Pop in on any intern or co-op at KLR and you won’t find them twiddling their thumbs or making coffee. You won’t find them tackling dull assignments unrelated to their career goals, timidly approaching higher-ups, or feeling unimportant. In fact, pop in to KLR and you’ll find 25 interns and co-ops in the thick of tax season, working diligently, seeking and responding to feedback, and scaling new heights of their growing careers.
On their first day of training, it becomes clear to KLR co-ops and interns that they have not stumbled upon a monotonous internship used solely as a ‘resume-filler’.
“We are given responsibilities that we have to hold on to,” says Siyi Liang, a co-op, originally from China, working out of the Waltham office. Being one of a few international students working as a co-op at KLR, Siyi was nervous, to say the least, about the communication barrier that she would inevitably face. What’s more—Siyi was unexperienced in tax, and worried that this, together with her language difficulties, would hinder her chance to make the most out of her co-op.
“Not only does everyone at KLR treat me like a professional, they also take the time to make sure I am understood, that my questions are being answered, and that I am not forced to be someone I’m not.” A shy person by nature, Siyi appreciates that she can work at her own pace.
So, how do we throw an intern with no prior experience into a bustling office? Well, we do just that—we throw them right into the mix!
To ease this transition, our interns are each assigned a ‘buddy’ and ‘coach’. For Bryant University Junior Scott Ericson, starting last fall as the youngest intern was challenging. His ties with buddy Ben Delaney, audit supervisor, have made his transition from student to intern much more comfortable, and have made his experience ultimately more worthwhile. “If I don’t get a chance to talk to Ben for a couple days, he makes sure to set aside a conference room for us to hash out any questions or problems that I’m facing in my jobs.”
To add to this, Scott’s coach- audit manager Mike Medeiros has given Scott the opportunity to go out in the field, witness client interactions, and see how business relationships are developed and sustained.
Scott’s sentiments are unquestionably shared by his fellow interns and co-ops, especially Ryan Maharaj working in Boston. In all things, Ryan embraces the chance to learn, meet new people, and make the most of his distinctive talents and strengths. He feels that KLR has given him countless avenues and opportunities to not only achieve these things, but to also grow as a person and business professional, too.
“No one ever brushes you off here,” Ryan says. Coming from a co-op at a software computing company, where coworkers in adjacent cubes would communicate by phone rather than in-person, Ryan is finding that the face-to-face communication at KLR capitalizes on his talkative nature and learning style, and is something that makes discussing projects significantly easier. “At my previous co-op, my mistakes were viewed as natural and fitting since I was ‘only a co-op’. I wasn’t given the chance to fix my errors and learn about my shortcomings. Knowing that my work at KLR will affect everyone in the office definitely lays the pressure on thick, but also makes me appreciate my work more.”
Seeing and Believing
Some co-ops, like Ryan, come to KLR and are surprised at how they are treated and at the work they’re given. Conversely for some, coming to KLR is no “shot in the dark”.
“I came to KLR knowing about the highly regarded co-op program,” says co-op Kirsten Walden, a third year accounting student at Northeastern University. Our co-ops work under the guidance of mentor Sean Kelly, who is highly appreciated and respected in his role. As Kirsten says, “It was clear to me after reading the ‘Proud Parent’ story that Sean is a gifted mentor that does his part in helping co-ops progress and feel comfortable in their roles.”
Reading about it was one thing, but actually witnessing Sean’s helpfulness and the strength of this program was another.
“It is awesome to actually feel important in my role as a co-op. I’m constantly given assignments that challenge me, capitalize on my interests, and nurture relationships with people at all levels and in all facets of the firm.”
Being Where You’re Meant to Be
The ability to get to know the KLR family as a whole, and have a ‘buddy’ close in age make it significantly easier to fit in, and both relationships provide a perspective for interns on how to transition from the classroom to the field. Intern Meghan Curro says that her internship has eliminated any uncertainty she carried about her choice in major. Starting off at UMASS Dartmouth as an Engineering student, Meghan knew that math was her strong suit, but had little knowledge of what her ideal career was. Though she did change her focus to Accounting early in the game, she credits her KLR internship as the force that truly inspired her to work towards becoming an Auditor.
Well….maybe not the only thing that inspired her.
“From the time I was a little girl, whenever my siblings needed money, they’d always come to my room, which jokingly became known as ‘The Bank of Meghan’. I’d even keep a log of who borrowed from me! Though the name has stuck until this day, the fact that I’m working towards becoming an accountant now is funny, but also something that has, I guess, unknowingly always been in the back of my mind. It’s nice to know that I made the right choice, and that’s all thanks to my internship.”
Our co-ops and interns are not bound by the stereotypes that surround these beginning roles. Ensuring that every co-op/intern is responding positively to their experience at KLR is essential to the success of both programs. As Ryan puts it, “People go out of their way to help me, and it surprises me every day.”