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Big 4 Advisory Professional Wonders What a Title Is Worth

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Going Concern:

There is a good amount of time spent discussing careers moves within and outside of the public accounting world, but one topic I have not come across often (or at least, recently) is: does title matter?

The Big 4 firms really push the "stay until manager" mentality. The benefit to the firm is obvious, but I am curious as to whether the benefit is also reflected in the résumé value for the employee. Does having the "manager" title on your résumé open you to new opportunities? Or at the end of the day, is it all about years of experience?

I am currently mulling two job offers. On one hand, I have a Manager offer from a Big 4 firm in their Transaction Services practice. On the other, I have a Senior Analyst offer from a Fortune 100 company in their Corporate Strategy group. While the Manager title obviously favors the former, the hours and pay (by about 12%) favor the latter. Does the title carry more weight? Or will "industry" experience outside of client services add more to my resume?

This definitely has to do with my current situation, but I am sure plenty of other readers wonder the same thing. Given the number of readers and contributors on GC, I would be interested in hearing the experiences others have had (or witnessed) when making career moves before and after the manager promotion.

Any thoughts or insight would be appreciated!



Ahh, the timeless question about whether staying for a title upgrade is worth it.  It baffles me when I hear someone say their reason for staying in any job is because “I really want the next title.”  Really?  Do you know how much time a hiring professional takes to digest the title on your resume?  About half a nanosecond. Sure, it can show progression in one’s career and dedication to a job, but I’m more interested in the bullet points below your title.  Call yourself Senior Vice President of the Data Dump Room for all I care. If you have the right responsibilities/experiences, you’re getting a call. 

All that said, you really need to be comparing the job responsibilities and the long-term upside of each role. If managing a team is important to you, will you have analysts reporting to you under the Corporate Strategy role? What is the career projection at the F100 company? How do the Manager duties of the TS role (higher level strategy, proposal development, etc.) compare to what will be expected of you in the private sector? How does the private sector role set you up for a return to a Big 4’s TS practice in 2-5 years?  Is that even an career option you’d consider?

My advice – weigh job duties, pay, work/life, and the health of your particular group in the Big 4.  Is it thriving, or are you picking up the promo because 75% of the managers have bolted in recent months? But let's also open it up to the comments. Remember, Wilson is in Advisory, not Audit. 

(Want some insight to career projection in the TS group?  Use KPMG’s Career Architecture site as a rough reference).