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Thread: Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

  1. #1
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    Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

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    Hi,

    I am planning to apply for a PhD in accounting for spring 2019, but I don't really know where my profile stands in comparison to an average PhD candidate, what schools I should be aiming for or how to best improve my profile to have a better chance in top schools, so I'd greatly appreciate any advice on the matter. Here's my profile.

    Academics:

    • Undergraduate degree in Finance at Lindenwood University in Missouri with a 3.1 GPA .
    • MBA in Finance also at Lindenwood University with a 3.6 GPA
    • Overall I've taken a lot of accounting courses during my time there as I thought some extra accounting knowledge would prove useful in the future.
    • I am currently preparing to take a GMAT before the end of summer.


    Courses:

    • Calculus I, Basic statistics and Statistics and Quantitative Analysis.
    • Finance: Corporate Finance, Managerial Finance, Entrepreneurial Finance, International Finance, Investments.
    • Management: Management Science, Management Policy, Management Information systems, Business policies and Strategies.
    • Accounting: Managerial Accounting, Advanced Cost management, Financial Statement Analysis, Financial Accounting and Reporting
    • Econ: Introductory Micro- and Macroeconomics and two courses of Money and Banking.


    Professional Experience:

    • 4 years of audit at Big 4 Company. Was in charge of several top projects in the country. Had experience with SQL and Oracle as well as complex valuation models designed for either PP&E or Loan Portfolios. Was in line for promotion to assistant manager for the 5th year but had to quit the job for family reasons.


    Research Interest:
    • I don't have a specific topic in mind just yet but am thinking something along the lines of relationship between Audit and Corporate Governance.


    My concerns:

    • I understand that GPA from my undergrad program is low and my Master's GPA while a lot higher, is still not something to brag about, especially since it wasn't really a top tier school. I know I could have done a lot better but wasn't really interested in a future in academics at the time and as such did not give it my all. In that regard, will a high GMAT or GRE score be enough to offset my low GPA, and if so what score should I be aiming for? Also GMAT or GRE?
    • I have good relationship with some of the professors from the school and very good relationship with partners and other top level management at the firm. Also I have done a lot better in my professional career compared to my academics as I've received top performance grades every year and was also on track for double promotion. Given all that and that the school I was in is not really reputable, would it make more sense to get all my LoRs from the top level management at the firm instead?
    • Also some feedback on my math background would be nice as I have no idea if what I have is enough or whether or not I should be taking any additional courses.


    Overall how do I stack up, what tier of schools should I be aiming for while improving my profile and any related advice or comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    now it's Dr. TaxPhD
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    Re: Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

    A good GMAT score can certainly be used to overcome some of the concerns of GPA. But yes, neither your undergrad nor your MBA GPAs will impress admissions committees. PhD admission is very competitive, so while a good GMAT will overcome some GPA concerns, it is likely that many of the schools you are applying to will have candidates with similar GMATs and also strong GPAs.

    However, with a good GMAT and your professional accounting experience, I think you can find admission somewhere. It is very hard to recommend a target set of schools though without knowing what the GMAT score is.

    Not sure where you are working now, city wise, but if you are close to a school with a PhD program, try to see if you can take advantage of that. Try and talk to a faculty member about pursuing a PhD, and see about attending some of their research workshops. This could allow you to potentially get a reference from someone that is research active. If you're still in the Missouri area, both Mizzou and KU are strong archival audit shops, which would seem to fit with your interests.

  3. #3
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    Re: Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

    Thank you very much for your feedback. I am actually in Missouri area right now so I'll try to follow your advice. By the way good to know about Mizzou and KU. After reading your post I did some research and it seems their accounting programs are ranked among top 20. Would you say taking some workshops in those universities as well as scoring at 700+ on GMAT could put me in contention for those programs?

  4. #4
    now it's Dr. TaxPhD
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    Re: Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

    Quote Originally Posted by Rabdull View Post
    Thank you very much for your feedback. I am actually in Missouri area right now so I'll try to follow your advice. By the way good to know about Mizzou and KU. After reading your post I did some research and it seems their accounting programs are ranked among top 20. Would you say taking some workshops in those universities as well as scoring at 700+ on GMAT could put me in contention for those programs?
    Yes, I think a 700+ GMAT score would make you a competitive applicant at programs such as Mizzou and KU. Mizzou has been stronger the past decade, has had some really nice placements. Kansas is probably stronger historically and has recently added another great audit researcher (Mike Wilkins) to their faculty. Another nearby program, Arkansas, is also a strong audit group.

    If you are ranking PhD programs, you really need to dial down to a specific area. If you are thinking archival audit research, then Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas would all be good choices. If you were say thinking capital markets, then I would probably not recommend those programs, so it really depends on research interests.

  5. #5
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

    I would recommend getting at least one letter from an academic with a PhD. Two would be better. Attending workshops at Mizzou or WashU could help with getting a letter as well.

    Additional math would be good. Calc 1 and basic stats isn't uncommon for an accounting PhD, but students are more and more prepared every year. If you can get Calc2, Calc3, and Linear Algebra, then you would be in much better shape. You may also be interested in experimental audit work. That math will still help but probably isn't as necessary.

    Definitely take the GMAT over the GRE.

    Another observation - if you are interested in loan portfolios and valuation then archival/financial research may be of interest to you. There is a relatively small group that works a lot on debt market issues in accounting. Experience and interest in that side of things can pay off quite well and could still tie into governance/audit issue.
    Here is a paper that is worth reading:
    Financial Accounting in the Banking Industry: A Review of the Empirical Literature by Anne Beatty, Scott Liao :: SSRN

  6. #6
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    Re: Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

    Than you taxphd and yasvoboden for your great advice and feedback. Really appreciate it!

  7. #7
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    Re: Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

    Quote Originally Posted by Rabdull View Post
    Than you taxphd and yasvoboden for your great advice and feedback. Really appreciate it!
    No problem. Keep asking questions as you learn more.

  8. #8
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    Re: Profile evaluation for PhD in Accounting

    taxPhD, is there a way I could contact you with some questions I have? Only if you are willing of course.

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