Students in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln School of Accountancy gain valuable experience through local and national internships with the accounting internship courses. This year accounting faculty at the College of Business Administration received feedback from alumni on their internship experiences.
Dr. Aaron Crabtree, director of the School of Accountancy and associate professor of accountancy, worked with the CBA communications, marketing and external relations office to create and publish this year’s survey which invited alumni to share their experiences with the internship program.
“The survey was helpful to confirm with data what faculty have heard anecdotally from students. We now have concrete data to show students how important internships are for future employment,” he said. “This data helps drive home the point we do not have enough students completing internships, especially in public accounting.”
In the accounting 399 and 990 courses, students are expected to independently study theories, principles, practices, techniques and strategies utilized in the accounting field while participating in an approved internship. At the end of their program students are invited to present written and oral reports to faculty.
“Students will gain experience and be able to tie their classroom work to their future career. In addition, having references on their résumé will greatly aid in getting employment. Our internship course programs are important because they help our students make better decisions as well as enhance their educational experience while at UNL,” Crabtree said.
This year the School of Accountancy received responses from nearly 400 accounting alumni to see what role the accounting internship program played in their careers.
The survey shows 90 percent of alumni believed their internship experience helped them obtain employment. Fifty-six percent of accounting alumni who are currently involved in hiring decisions believe an internship experience is important when hiring full-time positions.
Alumni also reported the biggest deterrents from participating in the spring internship program included not wanting to take a semester off or delay graduation, they already had a job or they were not aware of the importance of having an internship.
Of those who participated in the spring internship program as students, only 41 percent delayed their graduation and of those, 94 percent said delaying graduation was worth the experience they had in their internships.
The School of Accountancy would like to ensure students can participate in internships without delaying their graduation. Students can also take two six-week courses along with their internship to maintain a full-time 12 credit hour schedule.
“We redesigned the program to keep students on track to graduate while being able to complete a public accounting internship during the school year and still having the option to take a private internship in the summer,” Crabtree said. “It is difficult for students to know what they want to do if they have not attempted it. This way students can see what both work environments are like so they can make an informed decision.”