Welp, it’s about that time of year to dust off your big brother’s hand-me-down blazer and practice your handshake for Meet the Firms. As you’re polishing up your personal elevator pitch, now is a good time to go over some basics, lest you make an absolute fool of yourself. What Is Meet the Firms? As […]
It’s recruiting season on campuses all across America; that special time of year when accounting students get a taste of what it’s like to be a five-star middle linebacker — minus the “hostesses,” envelopes stuffed with cash, and any semblance of athletic ability. For you soon-to-be graduates deciding on your first employer, however, recruiting season […]
~ UPDATE includes updated salary info after a flood of new submissions. Thanks to everyone that wrote in. Welcome to the final recruiting season roundup for 2012. Thanks for all your questions and freak outs this fall. If you ever encounter any interesting situations or simply have something on your mind that you want to […]
This week's Recruiting Season post is brought to you by the letters C, P, A and by numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. Have a question about accounting careers? Email us at email@example.com. All right, boys and girls, this is the last recruiting season post before we spill all the salary details on you. […]
Welcome to Rock the Recruitment Season. We'll be winding up the 2012 series very soon so if you still have a question about recruiting season, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. The recruitment season questions have slowed to a trickle, so you best get them in while you can, […]
When everyone else has an offer and you don't, maybe you're feeling like a reject. It's OK, darling, we still love you. Reach out and let's try to puzzle this out together, we promise we'll be nice. Unless you are in fact a loser, in which case we'll mock you but hey, that's the risk […]
Welcome to Tuesdays with More Anxious Accounting recruits. Have a question about recruiting season? Email email@example.com with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. Just a friendly reminder – if you have received an offer from a public accounting firm, by all means, share your excitement with us. We've received a fair amount so far, but we are […]
You'd think I made this up but I swear I didn't, it comes from an actual recruiter who attended an actual MTF and encountered the following actual horrors. Let's open the floor on what NOT to do at Meet the Firms momentarily: How about an open thread for recruiter horror stories at Meet the Firms […]
Welcome to Tuesdays with More Anxious Accounting Recruits. Have a question about recruiting season? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. Just a friendly reminder – if you have received an offer from a public accounting firm, by all means, share your excitement with us. We've received a fair amount so far, […]
Welcome to the latest Recruiting Season Q&A. This is where we answer several questions from anxious accounting students. Remember, you won't know if your question is stupid unless you ask. Email your query to email@example.com with "Recruiting Season Question" in the subject line. Just a reminder – we're compiling the starting salaries for new associates […]
Note: the following email sent in to our advice box is really long and really tedious. Instead of editing it, I will include a TL;DR at the end so we can all pile on and school this fool without subjecting ourselves to actually reading the entire thing. You're welcome. Oh, and if you are a […]
Welcome to the latest edition of Recruiting Advice: Take it or Go Screw Yourself. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. One programming note – for those of you who are on the hunt for full-time offers this year, be sure to email […]
Welcome to this week's roundup of baffled buckaroos. Each week we'll try to save some hapless accounting students from embarrassing themselves somewhere along recruiting trail. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at email@example.com with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. We'll kick things off with a follow-up from last week when "Pissed […]
Good night nurse, we get a lot of emails during recruiting season. In order to answer as many questions as possible, we'll do a lightning round of sorts each week so none of the little grasshoppers out there feel left out. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include "Recruiting Season Questions" […]
No more articles about how to dress for interviews. We see them every year, and we read them because the case for flat-front slacks is much more interesting than the case for private company GAAP. I successfully avoided Accounting Today's recent article, "Fashion & Finance: Do's and Don'ts for New Recruits." Then I got an […]
Is your career stuck in neutral? Looking for a way to convince your boss that Fantasy Football strategizing is legitimate billable hours? Need ideas for accounting-themed names for your two Pomeranian puppies? Email us your questions. Hi Colin, I'm going through campus recruiting as we speak and was curious what your opinion was on applying […]
You spent your entire junior year reading Going Concern horror stories instead of brushing up on your communication skills and now the heat is on. Recruiting season is here and you don't want to end up working for the firms that get made fun of all the time around here. Instead of hyperventilating, email us […]
Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at email@example.com.
Is it just me or has it been a strange, weird week? I mean, look at yesterday’s Accounting News Roundup for what’s been happening:
• Everyone’s favorite shove-chips-down-your-throat airline lost its chief financial guru.
• The curtain continues to be pulled back on the next great technology company bubble.
