Hello, I am interested in pursuing a PhD in Accounting at the earliest in Fall of 2016 and was wondering if my current profile would be competitive and if so, which range of schools should I be looking at? I am not for sure which area of accounting I am most interested in, but I think I would really enjoy doing research in executive compensation. Thank you.
Program Applying to: Ph.D. Accounting
Age: 24 when I apply
Undegraduate: BA in Liberal Arts (3.2 GPA) from average state flagship
Graduate major: MS in Accounting (3.6 GPA) from same school
Relevant coursework that I have taken include Business Stats, Calculus I-III, Linear Algebra, and Intermediate Microeconomics
Other than business stats and Calculus I, I took these other courses at a local community college after undergrad. I'm assuming I need more quant background and was wondering what classes I should prioritize in taking this upcoming spring semester.
Currently no work/teaching experience. Only one semester of basic accounting research experience with no publications
The details are a little thin here. Probably why you didn't get a response before.
Your quant background isn't terrible for accounting. I would focus on taking probability and statistics from a math department and an intro to proofs/advanced calc/real analysis course.
What does the one semester of accounting research experience mean? Did you RA for a professor? Was this some undergrad level research stuff?
What was the breakdown on your GMAT? The quant score does matter more. I would say you want at least a 49 on there. If you didn't achieve that and you think you can do better, I would think about retaking.
Your 3.2 GPA is not good, but it won't necessarily kill you. How are your math grades? The 3.6 master's GPA is better, but still not great. Most master's classes grade pretty liberally, so getting B's in there isn't really a great sign. How did you do in intermediate 1/2 and advanced accounting? Those classes should matter.
Very important: Who would write letters for you? Most flagship state schools have at least 1 or 2 fairly well known researchers. You need to know who these people are at your school. Ask them about applying to PhD programs and take their advice seriously. If you do this, and show that you are serious about a PhD and know what you are getting into, then you can get a good letter from them. A letter from a well known researcher means a lot.
As it stands I think you would have a bit of a problem getting into top 20 (I'm not exactly sure what this means) schools. With a few more details, I may have a better idea.
As far as schools go, Michigan state does executive compensation stuff, but I think they would be a reach for you. Utah has some good managerial people and may be closer to what you could expect to get into now. Use BYU rankings and look at managerial archival work to get an idea of what schools you want to look at. Then actually go and look at the research by professors there and see if it seems interesting.
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