Friday, July 29, 2016

Challenges In My Internship

By Paul Dean, Junior, Accounting Major

During the course of my internship, I have faced many good challenges. As I am progressing through my experiences and work projects, I have found that I have been given more responsibility. Every week I have been assigned to do the planning work for a retirement plan audit. I have a certain amount of time that I have to get each plan done by. At the beginning of my internship I had people at CBIZ helping me and teaching me how to do the planning work. At this point in my internship, I have been able to master almost all of the planning by myself.

Each plan comes with its challenges though. Locating where certain documents are has been one of my biggest challenges. However, I like being challenged throughout my internship because of the satisfaction I get from solving problems on my own. When I do reach out for help from my supervisors, I have found it challenging to constantly try and learn new ways of doing the planning. This is necessary though in order to master the planning of the audits.

Another challenge that I have faced is finding time to ask other professionals questions that could be helpful to my career. Learning from other professionals is equally important as doing quality work for the accounting firm. I believe that these challenges that I have been facing will help me down the road in any academic or professional setting.    

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Try Everything

By Michael Dodds, Senior, Accounting Major

Since joining the accounting program two and a half years ago, I have been repeatedly asked, “tax or audit?”  To be honest, I was not sure until last semester, when I took both Corporate Tax and Audit at the same time.  That experience really helped me narrow it down to audit and I was very excited to finally be able to answer that question.  That was before I worked as an Assurance Intern for RubinBrown, though.
Working at RubinBrown this summer has given me the chance to learn that choosing audit is only half the battle of making a career choice.  I had no idea that you could specialize in an industry group as an auditor.  For example, this summer I have helped audit several 401(k) benefit plans, a financial institution, a low income housing developer and a not-for-profit. I get to finish my summer working on a casino, and those are less than half of the industries that you could choose to specialize in as an auditor.

Working as an Assurance Intern this summer has given me such a great opportunity to find the things that I enjoy.  Now that I am aware of what is available after you answer the “tax or audit” question, the next couple of years will give me the opportunity to try a little more of everything before I specialize in my interests.  For anyone who may not have started their internship yet, I want to encourage you to try a little bit of everything before you make a decision.  I can tell you from firsthand experience that your passions may lie in an industry that you would have never considered before.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Day in the Life of an Intern at the Department of Homeland Security

By Miranda Curry, Senior, Mathematics Major

Almost nine months ago I started my internship at the Department of Homeland Security in the Program Management Office. Ever since then my life has completely changed. If you had asked me what I wanted to do with my math degree a year ago, I couldn’t give a straight answer. All I knew was that I needed an internship to get my degree and thanks to Career Services, I received an email with a link to apply. After an intense 3+ month background check and interview process, I was given a start date. My days here start early and end late (if you get here before 6 am, you are usually lucky enough to get a parking spot underground).

 When I first started I was thrilled about the idea of working in a cave, but nine months later I am really missing the sun. Twelve-hour days don’t allow for a lot of time outside. Working in the Program Management Office, I have a wide range of duties. Recently, I helped prepare and balance the $50 million budget for the entire facility here for the upcoming fiscal year. Additionally, I have helped work on projects from file size analysis to creating shelving and storage plans for another cave location. The work never becomes boring because it’s different every day. Additionally, working in such a high performing office means you create significant impact to the organization. The projects that I have worked on have given me such a feeling of purpose because I know my work will make a positive difference in other’s efficiency.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer 2016 Interns - From Kansas City to St. Louis

Hallie Cooley - Junior – Double Major in Applied Mathematics & Economics
My actuarial internship in the insurance industry is allowing me to see the various models and reports used to predict data about our clients. Here I am evaluating a couple of analyses in order to express their meaning to clients in simplified terms. 
Decho Valev – Senior – Corporate Finance & Accounting Major
With H&R Block and the Expat Tax Services Team, I have been able to help US citizens living abroad in Australia, Europe and Canada get tax preparation service. It has been a great learning experience.

Janine Koleta – Junior – International Business Major
My internship allows me not only to intern for the Human Resource department, but also to shadow and interview employees from other departments. I am always challenged to do new things on a daily basis and get out of my comfort zone. I really like my coworkers and the team environment is great.
Joseph Lipoff – Junior – Applied Mathematics Major, Physics Minor
I am a data engineering intern at the Digital Ally Open, which is a tournament office on the Tour. I have set up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Etix, Google Analytics, and website analytics with the google task manager. I am excited to see what is next for me.
Brendan Bostwick – Senior – Accounting Major
Interning at a local law firm has given me the opportunity to work behind the scenes of the court trials. Here is me looking through  documents and getting them in order for the attorneys to use.
Kyle Barnes – Junior – Accounting Major
My internship in the federal tax department has allowed me to apply what I have learned in my accounting classes to a real world situation. Here I am analyzing last year's financial statements to help with the 2015 Federal Tax Return for the company.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Jake Weible, Marketing Major in the Google Community Leaders Program

