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Thread: PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

  1. #1
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    PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

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    Test Scores (GRE): 157 Verbal - 165 Quant - 4.0 AWA
    Undegrad GPA: BA Economics with minor in Math and Accounting from a small liberal art college
    GPA 3.9
    Graduate GPA: MA Economics from a Phd program in Economics from a state university
    GPA 3.8

    Research Experience: I'm currently a research assistant at a university outside USA. I'm working on a economics policy paper and plan to submit with my mentor at the end of this year. I'm also working with my professor from my phd Economics program for another paper with a plan to submit at the end this year.

    Teaching Experience: Mostly just from my phd Econ program as teaching assistant.

    Work Experience: Only a few internship when I was in college.

    Concentration Applying to: Accounting
    Number of programs planned to apply to: i'm thinking of 17.
    Dream Schools: Cornell, Stanford, MIT, NYU, Columbia, Harvard.


    Other Questions:

    What made you want to pursue a PhD?
    My minor in accounting is quite different since i took the accounting tax sequence when I was in sophomore while all other students in class are seniors. I also got the best prize in tax accounting that year. However, I just did not feel that I want to become public accountant in the future. I want more research and teaching, being a college professor is what I wish to do. Thus, I went ahead and got into a phd program in economics after college. I stayed there, passed the qualifying exam, got MA but then decided to stop to get research experience since i'm not happy with the program as well as the field of economics. And even with my RA job at this moment, I have a feeling that a PhD economics is not what I want to follow. I can do math well but definitely not up to the advanced level to do macroeconomics models or econometrics. I'm actually planning to work with applied micro but did not feel the passion. I took a lot of finance elective courses during my college, besides my minor in mathematics and accounting but I did not feel that I would work with a PhD finance either. I want something more relevant to business life, something more realistic. And at this moment, I just realize that PhD in accounting is really suitable for me. I want to work with financial information, business decisions, more with accounting sides instead of finance or economic sides.

    Questions or concerns you have about your profile?
    I have several questions:
    1. Would it make sense for my school list? I know that a lot of accounting program have students with MS accounting but I feel like my background should signal that I can be a good candidate even though I don't have accounting major or ms in accounting. Further, given my background in economics and my research experience, I think I should be qualified enough to apply for those schools. I might be wrong though. Thoughts?

    2. Is the GRe too low? I'm thinking of retaking it to get 160 verbal and 168 quant.

    3. Can you suggest a few other schools for me?



  2. #2
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    Re: PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

    You really need the GMAT. The big concern is that people will see your application and think you decided that the accounting job market is way better, so you are trying to switch.

    What type of accounting research interests you? Your answer affects school suggestions. Also, your school list looks like you just picked good MBA programs without knowing about the accounting group.

    I don't mean to be harsh, but I think you will have serious questions to address with letters from accountants and a good sop.

  3. #3
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    Re: PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by YaSvoboden View Post
    You really need the GMAT. The big concern is that people will see your application and think you decided that the accounting job market is way better, so you are trying to switch.

    What type of accounting research interests you? Your answer affects school suggestions. Also, your school list looks like you just picked good MBA programs without knowing about the accounting group.

    I don't mean to be harsh, but I think you will have serious questions to address with letters from accountants and a good sop.
    not harsh at all. what you said is definitely my concern from the beginning. i think what sets me apart from the impression of switching for the benefits of career can be my background in accounting since i did minor in accounting with advanced courses in tax sequence in college. so at least i can justify my decision to switch into accounting research compared to a person who had no background in accounting.

    i'm quite interested in tax and behavioral research but would like to keep open options for archival finance accounting research.

    the reason i'm putting those schools on the list is also the placement record beside the mba ranking. i already looked at BYU ranking and ASU public accounting ranking, plus their current students and alumni from the program have more research background and economics/finance degree compared to other programs, which clearly only take ms accounting and public accountant students. i would definitely add UNC to the wish list but would think it is very selective to get in. further, i feel that i have no chances for schools like uni of arizona or ut austin or texas a&m so i can skip all of them. (i know stanford is impossible too but well, just a little bit hope would not kill us, i guess. )

    its quite late for me to prepare for GMAT though so i guess i will stick to GRE. i only plan to apply to schools accepting GRE and did not state that they prefer GMAT.

