Scott Rossman Williams Jr. is an accounting and french major graduating in May who interned with Grant Thornton LLP in Phoenix this summer.
Check out a video he and other interns created about the experience: https://youtu.be/ejU1lwcksXs
Tell us a little bit about how you landed the internship:
Originally, I had been planning to interview for internships during my senior year so that I could gain professional experience with an accounting firm immediately before beginning the Master of Accounting. I was surprised to find out, though, that having a double major was enough to satisfy the 150 college credits required for CPA certification. That meant that, so long as I took an extra upper division accounting class or three, I would not have to obtain a Master’s degree before working full time as an accountant. This fast tracked my graduation path, so I quickly stepped up my networking game, interviewed with several international accounting firms, and then found myself happily accepting an offer to be an Audit Intern for GT’s Phoenix office during the Summer of 2015.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
One of GT Phoenix’s Audit clients is PADLP, a limited partnership that contracts the use of the City of Phoenix’s downtown arena—formerly known as U.S. Airways Center, but now known as Talking Stick Resort Arena. Working at the arena meant that I had the opportunity to interact directly with the Controller and Executive VP of Finance for the Suns/Mercury, which was awesome from the perspective of both an aspiring accounting professional and an avid sports fan. Having that inside look at how the ownership and business models of professional sports teams and entertainment venues are arranged was really enjoyable, and made it that much easier to get excited about something as stereotypically boring as accounting. Plus, to top things off, the Controller invited another intern and I to play basketball on the practice court after work one day. I genuinely appreciated the opportunity to be involved with an industry that I never would have imagined that I’d step into as an auditor, and it made the internship that much better.
What advice do you have for other interns?
Have confidence in yourself, think critically, and execute every task to the best of your ability. Also, put yourself out there (tactfully) as someone who is willing and able to get the job done. You never know what sort of opportunities might come your way. Just by taking the time to go onto my company profile and update some of my skillsets, I had a woman from the San Francisco office reach out to me for help in the translation and assessment of financial statements and contracts for a med-tech company–all written in French! Had I not taken the time to completely update my employee profile (an optional task), I might not have listed my French fluency, and I would not have had such excellent exposure to international business transactions. And, even if understanding another language isn’t your forte, seeking out opportunities within your own office can be beneficial to your professional growth, too. Even though my internship was technically under GT’s Audit service line, I reached out to the Tax Partner in our office and received an international tax assignment that focused on the consolidation of mining operations in Namibia and Botswana under equity holdings in Canada and Arizona. I found it to be extremely valuable experience, and would certainly recommend that other students actively seek opportunities to gain similar professional diversity out of their internships. You won’t know what your options are until you’ve asked!