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Thread: 2018 PHD Accounting Profile Evaluation

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    2018 PHD Accounting Profile Evaluation

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    Hello All, thanks for taking a look at my credentials for entry.

    GMAT: 770
    UG GPA: 2.5, t40 state school
    Grad GPA: Information Systems Masters, 3.9, same t40 state school
    Grad GPA2: Master's Finance, 3.8, t10 program
    Grad GPA3: Accounting classes to fulfill CPA exam requirements, 3.9, unranked state school (AACSB accredited)
    Work Experience: 1 year, consulting
    CPA Exam: Hopefully passed most/all sections before applying
    Research Experience: TA'ed for two professors, mostly did data analysis in Excel/SAS
    Research Tools: Data mining, some web programming, SAS/STATA, advanced Excel
    Letters: One of the profs I TA'ed for, a supervisor at consulting firm, and 1 prof from Finance Master's program
    Research Interest: Capital Markets
    Target Schools: WUSTL, Duke, Wisconsin, Yale
    Dream Schools: Penn, Chicago, Columbia, UT Austin

  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: 2018 PHD Accounting Profile Evaluation

    You have a shot at some good schools. I know someone with a similar profile that got into one of your target schools this year, but it was very late in the process.

    Good letters will matter with tour undergrad gpa. If the consulting boss can add something, that is fine, but academic letters tend to be more valuable.

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    Re: 2018 PHD Accounting Profile Evaluation

    Columbia might be a good fit with your accounting/CPA interests. I am sure you can explain away your undergrad GPA given your performance in graduate programs. Do try to get your letters from only research professors. Skip industry references unless they do co-authorship papers and present at conferences. You've chosen excellent schools that are heavy research producers. Show that you are a good fit for a research institution, but be prepared to answer why a CPA was necessary if doing research is what you've always wanted to do.

    One thing is for sure, you'll get in somewhere with that profile. Apply to plenty of schools in case they get scared of your CPA. To me, it looks like you could run to industry in a heartbeat.

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    Re: 2018 PHD Accounting Profile Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by Algo View Post
    Columbia might be a good fit with your accounting/CPA interests. I am sure you can explain away your undergrad GPA given your performance in graduate programs. Do try to get your letters from only research professors. Skip industry references unless they do co-authorship papers and present at conferences. You've chosen excellent schools that are heavy research producers. Show that you are a good fit for a research institution, but be prepared to answer why a CPA was necessary if doing research is what you've always wanted to do.

    One thing is for sure, you'll get in somewhere with that profile. Apply to plenty of schools in case they get scared of your CPA. To me, it looks like you could run to industry in a heartbeat.
    Oh, so should I not be studying for the CPA? Is my time better spent elsewhere? Developing research ideas, perhaps?

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: 2018 PHD Accounting Profile Evaluation

    The CPA is fine. I don't see schools getting scared of you having a CPA. It is a very common credential for accounting PhDs and I have known several people that passed the test just to put the letters after their name in academia. That said, the benefit isn't huge. I didn't take the exam and don't regret it. You would be better off spending that 100+ hours reading some of the JAE lit reviews and trying to get an understanding of what has been done in accounting literature. However, there are diminishing returns to time in all the different aspects of your profile, so at some point the CPA exam is the best thing.

  6. #6
    now it's Dr. TaxPhD
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    Re: 2018 PHD Accounting Profile Evaluation

    I passed on sitting the CPA exam as well, because at that point I already knew I would be entering a PhD program. So even if I passed the exam, I wouldn't of had the required years of work experience to license. Thus, I would have put something like "passed the CPA exam" on my CV. But I couldn't have put CPA after my name.

    Having said that, if you'll be able to license simultaneously with passing, or shortly after passing, then it can help. It is not going to be the deciding criteria for doctoral admissions, but it can help and it's not going to negatively impact your profile. In addition, when it comes time for the job market when you are graduating from your PhD, some schools explicitly state a preference for assistant professor applicants with a CPA or CMA. And this is not only at teaching schools. I have seen it in job posting for good flagship state universities. The top tier private schools that do not have business undergrad programs or MAcc programs couldn't really care less. But schools that are trying to produce students that will be CPAs do value the credential. I can speak from my own personal experience, that it is a question that came up in my job interviews. I do not think not having a CPA cost me any flyouts or offers, but I was asked about it on a couple of my flyouts. In addition, I have at least one student every semester ask why I don't have a CPA...so it does give you some additional credibility in the classroom with your students.

    Overall, I do think you have a strong profile. The red flag is your undergraduate GPA, but I think you've demonstrated through your copious amount of graduate coursework that you can perform at a high level. Admissions committees realize that the 19 year old version of the applicant is often different than the current version of the applicant. So I wouldn't worry too much about that undergrad GPA given your grad GPAs and GMAT. I would also agree with others that academic references help you more than a professional reference.

    I think you will have a solid chance at the schools you listed, but make sure you apply broadly as admissions, even at lower ranked PhD programs, is very competitive.

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