Year at CSB/SJU: Senior
Majors: Accounting - CPA Concentration
Title: Summer Finance Associate
Place of Internship: Medtronic plc, Minneapolis, MN
How did you find out about the internship and what was the application process like?
I found out about my internship through my advisor, Warren Bostrom. He sent out an email to the accounting majors that mentioned the open internship positions at Medtronic. I sent him my resume, which he passed on to Medtronic. Normally, students would apply through Handshake. The first interview was a phone interview with two Johnnie alums. I was nervous at first but I soon realized it was more just a conversation about who I was and what Medtronic offered. Second round interviews were at the Mounds View location of Medtronic where we met with all of the other candidates and had three separate interviews with Medtronic employees. These interviews were more focused on the Finance/Accounting side of things. About a week and a half later, I was offered an internship!
What were some of the internship highlights?
My favorite part of the internship was meeting with so many people. Medtronic really advocated setting up information meetings with employees across the organization. It was great to hear about the experiences they had and the steps they took after college. I also loved working for a company that was so rooted in their mission. Medtronic is a fabulous company that does amazing work. One thing that management continued to tell us, was even though we were a part of finance, we impacted the lives of our patients for the better.
What was a typical day like? What were some of your major responsibilities?
A typical day for me was to get into the office around 8:30 a.m. I would start off the day by checking my email and making sure that my tasks from the day before were all completed. Several times, I had projects that would span over multiple days/weeks. Most of the tasks were excel-based, so I would listen to music and crank out numbers. My team often ate lunch at their desks, so I would go and eat with my fellow interns. The day for me would end around 5:00 p.m. I mostly worked with monthly reconciliations and helping prepare worksheets for the new revenue recognition standard. Interns also had a specific project that we worked on throughout the summer and later presented information to finance leaders.
What were some of the challenges of your internship?
One thing I found difficult was making sure that I asked meaningful questions. I was working with professionals who were very busy and didn't have a lot of time for me to ask questions over and over again. I really tried to work on what I could and write down questions that I had. Then, after I finished a task or got as far as I could, I would look over my questions and try to see if I could find the answer online or in material available to me before asking my manager.
What did you learn? How has this internship impacted your plans for after graduation?
I learned the importance of hands-on experience. I was able to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it in a real-life situation. It was amazing how many times I would be working on something and the concept that I had a hard time grasping in the classroom would finally 'click' in my head! Meeting with different people across the organization helped me decide the path I want to take after college. A big decision accounting majors have to face is whether to go into industry or work for an accounting firm. That was a questions I had and something I paid close attention to when talking to employees. I enjoyed hearing their feedback and advice.
What advice would you give other students interested in internships?
Start on your resumes early. I scrambled to put mine together to make the application deadline. If I could go back, I would have started working on it the week school started. I would then have had more time to critique it and develop it more. Network. The Bennie/Johnnie connection was a vital part of my internship. Never be afraid to reach out to people. Even during your internship, try and set up as many informational meetings that you can - you meet a lot of amazing people and you get a chance to learn about different areas of an organization. This last piece of advice is specific for accounting majors. If you are unsure on what path you want to take after college, I would recommend trying an internship in industry. I met with so many people who had experience in both industry and in public accounting. You really get a sense of the dynamic that each path has to offer and you can see what path might work best for you!