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Thread: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

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    Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

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    Seeking advice on a proper range of schools for me in case i am shooting too high or being too conservative. Thank you guys for reviewing my profile. First of all, I'm Asian, 22, full-time students ever since primary school

    Test Scores (GMAT/GRE):
    GMAT 740( Verbal 41/94%, Math 49/75%)
    I retake my TOEFL last weekend, so I'm still waiting on it

    Undegrad GPA: Accounting major in a top 5 university in China, 3.68/4 from WES, originally 4.3/5
    Graduate GPA: MSF program in a top 20 university but new program which just recently get AASCBD accreditation, GPA 3.91/4.00

    LOR: 4 professors would love to write a letter for me, all of whom are from my graduate school. 1st, Econ professor, Stanford PhD, editors and associate editors for some econ journals (not top ones), IMF consultant, he's the professor I do my RA and TA job for and he knows me well for a year academically and personally ; 2st, Finance professor, hasn't graduated for long but very productive, and very willing to help so hopefully a good letter, but I just took one class from him and no other connections; 3rd, accounting professor, Michigan state phd, offered me a letter without me asking so hopefully a good one; 4th, Finance professor, inactive.

    Research Experience: during undergraduate study, I worked as RA for a Accounting Professors on a projects about the reform history of accounting in China, including literature review, field study (interviewing) and analyzing data with excel.
    I also worked as a RA on a pricing model of DJIA, I updated the data and also modified the model with STATA.

    Teaching Experience: have been working as a graduate TA since this May

    Work Experience:
    no full-time exp, just 4 internships in a large commercial bank in China, an auditing bureau, a local tax consultancy, and a finance department of a local company.

    Concentration Applying to: Accounting, Financial Archival


    Number of programs planned to apply to: I think I'm going to apply for about 20 schools
    Dream Schools:
    I can't really name a bunch of schools right now. I'm currently targeting on schools b/w 15-70. I haven't come up with the list yet because it's hard for me to pick up from the schools in the same bucket since I don't have other concerns like spouse and location preference.
    Special thanks to YaSvoboden and XanthusARES, they gave contributive suggestions on how to make my own list of schools and hopefully I can build mine by reading the faculty research these days. I wish I could know about this forum earlier.


    Questions or concerns you have about your profile?

    1st, i kinda worry about my quant score in GMAT, and I have a past GMAT on record with 650 in total and 51Q/26V
    2nd, I don't have any full-time experience. I wonder if this will be a substantial weakness.

    3rd, I don't have any publications or working papers but just 2 research assistant experience.

    Any additional specific questions you may have:
    I'm more interested in research but I also like teaching. Do I need to address this in the sop or ps? I would like to go to a research school and i'm afraid If i say i'm interested in teaching, they would think I'm a better fit for a teaching school.



    Thanks again!

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    Re: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

    I also have passed CFA Level 1 if this helps.. Thanks everyone for your time
    Last edited by Xixixixixixi; 10-09-2017 at 01:46 AM.

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    Re: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

    Could anyone please help? Thanks everybody for your time! Besides, I've passed CFA level 1 if that helps

  4. #4
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

    I think I have helped address some of this in other threads.

    Your range is good. You seem like you have prepared fairly well, you have a good academic record and test scores, and an introduction to research. 15-70 seems like a reasonable guideline. If you are applying to 20 schools I would throw in higher ranked schools as well. The odds of admission are low, but not zero, and I think you have a good chance at ending up in the 10-30 range, so I would put the bulk of applications there with a few above and a few below.

    Focus on research in the SoP. A line about teaching is fine, but the entire PhD program focuses on research.

    Your RA experience is good. Having a little exposure to academic research is really useful. The first three letter writers seem like the right choice, but if the fourth knows people at schools then a letter from them will be useful. The professor that you did RA work for in China may be useful as a letter writer. If they can speak to your academic ability, work ethic, intuition for research, etc. then the letters can be useful. Letters are not all about connections.

    Side question, a top 20 university only recently getting AACSB accreditation seems weird. I'm not saying this is wrong, I just can't think of a top university that recently implemented a business program.

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    Re: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

    Thanks YaS. These suggestions are helpful!

    I am starting to use the technique you suggested about choosing programs by faculty research. I am going a little bit slow right now but I guess the process is inevitable. However, my only concern is that research interest can change over time and I'm far from an expert about accounting research, so I'm afraid i'm choosing something as my research interest just because I happen to know it and it's seemingly more interesting to me than other topics. At the same time, I'm using this as a guideline for picking programs. Would this all just be too random? Though I understand it's really just destiny sometimes lol.

    BTW, would you suggest some research topics you find promising and interesting in Financial Archival?

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    Re: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

    Yeah, the process is slow and time-consuming, but very important.

    According to my professors, research interests are EXPECTED to change over time. You should be flexible enough. However, there must be something you are interested right now. It's like any relationship, you must show that you have reason to be interested in someone (and that someone be interested in you), even if those interests may change and evolve over time. A good starting point is usually important.

    Another thing that I heard is that, if you were almost an expert about accounting research, then probably a PhD wouldn't help you very much. A PhD will help you to become that expert.

    About research topics, probably you will find many when reading papers from faculty of the schools you intent to apply.

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    Re: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

    Thanks BrazilianPHD. This is really helpful!

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    now it's Dr. TaxPhD
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    Re: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

    Your GMAT score of 740 is good, lots of schools use the mythical 700 cut off as a first trim of the application pile, so having a 740 will get you past that first hurdle.

    I think a question you may get when interviewing is "why accounting?"

    Yes, your undergrad is in accounting. But your masters degree is finance, you've passed level 1 of the CFA exam, and a good bit of your work experience is finance. This may lead people to ask "why not finance?"

    That is a question you need to have an answer to, because I can almost guarantee it will be asked.

    Seems like you will have good letters of recommendation, and having some research experience will help. Though it may not seem like much, your level of research experience is far beyond that of most accounting PhD applicants. The median is certainly zero.

    What is your quant background like? Have you taken multiple calculus classes? Linear algebra? Any advanced econometrics or stats? This will help your application, so I'd highlight it if you have a good quant background.

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    Re: Profile evaluation for Accounting PHD Fall 2018

    Thanks Dr.taxPhD
    I had 2 Calculus course, 1 Linear Algebra, 1 probability theory and 1 statistics during undergraduate study. Though the grade for Calculus and Linear Algebra is not very good. In additional, during graduate study, I have 1 intermediate stat, no econometrics courses, but 1 risk management course covering some topics like autoregressive, autocorrelation and other quantitative methods like Monte Carlo. Also, I have taken 2 Matlab and R course.

    How do you think about my profile including my quantitative skills? Any advice would be much appreciated.

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