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Thread: How important is working experience in Accounting?

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    How important is working experience in Accounting?

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    Hello guys! I heard from some past ph.d students and professors that accounting emphasizes more on full-time working experience than finance. I wonder is not having any full-time working experience but just a few internships a critical weakness?

    I do see statements like "most successful applicants have several years of working experience" on some programs' websites, while others don't. Could someone shed some light on this please

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    Re: How important is working experience in Accounting?

    I'm applying to accounting this year so I don't know everything but from what I understand experience is not necessary. At the best programs it probably doesn't matter since they care more about research. At the mid tier and lower programs think like 20-100 it may help slightly but I think it's less of the experience and more of having a designation like CPA which just means 1 year of work in my state

    If lack of experience is your weakest link you should be fine to get in somewhere but if you're weak in many places like low gmat, no research etc then you'll need to bring something else to the table.

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    Re: How important is working experience in Accounting?

    I don't know about expectations, but I will tell you that all of the Accounting PhD students at my school have some work experience.
    Til now I always got by on my own
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    Re: How important is working experience in Accounting?

    Quote Originally Posted by TaxGal View Post
    I'm applying to accounting this year so I don't know everything but from what I understand experience is not necessary. At the best programs it probably doesn't matter since they care more about research. At the mid tier and lower programs think like 20-100 it may help slightly but I think it's less of the experience and more of having a designation like CPA which just means 1 year of work in my state

    If lack of experience is your weakest link you should be fine to get in somewhere but if you're weak in many places like low gmat, no research etc then you'll need to bring something else to the table.
    Thanks for the advice. I feel like I'm certainly not weak on Gmat and get a few research exposure, however, none of these seems very outstanding... I guess there may be just too many applicants out there just like me.
    Good luck on your application!

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    Re: How important is working experience in Accounting?

    TaxGal pretty much nailed it. It matters more as you go down in ranks and it tends to matter more for certain types of research. Tax and Audit people usually have experience but it isn't quite as common in the financial realm.

    Some schools definitely have a preference for it. I interviewed at one school and was told that I was rejected because I was basically compared to another applicant that had a CPA and I didn't. I'm not sure if that was the truth, but it is what was said.

    There are also some states where you can get a CPA license without experience but it is a slightly different license. I don't remember the details at this point, but I think Colorado and Massachusetts were places that it could be done.

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    Re: How important is working experience in Accounting?

    Could you please see my profile and give me some advice for applying PhD in Marketing

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    Re: How important is working experience in Accounting?

    Thanks YaS. You really give me good advice from many perspectives. Glad to know you from this forum.
    from your and TaxGal's words, CPA actually means more than certain working experience? I think CPA test registration may take about 2 months, so I highly doubt if I can manage to take any test before submitting my applications. Maybe I can update my info with schools later if I pass?

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