The Bridge: My Schneider Downs Internship


By Justin Wolford

Long before I ever stepped foot into One PPG Place, I sat in my Auditing class at Robert Morris University. Going into this class, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I just knew that this was one of my last accounting classes that I would have to take as an undergrad, and, quite honestly, was just looking to get through the class.  However, after only a couple of weeks into the class, I completely changed my view of the course.  It was a different kind of accounting, or at least a different way of thinking.  The methodology behind auditing is much different from any of my prior accounting classes.  Audit methodology is more focused on “why” an event occurred more so than “how” to record an event, as my previous courses had been.  The majority of the class was based on the idea of theory and concept of the auditing practice.  As my hours in the classroom increased, so did my understanding of the multiple theories and concepts behind the auditing practice.  With my increasing hours in the classroom (and the library for that matter), I began to ponder the thought of “how to apply theories and concepts.”  The class had prepared me on the basis of knowing “why” I would audit a particular component of a company, but never elaborated on “how” to actually perform these audits.  Enter Schneider Downs.

This is the point where I began the seemingly never-ending search for a summer internship.  After completing my auditing class, I knew that I wanted to further delve into the audit spectrum of the accounting profession.  After the arduous task of multiple interviews with several accounting firms, I was thrilled to accept an internship at Schneider Downs. 

Before I knew it, the school year had concluded, and it was time to begin my time as an audit intern.  Upon my arrival at the firm I was surprised by how much all of the interns were treated like a staff in the areas of both responsibility and professionalism.  I was given tasks that required me to use my previous knowledge learned in the classroom and apply that knowledge to various clients assigned to me.  It only took me one client to realize that this internship was the bridge that connected my conceptual-based knowledge to application of said concepts that I had been looking for.  There is only so much that you can learn in a classroom before you need to actually get into the field and apply what you had previously learned.  That’s not to say that I did not learn anything at this internship.  That statement could not be farther from the truth.  I learned more in my eight weeks at Schneider Downs than I did in a classroom for a semester. 

As my internship at Schneider Downs comes to a close, I realized that through the course of this program that SD wasn’t just my bridge between theory and application, but my bridge between college life and professional life.  This company gave me insight on what it’s like to work in public accounting, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity.

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