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British degrees in the US

British degrees in the US

Old Oct 24th 2007, 4:31 pm
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Default British degrees in the US

Hi all,

Firstly, this is my first post here - it looks like a great forum and I'm glad to have found it.

Some context: I'm currently based in the UK. I have a US-citizen girlfriend, and I'm hoping to ask her to marry me in the near future . My question assumes that I move to the US and get a green card through the marriage route (itself a long process, I know).

I recently graduated in History from a Russell Group uni. In the UK, it doesn't matter what degree you have when you apply for jobs in the business world; they're much more interested in things like personal motivation, business awareness, people skills, etc.

Is this also the case in the US, or would employers want a more vocational degree? Would my British liberal arts degree mean diddly squat over there? Obviously it depends on the sector, and clearly I'm not going to be working in Engineering or Actuary - but how are employers likely to react in more generalist types of work?

The other possibility is that I work for a few years in London first, after which I'd be in a stronger position to apply for work in the US. In particular, I'm applying to (and got some interviews for) trainee accountancy positions. Does anyone know if the ACA qualification carry much weight over there? (I'll post to the accountancy job forum, too.)

Many thanks for help, in advance

Cheers,
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Old Oct 24th 2007, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Originally Posted by chesterton_fan View Post
Hi all,

Firstly, this is my first post here - it looks like a great forum and I'm glad to have found it.

Some context: I'm currently based in the UK. I have a US-citizen girlfriend, and I'm hoping to ask her to marry me in the near future . My question assumes that I move to the US and get a green card through the marriage route (itself a long process, I know).

I recently graduated in History from a Russell Group uni. In the UK, it doesn't matter what degree you have when you apply for jobs in the business world; they're much more interested in things like personal motivation, business awareness, people skills, etc.

Is this also the case in the US, or would employers want a more vocational degree? Would my British liberal arts degree mean diddly squat over there? Obviously it depends on the sector, and clearly I'm not going to be working in Engineering or Actuary - but how are employers likely to react in more generalist types of work?

The other possibility is that I work for a few years in London first, after which I'd be in a stronger position to apply for work in the US. In particular, I'm applying to (and got some interviews for) trainee accountancy positions. Does anyone know if the ACA qualification carry much weight over there? (I'll post to the accountancy job forum, too.)

Many thanks for help, in advance

Cheers,
chesterton_fan
How many years work history do you have post-graduation? If it's less than three, you'd be considered a recent graduate and it may be really tough finding employment.

1) You're in competition with US born recent grads and you have a foreign earned degree
2) Is your institution well known internationally?
3) It's my gut feeling that if you want to work in a business role, e.g. white collar/office type job, a US employer would expect you to have a Bachelors in business or at least a minor in that subject.

That's my 5 cents.
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Old Oct 24th 2007, 5:20 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

To be honest, a degree is a degree, unless it's from OxBridge, the institution itself will pretty much carry no kudos over here even if it were a top place.

Your issue without any work experience will probably trying to convey what a UK degree means over here in terms of a GPA score, something not worth converting, but if you don't have one when you apply you'll probably have your resume binned.

Experience and networking is key, so get yourself on linkedin.com and hook up with your friends etc.
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Old Oct 24th 2007, 11:51 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Originally Posted by chesterton_fan View Post
Hi all,
Some context: I'm currently based in the UK. I have a US-citizen girlfriend, and I'm hoping to ask her to marry me in the near future . My question assumes that I move to the US and get a green card through the marriage route (itself a long process, I know).

I recently graduated in History from a Russell Group uni. In the UK, it doesn't matter what degree you have when you apply for jobs in the business world; they're much more interested in things like personal motivation, business awareness, people skills, etc.

Is this also the case in the US, or would employers want a more vocational degree? Would my British liberal arts degree mean diddly squat over there? Obviously it depends on the sector, and clearly I'm not going to be working in Engineering or Actuary - but how are employers likely to react in more generalist types of work?
Your best option would be to get your degree evaluated by a reputable U.S. service, e.g FACS (http://www.facsusa.com) or another member of the NACES (http://www.naces.org)

They will issue an opinion on whether the degree is equivalent to a U.S. bachelors degree and may be able to convert your degree class to a U.S. GPA.


