I go to Duquesne University and the professors there really encourage hands-on experience. They know that internships are essential to becoming a professional in the business world. Duquesne has an amazing Career Services Center, which helps you with many things that include improving your resume and applying for internships. Our professors also tell students of any internship that is available. One company in which they spoke very highly of was Schneider Downs. It was then that I decided to apply for an audit internship. Soon after I applied, I was invited to a pre-interview dinner hosted by Schneider Downs. I went to the dinner and I was shocked at how pleasant everyone was. The employees took time out of their day after work to come to dinner to answer any questions we had about Schneider Downs, and talked about their experiences. I met so many people that night. It was a great way to ask questions and to calm my nerves. Not to mention, the food was pretty good as well. Mike and Tom ordered everyone an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. The next day was my on-campus interview, and I was not nearly as nervous, since I had already met Mike and Tom at dinner the night before. After the on-campus interviews were office interviews. At this point, I was still on the fence about where I wanted to do an internship. I went to the office interview and came back with my mind made up. I felt like I had learned so much about the accounting field after one day of being at the office. I remember standing by my phone waiting for a phone call from Mike to see if I got the job or not and being ecstatic when I did.
I think my favorite thing about Schneider Downs is the people. They are eager to help you and will answer any question that you have about the firm or auditing in general. When working on an audit, the employees that you work with do not just tell you what to do. They thoroughly explain what you are doing and why it is important. The work that you do is not intern work. It is work that a first-year staff would be doing. One of the audits that I was assigned to did not have a first-year staff, and I did everything that person would have done. It worked out great.
As this internship comes to an end, I look back at how much I have learned from this process and things that could help me in my future career. In school, we learn that debits are on the left and credits are on the right. During this internship, I have learned much more than the rules of accounting. I have learned that relationships with not just your co-workers, but with clients are essential. Everyone is so welcoming at Schneider Downs that it was impossible to have a bad relationship with anyone. I have also learned how to act not only in the workplace, but on an audit. There are some things that you just cannot learn in school. I remember my first planning meeting. I was clueless to the things that the employees were talking about. I sat back quietly and listened to everything that was said. Fast-forward to my last planning meeting, where I stayed involved. I asked questions and knew what everyone was talking about. I had a few audits under my belt, which helped me to understand what the testing was that they were talking about and the risk assessment. I look back to my first audit. I was so nervous that I was afraid to get out of my car. When I did, I was welcomed by the other Schneider Downs employees, and we got right to work. We got right into payroll testing, contributions testing, and allocation testing. I was amazed at how much I accomplished during that first week. I was never afraid to ask questions because everyone was so great.
When I return to Duquesne in the fall, I will look at my classes with a different perspective. I can relate the things I am learning to what I have done at Schneider Downs. I now know why the professors at Duquesne speak so highly of Schneider Downs, and I am eager to put the skills that I learned to good use throughout my career in accounting.