Posted by: Big4Bound | March 18, 2010

BIG CHANGES!

http://seeehh.wordpress.com

Considering that I am not “Big 4 Bound” anymore, I decided to change things up a bit. My new identity is “See Ehh”. The blog address has changed to http://seeehh.wordpress.com, and the blog name/my user name have been changed to See Ehh. Sort of a new birth, or some crap like that.

Hopefully it wont take you too long to figure out why I chose See Ehh.

Posted by: Big4Bound | March 18, 2010

I’m on to the next one, on to the next – Jay-Z

So I have been MIA for a while but I am happy to report that everything is a-ok, I’ve just been busy with work, life and most importantly, I’ve been lazy as hell lately in terms of writing a new post.

As I mentioned earlier, I passed the CKE…wooooooooooohooo. Funny thing is, I was shit scared about passing and somehow ended up in the 3rd decile. Not excellent by any means, but a lot better than I expected.

During the mock exams, my strongest subject was assurance and weakest was finance. I get my results back and I was in the first decile for finance and tax, and did poorly on assurance and PM. This worries me because it is said that these areas are extremely important when it comes time to the SOA or UFE. But, I was fairly comfortable with the material going into the exam, so I am going to blame my performance, or lack of, on the frigid conditions of the arctic test writing center.

Now, I’m on to the next one. SOA training sessions have already started. This is going to be a completely different animal. I have heard all sorts of stories, so I am hoping their experiences and my studying combine to form some sort of superhero ala Capital Planet, and I can successfully pass the exam.

As you can tell, this post added absolutely zero value to you. You are welcome. Don’t worry, I’m just getting warmed up – more good things to come soon, I promise hope.

Posted by: Big4Bound | January 8, 2010

A look back at the CKE

Brutal.

Considering it is a “non-disclosed” exam, I will have to respect the agreement I signed and not get into specifics.

As I said on the boards at My CA Site, when leaving the exam I felt as if I had been pushed off a cliff and was hanging off a slim branch with vultures circling above my head. No better way to say it.

Let me add, I put in my time when it came to studying. A lot of people said Densmore/PASS/Dunlop were representative – mostly Dunlop, while Norgrove was “too hard”. Bull***t. It was nothing like Dunlop, not in my opinion anyway. It was more towards the Norgorve side if anything. However, I must say that maybe its because I just wrote the exam that I have such negative views towards it. A lot of people told me that after you write it, you will feel terrible, but that is normal.

I’m not sure how it is every year, but this year a lot of people have said that time management was an issue. Personally, I went through the questions, skipping the ones I had absolutely no idea about (approximately 4 or 5). This left me with 40ish minutes for tax, after which I was able to come back and randomly fill in those answers, picking the choice that made my answer sheet look the most pretty. A lot of other “best guesses” happened as well.

Will I pass? I hope so. I mean its weird, because for so many answers you come down to 2 choices, and at that point its 50-50. Definitely will not be getting a lot of sleep on the 21st.

Posted by: Big4Bound | January 1, 2010

Happy New Year and some good news…

Just a quick note that I wanted to share with all of you. The last time I posted I was pretty “depressed” and all that jazz, but I am happy to say that everything has worked out. Can’t say much though as it will make it quite apparent who I am to the people who know me, and considering the supreme quality/content of my posts, I would rather keep that a secret.

My life in a nutshell

So thank you all for your support! Stefano from MyCASite.com has been amazing throughout the process. Everyone else who commented on my posts and kept me encouraged, thank you!

So now, on to the bigger and better life…starting from the CKE

Posted by: Big4Bound | October 21, 2009

What next?

So it has not worked out. Couple of interviews with the Big 4 that I left thinking I did well on, but apparently I did not. So many questions, so many what ifs, so many “shoulda coulda woulda”s. Sad, disheartening and downright depressing.

This was it – one of my final chances. The closest I ever got. It seemed within my grasp and I somehow let it go. The past few days have been difficult. Very difficult, very hard. Its taken a toll on me for sure. The motivation for school, the way I am around people definitely changed. I have worked so hard for so many years to get in, and now its gone.

