled One Wage & Hour Lawsuit for $5 Million”

              Yeah. @Sammy K is basically giving himself credit where none is due.

              His success is a result of nepotism. He thinks he earned it though. It must be nice to be carried to third base and proclaim to the world you hit a triple.

            • Chris

              Is it just me or does this Sammy K guy sound like an irritating first year?

            • iamthelolrus

              Oh. Yeah that makes WAYYYY more sense. Every other source I’ve seen on the internet says that a lateral from audit to MBB is unheard of.

              Guess with nepotism anything is possible.

          • Commando

            Sammy, you might prefer to stay in auditing. Nitpicking is more appreciated there.

          • Commando

            Your degree is a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science. Your major might be accounting. But most people say they have a degree in accounting. Others might say I have a degree from UCLA.
            I think everyone but you understood.

      • Commando

        Absurd comment? What absurd comment? Columbia, MIT, Chicago, Berkeley are all in the top 25 that the author suggests. Ok, they rank lower than some schools you hate. So what? Cancel your subscription to FT. Are you just some dick?

    • cpanum31

      First. If you have a business undergraduate degree, the MBA is not designed for you. Already have the tools and your resume shows what you can do with them.
      Second. The MBA was for successful people with out a business degree to give them the tools to advance in their careers. Like the old joke, if you were successful enough to get admitted to the Harvard Business School, you probably didn’t need to go to the Harvard Business School.
      Third. There is a cult following of the so called “Top Business Schools” which is why the people with the good jobs hire from them. They don’t hire from the third tier schools even if they use the same syllabus.
      Fourth. For most Accountants with a reasonably decent Business School education the MBA is a waste of time and effort that could better be spent on developing your career.
      Fifth. Most people hire on looks anyway and advancement is for the most part manipulation and social climbing. You won’t pick those skills up in an M.B.A. course.

      You can take it for what its worth, but I have both a C.P.A. license and a third tier school M.B.A. and have watched this stuff for half a century. Good luck on what ever path you choose.

      • iamthelolrus

        “Fourth. For most Accountants with a reasonably decent Business School education the MBA is a waste of time and effort that could better be spent on developing your career.”

        This is only true if you want to be an accountant forever.

        If not it’s fucking asinine. If you want to get into finance or consulting, or actually engaging jobs in industry like corp strat or corp dev, good luck lateraling there from accounting without an MBA.

        A lot of people go into accounting because it’s safe and they don’t know what they want to do. Then once they get some business experience they realize that they fucked up and there are a ton of business careers that are way more interesting. MBA is a good way to unfuck up.

        • cpanum31

          Generally, from decades of watching this parade I find your comment wrong. In almost all cases people who go into accounting, with very few exceptions, lack the abilities to move out of it to the careers you mention. It becomes quite clear early in their careers they are unsuitable. Education just won’t put the attributes in that God left out.

          • iamthelolrus

            That’s an interesting perspective. I disagree. I think the reason that a lot of people end up in accounting, along with what I already mentioned, is a lack of knowledge available in high school about business careers. Well-off families have the institutional knowledge to do everything right from the beginning. Most families do not.

            Also, it’s not about “attributes” getting put in by education. It’s another chance to go through the networking and recruiting opportunities that education provides, but this time with the knowledge that was missing when entering undergrad.

            The fact is, that with very few exceptions, the careers I mentioned will immediately trash the resumes of accountants. However, when recruiting for that same position from a reputable MBA program, their previous background as an accountant is much less relevant.

            It’s not that accountants are lacking some special skill or talent that magically allows people to move from accounting into better careers. It’s that the hiring managers from other careers don’t want accountants. You can rebrand with an MBA and stop having that “accountant” label.

