Why Do I Feel That My Future Is Doomed if I cant get into Big Four?

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    So just took my prerecorded interview with EY for an entry level FSO Assurance Associate Position. What a nightmare that was!!! The first question was relatively simple that I had, I didn't realize that it takes 30 seconds before it starts recording, so I was answering the question when it wasn't recording, then freaked out and stopped the clip within 4 seconds, which threw me off. That first question got submitted as my final answer. That threw off the whole interview. Then of course has to ask me about a time I was a leader, which I wasn't comfortably even answering, then another follow up question to that same story. I thought I was able to answer 2 questions descent, but man that first question threw me off. I understand why they ask teamwork questions, but don't understand why they emphasize a time you were a leader so much, considering your applying for an entry level position, where you never really had the chance to manage a team. So then you have to talk about a school project. Sorry for venting, just really upset because I was able to get the interview through my dad's friend who is a partner, and felt really confident going in and left knowing I will not make it to the next round. I don't know why I keep thinking my future is over if I don't get into a big four while I am still young. Can someone please convince me that you don't need Big Four to be successful in career? Need some motivation now. I have been at a small CPA firm for a little over a year now.


    there have been lots of successful careers without being in the big four. but success is defined by the individual, go after what makes you happy


    Sorry to hear that. Leadership questions are valuable because they answer a lot of questions at once – it's not about supervisory experience (leadership and supervision aren't the same thing), it's more about demonstrating a record of showing initiative, being able to work with others, dealing with tough situations, being able to think on your feet and make independent decisions, etc. I doubt many people do that well on the recorded video interviews, so don't write yourself off just yet. If you aren't successful this time, it's not the end of the world. You will get other chances to get a Big 4 job. In fact, in many ways, the job opportunities for external hires at the Big 4 only get better as you get more experience.

    AUD - 79
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    Manager, Big 4 Corporate Finance, CPA (WA)

    Thank you all for that. Its hard for me to answer that leading a team question because I never really a leader of a team in a school project. So its hard to come up with a natural real world example.


    Hard to believe, but there are actually several successful people on the planet that have never worked at a big four accounting firm.

    The leadership questions are telling for multiple reasons. A lot of it is maturity and life experience. If you think about it there has probably been a time when you've showed leadership qualities. It could be as simple as showing somebody how to do something or reaching out to someone that needed help. You just need to be able to relate that experience in a positive way.

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    Jimmy Dugan

    You feel that way because so much is made of big 4 experience. I felt the same way myself when I couldn't get on with anyone in Big 4 (I was just too old when I switched careers to accounting). To be fair, it is great experience but it certainly isn't the only path to a good career. Just think about all the people you've seen post here and other places that talk about absolutely horrible experiences in Big public. You also don't know that you completely bombed it. So maybe it didn't go the best in the world, but we always feel much worse about interviews than how they went in reality (kinda like taking the exam). Is there anyone you can contact in recruiting to talk about the prerecorded interview and see if you can get a second stab? They must deal with little technical issues all the time like the one you had where you weren't recording your first answer.
    So I guess to summarize, 1. Don't eliminate yourself from Big 4 completely, just because things didn't come off well with one prerecorded interview, and 2. Don't think you've thrown your life away if you don't get hired into Big 4, that's simply not the case.

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    Biff Tannen

    You tend to feel this way because colleges tend to push big 4 down students’ throats. They almost make it seem as if big 4 is the only path to success in accounting. The truth is, there are many paths to success. Big 4 is only one path out of MANY.

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    “An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends” - Benjamin Franklin

    Thank you all very much for the comments. Really helps a lot. I reached out to the recruiter and told them the issue, but whatever happens I just need to move past it and keep pushing forward.


    You have been told all your life pepperoni pizza is the best pizza and nothing else compares with it. But, there are so many other pizzas out there that are just as good, heck, even better. You just got to give them a try. I suggest meat lovers with stuffed crust. Way better than pepperoni pizza.


    Sorry to hear about that, it just sounded like you are not prepared for the interview. Being asked about leadership was one of the basic questions and is actually mentioned on the big 4 website (I think PWC, called success and achievement?). I'm not sure why you will have to mentioned about school project, unless you don't have an internship experience / club activities. Anyhow, everyone has failure and you can simply do better experience, it's a life time experience. Next time, how about drafting your answers and stick it on the wall behind the camera with 200 font size?

    Why is your future doomed without Big 4? Big 4 is only a stepping stones. Most people quit Big 4 within the first 5 years. Did you known that in your life time career, there's only one goal —-> be a manager / director. You can't be doing FSO Assurance your entire life, someday you are going to move on to pure management, supervising 50 people. None of your accounting skills will apply. You will learn that as a manager, all you need to do is hire someone who known how to do assurance to solve the assurance jobs. I've learn this after being unsuccessful in finding my CPA license experience —-> just hire several CPAs and make them work for me. I felt like I totally skipped my accounting and go straight to management.

    NY - License Approved December 2020.

    Just giving an update, somehow made it to the next round of interviews!!! Thanks again for all the feedback guys, it helped a lot.


    Congrats!!So happy for you! I wish you all possible luck. What line of the practice are you trying to get to?

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    I believe in myself

    @Sheskierk didn't you say a partner referred you? You'll be fine lol, if you don't hear back then just have the partner send an email to recruiting.

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    All scores expired, let's try this again.


    It’s for an FSO Assurance associate position. Yeah a partner did refer me so hopefully it helps with the next and final round of interview. For anyone who has passed the prerecorded interviews, will they ask me different questions than the prerecorded interview? Bc I was wondering if I could use the same examples if they were to ask me the same questions?


    I've been an auditor in State government since getting my BBA in Dec., 2014. Now, approximately 5 years later, EY reached out to me (unsolicited) and wants me to come in for an interview this week for a senior position. Moral of the story, your career isn't doomed. Head up!

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    @Sheskiek, I'm starting at EY in FSO Assurance in September. Congrats on getting past the recorded interview process. I don't know how entry level you are (Staff I or Staff II)? For me, I was a campus hire. Second round interviews consisted of a a two day event. I attended a pre-interview dinner, where it was all about getting to meet everyone who works at the office. The following day I went to the office and had two 30min interviews, one with a senior manager and one with a partner. Both interviews were very similar. I was not asked any questions like the recorded interview, it was literally a casual conversation. A little bit of, “tell me about yourself” “tell me more about this on your resume,” but for the most part it was me asking them about their experiences working at EY, so give a lot of thought to several questions you want to ask.

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    @Jd Thank you. All I know is its entry level FSO Assurance. Thank you for providing those details. Also, I have to do 2 30 minute interviews through webcam on Thursday Morning, so I am not sure yet if those 2 interview are considered only the second round or second and third round. I was originally told it was going to be 3 rounds of interviews total, with the first round as the prerecorded interview. I was hoping it would be more of a conversational interview, but we will wait and see. I thought I did terrible on the prerecorded interview too.

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