Accounting Coop students get great experience and exciting job opportunities
The immersion into the accounting world was immediate when Anthony DeAngelo ’16 started his Accounting Coop a year ago at Sullivan Bille CPAs in Tewksbury.
“Right away, I was not treated as an intern. I was treated as a first-year staff accountant, and it felt good to be more than a student and actually work with adults all day,” said DeAngelo, one of eight Girard School seniors who participated in the Accounting Coop Program in spring semester of their junior year.
These seniors have reaped excellent job opportunities – DeAngelo will work at PwC in Boston after graduation – from their coop experiences. The Girard School instituted an innovative cooperative education model that allows students to graduate on time while still gaining full-time coop experience. Accounting students work full-time for three months during the height of tax season followed by one month of intensive courses, which means they still have the summer available for another internship. The benefits were clear and now the program has grown from eight students in the first year to 14 in the second.
For the coop students, lesson one was the value of hard work.
“Never sit around doing nothing; be proactive,” said Hunter Barrett ’16, who worked at Harvey & Martin in North Andover. “If you finish whatever you’ve been given, go look for something else. Your boss will notice your initiative, and it will give them an idea of how well you’re progressing.”
Barrett progressed so well that Harvey & Martin offered him a fulltime position after graduation.
“Hunter was exceptional. He is smart, diligent, accommodating, and a pleasure to work with,” said Kathleen Melia ’88, a principal at Harvey & Martin, where she has worked since graduation. “We have taken on two new coops this year, and they appear to be following in Hunter’s footsteps.”
Don’t be afraid of your inexperience when you start, said Patrick Frazier’16 of his time at Katz, Nannis & Solomon in Waltham.
“The biggest lesson I learned was that I shouldn’t expect to understand everything about accounting or a job, for that matter, as soon as I start working,” Frazier said. “I learned that learning happens through hard work and making the most of experiences, which is what I got to experiment with in the coop.”
He prepared tax returns for high-net-worth individuals and small to mid-size local and national businesses, participated in audits of small and large corporations, and assisted audit teams in the field with testing, documenting, and analyzing account balances.
He continued working at Katz, Nannis & Solomon in the summer and decided he wants to work for a Big 4 firm. He will intern at PwC this summer before going to graduate school and hopes for a permanent job at PwC in the summer of 2017.
For Kyle Martin ’16, the lesson gained at Tonneson & Co. in Wakefield was “to ask questions whenever you do not know something and learn as much as possible, because nobody knows everything in their respective field.”
Martin received job offers from several firms, including Big 4, but declined them to attend graduate school and start on the CPA examinations before going to work fulltime.
“During the interview process at different companies, I would ask the interviewer questions and not just answer the questions they asked me. It would get the conversation flowing, and we would talk about more than just the job title and description,” Martin said. “I found that every firm that I have talked to is very impressed to see not just an internship but a coop on a resume, because it shows that you worked a full 40 hours a week and not just 20 or so hours a week.”
Aimee Sinewitz ’16 transferred to Merrimack for her sophomore year as an undeclared business major. Enjoying her accounting and finance courses, she chose those areas for her academic concentration and in her coop worked at DiCicco, Gulman & Co. in Boston. She will graduate summa cum laude and in August will join Johnson O’Connor Feron & Carucci in Wakefield as a staff accountant.
“The hard work I put in not only here at Merrimack but at my internships as well has set up an exciting future for myself,” Sinewitz said. “It wasn’t always easy, balancing school with internships, but looking back at the last four years, I could not be happier with all that I have accomplished and learned.”
The Girard accounting students made quite an impression, as DeAngelo happily related:
“One memorable experience was when I went out in the field on my first audit, and the clients were asking me where I got my master’s from and if I have passed the CPA exam yet and were shocked when I told them I was a junior in college.”