My Summer at BDO, and How You Can Have a Successful Internship
By Matthew Charne –
October 4, 2016
As this past summer drew to a close, I sat at my desk realizing that the end of this day would signify the completion of my audit internship with BDO USA, LLP. I distinctly remember thinking about one last, long commute up the parkway from Woodbridge back home to Bergen County. I felt relieved that the coming drive, and all those before it, had been entirely worth it. I had learned more, gained more experience and grew more than I originally thought possible in just six short weeks.
Finding the Right Summer Internship
Throughout my junior year at The College of New Jersey, I searched high and low for an internship at a public accounting firm of any size. I had been fortunate enough to interview at many prominent firms such as KPMG, Deloitte, Sobel & Co, and the like, but unfortunately none of those opportunities worked out. One of my fraternity brothers noticed that I was feeling down. Hoping he could help, he connected me with a tax professional at EisnerAmper LLP. While that opportunity didn’t pan out, it was through this encounter I discovered that BDO was looking for students to fill their summer internship program. Considering that it was already late April, I knew time was running out, so I pursued this opportunity with vigor. The phone and in-person interviews went well, and I was offered the internship within a few days of the final interview. While sending in my acceptance letter I felt relieved, excited and eager to start working.
The First Day
I remember the first day of the internship. I wore my nicest suit, spending 10 minutes that morning picking out the tie that would look best with my shirt. Later that day, the audit director came to welcome all the interns while we were completing our initial training. When he had finished talking, he took a good look at me and said, “Oh and Matt, don’t wear a tie tomorrow. We haven’t worn ties here in a while.” This set the tone for the atmosphere that would last for the rest of my internship. I was pleased to see that everyone in the office constantly supported a friendly and casual setting. This made asking questions, connecting with coworkers and absorbing information quite easy. My coworkers were happy to socialize and help me out with any issues I had.
Learning and Growing
It was a good thing that the office’s atmosphere was so conducive to learning. The firm entrusted me with legitimate assignments to complete for all sorts of jobs and clients. I was excited about the quality and complexity of work my manager assigned to me. This was one of the most surprising aspects of my internship. In previous internship experiences, my responsibilities were nowhere near as crucial to the firm’s success. This was a welcome change for me. I was finally able to get a real glimpse into a full-time auditor’s responsibilities. There were times when I didn’t have assignments, and these were the times I was able to really see the breadth of the firm. By this I mean I was able to ask for and be assigned work on a wide range of clients, industries and job types that I would not have otherwise been exposed to. The best part of the experience was the exit interview because I was offered a full-time position after graduation!
Top 5 Internship Takeaways
If you are searching for, or anticipating the beginning of, an internship, just remember these few things:
- Never be afraid to put yourself out there. Take advantage of any and all networking opportunities.
- Never give up searching for opportunities. It was during the lowest point in my search that I was finally able to secure an internship.
- Once you have a position, remember to make the most of the time you’ll have with the firm.
- Idle time is wasted time. So always try to see what kind of work is available. It may surprise you what turns out to be interesting and what is not.
- Above all, keep a positive attitude at all times and be ready to learn.
These were, by far, the most important things I learned from my time at BDO this summer. I have no doubt that these tips will help you enhance your internship experience.
Matthew G. Charne
Matthew Charne is a senior at The College of New Jersey. He is a student member of the NJCPA.