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    Re: PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

    If you have already passed the quals for your econ program, it might make more sense to complete the PhD in econ and try to find a thesis topic that can connect accounting and econ. Check to see if you can get a co-chair from your University's B-school accounting department. Maybe even take or audit a couple of PhD acounting courses if they let. Some universities are more flexible than others about this. At my school they even let students doing a PhD in a related field outside the B-school to do a dual PhD with a B-school program, where they only have to take the core classes and quals for the B-school program, while doing their thesis on some overlapping topics with a co-chair from the b-school.

    Also, check out the Florida-Warrington AACSB Post-Doctoral Bridge to Business program, which you would be a good candidate for. This is a program designed to take non-business PhD's with strong quantitative skills and rapidly retrain them to both teach and do research in a business field (they do have a requirement that the B-school at the institution you received your non-business PhD from is itself AACSB accredited). The program only takes about 5-6 months and it is run out of a top 50 B-school that I believe is top 25 in accounting (YaS can correct me on this if I am wrong), though the placements are obviously not as good as those in the regular accounting PhD program.

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    Re: PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

    I also meant to ask what tier econ program were you in. There is a wide range of state schools that have econ PhD's. I'm guessing top 30?

    Florida is around top 25 for accounting research. Their PhD program hasn't generally placed like a top 25, though they have had some good results recently. They are stronger in audit and I generally think about financial, so that could throw me off.

    I thought OP was already out of the econ program, which would make finishing difficult. Also, I don't think you need the bridge program from econ because econ can meet the normal AACSB standards for academic qualification. There have been a few people go from econ to accounting, but I don't think it would be easy without serious support from a business school. There have also been some visible issues with a few of the more prominent econ graduates that might deter hiring from the econ market.

    To answer one question a little better - your current school list seems fine. The econ PhD work you have done is a good signal that means you should be quantitatively qualified for any program. It just also sends a signal that you may not be interested in accounting. Your accounting minor helps. A letter from an accounting prof would help a lot and your ability to articulate why you want to do accounting research will be critical.

    Those top schools look for good GMAT scores. I would aim 750+ if you don't want GMAT to be a concern. Something between 700-750 will work well for the majority of research schools.

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    Re: PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by civalias View Post
    not harsh at all. what you said is definitely my concern from the beginning. i think what sets me apart from the impression of switching for the benefits of career can be my background in accounting since i did minor in accounting with advanced courses in tax sequence in college. so at least i can justify my decision to switch into accounting research compared to a person who had no background in accounting.

    i'm quite interested in tax and behavioral research but would like to keep open options for archival finance accounting research.

    the reason i'm putting those schools on the list is also the placement record beside the mba ranking. i already looked at BYU ranking and ASU public accounting ranking, plus their current students and alumni from the program have more research background and economics/finance degree compared to other programs, which clearly only take ms accounting and public accountant students. i would definitely add UNC to the wish list but would think it is very selective to get in. further, i feel that i have no chances for schools like uni of arizona or ut austin or texas a&m so i can skip all of them. (i know stanford is impossible too but well, just a little bit hope would not kill us, i guess. )

    its quite late for me to prepare for GMAT though so i guess i will stick to GRE. i only plan to apply to schools accepting GRE and did not state that they prefer GMAT.
    A few things. First, behavioral tax is probably an area that I would not pursue unless you are truly set on it. I say that because tax is already a small field, behavioral tax (within accounting) is extremely extremely small. There are more behavioral tax stuff in economics, mainly focusing on individual taxpayers. There is very little of it published in A accounting journals, and I don't think any of the programs you mentioned would be interested in a behavioral tax applicants. If you want to do behavioral tax, look at South Carolina.

    Second, you mention you don't think you will be competitive at Texas, TAMU, or Arizona. Your chances would be better at those programs than the likes of the ones you list: Stanford, Harvard, MIT, etc. Though I would note that Arizona isn't as attractive for tax applicants as it was just a few years ago. I know they rank very well in the BYU rankings, but the students that are factoring into those rankings were students of Dan Dhaliwal's. Arizona will remain a solid program, but I think they'll be better for financial and audit going forward, more so than tax.

