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“Average” KPMG Intern Is Concerned About the Firm’s Dance Around Full Time Offers

Do you have a question about, well, anything but are surrounded by fools who couldn't possibly enlighten you? The sages of Going Concern are here to help. Email us with your questions. 

Dear Going Concern,
I recently finished my winter internship with KPMG and I am not sure how I felt about it. On the last day, they said I was an "average intern" and that it is too early to give me a full time offer (I would begin working in the fall of 2013), but that they would like to "keep in contact" this fall during normal recruiting. I talked to some other KPMG interns I met during training and they said that their office gave out offers. I was the only winter intern for my office (it's a small office), so I'm not sure if they 1) were being straightforward and this is a normal policy for my office… or 2) didn't want to give me an offer and danced around doing it. What's your opinion, Going Concern? 
Offer-less intern
Dear Offer-less,
Not knowing how to feel about KPMG is a common malady. I land somewhere in between "love" and "love to hate" simply because if I hadn't worked at KPMG, I wouldn't be able to work in my pajamas and josh John Veihmeyer publicly about Notre Dame. But other times, it's fun to kvetch about the old days and some of the beasts I worked for. Actually, it's really fun to kvetch about the old days and the beasts that I worked for and then laugh to hear they're still slaving away.
Anyway, your problem. If some calls you an "average intern" that's not necessarily a bad thing. What's bad is if someone says, "Oh, I know you. You're the one who got hammered at happy hour and passed out in the bathroom stall." That's concerning. 
The other reason not to freak out yet is that you're already on the firm's radar, which puts you way ahead during the traditional recruiting process. Since you'd be starting in the fall of Winter '13, recruiting will begin in earnest this fall. You'll already know, names, faces, and annoying tics of the people you met; that works in your favor. Plus, since you interned in a small office, there aren't going to be as many full-time offers. Your fellow interns from larger offices probably have huge hiring budgets compared to yours, so there's less of a question when it comes to adding new staff. 
The only thing that I can foresee as being an issue is that your firm may not hire anyone for the fall '13 recruiting class. If you've got a small office and the demand (and money) for new blood just isn't there, then they won't. That seems unprecedented, but smaller offices don't have the luxury of having more work than they can handle.
So in order to give yourself the best shot this fall, don't spend the next 6-7 months practicing your keg stand technique. Do something with this time so that you make yourself and even more attractive candidate than you were before. Anything from volunteer work to a part-time gig at your local CPA firm will demonstrate your value. Good luck.

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