Need career decision help

I’ve been put in a difficult situation and have a tough choice to make. I was hoping that everyone could give their opinion. I am graduating in December and will have degree (econ) from top 20 school and be ready to sit for CPA exam. Note - the big 4 offer I have expires Nov. 30th and the analyst gig does not give offers until Dec. 15th. No one will budge. Options are: 1) Take offer from Big 4 as a staff auditor - possibly pursue mba after a few years experience and backdoor into research 2) Reject offer from Big 4 and continue to pursue opportunity as a junior analyst at a great, established firm and a lot of growth potential personally (They will be choosing 5 from approximately 15-20 people) ~30% chance 3) If I pursue analyst, and therefore rejecting Big 4, and do not get picked as an analyst either, then I’ll have no job offers whatsoever on the table and will have to take a large pay cut

(Dang it, I’m still posting on these boards!) I’m not going to tell you one way or the other, but I will say that Big 4 auditing experience is nothing to sneeze at. 1.) Auditing accounts for half of the Big 4’s revenue 2.) Getting on with the Big 4 in an accounting position is difficult and brings a lot of prestige and name recognition with it. You’ll always have Big 4 experience. 3.) I’m in an auditing class currently and can’t believe how much an auditor will learn about business. Apparently, auditing is boring as hell, but you do learn a ton about business. 4.) Can’t go wrong with 3 years at a Big 4, CPA/CIA designations. Not a whole lot you can’t do. 5.) Some people like auditing (my dad loved it) and, of course, there is enormous money to be made in this field. Partners at the Big 4 make ridiculous sums of money. That being said, if you’re not an accounting guy, then you probably won’t like it. The busy seasons suck suck suck (and the busy season is about 7 months long).

Sorry to say, once an auditor, youre going to get stuck in the accounting world. If you want research/banking/finance, etc, calculate your risk and make the decision… markets are going south, theres a hiring freeze everywhere, but companies are still hiring from school. this is your best shot… once youre out of school, its going to be difficult to change careers so soon… you’ll be in accounting for too long for anyone in research to touch you. its harsh, but theres some reality to it.

bm_chicago makes a good point. I will point out, however, that accounting brings incredible job security that finance could never bring. You’ll rarely find yourself in fear of losing your job due to the cyclical nature of the economy. But I agree with bm: if you want to do finance, do finance.

Well…guess I am in a somewhat similar situation right now…need some advice too… I’ve been doing something like IT auditing in a big 4 firm for 1+year…well…now I have the chance to transfer internally to a function doing valuation model for some exotic products…feel like a quant…but not that quant…most of the people in the practice have either CFA or a MFE… Have tried to get into finance, but with my IT background it was not easy. But I do have an interview with a small financial advisory/IB firm coming up…related to capital budgeting…and probably can also work with some friends to get some entry level analyst referal in some big banks… I am debating if I should continue the search or just take the internal transfer and save my friends’ referal. The good part is I kinda feel the “quant” position is interesting and good enough for me to break into finance after a solid couple of years…either stay here to make a partner or find a quant analyst job in a big bank…either way…although travel is heavy here but hours are not bad. But the bad part is…most of the clients are still auditing clients…we may not do much related to audit but still…and the internal transfer does not boost my paycheck…although that’s not the key factor…and my current function won’t let me start until next year… Any comment? Should I just take it or should I continue the search?

this is what i use as my litmus test, esp. if youre confused whether the quant/finance position youre interested will ever make you enough money… how does the group make its bucks? if its commission based (ibd, sales and trading, hf, pe, etc), then youre in the right field… if its project /deal-based fixed fees, youre doing either corporate or psuedo-corp fin… abv, youre considering the latter here. If I were you, i would utilize my friends’ referral, and see what comes of it. if nothing, then youve got yourself a backup. What I am trying to say is youre on step A and you want to reach step B… why dont you jump from A to B, instead of making up A1, A2, etc and delaying the inevitable…? and last but most important… its easier to move from one job you dont like to another that you do like, than jumping from A to A1 and then to B… having a long term job is better than having 3 jobs… so stay put till you get what you want. this suggestion is different from what I recommended goldenkah, but thats coz he’s in school and thats the biggest springboard youre ever going to have, until an MBA.

In accounting firm, all the projects I saw were fixed fee…commission based would violate the law…I know what you mean…j/k… But seriously, I am thinking one of the good part about quant position is …it might lead to a position like on a trading desk, or hf risk management kinda of role which I think I am not there yet…i am kinda nerdy but not a phd…lol… But I got your point, and I agree it never hurt to try more. You litmus test works pretty well, (thanks for that) now I know my coming interview is for a real corporate fin…not even psuedo…:frowning:

from your nick, i am assuming you are a CPA and are in the valuation group of an accounting firm. If you wish, you can explain to me what you’d do at this new quant job, and i can tell you whether IBs or S&T would find that better than val… Let me tell you this, S&T dont care about valuation folks… they require trading floor experience, of any kind… so if the new job gives you exposure to stock picking, etc. and if trading is your true calling, more power to you.

the id is the reverse of excel vba…something I got confused for a while…i am not a CPA… What I will do there is to run some models like monte carlo, (and blackschole?)…to price customized derivative product like option, swap, cdo related…not to offer price but to validate the model is correct…Do you think it might be close to HF/trading risk management H…what i heard was…say…a new product comes out…highly structured…the risk management function (of a bank/fund) is going to price the product…so I thought if after some years I want to get out, risk management would be a close option…Comment?

i will be honest, i am not in risk management, but verifying models will give you an exposure to the models. that can be a good thing, not sure how good …? you will be working with options, swaps, cdos, etc. which is good too… youre right about the risk management function of the banks. my suggestion would be to talk to some one in the field. the only hitch i find in this job is that youre not offering price, only validating it. so your group verifies it, but doesnt take responsibility … typical accounting / consulting mentality, which i have begun to despise :slight_smile: your prospective perfect job might not be comfortable with that, thats why you need to figure out how to find the right person who could give you the right opinion. sorry couldnt be of more help. but definitely ask someone in risk management this question.

any more help on my question? Thanks so far kkent and bm_chicago…

Thanks bm~that was very helpful already:) Sorry goldenkah2 to disrupt your thread…

hi goldenkah2, what is this second option youre talking about? Reject offer from Big 4 and continue to pursue opportunity as a junior analyst at a great, established firm and a lot of growth potential personally (They will be choosing 5 from approximately 15-20 people) ~30% chance what kind of position is this junior analyst related to? PM, IBD, ER, etc?

bm_chicago, Position is in ER. Seems as though first year would be more/less a mentorship opportunity with chance to learn alongside and travel with a senior analyst. Second year, while still underneath senior, junior analysts given a few (3-5) companies to be completely in charge of on their own - traveling to locations, main analysis, etc. In this manner, it sounded like a great opportunity with a lot of room for growth. ABV - no worries, there seems to be a lot of us in the same boat looking for guidance.

hey man, if ER is what you want, wait for it… ask the audit group to hold or call the ER company. If the accounting firm doesnt budge, i am sure the ER firm will let you know if youre in the hunt for the job… like you said, theres a 30% chance, its very likely youre going to be one them! just play smart and sincere, without sounding cocky. Convince the ER firm that if you had both opportunities in hand, you’d choose them in a heartbeat! DONT sound desperate either… :slight_smile: