Upon entering my junior year at the University of Pittsburgh, I put a lot of pressure on myself to land an internship for the summer early on in the fall semester. From practically day one at Pitt, I can remember advisors and professors stressing the importance of networking events such as the Career Conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center hosted by the university, especially during our junior year, to better our chances of solidifying an internship early. Despite having an accounting internship with a small, private up-and-coming business the summer after my sophomore year, I was concerned about not having enough professional experience. Luckily, the Career Conference is held very early on in the school year in September, so I had little time to worry, and before I knew it, I was setting my alarm for 5:30 a.m. and heading downtown in my business suit, numerous resumes in tow.
If I said I wasn’t even the slightest bit overwhelmed when I saw the many companies present and my peers with whom I would be competing for positions with, I’d be lying. This was a great opportunity to speak with potential employers, and I didn’t want to make a bad impression. One of my favorite parts of the Career Conference was the panel sessions, which is where I finally met Tom Harvey. On a panel with EY, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and other well-known names, Tom made SD stand out in my mind. He was so passionate, funny, and refreshingly honest. I knew right away that I wanted to pursue the internship and looked forward to speaking with him and other SD employees about what Schneider Downs had to offer. I can remember going home to my roommates and being so excited to tell them all about Schneider Downs – I immediately applied and anxiously waited to hear back. To my delight, they were interested in me as well, and so began my journey with SD.
While I applied and interviewed other places as well, I always knew that Schneider Downs was my number-one option. Every interview, every office visit – every person I interacted with made each experience memorable. I was lucky enough to have my final interview at the old office on Penn Avenue, so I was able to witness the excitement regarding the big move. After I received and accepted my internship offer with SD, Mike Collins invited me to visit the new offices at PPG, and I was eager to see the space. Everyone was very sincere and welcoming, and as I met new employees and revisited with ones I had met previously, the experience started to feel very real, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
When our first day finally arrived in mid-May, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous. But, I’ve become more comfortable as each week goes by with every client and every opportunity to gain hands-on experience out in the field. It’s hard to believe that this internship is already almost over, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to work for a company that has provided me with a both a challenging and rewarding experience. Not only did I, as an intern, have the opportunity to travel to the clients in and around the beautiful city of Pittsburgh, but I was also treated as a valuable asset to each of my engagement teams, being able to communicate with shareholders and managers and work closely with seniors and staff. Ultimately, I couldn’t have asked for a company to be a better fit for me as I got my foot in the door of my accounting career, or – I can’t forget to mention – a better group of interns to share this experience with!
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