• Rick Perry
• Capitalism is on life support
And oh yeah, Ohio was momentarily resembled a safari. Christ. Get a re-fill turn up your iPod. Let’s push through this week. On to the questions:
My question is about recruiting. On Campus Recruiting has ended last week and unfortunately I wasn’t invited to any of the Big 4 interviews. I really thought that my high GPA and my experience at a F500 company and a large governmental organization would land me the internship.
After being rejected, I started talking to some friends to see who had Big 4 interviews coming up, and I found out that only campus leaders had interviews. By campus leaders I mean BAP, ALPHA, NABA, and etc board members. I’m currently a senior and I will be applying for full-time positions next year. Since I’m not in any leadership position, and probably won’t be by next year, am I screwed? Also, is it true that 90% of Big 4’s entry level full time positions are filled by interns?
Maybe you’re a sloppy dresser. Maybe you have sweaty palms. Maybe you think brushing your teeth is more of a take-it-or-leave-it option than a societal norm. Possibilities…but unlikely. This sounds more like a case of “Good College in a Small Market Where the Firms Just Don’t Need to Hire Many People.” Unfortunate, but it happens.
Here’s the sitch: the firms love to hire out of universities with a broad range of students. The USCs and U. of Texases (at Austin, yes, yes) and Penn States of the world; even smaller schools like Lehigh and NYU. Why? Because they have national appeal – good programs, brand names, and students from every state. A Longhorn from Austin could be interested in working in Boston or Chicago or New York. Lehigh grads regularly pursue options in Philadelphia, DC, Pittsburgh, and the NYC/Chicago/the west coast hotspots. Alums of these schools can share their stories of the recruiting factory lines – Beta Alpha Psi board execs, members, and club rejects alike find jobs with the Big 4. The Budgeting Gods love these schools and make a concerted effort to build robust programs around these schools and those like them.
Your current situation falls into a different category. You’re either:
a) at a good school in a smaller market and the local firms have limited hiring needs
b) at a small school that the firm is obligated to recruit from because the Office Managing Partner graduated from there in 1963.
Whatever the reason, it’s unfortunate because there are probably a number of qualified applicants like you who are out of luck. The firms have fairly tight budgets on a per-school basis; even if they had a lack of candidates at another school, it would be a one-off case.
All that said, you’re not necessarily “screwed.” The officers will most likely accept fulltime offers they receive at the end of their internships. There is a possibility that the firms will have additional needs for fulltime hires; I recommend keeping your options open (audit, tax, etc.). As far as your projection that 90% of fulltime positions are filled by interns, I don’t know if it’s that high (it was in ‘08/’09), but above 75% on a national average. The goal is “as many as $%*@ing possible.” Good luck.
I’m an avid reader of Going Concern and I was wondering if you could help ease my anxiety on my Superday coming up fairly soon. I’m currently a senior in a master’s program and I am looking for an internship this Winter. I’ve interviewed with all Big 4 and only managed to score a second round with PwC for a Northeast location. I do have a couple back up offers but really want PwC. Do you have any tips or other insights on these superdays? I often read that the majority of people attending superdays get an offer but I don’t w ident. Any insights you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
I’ll do my best to give you some honest insight on Superdays, although I don’t know if it will quiet your fears.
Your biggest competition at the Superday will be yourself and your choice to pursue a winter internship (presumably tax?). Everyone knows that the summer internship programs are the bees’ knees: barely 40 hours a week; summer outings; awesome schwag. Winter internships, on the other hand, have been traditionally limited in numbers but extensive in experience. This is changing a bit this year, as firms are looking for a small uptick in winter interns to help offset the turnover in staff. The firms’ practices have higher standards for the students they hire for this time of year because they’ll be doing actual work (relative to the summer class). But should you land one of the spots on the winter intern bench, you’ll be poised to rake in a lot of overtime $$$. So, what do you need to do at the Superday to best position yourself for one of the internship spots? Keep your cool. Keep your confidence.
Be flexible. Winter interns are oftentimes from local universities, since many students balance a light credit schedule while putting in long hours at 300 Madison Avenue (or 345 Park, or…okay you get it). If you’re in this position, oversell your availability to work. Think you’re taking 15 credits? Say your’e taking 12. Available on weekends? You bet! They’re looking to hire workhorses, not show ponies. If you’re taking the semester off, that’s great; make sure the recruiter knows this. Talk about your willingness to work long hours and do “what’s best for the team” even if that means working weekends. The goal is to land an offer, not sound like someone with a grasp on reality. “Work the entire month of February and sleep under my desk?!?! Sign me up!!!”
Now, then. General advice for Superdays:
You’re always being watched. Think that the teambuilding event is trivial? Think again. The recruiters will be watching how you interact with the team members. One comment of “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done” will get you dinged. Sit down, shut up, and BE REALLY EXCITED TO PLAY WITH MARKERS.
