From a Top Program to Top Companies
PROVO, Utah – Oct 19, 2020 – When Deloitte offered Hannah Risenmay a summer internship, she expected to complete it in an office located in California, not sitting on her couch in Washington. So, when her internship moved online as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, she wasn’t sure what to expect. However, Risenmay was thrilled to discover that despite being hundreds of miles away from company headquarters, her supervisor still gave her important responsibilities and ensured that she felt connected with their team.
Like Risenmay, hundreds of students from the School of Accountancy (SOA) at the BYU Marriott School of Business found themselves completing company internships virtually from the comfort of their homes. However, these companies put forth a significant effort to provide these students with memorable internship experiences.
Around 160 undergraduate and 210 graduate SOA students participated in internships this summer. In addition to Risenmay, Annica Woolley, a first-year MAcc student from Moscow, Idaho, was one of those; Woolley completed her internship with Dell. “Dell did a great job of adjusting to a virtual internship,” Woolley says. "Everyone was eager to meet the interns. We had several one-on-one meetings, and we were encouraged to reach out to people and say, ‘I have a question. I'd love to hear more about your role in the organization and meet one-on-one with you.’ I met and learned from so many different people, and I felt like everyone wanted me to succeed.”
Risenmay, a second-year MAcc student from Richland, Washington, also appreciated that her fellow employees at Deloitte took the time to connect with her and give advice. “We had a call with a CEO who took time out of her busy schedule to talk with us interns," she says. "She was personable and genuine, and she even sent us all an email afterward, inviting us to reach out to her at any time. Seeing that she was invested in our success as interns was amazing.”
Participating in these internships helped students develop a variety of skills. “I worked with an automation team located in China,” says Woolley. “I didn't actually automate anything, but I helped their team identify automation opportunities. I worked with global teams from China and India, which was an eye-opening experience. I learned how to work with other people on a project and be team oriented.”
Woolley also realized that asking for help makes work more efficient. "Humility can be a game changer,” she says. “At the beginning of my internship, I was stubborn and tried to complete my tasks on my own, but figuring everything out took much longer that way. I eventually found the courage to ask more questions and get out of my comfort zone.”
Parker Gardner, an accounting senior from Idaho Falls, Idaho, completed two internships: one with Village Capital, an impact investing firm, and one with Unicorn Revenue Operations, a startup consulting firm. One of the most invaluable skills Gardner learned was how to assess the value of a company.
“In both internships, I had the responsibility to research and analyze companies to understand their value,” he says. “For Village Capital, I sought to understand the value that a company brings to investors. For Unicorn Revenue Operations, I determined the value a software company could provide to other companies by helping them with optimizing sales operations.”
Internships are an important part of each BYU Marriott student’s experience for a variety of reasons. Risenmay notes that internships help students determine their career paths. “Internships can help you figure out if what you’re currently doing is something you want to do in the long run,” she says. "Realizing what you don’t want to do is as valuable as receiving validation that you’re pursuing the right career. Ruling out or receiving confirmation of your options is a beneficial aspect of internships.”
For Gardner, internships provide students with both experience and a network of professionals to access in their future careers. “Internships are important for three reasons,” he says. “First, they provide students with work experience. Second, they help students figure out what they want as a career. And third, they help students network and connect with people who can be fantastic resources later on. Utilizing these different tools can help BYU Marriott students graduate with advanced experience and knowledge.”
Though this year’s virtual internships introduced unprecedented challenges, SOA students still had insightful experiences and felt connected to their companies. “Doing an internship virtually was difficult at times,” says Woolley. “However, brainstorming and working through challenges with the other interns transformed the situation into a team-building experience for all of us. I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to be a part of such a dedicated team at Dell.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert