My internship experience thus far at Schneider Downs & Co. has not only opened my eyes to what operations take place in the accounting industry, but also to how the many different departments that make up an accounting firm work together. Schneider Downs is a professional services firm that not only specializes in audit and tax, but also wealth management, corporate finance, risk advisory and many more areas. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several knowledgeable and skilled individuals from whom I have learned valuable insight into many different parts of the job. Before I changed my major to accounting, I had no idea what company my cousin, Natalie Donovan, Senior Manager of Human Resources in the firm’s Columbus office, worked for. Now, two years after changing my major, I’m experiencing a rare opportunity where I get the pleasure of working alongside a family member. My path to accounting hasn’t been your typical accounting student journey, however.
After graduating high school from a small town in Ohio known as Ashland, I knew I wanted to attend Ohio University (OU) in Athens, but I had no idea what I wanted to choose as a major. For that reason, I took a cheap and safe route by enrolling at The Ohio State University Mansfield branch to take some prerequisite courses. After realizing one year’s worth of time was all I wanted to spend there, I joined the Ohio Army National Guard in February of 2011, so I could utilize the ONGSP (Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program) and allow my dream of attending OU become a reality. Unfortunately, I had another reality to face before that, as the company I was to join (1486th Transportation Company) after my training was deploying to Kandahar, Afghanistan the following year. After returning to the United States in early 2013, I took an extended and much needed summer vacation before enrolling at OU for the fall semester. The irony, however, is that when I was overseas, I decided I wanted to be a pilot. As one could guess, I declared aviation as my major and after obtaining my private pilot certificate, my passion to fly had a change of heart, as I found myself back at square one without a declared major. After taking a mix of engineer and business classes, one of those being an introduction class to accounting, and some much appreciated counsel from friends and family, I enrolled in the college of business in the 2015 fall semester, declaring accounting as my major. I started networking with accounting professionals from several firms that semester, but I lacked the required course knowledge and experience until the following year in the fall of 2016, when I then applied for an audit internship position at multiple firms. I had several interviews and call-back interviews with a few firms, and Schneider Downs was one of those firms. I have all the thanks to the firm for taking a chance on letting me join the Schneider Downs team for part of the summer.
My time here at Schneider Downs has been a very maturing and humbling time in my life, as well as exciting. Living in a big city that offers so much more than where I come from has made for a very entertaining social life outside of my time at Schneider Downs. Having the opportunity to gain insight in the accounting profession, as well as getting to experience what the city of Columbus has to offer for a couple months has combined to be a great combination for a fun work environment and an activity-filled summer. Beyond all the technical things I’ve learned during my internship, the value of networking with employees and clients within the field cannot be measured. Schneider Downs is an incredible company to work for and a culture unlike any other, and if given the opportunity, I would be honored to be a part of the SD&Co. family.
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