5 answers

What are the most efficient ways to obtain an internship in an accounting firm during my college career?

Asked Ossining, New York

I plan to be an accountant and I want to have as much experience as I can receive to prepare me for my job after college. I want to find out the right path for an accountant major. #business #finance #accounting

5 answers

Nicole’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

Hi Mark! I think the various tips are all really great to finding an internship, but my journey is slightly different than the others and is also a way to get an internship. Many of the Big 4 Accounting Firms do a leadership conference that you typically attend during the summer after your sophomore year of college (if you are on a 4 year track). I was able to attend this conference and then a month or so later, I found out I had an internship offer for the summer after my junior year. I went into my junior year with an internship which really lowered my stress levels in my junior year! Of course another path is to do an internship during the summer after your sophomore year. There are many different ways that you could end up getting an internship (and in the end, getting a job after you graduate) and you just have to determine what will work for you!

Horatiu G.’s Answer

Updated Los Angeles, California

The secret to finding an internship, no matter what the field, is to put yourself out there. Here are a few ideas.

  • Ask your friends and family ... do they know any accountants? Can they make an introduction?
  • Mine your school's alumni network ... e-mail alumni and ask for 10 minutes of their time. Don't ask for an internship, ask for their insights and advice. Build a relationship before popping the question.
  • Of the alumni, look at recent alumni ... perhaps those that have graduated in the last 1 - 3 years and ask them where they interned ... and perhaps ask for an introduction.
  • Do a quick search for accounting firms near your school or home ... call them. Yes, call. Tell them you're interested in an internship and ask who you can speak with about that. If you've got moxie, show up at their offices. You have nothing to lose.

Getting an internship is tough ... you have to be scrappy and MEMORABLE. Make calls. Show up at offices. Write e-mails to leaders in the firm. Find a mentor among your school's alumni. And ... remember that there are many small accounting firms that you have a better chance of finding an internship with ... don't just focus on the big players ... it's more competitive. Don't follow the herd ... carve your own path.

Good luck!

Nicole’s Answer

Updated Raleigh, North Carolina
I would recommend creating a LinkedIn account and begin networking as soon as possible. Whether it is adding local connections on LinkedIn or attending different events at your school, getting yourself out there is most important. I also agree with what was said in the first response - there are a lot of opportunities available for college students at smaller firms and businesses. In my personal experience, I was able to network through the career center at my school, and have an internship in the accounting department at a local business for 2 years before I interned at PwC.

Kristen’s Answer

Updated Greensboro, North Carolina
Echoing what has been said, put yourself out there. Connections and relationships are important. Another option is to look into business-related fraternal organizations. Beta Alpha Psi, if your school has a chapter, is an accounting fraternity that offers many opportunities to network and socialize with local professionals. I got my first job and internship in accounting through relationships I formed through the organization. When you talk to someone, ask them about their job, why they like it, etc. People love to talk about themselves. Also be prepared with well-thought out questions. It's best to stay away from questions that are easily answered with a quick Google search. Be proactive.

Bill’s Answer

Updated Hartford, Connecticut

The answer above is fantastic and I agree with every point. One additional thing I would try is go often to the career services office at your college. I have two children, one in college and one just graduated and from what I understand not many people use that office enough. It can be an invaluable resource for companies looking to hire. Good Luck!

The answers above are great. You will want to meet with your career services office and start networking as soon as you start college. Most business schools have accounting recruiters that come on campus and the career services office can help you prepare to meet with them. Start early as these companies tend to prefer students they have seen at multiple recruiting events.
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