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Thread: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

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    Quant Background for Accounting PhD

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    I'm wondering how strong of a Quant background someone applying for an Accounting PhD should have for a T-15 school? I've taken the GRE, and by quant score was 169.

    In my undergrad, I've taken Intro Calc, Linear Algebra, Intro Statistics, and Multivariable Calculus.

    As for Economics courses, I've taken intro, intermediate and advanced microeconomics, intermediate macroeconomics, economic analysis of law, econometrics and labour economics.

    Before I apply for PhD programs, I will be pursuing a masters of economics program, so I will have some graduate level economics courses, and can take extra math courses if my quant background is too weak.

    Does this quant profile look too weak for an Accounting PhD application, or is it about average?

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    I would say your quant background is slightly above average for accounting PhD applicants, but it will be evaluated along with the rest of your profile. In general, accounting PhD applicants come from two pools.

    The first pool consists of folks with an undergrad and typically also a masters in accounting that have professional work experience and typically a professional designation (CPA/CMA), given the degree requirements of these degrees and the fact that most 20-21 year olds have no idea what an accounting PhD is, these individuals usually do not have a very strong formal quant background. The second are folks without an accounting background, but a strong math and economics background. Then there is a small pool of applicants with both a strong accounting background and a strong quant background, but this is a fairly small subset of the total applicant pool. So overall, your quant background will be viewed very favorably if you also have an accounting background (which is does not sound like you do). If you do not have an accounting background, then I'd say your quant background is about average for the subset of applicants coming from the quant/econ pool.

    A question you will certainly face, if you do not in fact have an accounting background, is why accounting? You will want to make sure this is something you can clearly articulate.

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    I actually am graduating with a BComm from my school with a specialization in accounting. Having realized that I wanted to pursue a PhD earlier than most people, I structured my courses (and took a few extra) to make sure I at least had the basic Quant courses. Iíve been an RA and TA in my undergrad, which was done at one of the top schools in Canada (not sure how that stacks up against other undergrad schools in the states). My CGPA in my undergrad is 3.93

    Saying that though, I donít have my CPA as I knew I didnít really have an interest in going into industry, and I was more interestedly in the research side. I know itís impossible to say what the odds of getting into specific schools are, but with my profile, should I think about applying to a T-15 school or is that too much of a reach?

    Thanks again for your reply

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    Quote Originally Posted by lucky123 View Post
    I actually am graduating with a BComm from my school with a specialization in accounting. Having realized that I wanted to pursue a PhD earlier than most people, I structured my courses (and took a few extra) to make sure I at least had the basic Quant courses. Iíve been an RA and TA in my undergrad, which was done at one of the top schools in Canada (not sure how that stacks up against other undergrad schools in the states). My CGPA in my undergrad is 3.93

    Saying that though, I donít have my CPA as I knew I didnít really have an interest in going into industry, and I was more interestedly in the research side. I know itís impossible to say what the odds of getting into specific schools are, but with my profile, should I think about applying to a T-15 school or is that too much of a reach?

    Thanks again for your reply
    Sorry for making assumptions. Having the combo of an accounting undergrad and your quant background will be attractive to Accounting PhD programs.

    Your GPA is good. Are the professors you have RA/TA'd for research active profs that would have some name recognition at T-15 programs? What was your overall GRE score? Have you taken the GMAT also? What type of research are you thinking?

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    No worries. I have two areas of interest in research. The professor I RAíed did research mainly on Corporate Governance and Corporate disclosures, which I found very interesting. Otherwise, Iím also interested in the relationship between financial information and valuation, as the course I TA-ed for was actually a corporate finance course for basic valuation.

    Iíve never been able to tell whether or not a professor is considered notable in the academic world. All three are from Rotman (UofTís) department. One hasnít been doing research for around 10 years, another for 4 years and one just became a professor last year. All three are involved in research, though.

    I got a 165 verbal, 169 quant and 5.0 AWA for the GRE but I havenít taken the GMAT.

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    I have a similar quant background to you, and I am applying to programs next fall in my final year of undergrad - I'm looking mostly at schools in T20, but also some T50. I think T15 can be a gamble, especially if it's a strong candidate pool that year so I would look at a couple other programs past T15 if I were you for peace of mind.

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    From what you have said here, your quant background is fine. I don't think you really need the econ MA, but it will definitely help and hopefully, you can pursue research while you are doing it.

    If you get a comparable GMAT score to your GRE, then you should pick your favorite 15 programs and apply to them after the MA.

    Rotman is a solid department, so professors from there will have meaningful letters. Your statement about them confuses me, they have been at Rotman for 10, 4, and 1 year and all are research active? That is a good mix. If you know Ole-Kristian or Partha Mohanram, a letter from them would go a long way, but don't force it.

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    Yes, sorry about any confusion. They are all research active, and the years are how long each one of them has been at Rotman. Unfortunately I donít know them, but I could possibly look into getting to know them better during my MA.

    The main reason I wanted to do my MA was so Iíd have extra time to get more research experience while Iím doing it, but I assumed it would help with my quant background as well. Thanks for the advice so far, everyone. I really appreciate it!

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    Do Accounting PhD programs tend to favour GMAT over GRE? I wasn't aware of this unfortunately, otherwise I would have taken the GMAT instead.

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    Re: Quant Background for Accounting PhD

    Rotman is a good department. Take a look at their CV, and if they have a fair number of papers in Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, Contemporary Accounting Research, Review of Accounting Studies, and Accounting, Organizations and Society. Then they are likely going to have some good name recognition.

    Also, given your research interest, Rotman is a program you should apply to. Especially if the profs you have worked with will support your application. I would also recommend attending the Rotman accounting workshops, this will give you more exposure to accounting research, the Rotman faculty, and visitors coming in to give talks.

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