            • CPAtoMBAtoIBD

              While business schools probably don’t want your “run-of-the-mill” accountant, Big 4 auditors and consultants can do just fine in the admissions process assuming a solid undergrad degree, GPA, GMAT, and that you have a good story to tell. I’ve heard about this supposed “bias” before and you’ll hear similar talk from admissions consultants, but I haven’t seen it. If anything, use it to your advantage. If you want to completely rebrand yourself, that’s fine. However, you’ll get respect from your classmates and recruiters for having solid accounting experience assuming you don’t fit the accounting stereotypes of being socially awkward and unable to see the bigger picture. In investment banking, I have managing directors and clients who proudly put “CPA” in their signature.

            • iamthelolrus

              I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to say that MBA adcoms don’t want accountants

              I’m trying to say that doing a DIRECT lateral from accounting to the “sexier” careers is hard because THEY don’t want accountants (pre MBA).

              Sorry for the confusion.

    • CPAtoMBAtoIBD

      To answer the title of the article, I’d say CPAs should consider an MBA especially if you’re thinking about investment banking. As my username suggests, I transitioned from Big 4 to a top business school to a bulge-bracket investment bank. It’s actually a fairly common transition, and the only hard part is getting into business school. Once you’re at a solid program though, an IBD position is yours for the taking. There are many CPAs and former auditors throughout wall street so the firms are pretty receptive to it. Additionally, auditors have a lot of experience with financial statements, client service, busy work, long hours, etc. so you’ll fit in really well. This isn’t to say that the work isn’t more challenging/rewarding/stressful, but at the end of the day, you’re still just sitting in front a computer jamming on your keyboard at least at the junior levels.

      I agree with many of the writer’s points, but I just want to address the point about the opportunity cost and earnings potential. To be honest, no one really worries about it that much. Let’s keep this to IBD so you can see that the MBA can pay for itself fairly quickly:

      Summer Internship – $25K
      Signing Bonus: $60K
      Associate 0 salary (stub year): $60K
      Associate 0 stub bonus: $35K
      Associate 1 salary: $150K
      Associate 1 bonus: $105K
      Associate 2 salary: $175K
      Associate 2 bonus: $123K
      Associate 3 salary: $200K
      Associate 3 bonus: $140K

      You can see that you could earn ~$1mm within your first 4 years. I estimated the bonuses assuming 70% of base, but it could be much higher or lower. Note that these figures are for bulge-bracket banks. Many of the prestige boutiques pay much, much more.

      But yeah, I’m not suggesting that everyone should get an MBA. Plenty of my friends are Big 4 managers and directors or they’ve moved on to industry and have great careers.

      • curiousMBA

        I’m a CPA going to a M7 this fall, and I’m debating between consulting and IB. I’ve been leaning towards consulting as it seems to provide a wider range of exit ops, but IBD is tempting with my background.

        What made you decide IB? Have you found the lifestyle as rough as what ppl claim or is it more like that NYTimes article from this week?


        • iamthelolrus

          Not the guy you replied to, but it’s important to note that MBB is MUCH harder to get into post MBA than IBD is. That may have been part of it. MBB mostly recruits people who were consultants before they went in. (YMMV obviously, your chances are probably better at Kellogg, HBS, Stanford to get MBB than the rest of the M7)

          Not relevant if you want to target tier 2 consultancies, but there it is.

          • curiousMBA

            Sure, I acknowledge that it’s difficult, but it’s also not impossible. I’ve spoken with people who had no consulting background (i.e. media, tech, non-profit, and even former auditors) and now work at a MBB. As long as you get an interview (which, at a top school, shouldn’t be all that difficult), it really comes down to how well you perform on cases.

            Perhaps it’s a little bit of self selection that consultants will do better on cases, but with practice (and some help from Victor Chang, the case interview’s Peter Olinto), a lot of non-consultants have successfully broken into MBB.

