Tag Archives: internships

Why I Chose To Stay

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while…and yes I’m still here. I have stayed on as a MPA a semester longer than most, because I chose to complete an internship over the summer (and got credit for it).  I wanted to ensure I was making the right choice in career path and felt that actually trying it out for a few months would be the best way to assess my new profession.

I considered morning turkey sightings to be good luck.
I loved the turkeys on our campus.

I was lucky enough to intern in the Internal Audit department of a Fortune 500 company at their headquarters in Missouri. I was one of four interns for the group, and was able to participate in two audits. The job itself was a perfect fit for me, but one of the biggest draws for me was the travel component. I was based in St. Louis, but traveled to the Netherlands and Colorado during my two and a half months with the company. Best of all, this internship mimicked the full-time role that I will be taking on next year (yes-I liked it so much I signed on at the end of my internship).

The Hague
This photo was taken in the Scheveningen area after 8pm one night.
The Hague at Night
Not a bad place to go for an audit.

Coming to the MPA program people often have very set plans for the next 2-3 years of their lives. My advice, especially if you’re coming from outside the business world, is to take your time. If you’re able to spend extra time at UT, take an internship in the Spring or Summer. If you need to get out and into the workforce sooner, be sure to consider industry jobs in addition to public accounting. Up until last fall I’d never heard of the company I’ll be joining, and figured I’d be recruiting solely for full-time jobs while at UT. So never rule anything out, never close any doors-you never know what you’ll find or where you’ll go.

I went to St. Louis having never been to the state of Missouri before; next spring I will be calling it home.

Melissa Takes Boston: Part 3

Hi again!

I have yet another week at the client under my belt and I am still learning every day. The idea for this blog came to me after an intense conversation about the reality vs. entertainment value of the Kardashians empire.  (I’m sure, considering the title of my blog series, you can tell that I am a fan.)  After working for four weeks, I wanted to take the time to dispel some of the rumors that I heard about interning; a “fact vs. fiction” piece, if you will. I understand my intern experience is unique to me; however I still believe that this is applicable to those of you who will be interning in the future.

RUMOR  1: You will work on one client the whole time and only on cash.”

REALITY: FACT/FICTION. This was something that I consistently heard spoken with a negative connotation as I went through recruiting. Although I wasn’t even 100% sure what it meant, I was convinced that it was definitely something I didn’t want. However, I have been on the same client for four weeks now, and I have loved every minute of it. Being on one client for so long has allowed me to get comfortable with the client and with my team. I understand the work that is being done and my team has been able to give me projects that allow me to see a large piece of the audit and even build on my previous work. If I was switching around clients, I doubt I would have this luxury. As far as the ‘working on only cash’ piece of this rumor is concerned, that certainly hasn’t been the case for me, and even the projects that I have done that relate to cash have all been so different and each one was a brand new learning experience. I guess I can’t say this rumor is completely fact or completely fiction, but I do want to dispel the negative connotation that accompanies the idea of working on a client, or within a specific area of the audit, for an extended period of time.


RUMOR 2“You will work CRAZY long hours.”

REALITY: FACT. After talking with my friends who are also interning right now, we have all been on slightly different schedules, but overall, you shouldn’t expect to leave work at 5:30 every day. We are lucky enough to intern during busy season, the time of the year where there is the most work to be done, and this means we will be working a lot. This being said, the day will fly by – at least it has for me. I have left work anywhere from 8:30-11:30PM but even my longest days haven’t dragged on in the slightest. The great thing about there being a lot of work to be done is that you will constantly be busy; no sitting around waiting for something to do.


RUMOR 3: “Clients HATE auditors.”

REALITY: FICTION. As a person who likes to be liked (don’t we all?) this particular rumor really made me nervous. I have had quite a few interactions with the client thus far and I can’t say all of them have been 100% pleasant, but there has never been a time where I felt personally victimized by the client. Even though being audited is a government requirement for accounting firms’ clients, the clients still do appreciate the work we are doing.

These are three rumors I can almost guarantee that you will hear before embarking on your internship and I hope that my experience can help you to understand them a little bit more.

Happy interning to my fellow interns and happy studying to those of you taking classes!

