I am currently interning at a young, small (less than 20 million in revenues) oil and gas manufacturing firm in Louisiana working directly for the controller. It's a great company, I love working there and have a great boss. I been handed an incredible amount of responsiblity since starting there. I completely redesigned their inventory system among other things, and will begin managing all the accounting for one of their smaller subsidiary companies next month. I think they like me also. I have already been promised a full-time job a graduation by the CEO with the controller position after my boss moves up to CFO. They will even let me work part time during tax season for a CPA firm to get public experience. I believe there is tremendous opportunity for advancement there for me within the three years after graduation.
My question is this. Will I screwing myself long term career wise if I take this job instead of pursuing the public accounting route? I am older than the typical graduate(6 years in the Marines), and married so I don't even know if I would be a good fit for the public role. It seems as if everybody believes that if you don't go public (and Big 4) you are dead in the water advancement wise. I'd like to hear from some other accountants that went private out of school and how it affected their careers.