The other possibility is that I work for a few years in London first, after which I'd be in a stronger position to apply for work in the US. In particular, I'm applying to (and got some interviews for) trainee accountancy positions. Does anyone know if the ACA qualification carry much weight over there? (I'll post to the accountancy job forum, too.)
ACA travels better than any other U.K. accountancy qualification, but if you then went to the U.S. you would need to do the CPA exam (the Americans won't know much about ACA). That said, if you can pass the ACA then doing the CPA shouldn't be a huge deal. Irish ACAs can in some circumstances sit an abbreviated version of the CPA exam due to mutual recognition agreement, but presumably you are looking to be an English or Scottish ACA/CA so this won't apply to you as the agreement has not been signed between the U.K. and United States.

Bear in mind that many U.S. states (CPA is a state level qualification in the U.S.) would want you to have a masters degree or additional bachelor level study + ACA in order to sit for the CPA exam. You can get around this by doing the CPA exam as a Colorado or New Hampshire candidate but then you may find that it's not so easy to transfer your CPA certification from one state to another. (which is an issue if you plan to work in public accounting, not much of a problem otherwise). There is an organization for Chartered Accountants in the United States: http://www.acaus.org/

It's your choice going forward, but doing the ACA in a Big Four firm in the U.K. would give you a good basis to work in the U.S. later on. In the meantime, if you got married to your girlfriend and she wanted to live in the U.K. a few years she could get her British citizenship.

Last edited by JAJ; Oct 24th 2007 at 11:53 pm.
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

An excellent response from JAJ and he covers pretty much all the bases so I shan't go onto the whole recognition of ACA issue... *bites lip*.

Only thing I would say is that if you study ACA within a big four (or like me perhaps, almost big 4) then there may well be transfer opportunities which would avoid you needing to convince employers in the States at this stage... Worth asking at graduate days which the acy firms ALL have.
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 1:50 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Originally Posted by Celsius View Post
3) It's my gut feeling that if you want to work in a business role, e.g. white collar/office type job, a US employer would expect you to have a Bachelors in business or at least a minor in that subject.
FWIW, take it or leave it etc - no-one in our office has a business degree. I also read a lot of other companies' employees' resumes and relatively few of them have undergrad business degrees. A certain proportion of senior hires will have mid-career MBAs and stuff, though.

It's not like all American history grads end up being brickies, after all!
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Originally Posted by chesterton_fan View Post
Hi all,

Firstly, this is my first post here - it looks like a great forum and I'm glad to have found it.

Some context: I'm currently based in the UK. I have a US-citizen girlfriend, and I'm hoping to ask her to marry me in the near future . My question assumes that I move to the US and get a green card through the marriage route (itself a long process, I know).

I recently graduated in History from a Russell Group uni. In the UK, it doesn't matter what degree you have when you apply for jobs in the business world; they're much more interested in things like personal motivation, business awareness, people skills, etc.

Is this also the case in the US, or would employers want a more vocational degree? Would my British liberal arts degree mean diddly squat over there? Obviously it depends on the sector, and clearly I'm not going to be working in Engineering or Actuary - but how are employers likely to react in more generalist types of work?

The other possibility is that I work for a few years in London first, after which I'd be in a stronger position to apply for work in the US. In particular, I'm applying to (and got some interviews for) trainee accountancy positions. Does anyone know if the ACA qualification carry much weight over there? (I'll post to the accountancy job forum, too.)

Many thanks for help, in advance

Cheers,
chesterton_fan
My favorite bartender received her bachelor's in history last November.....she's still bartending, not by choice though.
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 4:27 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Hi,

Thanks very much indeed to all who have replied so far.

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Old Nov 17th 2007, 1:37 am
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

I know I am a bit late, but I had to reply. I graduated from college with a degree interpersonal/organizational communication and a minor in marketing. I have been out of college for 5 years and I am currently a recruiter for Enterprise rental car. I can say from personal experience that when you are pursuing a general business career that a bachelors degree in most any subject will do. Although persons with business administration degrees will have an edge, you can make up ground by expressing that you are a excited and willing employee. As bachelors degrees are concerned, many employers see them as a symbol confirming that you were able to set and accomplish a goal.

Several of my co-workers have degrees that have nothing to do with business. My boss ( the head of human relations) has a masters in biology. My uncle is a manager at a Mercedes dealership and he only has a bachelors in History. Trust me as long as you are not entering a scienced based field or a management position most any degree will do. The CPA exam is not required unless you are entering accounting or compensation.

I hope I helped.

Last edited by Marcel; Nov 17th 2007 at 1:41 am.
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Old Nov 18th 2007, 1:55 am
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Originally Posted by Marcel View Post
As bachelors degrees are concerned, many employers see them as a symbol confirming that you were able to set and accomplish a goal.

