Nathan Cole

  • Office: Baltimore, MD
  • Practice: Advisory
  • School: University of Maryland

Nathan's Journal

PART 1

After about a month here at KPMG, I know that I have made the right decision in choosing to do my internship here. It has been a great honor to be considered by such a great firm, and I feel quite fortunate to be working in the Baltimore office. All of the interactions I've had with KPMG have been more than enjoyable. I can honestly say that I'm happy to come to work each day and I am always looking forward to my next engagement. KPMG has proven to me that it is a great company that really cares about their employees and their work, and therefore there is no incentive for me to even bother considering any other Big 4.

Intern training was great. The best thing about it was definitely meeting all the interns from other offices. There were so many intelligent and qualified students there that it was an honor to be spending the week with them. I made so many friends there that I couldn't count them if I wanted to. We had a bowling event which was a lot of fun and gave us a chance to team up with new people and get to know each other. Even the classroom trainings were enjoyable. We were learning what many may consider "dry" material, but I find auditing inherently interesting so I looked forward to going to class every day. Furthermore, the instructors were very knowledgeable, yet laid back, and they were definitely able to break up the monotony with jokes, games, and other random things to keep us awake!

My few weeks here on my first client have exceeded my expectations. You hear so many different things about public accounting, and most of the time, you don't know what to expect (at least I didn't). You hear opinions from students, blogs, professors, people in the profession, articles, etc. I came into the internship thinking I would enjoy the work despite what others have told me, and my expectations were on point! I have sincerely enjoyed the work I have been assigned. The engagement team I've been working with is really great. It is kind of bittersweet; I really like this engagement team and I wish I could spend more time with them, but at the same time I want to check out another client/industry and interact with more engagement teams. On this engagement team, everyone from the partner level down has treated me with respect and made me feel a part of the team. Although some of these individuals have 8+ years of experience on me, they still treated me in a professional manner, as if I was one of them. Everyone was open to answering my questions, and that has really helped me learn a lot.

My mentor is the coolest guy I've met and I look at him as a role model. He's only a first year, however he is very accomplished and I would love to be where he is a year from now. He is extremely open to answering any of my questions. I hope that if I'm given an offer that I am able to work with him eventually!

I have gotten to know a good amount of people in the office. We've had events which included an Orioles game, working at a soup kitchen (which was a lot of fun), reading and giving books to underprivileged children, and various other more informal social events. I can honestly say that I have not yet met one person that I didn't really like. Everyone is extremely friendly and really make you feel part of the KPMG family.

As far as work performed, one of my major responsibilities was returned loan confirmations. The client I am staffed on gives loans to companies who use the proceeds for real estate projects. Prior to my arrival, the staff here sent out confirmations directly to the client's customers that simply asked them if the loan (and the associated terms) that our client has on their books is correct. My job has been to receive these confirmations when they return, and log them both electronically and in a binder. I've also had the opportunity to create a couple of lead sheets, as well as term sheets which list out the terms of various bonds held by the client. One of the more major tasks I have been assigned is sampling. The client has thousands of bonds outstanding, and it was my job to select which ones we were going to test. This is a relatively important part of the audit, and it gave me a lot of motivation knowing that I was responsible for something so important. I've had my fair share of mundane tasks, but I've also been given more responsibility than I expected, so this has really contributed to why I enjoy coming to work every day.

I really enjoyed the community service. As I mentioned before, we worked in a food kitchen called Our Daily Bread. They are the largest charity food organization in Baltimore. They feed roughly 1,000 people a day. It was really nice taking a break from work and having the opportunity to help those people. I actually plan on going back on my own terms to help out when I have some free time later in the summer. Also, we did the Interns for Literacy program, which is where we go to an under-privileged school and read books to them to promote literacy in the city. It was so much fun interacting with the kids, and they really had a good time hanging out with us. We surprised them with their very own copy of the book we were reading to them (Moo Moo Click Clack) and Chick-Fila lunches handed out by an actual Chick-Fila cow! They really liked that part. Some of the kids didn't know if the cow was real or not, which I thought was funny.

Advice: As soon as you are able, begin your self-studies. These are like little online quizzes that are required for all interns. They have due dates, and if you procrastinate with them, it can be very hard to get them all done at the last minute.

PART 2

This past week I was assigned on a very interesting client. This particular engagement team was small relative to my previous engagement. Also, this engagement was a little less busy, and it was a second quarter review as opposed to a full-scale audit. The members of the engagement team were great. The senior associate that I was working with there was very kind towards me. Whenever I was assigned a task, she made sure to explain the task, and then took it one step further and explained to me how that particular task related to the overall audit. This insight, combined with the fact that it was a smaller audit, really allowed me to gain a stronger understanding of the big picture of an audit.

