Thread List
First Page Previous Page Page 237 / 308 Next Page Last Page
Subject#Latest
7 25.07.11
7 26.07.11
7 28.07.11
7 31.07.11
7 04.08.11
7 04.08.11
7 24.08.11
7 24.08.11
7 09.09.11
7 14.11.11
7 22.11.11
7 07.02.12
7 01.03.12
7 12.03.12
7 23.04.12
7 03.05.12
7 08.05.12
7 16.05.12
7 22.05.12
7 27.05.12
7 05.06.12
7 12.06.12
7 28.06.12
7 09.07.12
7 13.07.12
7 17.07.12
7 20.07.12
7 20.07.12
7 24.07.12
7 09.08.12
7 17.09.12
7 18.09.12
7 18.10.12
7 26.10.12
7 01.11.12
7 06.11.12
7 14.11.12
7 15.11.12
7 22.11.12
7 22.12.12
7 04.01.13
7 14.01.13
7 31.01.13
7 14.02.13
7 24.02.13
7 25.02.13
7 27.02.13
7 01.03.13
7 08.03.13
7 22.03.13
First Page Previous Page Page 237 / 308 Next Page Last Page

Career change - ACA vs MBA

 
#1 Career change - ACA vs MBA
21/11/2011 12:21

ed55

Hi

I came across this forum whilst doing some research into consulting, and would appreciate people's thoughts on my situation. I currently work in the Third Sector for a large charity, and have been involved in the sector since in completed my studies, 8 years ago.

I am involved at the management end and heavily involved in the education sphere, including some trans-atlantic work. However, I am looking at changing careers as the Third Sector is a very difficult place to get any sense of stability, plus my interests lay more and more within the business and management arena.

I have been fortunate to secure a Training Contract for Accountacy with one of the Big 4, starting September 2012, by which time I will be 32. My current employer is aware of this and really wants to keep me on for another couple of years, due to specific information/knowledge that I have that no-one else in the organisation currently has. They have therefore agreed to fund me to do an MBA if I stay with them past September 2012 - it's all legit and in writing. A lot of people work in the private sector and then go and work in charities - I am trying to do it the other way around.

Basically, I was attracted to accountancy by the professional qualification and the exposure to business, as well as the other career paths that an ACA can open up for you, including into Consultancy from what I have been told.

However, whilst I know what an MBA can do, I am not too sure if it will make me stand out more against other people, as compared to the ACA. Will an MBA really help me to get employment as a Consultant, or should I do the ACA first and then try and move across.

My MBA would not be at somewhere like LBS, but am looking at Cranfield etc, if I get accepted.

Appreciate people's thoughts.

Paul

Reply  Quote   
 
#2 RE: Career change - ACA vs MBA
21/11/2011 14:33

Recruitertoo to ed55 (#1)

ACA: no brainer in terms of career prospects, security and opening doors BUT you have to be happy with the idea of a career as an auditor or accountant. Moving out of that into Consultancy or other careers is a bit hit and miss.

An MBA will be unlikely to set you off on a different career path, whatever they say! Even with a top tier MBA an employer will put you into a box based on your earlier career so basically you will almost certainly simply remain in the Third sector.

I suspect you could probably rejoin the very same charity once qualified if you miss each other that much.

You have done really well to get that offer: stick with it and don't mess it up.

Reply  Quote   
 
#3 RE: Career change - ACA vs MBA
21/11/2011 16:10

baykus to Recruitertoo (#2)

Rubbish - if you get an MBA from a top uni, of course you can make the switch to consulting. Your unusual (for consultancies that is) background may even help set you apart when applying - I've worked with people with many random backgrounds in consulting.

That said, I'm afraid Cranfield will prob not cut it for the top consultancies, but for 2nd/3rd tier it'll prob work - not my area of expertise.

Reply  Quote   
 
#4 RE: Career change - ACA vs MBA
21/11/2011 17:18

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to baykus (#3)

Both baykus and Recruitertoo make valid points here...

ACA: no brainer in terms of career prospects, security and opening doors BUT you have to be happy with the idea of a career as an auditor or accountant. Moving out of that into Consultancy or other careers is a bit hit and miss.

Take note of Recruitertoo here - an ACA is a no brainer for career prospects if you are happy with the idea of a career as an auditor or accountant. If you are dead set on a career in consulting then it is far from a no brainer. In fact it's rare for people to move from accounting to consulting - and you're even less likely to pull off such a move when your experience prior to that is in a sector where consulting firms win very little business and therefore will value that experience less highly. In summary don't do the ACA if you want a career in consulting, but do consider whether the accounting route might give you the exposure to business that you're craving - and a potential route on to becoming an FD, etc.

I've worked with people with many random backgrounds in consulting.

That said, I'm afraid Cranfield will prob not cut it for the top consultancies, but for 2nd/3rd tier it'll prob work - not my area of expertise.