My internship with the Google  Community Leaders Program allows me to partner with Literacy KC, bringing a Digital Literacy program to their firm. The Digital Literacy courses allow students to supplement their English and Mathematics courses with computer classes. These classes help to close the digital divide in Kansas City and its surrounding districts. - Jake Weible, Senior, Marketing Major

Monday, May 9, 2016

Senior, Co-op Student Tyrone Blackmon - Reflection

One thing that I had to be more comfortable with this semester is approaching my advisors in a confident manner. Not to say that I wasn't confident before, but after having to approach them on a consistent basis on more pressing topics, this taught me that I must be able to communicate my thoughts confidently and properly in order to get the results and reactions I would like. One thing to take away: even if you feel nervous about approaching a Senior on a touchy subject, do it anyway and sooner rather than later. It can only help you grow as a person, make you better and more comfortable with yourself.  - Tyrone Blackmon, Senior, Accounting Major

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Your Email Storage is Full

By Miranda Curry, Senior, Mathematics Major
I find it surprising how much time people spend on their emails every day at work. When my mentor comes up to me and asks me, “What did you do yesterday” and I reply saying I checked my email, it sounds like a very unproductive day. However, checking email really can be a very tasking project to do every day.

As of this morning, my email storage space was 95% full after just 6 months of work. The next 8 hours were spent going through just one of my folders to try to clear up some space, and now I’m about down to 80% storage used. It just seems crazy to me how much time we waste reading pointless or irrelevant emails, to the point where my job has monthly webinars about how to manage your email more efficiently and how to properly send emails. I also find it interesting how some people don’t pay attention to their emails and either delete them automatically without reading them or just let them pile up until there’s 18,000 unread emails in your inbox.

I saw a post the other day that said when email was first invented, there was a happy greeting associated with receiving an email (You’ve got mail!). Now, email is treated more as a chore, something that people avoid or dread checking simply because of the massive amount of time it takes. As an intern, I love checking my email and going through every link and article sent to me because I am still new to everything and it gives me a sense of importance. However, I can see how this will eventually wear down over time. I’m glad that email platforms like Outlook are coming out with new features to help email organization and to help important emails show through mountains of clutter.

The Time I Became the Entire Marketing Department

By Sarah Basler, Senior, Marketing Major

Currently, I am a marketing intern for a commercial realty company that operates around Kansas City. My role as marketing intern involves assisting the Marketing and Communications Director with creative writing, graphic design, and various other tasks in the marketing department.

Recently, my boss informed she would be heading to Cancun, Mexico for a quick getaway. While I was super excited for my boss to have the opportunity to escape and get some sun, I was also nervous about her leaving. My company is a fairly flat firm meaning, that each department is small without many levels of seniority. Because of this, my boss leaving meant that half of the marketing department was gone. The remaining half was me. There is no better test of strength than being thrown in the deep end to see if you can swim. I was about the face that challenge.

The days went by without my boss and everything went smoothly. Because I had been detail-oriented while my boss was training me, I was pretty comfortable with the day-to-day tasks of the job. A unique part of my job is graphic design. I often create brochures using InDesign, a program I just recently learned to operate. When my boss was gone, I was asked by a Broker to create a brochure, email blast for a mass audience, and website posting for a new development site the company is working on. I successfully completed the tasks as asked and consulted with the Brokers and Project Managers for any assistance. It was cool to be challenged in that way and it helped me to gain significant confidence in my position. While I resume my role as marketing intern this week and my boss returns from her vacation, I take with me the skills I learned from working independently.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Day in the Life at State Street

By Sean Flynn, Senior, Accounting Major
This spring I had the opportunity to work on the Core Accounting with Mutual Funds Team at State Street. It was a very rewarding experience overall and the hands on experience I was able obtain has proven to be invaluable. The overall objective of the core accounting team is to properly price the net asset value for the various mutual funds we manage. My schedule each week was Monday through Friday 8:00 to 12:00.

I typically would arrive at work about fifteen minutes early to allow plenty of time to log in my computer and settle in. The first thing task I was assigned was to send an email to the core accounting team informing them of which team members are on vacation or will be unavailable that day. Next, I would record any ETF creations or redemptions that were submitted the previous evening. A different team would send me the information of the ETF transaction and I would use our mainframe computer system to record the transaction and an excel macro to ensure that the information was accurate. After completing the ETF transactions, I would check to see if a specific fund we manage had any activity. This particular fund usually had three or four trades each week which I was responsible for checking and recording. If a trade occurred, I had to record it by 9:30 so that the International fund team would have the information in time for their morning audit.

