What do engineering and science majors do in audit companies?

In summary, the conversation discusses the presence of audit companies in upcoming career fairs targeting engineering and science students, and the types of roles these students may have in these companies. It is mentioned that these companies also offer general management consulting services and may have a need for IT and data analysis skills. The conversation also touches on the potential downsides of working in the financial industry and the current state of the economy.
  • #1

wukunlin

Gold Member
480
117
lately i was browsing the list of companies that will come to my university in the upcoming careers fairs. There are a few of these fairs targeting engineering and science students. Names of audit companies keep popping up on these lists (KPMG, Deloitte, PwC etc).

I'm really curious about what engineering and science majors actually work on in these companies considering most of us have little or no background in finance.
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
wukunlin said:
lately i was browsing the list of companies that will come to my university in the upcoming careers fairs. There are a few of these fairs targeting engineering and science students. Names of audit companies keep popping up on these lists (KPMG, Deloitte, PwC etc).

I'm really curious about what engineering and science majors actually work on in these companies considering most of us have little or no background in finance.

First of all, firms such as KPMG and Deloitte have expanded their businesses beyond just audit work, to encompass more general management consulting; for example, I have a friend who works at Deloitte, and she specializes in consulting for the health care sector (we used to work together at the IT department at one of the largest teaching hospitals in Canada).

As far as what engineering and science majors do there, it may be best to speak to representatives there at the career fair, but from what I understand, quite a few are involved in IT work or data mining/analytics (i.e. statistical analysis of large data). There may be other areas of business which I'm not familiar with.
 
  • #3
wukunlin said:
Names of audit companies keep popping up on these lists (KPMG, Deloitte, PwC etc).

They do business consulting, and providing "solutions."

I'm really curious about what engineering and science majors actually work on in these companies considering most of us have little or no background in finance.

1) Physics majors end up doing a lot of business consulting. You write lots of equations using spreadsheets. The formula are usually dead simple.

2) CS and EE majors do lots of computer programming. If you are a Fortune 500 company, and want to do something like modernize your order system, a lot of these business consulting companies will do "one stop shopping." They'll figure out what computer systems you need, and if you need computer programs, they'll buy and write them for you.
 
  • #4
twofish-quant said:
They do business consulting, and providing "solutions."
1) Physics majors end up doing a lot of business consulting. You write lots of equations using spreadsheets. The formula are usually dead simple.

2) CS and EE majors do lots of computer programming. If you are a Fortune 500 company, and want to do something like modernize your order system, a lot of these business consulting companies will do "one stop shopping." They'll figure out what computer systems you need, and if you need computer programs, they'll buy and write them for you.

It's essentially like high-profile outsourcing. Although the jobs all by themselves are not that high-profile (and might I add - tend to be rather boring if you have been doing stuff like highly corellated Fermion systems...).

Especially with big projects you will find that there are different consulting firms working on different parts of the project. The advantage for the company hiring those firms is that it a) doesn't have to actually employ anyone itself, and b) that due to having different consulting firms you don't get too dependent on one.Funny remark: technically, audit companies are required to separate their consulting and audit activities (due to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act). It seems though, that in practice this separation is not as pronounced as one would want it to be.EDIT: Just to add: you usually earn really good money (in Europe the starting salary, including bonus, is somewhere around the Eur 70,000 mark for a PhD). But after having seen what a consulting company does look like on the inside, I am going to think twice if I really really really want to work in (financial) consulting. Well, it's nice to have this backup option if everything else does not work out the way I would like it to...
 
  • #5
People who know applied (engineering) mathematics can find work in all sorts of places. For instance, I know someone who specialized in finite elements and is now employed in the stock market business, solving PDEs about stock trends ;)
 
  • #6
meldraft said:
People who know applied (engineering) mathematics can find work in all sorts of places. For instance, I know someone who specialized in finite elements and is now employed in the stock market business, solving PDEs about stock trends ;)

I wonder how long this trend is still going to continue.

Personally, I feel like hitting jackpot if I find some job which is paying well, provides interesting work and is _not_ related to the financial industry.
 
  • #7
mSSM said:
I wonder how long this trend is still going to continue.

Personally, I feel like hitting jackpot if I find some job which is paying well, provides interesting work and is _not_ related to the financial industry.

Reminds me of the infamous student triangle: there is sleep, good grades and social life. You can have at most 2, but never 3 of them...!

