Nicole Bobowski

  • Office: Chicago
  • Practice: Audit
  • School: Notre Dame University

Nicole's Journal

PART 1

It's hard to believe that one month of my internship has already passed. It's even harder to believe how much I know now that I didn't just one month ago. The opportunity for constant learning and development at KPMG is unparalleled.

The internship began with four days of local training where we were able to learn more about KPMG and overall systems and expectations. Some of the topics we covered included independence, preservation of documents and security of documents. The days were spent learning about the KPMG's values and policies. The next three and a half days were spent at the National Internship Program. The opening session of NIP consisted of a panel where partners illustrated how customizable our career paths at KPMG truly are. We learned about different service lines and the many international opportunities. Two days were spent on technical training, where we learned the basics of our line as well as how to use the necessary software and programs. The technical training was great; it showed how the theories and concepts I had learned in tax classes can be applied. We also did simulations where we could practice sample assignments. The final day of the National Internship Program was spent on soft skills. This was incredible enhancement to my professional development. We learned ways to overcome common barriers to listening such as to rephrase an assignment to make sure you understand all the relevant parts. We learned that the golden rule can be wrong and to be an effective team member you need to treat others the way they want not be treated, which is not necessarily how you want to be treated. Other trainings can be done as self studies. I am doing an audit rotation for the last three weeks of my internship and therefore I have been utilizing some of the thousands of available self studies to prepare for my audit work. When I looked for an employer, I was very concerned with continual training and development — KPMG has more available resources than I will ever be able to utilize. I am confident that I can learn at least one new thing each and every day of my career here.

I am one of the interns accepted into the Build Your Own Internship program. The first five weeks of my time here will be spent in Federal Tax. Within Federal Tax, I am working with the ICE (Information, Communication and Entertainment) group. I am primarily splitting my time between four different companies. Just some of the work I have done up to this point includes amended state returns, 1120 returns, workpapers for returns, depreciation schedules, disposal of fixed asset schedules, local returns, extension research, and new client research. For each engagement, I primarily work under a senior associate. However, I also have a peer mentor, performance manager, and partner mentor to utilize as resources.

During the recruiting process, KPMG said that the people set the company apart. From my experience at the firm, I can attest to the truth of this statement.

PART 2

One of the hardest things to ascertain and yet one of the more important aspects in picking a company is the social environment — the people. When you spend eight to ten hours a day with the same people, it is important to be a fit with the people you are working with. KPMG helps to sponsor many events that allow interns to meet others in their intern class, as well as employees and partners at the firm. During local training, we attended a Sox game with our Chicago intern class. During National Training, we went bowling. Last week, KPMG interns faced and defeated interns from Deloitte, E&Y, and PwC in the 2nd Annual Big 4 kickball tournament. I would like to add that KPMG has taken home the golden kickball every year!

The firm has also paired us with peer mentors, partner mentors, and people management leaders. They are all there to answer any technical, policy, or development questions we have. During local training, we had a happy hour event with the intern class and all of our peer mentors. The event was great because it provided an informal setting where we could ask questions to someone who was in our place a summer or two ago. It was also a good opportunity to learn about the day to day work that associates do in other lines within KPMG. During my first week tax, I went to lunch with my partner mentor and PML. These opportunities helped me to see a big picture view of Federal tax, as well as the many rotational and international opportunities available throughout my career. It was also good to know that I had resources at the partner and senior manager levels in the event that a problem ever arose.

Another way to meet people at the firm is through volunteering for KPMG organizations. My first week with the company, I volunteered to be a part of the KPMG team assisting in Chicago Cares Serve-athon. It was an opportunity to see KPMG put their values into action. During the day, we painted the hallways, cafeteria, gym, and classrooms of a Hyde Park school. I have also participated in RBI (reviving baseball in inner-cities). Through this program after work volunteers will go to keep score at youth baseball games. Both of these service projects are a way to meet people from all branches of the firm and to give back to the community.

PART 3

My primary goal for this summer was to make each day count. I wanted to learn as much as I could each day about KPMG and about my career aspirations. I have learned that in order to be successful in anything you need to be proactive. In this entry, I would like to reflect what being proactive means at KPMG.

At KPMG, you get as much out of your internship as you are willing to put in. This means attending KPMG sponsored and intern sponsored events. It means soliciting for extra work when you are done early. It also means shaping your career path from day one. KPMG offers options even in an internship to customize your career. Two such options are international internships and rotational internships (BYOIP — Build Your Own Internship Program). The first step in either of these is to accept an internship in the line of your choice. I accepted an internship in Federal Tax last September. The next step is to apply for the program of your choosing in the spring before you start. The international internship splits your time between the city your offer is for and an international city that you select. In the BYOI program, you spend five weeks in your primary function and three in your developmental function. I applied for the BYOI program and was accepted into the audit developmental line. As a junior, I had a hard time deciding whether audit or tax was a better fit for me, and KPMG recognizes that this is a hard choice and therefore offers interns a chance to explore both. This week, I completed my first week in audit and it has been a great experience being able to compare the technical work, as well as the different environments between the lines. I am undoubtedly better off for this experience—an experience that to my knowledge only KPMG offers.

