When you’re at the start of your career journey, few things are more impactful than an internship. Not only do internship programs provide a unique opportunity for hands-on learning, but they also allow you to gain exposure to a professional workplace, helping you get a clearer understanding of your goals and ambitions.
Today, we are speaking with three KEB interns, Sarah Witherbee, Caleb Poe, and Olivia Capel, for a firsthand look at their experience in the KEB internship program. Read on to learn more about their time at KEB and the advice they’d give to anyone considering an internship.
KEB: Thanks for speaking with us today! Our first question is a simple one: What drew you to intern at KEB?
Caleb Poe: I am from the Springfield area, so I was interested in accounting firms in town. KEB stood out because they were easy to talk with, and it was clear they cared about all their employees, from interns to partners.
Sarah Witherbee: I heard about KEB through SIUE and our Beta Alpha Psi chapter. After I interviewed for the position, I ended up seeing Jenny again at our annual Meet the Firms event, and it kind of solidified my decision to take KEB’s offer. It was ultimately a gut decision on which firm I would intern with.
Olivia Capel: What drew me to intern with KEB was the amount of experience and exposure I knew I could receive close to home. I also felt that everyone was extremely welcoming and kind, showing me that KEB would be a great choice for an internship.
KEB: So, it sounds like location and company culture were big factors for some of you in your decision. Thank you for sharing! Next question: Now that you’ve been through the program, can you tell us what (if anything) surprised you about a career in accounting or your time with KEB?
Caleb: I was surprised to see the amount of social interaction among employees after work. Accounting can be a demanding job; there is no denying that, but the employees of KEB make the most of their time outside the office. The various sports leagues/social activities help bring people together outside of work, which strengthens workplace culture.
Sarah: I was surprised at how much fun accountants have, genuinely. I believed in the stereotypical, boring accountant lifestyle before starting at KEB, and now I have to fight the stereotype when I tell people I am an accountant.
Olivia: I think what surprised me most during my internship with KEB was how much there is to learn about accounting. Prior to my internship, I thought that after reviewing a section of an audit or practice in accounting, I would feel extremely comfortable with the material. Now, I realize that it takes time to truly master even a small portion of an audit.
KEB: There is a lot to learn, but accountants definitely have much more fun than people expect. It is great to hear that you enjoyed your time! What might you say is the biggest takeaway from your experience as an intern?
Caleb: My biggest takeaway is to never be afraid to ask questions. Asking the right questions is how we learn and grow. No one person ever has all the answers.
Sarah: My biggest takeaway from my experience at KEB is that it is okay to ask questions and ask for help. I am still learning to ask for help rather than sit there spinning my wheels.
Olivia: My biggest takeaway from my experience has been that I can go to work and love what I do. Every day, I knew I was entering a welcoming, friendly environment where I could ask questions and ultimately grow in the accounting industry.
KEB: These are great answers! Finally, what advice would you offer someone looking to do an internship?
Caleb: The best advice I can give is to be your authentic self and ask plenty of questions. Accounting is a people-driven industry, and the more comfortable you are with communicating, the more successful you will become.
Sarah: Don’t let your internship affect your schoolwork and personal life. I let my first tax season affect my grades, and I had very little social life outside of work and school, and my mental health suffered because of it.
Olivia: My advice to anyone looking to do an internship is to absolutely do it! An internship is designed to provide you with experience in your selected field of study and can also open your eyes to things you may have never considered about an industry before. It can lead to connections, opportunities, and friendships. I also feel like finding what is the best fit for yourself is very important. I knew I wanted to stay close to home but still choose a firm that would provide me with the best experience. KEB fit what I was looking for, and my time spent here has been nothing but great!
KEB: Thank you all for speaking with us today and sharing a little about this part of your career journey!
Click here for more information about internship opportunities with KEB.