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Big 4 Internships: Vanderbilt MAcc Students Reflect on their Experiences

Mar 25, 2024
Read more to discover how internships with the Big 4 Accounting firms are shaping future leaders in accounting

By Arial Starks

The Vanderbilt Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program provides students with an incredible return on their investment through the many resources and opportunities they have access to while in the program. One distinguishing factor of the Vanderbilt MAcc is the built-in opportunity for students to gain hands-on internship experience during the 12-month program. 

Each year, MAcc students are recruited into one of the Big 4 accounting firms: PwC, Deloitte, EY, and KPMG, for paid internship positions, where they gain real industry experience in a controlled environment. Often these 10-week internships can turn into full-time job offers for students after graduation. Each year, we survey these students to learn how the Big 4 internships are beneficial to them and to better gauge how these experiences have had an impact on their career journeys. Below are some of the highlights from this year’s survey results. 

Hands-On Experience with the Big 4

Pictured: Headshot of Vanderbilt MAcc Class of 2024 student Grace Cutting

Grace Cutting

One aspect of the internships students reported enjoying the most was being an integral part of the Big 4 teams they were assigned to.

“My favorite aspect was getting to know the other members of my engagement team,” says Grace Cutting, who interned at EY’s Nashville office. “They did a great job of including me in their conversations and making me feel like an integral part of the team. I also really enjoyed getting to apply the things I learned in the classroom setting in a real-world environment.”

Pictured: Headshot of Vanderbilt MAcc Class of 2024 student Melanie Doughty

Melanie Doughty

Many students appreciated the opportunity to network with accounting professionals and pick their brains on the culture of the industry.  “My team was really supportive of my learning and growth during my internship and made sure there was time to coach me on different testing as well as the purpose behind it for the industry,” says Melanie Doughty, who interned at PwC in Louisville, KY.

Preparedness Pays Off: The MAcc Curriculum

After going through the internships, many students noted that the Vanderbilt MAcc curriculum set them up to have a successful experience.

Pictured: Headshot of Vanderbilt MAcc Class of 2024 student Kyle Eckerle

Kyle Eckerle

“One way the MAcc program helped prepare me for my internship was by providing a very transparent image of what interning at a Big 4 firm would look like,” says Kyle Eckerle, who interned with KPMG in Boston. “One class in particular during Mod 1, Audit Institutions and Processes, was very helpful in breaking down the audit process and allowed us to gain a better understanding of what we would encounter during our internships. Additionally, I thought the MAcc program’s approach to recruiting ultimately helped prepare us for our internships. Having social events with each Big 4 firm was a great way for us to network and practice communication skills that would become critical during the internship.”

Pictured: Headshot of Vanderbilt MAcc Class of 2024 student Rebecca Calvert

Rebecca Calvert

Students like Rebecca Calvert, who interned with EY in Indianapolis walked away from their Big 4 internship feeling more prepared to enter the world of accounting after graduation, “I feel that I am better equipped in that I have experienced a busy season and will know what to expect going into my full-time career.” 

Words of Wisdom for Future MAcc Candidates

After experiencing a Big 4 internship firsthand, David Jurgensmeyer, who interned with Deloitte in Chicago, IL offered this advice to prospective MAcc candidates: “Make the most of it [Big 4 internship]. Don’t be afraid to put time on peoples’ calendars to network and grab coffee and pick their brain for advice and wisdom.”

To learn more about how the Big 4 is setting students up for career success, click here.

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