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Career decision

Derrick Turnbow's Profile

Hi my name is Derrick Turnbow. I'm currently a financial advisor but would like to work in a different area of finance. I'm going to receive BS in Accounting in March 2016 and I'm deciding on whether to pursue getting an MBA or CPA immediately following undergraduate degree. I 37 years old and have only a few years of business experience because I was a Major League Baseball player for 15 years. I wanting to know from anyone what the best decision for me would be? Getting more real world business experience first or get my MBA or CPA first then working? If anyone answers my question thank you very much for taking the time to do so.

Answers

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Derrick

One way to look at this might be to start with an exercise to identify your skills and your interests. I find that helps because you can then look for opportunities in the intersection of those skills and interests (this is where you may have more chance of doing well/being satisfied with what you do); from that you can then start to look at the question of MBA or CPA, etc.

Regards
Len

Derrick Turnbow
Title: Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA
Company: AXA Advisors
(Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA, AXA Advisors) |

Hi Mr. Green, thank you for answering my question. Is there a website or somewhere that I can take the exercises that you recommended? Thanks

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

I do not have a specific website to suggest, maybe others here can help. I would also ask your career advisor or anyone in your network engaged in talent management or recruiting.
Best of luck!

Larry Leser
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Caffe Classico Foods LLC
(Chief Financial Officer, Caffe Classico Foods LLC) |

Derrick,

Sitting for the CPA exam and getting an MBA require very different investments of time and money. You may be able to pass the CPA exam near the time you graduate from college.

With a BS in Accounting, you should have the academic foundation to sit for the CPA exam. Ask your academic advisor if you should take a CPA exam review course to prepare for the exam, based on your academic performance. Passing the exam shows a high level of knowledge, independent of the decision to become licensed.

The MBA decision should consider Len's point about skills and interest. If you are uncertain about getting an MBA, work experience may help clarify the decision for you and provide you with valuable experience to get more out of a MBA program.

Good luck,
Larry

Derrick Turnbow
Title: Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA
Company: AXA Advisors
(Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA, AXA Advisors) |

Hi Mr. Leser, thank you for the valuable information and taking the time to answer my question. I'm sure that I want to get my MBA but I'm unsure if it would be best to go for CPA or MBA first as far as being able to gain employment once I've completed one or the other? As a CFO and executive would you favor a job applicant with little job experience that has an MBA or CPA? Thank you again ahead of time if you answer my question. The information that highly successful people in business like yourself provide is invaluable to me. Thanks again

Tom Ruchalski
Title: CFO
Company: Skyline Windows
(CFO, Skyline Windows) |

Derrick
Your carrier objective is to work in a different area of finance. If you are literal with your objective you should pursue a MBA. Many people achieve this goal on a part time basis while gaining valuable experience in the field, purely a personal choice.
If the term finance is used loosely, to included accounting obtaining a CPA would be beneficial.
Finally, if your plans are to become a CFO go for both.

Anonymous
(Chief Financial Officer) |

I agree with Len's first point. The career center at your school should have some type of assessment or at least direct you to one. I would think your baseball experience is valuable to some roles - maybe those with a sales aspect - and it might be good to leverage it. 37-38 is not old, but you should consider being entry level with 22-25 year olds and what that means to you.

Michele Ramirez
Title: Director Finance, Accounting and Adminis..
Company: Association of CA Cities - OC
(Director Finance, Accounting and Administration, Association of CA Cities - OC) |

Mr. Turnbow,
As someone who has built an accounting staff from the ground up on two occasions, I favor a person with a CPA versus an MBA. But this speaks to the kind of work the candidate was going to perform. Personally I would get my CPA and then decide if I wanted to pursue an MBA. Sitting for the CPA exam is easier, in my view, when you're fresh from school. You can always pursue your MBA while working and a lot of companies have educational reimbursement policies which would help cover the cost.
Good luck.

Derrick Turnbow
Title: Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA
Company: AXA Advisors
(Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA, AXA Advisors) |

Hi Mr. Ramirez, thank you for taking the time to answer my question and providing me with great advice and information. I've decided now to take the CPA exam first and then pursue my MBA afterwards. Thanks again

Arthur Yip
Title: Audit Supervisor
Company: On Assignment Inc
(Audit Supervisor, On Assignment Inc) |

I think getting more real world business experience first might make better sense for you. It really comes down to what you want to do. If you want to get into the Accounting field, then get the CPA. If you prefer to work in Corporate Finance, then the MBA is better suited. A lot of MBA programs actually prefers their candidates to have solid business experience so you might as well get more experience first!

Derrick Turnbow
Title: Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA
Company: AXA Advisors
(Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA, AXA Advisors) |

Hi Mr. Yip, thank you for taking the time to answer my question and providing me with great information for me to think about. I really appreciate it.

Carla Gordon
Title: Accountant
Company: Govt
(Accountant, Govt) |

I agree with Michele Ramirez. Take the CPA exam right away after completing your accounting degree. It is much easier than trying to review years later.
If you pursue an MBA, it is easier after you have work experience. I completed an MBA 26 years after graduating from college and it was not overly taxing.
I have thought about taking the CPA exam, but do not think I can succeed without a lot of review.
As far as a career in finance, CPA would be more valuable.

Derrick Turnbow
Title: Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA
Company: AXA Advisors
(Wealth Manager - Bellevue, WA, AXA Advisors) |

Hi Carla, thank you for taking the time to answer my question and providing me with great advice and information. I've made up my mind now that I'm going to take the CPA exam and then pursue my MBA. Thanks again

Anonymous
(Staff Accountant) |

Not sure what the requirements for the CPA exam are in your state, but in Oklahoma we had 150 hour requirement. While I agree taking the exam right after accounting classes is valuable, I went and got my MBA and as soon as I reached the hourly requirement for the CPA exam I put the MBA on hold and took the CPA exam (it took me a full 9 months to get it and I used Becker as my review program, don't know what i would have done without it). This allowed me to accomplish both my MBA & get my CPA without me taking undue courses to get the required hours.

Tim Adams
Title: Controller/CFO
Company: Self-Employed
(Controller/CFO, Self-Employed) |

Derrick, by FAR one of the best decisions I made was taking the CPA exam immediately after college. I devoted 6 weeks of self-study to it and it paid off. Doing that "down the road" would be much harder in my opinion. And my gut has always believed what Carla said ... that the MBA is probably easier with some work experience.

Am I right in thinking you were with the Brewers the same time as Brian Shouse? I met Brian through his father-in-law at my first Controller position.

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