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November 28, 2022

How to position myself over the coming year to pursue internships

So I'm a career changer (previous job was a literature teacher) moving into accounting as a graduate student. I just started my program this fall, and one of the things that I did was to promptly set to work finding an internship with an accounting firm. Long story short is that I did not succeed at this, though I did succeed at landing a TA position. In retrospect, I'm glad things worked out this way as I've heard from several people that having to take classes and work an internship through busy season is, well, a bit daunting.

Anywho, this leaves me with a year or so to study, network, work on my brand, etc. In fact, one of the problems that I ran into was that I had a hard time differentiating the individual accounting firms that I met this fall. They were all wonderful people, but aside from size (Big 4/Regional/Local), I had a hard time telling one firm from another which I'm pretty sure stymied my career opportunities.

My question: What should I be looking for in a firm/internship, and what sort of things can I do to improve my marketability to said firms?

Additionally:

-I'm looking in the Atlanta area right now.

-My end goal is to eventually be a CFO. I'm not sure that I'll actually make it to that point, but if it helps, that's what I'm aiming at. Accordingly, I've heard that I need to be looking specifically for an audit internship if I plan to go industry. Any truth to that?

-Would narrowing down my search to a specific industry help? Right now, I've got about five that interest me more than others: General Aviation (One of the main reasons why I changed careers was so I can afford flying lessons); Bars/Restaurants/Nightclubs; Breweries/Distilleries/Wineries; Real Estate; Local Governments.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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