For my STEP project I did an eight-week audit and assurance internship with Deloitte, a public accounting firm here in Columbus. I spent the majority of my internship auditing a publicly traded power and utilities company.
I think one of the big changes that took place was shifting from the classroom to the workplace. I assumed it would be a lot harder for myself to switch from one to the other. I quickly had to become used to sitting in one place and working continuously for eight to nine hours a day, instead of short one-hour classes and all the breaks in between. I also assumed it would be harder to translate what I learned in the classroom to my job, but quickly found that I was able to pull information I learned in class and put it in to practice. However, I also assumed I would need to know a lot more coming in than I did but realized that I would learn a lot on the job that didn’t necessarily need to know or remember from the classroom, I was honestly shocked at how much learning and knowledge I gained in such a short amount of time, by actually working as compared to just sitting in a classroom.
My team was very helpful in helping me make my transition from the classroom to the workplace as painless as possible. They had constant check-ins with me to talk about me performance, what I could I do better, and improve on. These check-ins also provided me the opportunity for me to ask any questions I had, no matter what they were. They also gave me some tips on how to adjust to the office life, encouraging me to take quick breaks to grab a snack or some candy, or do a quick lap around the office to refill my water or grab coffee. These tips and tricks, along with the check-ins provided me a smooth adjustment to the business world, one that you can’t really experience in a classroom
My team was very supportive when I was working through my various project. Any questions I would have they wouldn’t hesitate to pause what they were doing and come walk me through whatever I didn’t understand. They gave me helpful feedback on my work, that usually required me to fix some things, but that gave me a great opportunity go back and learn from those corrections. They challenged me to leverage the knowledge I already had from the classroom and use it in my work. They challenged me with work that they knew would be difficult for me but with their guidance I was able to work through. The experience I had form the classroom working in teams was very helpful to use in this very team-orientated environment.
Another large part of my internship and one that really transformed me was my interaction with our firm’s clients. My team did not hold my hand when it came to those interactions, and instead encouraged me to take those interactions head on. They gave me a few tips at first, but after that I was on my own to meet and contact the clients for information and support we needed. This challenge was difficult at first especially the first time I was alone with the client and felt like I had no idea what I was even saying. After a few more interactions and a little more support on what questions to ask from my team, I began to really feel comfortable with those client interactions. Soon I was confident in these interactions and felt that I really was able to get the information my team needed from the interactions all on my own, it was one of the points my team called as a big positive during my internship.
This whole internship, and all my experiences were very valuable for my future professional and career goals. First it was my first real opportunity to experience public accounting and see if it was what I really wanted to do. I got to experience some of the work I would get to do in my early years, how to interact with clients, and how the team dynamic works in public accounting. It also allowed me to leverage what I have learned in the classroom and reaffirm my decision to major in accounting. The internship allowed me to expand my professional network, not only with professionals already working in public accounting, but with those working at my client, and fellow interns, all of which could be useful down the road. Finally, this internship provided me the opportunity to return to Deloitte full time following graduation.