Careful with the booze. Every firm’s 2nd round interview program is different, but be sure to take it easy if there is booze involved. Take a page out of my BFF Patti Stanger’s book: keep it to two drinks. You’ll loosen up, it’ll taste GREAT after the long day, but you won’t get too loose lipped. Just because the evening’s atmosphere is casual, doesn’t mean the office managing partner should know what you’re getting your boyfriend for Christmas.
Shoot for the middle of the fairway. Every in-office interview program has the same cast of characters. The Funny Guy. The Guy Who Thinks He’s Funny But Isn’t. The Girl Who’s Skirt is Questionably Short. The Guy Who is Wearing His Father’s Suit. The Sit in the Corner Special. The Candidate with Too Much School Pride. The Leader Who Doesn’t Know How to Be a Team Player.
Umm, yeah. Don’t be any of those.
Easy on the cellphones. Silence it, turn it off, and only look at it on breaks. Nothing pisses off an over-the-hill recruiter more than watching a room full of Millennials texting and tweeting over their morning fruit salads.
Earlier this week, DWB put out an open call for accounting firm recruiting schwag. Pictures, comments, hell we’d even take your extras but none of you have bothered to email me to get my addy. Your lack of sharing ability will be forgiven but not forgotten, dear readers. Luckily, one recruit out of Toronto sent us a few images of the corporate treasures that Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PwC are tossing to those receiving offers. We’ve laid out the images on the following pages for your viewing pleasure and included our tipster’s thoughts on each.
Apparently this is how the E&Y stuff arrived. Someone needs to work on their bo ”http://www.goingconcern.com/2011/10/heres-some-of-the-loot-big-4-firms-are-giving-to-recruits/ey-offer-1/” rel=”attachment wp-att-49718″>
EY offer package – “Cheaply made luggage tag, ball point pen, and passport wallet. A bunch of junk.”
Signing package for EY – EY branded luggage and carry on.
KPMG Offer package – “Dr.Seuss’ Oh the places you’ll go (Party Edition, nonetheless). Neoprene logo computer bag.”
Signing package for KPMG – “No one has received it yet.” UPDATE: Apparently there is no signing package from KPMG, however our tipster did say that the computer bag “was the best pre-signing gift of the three firms, so maybe that’s KPMG didn’t give out anything else.” The House of Klynveld is also throwing a second signing party for the newbies, whereas E&Y and PwC are just throwing one.
Offer package for PwC
(not pictured) Now on the following pages – “PwC – PwC branded cookies, $50 prepaid AMEX credit card, hand signed PwC card.”
Signing package for PwC – “Choice between two options. (1) Backpack, binder, coffee mug. (2) Gym bag, water bottle, umbrella.”
This recruit told us that he’ll be accepting with PwC but didn’t elaborate on whether he was choosing the coffee cup or the umbrella but did say that PwC is coming on pretty strong to those receiving offers:
Another student who has offers from both EY and PwC received a call from the CEO of PwC to ask her to join PwC. Now I wish I hadn’t signed yet, so I could have talked to him.
Choose wisely, grasshoppers.
That cookies looks repulsive but our tipster says that “It’s soft and looks amazing.” Right.
Keep your pants on, folks – we’re talking Post-its, t-shirts, and whatever else you got your grubby hands on at this season’s campus recruiting events.
Career fair season is in full swing and many of you have already met with the firms’ campus recruiting teams, waited in line for hours to shake the sweaty palm of a 1st year associate, attended countless Powerpoint-heavy presentations.
u were bound to receive some goodies to go along with the “work-life is amazing here!” speeches. Professionals, I’m sure you hoarded the highlighters and page flags. Because I am pinned to my desk in Midtown and Caleb is busy eavesdropping on Denver coffee shop regulars, we were not able to travel to campuses this semester but we would still like to be kept up to date on the latest and greatest (and lamest) in campus recruiting schwag. Dig through those “green” bags from the career fair and share the accounting firm lovin’ with us.
What to share:
1. Mail us your extras. If you’ve got some great goodies you want to share with us, email Caleb for his address and put that shit in the mail. As a thank you, he’ll return the favor by sending you Going Concern schwag. Nothing says “too cool for management accounting class” like a Going Concern bumper sticker.
2. Take some pictures. Don’t want to part with that leaky coffee mug from Grant Thornton? Did you win a XXL winter PwC fleece at the University of Miami career fair but want to hold on to it “for when it gets chilly”? Send Caleb (suitable for work) pictures of the gear. Bonus points if the EY teddy bear is taking it to the KPMG stuffed puppy.
