By Arial Starks
Vanderbilt’s Master of Accountancy programs (MAcc Assurance and MAcc Valuation) equip students with the tools they need to successfully launch a career in public accounting after graduation. A key benefit students receive through the program is the opportunity to intern with one of the Big 4 accounting firms: Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG. Year after year, Vanderbilt MAcc students participate in internships with the Big 4 over the course of 10 weeks during Mod 3. We survey the students each spring to find out how these experiences impacted them and to gain a better understanding of what they are learning through these hands-on opportunities. Continue reading to see some of the highlights from the survey results.
During the internships, students are delegated tasks to give them insight into how their day-to-day may look in public accounting.
“My main responsibilities definitely varied week-to-week, and oftentimes daily,” said Logan Wolf who interned with KPMG in Nashville. “I was mainly involved in working on substantive testing (updating test work from the prior year), tying out financial statements, informing my engagement teams of our status in terms of actions to be taken at the beginning and end of the day, and being available for whatever the team needed me to adapt to.”
Allison Clower interned for PwC in Boston, Massachusetts. During her internship, she worked with the mutual funds team, “My main responsibilities revolved around the audit of a 12/31 cycle which had 3 different releases throughout February and March. My specific responsibilities for these audits included working through the testing of a fund merger, working through the testing of a liquidation audit, preparing management representation letters and communication board decks, and assisting associates and senior associates in their central areas of the audit.”
Many of the students shared that their favorite aspect of the internship was getting to work with the accounting professionals at the firms.
“The relationships that I built at PwC was my favorite aspect of the internship,” said Scott Hill who worked with PwC in Nashville. “Everyone I met, from partners down to first-year associates, was friendly, professional, and above all else willing to help. My manager’s provided effective coaching and feedback, and encouraged me to push beyond my comfort zone.”
After the internships concluded, students reported feeling well prepared by the curriculum and resources offered in the Vanderbilt MAcc program.
“The MAcc program gave me a great high-level understanding that came in handy when my internship put me into the thick of things during tax season,” said Patric Edwards who interned with EY’s Nashville office. “Being familiar with audit lingo and processes undoubtedly made me a more effective employee.”
“The classes I have taken at Vanderbilt helped give me a strong baseline understanding of the concepts that the work itself was based upon, which gave me the confidence to ask more informed questions about both the technical aspects and the big picture of the assignments that I was given,” shared Gabrielle Gilkison who worked with KPMG in Atlanta, Georgia. “Outside of the classes themselves, the lunch & learn and networking events that we had in the fall through the program made me feel more comfortable expanding my professional network, even as an intern.”
All in all, the students walked away from their respective internships feeling better prepared to enter the accounting industry and eager to return to the firms for full-time opportunities.
“I now have a really good understanding of how my team works and the different types of services offered,” said Stuart Windell who interned with Deloitte in New York, New York. “I feel like I’m strongly positioned to jump right into things when I begin working full-time in September.”
One hundred percent of the Vanderbilt MAcc Class of 2023 reported accepting a full-time job with the Big 4 before graduation.