Like Melissa, I just wanted to cap my experience spending a semester interning. Melissa talked about how she utilized the things she learned from her academic studies for her internship, so I thought I would talk about some of the softer and more intangible skills that I took to public accounting from my time at UT.
Being patient: I assumed that when I would start my internship, I’d be put in the same room to interview some high ranking officers. Surprisingly, that doesn’t happen in your first week. I know as business and McCombs students, we want to be given the opportunity to prove ourselves and be challenged. However that takes time. Being given grunt work is how you learn about the industry you work in and allows you exposure to the professionals that you hope to become.
There’s no “I” in “Team”: I can’t even tell you the number of times I made dinner, Route 44’s, and Walmart runs. As an intern, your number one prerogative is to keep your team happy. Auditing/Performing Tax Services/Assessing Risk comes second. Help out where you can and do what you can to help the team. And keeping them content makes them more inclined to let you do real work.
Being professional: I don’t care how wacky the client or senior management is, professionalism is a requirement in the working world. We have to play extra, extra, extra nice. When I interned, there was definitely a relaxed atmosphere. People were cracking jokes, talking about current events, analyzing Sean’s actions from The Bachelor. It definitely made 8 hours a day in the audit room fly by faster, but as an intern, it’s important to distinguish when you’re overstepping your boundaries. Save all that raunchy humor for the intern events!
Accountants are people too: I’m sure it’s been drilled into your heads if you’ve done MPA spring recruiting, but accountants are people too, and they don’t want to talk about work all day. The same principal applies to when they’re working. Yes they work hard, but everyone needs a couple breaks throughout the day. When you aren’t calling XYZ bank to confirm 123 account, ask how their daughter’s play went or if they enjoyed their trip to the beach over the weekend.
Internships are an incredible opportunity to learn these little lessons that have a major impact on the success of your career. I’m grateful for the experience but so glad to be back at McCombs!