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Just graduated with a bachelor's in accounting, and now I'm at a CPA firm. Interested in getting my MBA, but not sure in what. Any suggestions? Leaning towards global management

Trey Smith's Profile

Answers

Chris Holtzer
Title: Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis
Company: Sargento
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis, Sargento) |

While I absolutely encourage post secondary education, you may want to take a short break to cut your teeth. I see a lot of young people entering the job market with advanced degrees and no idea what they want to do with them. It is just my personal opinion, but find out what you want to do first, and then work towards the degree that will get you there.

Do you have a long term career goal in mind? I know its nearly impossible to figure out when you are fresh out of college, but there is value to having an eye on your end game.

So let us know what you want to do, and I suspect someone will be able to make a recommendation on what they have seen success with.

Trey Smith
Title: Accountant
Company: Aldridge Borden
(Accountant, Aldridge Borden) |

Some of my dream jobs sales director, operations director, or being a manager. Before I retire I want to be a CEO or CFO. My long term goal would be to in positions of management so I could ultimately have that opportunity of becoming a CEO or CFO.

Trey Smith
Title: Accountant
Company: Aldridge Borden
(Accountant, Aldridge Borden) |

I don't want to be an accountant for the rest of my life, but I know working at a CPA firm is great experience because I learn how companies and their financials work.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

One thing to consider would be to gain experience at the firm and as you are learning about the businesses you are doing the tax returns on start to think about which industries seem to interest you. When I worked for a hotel and we had our annual reviews, the CPAs would love coming and asking about the business because it's not traditional.

You should be able to shift into an accounting position fairly easily being a CPA with some experience. Once you get your foot in the door of a company you like that you see growth potential you can work your way up into the CFO role or shift to sales or operations if you don't like the accounting side. But you have to start somewhere; you won't likely jump into a leadership role without proper experience.

I agree with Chris, take a breather. Life happens fast enough. Take some time to enjoy and learn what you are currently doing. Analyze and learn as much as you can from others.

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

You want to make a decision when you really do not have to.....yet.

I suggest you "marinate" at your CPA firm for a year or two so you can have a broader understanding of business and more importantly having a longer time frame deciding what really interests you. If you want to start on your MBA, get the requisites first until such a time where you can decide what you really want to pursue and then you can take the major subjects.

Doing this, you are getting a much more better understanding of business, you are getting your CPA firm experience, you are slowly eating away at your MBA required units and having a longer time frame on deciding what you really want to do.

Topic Expert
Vernon Reizman
Title: CFO
Company: RCM Industries, Inc.
(CFO, RCM Industries, Inc.) |

Take a breath and hold it 7-10 years. Then go back to school for the advanced degree. You will not regret it.

Chris Holtzer
Title: Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis
Company: Sargento
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis, Sargento) |

Based on your responses, I think most of us are recommending the same thing. Don't rush the MBA. Focus on building a reputation both internally and externally, as a top performer. When push comes to shove, that alone will trump an MBA, but the goal should still be both.

I'd also caution you to dig a little deeper on what your career path is, and how you can work toward incremental steps along the way (There are likely to be at least 5-6 roles between accountant and a C-suite role). Being a manager is an important step, but what you are a manager of, will be just as important as the experience of being responsible for direct reports. You should have no problem achieving a manager role after 5-7 years of being a top performing "individual contributor" (maybe sooner).

As for being just an accountant, once you get some time in the field you are going to find there are nearly unlimited variations on "Accountants". Working in a CPA firm, you are going to spend your time as a traditional accountant, but when you are working with clients, take note of the different responsibility some of their accounting and financial professionals have. If there is one thing that traditional learning seems to utterly fail at, it is preparing accounting and financial professionals for corporate finance. My experience in school, both BA and MBA is that schools seem to think accounting majors can only be "CPA Accountants"(Auditor/Tax) and finance majors can only be involved in the financial services sector(Insurance or Securities Sales). They are both wildly inaccurate, in the field. Accounting and Finance personnel are some of the most sought out professionals in the market place right now, because of their skills and flexibility to outperform in many different non-traditional or hybrid roles. For example, a few years into my career I ended up splitting time between a Project Manager role and Financial Analyst. Its still a portion of my resume that is regularly spoken to. I had no ambitions of PM work early on. However, it fit my skill set, and turned out to be something I enjoy and excel at.

So, that over worded response is again suggesting you wait. Let life shape your outlook a bit before investing in a MBA. I think you'll look back 5 years down the road and think to yourself...."man, I didn't know, what I didn't know". I know I sure do now.

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