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Christopher Kraft Kearney & Company Intern Journal

An Unconventional Path: My Internship at Kearney & Company by Christopher Kraft

Breaking Ground – 07/15/19

When I saw that Kearney and Company was listed as a participant in my school’s spring semester internship fair, I was intrigued. After meeting Kearney representatives, I was inspired. From the first day of my internship, I was involved.  

Coming into this internship as a non-traditional student, having already had an eight-year career in the military, my focus was much more on company culture than specific task performance. What has made the biggest impression on me so far has been the transparency and honesty of the entire organization. It is easy for companies to put inspiring mottos on a website, but quite another to actually mean them. The professionalism of the entire organization was evident from long before day one for me, as they coordinated flying me into Alexandria to make sure I would feel part of the intern class even though I would be completing my assignment at the office in Charleston, SC. Every employee, from the COO to brand new hires, received us with great enthusiasm and immediately made us feel part of the Kearney family. However, an internship is more than shaking hands and being friendly, and it’s important to remember why you are there.

Internships are a give and take, and each one will have its own challenges. For me, the biggest challenge was no longer being able to participate in my scheduled engagement due to a last-minute policy change from the client. However, from the very first week of the internship, Kearney was determined not to let that get in the way of my internship experience. With virtually no time for preparation, all the employees in the Charleston office, both remote and local, went above and beyond to create a mock audit for me to complete. Thus, I still get to work on things that matter, and I get to work on documents throughout all phases of an audit as well.

Not only have I been inspired by the support I’ve received from my coworkers in Charleston, but I’ve also been impressed with the diligence of those in the home office to keep me involved with the activities in Alexandria. As part of the intern program, Kearney has their interns select a charity and create different events where the proceeds go back to supporting that charity. Even though I am not able to physically participate in those events, they have created a system that not only welcomes my input but encourages it. As my internship continues, I’m truly excited to continue to learn more about Kearney and everything they stand for, from both professional and cultural perspectives.

Full Steam Ahead – 07/26/19

Even though it has only been a couple of weeks since the last time I checked in, it’s hard to believe how much has happened! If you read my first article, you know that my experience has been somewhat different than originally expected. Initially, I was concerned this would result in a lot of downtime, however that has certainly not been the case. Between keeping up with the community service project activities going on in Alexandria, maintaining forward progress on my mock audit deliverables, and assisting in other duties as required, every day has been full of new and interesting tasks. As they say, when one door closes, another door opens. The key, though, is being willing to walk through it.

While working on a project would have undeniably provided me quality experience and bolstered my auditing skills, participating in a mock audit has allowed me to gain experience in a much broader array of content. So far, I have learned how to do everything from effectively researching financial and reporting frameworks of an entity (and the necessary policies and guidelines on which to base them), to developing and executing substantive testing. Over my last few weeks I will move through the reporting phase, giving me practical experience with all phases of an audit. Even more incredible is the fact that this only barely scratches the surface of what I’ve been able to do. Outside of the mock audit, I was able to leverage my military experience to conduct targeted research in order to provide timely input on a business proposal and was trusted to construct a presentation to be used at a national convention, both with minimal guidance and revision. If I had closed myself off from new opportunities after the construct of my internship was altered, there is no way I would have been exposed to either business development or professional association activities.

Sometime’s it’s easy to get lost amidst the grind of everyday work life, but everyone around me has always made sure I felt more than just a cog in the proverbial wheel. While I’m constantly being challenged and held accountable for my responsibilities, I’m never alone and help is always there if asked for. I’m not sure what the future will hold, but now I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I will have the tools to succeed.

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