yconic - AMA: Brock BAcc Graduate, Carleton MAcc Graduate, Big 4 Employee
Explore yconic
Explore Student Life Topics
Scotiabank
STUDENT CHAMPION
yconic proudly recognizes Student Champion Partners who are providing our community with superior support for their student journeys. Learn More
Student Help Brands

AMA: Brock BAcc Graduate, Carleton MAcc Graduate, Big 4 Employee

My name is Neal, and I graduated from Brock's Bachelor of Accounting Co-op program in 2016 and Carleton's Master of Accounting program in 2017. I was a yconic Student Ambassador for 2016-17. Although I work full-time at PwC now, I'm still around answering questions about accounting as a career and universities. 

My co-op work experience includes:
-Corporate Accounting, Henkel (Germany)
-Assurance and Tax, Collins Barrow
-Risk Assurance, Ernst and Young

I currently work at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Assurance. . 

A snapshot of my time at Brock:  
-Served as an executive for several clubs  
-Participated in numerous internal/external case competitions and conferences  
-Served as a Tutorial Leader for Brock's first-year Macroeconomics course  
-Inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma (the top 10% of Goodman get invited)  
-Did co-ops and internships with 3 different companies in corporate accounting, assurance, tax and risk assurance located in Germany and Canada  
-Participated in a short-term exchange to France  
-Volunteered for the business school's Career Services office, where I critiqued students' resumes  
-Lived in residence (first-year) and off campus

A snapshot of my time at Carleton:  
-President of the Sprott MAcc Society  

Feel free to ask me questions below! Or you can add me on LinkedIn if you'd like to send a private message (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nsengupta).
Was this helpful? Yes 4
294 replies
 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
how tough is the competition for bba at brock?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Per eInfo:
Grade Range - High 70s; Low 80s for co-op
Enrollment - 565 (total for all Business programs)

https://www.electronicinfo.ca/programs/26
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hey Neal,
Did your masters prepare you for the CFE or did you need other resources? Exactly what did the masters do for you?? THanks
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello,

I also used other resources that my firm provided for me. I definitely needed those resources, or I likely would have been worse off.

That being said, I chose the masters because I enjoy learning in university settings. It would have been tough for me to balance working full-time and studying part-time - being in the MAcc allowed me to focus just on CFE prep. It was also good to have a support system of people that I saw and studied with everyday. 
Was this helpful? Yes 1

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hi Neal, 

I was wondering how I can get ahead in terms of courses? I am about to go into my first coop term in the bacc program this January. I wanted to take an online course while being on coop. Any suggested courses to take? 

Also do you have any tips on how to get ahead to make the course load lighter? 
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
My go-to online courses were the Adult Education courses (ADED) - but I've heard they've restricted access to them. Not really sure what's available online now. An Academic Adviser would be a good resource on tips for making your course load lighter - but they'll say you can't! It's not really possible to "lighten" your course load in BAcc Co-op unless you take longer than 4.5 years.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hi Neal, is there a way to move one of the courses in the spring semester of second year to a future year?  The two month spring semester with 4 major courses?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, if you're worried about the fact that you'll be taking 4 accounting classes in 2.5 months - don't be! Your classmates are in the same boat as you. Thousands of other BAcc students before you have done it. I really wouldn't recommend deferring any classes.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hi Neal. Do you know anyone that got kicked out of the BAcc Co-op program and got placed into the general BA program? Isn't that kind of severe?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, sorry for the delay - I haven't received post notifications for the past month. I do know of one person who was unfortunately placed in the general BA program. But they did get back into BBA within a semester by working hard. It is a bit severe in my opinion - but if you think you may be close to getting kicked out, the onus is on you to visit an Academic Adviser or see professors to find out how you can avoid this.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hi Neal,
No specific question regarding Accounting or the two schools you attended, but I wanted to know how employees view schools that someone graduated from when hiring them. Not having the option to move out, Ryerson is my best bet for business schools but I'm afraid I'm going to have a harder time finding a job compared to Laurier or Queens or Ivey grads.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, sorry for the delay - I haven't received post notifications for the past month. There are definitely schools that employers target - you hit the nail on the head with the ones you mentioned. However, Ryerson has a co-op program now and the reputation is on the rise. The key is making sure that you attend as many networking events as possible, connect with Ryerson alumni at firms that you want to work at, connect with Career Counselors at TRSM, and keep your grades up.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Are there firms that will cover tuition for an macc or Mtax?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
I've heard Big 4 firms usually cover tuition or part of the tuition for MAcc.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, sorry for the delay - I haven't received post notifications for the past month. For the MAcc, most firms will cover just the amount that PEP would have been (about $7900). The rest is on you as a student. 

