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Accounting internship chances?

et1234567et1234567 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
Hi guys,

I have a question about my internship opportunities for the summer. Firstly, I'd like to give a brief background of myself. I am a rising junior accounting major at a top 25 state college. I have ~3.0 GPA, with 2 business development internship at local start up companies under my belt. I have participated in research with a graduate school professor for 2 years. I am also the business manager of 4 student organizations and have participated as a VITA volunteer for 40+ hours (volunteer tax preparation for low income families.)

I am afraid that because of my low GPA and lack of pure accounting positions, I may be disqualified for many internship opportunities (big 4, large regional accounting firms, Fortune 500 etc.) What types/range of internships should I realistically be aiming for?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! :)
Post edited by et1234567 on

Replies to: Accounting internship chances?

  • AltemaAltema Registered User Posts: 1,082 Senior Member
    If you want to do accounting, try to get any accounting experience. Anything will do.

    I would say if you had some accounting work experience and your school was heavily recruited, you could still score an internship with the Big 4.
  • ThetaxdadThetaxdad Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    You should focus this year on getting your GPA up. What is your accounting GPA, this is also important. You also don't need prior accounting experience to land an accounting internship with a larger firm. Though experience may help, these firms recognize that most students probably won't have experience - thats what the internship is for! Other than that, you sound like a well rounded individual and I think your various involvements in other activites will be a plus on your resume.
  • et1234567et1234567 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thank you for your responses. My accounting GPA is ~3.25 although I have only really taken Financial and Managerial Accounting (I can probably raise it up after the upcoming semester). As it currently stands, I can graduate a semester early because of my AP classes in high school. Would you recommend getting an internship during tax season (January - April), either during Junior year (after Intermediate Financial Analysis I), senior year (after completing all my accounting classes), or the summer? I have started contacting recruiters but it appears that there are not a lot of opportunities in my area yet.
  • plscatamacchiaplscatamacchia - Posts: 586 Member
    The Big 4 or a lot of Regional Firms look for GPAs around 3.5 and above. Also, will you be able to complete Intermediate Accounting I by Spring? That is the class that is often required by firms to be hired.

    With your CURRENT GPA you should be looking at smaller firms. The 3.5 GPA is what gets you the interview with the large firms. You say your gpa is around 3.0. If it is below a 3.0 you need to focus on getting that up before applying. Every accounting firm that recruits at my school requires a 3.0 GPA to even apply.

    If you are able to get your gpa to around a 3.3-3.4, you activities will definitely make you competitive.

    The Big 4 hirer most of their interns for the Tax season.
    I would say if you had some accounting work experience and your school was heavily recruited, you could still score an internship with the Big 4.

    Not to be controversial, but have you ever applied for/been interviewed for a Big 4 position? Prior accounting experience is not at all important. It could help, but it will not hurt you and will not make up a 3.0 GPA. Like Taxdad said, it may be good to have on a resume going into an interview but they will not put your resume at the top just because of prior accounting work.
  • AltemaAltema Registered User Posts: 1,082 Senior Member
    ^I participated in mentoring many students in my school’s accounting organization. I witnessed how far some of them got and I saw many times where the high GPA student was denied an interview from all Big4. They all had good grades (Accounting GPA’s of 3.7-3.95 and Overall GPAs of 3.6-3.85), leadership experience, but lacked work experience. They had retail jobs, but nothing relevant at all. I felt that was the missing link, but it could have been something else. That’s what I felt separated those candidates from the more successful candidates. They lacked some sort of accounting/business/finance experience.

    I believe that accounting experience does allow the firm to set apart candidates with similar stats. In the case with high GPA students with no work experience vs lower (but not super low) GPA students with tons of work experience, it does allow the employer to set apart candidates and make selections. That’s at least what I noticed with my mentees. But then again, for a couple of my friends, their denial of interviews was odd (it may have to do with a C+ in intermediate).

    But I should have been clearer with my statement. I didn’t mean to make it seem like it’s highly possible to get a job in the Big4 with those stats + simply getting accounting experience. It’s definitely hard, but its not impossible. With an Accounting GPA of 3.25, it’s more possible then simply the 3.0 since they want to see that you are good at Accounting. Good leadership, GOOD accounting or some kind of professional setting work, increase GPA and networking will allow you to appear well rounded and get the Big4 job.

    et1234567- If you are going to be a junior, look to the winter quarter (if you are on the quarter system) to recruit for internships with big4. I'm not sure when they recruit for the semester system though.
  • plscatamacchiaplscatamacchia - Posts: 586 Member
    Oh yes! I completely agree that professional experience is great to have. I thought you were saying that accounting experience is important. I do very much agree that working in a corporate setting (in any department) will SOMEWHAT set you apart.

    Wow, getting turned down for an INTERVIEW with those stats? That's really surprising.
  • DawgieDawgie Registered User Posts: 1,576 Senior Member
    Can't feel too bad about those not getting an interview because of lack of exp, when you got a 3.7+. Should have been able to find something sophomore year. That being said, I'm sure one of the Big 4 gave them interviews.
  • mc2ikmc2ik Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Don't be scared if you have no professional experience in an office setting at all! I have worked at a local day camp for the past 5 years and at a gym at school. I applied with a GPA of around a 3.5, but it has since gone up. I am a rising junior and got early interviews with all the firms for their leadership programs. I definitely recommend doing them, as it is an opportunity for them to get to know you beyond just a resume. It really helps to give you a feel for the firms. Through the programs I was offered an internship for next summer at one of the Big 4. So definitely dont worry about the types of experiences you have, as long as you can talk about them in an interview setting and can appear passionate about them.
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