I Want to Switch my Major to Accounting. But my GPA is Ruined.

interview-low-gpa-explain

From the mailbag:

My name is Daniel and I am currently undeclared in my engineering school, but I am in the process of changing my major to Business Administration. The reason I want to change is because I am tired of getting C’s in engineering courses and being happy about it since they are challenging (I did try my best in every course I took, but it sometimes was not good enough).

Additionally, I cannot see myself being an engineer for the rest of my life. I will fulfill all the requirements by Winter 2016 and will be eligible for the Business Program in Spring 2016. I plan on concentrating in either accounting, finance, or marketing, but I am leaning more towards accounting. Some business courses that I have taken so far was an introduction course:

  • Provides an overview of the field of business administration. Explores business goals and strategies, functional areas of business and their integration in policy and decision making, social responsibility, computers in business, and business trends and challenges including the international dimension. 

And financial accounting and reporting course:

  • A study of the concepts and techniques for measurement and communication of financial information. Includes interpretation of financial statements. 

I want to get an internship for Summer 2016, but I have a couple questions and concerns about obtaining an internship next summer. 

I feel discouraged to apply for an internship because:

  1. My GPA is at a 2.7
  2. I do not have have a strong accounting background, and
  3. I do not start taking upper division business/accounting courses until Winter 2016.

I know GPA is not everything, but I personally feel like an employer will not consider me because my GPA is below at 3.0. Furthermore, my lack of accounting knowledge will not make me a strong candidate. I want to wait until the 2016-2017 academic school year to get an internship, but I feel like it will be too late if I graduate in June 2017 (I might have to be a fifth year since I am changing my major late into my undergraduate career). 

I was wondering if you can guide me on the steps of acquiring an internship. I have no idea where to start and what to do. I looked into two internships that I might apply for Summer 2016. One is the BOLD program at Google and the other one is an Auditor at PwC. Additionally, the Career Center at my school told me about some career/internship fairs that will be happening this Fall. If you have anything tips and tricks that will help me out due to my current situation will help a lot. Thank you so much in advance for the assistance.

Sincerely,

Daniel

Having a sub 3.0 GPA can be terrible.

GPA isn’t everything, but below the three level employers start to get nervous.

In this situation, you need to get the GPA up regardless of the decision.

Unless you have some amazing personal story of starting a business or something like that, I don’t think Google is realistic. With PwC, you also need a higher GPA (3.23 got in me but that was on the very low side).

Also, if you are going into accounting, you need to get a CPA license which requires 150 credit hours.

Here’s something to consider:

Complete whatever degree is the fastest now and take as many accounting courses as electives as you can. Then enter a Masters of Accounting (your GPA will reset).

Once you get a good GPA after a semester in the Masters program (hopefully 3.5 or higher), you can beat the streets for a full-time job.

Internships are great, but it will be tough to land one with a terrible GPA and not even having a declared accounting major.

A good friend of mine had a 2.8 in undergrad and a 3.6 in his Masters program.

He now works at Ernst & Young.

For some people, it’s best to just finish the degree and be glad things reset in the Masters degree.

  • Lance Chen

    I happened to have double major with accounting and economics in undergrad but was kind of low on the accounting side of classes since I almost always screw up finals despite having perfect midterms, course works and homeworks. Hard electives hurt a bit too though my economics GPA was quite high (3.47).

    Currently I got into my schools accounting master’s program at 3.47 GPA overall (too bad I can’t use it in my first fall semester and have to extend graduation for a semester). I wonder if employers will still worry about my undergrad GPA (3.18) even though I got a high master’s program GPA (3.47 and should be increasing)

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    What are some study tips for someone intimidated by the accounting degree? I am just about to start intermediate classes…

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    Finish your engineering, and take additional accounting classes, don’t switch your major, then combine your accounting skills with your engineering skills to land a good job. No one cares about your GPA in engineering, and no one cares about your GPA if you’re a CPA.