Most internship programs, or at least the ones that I interviewed for, would place you on a particular team or project that you would spend your summer working with. Just as you would be offered a job with a specific focus or subject, you are put into a group focusing on just one element. In some scenarios you may know the exact details of the position you are accepting for full-time jobs but many companies have rotational programs for full-time hires in which you wouldn’t know exactly what your first roll would be. Most intern recruiters will not know or tell you the exact details of what you will be doing during recruiting. While you understand that you will be working in one area of the business such as Accounting or Finance, you don’t know much more. This was my experience with Dow Chemical recruitment.
I received an email from my to-be supervisor just a few weeks before the start of my internship containing details on my internship assignment. This email detailed that I would be working in the external reporting group and explained a handful of different projects that I would be working on over the course of the summer. You aren’t really ever told exactly how they made the decision to place you within a specific group.
While all of this may seem mysterious, it is not a processes to be frightened of. At the end of the day, every different internship experience that the organization organizes is one that will be a valuable experience. If you make sure through the recruitment process that the organization values their interns, you can be confident that they’ll find the right experience for you.
Going into the summer, I knew very little about what external reporting did. The extent of my knowledge on external reporting was what was emailed to me a couple weeks before my internship started. Within the first two weeks of my internship, I learned an incredible amount about the tasks that the external reporting group undertakes. The point with this is that no matter what focus you are assigned to, you’re going to rapidly learn about that one subject and before you know it, you’ll be up to speed on how you can impact the group.
The external reporting group is tasked with preparing and filing various annual and quarterly reports with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). While these reports are the main focus of the group, numerous other documents are filed with the SEC when necessary. These documents are the primary medium of reporting the results of the company to stakeholders. They include the consolidated financial statements of the company, the footnotes to the financial statements, and management, discussion, and analysis, among many other sections. The external reporting group acts as a medium to compile and consolidate financial data regarding the performance of the company and then organizes and presents the data to the public.
So far I have enjoyed working with the external reporting group. It is a group that is staffed by accountants with many years of experience. I have had the opportunity to work on a handful of different projects and assignments which has widened my range of experiences. I’ve also had the opportunity to interact with various groups across the company such as investor relations. I whole-heartedly believe that I am contributing and providing value to the organization. By having a dynamic experience in which you are a valued, contributing member of the organization, you can make the most out of your internship.
There is also a lot that you can do to make sure that you are creating a valuable internship experience for yourself. By taking the initiative to introduce yourself to people outside of your particular group and by involving yourself in various different projects, you’ll gain more value from your experience. Your internship is what you make of it. Take that extra step to diversify your experiences!
The moral of the story is that in the end, while you may not have much discretion in choosing exactly what you’ll be working on during an internship, there are numerous ways to make sure that you have a positive internship experience. By being diligent in the recruitment process, selecting a company that shows commitment to the development of its interns, and by taking the initiative to diversify your experiences, you can make sure that your internship is positively impacting the organization and your personal development.