The Little Things
Feb 21, 2019
Category: The Ohio State University
Today marks the half-way point of my 2019 Busy Season Private Company Services Audit Internship with Cohen & Company and there is so much I want to say. In fact, earlier today, I was laughing with one of the other interns about how I was going to write a novel on this experience and he said I should. That little interaction right there—the laughing and reflecting on the experience with my new (life-long) friend whom I met through this program—prompts me to write about some of the little things that have made this internship one of the most transformative and enriching experience of my life to date. So for this blog post, I’m going to try to give you a snapshot of just a few of the many little things that have made my experience at Cohen & Company so valuable. Enjoy.
Busy Season Ping Pong
The day was February 7th when I received a work email announcing “With every busy season comes our annual Ping Pong Tournament”. Viewing it as a fun opportunity to get to meet other members of the firm, I ecstatically responded and said I would like to participate in both the doubles and singles tournaments. A couple of days later the bracket for singles comes out and my jaw drops—my first opponent is the President of the entire Private Company Services division of the firm. As an intern faced with the task of having to take on the president, I hope you can empathize with how anxious I was! I did my research on him and talked to a few people. The word was that he is extremely busy, as I expected, and that I probably wouldn’t face him until the end of Busy Season. Great, I thought. I’ll send him an email now with my availability and hope for a response within the next couple of months. Two minutes after sending the email—yes I said two minutes—I get a call on my work phone. I had to look around for a second to make sure it was actually my phone that was ringing. I thought to myself, “Who on Earth is calling me? I’m not expecting anyone?” I answer and yep, lo and behold, it was the president of PCS calling to confirm that he is, in fact, ready to beat me in a match of ping pong. He sent me an invitation to play and two days later we played. Most memorable to me about that awesome half-hour on the 7th floor with the president was not the match itself but rather what he said to me. After thanking him for his time and for getting back to me so promptly, he earnestly responded “You’re no different than me, and I’m no different than you. Good luck with the rest of your internship and enjoy your time.” That response really meant a lot to me. Further, due to this one small but significant interaction, I now have a connection with someone who has tremendous experience in a field I strive to get into one day. I don’t think I’d get that at just any normal firm.
I mention this snapshot of my internship because it is a testament to the culture and the type of people found at Cohen & Company. Two months into my internship and what I had heard prior to starting my internship had been confirmed: the firm is full of really, really good people—from the top down and from the bottom up. I will leave the details of who won the match up to interpretation.
The Learning Curve
I’m sure you’ve read about it in the other blog posts, and have heard about it from past interns. What you have heard is true and here is my attempt to articulate it in words for you: you will come in knowing nothing and you will come out ready and prepared to take on a first year accounting job anywhere you could imagine. This internship is no coffee-run; you will be treated like a first year staff and will be given assignments similar to those assigned to first year staff. In other words, you will be contributing real value to the firm. That is one of the things I have found most rewarding about my experience thus far. I have learned what an engagement is, what a compilation is and entails, how to do a cash flux analysis, how and when to make revising, eliminating and adjusting journal entries, how to do an interest reasonableness test and much, much more. The point is, during the course of this internship, I have seen projects go from start to finish while gaining hard-skills in the process, and I can take pride in that now. That—the fact that I can be proud of my work—is one of the little things that I am getting at. You will grow tremendously during this internship, both professionally and personally, and you will be able to be proud of your work and time here at Cohen & Company as long as you work hard and keep a positive attitude.
Every Friday, an email is shot out around 4:00pm announcing the details of the Happy Hour that is to occur on the 7th Floor in the firm's Opportunity Room. Although the actual time spent at Happy Hour is great, fun and important, I want to mention that THE EMAIL ITSELF IS PERHAPS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT. The happy hour emails, as I have learned from other members of the firm, are arguably the most looked-forward-to and the most heavily scrutinized emails to be sent out during Busy Season. Persons from partner to intern send them out and they are always a trip. Each one being unique, lighthearted and fun, the emails are another testament to the inclusive, fun culture at Cohen & Company. The emails and Happy Hour are some of those little things that I have enjoyed so much and that have made the time here invaluable. With everyone extremely busy and pressured during Busy Season, Happy Hour is a time for everyone to take a breather and to just enjoy life, and that is something special.
A Road Less Traveled: Busy Season
As an intern going down the route of substituting a semester of school for a semester of work, you will most likely be of a minority of kids in that same boat. Life will be different, as this is probably the first time since you were a senior in high school that you have lived at home during the school year. You will be away from your college friends, and you no longer will be taking classes. All of this change might seem a little overwhelming, but with time, I have come to realize that this change has brought about a lot of good with it—more of those little things I keep talking about that make this experience as a Busy Season intern such a good one. You’ll have an opportunity to make new friends; you’ll have an opportunity to explore the city that your office is in; you’ll have an opportunity to make the most of a new routine; and lastly, you’ll have the opportunity to really reflect on the work you are doing and on the person you want to become during those long rides in rush-hour traffic.
I hope this blog helped you understand a little more about Cohen & Company’s Internship Program. To reiterate, there have been so many little things, on top of the big things, that have made my experience with Cohen & Company so invaluable. Best of luck!