Blog Archive

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Find Your Zebra

Written by
Jaclyn Muddiman – West Chester University
Seth Lengel – Penn State University
Assurance Interns
Blue Bell, PA

Picture yourself driving to school. You take the same way, everyday, and you reach that point where you’re just going through the motions, not really paying attention to your surroundings. Then, one day you notice a zebra in a horse farm (this actually happened!). After that moment, every time you drive to school you can’t help but look for the zebra among all of the horses.              

Seth and Jaclyn
For us, McGladrey was our zebra. Over the past two years of college we have been pressured by both our peers and professors to follow in the footsteps of their career path, they were driving the bus and we were just a passenger. We were on the highway of attending events, talking to the right people, and getting our name out to specific firms until we noticed the zebra.

Both of us participated in a McGladrey presentation, at our respective schools, and we felt that initial “click” which now put us in the driver’s seat. Going through the interviewing process we were able to build relationships with people of all levels, which set McGladrey apart from other firms. Entering the office for our second round of interviews was like walking onto a college campus and knowing it was the perfect school – it just felt right. 

Northeast Intern Orientation Olympics
Going into the internship we had very high expectations. We knew we wanted to learn what accounting was really about – not just the textbook version. We wanted to build relationships around the firm, while still being able to enjoy summer. Our first three days at the Northeast Intern Orientation was a great start to our summer. We were able to meet other interns from different cities, talk to McGladrey professionals, and attend fun events such as a barbeque and office Olympics. This experience helped us feel comfortable before the real work began. 

Throughout the summer we were exposed to a wide variety of co-workers, clients, and projects. Between the exposure to different industries and different fieldwork, such as planning or auditing, we felt we had a range of learning opportunities which helped us understand what public accounting is about rather than a problem from our textbooks. We finally were able to apply our education to the real world – we had that “click” moment of understanding. We can all agree that accounting work won’t be the best part of the summer; however, it was the mixture of the experiences we received which have made it worthwhile. Most importantly, we learned the stereotype of boring accountants couldn’t be more wrong.

The highlights of the internship have been the times we relaxed and had a good time with the rest of the office. Through various happy hours, a Phillies game, and other firm-sponsored events we have been able to make connections with our co-workers both inside and outside of the office. It’s a great feeling when you realize how well you can “click” with people. Aside from the fun events, we have participated in a couple different service projects. There was a heated competition between interns to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a childhood cancer research foundation, and during the Pathways Program we sorted through donated clothing for Cradles to Crayons organization with the extern students. Overall, McGladrey has done a great job of making sure we had an enjoyable summer.

Our advice to other students is to put yourself out there, talk to all different firms, feel for the “click.” But in the end, sit in the driver’s seat and find your zebra.

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