A Launchpad for My Career

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Melissa Koshute
Accounting – Saint Vincent College

I returned home from college this summer full of anticipation. My internship with Grossman Yanak & Ford was about to propel me into the world of public accounting. After three years of coursework, I was ready to see how my major translated into a career, to serve clients, and to experience a unique company culture – all in the heart of my home city of Pittsburgh!

Orientation and audit engagements quickly showed me that the scope of the accounting profession was wider than I had imagined. I soon learned that an auditor’s job is not simply about plugging digits into a calculator or seeking out fraud, as many people believe. On the contrary, it covers a broad range of skills, including working with numbers, but also communicating through written documentation. It demands the use of technology as well as face-to-face interaction. It involves independent tasks yet heavily relies on team collaboration. It is built around rules and regulations, but is synonymous with adaptability and critical thinking. It is oriented towards building strong, professional relationships, all while maintaining an objective point of view.

Most importantly, being an accountant calls for enthusiasm and perseverance when unexpected roadblocks arise, presenting new learning opportunities every single day.

 Staff from all levels of the firm helped me experience these aspects of accounting firsthand. Their openness to sharing knowledge and advice – on anything from completing a workpaper to studying for the CPA exam, to navigating a city commute – was one of the most valuable parts of my internship. Throughout the summer, their examples of hard work and commitment to excellence motivated me to continue pursuing my own professional goals.

Learning alongside other interns was also beneficial. Although they did not serve the same clients as I did, my fellow student employees and I built a sense of camaraderie while tackling public transportation and trying unfamiliar tasks for the first time. Additionally, helping to plan GYF’s student leadership conference, allowed us to have fun, use our creativity and practice that ever-important collaborative component of public accounting.

If I could say anything to a student considering an internship in public accounting, without hesitating I would say, “do it!” You will never fully understand what the career path entails until you have lived it out yourself. Don’t be afraid to let your expectations dissolve and embrace the spontaneous, whether that’s a change in your schedule, a special assignment, or a lunchroom conversation with a co-worker. Take what you can from the various clients and industries you serve, understanding that your contributions help them continue doing what they do. No matter what, your experience will provide concrete insight and knowledge for the road ahead.

As I move from aspiring accountant to young professional, I’d like to say thank you to GYF for my internship opportunity. The past nine weeks have launched me into the world of public accounting, and I’m so grateful!