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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

McGladrey 2010 Summer Intern Capstone Conference- Day 1

It's Capstone time again! Time for Interns from across McGladrey and RSM Richter to descend upon The Q Center in St. Charles, IL for the annual Summer Intern Capstone Conference. This year, we have 94 interns representing 2 countries (US & Canada) and 54 universities. To help provide the prospective of the interns at this event this week, 3 of our interns will be sharing with you their experience at this event.

First up is Ryan Donaghy from our New York office and a student at Binghamton University. Read more below as Ryan shares with us her journey to the conference and some of what she saw the first day:

After traveling for 6 or 7 hours (more for some!) from New York, myself and the 7 co-interns I traveled with landed at the O’Hare International Airport. Those of us that checked our bags picked them up while waiting to make the hour trip to the Q Center in St. Charles, I.L. On the way, we discussed how much we wished we were staying in Chicago and how fun that would be. But 6 hours later, I changed my mind. Cramped in the Q Center Clubhouse, I met interns from so many other offices. I know for a fact that had we been in Chicago, the NY interns would have made plans to go out together, not caring what anyone else did. And it’s not that we’re antisocial or rude… it’s just that there are 23 of us total (more than any other McGladrey office), and we’re STILL getting to know each other, even going into our 4th week.

But back to the actual conference… throughout the internship, the McGladrey employees I work with have asked me, “Are you excited about Capstone??” I said yes, believing that was the appropriate answer, even though I was pretty unsure of what there was to be excited about. But at the end of the first day, I have not stopped laughing… and now I know what they were all talking about.

National Recruiting Director, Ben Gotkin, who the NY interns met during our 2-day orientation, gave a warm and encouraging welcome and a brief introduction to what would be happening over the next 2 days. He informed us that there were 94 interns total, coming from 2 countries (Canada and the U.S.), 28 McGladrey offices, and 54 colleges. Following Ben was John Blumberg, an inspirational and captivating speaker, who also has a great sense of humor. John presented the Kolbe index, an instinct-based test designed to help teams work more cohesively.

Before we started our internship, we were asked to take an online test consisting of 36 questions and 72 answers. You may be asking, “how can you have 72 answers to a 36 question test?” Well, there are 2 answers to every question—one choice for the most like you and one for the least like you. The test was hard at times, but as we learned today, that’s all part of the Kolbe master plan. You can’t measure instincts without making people think on their toes.

The best part of the day was watching John’s “Glop Shop.” This exercise involved 3 interns, picked solely based on their Kolbe scores. The participants were given a Ziploc bag filled with random items, such as Legos and silly putty. After John gave us their scores and explained what we should look for (i.e. Michael picking up shiny objects or Laura or Aaron utilizing the pad of paper and pen), we watched our fellow interns try and portray the McGladrey tagline of “The Power of Being Understood.” As expected, they didn’t come up with anything monumental, but they acted pretty much as John had predicted.

While explaining the Kolbe index, John clarified that one of the main points of the exercise was to able to “respect the people that are different than you.” Although I can only speak for myself, this statement really helped me to understand why Kolbe can help with the effectiveness of teams. Diversity is essential to the success of organizations. Without it, there would be no innovation. A lack of innovation leads to stagnation and this can ultimately cause a company’s failure.

Thanks again to Ryan for sharing. Please also check out a few of the pictures from the first day below. We'll have many more pictures from Day 2 tomorrow, so be sure to check back again for another update from Capstone!

McGladrey 2010 Summer Intern Capstone Conference- Day 1

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