Click here to read Part 4 of Melissa Takes Boston!

Melissa Takes Boston: Part 1

Hello Everyone!

I am 3 weeks into my auditing internship here at a Ernst & Young in Boston, MA. It has been crazy, a bit overwhelming, and already it feels like I have been working forever. I am learning so much everyday and I want to share what I have learned with those of you who are currently in MPA and thinking of participating in this awesome program.

My first internship lesson actually had nothing to do with accounting at all.

It was my first day at the client and my start time was 8:30 AM. The commute was about an hour, so naturally I left at 6 AM. (This might seem crazy but those of you who know me know that it is actually very predictable.) All was going well and I was on track to be not-so-fashionably early for my first day. All of a sudden, the “low tire pressure” alert began sounding in the car. As I pulled off at the next exit, I heard my tire completely blowout. I frantically called the rental car company, and then the towing company, and then a team member on my client to explain what was going on.

As all of this was happening, there were so many thoughts going through my head. The first, of course, being that I was going to late my first day of work because of a flat tire. That’s almost as cliche as forgetting your homework and saying your dog ate it.

In the end, I was late, but I learned a valuable lesson. As cheesy as it is, I learned that these things happen and no one is going to hold it against you. As adolescents we often resort to one of two reactions when these kinds of things happen. We either blame everyone except ourselves or we completely internalize the situation and worry about what everyone will think of us. As new interns we really hope to impress, not only because we want to secure that 5-star performance review that Jamal alluded to in his last post, but also because we are representing the University of Texas as we intern.

As you begin your internship, nerves and anxiety are okay, but my as my dad always tells me, the difference between excitement and nervousness is confidence.  It’s important to remember that no one is expecting you to be perfect, they only expect you to be the best you can be. Don’t be nervous because McCombs more than prepares us for the actual accounting part of the internship.  If something happens on your first day, just remember that things happen, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Click here to read Part 2 of Melissa Takes Boston!

Surviving my first week of career events

Recruiting is all about finding your perfect fit among the firms.

It is the point in the semester where all of the firms hold “Career Nights” for the third-year MPAs. Essentially, it is a less formal information session paired with a networking reception. To mirror my blog about mock interviews, I will tell you a few things I learned this week.

1. You really will start to discover the firm where you will fit best. Originally, I approached that notion with skepticism, thinking there was going to be a consistency between the firms. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. By no means are there “good” vs. “bad” firms, but moreso you will start to see where your personality fits in.

2. Know what makes you fun/unique. Of course it is important to know what year you are, what track you are pursuing, where you want to intern, etc. But how long do you think you can talk about that in a networking setting? Not very long. It is great when you talk about where you studied abroad, your favorite hobby, or your favorite food in Austin. And when you connect with someone who also lived in Paris, or also loves P. Terry’s, it makes the conversation more memorable and personal.

3. Get business cards and send thank you emails. But, do this because you WANT to, not because you think it something you have to do. The professionals can tell if your email is genuine or if it is forced. Make it personal. Do not have a shell email with which you “fill-in-the-blank” for firm and professional’s name.

These are just a few tips- but hopefully you get an idea for what Career Nights are really about, and I hope that my advice helps you in the future.

Hear that?

That’s opportunity knocking at your door, right here in Austin!

This blog is the next in the series of blogs discussing the components that make Austin such a great city to go to school in. Austin is a city just brimming with opportunity. Whether it is internships or job opportunities, volunteering opportunities, or really any opportunity, Austin can provide it for you.

Internships/ Jobs

The lovely UT campus is located deep in the heart of Austin. A few blocks away from McCombs is the Texas Capitol, home of the Texas Senate and House of Representative. I had the opportunity to intern at the Capitol last spring to explore my interest in law and politics. After a semester as a legislative aide, I figured out that politics wasn’t my forte, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to immediately find out it wasn’t a field I wanted to continue.

A few blocks from the Texas Capitol is downtown Austin, where opportunities for jobs and internships in almost every industry possible are readily available. As you read earlier, a fellow blogger Xinmiao interned at American Short Fiction and is currently interning at Greenlights for Nonprofit Success. The opportunities are seemingly limitless. Continue reading Hear that?