3. Tell us a story. Did something ridiculous happen at one of the recruiting events? Partners making out with interns? Intern on intern action? Did someone lose an offer because they had one too many flaming nipple shots?
For those of you worried about your privacy…
Come on now, it’s a moot point by now. It’s no secret that this site would not exist without the anonymous sources, tips, career advice questions, and cutthroat comments that you all provide every day. You make this place bearable, welcoming, helpful, and funny as hell.
Think about some of the stories that Caleb has covered here – PwC’s re-branding strategy, KPMG’s random hiring freeze, McGladery firings. Does he ever blow the top on his sources? Do I ever turn around and call the HR department of every firm who’s professionals reach out to us about looking for jobs? Ummmmm…no. We’re grown ups. We respect your decisions and appreciate it when they are relevant to a story for GC.com. You scratch our backs with tips, and we provide you and the rest of the industry an opportunity to sound off.
Why are we doing this?
We want to keep everyone up to date on how their potential bonus money is being spent on frivolous travel alarm clocks, obviously. That, and we thought it’d be fun – brainless, thoughtless, and not-as-negative-as-every-other-story-in-the-news-today kind of fun. Plus, we know that all recruiting efforts are not created equal. What is handed out in Chicago is not what’s thrown your way in Dallas. Do you really think Greendale Community College see the same hand-outs as Lehigh students? Hell no. Share the stories, share the free schwag lovin’.
I am interviewing with multiple big four firms but I am a little worried that if I receive an offer it may be revoked later on. I graduate in December with my masters and due to recruiting season and studying for the CPA exam I have not focused much on school. My current GPA is 3.5 and I feel that after this semester it will be in the 3.3-3.4 range. Have you ever heard of a CPA firm revoking a new graduate offer due to their grades slipping? I am getting a little worried. Thanks.
Welcome to the trials and tribulations of recruiting season. Unfounded rumors. Random interview selection. Lost sleep over imploding GPAs. Epic amounts of money wasted on free schwag*.
Rest assured, the drop in your GPA should not affect your eligibility. Consider this: your candidacy for a spot at a Big 4 firm consists A) your undergraduate GPA/degree B) any relative internships you’ve landed C) your first semester of grad work (the 3.5 GPA) and D) your CPA eligibility. I say “should not” without making a promise because the world could end tomorrow (Greece! UBS! HPV shots!) and recruiting could dry up but it’s not likely. Okay, UBS could be toast…
I’m not suggesting that you let things slide, either; you will need to provide a final transcript upon graduation. Assuming you took an equal amount of credits across two semesters for your Masters program, your first semester of a 3.5 GPA will be match up with a second semester of 3.2/3.3. Not the end of the world.
Keep interviewing, keep studying, and keep us informed of how things play out. Good luck on campus this fall.
*GC contributors will gladly accept schwag.
127. That is the number of unread emails in my inbox at this very moment (Wednesday @ 2:28pm). Two meetings, a list of high priority to-do’s, and a number of phone calls to return when I hit my desk before 8:00a this morning. What’s the point? We professionals are busy creatures and as much as we appreciate the thoughtfulness of a “thank you” email when we meet you at a Career Fair, we don’t want to hear about your interest in IFRS issues. In an effort to build off the advice in the comments of Monday’s post, here are some things to keep in mind before hitting send on your thank you email to us.
Do: Keep it short, but personal. When we attend a career fair, we can meet upwards of 200 students in an afternoon. Even if 25% send emails, that’s 50 interspersed amongst our regular business inbox. Keep it short, to the point, but also relevant so it doesn’t seem like you sent the same message to every firm. Tip: reference something professional the two of you spoke about, reference to the recruiter what professional you met, or thank them for the invite to an event later in the week; something to make the connection to your brief in-person encounter.
Don’t: Regurgitate your cover letter. It’s a “thank you” email, not an opportunity to over-sell your candidacy.
Do: Triple check your grammar. Nothing takes you out of the running faster than a misspelled name or the incorrect verb tense in a sentence. Sure, accountants are notoriously bad with spelling and grammar, but leave the misspellings to the managers. When you sign off, go with “sincerely” or “regards” followed by your name.
Don’t: Make us feel old. Mr./Miss/Ms./Mrs. are all off the table. We are not our parents, capisce? More importantly, you need to put yourself on the same level as us. You want to be treated as the adult you are, so speak to us as equals. This goes for everyone up and down the hierarchy (first-year professionals to partners). We’re all on the same level when it comes to addressing us in emails.
Do: Capitalize. keep the lowercase sentences to yourself. and your texting buddies. okay? okay.