I chose academia, which is missing the paying well part :biggrin:

Considering the economy will most likely burst to pieces in a few years though, probably not too long.
 
  • #8
meldraft said:
Reminds me of the infamous student triangle: there is sleep, good grades and social life. You can have at most 2, but never 3 of them...!

I chose academia, which is missing the paying well part :biggrin:

Considering the economy will most likely burst to pieces in a few years though, probably not too long.

It's not like I need to have a 6-figure income. Not at all. I'd be perfectly content with having a reasonable incoming allowing me to raise my kids (in Europe that is; I am not counting on being able to dish out half a million in $$ to pay for university).

And yeah, I am not sure if trying to get a job in finance is a good idea at the moment. I expect that in the not-too-far future the financial sector is going to shrink considerably.
 
  • #9
twofish-quant said:
They do business consulting, and providing "solutions."



1) Physics majors end up doing a lot of business consulting. You write lots of equations using spreadsheets. The formula are usually dead simple.

Just curious, but are these types of roles more for graduates of undergrad physics programs, or for PhD's? I had heard of some of these companies hiring PhD's...
 
  • #10
lepton33 said:
Just curious, but are these types of roles more for graduates of undergrad physics programs, or for PhD's? I had heard of some of these companies hiring PhD's...

The firm I did an internship for preferably hired PhDs (I'd say that easily over 50% of the people they hired held a PhD). The work the job involved, however, could easily be done by someone who 'only' just finished undergrad and had some exposure to programming.

When talking about consulting and, to some extent, audit firms, you have to be aware that they essentially are selling brains. That is why you will see those firms preferably hiring PhDs and people coming from big-name schools, because those buzzwords are easier to sell...
 
  • #11
mSSM said:
The firm I did an internship for preferably hired PhDs (I'd say that easily over 50% of the people they hired held a PhD). The work the job involved, however, could easily be done by someone who 'only' just finished undergrad and had some exposure to programming.

When talking about consulting and, to some extent, audit firms, you have to be aware that they essentially are selling brains. That is why you will see those firms preferably hiring PhDs and people coming from big-name schools, because those buzzwords are easier to sell...

Interesting...so do companies like PWC/KPMG hire Phd's right out of school, or only with additional experience? I have to ask, because I'm graduating at the end of 2012, and had not thought too much about this, although I had heard of places like Mckinsey/BCG hiring physics people.
 
  • #12
lepton33 said:
Interesting...so do companies like PWC/KPMG hire Phd's right out of school, or only with additional experience? I have to ask, because I'm graduating at the end of 2012, and had not thought too much about this, although I had heard of places like Mckinsey/BCG hiring physics people.

I can only talk about Germany, but my impression here was that they do hire PhDs "right out of school". Those companies are pretty much all over graduate student fairs.

Also, I believe that companies like McKinsey/BCG and PWC/KPMG hire a very similar kind of people.
 

1. What is the role of engineering and science majors in audit companies?

Engineering and science majors play a crucial role in audit companies as they bring a strong analytical and problem-solving mindset to the table. They are responsible for assessing and evaluating complex data, identifying potential risks, and providing recommendations for improvement.

2. What skills do engineering and science majors possess that make them suitable for audit companies?

Engineering and science majors possess strong quantitative and analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to think critically. They also have a strong understanding of data analysis and can use various tools and software to extract valuable insights.

3. Do engineering and science majors have to undergo any specialized training to work in audit companies?

While specific training may vary from company to company, engineering and science majors typically have a strong foundation in data analysis and critical thinking, making them well-equipped to work in audit companies. However, they may receive additional training on the specific processes and procedures of the company they join.

4. How do engineering and science majors contribute to the overall success of an audit company?

Engineering and science majors bring a unique perspective to the table, which is essential for identifying potential risks and providing recommendation solutions. Their strong analytical skills and attention to detail help ensure the accuracy and validity of audit findings, contributing to the overall success of the company.

5. Are there any specific roles or positions that engineering and science majors can take up in audit companies?

Engineering and science majors can take up various roles in audit companies, including data analysts, risk assessors, and quality assurance specialists. Some may also pursue a career as a certified public accountant (CPA) after gaining experience in audit companies.

Suggested for: What do engineering and science majors do in audit companies?

Replies
7
Views
709
Replies
6
Views
1K
Replies
6
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
1K
2
Replies
42
Views
4K
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
1
Views
1K
Back
Top