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Wiss Experience – Erin Silkowski

Erin Skilkwoski, Class of 2014, was heavily involved during her time at TCNJ. As an Accounting Major, she was a member of New Jersey Society of CPA’s, and Beta Alpha Psi (Accounting and Finance Honors Society). Outside of the business realm Erin completed over 30 hours of community service each semester with Alpha Phi Omega, and was the President and Publicity Chair of Colleges Against Cancer. Erin worked as an Audit Intern with Wiss & Company, LLP in the summer of 2013 and is currently a Senior Accountant with the company. Erin was kind enough to answer some questions concerning her internship experience.

What department or area did you work with most often? I worked in the audit department, however I also was able to explore and assist in the outsourced accounting department as well. While in the audit department I mainly worked on employee benefit plan audits, as I was a summer intern and this industry had the most work during the summer.

What was the most positive experience you had at the internship?  The most positive experience I had at the internship was making relationships with the people who worked at Wiss. I was amazed by how friendly and welcoming the employees were. Because the employees were so nice, it enabled me to have the best experience possible.

What was the greatest learning experience? I wouldn’t say there was one individual learning experience, because I learned many things throughout my internship. I think the best part was the real life work experience that you can’t get from learning in a classroom. I really got to understand what auditing was because I was actually going out to clients and performing audit work on teams.

Did you learn more about professionalism in the workplace? If so, what part of professionalism stands out? – I learned how to speak to clients, write memos, and write emails properly. I also learned how to have a professional relationship with my co-workers of all levels, including partners and managers.

What is the biggest take away from your experience? Obtaining real life work experience while I was in school helped me understand the concepts I was learning in the classroom better. The internship also motivated me to pass the CPA exam before I started working at Wiss full-time.

What skill(s) do you think you enhanced from this internship? Multi-tasking is definitely number one. As an intern, multiple people would come up to me on a daily basis asking me to do work for them, and I had to learn how to multi-task and prioritize to get work done. Another is how to communicate and work with other team members. Auditing is all done based on teamwork so it is important to be a productive and contributing team member.

What skill(s) from this internship were the most influential in terms of post-graduation success? Interning at Wiss helped prepare me to start full-time after graduation because I was already familiar with the firm and its culture. Because of this, I feel I was able to succeed and grow faster than others who had not interned previously.

What suggestions do you have for individuals looking to intern at Wiss? Definitely attend the networking events more than once, because our enthusiastic recruiter will remember your face. Volunteering is really big at our firm as well, so it helps if you have some volunteer experience. Most importantly, just be yourself! An interview is just a conversation.

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