As a fulltime employee, rotations are available both internationally and into different lines. There is a tool called Employee Career Architecture (ECA) that can help employees shape a career path. The site helps you build and layout a path for each step of your career. It shows what technical and soft skills are needed to advance to each step in your career, such as from audit associate to audit senior. The site can also help you build in international rotations or switches to different lines. I have spent a significant amount of time mapping and remapping what I want my career to be like here. The best part is that the site is entirely customizable so as my interests change, my path does to. Tools like ECA help ensure that I can make each day count both during my career at KPMG. This tool is also available on the KPMG website, so I'll be able to access it even when I'm back on campus.

PART 4

As a college student going into your junior or senior year, the choice between assurance (audit), tax, and advisory is a very daunting one. Therefore in this entry, I would like to talk about my personal experiences in tax and audit.

One of the initial reasons I chose tax was because of a Notre Dame course I took that allowed students to go out into the community to prepare tax returns for low income individuals (KPMG offers the same program). What I learned from the course is that tax is very dynamic and allows for thinking outside of the box. This was further confirmed by my experiences at KPMG. Tax is unique in that you have the ability to work on multiple clients at once. Also, it is nice to be working in the office the majority of the time, which allows you to meet people outside of your immediate teams. Also, I learned that no two clients are exactly the same. There are also many different types of returns. Just a few of the returns I encountered include: local, state, partnerships, corporate, individual, and amended returns. Within tax, there are many opportunities for research. During my five weeks in tax, I was able to participate in four short research projects. I also learned about the many different divisions within tax, such as International Executive Services, which prepares multinational returns for top corporate executives.

Audit allows for increased client interaction because you are at your client site. It allows for increased team interaction because you are working in close proximity to one another. You are able to learn incredible amounts from your teammates because you are truly working together throughout the entire engagement. My favorite thing about audit is that you are able to learn about the interworking of your clients. In just two weeks in audit I have been able to learn about my client's industry, investments, accounts receivable, inventory, and many of the small details that allow the company to run. Never have I worked on the same type of assignment twice as there is an incredible amount of variety to each day and each client.

When deciding where to begin your career, I recommend deciding what you most value in a career and what work and lifestyle you see yourself enjoying more over time. The good news is that you cannot make a wrong choice with KPMG. Also KPMG is very flexible regarding rotations, such as the Build Your Own Internship Program that I participated in during my internship. There are rotation and transfer opportunities throughout your career at KPMG. Such opportunities can be learned about though the Employee Career Architecture website and networking with professionals.

Fun Facts

  • Are you actively involved with any community organizations? If so, which ones and briefly describe your involvement.

    Through KPMG I worked with RBI and Chicago Serves Cares-athon. RBI (reviving baseball in inner cities) is a program that partners with MLB to provide volunteers to help at youth baseball games. We painted hallways, classrooms, cafeteria, and gym of a Hyde Park school. The projects were a good way to give back to the community and network with other interns, KPMG partners, and staff from all service lines.

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

    At Notre Dame, I served as a “big sis” to a freshman. I am an active member of Beta Alpha Psi, Beta Gama Sigma, and the entrepreneurship society. I also work for the student disabilities center, the career center, and tutor for Mendoza College of Business.
  • What are your favorite TV shows?

    My favorite shows are One Tree Hill, Friday Night Lights, Grey’s Anatomy, and Vampire Diaries.

    What is the last book you read?

    Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffen.

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

    I did not go abroad at Notre Dame. I plan to travel Europe for one month after graduation. I have been to Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands for vacations.
  • What are 5 things that your friends may not know about you (and that would be appropriate to share!)?

    I have never tried jelly (which does mean I have never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich).
    My favorite movie is Armageddon.
    I like county music because the lyrics usually tell a story.
    I don’t like driving, I don’t mind it as much when I am the only one in the car, but I do not enjoy driving others.
    One of my biggest fears is going down stairs, I do not mind climbing them but I am scared of going down them even when there is a railing, spiral staircases are the worst.
  • Do you have a mentor? If yes, please describe the experience.

    At KPMG, I was set up with a peer mentor and a partner mentor. My peer mentor is a first year associate who has been very helpful with my transition into KPMG. She has helped answer some of my daily questions about how to do something or where is a good place for lunch. My partner mentor has given me a perspective of things to get out of my internship and things I should try to experience early in my career. He has helped me see a bigger picture of how the things I am doing now will impact my career here.
  • What are the top 3 reasons you chose KPMG for your internship?

    I wanted to be a part of a company that emphasized continual trainings and development. My goal is to learn at least one new thing a day throughout my entire career. I felt this was possible at KPMG.
    I had met with the other accounting firms and felt that KPMG was less of a “hierarchy structured” company. This was important to me because I really wanted to make my career count from day one.
    I wanted a company that had international opportunities and rotations. KPMG emphasized global opportunities more so than any other firm I encountered. I valued this because we are in an increasingly global society and accounting is getting closer to global standards.
  • What advice would you offer to a student just beginning the recruiting/application process?

    Be proactive and start early. Do not wait for the firms to come to you, you must go to them. Go to the career center and utilize their resources such as resume reviews and mock interviews. This is your career, take ownership of it.

    What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

    “Action is the only cure for fear.” (From a Green Mountain coffee cup)