CohnReznick's Intern Insights
We at CohnReznick take pride in offering a robust, well-rounded internship program that provides our interns with genuine opportunities to learn and to grow, both professionally and personally. Our interns don’t just do real work; they also make real connections, and get to experience what it’s really like to be a member of the CohnReznick team.
But don’t just take our word for it. We invited a number of internship alumni to share some insights on their time with CohnReznick and offer their advice for aspiring interns. Here’s what they had to say.
Summer assurance internship – Kate Kaduboski, Boston office (virtual)
Before COVID-19 flipped our world upside-down, I was looking forward to interning in person within the Assurance practice at CohnReznick’s Boston office from June to August 2020. Because the virus forced CohnReznick to shut down offices throughout the country, the firm went completely virtual and chose to continue the summer internship online. I was so excited and grateful for this opportunity in such an unprecedented time, but had so many questions: How would it work? Would I gain the experience that I had hoped to? How would I connect with my team to receive work and ask questions? The list went on. I want to share a few tips and pieces of advice that I gathered from my orientation and personal experiences during my first two weeks of my internship at CohnReznick to help current and future virtual interns:
1. Create personal goals: Writing down a list of goals that you want to achieve or learn during the internship is a great place to start your journey. You can set up a meeting with your supervisor or mentor to discuss your goals with them, which will help them ensure that you are continually working toward what you want to achieve during the internship. You should also confirm with your supervisor that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, timely, and relevant, and ask if they have any suggestions. Not only will your goals serve as guides for you, but they will give you a sense of purpose and help bring clarity to your role.
2. Create your own productive and professional environment: Although you may be in the comfort of your own home during your virtual internship, try to set up a place where you can do your work with minimal distractions. You can also improve your work mindset and stay motivated by dressing professionally or per your specific team's dress code. When you are on video calls, you should be aware of your background, and ensure that your microphone is on mute when you are not speaking!
3. Learn about your office’s culture: Learn about the firm’s work environment through research, orientation, or asking questions. Understanding the current, virtual dynamics of the team will help you to work well and build relationships with your team. Some ways to do this include asking your team what their preferred method of communication is, learning how work is distributed, and understanding how decisions are made. When you are a virtual intern, you may feel alienated by the distance , but knowing how to stay connected with your team – video chats, messaging, email, or phone calls – can lessen this lonely feeling.
4. Ask for help and communicate: You are not expected to know the answers to everything! An internship is your chance to learn, and you should not be afraid to ask questions or for help. Make a list and coordinate a time with your manager or mentor to sit down with them and clear up any issues that you may be having. You can also ask your supervisor for feedback during your meeting to learn what you can improve upon and what you are doing well. If you feel overwhelmed with work, you should not hesitate to voice your concern to your supervisor so that they can find ways to ease your burden.
5. Manage your time effectively: Keeping track of your meetings, assignments, and deadlines is crucial. Find a way you can manage your responsibilities, whether it be on your calendar, in your agenda, a reminders application, or in a notebook. This will allow you to organize and structure your days to keep yourself on track, submit projects on time, and schedule check-in meetings during your free time.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself! It will take some time to adjust to working remotely, especially at a new job. Do not worry too much, as you will get used to it. If you are having trouble transitioning or with anything related to your internship, reach out to your supervisor or mentor for help – they are living in the same virtual world as you and may have some valuable advice.
My hope is that these tips can help anyone who is currently in a virtual internship or who is planning on partaking in one. I gained so many valuable lessons at CohnReznick and can attest to how rewarding a virtual internship truly is!
Summer tax internship – Scott Hamlet, Woodland Hills, California office
Leading up to my internship, which began on June 17, 2019, I remember feeling a combination of nerves and excitement. The first week was mainly training, which took place at the Los Angeles office, where we were taught how to use various software we may use during our internship. I was going to be working at the Woodland Hills office, so I thought it was exciting to get to see the Century City office, as well as meet a lot of the personnel who worked there. Though the training was a lot of information to take in within one week, CohnReznick did an excellent job of spreading out the presentations and information sessions, which I appreciated.
The 8-week internship went by unbelievably quickly, probably because I enjoyed working at CohnReznick so much. Learning new information in my field and getting to know so many amazing people resulted in the ideal internship experience for me. Even as an intern, I felt like I was treated with the utmost respect and kindness throughout my time with the firm. The group of interns I got to work with made it that much more enjoyable as we got to do things like competing in a cornhole tournament, planning Nexia Day festivities, and helping at an animal shelter for CohnReznick’s Day of Service.
I was looking for a wholesome, realistic, enjoyable, and beneficial internship experience, and CohnReznick provided me with just that. I was not just given busy work to do because I was an intern, I was preparing tax returns, and I always felt comfortable asking questions when I needed to. On top of that, I got the opportunity to experience what it would be like to work at CohnReznick while forming many great relationships with the firm’s personnel. My internship at CohnReznick was one of the best experiences I have ever had, and I can’t wait to start working there as an Entry Level Tax Associate.
Originally, my summer tax internship would have extended over the course of three months, but of course, COVID-19 hit, and it transformed into a five-week virtual experience.
I was amazed it was even still happening. I’m a senior at Bryant University, where every student gets at least one internship over the course of their academic career. My friends were telling me left and right about their canceled internships, interviews, and part-time jobs. When the stay-at-home order hit, I was even working another internship that had to get cut short, and I lost my summer part-time job at a restaurant.
Yet, CohnReznick still promised us they would find a way. They tailored their first-ever virtual internship, complete with company presentations, training sessions, team meetings, a Performance Coach to guide us through the technicalities, and a buddy to talk to and keep up with us. On top of this, every person in the firm made a substantial effort to be a welcoming presence with an open door for communication. By my third week, I had worked on three practice returns and three actual returns, and every Senior had answered my millions of questions with patience and detailed answers.
It was daunting at first, the idea of trying to learn something so technical virtually. However, the CohnReznick team made every effort to ease the transition. In Week 3, I had already learned so much and couldn’t wait to log in to work every day. It was amazing to be part of their first trial run adjusting to the new normal, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their commitment to giving us such a positive experience.
After experiencing my first internship with CohnReznick, I decided to give some tips and advice to incoming interns that I thought would be helpful.
My first tip is to be proactive during your internship. That means meeting as many people at the firm as possible and getting to know them. In the beginning it may feel a bit awkward because it may be a virtual meeting, or you may feel like you don’t want to bother them, but step out of your comfort zone and set up coffee chats. This allows you to build relationships by connecting with professionals and to get to know about the firm as well. Also, ask your team members for work when you have finished your assignments. This simple gesture shows your team you are making the most out of your internship experience and are willing to help others. Lastly, doing LINC trainings on your free time will help with self-growth and technical skills.
Asking questions throughout the internship shows the firm you are engaged and are making the most out of the internship. I learned that no questions are dumb questions. Sometimes I felt like my questions were “dumb questions,” but I would find out other people had the same questions. So, the main point is, if you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask it.
My last advice is to have fun and have a positive attitude. When I first started my internship, I was nervous I wasn’t going to know how to do something or be good enough. After a couple Lunch & Learns, it was apparent that you are not expected to know everything and it’s OK to feel nervous. As long as you engage during meetings and have a positive attitude, you will be successful throughout the internship.
I hope these few tips help you out during your internship, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey.