Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
Bauer24
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 2:53 am

Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby Bauer24 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:02 pm

I've taken the LSAT and GMAT and have done well on both exams. (177 LSAT, 780 GMAT) But I'm a splitter..
I'm taking a year off to work as a software trainer and a part-time real estate salesperson. (Should get my broker's license by 2011.)

I'm trying to decide if it's better to apply for accounting programs or law schools.
Advice?

I could do both but is it really worth my time to do both!?!?
What do you guys think?

From my understanding...
Pros of Law School
1.) Can get an awesome salary straight out of school. $160K/year
2.) The law school experience!!
3.) I enjoy arguing, analyzing arguments, public speaking etc.. people have said they think I'd make a good lawyer.

Cons of Law School
1.) Poor job market.. not everyone who goes to law school earns $160K/year immediately.
2.) 3 years of law school and debt
3.) So many papers! I didn't pick a math major because I wanted to spend four years writing a zillion term papers..

Pros of Accounting
1.) Greater job security.. CPAs are still in high demand.
2.) Only one year of schooling- less debt.
3.) If I want law school later on, I can apply easily AND Northwestern Law will be a lot easier to get into...
4.) Numbers person, a CPA might be a better personal fit for me than a lawyer.

Cons of Accounting
1.) Even with the CPA certification, I'd only be earning $70K/year out of grad school. I'm not sure how much more I'll make in a Big 4 firm.. I've heard that I could eventually reach 6 figures, which is great, but I could be earning this right away out of law school.

de5igual
Posts: 1463
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:52 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby de5igual » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:52 pm

Bauer24 wrote:I've taken the LSAT and GMAT and have done well on both exams. (177 LSAT, 780 GMAT) But I'm a splitter..
I'm taking a year off to work as a software trainer and a part-time real estate salesperson. (Should get my broker's license by 2011.)

I'm trying to decide if it's better to apply for accounting programs or law schools.
Advice?

I could do both but is it really worth my time to do both!?!?
What do you guys think?

From my understanding...
Pros of Law School
1.) Can get an awesome salary straight out of school. $160K/year
2.) The law school experience!!
3.) I enjoy arguing, analyzing arguments, public speaking etc.. people have said they think I'd make a good lawyer.

Cons of Law School
1.) Poor job market.. not everyone who goes to law school earns $160K/year immediately.
2.) 3 years of law school and debt
3.) So many papers! I didn't pick a math major because I wanted to spend four years writing a zillion term papers..

Pros of Accounting
1.) Greater job security.. CPAs are still in high demand.
2.) Only one year of schooling- less debt.
3.) If I want law school later on, I can apply easily AND Northwestern Law will be a lot easier to get into...
4.) Numbers person, a CPA might be a better personal fit for me than a lawyer.

Cons of Accounting
1.) Even with the CPA certification, I'd only be earning $70K/year out of grad school. I'm not sure how much more I'll make in a Big 4 firm.. I've heard that I could eventually reach 6 figures, which is great, but I could be earning this right away out of law school.


:shock: not sure where you'd be earning $70K starting out, cause Big4 sure ain't payin' that much

User avatar
Snoopy1216
Posts: 255
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:32 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby Snoopy1216 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:56 pm

He should earn 70k or more. My friend had a bachelor's, sub3.0 gpa, and no softs and she found a job in NYC making 55K

User avatar
cardnal124
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:31 am

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby cardnal124 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:57 pm

f0bolous wrote:
Bauer24 wrote:I've taken the LSAT and GMAT and have done well on both exams. (177 LSAT, 780 GMAT) But I'm a splitter..
I'm taking a year off to work as a software trainer and a part-time real estate salesperson. (Should get my broker's license by 2011.)

I'm trying to decide if it's better to apply for accounting programs or law schools.
Advice?

I could do both but is it really worth my time to do both!?!?
What do you guys think?

From my understanding...
Pros of Law School
1.) Can get an awesome salary straight out of school. $160K/year
2.) The law school experience!!
3.) I enjoy arguing, analyzing arguments, public speaking etc.. people have said they think I'd make a good lawyer.

Cons of Law School
1.) Poor job market.. not everyone who goes to law school earns $160K/year immediately.
2.) 3 years of law school and debt
3.) So many papers! I didn't pick a math major because I wanted to spend four years writing a zillion term papers..

Pros of Accounting
1.) Greater job security.. CPAs are still in high demand.
2.) Only one year of schooling- less debt.
3.) If I want law school later on, I can apply easily AND Northwestern Law will be a lot easier to get into...
4.) Numbers person, a CPA might be a better personal fit for me than a lawyer.