Not only that, so are the mid-sized…and apparently the good small firms as well. Shitty feeling. Every few days I have this internal fire light up that tells me to push forward, better and harder than before. But then, no results…another step back.

I know I have what it takes. I would not have made it to the interviews otherwise – and I am really happy for the opportunity I had. But man, why did I mess up?

So what next? Just keep at it…hopefully get into a small firm and make my way from there.

Sorry for such a shitty post, just needed to vent some more….

Posted by: Big4Bound | September 16, 2009

Too much information is bad information

So this has the potential of being one of those controversial posts which might irk a few, but that is what I do best :)

I know this is a very intimidating time for a lot of us and I know because I’m in the same shoes. Here is what I have found though, a lot of people are searching for the “perfect questions” to ask and end up regurgitating them at events. That is NOT what you are supposed to do.

With all of us bloggers around and great websites everywhere, there is a LOT of information that can be used in a very positive manner. But more than giving you food to spit out when you get there, they are giving you food for thought. Rather than memorizing these questions, UNDERSTAND why they are good questions. It is absolutely ridiculous man, I have seen people at events ask one of these “perfect” questions and then have absolutely no way of keeping the conversation going because they did not plan that far.

One question will NOT make you memorable. A ton of unrelated questions will also not make you memorable in my opinion. The whole point is to have a good CONVERSATION, i.e. a two way flow of words. You ask a question, you listen to the answer and then you follow up with another question or some insight of yours.

What we are lacking severely is self-analysis. Most of us show up at these events with a bunch of predetermined questions in mind that we are ready to spew in to the face of the first person we see. We have no idea what our strengths or weaknesses are, we ourselves have no idea why we are so interested in becoming a CA or work for a specific firm and we have absolutely no idea how the world looks at us when we are talking. All this leads to us having no insightful questions of our own that we TRULY care about. Most of us have never sat down and taken a few minutes, hours, whatever to understand ourselves, our goals or our aspirations. No wonder we trip and fall all over the place.

We have been given ample opportunity to learn how to fish, but we spend so much time collecting fish from others that we have forgotten the need to learn.

Sit down, analyze yourself, assess yourself – see what you look like in the mirror when you talk, look at your actions, hear the words you use, feel your confidence! FIX THIS! Then go out and see what you need to do. The questions will come.

Don’t get me wrong, good advice can be amazing. I have used a ton of websites to get some crucial information but I have realized that all I am doing is creating a building over a weak foundation. If you are better at this than me, then all the power to you. But I urge all of you to take a long hard look at yourself and fix yourselves. It will all go much smoother.

Posted by: Big4Bound | September 14, 2009

Temporary Hiatus

Sorry! I know I’ve disappeared, some would say when it counts most. I’ll be back! Just been really busy with a few things and you should expect a post from me soon…meaner, more entertaining and somehow more helpful than ever (Can’t promise that last part though).

Stay tuned!

Posted by: Big4Bound | September 2, 2009

The message board has moved!

Recently the founder of a new website called myCAsite emailed me saying he was launching his site which also has a message board.

Stefano of myCAsite has put in a lot of effort creating a portal for CA students as well as current Big 4 employees. There are great articles there which can be of use no matter what point you are at in your career.

Considering that the purpose of this message board was to create a community, it would be redundant to have two message boards. Considering that he will have greater marketing efforts and will be devoting more time to his creation, I have decided to close down this board and move all traffic to myCAsite’s message board which can be found here.

I hope all current and potential members visit the site and sign up there to create a well organized community that can help serve the purpose of helping each other out in every way possible.

I will still be blogging here at http://big4bound.wordpress.com and will be actively contributing to the myCAsite message board.

See you guys there!

Posted by: Big4Bound | September 1, 2009

How would you go about saying no?

