Toni Lindstedt

Senior accounting student Toni Lindstedt, with her dad, in front of Ernst & Young in New York City.

Accounting student previews upcoming NYC career with an internship

By Toni Lindstedt, a senior accounting student from Shoreview, MN

After participating in the National Student Exchange program at Queens College in New York, I knew I wanted to move there after I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. So I was very excited when I was presented with the opportunity to intern in the tax division of the Financial Services Office at Ernst & Young, one of the world's leading accounting firms, in New York City.

The Financial Services Office at Ernst & Young is a national division, which meant I was able to help prepare returns from clients located across the country (The other service divisions at Ernst & Young are geographically divided so I would have been working on clients only in the Northeast subdivision.) My work in the Financial Services Office exposed me to a wide variety of clients including many of Ernst & Young's major clients.

During my summer internship, I learned how to use Ernst & Young's various tax software programs. I worked with many engagement teams in the New York Office as well as teams from the Chicago and Minneapolis offices. While I was given many different assignments from the managers and seniors on these teams, I spent most of my time preparing 1065 returns and K-1's for partnerships since my internship coincided with the September 15th extension deadline.

Ernst & Young provided a supportive work environment and encouraged communication between team members. Throughout the summer, I was constantly receiving feedback about my performance which was really helpful. Our workspace also facilitated communication because each intern was assigned to a conference room with about eight other interns. Although we each worked with different engagement teams, we seemed to be working on similar projects. This allowed us to learn from each other and collaborate to solve similar problems.

While there were many great aspects of my internship, the best part of my experience was the seemingly endless networking opportunities available to the interns at Ernst & Young. Towards the end of my internship, I was invited to attend lunch with one of the senior partners in the Financial Services Office Tax division. It was truly incredible to hear about his experiences and receive advice from him about continuing my career in accounting. After the completion of my internship, I was invited to attend the International Intern Leadership Conference in Florida, along with all the other students who interned for Ernst & Young in the past year. The conference was incredible. I was able to meet and hear presentations from many of Ernst & Young's top executives including the President and CEO, Jim Turley. I also met interns from across the United States as well as Germany and Canada. Networking is such a key factor for success in today's world. I feel so fortunate to have been provided with such incredible opportunities to do so.

My internship with Ernst & Young helped me achieve many of my goals. I was able to gain a realistic view of the tax accounting profession and the business world. I enjoyed the people I worked with and made many great contacts. I received a job offer from Ernst & Young and I will begin my accounting career with them in their New York City office in January 2013. I couldn't have asked for anything more from my National Student Exchange or internship experience.

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Tips for getting an internship/job in another community

Try out a community by studying through the National Student Exchange (NSE). NSE is a great way to learn more about a community or region you may want to live in after graduation. While on exchange, you can check out internships or job opportunities in the area. NSE has nearly 200 member universities located in the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Vigin Islands. Students studying through NSE pay their normal tuition to their home campus or in-state tuition to their host campus.

Do an internship in the geographic location where you eventually want to work. Students who successfully complete an internship are often offered a job where they interned.

Be proactive and network. My internship in New York City didn't just fall in my lap. I had to be VERY proactive to make it happen. Don't be afraid to network and ask people you know to help you get in touch with recruiters.

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