11 answers

Due to the competitive nature, do Big 4 firms discriminate against students who start at a community college?

Asked Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

So I am a student at community college for financial reasons, however I do not want that to make me a 'weaker' candidate. If it does, what can I do to set myself apart from the pack? #accounting #community-college #auditing #working-in-big-companies #deloitte #ey #kpmg #pwc

11 answers

Joel’s Answer


Hi Tiffany,

Big 4 firms do not value what school you went to, but rather your performance in school. Additionally, Big 4 firms value internship experience. I understand how you might feel that you're not a strong enough candidate, as I had those same doubts, as I went to a smaller school and didn't have any accounting internships, only insurance internships. However, I kept my grades up and I practiced my interview skills, and I was able to land a job with PwC. Keep working hard and it will work out!

Good luck!


Your answer is great Joel, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! At this moment there are more than 800 unanswered questions so I wanted to encourage you to keep going! So many students will benefit tremendously from hearing from you. Keep up the great work!

Jane’s Answer

Updated Tampa, Florida
Hi Tiffany. Thank you for your question! The quick answer to your question is NO. I certainly started in community college and many of my colleagues did as well. Although the Big 4 actively recruit from bigger universities, we accept applications from everyone and have staff with various educational backgrounds and experiences. Some roles have specific educational and experience requirements so depending on your interest, we encourage you to visit the link http://www.pwc.com/us/en/careers.html for more information. Wish you all the best!

Grant’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Hi Tiffany,

Big 4 firms do not discriminate against community college students. I think the good advice would be to still aim for a high GPA and become involved with extracurricular activities, as these will set your resume apart. And be sure to get involved with your local firm before and during recruiting. But this is my general advice for any college students! Good luck!

Vicki’s Answer

Updated Hutto, Texas

Absolutely not! Your degree is what matters overall. Your degree doesn't say "I graduated from here, but the first part of my schooling was from a community college" The fact that you were accepted into the university, and met their requirements for graduation says it all. My father was a partner in the Big 4 (retired now) and he said this all the time :) In fact, he actually went to a community college and then went on to graduate from a "4 yr" college

Tharun’s Answer


I do not believe Big 4 Firms discriminate against students who start at Community college. These firms will look at your potential and how well you have performed at your college. Higher Grades, doing Internships for gaining experience and willingness to explore new areas like extracurricular activities will certainly make you a strong candidate for the job. Willingness to be proactive and working hard will always keeps the door open for potential opportunities in the future. Good Luck!

David’s Answer

Hi Tiffany,

No firm you would want to work for would discriminate based on your college. Good firms judge talent on more than academia, but especially so more than just the name of the school on a resume. Employers of top talent, such as B4 firms, universally look for the best candidates, and that means exploring a student's whole self: grades, extra curriculars, ambitions, goals, and career outlook. You should not feel like a "weaker" candidate for your school.

David recommends the following next steps:

  • Continue to work hard at your classes, and diversify yourself in terms of extra curricular activities.

Alice’s Answer

Updated Washington

The 'competitive' part of getting into a Big 4 is how well you did in school, the internships you had during the summer, your references, and your interview - NOT that you went to community college. There is nothing wrong with going to a community college. My father taught at a small state school for 43 years. He was a fantastic professor and mentor to many students over his career. Because of the smaller class size he was able to get to know his students and help them individually. Did I mention he was an accounting professor? Work hard and do your best no matter what you do (or where it is) and there will be payoffs later on. You can do it!

Joey’s Answer


Going off of what others have already said, I would note that the name of the school you went to is far less important than the relationships you built while you were there. Big 4 firms have a population of a wide variety of alumni, of which I'm sure you can find a connection with outside of where you went to school. Definitely attend any campus learning events where anyone from the industry is speaking and make yourself known. You never know what kind of opportunities people have for you until you ask for them!

Charlotte’s Answer


Hi Tiffany,

At PwC, we don't believe going to community college is an issue. We have an assessment as part of the application process and that is (in part) what the decision is made on, not where you went to school. We are moving towards an application process that eliminates natural bias, by having an assessment and a video interview, which will make your educational history even less of a barrier.

Good luck!


Alessandra’s Answer

Updated Raleigh, North Carolina

Hi Tiffany - I do not believe Big 4 firms discriminate against students who start at community college. I would suggest to have the following items included on your resume to try and set you apart from the rest of the candidates. High GPA, honors/achievements (ie. Dean's list, scholarship recipient, honor's society), work experience (ie. accounting internship, if possible, would be the best), extracurricular activities (volunteering, schools clubs, sports teams) and stand-out skills (ie. computer skills, bilingual, tech-enabled). Aside from what is on paper, the interviews are a huge part as well. Try to be yourself, research the company you are interviewing with and be really interested and excited for the opportunity.

Dave’s Answer

No. Any company worth working for is not going to discriminate against where you went to school. What is important is what you made of your time there. It also helps to show that you are well rounding by getting involved in extracurricular activities.