My First Internship - Advice
Aug 09, 2021
This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Cohen & Company in their Assurance department at their Chicago office. As my first ever internship experience, I was very nervous and didn’t know what to expect. Now as my internship is coming to an end, I have confidently determined that public accounting is a right fit for me and can say that this internship exceeded my expectations. I’m very grateful for this experience and the connection I have made. Furthermore, I have decided to share some advice and wisdom I have gained throughout my internship experience that have really helped me maximize my development as an accounting professional.
1. Be vulnerable and expose yourself to different areas. Be open to undertake new opportunities in different areas as it is key for self-development. This will allow you to enhance your skill set and be more well-rounded as a business professional. Especially, if you are a student still figuring out your passion and interest it is crucial to get exposure to widen your horizon of the various career paths you can pursue.
2. Be a sponge and stay curious. Soak up all the valuable information that is being sent your way. There is a lot to learn so make sure to take notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. In my internship it felt like I was learning something new every day, so it was helpful to have my notes handy to reference it when needed. Also, I always try to ask the “why” something is done this way I can grasp the bigger picture and recognize patterns.
3. Network as much as possible. Do your best to meet new people and have those meaningful connection whether that is in-person or on social media. I usually follow up with someone I have just met through LinkedIn which I found effective and can increase the chances of them remembering you name. You never know when that small interaction you had with someone may be the determining factor when finding your next job.
4. Take things one step at a time. Focus on the task at hand. Understand that you can only control so much and other things are just out of your control. Sometimes I find myself getting overwhelmed with what needs to get done, but it is important to break things down into manageable tasks and take a moment to look back at where you started. This will keep things in perspective and remind you of the progress you have made.
Fabian Lopez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign