In a few weeks, Wake Forest University will host its annual, spring “Meet the Firms” event. Current accounting undergraduates and incoming Master in Accountancy students will have the chance to meet with firm representatives to learn more about the opportunities that exist at the “Big Four”, national, and regional public accounting firms. This event kicks off the process of securing an internship and laying the foundations for a potential career in public accounting.
While dozens of Wake Forest students will seek internship opportunities for the upcoming winter internship cycle, an equal amount of students have recently completed their internships and are now eagerly anticipating a few late spring and early summer dates at Prometric testing centers; the CPA exam is upon us!
For those who recently completed the winter internship experience, how would you describe your internship? I will attempt to answer this question by answering a few others.
1) Which firm did you intern with and in what location did you intern?
I interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the Charlotte, North Carolina Office. I worked within the tax line of service; in particular, the Financial Services Tax Group.
2) Why PricewaterhouseCoopers?
As a graduate accounting student at Wake Forest University, I am pursuing a dual concentration in Tax Consulting and Financial Transaction Services. This past fall, I actively pursued internship opportunities that would provide a practical professional development experience as it relates to the taxation of financial services organizations.
After attending office hours with campus recruiters, career panel discussions comprised of firm professionals, and both informal and formal office visit sessions, I was convinced that PwC would provide me with the experience that I was looking for.
3) What did you like most about your internship experience?
The aspect of the internship experience that I liked the most was having the opportunity to work on client projects. During the recruiting process, one of my interviewers confirmed that interns are treated as if they are first-year associates and that was consistent with my internship experience.
I also liked the collaborative nature of the work. Accounting projects for large clients require thoroughly executed teaming in which those with the most experience coaches those trying to learn the ropes.
4) What type of projects did you work on during your internship?
After attending a comprehensive tax training session in Georgia, I returned to Charlotte and joined a tax specialist team. The team was tasked with providing the assurance team with assistance on the audit of the income tax footnote disclosures of a large, publicly traded commercial bank.
I found the income tax provision work interesting. It was an opportunity to practically apply, in an integrated way, some of the concepts that were covered in my Audit and Corporate Taxation classes in the fall semester.
During the final third of my internship experience, I worked on a tax compliance project for an asset management client focused on private equity investments. This portion of the internship experience was a rigorous, primer on partnership taxation with a specific focus on the computation of entity-level net taxable income and the allocation of income to the investors of the partnerships.
There were also non-client service, internship enrichment experiences. I collaborated with my tax intern colleagues to plan and oversee a trivia competition for PwC professionals within the tax line of service. Additionally, the tax interns aligned themselves with PwC’s vision to increase youth financial literacy and education. We taught courses on investments and savings to a group of fifth graders at Crown Point Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina.
5) What advice do you have for those beginning the process for next year?
Good luck! Know what you are looking for in a firm (make a list), research the firms, do office visits, and select the opportunity that arises that is most in alignment with those qualities and characteristics that made your list. Have fun. Learn a lot. Grow professionally!
Marquis J. Pullen is a 2012 graduate of Princeton University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Marquis is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Accountancy Program ’15 at the Wake Forest University School of Business, where he is pursuing a dual concentration in Tax Consulting and Financial Transaction Services. Links to Marquis’ writings about business, law, and accounting can be accessed at: http://marquispullen.com/linkedin-articles/
I'm Amber Shiflett, Marketing Intern here at Snagajob and a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University.
I'm here give you the inside scoop on internships. As a college student, I've completed a ton of internships. Whether an internship is paid, for credit, unpaid or not-for-credit doesn't change its value. Internships are investments in your future. Often, students are reluctant to pursue internships because they worry they'll be stuck doing menial tasks like getting coffee or making copies and let's face it- no one wants to work for free. The truth is, although not all internships pay in cashthey do pay in other ways.
Here are just a few reasons why internships are investments in your future:
1) Real world experience: Joining a company as an intern gives you the opportunity to work hands on in a professional environment. As an intern you're not just there to get coffee or run errands but you're there to gain actual work experience. Internships help by teaching you more about the career path you are pursuing. Think of it like this – internships are a way to test drive possible jobs and explore different career options.
2) Networking: Internships often give you the opportunity to attend meetings and events. By interacting with professionals you gain new connections and learn how to communicate in a professional environment. Personally, my internships have introduced me to a lot of useful resources and have given me the opportunity to meet a variety of professionals in my field. Networking has helped me acquire references and find new job opportunities. Internships can even provide you with a professional mentor.
3) Resume Builder: As a college student I know the importance of a strong resume. Without a solid resume it can be tougher to be considered for a position. And how can you have a strong resume without any experience? Internships are key to building experience as a student or recent graduate. Employers are much more likely to hire someone with internships and work experience rather than someone with a generic resume, lacking experience.
4) Time Management: As an intern you'll become a master of time management. When you're working in a fast paced professional environment you need to know every minute counts. Time management is vital in every circumstance whether you're attending meetings, finishing tasks on deadlines, making phone calls, picking up your boss' dry cleaning or walking their dog (just kidding about those last two).
5) Career Foundation: Internships provide you with the building blocks you need for your future. Many internship opportunities help set the foundation for your career. It is important that you choose you internships based on your interests and career prospects. As an intern you have the opportunity to get your foot in the door with a company. Keep in mind, employers often use internships as a recruitment tool to test out future employees and in many cases, companies hire interns after graduation.
Internships are great tools to improve your chances as a job applicant and help make you a better potential employee. So make the investment in your career and look into becoming an intern.