KOKOMO, Indiana— A little advanced preparation leads to success.
Taking advantage of campus career services, Austin Ramirez landed an internship this summer with EY, one of the Big Four accounting firms.
“I’ve made a lot of good connections so far,” said Ramirez, an accounting and finance student from Chicago. “There are people from all over the world here, and a lot of resources. I get hands-on experience with things I learned from my teachers that you can’t really replicate in the classroom.
As an intern, he spends time with the audit and assurance team, the tax team and the risk advisory team, getting a taste of what each does. Most of the trainees are juniors and seniors, and because he just entered his second year, Ramirez will have opportunities to return in the future.
“Because I’m younger, I could probably try two service lines in a row, which is a cool experience,” he said.
The opportunity arose because he uses a free student resource, Handshake, which is a career planning website run by Indiana University’s Office of Career Services at Kokomo. It provides links between employers and students.
“Someone reached out to the EY team via Handshake because of a lot of experiments I’ve been involved with on campus,” he said. “They invited me for an interview, then I received an offer to come and work in the summer.”
Tracy Springer, director of the Career and Accessibility Center, praised Ramirez for being proactive, adding that connecting early helps students identify their interests and skills, learn their connection to careers, and choose the right major for their goals.
“Working with the career center to take skills assessments, have career counseling appointments and start a resume should be the first step students should take,” she said. “Learning about careers and attending job fairs is just as important for freshmen as it is for juniors and seniors. It can help them identify a path they never considered, and the networking can lead to future internships and jobs.
Networking also played a role for Ramirez — he worked with assistant registrar Danielle Runda for a study assignment, and she recommended he explore the career center. Also, in the course of his work, he met Mark Canada, Executive Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Vice-Chancellor, who realized that he was discouraged that the accounting and finance club was inactive and encouraged him to restart it.
“There are so many resources on campus that freshmen and sophomores don’t think about, and juniors and seniors regret not using them soon enough,” Ramirez said. “Other students have told me they’re jealous that I’m doing this internship so soon and that they’ve found ways to get involved that can last four years.”
After successfully reviving the accounting and finance club, Ramirez is its president. He also joined the Women in Business Club and serves as Chief Financial Officer. He’s made sure to keep his LinkedIn and handshake up to date whenever he finds a new avenue of involvement — because you never know who might be looking for someone like you.
“It allows a potential employer to look at you and see where you might fit into their organization,” he said. “Little things like updating are important now, in a world where everything is digital.”
Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.