Applying at the BIG 4
If you are a DU student pursuing B.Com/ B.Com.(H), you must be amongst the ones who wish to grasp a job at the big 4. The big 4 embraces Deloitte, PWC, EY, and KPMG. The big 4 offer you a great working environment, growth opportunities, and competitive salaries. Also, you get additional benefits which are exclusive to the big 4. For example, Deloitte and KPMG offer you the privilege of working from your home (conditions applied) whereas all the big 4s offer cab service to ply to and from the office, laptops and cool bags/ t-shirts with the logo of the company.
The job profile offered-
If you are a fresh graduate, the profile you will be offered will be of an Audit Assistant or an Assurance Associate. The work is somewhat similar and both work in the Audit and Assurance Department of the company. The starting salaries offered range between 3-4 lakhs per annum. Your work will include auditing of financial documents of different companies according to the set standards of the company. Another advantage of working in the big 4 is that your work includes interacting with clients from around the world and you can also expect transfers from one country to another. The big 4 do not refrain from paying extra for extra efforts put in by you. You will be getting bonuses for getting results.
If you have done some research about the big 4, you must be familiar with the term ‘CPA’. CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is a designation offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. If you wish to grow in the big 4, CPA is the key. You cannot expect promotions if you do not pass the CPA exam. The CPA designation is considered as respectful as the CA designation and can offer you growth opportunities in the big 4. To become a CPA, you need to pass the CPA exam.
The 4 sections of the CPA exam are as follows:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD),
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Regulation (REG),
- Business Environment Concepts (BEC)
The passing score for the CPA exam is 75. Some states of the US allow you to sit for the CPA exam with 120 credits which you earn when you complete your graduation from DU. However, most of the states require you to have earned 150 credits, for which you might have to do some additional course. The rule has not been adopted by all the states yet.
The big 4 assist you throughout your journey of earning the CPA designation. They will provide you with all the materials required. Not only this, but they also reimburse your expenses once you clear the CPA exam.
Preparing for placement at the big 4
Enough information about the big 4. Now let’s get to the point. How do you grab a job at the big 4? First things first, since we are talking about the big 4, grabbing a job isn’t that easy. However, it isn’t that difficult either. Some practice and you should be ready to get your dream job.
The big 4 follow their own selection procedures and the procedure consists of some rounds, each of which is an elimination round. The different rounds you can expect are as follows-
- Online test – This test aims at testing the following – quantitative aptitude, verbal ability, logical reasoning, and basic financial accounting knowledge. This round eliminates the maximum number of students. Start preparing for the test a few months before the placement drive and you should be fine (considering the fact that you are an average student). Some might need some more time and some might need a little less time. Also, there is a time limit for each section of the exam and generally there is no negative marking for wrong answers.
- Group Discussion – The GD round aims at testing your team spirit and your leadership qualities. Make sure you are able to put forward your point of view and at the same time ensure that the discussion stays healthy and does not turn into a chaotic debate. Give each one the chance to speak but also don’t do it at the expense of your own chance. Also, since it is a group discussion, avoid looking at the HR when you speak and interact with the fellow candidates.
- HR Interview – The HR interview is mostly a healthy conversation you have with the HR of the company where the HR asks you questions about yourself and questions related to your resume to decide whether you fit the job profile. Also, prepare in advance for general questions like Tell us about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, where do you see yourself in 5 years time, etc. Doing some research about the company and the job profile is a must. For some companies, the HR interview is the last round. However, some have an additional round as well, the Technical Interview.
- Technical Interview – In the technical interview, you can expect questions related to your field of study and the subjects you have studied which are relevant to the job profile you are applying for. Just revise what you think might be relevant to the job profile you are applying for. As long as you are clear with the basics, there is nothing to worry about.
Preparing your resume-
When applying in the big 4, make sure you have a resume which has points which set you apart from the rest of the students. Also, most of the times these companies ask you to prepare your resume in a specified format. Make sure your resume is crisp and entails only important information. Highlight the achievements to grab the eyeballs of the HR. Some experiences such as internship experience in auditing, social work experience, college societies membership, knowledge of an additional language, etc. can earn you the privilege of preference.
Thinking of doing an MBA?
When you are applying in the big 4, it is assumed that accounting is what interests you the most and you wish to stay in the firm for a long period. The big 4 don’t just offer you jobs, they offer you careers. Before applying at the big 4, be clear with whether you wish to become a part of the big 4 and pass the CPA exam or wish to do an MBA. Telling the HR about your MBA aspiration is the best way to get rejected in the interview. In no way do we recommend lying about it. If your goal is to do an MBA, the better option for you is to prepare for the CAT exam, get admission into a B-School and hunt for a job after you are done with your MBA.
Didn’t get into the big 4?
Not everyone gets into the big 4. If you are fortunate enough to get into one of the big 4, it’s great. If not, still great. Do not be disheartened even if you do not get into the big 4. There are numerous other opportunities. Find some other good job and work hard. Try again to become a part of the big 4 after gaining some experience. You work speaks volumes. If you are hard-working and get results for whichever company you work, even the big 4 won’t be able to ignore you or your talent. Also, chances are that some other company pays you way more than the big 4 or offer you a better work environment.
Audit/Consulting/Investment Banking/ Articleship
The most common mistake students make is that they apply for any profile that is offered and are happy with whatever they are able to grab. The first step before hunting for a job is to determine your forte. Apply for the profile you are the best fit for. The best quote to keep in mind when searching for a job is, ‘Do what you love and love what you do’. Do not be tempted by high salaries, bigger brand name or what your friends tell you. You know what is best for you and also your capabilities. Choose wisely and always think long term when applying for a job.
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