For many students, myself included, internships in their field of study are essential to successful outcomes after graduation. This summer, I’m interning with McConnell & Jones as an Audit Intern for the Houston office. My internship has been completely virtual due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but I am grateful that the audit team has continually involved me in ongoing projects for me to learn and contribute to the engagements. I have enjoyed getting to know the firm more, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer internship has in store for me.
What has been the primary challenge you’ve had during your internship?
I guess tackling virtual internships has become a new kind of challenge these days. Although it is tough not having the spontaneous interactions of a traditional office environment, I still want to make the most of my virtual internship experience. Being on the Employee Benefit Plan (EBP) audit team, I find myself facing unique concepts and specialized accounts which are not taught in the general audit curriculum in school. Hence, the challenging part would be the steep learning curve. However, the seniors and mentors are always willing to give their advice and guidance to help me overcome these challenges.
What do you like most about your internship?
It is the people and work environment with small teams and collaboration from staff to partner. My managers are super friendly and approachable and I have benefitted from the mentor system at McConnell & Jones. My coworkers (also my mentors) go the extra mile to guide me for work and non-work-related matters. They allow me to learn (sometimes through trial and error), and give me hands-on experience. On top of that, the two things I value the most while working from home are clear instructions from my supervisor and helpful feedback on my work.
What have you learned during your internship?
I realized that one should never be afraid to ask questions. It is only when you ask that you will learn more and improve yourself. My internship provided me with valuable insight into the inner workings of a professional service firm and helped me develop a better understanding of the career path of an auditor. I learned how auditing and accounting works, especially in EBP audit. I also had the opportunity to practice the art of being detailed with documentation. At the same time, I was assigned to multiple projects, which allowed me to learn about various employee benefit plans, as well as, different procedures performed in auditing those.
Tips for Virtual Internship
- Be proactive: Look for work so that you will have the chance to learn as well as to contribute
- Focus on communication and stay connected with your colleagues
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Vy Tran is an employee benefit plan audit intern at McConnell & Jones and attends the University of Houston. Vy will graduate in 2021.