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September 27, 2023

Short-term goal is public accounting — is an internship in industry a bad idea?


I’m currently an undergrad at a well-respected state university pursuing my B.S. in accounting (3.85 GPA and good work experience). It will soon be time for my class and I to attend “Meet the Firms” and start applying for internships. While my short-term (post-grad) goal is public accounting, the internship that calls my attention the most is a very exclusive opportunity in the corporate office of the company I work for. I would love to see the big-picture finance and accounting behind the retail operations I’ve been conducting for 4+ years. I read once in a CG article that “public accounting teaches you the ‘why’ while industry teaches you the ‘how.'”

So my question for the professionals out there is: Would an internship in my industry be seen as an opportunity I seized to gain a unique perspective? Or would it, in reality, hinder my chances of getting into public accounting, meaning I’d be better off doing a public internship?

Thank you in advance for your advice.

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