The Millennials Series: Three Experiences Accounting Students Should Have Whilst At University

Graduate accounting jobs are not easy to land, and undergraduate jobs even more so. With the process becoming more and more competitive, there are the three things I can recommend for all accounting students to do to make yourself stand out to potential employers are:

  1. Study abroad on either a short term program or a semester-long exchange.
  2. Find an internship.
  3. Get involved on campus at your university.

During my time at the University of Adelaide, I was given the opportunity to participate in two short-term intensive overseas study tours and programs in the USA and France. If I could go back and do my undergraduate degree again, I would definitely have enrolled to do a semester overseas, instead of just a short-term intensive program. Why, you may ask?

  • Travelling and studying overseas enables you to grow and develop your existing skills alongside new ones.
  • Every university and lecturer have different approaches to learning, teaching styles and class sizes.
  • Intensive subjects are beneficial as you can complete a subject in a shorter amount of time.
  • Studying in another country, especially a country that doesn’t have English as its first language, can pose a challenge in terms of communication and how people read your body language. This will enable you to develop your interpersonal communication skills.
  • You meet people from all over the world.
Visiting Google HQ in Silicon Valley on the USA Study Tour in July 2014

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to undertake not only one but two internships, one in an accounting firm, Accodex (then Cirillo Hooper & Company), the other in State Government. Further to this, I was also one of the first students to complete The Adelaide Advantage and the Professions-specific Graduate Career Readiness subject.

  • Internships give you the opportunity to experience working in the field you are studying.
  • You gain more insight into how your degree is relevant to your chosen career.
  • You gain an understanding of how businesses work.

I also had the opportunity to develop my leadership skills by being involved in the ProfConnect and ProfSupport programs run by the Faculty of Professions at the University of Adelaide.

  • Student leadership enabled me to make friends from other cultures and understand those cultures.
  • I was able to increase my interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
  • Time management is key when you undertake extracurricular activities in addition to studying and working part-time.
The ProfConnect Team at our mid-semester 1 event in 2014

My challenge to accounting students: No matter which faculty and university you belong to, grab every opportunity with both hands and run with it. Take the opportunity to study overseas and experience studying in another country and culture.  

“Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone” -Neale Donald Walsch

If you want any clarification on the above, please let me know in the comments or send me a LinkedIn message.

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