One of the things I found really great about this engagement was the relationships I built with the team. While the public accounting business model is certainly hierarchical in regard to employees, the respect shown towards one another here is even across the board. I've noticed that whether you are an intern, senior associate, or partner, everyone gets treated with the same amount of respect. This has made for an extremely enjoyable experience.

PART 3

We also had a social event at Dave and Busters on Monday. It was set up to give us (the interns) the opportunity to meet more of the seniors at the KPMG Baltimore office. They gave us pre-loaded game cards, and after dinner, we spent the night playing games and getting to know each other better. It was a lot of fun and it was a great way to get to know our potential seniors.

As far as work performed, I did a good amount of odd jobs. I helped out on little projects that freed up time for some of the seniors to work on more important matters. I also spent about two days working on lead sheets. As a result, I feel confident in saying that I am a master of putting together lead sheets!

PART 4

This week, I had the privilege of being assigned to an out of state engagement. The client site was located in Sweetwater, TN. I had never been to Tennessee so I was really looking forward to the trip.

The trip itself did have some unexpected hiccups. I got to the airport, and realized that my ID wasn't in my wallet (I took it out the previous night and forgot to put it back in)! I was very nervous that I simply wasn't going to make it through security and would look really dumb in front of my senior. After panicking for a moment, I was advised to speak with TSA. I found an agent, explained the situation, and told him all I had as far as identification was my credit cards. Then, I suddenly remembered that I had my KPMG badge in my backpack! Believe it or not, security actually accepted the combination of my KPMG ID badge and a credit card as adequate identification!

So I finally make it to the gate, only to realize the flight was delayed for 30 minutes. Ok, no big deal. Then, when we finally got on the plane, we found out that they were having technical difficulties closing luggage hatch. After about 15 minutes of sitting on the plane waiting for them to fix it, they un-boarded us and left us at the gate confused. Then, not even 5 minutes after un-boarding, they fixed the hatch and allowed us to re-board. At that point, we were over an hour behind schedule which meant that we were not going to make our connecting flight. We ended up staying in NC for the night since they had no other flights to our destination that evening. We got an early flight out to Tennessee the next morning, and finally got to the client around 10am.

This engagement was actually a six month review, and it was only myself and a senior assigned to the engagement. From a learning standpoint, I couldn't ask for more. I was essentially in charge of completing half of the work associated with the audit. I did the cash section, fixed assets section, pre-paid section, and various other things. I actually got to see the audit from start, to finish. This really allowed me to take a step back and understand exactly how an audit is done. The senior was great; he was always willing to answer my questions and not once did I ever feel overwhelmed. I actually really enjoyed doing the work.

The client was very cool as well. They are very laid back down in Tennessee. Personality-wise, there is a vast difference between northern accountants and southern accountants (haha). One of the account managers was a great guy. He was extremely helpful, and may be one of the funniest people I've ever met! It was a joy interacting with him. Also, this particular client is a manufacturing client. I was able to go on a tour of the plant, which was just awesome. There were huge million-dollar machines everywhere, and just an abundance of cool materials. I felt like I was on an episode of Dirty Jobs (minus the dirty).

All in all, it was a very cool client, great learning experience, and interesting travel experience. I look forward to potentially getting staffed on this particular engagement in the future.

Fun Facts

  • Are you involved in any on-campus clubs or activities?

    Yes, I am one of the co-founders of Terps Motorcycle Club.

    Do you have a mentor? If yes, please describe the experience.

    Yes, I have an intern buddy and a performance manager. My intern buddy’s name is Max. He is one of the nicest guys I’ve met, and he definitely has a sincere interest in helping me get started at KPMG. I feel extremely comfortable asking him questions and he has made it extremely clear that he’s willing to answer them. When I do ask him questions, not only does he answer them, but he takes it one step further and elaborates on any other information that is related and could help me in the long-term. Max is a great guy and is certainly a role model for me.
  • What are your favorite TV shows?

    True Blood and Dexter

    What do you do for fun/hobbies?

    Riding my motorcycle with my friends, working out at the gym, playing basketball, and computer games.

    Have you traveled outside of the US? For school or personal? Where?

    I’ve only traveled outside the U.S. once, and it was to Cancun in 2009 for Spring Break!
  • What are the top 3 reasons you chose KPMG for your internship?

    1. Every single KPMG employee I spoke with during the recruiting phase was extremely friendly, personable, and showed a sincere interest in my relationship with KPMG.
    2. The recruiter was awesome
    3. They have a great reputation

    What advice would you offer to a student just beginning the recruiting/application process?

    Attend KPMG events at your school, and make sure to speak with and get to know the recruiter(s) or any other KPMG employee who may be in attendance. The key is to get them to remember your name. If you do this and make a good first impression, your chances of getting an interview skyrocket.
  • What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

    Always try to learn what the person above you is doing.