Cons of Accounting
1.) Even with the CPA certification, I'd only be earning $70K/year out of grad school. I'm not sure how much more I'll make in a Big 4 firm.. I've heard that I could eventually reach 6 figures, which is great, but I could be earning this right away out of law school.


:shock: not sure where you'd be earning $70K starting out, cause Big4 sure ain't payin' that much


Ya, the most I've seen out of a Masters of Accounting program is around 45-55k in mid-major markets, with 45k being the Big 4. Mid size regional firms tend to make more because they have fewer opportunities out of the firm. And job opportunities are better, but still are taking a hit. And a ton of layoffs after 6 months that you won't hear about from recruiters

User avatar
chadwick218
Posts: 1337
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:15 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby chadwick218 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:01 pm

I graduated with a masters degree in accounting, worked for five years, and began law school this past fall. This is ultimately a career choice, IMO. If you are considering the masters degree in accounting before attending law school, I would plan to spend at least 3+ years working for a big four firm in order to gain any long-term advantages from the degree. Also, depending on markets, the starting salary for new audit associates is roughly b/w $45K and $55K (plus perhaps a $5K signing bonus and an additional $5K bonus assuming that you pass the CPA exam in the first year).

Also, based on conversations that I have had with a few partners that I keep close contact with, the layoffs appear to be over for the time being, but many new associates are back to working very, very long hours (something that was somewhat atypical in more recent years).

User avatar
nycsoul87
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:44 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby nycsoul87 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:41 pm

Wow, I'm in an similar position (170 lsat 3.0 gpa splitter) I'm studying for the gmat and trying to decide between law school and a masters in accounting. I think I'm leaning towards the latter + getting some work experience because accounting seems like the safer bet right now. Like you said, we can always go back and make a run at Northwestern in a few years if we get bored. I just dont want to be saddled with debt from law school right now and be stuck behind this seemingly ridiculous glut of lawyers :/

User avatar
chadwick218
Posts: 1337
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:15 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby chadwick218 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:22 pm

nycsoul87 wrote:Wow, I'm in an similar position (170 lsat 3.0 gpa splitter) I'm studying for the gmat and trying to decide between law school and a masters in accounting. I think I'm leaning towards the latter + getting some work experience because accounting seems like the safer bet right now. Like you said, we can always go back and make a run at Northwestern in a few years if we get bored. I just dont want to be saddled with debt from law school right now and be stuck behind this seemingly ridiculous glut of lawyers :/



Apply to NU ED next year and you are likely in or apply to WUSTL anytime. Both are LSAT whores.

User avatar
kswiss
Posts: 391
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:58 am

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby kswiss » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:25 pm

apply to both. A 177 LSAT can make up a lot for being a splitter. Depending on what your GPA is you could still get a full ride at many schools in T1, and you'd probably have several acceptances in the T14.

Are you a 3.0 177 splitter or a 2.0 177 splitter? That makes a pretty big difference. a 177 will get you in a lot of places unless you're GPA is total shit.

User avatar
Bauer24
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 2:53 am

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby Bauer24 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:33 pm

kswiss wrote:apply to both. A 177 LSAT can make up a lot for being a splitter. Depending on what your GPA is you could still get a full ride at many schools in T1, and you'd probably have several acceptances in the T14.

Are you a 3.0 177 splitter or a 2.0 177 splitter? That makes a pretty big difference. a 177 will get you in a lot of places unless you're GPA is total shit.


A 3.0/177.. am hoping to bring it up to about 3.05-3.1 by the time I graduate college.

MaineCourse
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:51 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby MaineCourse » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:39 pm

As a fellow accouting major, let me tell you-go to law school. If you get with a B4 Acc Firm, you'll slave away just like big law-but make significantly less. YES, partners in Big 4 can make a million+/yr, but that will take 12 years, and only 4 percent do that. You have the scores to go either way-go to Harvard Law School

User avatar
Chairman
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:00 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby Chairman » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:49 pm

You're not gonna make $70k straight out of school with a masters in accounting. Big 4 firms are likely paying (at best) in the low 50K range (with a slight--and I do mean slight--for really high COL markets). I'm coming from 3+ years at a Big 4 firm, so I have some idea what I'm talking about.

User avatar
Bauer24
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 2:53 am

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby Bauer24 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:31 am

Chairman wrote:You're not gonna make $70k straight out of school with a masters in accounting. Big 4 firms are likely paying (at best) in the low 50K range (with a slight--and I do mean slight--for really high COL markets). I'm coming from 3+ years at a Big 4 firm, so I have some idea what I'm talking about.



Yea I get what y'all are saying. I don't remember exactly where the source was.. but I think subconsciously added in the bonuses to that.

