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Is Public Accounting experience necessary?

I'm in internal audit in higher education and love it. Problem is, I only get exposed to operational audits and some financial consulting (no financial statement experience). I would love to stay in internal audit and use it to move into operations management or risk management. 

My dilemma: I worked my ass off for my CPA license. Will my license hurt me or help with this path into operational/risk management? Also, will my lack of public accounting experience hold me back?