Merrimack alumnus James Hogue ’99 gives back to the College community by mentoring student through internship
When James Hogue ’99 served his first internship with Arthur Andersen, he had help from Joseph Bruno ’80.
Now Hogue – a senior manager of business tax services at Deloitte Tax – is mentoring the current generation of Girard School students, among them Irene Lantz ’12. She spent summer 2011 as a Deloitte intern in Boston, with Hogue as one of her managers.
Deloitte hires interns expecting to make them a full-time job offer, says Hogue, and so it is for Lantz, a business administration major who concentrated in accounting with a minor concentration in economics. She graduated summa cum laude, was to sit for the CPA exam this summer and begin with Deloitte in Boston in the fall.
Competition is stiff for Deloitte internships. Hogue’s office had two-dozen applicants for three positions. And Lantz’s accomplishments stood out.
“As Irene demonstrated, our best students are on par or better than some of the best students at schools with more prestigious names,” said Hogue.
Lantz worked on Deloitte’s largest client, assisting with tax compliance of its upper-tier general partner and management entities. She also led a team of Boston interns in Deloitte’s nationwide summer intern case competition, analyzing what services Deloitte could provide to a hypothetical client. Her teammates came from schools such as Bentley University, Boston College, Providence College and Virginia Tech and all fields at Deloitte – including tax, audit and advisory.
“We were given a time limit of a week to complete our project while still completing our tasks at work,’’ said Lantz. Winning the Boston competition, her team moved to the regional competition, against all of Deloitte’s Northeast offices.
“We didn’t win regionals, but we did win a trip on one of the partner’s yachts. It was a great experience where I made friends with interns from all areas of Deloitte.”
Hogue added more details: The case study involved a hypothetical client in the airline industry and Lantz used insights from her father, a pilot, to craft the winning submission.
“Irene was observed as being the leader of the team, and she managed to win this competition while staying up to date on her client commitments, which was remarkable because we asked more of Irene from a client commitment perspective than the vast majority of interns.”
Lantz accompanied Hogue to a presentation of tax findings at another client’s office.
“I did not know everything about the presentation my manager put together, but I did know how to behave in a conference room with the CFO of a company and relate to him,” she said. “I was so happy to have the opportunity to be taken out of the office and see the other side of where all my hard work in spreadsheets was going.”
To her internship she applied skills learned in group projects at Girard – particularly business analysis and decision making course, BUS3302.
“In that class we had a group project that took all semester to form a business plan and explain how a company could work better, and our recommendation for them. In this project I was delegated part of the project and other group members other parts. At the end we came all together with a business plan that was coherent and effective,” she said. “At Deloitte, we were all given separate parts of a tax return and work papers to complete, and at the end of the summer we had a final product.”
Lantz learned important lessons about taking enough time to attend to every detail in a project.
Hogue advised her “that when I handed in a project to a senior staffer to make sure everything was right. It did not matter how long it took me, rather that I got the numbers right. This was good advice because I always wanted to finish everything quickly, but the extra steps of checking my work before handing it in paid off. If I received less tick marks on my papers, the less work my senior had to do and the quicker it could move to upper management’s review.”
She said she used this attention to tasks throughout her senior year on campus.
Lantz met Hogue at a Merrimack hockey game. She told Hogue how playing lacrosse and studying abroad in Spain had prepared her to seek internships – the kind of approach Hogue appreciates.
“I always tell people that I’d much rather hire the 3.5 GPA student who is involved in everything than the 4.0 student who is involved in nothing because those types of people are critical in cultivating the culture we want for our practice,” he said.
Establishing a flow from the Girard School to Deloitte of top-flight students like Irene Lantz is Hogue’s goal:
“Every time I hire a student from Merrimack, I think of Joe (Bruno) and the commitment he made in me. Over time, I want to develop the same group of Merrimack alums at Deloitte that Joe (now a partner at Ernst & Young) was able to develop at Arthur Andersen.”