By Arial Starks
The Vanderbilt Business Master of Accountancy program provides students an esteemed opportunity to connect and work with the Big 4 accounting firms through internships each year. MAcc students intern with the firms for 10 weeks during Mod 3 of the program, where they gain significant work experience to prepare them to enter the accounting industry after graduation. Each spring, we survey the students to gain a better understanding of how these internships impact them and to gauge what they are learning through these experiences. Below, we have compiled some highlights from those survey results.
Firms design these internships to maximize learning in a relatively short amount of time through hands-on assignments and responsibilities. “I was tasked with a variety of responsibilities, including writing summaries for legal proceedings, attending meetings with foreign audit components, typing out work papers and running balance sheet and income statement analytics for year-end audit procedures,” said Abby Grace Henry, who interned for Deloitte’s Nashville office.
Both Assurance and Valuation students from the class of 2022 credit the MAcc program with providing them the tools they needed to succeed during the internships. “The program offered a wide variety of classes and provided many interactive learning experiences so that I knew what I was doing when the internship came around,” said Grant Breeden, who interned for KPMG’s Nashville office. “Everyone has to learn how the testing works and what to do but I understood the big picture of what I was working on.”
“The educational foundation we received prior to the internship made me feel incredibly prepared compared to the fellow interns I was working with from other schools,” shared Lindsay Sullivan, who interned for PwC’s Los Angeles office. “Training was also a breeze, because it was a full review of everything we had already learned, whereas the other interns were learning all of it for the first time. My managers also commented about how impressed they were with the depth of my accounting and auditing knowledge that came from the Vanderbilt MAcc program.”
Many students pointed to the opportunity to network and build relationships with professionals in the industry as a high point of the internship experience. “My favorite aspect of the internship was going into the office and having the feeling of truly being on a team,” said Brendan Dearing, who interned for PwC’s Philadelphia office. “The office atmosphere is exciting and professional. Having team meetings discussing how each person is contributing to completing the audit is fulfilling.”
“I enjoyed meeting so many new and interesting people,” said Lilly Schneider, who interned for KPMG’s Dallas office. “I reached out to many different people in my internship and ended up being involved in lots of DEI initiatives. Although not a formal part of my internship, I think it was the most valuable aspect because it showed me that all I have to do is reach out if I want new opportunities.”
Overall, the students reported walking away from their internships excited for the future and eager to begin working full-time in the industry after graduation. “Go in with a positive attitude and a strong willingness to learn. They want that from interns more than any technical skills,” said Matt Connors, who interned with EY’s Nashville office.
“The internship is all about attitude and determination. As long as you show up everyday excited to be there and put your critical thinking skills to work, you will be successful,” added Eli Charron, who interned for Deloitte’s Nashville office.