            • CPAtoMBAtoIBD

              Banking and consulting are very different careers that require very different skill sets. If an MBA can’t decide between the two, s/he hasn’t done enough soul searching and diligence. Recruiting starts within the first few weeks so you don’t really have time to wait to figure it out. As for me, the short answer is that M&A is more interesting, rewarding, and clients actually value your work (compared to audit). While I considered consulting way before I applied to business school, it wasn’t for me. If you’re at a good business school, especially an M7, it’s not about which one is easier to get because just by being there, you have a good shot at either one. It’s just about how well you navigate the recruiting process and prepare for interviews. It’s worth noting that while it’s harder to get a summer internship at MBB because there are less spots, there are more full-time opportunities available as a 2nd year because the banks basically fill all the full-time positions from the summer class.

              To answer your question, no one at the junior level in banking (associate/analyst) is overstating the workload. However, the amount of work can vary significantly across groups.

    • iamthelolrus

      B4 accountants can get into schools 8-20 without stretching too hard, and those schools are recruited by bulge bracket banks and tier 2 consultancies (ATK, Strategy&, Parthenon, etc)

      So the value proposition is still fine

    • curiousMBA

      Rare, but it happens. I had a B4 tax background, and with the right application strategy, you could have a shot at a M7 school. Ideally, you want something that differentiates you from other applicants (i.e. rotations in other groups at your firm, working abroad, volunteer work).

    • Gwasball

      MBA’s are bullshit, accounting is bullshit, got a computer science degree and never looked back. Yeah guess what, at my my new job I don’t have to wear pointless professional clothing. I don’t have to kiss ass “network” just to get a job. I don’t have to take a pointless multiple test (CPA). NO PERFORMANCE REVIEWS. NO PAPER. Flexible hours. NEVER have to work over 40 hours. High pay. Get destroyed. Interesting work and actual meritocracy.

      Have fun with your bullshit jobs. Business is a bunch of bullshit. Even accounting. Don’t even get me started on “leadership” or “management”. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I know because I did it in undergrad.

      Have fun writing your papers on “brand strategy” at your top MBA programs ya fucking schmucks. You’re really gaining some valuable job skills there. You’re so special and smarter than the rest of us because you went to a top MBA program. Why don’t you man up and learn how to do real math.

      • Special K

        What a strange little bubble you live in. I too am a technologist, and though I have what I consider a successful 20 year career going, very little of that could have happened without some very competent business folks. You may have some exposure to folks that you don’t necessarily respect, but I promise there is someone at your company (or the companies you contract with) that may or may not have an MBA who makes rain for you.
        I think, like all other degrees, certifications, and careers, it depends upon who you’re talking about. Conjecture here, but I’d guess that 15% of people account for 90% of the productivity in all walks of life. I suspect this thread should be directed at those 15% that actually might make something of their MBA.
        Once I recognized the value of my business-side teammates, I was able to contribute to help guide the strategic direction of the products I worked on. You may not care for the decision making process, but it is happening with or without you. To discount it is folly.

    • Derrick Rose

      most CPAs who have not done their hw dont realize how hard it is to get a bulge bracket IBD associate position without RELEVANT prior work experience. getting a top MBA would not help you if your story does not lend to IBD path. the game has changed since the recession, and if you dont have IBD experience (or Corp Fin B4 experience or the like) before your M7 or USN&WR top 10, good luck. i’ve seen b4 defectors go to Tuck/Cornell/UVA and manage to fuck up the mgmt consulting and banking interviews. a solid 200k down the toilet.

      • Derrick Rose

        on a related note, this topic has been hashed and rehashed. i’m sure most auditors are dying to get out of audit and looking into this topic.

        • Gwasball

          That has nothing to do with the fact that MBA’s are worthless academically, right?

          You’re an idiot. STEM is the only major.

          • Derrick Rose

            judging by your comments, you’re a fucking idiot.

            • Gwasball

              Sorry M8 you can’t handle the truth that business is bullshit. Not sure about you but I would never hire an MBA, ever.

              Technology is the only place where there are reasonable jobs. IDK, maybe you just like sucking cock just to get a job?

