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how can someone go about getting into the Big 4 without having a finance degree and coming out of a college that did not have the big 4 recruiting from them.

#business #big4
#ManagementConsulting

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Cyndi’s Answer

Hi Erie,

There are different paths that you could take to be hired in a Big 4 Firm. I would suggest looking at the firm's career website and see if there are any internship or fresh grad opportunities. There are many different line of services in each of the firms besides Tax and Accounting. Many firms are also doing specific industry consulting. For example, if you have a Supply Chain Major, you might find some opportunities in Supply Chain Consulting, or if you have an Information Systems major (like I do), then you might find some opportunities in Technology Consulting! Good luck!

Cyndi recommends the following next steps:

Take a look at each firm's career website and see if there are any opportunities that might fit your education background
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Andrew’s Answer

Hi Erie - Great question. The most common way to get into the big 4 is usually through studying a discipline of business during college (i.e. accounting or finance usually). One of the great parts about working at a large accounting firm is there are many different areas within an accounting firm and almost all business disciplines have a place at an accounting firm. That means you do not have to specialize in a specific area within business to be considered for an opportunity at a big 4 firm. Another great part about the big 4 is you do not even need to specialize in business to start a career at a big 4 firm as they are always looking for the best and brightest minds in any discipline as they are always growing and changing business plans.

There are many different ways to get into a big 4 after you start your career. The best thing you can do to make working at a big 4 happen is to have a plan. When having a plan you should consider what area at a big 4 you are interested in. I would recommend going through the web pages of the big 4 firms and finding an area that interests you. It sounds like management consulting is something you are interested in based on your hashtag and this is a career that is very broad with many people from different career backgrounds. Your path should focus on getting experience within the consulting industry at other firms and then tailoring your experience within your first few years of being in consulting towards the career path you found when researching about what the big 4 do.

Taking control of your career and guiding yourself towards a goal will help you to achieve breaking into a big 4 firm. You can discuss career plans with those around you (friends, teachers, mentors, etc.) and network your way into a discussion with someone who works at a big 4 firm. Ultimately, having a plan about where you want to go will help you take ownership of your career and will most likely answer the question of what to do now to get to where you want to go.
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Evan’s Answer

Most Big 4 firms can offer a job that doesn't necessarily require a finance degree. If you look at their job requisitions within the various websites, you might see jobs that are offered such as sales, marketing, and HR among others.
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Marco’s Answer

Great question Erie. Even if a Big 4 Firm didn't recruit at your school then you still have an opportunity to apply for a job through their career websites. Each Firm has one and you can search for jobs where you meet the skill sets. Not every job at a Big Four accounting firm will require you to have an accounting/auditing/finance degree when you join. You may need certain certifications in order to progress through the Firm, but generally Firms are good at providing benefits to help you through that process. Right now many firms have gone "Virtual" so this should really open up the opportunities available to you. Best of luck!
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Kristina’s Answer

While the Big 4 is a common career choice for finance and accounting majors, these are not the only majors welcomed by the Big 4. There are a wide variety of needs to be met and a variety of career options within the Big 4. These are large companies with many different areas of work. I recommend checking out the Career sections of each of the Big 4 company websites. You will be able to see what types of job openings there are and what degrees are preferred for each. There are various resources specific for students as well. If the Big 4 does not specifically recruit at your school, you may have to take more initiatives to seek out the opportunities, but that does not mean there are not opportunities available to you. Each of the Big 4 websites should have all the information you need to get started and begin your networking or job-seeking process.
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Jeremy’s Answer

Hi Erie. To not risk repeating the helpful advice above, I'd also say there are many students who can receive an offer from one of the Big 4 without a traditional finance background and from a non-target school. As mentioned above, there are different areas at the firms you can go into without that finance background. Although being from a not heavily recruited school, you can still use your resources to make connections with recruiters and employees at the Big 4. If you don't already have a LinkedIn account, I would suggest making one and searching for recruiters or Big 4 professionals in the practice and city you are wanting to go into. You can send them a message introducing yourself and asking for advice with the application process. Recruiters and employees at the firms are eager to help and answer any questions you may have. Hope this helps!
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Cameron’s Answer

Hi Erie. This will echo what others have said, but I think it bears additional elucidation. The Big 4 firms are known for accounting, but their business models have all expanded beyond just accounting over the years. I obtained a position at a Big 4 firm in my mid thirties. My educational background includes a BA in Sociology, MBA, and a Juris Doctor. I applied for a position as a consultant, received an offer, and have truly enjoyed the experience so far. So, if you want to work for one of the Big 4, there aren't really any wrong paths to get there, especially on the consulting side.
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Vaibhav’s Answer

Hi Erie, its great to hear that you have your goals set and would set the record straight that campus hiring is just one of the ways to get into a Big 4.In case none of the Big 4 firms are coming to your campus for recruitment, a great way would be to start in some other firm and build your skill set and experience in your field of interest.Most of the Big 4 do hire through campus but a big chunk also comes through the lateral hiring wherein suitable candidates with a skill set fit are hired.That will be your time to shine and keep looking out for openings on the career website and other job platforms for your desired firm and tailor your skills and cover letter to the JDs.I have also joined as a lateral and enjoying my work in one of the Big 4s now.

