Good morning teachers and students. I am Chris Wong, an alumnus of this school and an accountant. I am currently working in an accounting firm and I help my clients to manage their accounts and all that stuff. Today, I’d like to talk about internships. Internships may sound distant for an ordinary senior form student. But trust me, in just a short few years you may become an intern, as many departments in university require students to take an internship to gain credits. As it is better to prepare early than scramble when it’s too late, I hope my speech will give you some information and preparedness for your future internship.
Some people may say that internship is like slavery as the company get free labour for a few months while the intern work day and night. It is indeed half true. During my internship, I did work hard but I gained a lot, so it’s more like a field trip than slavery, with the field being the actual working place. First of all, you can take a glance on what your potential career looks like. As an intern, I worked as an assistant to aid accountants with their work. I helped them to arrange the files and documents, as well as making balance sheets of some simple accounts. As an accounting student in the university, I have visited some accounting firms and have been told what an accountant needs to do, but during the internship, I could get an understanding of my potential future career from the perspective of a working accountant, which can help me to better plan for my future as well as knowing if the path is suitable for me or not. Before the internship, I thought after graduation I will not work in the area of accounting anymore as I thought it is repetitive and boring. But after my internship started, frankly speaking, it’s indeed quite repetitive but not to a degree that I can’t tolerate, I also found some fun when dealing with numbers and calculating stuff. After half a year of internship, I realized that I am that kind of people who love to work with numbers, so I changed my mind and decided to stay in the field. To this day, I haven’t regretted my decision even once. Internship is like a testing sample of a career, you can get a taste of it in internship. If you like it, you can stay in the field and if you find it unattractive, you can always change your mind and choose a different path.
Another benefit internship brings you is to gain actual working experience. Nothing can brush up your work skills like workplace communication, problem solving skills and time management more than actual working in a real business company. In the university, the professors taught me theories of accounting and the principles of accounting like those specific terms and how to balance the equation. After my internship started, I could try to apply my very own skills learned in university at work. And during my internship, the accountants there taught me a lot of actual working skills, for example, how to present the data in a more organized manner, how to accurately use all the formulas and equations I’ve been taught to actual company statistics. In the meantime, I also learned how to get along well with other staff and how to effectively cooperate with them. Once, I was assigned to finish a relatively small sub-balance sheet, even though it was simple, I was stuck at one place, not knowing what to do for a long time. At first I was too afraid to ask others but then an accountant noticed my struggle and came to help me. I realized the importance of seeking others’ help whenever necessary. The gain in work experience and work skills can go a long way to prepare for your future work as you need not start from square one. And from the more ‘tangible’ perspective, your experience of internship may give you an edge on finding a favourable job after you graduate. In fact, the firm that I am working in now is the very firm that I worked as the intern at university.
Aside from the career benefit from internship, even if you find the work in the industry unattractive, at least you can gain some life experience and actually make friends along the way. Despite the tedious work in the firm, I met with a lot of mature and amiable people and learnt a lot from them. During the internship I had lunch with the other staff and had fun with them in after work activities like bowling and playing darts. **One unforgettable friend I made is Tim, who is a senior accountant. He is a polite gentleman to all people around him, but what shocked me was that he was a drug addict before and he told me how he managed to step out of the vicious cycle of drug addiction and become as successful as he is, which gave me much inspiration. Each new person you meet will have a unique story, during your internship, you will know a lot of people and your social circle can become much wider.
These reasons are why working as an intern is good for you and you are actually not a slave to the company but a learner and I promise it will bring you a huge return. So don’t be afraid of it. Actually, it’s just a few more years before you have to choose an internship. A good internship or a bad one can have a huge impact, so before I leave, I want to talk about how to choose an appropriate internship.
The first thing to do is to know what your interests are and what you aspire to do in the future. Starting from today, actively think about your strengths and weaknesses and seek more interests. Then, choose the type of internship that suits your interest the most. Just the broad field of work but not the actual company. After that, narrow down the range and compare company by company. Go online to search for information about it and it’s better to choose big firms as it’s a less risky choice. Ask yourself three times before making the choice and probably you will make the suitable choice
Internship is, from my experience, fun and interesting, when you can make a good choice, I believe you can gain much from it. That’s the end of my sharing, thank you.