Several of my co-workers have degrees that have nothing to do with business.
This is true of my company too. Without at least a bachelor's degree one would not be hired, but the specific subject matter studied is less important.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 9:33 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Hello Chesterton_fan

I'll give you some tid bit about US employment in Finance/Accounting....

Most fortune 500 companies will not hire you without an equivalent degree. Having said that, if you have a degree in history and then managed to get a MBA you are in demand from investment firms. These investment firms looks for people who thinks outside of the box.

If you get an ACA/CA from UK you can easily get a job in any public accounting firm here, while working in these firms you can also sit for the CPA exam. My friend from Canada saya that US CPA exam is a breeze.

Most companies (95%) will not ask for your GPA, only the big 4 Accounting firms and some investment firms may require you to show them the transcripts. All they care is whether you graduated or not.

To sit for the CPA exam you will need to have at least 20-24 units of 300 & 400 level accounting courses, you have to take these 5/6 accounting classes in college and then can sit for the CPA exam. The CPA board will require you to send them the transcript especially the accounting classes before they will authorize you to take the exam.

There are other fields you can apply to such as, Marketing, Public relation, anyjob that requires good command of English language. Having a degree from UK may actually put you in the advantage.
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Old Nov 20th 2007, 12:04 am
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Originally Posted by highNNdry View Post
To sit for the CPA exam you will need to have at least 20-24 units of 300 & 400 level accounting courses, you have to take these 5/6 accounting classes in college and then can sit for the CPA exam. The CPA board will require you to send them the transcript especially the accounting classes before they will authorize you to take the exam.
No, that's not true. Foreign credentials are assessed by specific organizations, not the CPA board. And it is not always necessary to attend additional college classes.

It is possible to sit the exam as the candidate of a different CPA state board with more "user-friendly" requirements. Although if in public accounting, you would then need to see if your CPA license could be transferred to your home state as if in public accounting you normally need to be a CPA in the state you work in. If in industry, a CPA license from any state will normally do.
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Old Nov 20th 2007, 5:56 pm
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
No, that's not true. Foreign credentials are assessed by specific organizations, not the CPA board. And it is not always necessary to attend additional college classes.

It is possible to sit the exam as the candidate of a different CPA state board with more "user-friendly" requirements. Although if in public accounting, you would then need to see if your CPA license could be transferred to your home state as if in public accounting you normally need to be a CPA in the state you work in. If in industry, a CPA license from any state will normally do.
In California you must have 300 and 400 level accounting courses in order to sit for the CPA exam. My friend who is an Econ major had to take all the Accounting courses in order to sit for the CPA exam.

http://www.beckercpa.com/california/index.cfm

Education requirements Residency requirements
150 Semester Hours Required to Sit for the Exam? No U.S. Citizenship Required: No
Minimum Degree Required: Baccalaureate Applicant must be a resident, employee, OR have office in the state? Not Required

Additional Educational Requirements
• 24 semester units in accounting (educational requirements vary, contact State Board for specific details) and
• 24 semester units in business-related courses (educational requirements vary, contact State Board for details) Age requirements
Age Minimum: None

Note: The requirements shown relate specifically to "applying for" and "taking" the exam. Additional requirements may be in effect relating to "certification" and "licensing", Please contact the appropriate state board for "certification" and "licensing" requirements.
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Old Nov 21st 2007, 1:11 am
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

Originally Posted by highNNdry View Post
In California you must have 300 and 400 level accounting courses in order to sit for the CPA exam.

Perhaps, but there are 49 other states in the U.S. plus 5 territories with CPA boards.
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Old Nov 25th 2007, 2:13 am
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Default Re: British degrees in the US

I know nothing about your chosen field, but I will say that US companies (and people) have a tremendous amount of respect for brit's in general, and it will be an intangible benefit, especially if you can get to the point of a face-to-face interview.

Everyone has their prejudices, and americans are prejudiced in favor of brits. May as well take advantage of it. Hint - dress/behave like Pierce Brosnan, not the Sex Pistols!

I first started out in the US in Peoria, Illinois, and people practically fell over themselves just to hear my accent. Moving to San Francisco, which is a bit more worldly, the effect was less visible but even here, there's a strong sense of respect. Go for it!

My degree was from London University, which of course everyone has heard of and they assume it's the same as Oxford / Cambridge.
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