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GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-03-2005, 08:49 PM   #1
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GE corporate audit staff?

Does anyone here know about this program with General Electric? You are an internal auditor for GE across all their businesses...stressful life with 100% travel and long hours, most people don't last more than a few years but I am wondering about it as a way to save up a large nest egg (since you travel 100%, you don't need to have a residence or car, and 99% of your expenses are paid for, so all of your after-tax income is available for investing). Plus once you come off program, you're in demand at GE businesses who want to see that you've had this experience...and it helps your salary/career band rise much faster than the normal progression. I am thinking I could do 2 years on audit staff to save +$100k total in after tax money and I'd still only be 27, then come off and have a $90-95k salary at a "regular" GE job without all the travel and stress. I don't have wife/kids right now so travel is not such a big deal...wouldn't want to do it long term but probably could handle 2-3 years, then settle down.

Is this a realistic goal? Does anyone here have experience with this program or life with "the General" that they could share? I saw the thread a while back about how we make crappy refridgerators...
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-04-2005, 08:31 AM   #2
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

Corporate audit is a circle of hell that not even Dante would write about. Think long and hard, my friend....

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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-04-2005, 12:50 PM   #3
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

Yes you do make crappy refrigerators. You top it off by having lousy service people, a lousy telephone system, and then asking your customers to pay for a replacement after acknowledging you cant fix it.

Sorry.

My new Whirlpool refrigerator is arriving today.

My GE refrigerator is going to be written about in a major consumer publication in the next 2 months.

Then I think I'll try selling it on ebay with one of those "Buy my defective refrigerator...for $100 extra GE will send you a new one! Or I'll shoot it with a shotgun and take video of that, plus for an extra $100 my wife will dance around it in a bikini after its dead. For an extra amount, my neighbor will crush it with his bulldozer and drive over it 5-6 times".

I should make a little $ back on the cost of the Whirlpool.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-04-2005, 01:46 PM   #4
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

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plus for an extra $100 my wife will dance around it in a bikini after its dead.
Now you're talking!
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-04-2005, 08:14 PM   #5
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

I worked in a GE accounting department (but not with the corporate audit staff). I wouldn't want to work the (even more than mine were) crazy hours that the audit staff does.

If you decide to do it, you are REALLY kissing off any personal life for the 2-3 years you are in the program. Their FMP program is the same way.* But, if you make it thru the program and don't mind kissing butt along the way, you will walk out of the program with a very nice management position at one of their divisions.

One of the guys I got to know in the program didn't have a family and was pretty frugal. He was socking away a nice chunk of change while traveling and using the travel expense allowance. He was enjoying the travel but (this was near the end of the second year) was getting real tired of living out of a hotel room.

What are your long term goals? Do you want to climb the ladder at a big corp?
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-04-2005, 10:28 PM   #6
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

I'm not interested in climbing the ladder just for the sake of climbing the ladder...I don't see myself becoming a CFO at GE, they are too far removed the actual business events for my taste (although I could imagine being a finance leader at a smaller company down the road, maybe a startup). I would like to work on acquisition integration and systems development projects at GE once I got off program, that's the kind of work that appeals to me...I see audit staff as one entry point into those types of roles...with a higher salary than if I came in "off the street." I'm a FMP now, so I don't have much of a personal life that I'd have to leave behind. And I think I could do the hotel thing for 2 years, probably be sick of it by then though. Pretty frugal already, so I don't think that would be a problem...like your friend, I'd sock away the cash to hopefully get to FI in my 30s, then have more freedom to find the job I really want if I get tired of the GE meatball. Not a huge fan of kissing butt but most seem to recognize the quality of my work (I don't build our fridges)...hopefully I wouldn't have to brown-nose too much because as I mentioned, I'm not gunning for one of those uber-competitive roles - would rather have a job that I enjoy.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-05-2005, 12:32 PM   #7
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

I started my career the corporate audit staff of a major oil company.* Long hours in many different cities but,* it provided me an opportunity to learn all aspects of* business and the skills to move on to other employers.* Also, received my MBA and CPA during this time.

If you are looking at this as a way to save for retirement, you may be disappointed.* Experience is what it will provide you.*

Best of Luck!

