The Columns

Interns at Work: Andrea Owen ’16 Ernst & Young, Washington, D.C.

— by on September 5th, 2016

Andrea Owen '16

“I was fortunate to have teams that gave me welcome challenges while taking the time to invest in my instruction/development.”

What attracted you to this internship?

I want to enter public accounting after graduation, and interning at a firm before my senior year could be a great way to test out the waters and perhaps get a full time offer.

How did you learn about it?

One of EY’s recruiters is a W&L alumna, so we see a lot of EY on campus. W&L’s new Beta Alpha Psi chapter also coordinated networking/recruiting events with public accounting firms like EY.

What gave you the edge in landing this internship?

Above anything, the W&L network helped me gain an edge. Throughout the recruiting process, I could tell that W&L alumni in public accounting truly want to see us succeed! All of my on-campus interviews were with W&L alumni who came back to Lexington to help us out. Were it not for these connections, I would not have had an “in” with the firms. Beyond the W&L network, I think my international experience helped me in interviews. Interviewers always wanted to hear about my internship in China, and I was able to tell my “story” around that experience.

Describe your daily duties.

As an intern, I got to do a lot — for instance, rolling forward work papers, performing walkthroughs, testing balances, etc. Because interns aren’t CPAs, there was a lot of hand-holding; however, I was fortunate to have teams that gave me welcome challenges while taking the time to invest in my instruction/development.

What are some tasks/projects you’ve been working on?

I’ve had many tasks this summer. For instance, I helped audit documentation of intangible asset amortizations, capital lease agreements, accounts receivable and goodwill. I also used various schedules to categorize and calculate employer contributions to benefits plans.

Have any courses and/or professors helped you prepare for this internship? Which ones?

Professor Hess’s audit class helped me understand the audit profession. While firms like EY train interns to understand their tasks regardless of whether they have taken an audit class, having the academic background made me feel comfortable entering the internship.

What do you hope to learn by the end of your experience?

Because I hope to receive credit for this internship, I plan to write a research paper after my experience. Therefore, I want to walk away with one or two audit-related research questions that excite me.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

There are so many perks! For instance, we did a segway tour of DC, a Nats game, a kickball tournament against other accounting firms, and an evening boat cruise. We also spent a day volunteering in a local elementary school with Junior Achievement, made videos about our internship to show to partners, and got an intern team together for the JA Bowl-a-thon. Finally, if we are given offers, we get to go to Orlando for a week-long conference.

What did you learn from city where the internship was located?

DC has a huge W&L network. Because I lived in the center of the city, I ran into W&L alumni and students multiple times a day. In fact, it became quite commonplace.

What key takeaways/skills will you bring back to W&L?

As many of my supervisors told me, if you constantly communicate and ask questions, people will trust you more. This seems particularly pertinent to the professional world, but I think it can apply to the classroom, extracurriculars and relationships as well.

What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this?

For those interested in public accounting, look into Beta Alpha Psi at W&L. The organization offers many opportunities to network with accounting professionals and get a feel for the profession itself. Also, talk to professors in the accounting department, as well as recent W&L students who have gone through the public accounting interview process and the internship. Feel free to contact me as well.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

Working on an audit team, I got to interact with all levels of employees — from staff 1s to seniors, managers to partners. Seeing people further along in their careers at the firm has really inspired me. I can see the appeal in staying with public accounting for longer than a few years, so I can gain valuable expertise, leadership skills and management experience. There are so many career opportunities within firms like EY that sticking with the firm could have plenty of long-term benefits.

Describe your experience in a single word.

Empowering.

Photo caption: W&L students past and present compete at the Big 4 intern kickball tournament in DC. From top left: Will Douthat (PwC), Alex Cram (PwC), David Robinson (EY), Joe Ciborowski (EY), Paige Gay (KPMG), Elena Dorogy (EY), From bottom left: Andrea Owen (EY), Meghan Buell (EY), Sarah Gray Erickson (EY), Bailey Ewing (PwC)