However, I do know of some firms who discourage you from doing MAcc programs (Big 4's in smaller cities or midsize firms) because they need you to be working. 

Not sure about MTax - but if there is business reason for you to do it, I'm sure the larger firms will cover most (if not all) of the tuition. 
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Has anyone ever transferred from Waterloo AFM to Brock BAcc Co-op for second year?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, sorry for the delay - I haven't received post notifications for the past month. I have not heard of this personally. I have heard of BAFM grads doing their MAcc at Brock though.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
What was your experience at Brock like? Did you enjoy living on residence?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, sorry for the delay - I haven't received post notifications for the past month. I loved my entire Brock experience from start to finish. It's a supportive atmosphere with great people. Some of the profs can be meh, but you learn to deal with it. 

Residence was great. The dons make sure you have a good time, and you become pretty close to the people on your floor. Also, there are a bunch of Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) that you can apply to (Accounting, Business, Volunteer-Based) where you get to be with people that have the same interests/career goals as you. 
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hi Neal, 

I will be starting my first coop term at the big four. I wanted to do an elective while doing my coop, an elective without exams just assignments. What's you're take on taking an elective during you're first coop term, some say it's not recommended because Brock tells the employer you're taking a course. 

While some say since you work weekends, even an elective with just assignments is hectic. 
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
I did co-op and an elective and it was hell. Your job is 9-5 and to get there on time and look presentable you have to get up at 6. Yo work your 8 hours (sometimes a little more) by the time you get home with traffic or public transit, it'll be anywhere from 6-7. You want to go to bed on time so you aren't dead the next day so you go to bed at 11. How much time does that give you? 4 hours. That sounds like a lot. But you're tired after your long day at work, you need to eat, you want to have fun with your friends, you want to go to the gym. You literally can't do it all, unfortunately. I sacrificed my friends and entertainment, didn't go out the whole summer and didn't get to relax. It SUCKS. But its doable
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
There is no 9-5 at Big 4, especially not during busy season lol. The start time is usually 9, but the end time varies and during busy season it can go MUCH later than 5 (such as 8 to 10pm even)
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, sorry for the delay - I haven't received post notifications for the past month. I agree with the Anon above -  I wouldn't recommend taking an elective. You won't have the energy or patience to do it. You'll also have to write a work-term report, so factor that into the mix as well. Just focus on working hard and doing well on your placement.

Congrats on the Big 4 placement!
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
How about if the elective has no exams and just assignments? Wouldn't the weekends provide time? Also what was you're role, doesn't it depend if you're in tax or assurance?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Focus on work :)
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
I just wanted to say thank you, last year I got accepted and asked you a couple questions about maintaining the minimum average. Now I go to Brock for the BAcc coop program and I love it.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
This made my day :) Glad you're loving your time at Brock! See you out in the working world soon!
Was this helpful? Yes 1

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hi!
Has anyone been accepted yet? I applied to Brock for BBA COOP. I had a 89.4% average in grade 11, and a 92% at midterms. I haven't gotten accepted yet and I'm curious if anyone has! Let me know thanks!
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, don't worry you're a shoo-in! You'll get in soon. I received my offer in March.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hi Neal at big four firms like EY

In terms of the group TAG and FSO, do both industries have more hours required then the other? I keep hearing that FSO requires more hours than the other groups? Is that true? 

Are there any tips you can please give for a first audit engagement at a coop? I'm really nervous for my first assignment that is coming soon, especially knowing the fact that I am working with a real client. 