Think about it. Its not like asking 4 girls out to the highschool prom and then saying no to 3. In this situation you kept your choices open and there was no lying involved, just a lot of asking, fantasizing and hand lotion. On the other hand, if you wrote customized poems for each girl, bought flowers/chocolates, and stood outside each girls house playing a song on your banjo, how awkward would it be when it came time to accept only one?

I know its way too far ahead to think about this topic, but someone brought it up the other day and it really got me thinking. How awkward will that conversation be? I guess its good to prep ourselves for the real world and all that bullshit, but really? I mean, we just spent weeks schmoozing and sucking up to all these people, letting them know how much we want to work for the firm, and then we turn around and say no?

I guess its part of the business and a reality that they understand. That being said, what if they were to turn around and say “But in the interview, you made it clear you wanted to work here. Were you lying?”. Then what?

At one of the events a manager was telling me a story he heard. A student called up one of the mid-sized firms and rejected their offer because he wanted to accept the Big 4 offer. Apparently, and again, I am not sure how true this story is, the recruiters of the mid-sized firm got upset. They said they had spent a lot of resources and mostly because so much interest was shown by the candidate. Either way, it did not make a difference to the candidate’s choice. Yeah, sure it is unprofessional on the firm’s side to act like a two year old kid that broke their toy, but isn’t it unprofessional on our part to lie in the faces of all these recruiters?

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Posted by: Big4Bound | August 30, 2009

Behind closed doors…

IwanttobeaCA’s new blogger Emievil wrote a post regarding what it is like working at the Big 4 which as always, got me thinking.

So I posted a new topic in the forums to get some insight. One of our members LYCG who has made some G’d up contributions on the forums already had this to say, which truly is beautifully said.

Agree with this 100%, and it is my second reason for not offering my availability to help with recruiting events this year (the first reason being the UFE). I cannot stand in front of wide-eyed students and lie through my teeth about work life balance and people looking out for you. I suspect recruiters go through a training of sorts where they are instructed on what they can and cannot say to potential candidates, and I’m not ready to sacrifice my integrity just to be able to add “helped out with recruiting” to my next performance review. I believe recruiting should be left to those who love the firm for what it truly is and does.

The post you quoted is true. You work incredibly long hours and then you are told to work on weekends. You’re told to postpone your flight home from an out-of-country client and finish up the file because the rest of the team worked too slowly but they can’t stay on the engagement any longer because they have vacations booked. You’re told to show up at the client after a full day of SOA training even though you’re not booked on the client that day, and you’ll show up because you don’t want the manager to give you a negative review. There is absolutely no sympathy because hey, everyone goes through this. Suffering (for lack of a better word) has become a rite of passage rather than a problem that needs to be fixed.

A piece of advice given to me by one of my mentors (who amazingly does not work at the same firm as I do) is “absorb, but don’t accept.” Learn and understand everything about the firm – what they tell you, and what really goes on. You need to be prepared so that you don’t feel defeated when you discover the truth behind what they tell you during recruiting. Don’t expect the firm to hand you things on a silver platter and don’t leave it up to them to make you feel happy at the firm. If you read my post in the Introductions section, you’ll see that my internal motivation is what drives me to not only survive in a Big 4 firm, but to succeed in it. You need to find your own opportunities to draw recognition to your work, you need to find the people who can facilitate your development, and you need to look out for your own health and work life balance – don’t wait for the firm to do this for you. Think of it not as “what can this firm do for me?” but rather as “what can I get for myself at this firm?” (Although this does not include stealing supplies).

(I really should include a disclaimer with my posts – I don’t want to discourage you guys from joining a Big 4, ha ha. I honestly believe, however, that the Big 4 are some of the best places to gain a variety of practical business experience – the only caveat being that you need to find those opportunities yourself)

I really like the way he said it and the discussion continues here.

I don’t think the point is to shoot down the concept of working at the Big 4, rather it is to prepare people who are going in. I mean can you imagine? You worked hard, fought for it and finally got your “dream job” at the Big 4 only to find out it is nothing like what you expected.

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