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Thread: Profile Evaluation - Accounting or Finance

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    Profile Evaluation - Accounting or Finance

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    Hi All,

    I need your help in evaluating my chances of getting accepted at a Phd program in the U.S. I have a bachelor's degree in Accounting and Finance from a top 100 university with a 3.98 GPA and associate's degree from a comunity college (3.9 GPA). I have also completed the course work for another bachelor's degree in Europe where I've taken some higher level math classes. Unfortunately, this was a while back and since I got credit for these math classes, I didn't have to take almost any advanced level math and stat classes in the U.S. Also, I am a CPA and CFA level II candidate. I also have almost 3 years of public accounting experience and 1 year of experience as a Research Assistant at my university. I think that I will get good recommendations from my professors. I don't have the time to study full time for months for the GMAT but I am hoping to score in the 650-700 range. My interest is in Finance and more specifically, in Capital Markets. I would settle for Accounting if I don't get accepted in a finance program. Do I stand a chance to get into a top 60 Finance program with my credentials?

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    If you're aiming for Finance, you should be aiming to score >700, and really as high as you possibly can, with the goal of maximizing your Q score.

    How did you do in the math classes? Which classes did you take?
    You were a research assistant for a finance/accounting prof who will be providing you a letter of recommendation?

    I think if you score well on the GMAT, and if you can get those good recommendations from your professors that you stand a pretty good chance to get into good schools... but Finance isn't my area so take my advice with a grain of salt.

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    GMAT will be the key. Put your other activities (CFA) on hold.

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    A Finance PhD requires a lot more math, so unless you want to take 1-2 years of math before applying, I would recommend going for the Accounting PhD. Some Accounting and Finance research overlap, so you will be able to keep your research interests (although I would suggest thinking about what actually interests you, Capital Markets is about as vague as it gets).

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    Yeah, I think you may need more math. Finance requires quite high level Math. Even the Accounting PhD students take Micro 1, 2 and Econometrics 1,2,3 and sometimes Game Theory 1,2. So you would at least need Calculus 1,2,3 and a few courses on probability and statistics. A good test is to take the Mascollel-Winston textbook and try to read it. If you are having difficulty then you need more math. You can also try Fudenberg and Tirole for Game Theory and Kreps for Micro just to make sure that you have the Math prerequisites covered. If you have Math deficincies reading these books will make you aware of them before you start the PhD program.

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    Thanks for all the responses so far. What's the general consensus on online classes? I noticed that UC Berkeley has some interesting Stat classes online at a very reasonable price. I don't want to pay a ton of money for random classes that I may or may not need and I'd rather take any required Math classes once I enroll in the Phd program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cezar9 View Post
    Hi All,

    I need your help in evaluating my chances of getting accepted at a Phd program in the U.S. I have a bachelor's degree in Accounting and Finance from a top 100 university with a 3.98 GPA and associate's degree from a community college (3.9 GPA). I have also completed the course work for another bachelor's degree in Europe where I've taken some higher level math classes. Unfortunately, this was a while back and since I got credit for these math classes, I didn't have to take almost any advanced level math and stat classes in the U.S. Also, I am a CPA and CFA level II candidate. I also have almost 3 years of public accounting experience and 1 year of experience as a Research Assistant at my university. I think that I will get good recommendations from my professors. I don't have the time to study full time for months for the GMAT but I am hoping to score in the 650-700 range. My interest is in Finance and more specifically, in Capital Markets. I would settle for Accounting if I don't get accepted in a finance program. Do I stand a chance to get into a top 60 Finance program with my credentials?
    I just took the GMAT and my unofficial score is 660 (44Q and 36V). I also decided to focus on PHD in Accounting. What are my chances with this score and the above profile? What schools should I target with my profile? Ideally, I would like to get into CMU or Pitt (distant second) but I would settle for almost any accredited program. I am also going to take the GMAT again and try to get closer to 700. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

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    Odds of getting into a Top 50 accounting program with a 60-something percentile score in Q is very very low.

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    I'd recommend doing some serious reading of the accounting literature to get some ideas of the research areas you'd like to go into. It goes a long way to selecting schools that fit your interest. If you have time it would help to do a research assistantship with a business professor, so you get a better idea of business research and further refine your interests.

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    If you apply very broadly to low tier schools that have faculty who share your interests, you will likely land somewhere. However, this is assuming that you have refined your research interests from capital markets into something more specific.

    That being said, I strongly advise you to re-take the GMAT and get your Q up to at the very least 48.

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