Dave
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-10-2005, 07:07 AM   #8
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

I've been GE's Corporate Audit Staff (CAS) for 2 years. It's really an extension of FMP. Do you like what you're working on now? As a CAS associate, you'll be doing very similar things except you look at financial cycles from a control perspective similar to Sarbanes Oxley.

For starters, I've really enjoyed my experience. Here are my pros and cons...

PROS:
In 2 years, I have 13 countries under my belt in Europe, Asia and North America. I've met the most amazing people from all over the world that I would've never had the chance to meet in any other job. I work with some of the smartest people I've ever met. They challenge you to improve your critical thinking. I have saved a good chunk of change.

CONS:
You will work long hours. However, if you are efficient and prioritize appropriately the hours become significantly reduced. You may not always get along with the people you're working and living with. Again, reviews are only 4 months long so the end is always right around the corner. If you are open about meeting new people with a variety of backgrounds and personalities, this shouldn't be a problem for you.

I recommend talking to an associate who's auditing your business for more insight.

Best of luck on whatever decision you make. FMP is a great stepping stone.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-15-2005, 08:45 AM   #9
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

I started my career on GE's FMP program and after completing that and having a regular GE job for a few years I joined CAS. This was in the mid 1990's. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The current CAS associate gave a pretty good summary of the pros and cons. One other important thing to know is that to even get accepted onto the program, you'll have to complete a one month pilot, which is basically one a one month assignment/interview where you travel with an audit staff team, learn first hand what they live like and what they do. They will see through you right away if you are there for monetary reasons alone. That is not what they want. This is by no means an easy program to be accepted to nor to stay on. The feedback is honest, frequent and, in my experience, fair. Promotions are a true weeding out process and not for the weak-hearted. That said, it is exhilarating for the bright and inquisitive mind and an unparalleled program for someone wanting to catapult their career. This is the fast track to becoming a leader at GE, not to a quick retirement. Good luck with your decision.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-15-2005, 02:18 PM   #10
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

Agree 100% that it would not make sense to do CAS for the money. I like working in finance, am enjoying FMP, and would like to learn more about the other GE businesses as well as auditing/control processes. So I think it's a natural fit there. I have no doubt that I possess the technical skillset to be an auditor.

However, my biggest concern is the amount of drinking/partying that seems to go on during audits. Personally, I am not a big drinker nor do I stay out in bars until 2am on a regular basis...a couple of beers on the weekend is fine. From what I've heard, it sounds like the auditors like to "play hard" which may not be a good fit for me (too much of a fraternity lifestyle). I have also heard that this leads to other issues like infidelity...but I don't know how much stock to put in these things, or how they would affect me getting hired in the first place.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-15-2005, 11:08 PM   #11
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

TheGeneral,

Good luck. It seems that you are convinced that this is the path you want to be on.

Spanky
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 05-19-2005, 09:03 PM   #12
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

Hi again...Regarding the work hard and fidelity issues, I was married when I was on CAS and I am still married now...to the same man! I'll admit I was a bit of a rarity, especially being a woman and an audit manager who was married. I was not the hard partying type either. When I was on you were sort of expected to go out with the team on Thursdays (called ANOs for Auditor Night Out), but they ranged from bar hopping to seeing play or to dinner at a five star restaurant, etc. If the team was a hard partying crowd, I usually cut out early and never lost anyone's respect for it. Be yourself and you'll be fine. There are a huge amount of auditors who will feel exactly as you do. I remember Thursdays as being the big night out. When we were "in the field" during Fri, Sat, and Sun, we mainly went to nice dinners, worked a bit more and went to bed (always midnight or later...ugh.). You'll be sleep deprived for certain.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 06-07-2005, 09:30 AM   #13
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

I am a current GE employee and I am contemplating a move to CAS.

What are your thoughts / advice? I am an FP&A Analyst and I am getting the impression that CAS is the best way to move up the ladder, but I am concerned about the work / travel schedule. I am married (no kids). Do you think that 2 years of CAS is enough, or do you really need to stay 3? (assuming that you are invited to, of course). I have also heard stories of auditors 'working' all day / night because their boss is there, not because they have any real work to do (appearances). What is your advice on this topic? Finally, would you recommend that I do a pilot to try things out? Thanks.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 08-23-2006, 06:35 PM   #14
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

Hi everybody,
i'm german, so excuse me for my bad english. I've heard about GE's corporate audit staff as a prestigious group of employees. What kind of job are they supposed to do? How many are they?

