What to Expect from an Internship at Cohen & Company
Apr 01, 2019
Category: University of Baltimore
When I first began my internship, to say I was nervous is an understatement. This is my first internship in public accounting. I honestly had no idea what to expect. Here I am with average (at best) accounting knowledge joining a professional accounting firm with incredibly smart people to do a job I had never done before. Let’s not even mention the fact that it felt like half the people starting at the same time as me already knew each other. They were also very, very smart. Intimidating? You bet.
This uncertainty of what to expect from the internship continuously built up in my head until I actually started working. Even the first week of training did not help my anxiety because I had no idea what was going on most of the time (sorry, could you explain side pocket to me again? Also, STAR measures in increments of 6? What does that even mean?). I thought to myself, “These people are going to realize I have no idea what is going on and they are going to send me through that revolving door at the bottom of the building.”
Well, needless to say, I did not get tossed out of the revolving door. I’m still here, writing a blog post about my experience. So, this post is for those who are in the position I once was. I’ve been there. I cannot speak for other firms in the public accounting field, but if you are considering joining Cohen & Company, here is what you can expect.
1. Kind people. I am not exaggerating when I say I have not met anyone at this company who is not kind. Everyone is so incredibly nice! They will answer all of your questions and never once make you feel like the Kevin Malone of the Office (even if you are).
2. Low expectations. Remember when I said everyone here is very smart? Well they are. They are even smart enough to set intern expectations so low that the only expectations they have are for you to show up and show you want to learn. That’s really it.
3. Real work. Their expectations may be low, but that doesn’t mean you’re treated like a kindergartner. Nope. Not at all. You do the exact same tasks as a staff member. You may not do it as efficiently or as well, but you still do it!
4. Comfortable environment. I wear jeans every day. I never expected that from a professional job and it was such a great surprise. Being able to dress casually is great because you do not have to buy a whole new professional wardrobe and you get to dress comfortably. It also makes the office a more comfortable setting. If you had to choose between asking a manager wearing a sweater and jeans a question and asking a manager wearing a suit and tie a question, who would you choose? There’s something about jeans that makes a person much more approachable.
5. Learning curve. Everyone has been there. Everyone started out as a student. There is a huge learning curve here at the firm and it’s challenging in the best ways. Trust me when I say you are not the only one who has no idea what is going on. You’re not the only one who has ever struggled to get a grasp on this industry or public accounting in general. Just breathe. Soon enough you will find yourself wondering what you were so worried about before.
This internship provides such an incredible opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. The best way to see what Cohen & Company offers is to experience it for yourself! Whatever you decide your next step is, learn as much as you can and know that the anxiety and emotions you are feeling are not weird. They are totally normal and you’re going to crush it!