      • iamthelolrus

        Even if you fuck up the mgmt consulting and banking interviews you can get a F500 rotational position and make 100k+ on less shitty hours. So it’s not a total waste.

        Now, on the other hand, if you completely ignore those positions WHILE you’re fucking up everything else then you’re probably doneski

        • none

          Just a thought, but as you haven’t finished your undergrad yet, and have no real work experience, maybe you should sit a few out and let the big boys answer. I know this is the internet and all, but you are even pushing those bounds.

          • iamthelolrus

            I have finished my degree, and have real work experience. Just haven’t started in public yet.

            Thanks for the baseless assumptions though, I appreciate it.

            • none

              Did you graduate this weekend? Congrats!

            • iamthelolrus

              August 2014 so admittedly not one of the “big boys” but I think I’ve done a fair amount of research on this topic and am relatively informed.

              Would you like to criticize my points instead of my experience?

            • none

              There is nothing to comment on. People end up in different places based on some combination of smarts, luck, and sacrifice–mostly sacrifice, in my opinion. But, the subject has been well researched with contradicting causes found throughout the decades.

              So perhaps you should just dig in and see where life and your choices take you; stop trying to do research on what you chances are at different jobs before you even start your first day of your career. It is just silly and you are going to drive your coworkers nuts with your “plans”.

            • iamthelolrus

              That’s fair. I think it’s a trap a lot of young professionals fall into.

              I have started my career and have gotten some pretty stellar experience in the past year, but am changing jobs to go big 4 so maybe the “first day of your career” comment was warranted. And I do appreciate the advice.

              Wish you had started with something like this though instead of just being antagonistic off the bat

      • CPAtoMBAtoIBD

        I have to disagree, respectfully of course, with the point about relevant experience, having been through the recruiting process as an MBA and now being on the other side recruiting and interviewing applicants.

        Relevant experience can actually work against you. Former IBD analysts/associates generally do not recruit for post-MBA IBD associate positions. You may only see this if the candidate was at a no-name bank and is looking for a “better” experience for either a long-term banking career or to get more looks from headhunters. Even then, they don’t need an MBA to make the transition so we’ll assume something’s wrong with them. You occasionally see candidates who worked in investment banking at a bulge-bracket bank in a non-IBD role (maybe S&T or ER). Even then, we’ll ask why they didn’t make the transition internally or just move to another bank if they’re interested in IBD. I’ve seen guys with wealth management (sales) experience transition directly to IBD.

        At the best schools (assume M7 for sake of discussion) banks and consulting firms will seriously consider anyone regardless of background. Just by getting accepted, it’s assumed that you have the aptitude for the job. If you’re at a non-core school, however, your experience might come into play. Still, no-one’s expecting you to have done investment banking or finance. The comment will usually be something like, “well he’s at [non-core school], but at least he has client-service experience and knows how to work in a demanding environment.”

        Even though I said that your background shouldn’t matter at the top schools, I can say without a doubt that Big 4 experience is absolutely relevant. You could have even been in a state and local tax group at your firm. At the end of the day, you still have experience working with demanding clients in a technical field.

        As you mentioned, your acquaintances probably didn’t get the job because of how they interviewed, not because their experience wasn’t relevant. It also means they failed twice given they could have interviewed for IBD jobs during their 2nd-year.

      • Jeremy Potts

        I also have to completely disagree with you. I say this because I worked at a Big 4 in audit, went to Haas, and now will be working as an associate in a bulge. People being turned away from banking has almost nothing to do with their background, especially a background in accounting which is extremely relevant. There were students with complete non-finance backgrounds who scored IBD positions at bulges (MS, GS) while there were finance gurus who just couldn’t nail down their Superdays at the banks. In order to score in your interview, you have to network well, have your story straight, and know your shit when it comes to the technical. Being from a Big 4 with a CPA actually helped because unlike some of the other analysts and to a certain extent some of the associates who work at banks, I knew the accounting straight away.