I'd also agree with the points baykus makes. Consulting firms do hire from a variety of backgrounds - especially at the MBA intake point. I'd give you much better odds of ending up in consulting post-MBA than post-ACA qualification (out of the two routes you've proposed).

baykus is quite right to stress the importance of choosing the right school though. If you look at this piece you'll see that only a handful of European business schools give you any shot at getting into the top strategy firms: http://news.top-consultant.com/UK/Which-MBA-Will-Open-The-Door-to-McKinsey-BCG-and-Bain-8295.html

Whilst you may or may not have aspirations of joining these particular firms, baykus is quite right that there is a hierarchy of schools and each "tier" of consulting firms will have a set of schools that they will and will not consider when looking to make MBA hires. Getting into a more prestigious school (eg. LBS) would certainly increase the chances of your more unusual background being overlooked when it comes to securing a consulting role with the type of firm you'd like to join. As an absolute minimum, though, be sure if you go down the MBA route to find out from that school's careers service (or by doing research on LinkedIn) just how successful they have been in recent years at producing MBA graduates who go on to be hired by your target employers. Otherwise an MBA could prove to be an expensive mistake that doesn't get you where you ultimately want to go.

Hope this helps ed55 - and good luck

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

Reply  Quote   
 
#5 RE: Career change - ACA vs MBA
21/11/2011 22:56

ed55 to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#4)

Hi Tony

I appreciate the feedback from everyone and I guess it has raised a few questions. Ultimately I want to change my career and move into a private sector/business environment. I suppose the ultimate question for me is what way that is best achieved - through Accountancy or an MBA.

My involvement in the Third Sector is tightly aligned to the formal education sector which seems to be an area that more consultancy firms are moving into and taking an interest in, not least because of the proposed outsourcing of many services. My experience in building and sustaining relationships, communication etc also seems to have been a positive for the offer I got for the Accountancy (the partner pretty much told me so). I don't see myself remaining in practice for the next 30 odd years, and had been under the impression that an ACA could leverage me into different roles (eventually) though still with a finance aspect.

Which leaves me with a quandary - LBS is just simply unrealistic from a fees perspective - my employer will pay for one if I stay past next September, but I'm pretty sure they won't pay that much. With regards to MBB - I'm also realistic enough to know that that isn't where I am aiming at, so it would be the best of the rest hopefully and more than likely one of the Big 4 - which I am sure people have their own views on.

So, that all said I know what I will get with an ACA presuming I pass it - I'm qualified as an Accountant and can progress from there all being well. For the MBA I'm just not clear where it will take me - I would love to do it but will it enable me to just switch career/sector, and if I'm not looking at the likes of LBS then which is the next best?

Thanks

Paul

Reply  Quote   
 
#6 RE: Career change - ACA vs MBA
22/11/2011 13:18

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to ed55 (#5)

If I'm understanding you correctly then your goal is not to ultimately work in consulting long term, but to pursue now whichever route is most likely to lead you to a private sector / business oriented career?

If that's the case then I would advise the ACA route. My earlier comments were based on the understanding that your goal was to secure a career in consulting - and trying to weigh up whether ACA or MBA route would best achieve this. The ACA route gives you a pretty cast iron route into a long term career in the private sector. The MBA route has a less certain outcome and certainly doesn't remove the possibility that you'd find yourself re-employed in the Third Sector upon completion.

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

Reply  Quote   
 
#7 RE: Career change - ACA vs MBA
22/11/2011 22:30

ed55 to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#6)

Tony

I think that's a fair point. Ultimately my goal is to leave the Third Sector, where although most people would think I have done well for myself (within the sector) and I am involved in developing work that will probably be around for the next 10-15 years, I now find myself much more focussed on 'achieving' within a business focussed environment and from a financial perspective. The financial part is never going to happen in the Third Sector, and not being currently located in London, is even less likely. I guess after 8 years in this sector I now want to in some ways 'compete' in the private sector and see how good, bad or indifferent I actually am. I back myself to do well but obviously have no reference unless I actually do it.

My concern with the ACA is that it does very tightly define me - Accounting/Audit etc and that I am more naturally drawn to the concepts within an MBA. That said, I'll be 32 this time next year, have a wife of the same age, no kids and whilst we are both happy to relocate, having read a lot of the other threads about consulting, even if I was happy to potentially be consistently away from home for 4-5 nights per week, it couldn't be good for my home life and above all would not be fair on my better half. Currently whilst I do have to sometimes work long hours and travel, including to the US - I do get my time back and have total control over my own work and schedule.

The ACA seems to offer me the route into business and whilst the pay cut will be pretty severe for the first 3 years, I will get a severance package from my current employer, and all being well would aim to be at my current salary level in 5 years at most. I am pretty sure that the Big 4 Firm would work me hard during my training contract, but they also had other people such as myself who had changed careers - plus if I did well there then they would be pretty good on my CV.

It's just the narrowing that bothers me, whereas the MBA in some senses seems to be not specific enough in helping me change my career.

Appreciate the advice.

Paul

Reply  Quote   

Top of Page

ThreadID: 75402

Advertise
Your Jobs!