Finally, I would review our short-term funds. These funds matured at year end and often had activity towards the end of the afternoon. I would run funds that had trades or sales through a macro and make any necessary corrections. In addition to my daily tasks, I would also be available to assist the other team members with anything they needed.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What Did Your Internship Allow You To Do? Spring Co-op Students Reflect

Nicole Schebaum – Senior – Applied Mathematics and Medical Physics Major
My internship at Partners Specialty Group has allowed me to gain great knowledge about the insurance industry. It has also allowed me to network with many people who work at various companies. Here I am at my desk where I am always learning new things and helping manage accounts.
Brian McAuliffe – Senior – Financial Markets and Economics Analysis Major
My internship at Cerner Corporation has allowed me to take what I have learned in the classroom and apply it to the business world. I am currently working in the contract management operations wing of the finance department. In this position I review submitted contracts and report any and all issues and informalities directly to my supervisor. This internship allows me to connect with and assist Cerner Associates and Clients around the world. I am pleased to announce that I have been offered a full-time position at Cerner after graduation.
Zachary Pohlman – Junior – Triple Major in Economics, Philosophy and Theology (Pre-law)
At my internship, I work as a Paralegal Assistant for the Federal Public Defender at the Federal Courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas. I have had the opportunity to practice legal writing, attend court hearings, and help an in house lawyer prepare to argue before the Supreme Court! I'm only a sophomore, but this experience has definitely helped me confirm that I want a future in law. 

Duncan Preston – Senior
Financial Markets and Economic Analysis Major
During the Spring of 2016, I was allowed the opportunity to work alongside a team of financial analysts within State Street Corporations corporate banking division. The above picture was taken at one of the many networking opportunities that State Street encourages its employees to take advantage of.
Varonica Hamilton – Junior
 Financial Markets and Economic Analysis Major
My internship is unique because I get to do an array of things including: desk work, attending golf tournaments and networking events, to facilitating business opportunity exchanges. Here I am sitting at my desk working on collecting diversity certificates from our vendors whose certificates have expired. This is an ongoing task I frequently do in between the events we have going on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Co-op Reflections: Accounting Edition

Students with accounting majors reflect on their Co-op experience:

Marija Kotlaja – Junior – Accounting Major
My tax preparation internship at TPP Certified Public Accountants has given me a wonderful insight into the accounting world that I am about to enter full time. I was able to gain exposure to a wide range of individual income taxation concepts as well as a practical working knowledge of the filing requirement for federal, state and local individual income tax returns. 


Ollie Tettamble - Sophomore
Double Major in Accounting and Financial Markets and Economic Analysis
Not only does my accounting internship have some great perks (like casual Fridays!) but my real-world experience in accounting has taught me so much more in a short amount of time than I could have ever imagined. Here I am calculating current maturities for my company's lease payments.

Brian Davis – Senior – Corporate Finance and Accounting Major
I currently work at Cerner Corporation on the project management team in the US Consulting Organization. Working at Cerner has allowed me to enhance my overall business skills, and I have been fortunate to be exposed to a variety of projects during my time here.  My team often asks for my input on new processes, which has been extremely beneficial in my development as a professional. Plus jeans casual everyday isn't too bad either.

Elizabeth Uxa – Senior – Accounting Major
This semester I had the opportunity to work at Summit Sportswear, a small business that designs and sells  ladies and  youth collegiate apparel. My task within the company is to enter bills and create the invoices for our customers. Communication is key within a small organization because everything I do, somehow affects someone else within the company. Here is a photo of myself with my coworkers before one of our weekly meetings.

R.J. Bondon – Senior – Accounting Major
After completing my tax internship with KPMG this spring, I can finally reflect on the wonderful experience I had with the firm. I learned almost every aspect of the tax department during the past few months and cannot wait to see where public accounting takes me.


Will Brockmeyer – Junior – Accounting Major
Wagstaff and Cartmell gives me the opportunity to work on various different projects. It's interesting to see all the aspects of the court system and the preparation that goes into it. Here I am sorting through client information to input into our system, NetDocs. This is just one of the several projects I am currently working on. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

If You Don’t Ask, the Answer is Always No

By Michael Dodds, Senior, Accounting Major

When I think about where I am at this point in my educational and professional path—an accounting senior getting ready to graduate at the end of this year, a bookkeeper getting ready to start a second internship as an auditor, a future CPA—I cannot help but think that it all started with a simple question.  Approximately one and a half years ago, I approached a small business owner and asked for the opportunity to learn from her.  She conducted her own daily bookkeeping and I thought it would be a great opportunity to gain some real-world experience and get my foot in the door.

 That experience paid off exponentially as it laid the foundation for my next major professional step; working as an auditor with a regional CPA firm this summer.  This auditing internship started much like the first.  I had to ask for it.  After being told I wasn’t in the right year and that I should be focused on two-day leadership programs instead of full-time internships, I went out on a limb and asked for the opportunity anyway.  Despite having never been one to buy into the “Ask and ye shall receive” mantras, as my own experiences have come to be shaped by it, I understand and appreciate the truth in it; if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.  
If I could give one piece of advice to someone seeking an internship, it is to ask for it.  The answer may not always be yes but the more you ask, the more opportunities you may get.  In my experience, if you ask for the chance to get your foot in the door, it makes it significantly easier to get the door open and where you want to be.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Spring Co-op Student Devyn Fossey - Internship Reflection

I attended KVC Health Systems' annual gala (pictured above with my boss), and it put into perspective just how much my coworkers care for the organization they work for.  A lot of time and effort is put into planning the gala, and the entire night is dedicated to raising money to benefit children in foster care.  Seeing the dedication my coworkers have for their work furthers my love for the internship I have working alongside such passionate people. - Devyn Fossey - Junior Marketing Major