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Thread: PhD in Accounting Profile Evaluation. Over 40

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    PhD in Accounting Profile Evaluation. Over 40

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    Hi,

    Planning to apply to PhD in Accounting after 20 years in accounting with major oil & gas companies. Have been postponing PhD for long time, but now decided to leave the comfort zone and get into academia for the love of research and intellectual challenge. Research interests include corporate governance & controls (e.g. budgeting, accounting fraud, information asymmetry) and influenced by work experience

    Test Scores (GMAT/GRE): GMAT 730 (Q50 / V40)
    Undegrad GPA: 4.0 (Econ; outside of US, top of the class), graduated 20 years ago
    Graduate GPA: 2.8 (3.3 second year / 4.0 major in Finance, MBA Top 75 US) graduated 20 years ago
    Prof.certification: CMA (with gold medal for highest score) obtained 10 years ago
    Research Experience: N/A
    Teaching Experience: Currently TA in accounting and finance; taught couple of under- and graduate level courses
    Work Experience: as mentioned above, managerial positions in accounting and finance with Fortune 100 companies
    Concentration Applying to: Accounting (Managerial & Financial / Behavioral & Archival)
    Number of programs planned to apply to: 10-20
    Dream Schools: Rotman / INSEAD / MSU Broad

    Letter Writers:
    Accounting and finance professors currently TA'ing.

    Questions or concerns you have about your profile?
    As I understand age will be a major concern, so would appreciate your help with the list of schools. Should I look only outside of Top 50? Should I shoot for GMAT 750+ to improve profile?

    Any additional specific questions you may have:
    Will it make a difference if full funding to be provided by a sponsor?
    Last edited by froghorned; 09-13-2019 at 07:04 AM.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: PhD in Accounting Profile Evaluation. Over 40

    You got a little unlucky on the GMAT. I had the exact same Q/V split and got a 750. That said, higher is always better, but I don't think that a small bump will help much. So, only do it if you are confident you can increase the score without much risk and effort.

    I don't see any reason to concentrate outside of the top 50. I would apply broadly, but could easily see top 20 programs taking you. My PhD school was top 20 and has taken several people over 35 since I started there. If anything stands out to you as a place that matches your research interests, I would apply there. Otherwise, I would concentrate on schools that have a solid financial/archival ranking from BYU's website.

    I don't think full funding will make a huge difference. PhD students are a cost, but the biggest cost of them is faculty time, not the stipend/tuition. Of course, it couldn't hurt if that is something that you could secure.

    What rank of school are you currently TAing for? Are your letter writers active researchers?

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    Re: PhD in Accounting Profile Evaluation. Over 40

    Thank you for the feedback!

    My current school is in a small country outside of US but has one or two professors with PhDs from US Top 10. Can't say that leter writers have a lot of articles in top US journals right now, may be in the future...

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    Re: PhD in Accounting Profile Evaluation. Over 40

    For an older applicant, it is even more important to effectively signal to admissions committees why you want to pursue a PhD.

    Fair or not, I think older applicants always have a bit of an uphill battle, but that doesn't mean you cannot gain admission into a high quality program. You have a great GMAT score, I don't think getting it to 750 will make a huge difference in admissions. So I would focus on crafting a good statement of purpose to convince admissions committees that you are serious about having a successful research career and that this just isn't a midlife crisis to get our of the grind of the "real world."

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    Within my grasp! BrazilianPhD's Avatar
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    Re: PhD in Accounting Profile Evaluation. Over 40

    I'm not in Accounting, but I was also worried about my age when I applied (I'm 46 now). After I started my PhD, I met a lot students who are over 40, including people in Accounting.

    So, I don't think that age by itself is an issue. It's just that your age might raise different questions, about your motivations and skills.

    For example, it's just natural that people would wonder why you decided to do a PhD now. Ok, you mentioned love of research, and leaving the comfort zone, and that's great. But that still does not explain why that love of research and desire to leave the comfort zone didn't happen a decade ago. Like, if you love research that much, you probably should have started doing that a long time ago, right?

    In my case, it was only after a long career that I started to get jobs where I could really be close to top executives of big companies, and see the challenges they faced. A lot of money being wasted because they didn't know what they were doing (as a consequence, I also didn't know what I was doing). Then I started to think about ways to find answers when nobody seems to know the right answer. This kind of motivation wouldn't make sense if I were younger, as it required some experience close to the top of the company (not something one usually gets fresh out of undergrad).

    Also, the last time I had to deal with things like matrices and derivatives in calculus was 20 years ago. So, again I think it's natural that people would wonder if I'm prepared for that kind of thing (that would probably be less of a concern if I were younger).

    So, as long as you can convince them about your motivation and skills, I don't think age will be a "major concern" as you put it. Motivation is a major concern, skills and competence are major concerns. Not age itself, although age is expected to influence motivation and skills. And maybe it's good to remember that younger applicants also have their own challenges. Age also has its advantages.

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