2020 Internship

It was November of 2019 and I had received an offer to be an intern at Schneider Downs.  I hadn’t taken an audit class before, and I hadn’t even finished Intermediate II yet.  I had no expectation of what the internship would be like, or public accounting, for that matter, but I knew Schneider Downs would be the best place for me to learn.  What I couldn’t have predicted was that I wouldn’t  meet anyone physically at Schneider Downs.  By April we were told we’d only fulfil half of the time we thought we’d work at Schneider Downs, and that we would be working fully remote, from our own houses.  I didn’t know what to think it was going to be like now.  I’d read and heard that a lot of places had cancelled their internship program, so I felt very lucky and thankful, but I was afraid I was going to miss out on things, especially the Schneider Downs atmosphere I felt during the interview process.   I was totally wrong.

Yes, I did miss out on going into town every day, and I missed out on after work activities, but I couldn’t have imagined I’d still do so much meaningful work and meet so many people online.  Everyone was just as friendly and helpful as I could’ve hoped for if we were in person, let alone being at home online.  Every person you talked to wanted to help you with whatever work you were doing, or to just talk about careers and the CPA exam.  Being remote and using Microsoft Teams made it even a little easier to communicate, because you knew if someone was in a meeting and when someone finished a meeting just by their status on Teams.  You had instant access to your team which was very helpful, not just with doing work, but also meeting and talking to people.  It was easy to do work while talking to someone at the same time, which made it possible to be efficient with work but also take the time needed to make the internship more meaningful in a networking/personal interaction way.   I might not have been able to meet everyone as easily as an internship completed in-person, but the conversations and help I got from everyone will have a lasting impact on my career and life.

The work I did was not what I expected.  You see or hear stories about interns getting coffee or printing things, and not really doing any actual work.  I never got the impression that that’s how this internship would be during interviewing, and even with everything that’s happened in 2020, I still was right.  The work I was doing was real, and vital to the audit as a whole.  I never knew half the stuff I did was what auditors normally do, and I would guess that I’ll never learn any of it in a classroom.  This internship wasn’t a rinse and repeat of the things I learned in college, it was completely new, and without this experience, I’d never know how to do any of it until I got a job.  I didn’t just meet great people who cared and helped me, but I got an experience of public accounting I could not have gotten without working here at Schneider Downs.  Most importantly, this internship has taught me that, whether it be at Schneider Downs or any other firm, this is what I want to do for a long time.

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The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at contactSD@schneiderdowns.com.

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

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