Thanks for your replies.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 08-23-2006, 08:35 PM   #15
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

Do it!! You are young and can make the sacrifice. You will learn a lot about how companies work, and you'll get to travel on the company dime. When you have two or three years experience and some money in the bank, your skills will be in demand. If you were 35 with a family, I would say, no way. Do it while you are young. Once you are older and nearing retirement, you won't want to do something like that (work so hard).

I speak from experience, CPA, internal audit, external audit, Big 4, blah, blah, blah.
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 08-24-2006, 09:26 AM   #16
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dusk_to_dawn
Do it!! You are young and can make the sacrifice. You will learn a lot about how companies work, and you'll get to travel on the company dime. When you have two or three years experience and some money in the bank, your skills will be in demand. If you were 35 with a family, I would say, no way. Do it while you are young. Once you are older and nearing retirement, you won't want to do something like that (work so hard).

I speak from experience, CPA, internal audit, external audit, Big 4, blah, blah, blah.
I'll second dusk_to_dawn. Doing something like this gets so much harder as the years go by. You'll meet a bunch of people who might be useful later on, see a lot of new places, and save a heck of a lot of money. It sounds like a great opportunity.

Coach
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 08-30-2006, 08:25 PM   #17
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

do it for the travel opportunity....but...if you decide you want to do something else later (ie., out of large company audit), public would be more marketable years from now...you'll still be marketable, but if money and marketability is all you're after, then not the best move...
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 11-08-2006, 10:27 PM   #18
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

Hi there!

I would like to ask what is the usual happening/event for the GE CAS observation day.

I hope someone can give inputs/insights about this matter.

Thanks in advance...
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 11-25-2006, 04:22 PM   #19
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

No clue what this CAS observation day is all about.

CAS is definitely an awesome experience, unmatched in any other company.

What is a bit disapointing is not so much the crazy hours, the lifestyle, the indoctrination and so on. True, you can save some decent money.

The real disadvantage is related to the CONTENT. Coming off CAS you can't really put on the table any hardcore skills that are very valuable on the market in case you wish to move to some other company, in more valuable jobs.

Even though you might have gained exposure to many sectors, analyzed many businesses, went in the operations details, spoke to the big CEOs/CFOs worldwide, the content is a bit 'fluffy' and you don't develop 100% the hardcore strategical thinking you would gain at McKinsey or any strong financial modelling skills you get spending 2 years as an analyst at Morgan Stanley. All the rest such as 'leadership development', 'personal growth'... is just pure bullshit.

For GE, CAS the just the pefect vehicle to train very well a pool of back-office clerks (accountants) that do not cost too much, and lock them in with the company.

Anybody sharing the same point of view?







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Re: GE corporate audit staff?
Old 11-25-2006, 11:26 PM   #20
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Re: GE corporate audit staff?

I agree with what Sofia said. If you do it for a few years and then decide that you want to leave GE, it's very true that you're not going to be that marketable. Basically, your skillset is "internal auditor" and I don't think another company is going to let you jump from that into a divisional CFO role. One of my friends went the CAS route and he's working 12 hour days plus some weekends and bascially he is doing account reconciliations. Some assignments are better than others but still. I highly doubt that's going to get you into a big I-banking shop or strategy consulting firm. GE knows this and it's all part of their plan to lock-in talented individuals...once you have invested all of this time with GE's training programs, it's hard to walk away.

However, if you can do CAS for 3-5 years and then come off as a finance manager or CFO for a reasonably sized division at GE, then spend another few years delivering some results, I think you would be in good shape to jump to another company. In short, I don't think that CAS is inherently valuable to one's resume. However, if you can use it to springboard to a higher off-program position, and then leave GE, it may be worth it.

As an update to my original post, I decided not to do CAS and take a regular off-program job after FMP. I've since decided that this job sucks - the entire finance team is struggling with non-value add requests from Corporate and moving from one pointless fire drill to the next. No one has any time to make real process improvements because we're understaffed; everyone seems to be treading water. I've realized that my personality is better suited to project management, which is the type of work I enjoyed most on FMP. I've started applying for consulting jobs that involve financial systems implementation/integration. If anyone is aware of open positions and would be interested in a GE alum, feel free to send me a PM.
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