Wish you luck!
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Scott’s Answer

Over the past few years, big4 has been hiring people without Accounting/Finance backgrounds. A lot of entry level work/responsibilities at big4 can be taught in a fairly quickly manner given the amount of trainings plus the fast paced experience.
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brianna’s Answer

Hi Erie,

As many have already said above, you do not need a finance or accounting degree to get in to the Big 4. The Big 4 are also looking for IT related degrees and many more! Additionally, the Big 4 are currently all in need of associates at different levels. My biggest advice would be first to reach out to a teacher from your school, and ask if they have had any students recently get into the Big 4. If so, ask if you can get into contact with that person, or ask the teacher if they have any advice. Additionally, as others have said, get on LinkedIn, build a profile, and start reaching out to the Big 4 recruiters / Talent consultant letting them know you are interested in a job!
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John’s Answer

The Big public accounting firms have tons of opportunities for people without a finance degree. If you have an inquisitive spirt, are a critical thinker and have passion, enthusiasm and energy for serving clients and solving complex problems, then you will be great in any of the major public accounting firms. It's a great place for anyone with those traits.
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Munazza’s Answer

Maybe you can try applying for consulting roles in the some of these big 4 since some have a consulting dept. For that you dont need to be a finance major. And you can apply directly. Consulting roles do have openings for early professionals.
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Swati’s Answer

Hi Erie. Finance degrees are definitely not a requirement for Big 4 firms! I personally have a technology background, and I have colleagues with business, engineering, and even liberal arts backgrounds. I would recommend reaching out to people on LinkedIn who already work at the company - specifically recruiters. You can use advanced search functions on LinkedIn to look for people at the company and location you're interested in, and also search for "HR" or "Recruiter". You can also directly apply on the websites. Hope this helps!
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Justina’s Answer

I would also recommend finding volunteer or internship opportunities. This gives you a chance to build your skills as well as see what a typical day looks like. Talk to student career advisor at school, professors and ask them to help you navigate any opportunities within the Big4
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Ana’s Answer

Great question. Typically the Big 4 firms hold different departments, such as Business Services. These services are aligned with serving internal staff needs. It may involve information technology, human resources, sales, consulting, customer service amongst some others.

Ana recommends the following next steps:

Research the Big4 of choice, see what jobs are listed on their posting board that do not require a CPE / Finance background.
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Lindsey’s Answer

Don't underestimate the value of networking! Most jobs are secured by connecting with employees already in the company. I highly recommend connecting with & talking to people who work in roles you're interested in at those firms & learning how they got into those roles. Most people are more than willing to talk to you & help you out on your career.
I work in a Technical role with an undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy. Your background is less important than what you are willing to learn through experience in roles.
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Tommy’s Answer

The big 4 accounting firms hire people with all types of education backgrounds. I did not do an accounting degree but have worked at a big 4 form my whole career. You should look at job postings on the big 4 websites and internship opportunities. You could also consider taking some accounting courses if that is the particular area of the big 4 that interests you.
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Trevor’s Answer

I wouldn't worry in the slightest about the Finance degree as we hire from just about every major (I'm a Computer Science major). Just check out the career sites of most Big 4 and they should have a college hire section you can apply through.
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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Erie,

While it can be harder to get your foot in the door at a Big 4 firm if you go to a school without a Big 4 recruiting presence, it’s definitely not impossible. I would start by trying to research the groups at the Big 4 you would be interested in working in, but there are plenty of opportunities for people who didn’t major in finance. I know people at the Big 4 who studied things public policy, economics, computer science, engineering, international relations, and more. The firm is definitely looking for diversity in backgrounds, although certain majors are preferred for certain groups. Consulting groups generally are the most open minded in terms of majors, as individuals do not need to be CPAs to perform their jobs. Once you’ve identified some groups that may be of interest to you, I would use LinkedIn and the Big 4 websites to identify recruiters who may be able to help you. Prepare a short message about you/your background and the kinds of jobs you’re looking for and send the message to any Big 4 recruiters you can find who might be able to help. Generally, if recruiters think you could be a good fit, they’ll connect you with another recruiter at the firm who can help you, even if they themselves don’t recruit for the specific groups you are interested in. Stay optimistic and keep putting yourself out there! Best of luck!
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Ana’s Answer

Job in a Big 4 is definitely a great place to start a career and it is competitive in many ways. If you decide to go for a NON targeted school, you can definitely still get in but might have to do more leg work. For example: B4 consultants in technology are generally not hired from accounting schools. I went to a university that was targeted by B4s, but mostly business and accounting majors - it was sort of difficult to get my foot on the door in the tech side of the firms because they generally looked at my school as accountant/business school alone. Career fairs were not an effective way to seek out openings since I was not in a targeted major - also, I was not interested in career in accounting, rather I was interested in technology.

My strategy changed over time: constantly checked the openings in my top choices for organizations, made sure to be part of professional student-led organizations to build relationship with alumni in organizations I was interested in, built relationships with career services, made sure my LinkedIn profiles was up to date, and reached out to professionals in roles/organizations I could see myself working as/at.

It is a lot of work and you will get a lot of nos and few yes. Don't take "Nos" personally, and if you can get feedback from recruiters do so because every "No" is a learning opportunity that leads you to a path of "Yes".
If you're not used to interviewing, practice with career advisors and/or online tools such as Big Interview - those are huge help if you're shy and many schools have it for free for their students. Practice as much as you can!

Good luck!



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