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Meet Sarah Myers-Mitchell '14, Intern at Geffen Mesher & Co
Meet Sarah Myers-Mitchell '14, Intern at Geffen Mesher & Co

Sarah Myers-Mitchell is a Portland State University alumna who graduated in June of 2014 with a double major in Accounting and Supply and Logistics Management. During her time at PSU, Sarah interned with the accounting firm Geffen Mesher & Co and today she talks about how she found her internship and what she learned while she was there.

Who is/was your internship with? Tell us about them.

Geffen Mesher & Co. in Summer of 2013 (Tax/Audit)

GMCO began in 1933 and is a large, local public accounting firm with 15 partners and around 100 staff. Unlike many firms, Geffen Mesher offers a tax AND audit internship which allows students to get a taste for both aspects. The offices are located in Pioneer Tower and their clients are all over the greater NW and beyond.

How did you find the internship? (A huge question other students have)

I participated in fall recruiting facilitated by the School of Business at PSU. I spent time polishing my resume and cover letter, then I applied to all the major firms by their deadline and I received invitations to interview for the internship positions.

How far in advance did you begin your search for internships?

I began searching for internships the summer before fall recruiting in order to get a good sense of the positions and types of firms that were involved in the SBA’s fall recruiting.

What in particular were you looking for in an internship?

I was simply looking for an idea of what it would be like to work in the field that I’ve been studying for. I wanted to know what type of personalities people mostly had, how they approached their day to day work, and the lifestyle that is typical for a beginning accountant.

What have you been doing or have enjoyed doing at your internship?

Because the internship was split half and half with tax and audit work, I was able to get a good idea of what it is like to work from both perspectives. They gave us real work to complete, not just filing or busy work. This allowed me to get a real sense of what it would be like to be a first year accountant. In addition, the firm set up networking events that allowed us to meet and get to know staff from all levels of the firm, as well as the shareholders.

How has your work in your major helped prepare you for your internship?

The intermediate accounting classes scratched the surface of the information that an intern is expected to know. The advanced classes really help to prepare accounting students for the depth of knowledge that they will need to be successful at a firm in the first and second years.

What, if anything, surprised you about this experience?

I was surprised at how accessible everyone at the firm was for questions. GMCO employs a strong open door policy and it is rare that even a senior manager or shareholder has their door closed or is inaccessible for questions.

What have you learned while at this internship? (Can be what you learned about yourself, your work style, how you manage work demands)

I learned that there is still work to be done to bridge the gap between what you learn in the classroom and what employers expect you to know on your first day. One of the most important steps to ensuring you are employable at the end of your college career is to find out what the gap entails for your particular industry so that you can take steps to cover the gap before you graduate. This might mean an additional certificate for a specific area of study or just simply being aware of what you’ll need to primarily focus on when you are first hired.

How has this experience informed your plans for your future?

>This experience solidified my dream to work in an accounting firm and provided a lot of feedback from the firm about my ability to be successful in that environment.

What advice would you give other students considering an internship?

The advice I would give other students considering an internship would be to spend a lot of time revising their resume. There are many workshops around campus and in different departments that help students quantify their experience, present the information in a concise way, and develop key words that will get HR’s attention for a particular position. These are probably the three most important aspects to perfect a resume in my opinion and why not let the experts at PSU help you get your “gateway document” into tip top shape.

 

Getting credit for an internship

This series is made possible via reThink PSU grant support.