Blog Archive

Friday, January 27, 2012

Professional Student Organizations

Written by John Reschke
Assurance Intern
Orlando, FL

John Reschke
Well folks, it’s that time of the year again, spring recruiting is about to kick off at college campuses around the country and I can hear nervous excitement when I talk to my fellow students as they prepare. I was in their shoes just last year asking those who came before me, “How did you get your internship?” Since so many of you are pondering that same question, I thought I would kick off my inaugural blog by revealing the “secret” of getting an internship.  

The most integral thing I did to land an internship at my first choice firm was join a student professional organization. I can’t emphasize how great of a resource these organizations are; they’re dedicated to helping you build the skills you need to land that internship or job you want.

By joining a student professional organization, you get tons of opportunities to network and meet lots of firms in a short amount of time. At every meeting, a different firm, or even multiple firms, present to the student members and explain what it’s like to work at their company and in accounting in general. Then students get a chance to ask the professionals any questions they have about the industry.

Most student professional organizations also hold regular interview and resume workshops, and these are often taught by the professionals from firms you want interview with. So in addition to polishing your interview skills, you get yet another opportunity to network.

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have time for this extracurricular stuff!” and I can understand that. Being a full time member of these professional organizations can take up a lot of your time. Fortunately, there are many student events that happen both on and off campus that are open to everyone regardless of whether you’re a member of the organization. For example, at UCF, the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants hosts a field day in which all students are invited to meet area CPA firms. Some firms even host meet and greets and open houses in their own offices.

For those of you who are already involved in a student professional organization, know that you’re on the right track to landing a great internship. Those of you who aren’t yet, look into your college’s student professional organizations today and make some room on your calendar for their next meeting or event.  You’ll be glad you did!

As a final thought, I would like impart some advice one of my McGladrey coworkers shared while presenting at a UCF Beta Alpha Psi meeting that resonated with me very strongly: “If you’re not polishing up your resume and interviewing skills, if you’re not out there networking and meeting people in the profession you aspire to be in, then someone else is.”


Ken said...

Great post and so true - networking and leadership will take you far. If you are doing it, others are. Isn't the amount of extra time you take to do this now on campus going to pay off with great dividends in the long run? Don't just be a member and show up - be a leader and contribute. Best wishes on your internship.

Ken Bansemer
National Talent Acquisition Leader

Imtiaz Shamim said...

Thanks for sharing your secret. I am a USF student and at this point I am looking for internship. I will keep in mind your advices and sign up for resume critique.

Imtiaz Shamim
Accounting Student
University of South Florida

Bekah said...

Great post John! I agree. As a direct result of joining a professional student organization, and doing all the activities I could, I was offered an internship starting this Fall, at a great firm! I'd like to think if I could do it, anyone can! I live an hour away from the college AND have 2 kids under 3 yrs old. I knew that joining the organization, and networking, and learning, was imperative to my future.

Rebekah Vandegrift
Accounting student
Member of Beta Alpha Psi
University of Central Florida

LindseyAnn said...

Thank you for sharing this advice. Joining a professional organization was one of the best things I've done during college, and everything you've said is so true. It can be time consuming, but it makes all the difference when it comes time to transition from the campus to a career. Great article!

Nichole Terry said...

The tips you're giving now still hold true once you've landed an internship or job. Joining organizations the company offers is a great way to show your leadership skills, build contacts, and know what your company offers allowing for easier progression within the company. Great Advice!

Zaq Perez said...

For someone like me who is a 33 year-old junior and going toe-to-toe against a bunch of young bucks, your words carry lots of weight with me. I am definitely looking to intern and knowing that I am on the right path is extremely comforting and invigorating to me. John, thanks for your insights and good luck with your internship.

Zachariah Perez
Accounting Student
University of Central Florida

Aaron Blades said...

Great advice! Professional student organizations are a great way to develop networking and leadership skills!

Jeff Reifeiss said...

John, I couldn't agree more. Even if student professional organizations didn't bolster your resume, which they most certainly do, simply learning about different accounting career paths is well worth the investment.

Jenn said...

Great advice! Do you think being in a leadership position in one of the professional student organizations gives you more opportunities than just being a regular member of them?