Don’t: Attach your résumé. Submit through the website like the recruiter mentioned 32 times.
Do: Keep it light. Remember – we enjoy spending time on campus and interacting with the future of our firms. We had a great time meeting you – remind us of that.
Don’t: Get offended if you do not receive a response. Oftentimes the professionals will just forward the emails to the recruiter to keep track of. You wouldn’t expect a “you’re welcome” note if you were mailing a thank you note, would you?
Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been worrying about this for so long, I’m hoping some people in the profession can shed some light on my fears. When I was 18, I was an idiot. I attended a school far away and I literally never attended class. I also never dropped any classes. Needless to say, I flunked out with many Fs on my transcript (almost a full year’s worth). Later on, I went to a community college and remained an idiot. I did the same thing. My GPA was ~0.9.
Fast forward a few years in a new location, and things are a different story. I went to a community college down here and after screwing up yet again in the first term, I had a 4.0 GPA for the remaining 18 classes. I matriculated to a 4 year school (automatic admission in Florida for AA graduates) and continued. My last 64 credits have been straight As, and I have taken some of the hardest accounting classes – including Cost and two Theories.
I am absolutely dreading recruiting. My institution tells me that my “real” GPA consists of the grades I’ve earned at the school – which would make my GPA a 4.0. However, my transcript is going to have my overall GPA of 2.6 on it. To make matters worse, my actual coursework from the newer community college won’t be on the transcript so they won’t even notice much of an admirable grade trend.
I am also not a member of Beta Alpha Psi. To be an accounting major at my school, you need a 3.0 GPA – I was ineligible my first semester. Since I did not have an accounting GPA before last week, I have to submit my application in the next few weeks. I hope their admissions process isn’t so slow that I miss out on any of their opportunities. OCR is next month.
I know this is a scattered story that very few people can relate to. I don’t know what happened in those years and can’t understand it either. If anyone has some direction for me I would be extremely grateful.
Thank you and I love the site. It’s easily my favorite place for shameless mental masturbation when I’m feeling anxious.
– Zero to Hero
Dear Z to H:
Whatever you did to break out of the unfortunate streak of bottom feeding failures in the classroom and get yourself up to a 4.0-GPA-earning level, please tell me. I would like to make it, bottle it, and sell it to the masses.
The way that your college calculates “real” GPAs is standard for the industry; realize that this is absolutely to your advantage. The 4.0 you are currently carrying should be reflected on your résumé. Also on your résumé should be the time you spent at the community college. The time there launched you to where you are now.
Do not be afraid to approach recruiters. That said, I recommend talking to every firm regardless of size. Some might be turned off by your unconventional path to Dean’s List. Be prepared to be honest with the recruiters about your first attempt at college and the years you took off and when you began to right the ship. Honesty is absolutely the best approach here, because come offer time you will need to provide a transcript of your academic history. You want the transcript to be confirmation of your story, not the bombshell. Good luck.
Call me crazy but this feels more like an email from a curious recruiter researching the competition than a junior trying to find out what other firms are up to. But hey, that’s just paranoid ole me.
If you have a question for our crack team of snark distributors, feel free to get in touch.
I’m a young, aspiring CPA entering my junior year of undergrad. As a new target age group of recruiting, I recently attended a leadership conference with one of the Big 4. Sadly, I only applied for one such event, only to meet other students my age attending multiple events held by different firms. In an effort to always compare firms, I was wondering if you could open this up for discussion. Who had the lamest activities? Who had the most people? Which company threw it together at the last minute and had no clue what they were doing?
Thanks so much,
Bi(g 4) curious
Just wondering, did you try to talk to any of these “students your age” about the multiple events they were heading to? What did they have to say?
Why do you care? If you are interested in a particular firm, have you tried searching their tag on this website to see who gets the most “hoo-rah!” staff on here telling other firms’ employees how much they suck? I’m not 100% sure what it is you’re trying to glean from hearing about the recruiting events that you didn’t sign up for but let me save you a whole bunch of research: all recruiting events are pretty much the same. A bunch of awkward people stand around telling bad stories, sometimes crappy snacks are served, every now and then there are cocktails and at the end of it, some people come out of it with a job. End. These events have been going on for thousands of years (well, OK, maybe only the last several decades) and they’ve all pretty much ended the same.
But hey, let’s just say you are for real and just curious how other events went down… have you considered senior year? You have plenty of time to figure out what everyone else is doing.
That said, if anyone has some great stories to share (I’m talking drunk recruiters, moron accounting students making fools of themselves, hot chicks getting hit on by sleazy managers… whatever you kids got), by all means, please let us know.