User avatar
DGLitcH
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:36 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby DGLitcH » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:37 pm

Chairman wrote:You're not gonna make $70k straight out of school with a masters in accounting. Big 4 firms are likely paying (at best) in the low 50K range (with a slight--and I do mean slight--for really high COL markets). I'm coming from 3+ years at a Big 4 firm, so I have some idea what I'm talking about.


What is the normal bump in pay raise each year? And how much pay increase do you get for receiving your CPA designation?

I hope it's not too personal but I am trying to get an idea in terms of the pay when comparing to doing JD

de5igual
Posts: 1463
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:52 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby de5igual » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:47 pm

DGLitcH wrote:
Chairman wrote:You're not gonna make $70k straight out of school with a masters in accounting. Big 4 firms are likely paying (at best) in the low 50K range (with a slight--and I do mean slight--for really high COL markets). I'm coming from 3+ years at a Big 4 firm, so I have some idea what I'm talking about.


What is the normal bump in pay raise each year? And how much pay increase do you get for receiving your CPA designation?

I hope it's not too personal but I am trying to get an idea in terms of the pay when comparing to doing JD


pay raise each year = depends on the economy. when i started (2 1/2 yrs ago), it was a little under 10%, this year, hardly anyone got raises (even people who got promoted)

getting your CPA is expected...just like passing the bar is expected when you work at a law firm. if you don't pass the CPA exam, you're eventually let go

User avatar
Hattori Hanzo
Posts: 659
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:17 am

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:05 pm

I don't see the point in getting a Masters in Acctg. A couple of my coworkers had masters in Acctg. and they started out @ the same position with those who had only BAs and got the same pay. This was of course in CA where you don't need 5 years of school to get your CPA license (I know some other states, e.g. TX require 5 years).
The pay like other mentioned is not $70K even with "bonus". I am yet to hear of a major accounting firm giving bonuses other than the one time bonus for passing the 4 parts of the CPA exam and annual raises. Smaller firms sometimes have profit sharing plans but even that won't get you near $70K.

A reasonable alternative to a JD might be an MBA. With a high GMAT score and good WE, your low GPA will matter much less going to B-school than it does going to law school.

We're numbers twins btw (GMAT and LSAT). I want to go for a JD/MBA so maybe you'd want to consider that as well.

Edit: On better marketability of CPA vs. JD, you don't need a masters degree to get your CPA licnese and can easily add the CPA to your JD to make yourself even more marketable.

User avatar
kdw94780
Posts: 147
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 10:07 pm

Re: Masters of Accounting program or Law School?

Postby kdw94780 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:23 pm

Wow, with those amazing gmat and lsat scores, please do not waste your time with the Master in Accounting. I have a BA in Accounting from the University of Central Missouri, and I recently interned in the international tax division at KPMG. I was told that had the economy not been so sucky (with two large layoffs and freezing intern/new hires), that I would have for sure received an offer (Salary in Kansas City started at $48,500). The most prestigious accounting programs are USC, BYU, Notre Dame, Illinois, Texas, and Mich)....as you know schools like Harvard, Yale, etc do not have accounting programs at the ba or ma levels. My point is if you get a Master in Accounting degree even at a top accounting school, you will likely end up working side by side with someone who may have gone to a much smaller school or who may not even have a Masters degree. Big 4 firms only care about you being eligible to take the CPA exam (almost no states require actual graduate work...they typically only require 150 hrs). Furthermore, the salary difference between a ba associate and a ma associate is small if any. The $48,500 figure I put up there is quoted from a 2nd year associate with a Master's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In cities like Chicago, LA, NY, your salary will be larger but not by much (maybe 10k more at the most)

If you had mediocre lsat and gmat scores, I'd say go for accounting....but man don't think that going to law school is going to automatically equate to six figure debt. I have a full scholarship from UIUC (among other nice offers)...I am a splitter as well, but I'm in the opposite situation as you.

Going to USC or Texas is going to run you back $60k for a degree that is meant to only get people eligible to take the CPA exam.

If I were in your position, I would look focus on law school or b school or both. If you are very interested in business, look at a JD/MBA combo. You seem perfectly suited for a top JD/MBA program. I don't know if your background is audit, advisory, or tax...but I sure know that in international tax, I had a lot of KPMG memos and opinions to write...so even in public accounting....good writing skills are essential.

Again...realize how lucky you are with that LSAT and GMAT. Even if you are a splitter, apply...you may never know what a school is looking for...just look at Law School Numbers, Law School Predictor, and Law School Calculator...but don't waste your time and money with a MACC...(remember it's only meant to get you enough hours to sit for the exam)




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Houzy, idissent and 4 guests