Pursuing Masters in Accouting next year. What should I do now to prepare for career change in my mid-30s?

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GM7 in Baltimore, Maryland

37 months ago

After I relocate from MD to CA next year, I plan to pursue a Masters in Accounting (since I already have a BS in an unrelated-field, although my first major was accounting) then sit for the CPA exam.

BACKGROUND:
- 35yo
- B.S., Visual Communications
- For last 7 yrs, I've been an Operations & Business Development Manager for an IT/ Digital Marketing firm (but will be leaving this job when I move to CA next year to pursue my degree)
- The majority of my current job includes:
~ Accounts Receivable (invoicing, collections),
~ Accounts Payable (paying incoming bills, expense reimbursements, etc),
~ Sales Forecasts,
~ Payroll (collect & process time sheets, distribute paychecks),
~ Government Estimates/Proposals/Contracting, etc.
~ Random other tasks like Project Management that aren't worth listing since
they don't apply to my future career

QUESTIONS:
1. Is the above considered "entry-level" accounting experience?
2. What should I do now in MD, and during graduate school next year in CA, to help give me an advantage to finding a job after passing the CPA exam?
3. Are there any accounting related jobs I could do while in graduate school without compromising my grades?
4. What are some tips for networking with the Big4 in CA(although I'm currently eying LA, specific city TBD upon graduate school & Big4 opportunities)?

I know that is a lot of questions. Making a career change at this age and during this economy is a huge risk, so if you have advice to even just one of them, I'd love your input.

Thank you in advance.

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