Blog Archive

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Tax Intern’s Journey with McGladrey

Written by Daniel Brown
Tax Intern
Cedar Rapids, IA

Hello!  My name is Daniel Brown and I’m a tax intern at McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.  It is only week two of my internship, but I already feel incredibly fortunate to be among McGladrey’s rank of professionals.  I’m assuming that the majority of people perusing McGladrey’s “Success Starts Here” page are interested in pursuing a career in public accounting, whether it is with McGladrey or another firm.  If the above statement applies to you, I hope that I can initially shed some light on what it is like to go through the recruiting process and ultimately begin an internship in public accounting, and why McGladrey could be the right firm for you.  To the non-accountants reading this blog:  Thank you for bearing with me thus far!  I hope I can challenge some of the stereotypes that plague accountants by showing you that we, or at least the accountants I’ve met at McGladrey, actually have personalities and are more than just bean counters.
My first experience with McGladrey was at the University of Iowa’s “Meet the Firms” night, which is a career fair intended for accounting students to meet the various national, regional, and local accounting firms.  I went to the career fair with an open mind, eager to talk to representatives from the various firms.  After talking to several of the recruiters, I wandered over to the McGladrey camp and ended up talking to one of the associates for some time.  I was very impressed with the associates professionalism and enthusiasm.  I left the career fair with a good feeling about several of the firms, but I was especially excited for the interview I had scheduled with McGladrey for the following week.  A few days prior to the interview, I received an email informing me of a social that McGladrey was hosting at one of the local restaurants in Iowa City the night before the firm’s scheduled interview day.  I was excited to see that several of my friends and fellow classmates were in attendance at the social.  This made me more confident to mingle and meet new people.  It turned out that all of the associates in attendance were easygoing and extremely approachable, so I had nothing to worry about.
The next day I had my on-campus interview, which ended up being more or less a casual conversation with a tax director in the Cedar Rapids office that I had met the previous night.  I left the interview with my fingers crossed and eager for a callback.  A few days later I received the call I was hoping.  I had been invited to attend a final day of interviewing in the Cedar Rapids office.  Like the first round of interviews, a dinner and social was scheduled to take place at a nice restaurant in Cedar Rapids the night before.   Similar to previous pre-interview social, the second social helped immensely to lighten up the mood prior to interviewing, but it also allowed me to get to know some of the employees in the Cedar Rapids office in a social setting.  Having three in-office interviews is much more intimidating that a single on-campus interview, so I was pretty nervous about the upcoming day.  The big day, however, proved to be enjoyable and much less stressful than I had envisioned.  In hindsight, the partners, directors, and managers that I interviewed with most likely just wanted to see if I was easy to get along with and could engage them in conversation.  At this stage of the recruiting process, technical knowledge is usually assumed, leaving an individual’s soft skills to be the biggest unknown that most firms want to uncover.  Like each previous stage in the recruitment process with McGladrey, I left the office feeling more enthusiastic than ever about the firm.  The multiple recruitment events and interviews can be stressful, but it is comforting to know that McGladrey wants to take the time to get to know each candidate to make sure they are the right fit.  Their diligence can be appreciated by anyone who has had to work in a lousy office culture before, and provides an example of the firm living up to its “power of being understood” motto.
Fast forward several months later to the present and I’m in my second week of work as an intern in McGladrey’s Cedar Rapids office.  I could not be happier right now.  My first week was spent training at the Q Center, which is located outside of Chicago.  Over a hundred other McGladrey tax interns from across the country were present.  Most people would consider spending a week amidst so many tax accountants to be a nightmare, but it was quite the contrary.  I had an amazing time and met several people that I hope to stay connected with during my time at McGladrey.  Overall, each individual I interacted with made a good impression, making me proud to be associated with them under the McGladrey brand. 
Training at the Q Center was intense.  Classes started at 8 a.m. and ended at 5:30 p.m. each day except for Friday, which was only a half day.  I initially thought that everyone was going to be crammed into a conference room and lectured to for a week, so I was relieved when we were all assigned to small classes upon arrival at the Q Center.  Each class consisted of approximately twenty-five interns and two teachers.  All of the teachers were associates, managers, and directors, each dedicated to training us for a week so that we would not appear too ignorant when we showed up for work in our respective offices the following Monday.  The first half of the week was spent learning McGladrey’s individual tax compliance process, while the second half of the week was dedicated to understanding the business process.  Our days were busy, and we were all exhausted when class ended each day, but it seemed like our nights were equally busy.  As if spending a full day of class with each other was not enough, a majority of the interns could be found afterhours at the Q pub or hanging out downtown doing some additional networking.  McGladrey also sponsored two networking events, including a charitable “build-a-bears” night that proved to be rewarding and fun.  I never knew that public accountants could live up to the “work hard, play hard” motto so well, but that is one aspect that I’ve come to really enjoy about the McGladrey culture!
Overall, the training week at the Q Center was a very enjoyable, albeit exhausting experience.  Back in the office now, the other interns and I are already beginning to churn out returns, completing our first real clients earlier this week.  We were all very excited to break that barrier.  Two of the interns are fellow students at the University of Iowa.  Their names are Samantha Carver and Alicia Nicoletto.  The other two interns, Jessica Snook and Matt Walters, are students at the University of Northern Iowa.  They are all a pleasure to work with.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know them over the past two weeks and look forward to several more weeks of fun and challenges ahead of us.  
Anyways, I better get back to work here.  I look forward to updating this blog in another few weeks, hopefully with some good office stories and experiences.  It’s going to be an exciting tax season!


Ken said...

Daniel - congrats on surviving your week of eating large at the Q Center! Hope that first week in the office is showing the training paid off. And what was in your "Always wanted to do in life" envelope?

Ken Bansemer
National Talent Acquisition Leader

Daniel Brown said...

Ken - Thank you for your incredibly inspiring speech at the end of the conference. My envelope said that I would like to compete in the Hawai Ironman one day, so hearing about your ultra distance-running feats while working as a CPA was very encouraging. Good luck with your next race!

Sam Anderson said...

congratulation Mr. McGladrey..