Minority Students Find Career Insights with Internship Prep Program

In January, 25 minority college students received unparalleled access to training and resources essential in the transition from student to professional at the Illinois CPA Society’s Mary T. Washington Wylie (MTWW) Internship Preparation Program.

This award-winning program provides scholars with the tools they need to advance in their academic and professional aspirations. The culmination of the program is an opportunity for students to interview with accounting firms.

Over the course of the three-day program, students interacted with accounting and finance professionals from leading firms and organizations as diverse as the Chicago White Sox, Exelon and The Field Museum. Speakers at a “Careers in Accounting” panel shared stories of how they found their niche in accounting, daily workload expectations and how to be successful in similar roles.

AICPA Vice Chair Kimberly Ellison-Taylor delivered the program’s keynote address, which was focused on overcoming personal and professional challenges and supporting diversity within the profession. In addition, the students participated in interactive sessions dedicated to business ethics, team building, interview skills and the CPA exam. Students also had one-on-one time with recruiters to receive feedback on their resumes.

“Every volunteer truly cared about my success in the program and my future in the CPA profession,” says AuQuan Mack, MTWW scholar. “I am walking away with a greater sense of self-confidence after I received helpful resume tips, interview advice and learned all about the CPA exam.”

Illinois CPA Society President/CEO Todd Shapiro says, “It is incredible to witness the transformation of these students over the course of only three days. These students represent the future of the CPA profession, and it is our responsibility to help them succeed.”

In the four years since the program’s inception, 100 students, representing 37 schools, have participated. To date, 69 students have received one or more internships or other offers. In total, 24 students have received an offer or are currently working in a full-time position. In addition, many of the program’s scholars are on track to take the CPA exam and three of the 2013 scholars have already passed the exam.

The all-expenses-paid program is funded by donations to the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois’ Mary T. Washington Wylie Opportunity Fund. Essential to the program’s success was the generous support and involvement from the following accounting firms: Crowe Horwath, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, KPMG, PwC and Sikich.