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

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

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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!

Joel

Thank you comment icon 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! Jordan Rivera, Admin COACH
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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!

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Alessandra’s Answer

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.

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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.
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Jane’s Answer

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!
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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.

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Grant’s Answer

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!

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Alice’s Answer

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!

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Vicki’s Answer

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

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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!

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Riham’s Answer

Personally, I think having a good attitude and communicate with others is more important than anything else.
Best of luck!
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mohamed’s Answer

I work for one of the big 4 ( PwC) and i didn't see or notice any discrimination in selecting or accepting candidates. However it takes into consideration the quality of your grades and if have the capacities and qualities required
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Alexandra’s Answer

One way to differentiate yourself would be to try to do an internship, even if it is with a very small accounting firm or office and even if it is unpaid. People who go to college do not have practical experience when they interview for jobs. Your desire to gain experience can show your commitment but also practically make you stand out.
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Denise’s Answer

Hi Tiffany! That is a good question! They definitely do not hold a discrimination against them. Personally, I think having a good atttidude is everything and more important than your college or GPA. Hope this helps best of luck!
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Elena’s Answer

Hey Tiffany,

I don't think that Big 4 firms discriminate against students who start at a community college. As long as you are an excellent student, it should not affect anything. I personally know a few students, who started at the community college, received a master's degree in accounting afterwards and successfully received a job offer from the Big 4 accounting firms.

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Aaron’s Answer

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?

Hi Tiffany,

I started my college career at a local community college, and soon transferred to a public college in my home state. I am currently working at a big 4 company. It all depends on the work you put into yourself, your school work, and your persistence to be the best student you can be.

This includes getting high grades, actively pursuing internships, and being involved in the college and local communities for starters. You can also see which colleges in your area have recruiting relationships with the Big 4, to get yourself in front of the recruiters from these companies.

I hope this helps!

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Jonathan’s Answer

Absolutely not! Speaking for PwC, we don't discriminate any candidate. We look for top talent, period! I personally went to a community college for two years before transferring to a four-year university to get my bachelor's degree. I obtained an internship at PwC without a problem and have now been working with the firm full-time for almost four years. Everyone takes a different journey to get to the same point, not everyone is privileged enough or fortunate enough to go to a four year university for all four years. I personally was one of those people who paid for all my college education with cash, and couldn't afford tuition at UConn for four years. Even when I transferred to UConn I did not live on campus because I worked full-time to pay for school! My journey was my journey and defines who I am and how I can contribute to PwC (or any big four firm). In short, excel in school no matter where you attend and know that if you're talented, any big four will see that in you and accept you for internship or full-time.
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Emilio’s Answer

Hi there!!

I don't have the experience of going to a community college, but I did not go to a school that was recruited by the Big Four. My advice is to apply to any related accounting internships to get some experience and meet people through these experiences.
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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Tiffany!

The Big 4 firms do not hold going to a community college against a candidate in their applications. I know at PwC, we look for the candidates that are hard workers and will fit in at our firm! If you have good work experience, are involved in organizations on campus, and show you are willing to do the work, you will stand out just as much as someone who started at a Tier 1 school!
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Vincent’s Answer

Hi Tiffany,

As one of my professors once said "the CPA exam is the great equalizer". I would highly suggest you trying to pass your CPA exam while in school. This will help open many doors and will make life much easier when you start working. If you show that you are a bright student and have your exam parts passed, it shouldn’t be very difficult getting a job at a Big 4 or Regional firm. Good luck!!
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William’s Answer

Dear Tiffany,

The Big 4, especially PwC does not discriminate against people who attend community colleges. We are an inclusive firm that accepts everybody for who they are and where they came from, and base one's success on the things that they do within the firm.

Yes, you do need to display some sort of academic excellence and initiative within extracurricular activities to be admitted to the firm, but it's more about what you are able to accomplish once you start.

Best,
William Tu
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Matthew’s Answer

No. There are schools that a Firm may focus on because of the access to a higher quantity of qualified candidates. This is the fastest, lowest cost way of recruiting while still obtaining high quality employees. But in my experience if you are qualified you will not be overlooked. It may take more effort to get into the structured process a Firm has but if you really want it, there are ways to achieve it.
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Mark’s Answer

Hi Tiffany,
Big 4 firms don't discriminate from people who start their education at a community college. While most job opportunities require a 4 year degree, much consideration goes into the grades you earned, applicable work experience and internships. In my opinion, an internship at a big 4 is invaluable because you can see first hand what goes into working for these firms and if you make a good impression, you'll have a better chance of receiving a job offer over others who didn't intern at a big 4.
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Simeon’s Answer

The big 4 firms are always looking for qualified candidates, regardless of their background. I have a general business degree and managed to get hired into the Risk Assurance part of my firm. If you're patient and do a good job networking, an opportunity will usually come up to get hired as far as I can tell. People often leave the big 4 in waves; they say you either go up or out. Many of our staff have an eye on "jumping to industry" using their experience at the firm, so if there's a staffing need and you have the necessary experience, I'd say your odds aren't bad that you'll find a way in during one of these waves eventually.
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