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Career Expo to Internship

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Last month, I just started my full-time position in risk consulting at the accounting and consulting firm of Crowe Horwath — and I could not be more excited! I was able to acquire my job after participating in an internship with Crowe last summer, but from job-hunting to landing my full-time position has been a two-year process.

I was at UT Dallas for four years. Fall of my third year, I knew how important an internship would be to securing a full-time position, so I was in full recruiting mode. Since I entered the University, I knew that I was interested in consulting, which essentially means working for a company that provides advice to other businesses. I didn't necessarily know what type of consulting I was interested in, so my options were pretty open.

By August my resume and LinkedIn were updated, and by September I was sending out cover letters and resumes to my targeted consulting companies. Based on advice I had heard and read online, I knew most firms will secure their interns for the summer by the end of the fall, which means that you need to be looking two semesters in advance. Knowing my luck with online recruiting, I knew that I couldn't cross my fingers to hear back, so I needed to make sure to attend the Career Expo as well.

Now, here's the trick to the Career Expo: the Career Center will post all the companies that are attending and what they are hiring for online. The night before the Career Expo, for the past three years I had attended, I would print out the list of companies, the positions they were hiring for and a map of the expo.

Here is something else to do: Eliminate and cross off all the companies only looking for full-time employees. Cross off the employers who are hiring for positions you aren't interested in. Now, you've got a good handful of companies.

But you aren't done yet. Since you've eliminated the companies that aren't interested in you, you can further take off companies that you aren't interested in. Google the companies, see what they are. If you know you aren't likely to work for them, cross them off. After this, I highlighted on the map where the last few companies were located on the expo floor. Through my game plan, I found Crowe Horwath.

Crowe Horwath fit all of my criteria: firm hiring interns, looking for ITS (at the time, MIS) majors, with consulting positions. I remember the day that I finally made my way around to the Crowe booth; that late in the day, I honestly just wanted to grab the “Crowe Horwath” chocolate bar on the table and leave, but I ended up talking to a man named Mike who worked in the IT risk consulting field that I was interested in!

I had an awesome conversation and was happy with the chocolate I managed to snag, so when Mike later emailed me asking me to apply for an interview, I was more than happy to. I went ahead and submitted an interview request with Crowe Horwath off the Comet Careers website, and was soon given a spot.

The night before the interviews, I was invited to a networking dinner to meet more Crowe Horwath employees, eat free food, and to meet some of the competition — my peers. I sat across from a risk consulting manager, who told us a little bit more about what it was like to work at Crowe and her experience there compared to other companies.

Then, we had two on-campus interviews. Because I had applied for an IT risk position, my first interviewer was Mike! Having a familiar face at the interview helped take the pressure off, since I sort of figured I was already on his good side. My second interviewer was another IT risk manager, and I guess it went well because later I was invited to an office visit.

The night before the office visit, those of us moving on were invited to a networking evening at Topgolf. Now, I know that the accounting students get "wined and dined" all the time, but as a normal person I felt pretty special. We met even more Crowe employees, and even some students who had come up for the office visit from UT Austin. The following day, we went to the office and got a tour, listened to a panel discussion and learned more about the different areas we applied to (mine being technology risk).

I had an awesome time learning more about the company and getting to know who worked there. As I got in my car to leave for the day, I checked my email to see my Crowe Horwath internship offer waiting for me.

Now, that long story was only the beginning. My Crowe Horwath internship more than exceeded my expectations. Mike ended up being my manager, and I got along great with the technology risk team. The first week with the company, all the interns across the nation traveled to Chicago for training. Over the course of the summer, I worked with a variety of different clients and had the opportunity to travel. In Nashville, we ate downtown and listened to a live band. While in Amarillo, Texas, we went to the Texas Show that took place in the second-largest canyon in the United States. In Durant, Oklahoma, we went to a casino where I won $30. No matter where our team went, we always found something interesting to do.

Sean, me and Ian at Palo Duro Canyon during a trip to Amarillo to visit a client 

The work stuff was fine, too! I was paired with a peer mentor, Sean, who worked with all of the same clients I did. He was always available to answer my thousands of questions and help me figure out what I was actually doing. I learned so much about IT auditing that summer; it was ridiculous. At the end of the summer, I was given a full-time offer.

It's hard to believe that my internship was two summers ago, and I am already starting a full-time position. Now, I can't wait for my future with Crowe Horwath. When I went to the expo booth looking for chocolate, I had no idea what experiences were to come, but I am so glad I took the opportunity to check out this firm.

Michelle Abuda

J. Michelle Abuda earned her BS in Management Information Systems and MS in Business Analytics from the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Currently, she works at Crowe Horwath as a Regulatory Compliance Risk Consultant in the Columbus, Ohio office. During her time at JSOM, she was actively involved as a leader on the Dean's Council. She helped found the JSOM Book Club, as well as the TEDxUTD Club. Read more articles

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