Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bobby the Bean Counter

I had an oral examination today for the accounting program. I always feel weird when I tell people that though. I always feel like they think I'm going for my nine month check up at the dentist. Anyway, the exam covered topics from my three accounting courses this semester and my three accounting courses from last semester. It was pretty intense trying to remember things from so long ago.

Each accounting student was given a time that s/he was to meet in the Tanner Building and then each student was assigned a professor and the exam was given in the professor's office. Luckily, I was assigned to one of the nicest teachers in the accounting department. She started things off by saying that she remembered me from a presentation she had judged the prior week. Then she asked if I had any plans for the summer. This is where it's important to shoot the breeze. I started talking about summer plans and possible vacations and she soaked it all up.

About seven minutes into our conversation she said, "Oh no, I guess I should probably ask you a couple of these questions." She proceeded to ask me two questions I felt very comfortable answering and then ended with, "What's one thing that you'll take away from this year?" Now, that's what I call an oral exam. I felt really good about it. Knowing how my sense of how I did on a test correlates with my actual score, though, I wouldn't be surprised if I got a zero. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Accounting has served me well, though. I filed taxes on my own this year. I used an online service for my federal return, but kept running into sites that wanted $30 to $40 to file my state return. So I says, "No way, Jose," and I filed them myself. I guess it's not too hard when you don't make very much money and don't itemize. I felt cool being able to help others with their state return, though. At least I did until they asked me what to do if they're not a Utah resident. "I dunno, I guess you're screwed," I said. Not really, but that's what I was thinking. So, they just filed as Utah residents because no one else knew how to help them. It's all fun and games until you get interest penalties for filing an incorrect return.

I did get some good news on Monday, though. I was accepted to go to three different summer leadership programs, one in Chicago, one in Charlotte, and one in Salt Lake City!

I'll be in Chicago during the third week of July with Pricewaterhouse Coopers. This program was the most competitive. Most of the firms just have local summer leadership programs but this one with PWC is on the national level. They had over 2,200 applicants and only accepted about 250. I didn't think I was going to get in because my grades weren't as good as a lot of the other students applying. They're going to put me in a nice hotel there, though, and we'll have some fun activities. I think there will be some case studies and other things related to accounting and then there will be a kyak race and other more extreme activities. The recruiter told me it's kind of like EFY for accountants. Haha, what is that supposed to mean? Are we going to do a tax return as an ice breaker? I'm really excited though, because a lot of the national partners will be there and I know the firm will totally spoil us. Plus, it will be good to get more of a feel for the type of people that work there.

*I've enjoyed the activities sponsored by PWC in the past. Back in September they sponsored an activity called the The Pit Crew Challenge, where they brought in a stock car and I got to be part of a pit. We lifted the car with a hydraulic jack and changed all four tires and then tried to improve our time. In October competed in the xTax competition sponsored by PWC. My team placed third and I won a digital picture frame. PWC also paid for some cool motivational speakers to come and paid for a woman from the Business Intelligence Association to come teach us how to tell when people are trying to deceive you. In February, PWC had a ski day up at Sundance where they subsidized the cost of a lift ticket so it only cost $10!

Charlotte was a good surprise for me. I applied for the summer leadership program and put my location preference as 1. Charlotte and 2. Atlanta. Ernst & Young had a really nice dinner for all of the applicants the night before interviews and I was placed at a table with a recruiter from Atlanta. He told me that because the Charlotte program was so small I probably wouldn't be able to get in, but that I might be able to come to Atlanta. Anyway, the recruiter from Atlanta called me Monday morning to ask me about my ties to Charlotte and also whether I had applied for the master's program in accounting. Then, later that night, he called and said that I was invited to go to Charlotte for their leadership program, which is for three days in June. He said it was really competitive, but I had interviewed well, and that I might as well go to Charlotte since it was my first choice. The guy that interviewed me was really cool, though.

*I didn't really have too much exposure to E&Y until a couple of weeks ago when they held a big recruiting activity. They took us up to the Olympic Park in Park City and we got to sit in a harness and ride a zip line down the mountain. Then we went to the hill with the downhill speed skiing and rode down the hill about six times in a giant white water raft. It was so fun. They also randomly selected a group to do a run on the bobsled. I don't think I'll be doing anything like that in Charlotte, but hey, you never know.

In mid-June, I'll spend half of a day at the KPMG summer leadership program in Salt Lake City. I'm actually really excited about this one, too, because I want to see what an accounting firm feels like in Salt Lake, because it would obviously be the most convenient to get a job here. We'll spend half of a Friday and then go to a partner's home for a barbecue.

*KPMG is the smallest of the Big Four accounting firms. My roommate, Reed, did an internship with them in Denver last summer and loved it. I wasn't able to make it to their big recruiting activity because I was hanging out with members visiting from Toronto, but they did pay for all the students to take an expensive personality test, which was cool. It was really accurate.

Anyway, this is more to let everyone know what I'll be doing this summer than it is to brag. These programs will be a good opportunity to see where I want to work, though. Accounting firms handle interns differently than other companies. There is sort of an unwritten rule of intern etiquette in the accounting industry that you accept a job at the office where you intern. It's very rude to intern in Atlanta and then go work in California. I've thought of a few different cities where I may like to work or live, so this will be a good opportunity for me to check out those offices and those cities and see what I think before I tie myself down to one city or one firm.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Bob--this post of FULL of good news!! Congrats on all 3 of your internships and the success with your oral exam. You are such a charmer :) I am envious of your week in Chicago--I love it there and hope you have some time to explore the city or have some activities out and about--it is such a cool city and I have always wanted to go swimming in Lake Michigan.