    I agree that the fact that you've minored in accounting does make you a better applicant than some of the econ/math type applicants. Many of them have no accounting background. And the fact that you passed quals at a decent economics PhD program should be a positive signal. But given your economics background, why behavioral? The economics background would seemingly give you a leg up as an archival researcher.

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    Re: PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by civalias View Post
    not harsh at all. what you said is definitely my concern from the beginning. i think what sets me apart from the impression of switching for the benefits of career can be my background in accounting since i did minor in accounting with advanced courses in tax sequence in college. so at least i can justify my decision to switch into accounting research compared to a person who had no background in accounting.

    i'm quite interested in tax and behavioral research but would like to keep open options for archival finance accounting research.

    the reason i'm putting those schools on the list is also the placement record beside the mba ranking. i already looked at BYU ranking and ASU public accounting ranking, plus their current students and alumni from the program have more research background and economics/finance degree compared to other programs, which clearly only take ms accounting and public accountant students. i would definitely add UNC to the wish list but would think it is very selective to get in. further, i feel that i have no chances for schools like uni of arizona or ut austin or texas a&m so i can skip all of them. (i know stanford is impossible too but well, just a little bit hope would not kill us, i guess. )

    its quite late for me to prepare for GMAT though so i guess i will stick to GRE. i only plan to apply to schools accepting GRE and did not state that they prefer GMAT.
    I don't think this post was showing before I put up my last one. I know one guy in behavioral tax. Based on interactions with him, I would recommend against behavioral tax unless you really love it. The field is honestly like 10 people. It is good to keep your options open.

    Like TaxPhD pointed out, your relative advantage would be in applying archival techniques, or even theory. Accounting theory isn't as quantitative as econ theory, it would fall under the applied micro heading. Also, your list of schools that are possible vs. out of reach is very weird. MIT is a top 3 school in accounting and among the hardest programs to get into. UT Austin would actually be nice because it provides a range of methods and subjects that you could learn. Same with UIUC.

    Trying with the GRE is fine, but that might be more limiting than you want. Good luck, and feel free to ask more.

  8. #8
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    Re: PhD Accounting Fall 2019 Evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by YaSvoboden View Post
    I don't think this post was showing before I put up my last one. I know one guy in behavioral tax. Based on interactions with him, I would recommend against behavioral tax unless you really love it. The field is honestly like 10 people. It is good to keep your options open.

    Like TaxPhD pointed out, your relative advantage would be in applying archival techniques, or even theory. Accounting theory isn't as quantitative as econ theory, it would fall under the applied micro heading. Also, your list of schools that are possible vs. out of reach is very weird. MIT is a top 3 school in accounting and among the hardest programs to get into. UT Austin would actually be nice because it provides a range of methods and subjects that you could learn. Same with UIUC.

    Trying with the GRE is fine, but that might be more limiting than you want. Good luck, and feel free to ask more.
    Thank you guys so much for the advice. I also figured out that behavioral accounting might sound interesting but it's not the popular or coming trend in the coming years. I also think that my background would align more with financial accounting with analytical or archival method. So I guess it should be what I need to focus more. The thing is that it's quite tricky since I got shined in my profile for the undergraduate tax accounting but not much with any finance stuff besides the fact that I took all the finance courses available in my school. I'm not sure if it's okay to say that i'm open with either tax or financial accounting for my study.

    Your comment is quite a new fact to me since MIT is not ranked in top 5 accounting in any ranking list I found online. My impression at first is that the school with high ranking in business and economics might not be the one with high ranking when it comes to accounting. But it also seems that things are changing. High ranked schools are focusing on their accounting phd program and it might be tricky to decide which schools to apply as a good fit.

    Right now after weighing all options, I think my school list should include Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Cornell, UNC, NYU, USC, Duke, Northwestern, Florida State University, Boston Uni, Boston College, USouth Carolina, Yale, Indiana, Wisconsin-Madison, and UC Berkeley. And honestly, I'm still worried that I might not get any admission into any school in the list. Any thoughts or critics would be really appreciated.

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