        No doubt that this the process is difficult for either consulting or banking, but the CPA definitely was not a detractor when it came to recruiting at banks or consulting firms. So while you judge your friends who went to Tuck/Cornell/UVA, I’m sure the 2 years that they spent at their respective b-school > than the two years that you spent as an associate at whatever public accounting firm you’re at.

    • dumpus

      MAccy and MBA here. quit work, did a FT 2 year MBA at a global top 50 program, changed careers.

      interesting factoid about the MBA: it will not make you a prime candidate for that dream job if you aren’t already a prime candidate.

      i left public 3 years ago for an industry gig that has a great FLD program, and i’ve seen plenty of great candidates flow through my audit department who have MBA’s and who don’t. at the end of the day, the quality of the FLD’s i saw in our dept and in other parts of our finance organization was not correlated with having an MBA.

      an MBA *augments* your experience and previous academics, it doesn’t replace it, or create it even. an MBA doesn’t teach you more about business necessarily than your undergrad did. what an MBA does is teach you how to work in teams and manage teams under excruciating workloads and deadlines – kinda like public accounting but with a sense of accomplishment on a periodic basis. an MBA teaches you how to network and leverage connections to make business happen.
      looking back on it, i would have done just as well getting my MAccy and then saved the time and energy on passing the CPA or another certification or two.

    • ModelsAndBottles

      Speaking from experience at my firm (Big 4), there are A LOT of people that got into Top 15 MBA programs from vanilla audit and Tax. Since I’m in California, a lot of people who went this route ended up at Anderson and schools like Northwestern/UChicago. BB from Big 4 after a good MBA is not some fabled role that is going to be impossible to secure. M7 would be tougher, but still doable.

      The biggest obstacle is getting into the right MBA program for where you want to end up, both career wise and location. For IB, you don’t need to be M7. Anderson does extremely well, Haas does great, Cornell is a great place to go for IB etc…..If you have the right academic pedigree, it’ll definitely help. I know a lot of Anderson people went to UCLA/USC and were in Big 4. B4 may not be exactly in line with an IB skillset, but as mentioned below, Associates are recruited from MBA programs for a reason and most didn’t come from an IB background. You can get promoted to Associate without an MBA, but most people leave after their 2 year analyst stint. If someone did have an IB background, they most likely came from a lower level MM bank and want to have a shot at the EBs and BBs.

      If you aren’t at some shit MBA program, it is yours to lose if you know what you want. It is still competitive, but a lot of people come in saying they want to do Banking and by the end of the first year that number goes down significantly and a lot of people lose interest. The hot thing right now is Consulting/Tech.

      I will say that being in a specialty group definitely in a big market it will help leverage the MBA admissions a bit more and help you paint a better picture of your goals. A lot of people in something like Transfer Pricing, TS, or SALT can usually leverage their experience to paint it as a “consulting role”, and depending on what you’ve been doing, there is a Finance overlap you can talk about as well. If you came from no name midwest school and are an auditor in Des Moines, well, your chances aren’t very good.

      In my case, I went to one of the top California schools for undergrad, and struck out on my SuperDays for IB as a SA. Tried again FT through some connections I had, but this was a lot tougher since most analyst classes are set early on. Ended up at B4 in a specialty group with a lot of pretty well pedigreed people who didn’t know what they wanted to do. Did well on my GMAT and applied in the first round where I knew I wanted to go (3.5 years experience by the time I start). The people I talked to at my program who were interested in IB all got positions at BBs and EBs, I don’t think any of them were in IB before.

      One last note, if you are gunning for IB Associate, you better be sure you are willing to stick with it for a while after you graduate. Exit Opps of leaving as an Associate are harder to come by if it isn’t what you want to do, and you may be back at square 1. If you stick around, you’ll be making really good $$$ and a lot should open up. A good amount of time in IB is definitely super valuable.