Design Blended Learning

How to help your students land great internships

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By Cheryl Meyer Published May 12, 2015
Andrew McClaskey is living many an accounting major’s dream: He’s 21 years old, is less than one year away from graduation at the University of Denver, and already has a great job with KPMG waiting for him. McClaskey previously interned with KPMG, and he believes that internship enabled him to secure a position at the Big Four firm. “If a student chooses to pursue a career in public accounting, there is a very high chance that they will have an offer after graduation and often will receive the offer a year before graduating,” said McClaskey, who, as a graduate of his university’s undergraduate/graduate dual degree program, will finish with a concurrent bachelor of science in accounting and master’s in accounting degrees this year. An internship can set the course of an accounting student’s career because it often leads to the student’s first post-college job. However, landing an internship can be difficult and stressful, and students often seek guidance from their professors. Demand for accounting interns is high—Denver-based regional firm EKS&H alone plans to hire 69 accounting interns this year, said human resources Senior Manager Rebecca Himango, CPA—so students may receive offers for internships from several firms. Faculty who know the students and are familiar with the culture of many firms can help advise students on where to go. They can partner with university career centres, organizations like Beta Alpha Psi, the International Honour Society for financial information students and professionals, and employers to ensure students make the right connections. They can help students learn about the application process and cultivate the soft skills needed to create a strong impression when being interviewed. Professors and recruiting staff offer the following tips to faculty who want to help their accounting students find the best internship opportunities:
  • Meet with accounting firms and companies regularly.
  • Be responsive to employer requests and get to know what firms want.
  • Tap the alum base.
  • Adopt a firm.
  • Direct students to on-campus resources.
  • Prepare students for the application process.
Cheryl Meyer is a California-based freelance writer. Click here for the complete website text. Click here for the website of AICPA American Institute for Certified Public Accountants.

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