Colleen Pikus, Overland Park Police Department Intern, Accounting
My internship with the Overland Park Police Department has been an amazing experience. My roles have mainly been to focus on learning and observing. I don’t have many day-to-day responsibilities due to all of the safety and privacy regulations that govern the department.
During my internship, I participated in the police officer’s fitness test, fire arm training, shooting firearms, police car simulators and defensive tactics. I rode along with the traffic officers, who deal with all types of traffic violations such as speeding, failing to yield, and accidents. I experienced COPPS which stands for “Community Oriented Public Policing” and those officers are responsible for building relationships throughout the community. In the latter half of my internship I experienced the Patrol Unit and CAU or Criminal Analysis Unit. CAU was my favorite unit because they get to help the team understand financial crimes, property crimes, and persons’ crimes throughout the whole city. In my future, I could see myself working with the financial crimes unit so it was obviously very interesting to work with them.
This photo was taken during my week participating in the traffic unit of the Overland Park police department. During my week with traffic I experienced the police officers giving out traffic ticket violations, dealing with crashes, and also dealing with intoxicated drivers. This is only one unit out of several units in the Overland Park police department. In this photo a Police Officer convinced me to get a photo on one of Overland Parks new traffic motorcycles. I learned so much about traffic safety and received a lot of valuable advice from the police officers in the traffic unit.
Tahnee Cooper, Commerce Bank Data Analytics Intern, Applied Mathematics & Psychology
Hi, my name is Tahnee Cooper and I’m an applied mathematics and psychology major. I am currently an intern at Commerce Bank in the Enterprise Analytics and Business Intelligence department. I sought out an internship because of the gap between learning about data in the classroom and actually working with data in the industry.
This internship has been an eye-opener for me in terms of what I thought the world of data looked like. The majority of time is spent on cleaning up data sets and interpreting what the line of business is actually wanting. The hardest obstacle I have had to overcome is learning not only a new program (SAS) but learning an entire new industry: banking. If I had one piece of advice to offer, it is to never stop asking questions. There is no shame in not knowing the answers; in fact, it should be expected that you don’t know all the answers as an intern. Asking questions shows that you are engaged and have motivation.
In addition, don’t be too hard on yourself—it can be easy to focus on the skills you are lacking because of a new environment but you have to recognize your strengths, too. I was pleased that in a meeting with my mentor, a trait that I thought I needed to improve on was the trait that my mentor pointed out as one of my strengths. This leads to my next point—ask for feedback. This shows initiation and offers you an opportunity to improve. Aside from the data skills I have obtained, learning the ins-and-outs of business etiquette has been one of the most beneficial skills I have learned.
To close, my internship with Commerce is to thank for the increase in my skills and the awareness of what a good company consists of. Internships offer exposure to the “real world” and offer valuable experience. Despite the difficulties associated with diving into the big data world, the exposure I have gained is irreplaceable.
Desiree Sandie, PricewaterhouseCoopers Core Assurance Intern, Business Administration
While the real work may have started during my second week, the real challenges hit during my third and fourth weeks. These challenges included adapting to a greater work load and to a new supervisor.
During my second week, I was in the process of learning how to test interest income. And when I say learning to test interest income, I mean I was just scratching the surface. I hadn’t yet understood the why I was selecting certain transactions from certain spreadsheets. Nor had I come to understand what made certain transactions stand out from others. I had only just gotten familiar with the different spreadsheets and how to manipulate them in excel to achieve a simple answer. However, once the third week came around, I was suddenly testing two different types of interest income for two different audits.
To make things slightly more challenging, I was transferred from working under one associate to another. The two associates had very different approaches to completing their work and very different styles of teaching. The first associate created a laid-back environment where I learned about the testing procedures one step at a time. The second introduced a much more rigid working environment where an explanation was expected to be given once and understood. Despite my taking notes during the initial explanation of the two different audits, I found myself questioning whether I was testing the transactions for the different types of income properly. The briefing was so, I guess, brief that the various steps to testing the different types of income became muddled in my mind. I began to doubt that the work I was doing was correct, so I asked questions. As I asked questions, I realized that my new associate was frustrated with how unsure and confused I was. That frustration only intensified the lack of confidence I had in my work. However, I continued to work and ask questions. Eventually I realized that the associate wasn’t so much frustrated with the fact that I was asking questions, but that there was a misunderstanding about my level of experience.
The second associate had thought I had more experience testing interest income. Therefore, she was explaining the steps and procedures at a higher level without breaking down the information to the basics. It took me a while to come to this realization because I was working so hard just to understand what she was saying to me and I didn’t know how to explain that I didn’t understand. Eventually though, I did realize and I was able to explain what I didn’t understand and ask questions that would help me progress with my work.
This learning curve of adapting to a new teaching style while trying to complete new tasks took the better part of two weeks to get through. And to be quite honest, I’m not fully through the learning curve. I’m still working to understand the reasons why I’m looking for certain transactions and evaluating them against different levels of materiality. I’m not satisfied only knowing to pull certain base income amounts from one spreadsheet to paste into another spreadsheet with a formula. And I’m not satisfied with the relationship I have with my newly assigned associate mentor/teacher. So, I’ll continue to work, better my communication skills, ask questions, and build a better rapport with my new teacher, which I hope will aide in developing my understanding of auditing as a whole.