April 26/27, I am on a Continental flight to Tokyo’s Narita Airport right now. But Tokyo isn’t my final destination; in eight hours or so, I should be landing in Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. This is my treat to myself, in celebration of the successful completion of my tax internship at The Big 4 Firm in Houston. In a way, it is also a celebration for the beginning of what I hope to be a new career. Although I still have roughly six months of classes left (summer and fall semesters) when I return from Taiwan, my mind is somehow at ease knowing that now I can concentrate one hundred percent on my studies. I am not going to lie-–it is a great feeling.
Before I get too excited about the three-week vacation at my parents’ place in Taipei, I think it would be a good idea to conclude the atrophied “lunch series” I tried to maintain on this blog. My apologies, once again, for not keeping up as I had hoped on the details of my internship. When I was living the day-to-day life of a tax intern, the details of my work did not seem blog-worthy. However, now I have had a few days to reflect on what I did, I really feel fulfilled with the opportunities I had on my internship.
I ended the last lunch series entry at the eve of my second rotation to the International Tax Services (ITS) group. So much has happened since then! When I first rotated to the group, the work was slower than expected. So, I continued to help with the Federal tax project I had participated in during the first rotation. It was not before long, however, that I was asked to do research on RIA/CCH/BNA and compile decks on company structures. Researching is one of my favorite aspects of tax; I think it must have something to do with my liberal arts background from college. The interesting thing I discovered during these small research projects was that there often was not a right answer. There were sometimes points that needed clarification; but, more often than not, we were simply understanding the circumstances in terms of the IRC before we could offer the clients options or solutions. The “no right answer” conclusion to these projects might bother some people, but I was content with the fact that I grew a little each time I was given the chance to help. I also enjoyed immensely the independence I was given on these research projects. I usually tried to do as much as I could prior to asking questions, which proved beneficial in the end because I often found the answers myself through deeper research. Of course, everyone’s work style is quite different, so my preferences do not necessarily work for other people.
During the second rotation, I also developed closer relationships with the staff, managers, and even directors and partners in ITS. The company’s ITS has quite a few UT alumni whom I have met during recruiting in the fall. They continued to give me valuable guidance and opportunities during the internship for which I am very appreciative. Also, there were lunches, after-work activities, and happy hours that were excellent times to get to know the people in the group in a capacity other than work. During the last week of the internship, everyone kept asking me, “How has the internship been for you?” My answer was always genuinely positive (I hope it was perceived so as well!) since I have truly enjoyed my time at the firm and with the two groups I had rotated in.
To step out of my liberal arts bubble and into the business world was not the easiest decision for me, but I think I can adapt well to this new environment. The foremost requirement, needless to say, is that the company and the people of the company are good matches. I am fortunate that my internship experience has proved my initial decision to accept the internship offer with a Big 4 firm was correct. Since it is spring recruiting time again, I wish everyone good luck. And for those of us whose classes are concluding, best wishes on the finals! (C’mon guys, let me rub it in a teeny bit!)