Last question, I noticed that you were able to get recognized during you're early coops as a grest employee through awards, what were some things that you did which made you recognizeable? 
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello,

I would agree that FSO has more client hours than TAG due to the nature of the financial services industry (higher risk, etc). 

My advice for your first engagement would be to ask lots of questions when you are unsure of things. When you ask a question, try to put forth a potential answer (even though it may be wrong - it shows you're thinking and being proactive). Always consult internally first (i.e. your Senior) before going to the client with a question/issue. Have an open mind, prioritize, and also keep a task list so you know what's due. 

In terms of recognition, don't worry about that for now! Focus on doing the best job you can, staying on top of things, and being eager/asking questions - and recognition will come. Good luck!
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
During the first coop at a big firm is the daily day just to go to work and come back sleep? Is there time to do other things, or are the hours rough even for the first coop
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
During busy season, your days will be work, eat, come home, sleep, repeat. There's little time to do much else. But things even out in the summer!
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
I’m currently in the BAcc program and I’m having a very hard time getting involved in any clubs. Most of the clubs on the discover Brock website are either no longer active or have a small friend group (around 5 people) and call the themselves a club. There have been only 2 clubs I’ve found that are actual clubs and neither of them fit with who I am as a person. What advice do you have?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
I never really took to any of the clubs on the Discover Brock website, I agree that they are small and clique-ish. 

The Goodman clubs (the BSA and the other clubs such as the ASA, BFIG, HRMA, BIG, etc.) will be doing their hiring soon for roles for the next school year. Among all of the clubs, there are a LOT of roles - apply to these! The ASA particularly looks amazing on your resume, I think having it on mine made a big difference in the recruiting process for me. 
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Thank you so much.
Was this helpful? Yes 1

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
During you're first Co-op when did you finish in terms of time usually, since it was busy season with a big four? Like was it 7pm everyday, or sometimes later?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
This really depends on your client (size, public vs. private, riskiness, your firm's audit methodology) but my first co-op experience at EY in IT Audit had me working regular hours (to about 6-7pm) throughout busy season but then to 11pm the week before our client sign off. 

I've heard of other co-op students to midnight right from the start of their engagements. 
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
How did you get employee of the month awards during Co-op, any tips?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
I didn't get "Employee of the Month", but rather some other recognition. My advice would be to focus on doing a good job an getting work done on time - the recognition will come with that.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Hi Neal, on you're first coop term how was you're first audit engagement. Are the tasks you do during you're first engagement hard or pretty straight forward but just time consuming. It's hard to wrap my head how the hours can be so long for a first term coop so I'm curious. Some say the tasks are robotic work, some say it requires thinking for a first term coop.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Hello, my answer is: it depends. Depending on the size of your client, whether it is public/private, which industry its in, what your firm's strategy is, etc. the amount of work you do (and the tasks) vary. A co-op student at PwC working for a private pharmaceutical company in Mississauga will have a very different experience than a co-op student at PwC working for a large, public multinational bank in downtown Toronto.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
How about on the fso industry, to answer the last question.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Does FSO require more hours than other groups? Yes, I'd say so.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
What are the best benefits you have had as a coop? Discounts or special deals for being a coop? Reimbursements?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Best benefit? I didn't have to come up with Goals and discuss them with my coach like the regular full-time people did. They took Goal-Setting very seriously. EY's fitness benefit of $400/co-op term wasn't bad either.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
During busy season coop, as a first term coop did you have to work on Saturdays?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
Not OP but i did my first coop at a B4 and yes we had to work saturdays anf sometimes even sundays.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Personally, nope, never. But it depends on the job.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
What did you do during you're own time in you're first coop term aside from work? Like did you have time to do other things on weekends at least?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
My first co-op term was at a company in industry in Germany. I backpacked to other cities and countries on the weekend.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
What is the hardest course in second year second semester for Bacc coop? Tax 2, audit, external accounting 2?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
Tax 2. But I personally don't like tax which is probably why I found it the hardest.
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
For you're first coop term did you study before you're first work project to review stuff before doing you're first assignment at the job?
Was this helpful? Yes 0

 
A photo of Neal S. Neal S.
No, I just asked for help when I needed it.
Was this helpful? Yes 0