Octavia Allen

  • Office: Cleveland
  • Practice: Audit
  • School: North Carolina A&T

Octavia's Journal

PART 1

Coming back to KPMG for a second year was like coming home. I have been connected to KPMG since my freshman year when I participated in the KPMG Future Diversity Leaders program held in Hollywood, CA. Last year, I started my career at KPMG as a CSS Intern in the Cleveland Office and this year I have been given the opportunity to be an Audit Intern for the summer 2010.

My experiences at KPMG have helped to develop me into the professional I am today. For example, at National Intern training, I felt like I gained an incredible amount of knowledge in the area of Audit, and I think that knowledge will translate into me having an advantage over my peers when I begin my Audit classes in the fall.

During my initial week at my first client, I already felt like I was a part of the team. Whether it was to make copies for work binders or to actually perform Census Data test work, I felt that my contribution was important to the overall success of the audit engagement.

I have met so many wonderful people during my years at KPMG and have built relationships I hope to have for a lifetime. I am looking forward to new adventures during my next couple of weeks at KPMG! Talk to you later!

PART 2

This Internship is continuing to be a learning experience. I have already experienced a number of different areas of audit test work. I have been working on things like Inventory Control Test work. I feel that I have been able to have a wider variety of work because of the smaller size of the Cleveland office. I think the benefit of a smaller office is that you get a more personalized internship experience and you get to know more people in the office.

Not only have I been participating in audit work, but the interns in my office are also participating in the 'Interns for Literacy Challenge'. We have chosen to start a book club at the Boys and Girl Club of Cleveland. When coordinating the book club with the center's director, we were asked to base our reading group on a book called the "7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen" by Sean Covey. Since the Boys and Girls club is located in the inner city, these younger students are being faced with decisions that we didn't have to face at such a young age. I was so excited to be able to lead the project! I've always secretly loved teaching and this was an opportunity to create a three week seminar to teach these children lessons that could live with them for a lifetime. We have been going every Thursday and Friday for an hour for the past two weeks and it had been amazing! We are shocked about how enthused the children are every time they see us. They are so appreciative that someone is there that genuinely wants to help them. I hope to continue to have these volunteer opportunities with the firm.

This past Thursday, the Cleveland office had its promotions party at Shooters in the Flats. It was a nice patio venue with a great view of Lake Erie. It was nice to see the camaraderie between all staff. An Advisory Intern and I got the benefit off talking to KPMG employees ranging from associates to Partners. Once everyone ate, it was time for the gifts to be given to the newly promoted staff. These were not, however, ordinary gifts. These were 'Gag' gifts. The Managing Office Partner read to the attendees a personal message about each of the promoted written by their peers to explain the meaning of each gift. For example, a new Senior Associate is obsessed with 'Twilight' so they bought her three movie posters. Another new Senior Associate is obsessed with a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player so they framed a photo shopped picture of them together. This promotions party showed me that KPMG is not just a place to work but also a place to create friendships and long term relationship. I feel honored that KPMG is allowing me to be a part of their family.

PART 3

I have begun to work a new client this week. This will be a new challenge for me as I was just getting close with my prior engagement team. With the move comes the opportunity to meet and interact with different people. It also exposes me to the different approaches that are taken in an audit depending on the industry. My first client was in Manufacturing and my current client is in the Service industry.

I have found that every engagement team has its own personality. The "feel" of the engagement is mostly influenced by the senior associate and manger assigned to the client. Each engagement team's work style may be different, so you must learn how to quickly adapt. For example, my 1st engagement team had a laid back and friendly atmosphere. This engagement team was a little more serious, most likely due to their 2nd quarter work being due soon. I was instantly put to work, which I didn't mind at all. Anything that I can do to make the engagement run smoother, I'm happy to do.

I have gone through a few performance reviews so far. I was very excited and humbled by the positive feedback that I was getting from my seniors. I also appreciated the comments on where I still had room for improvement. As a top student in college, sometimes you can get lax and content with your performance and not push for improvement. The seniors and my performance manager gave me specific area of improvement in areas such as time management and cell phone usage. I believe that the hardest transition for ALL college students will be switching over to being a constant professional. Things such as consistently waking up and being on time to work, the absence of nap time and the departure from excessive personal cell phone usage, whether it be for social networking or text messaging, will be tough but we will all get better with time.

I've learned that success in public accounting isn't just about your technical skills but also your level of professionalism. You want to ensure that you demonstrate professionalism on the job at all times. Even though we know that this is only an 8-10 week internship, it should be looked upon as the 1st step into a career.

With only two weeks left, I feel like the internship has flown by. I am again appreciative for all my learning experiences and look forward to using them to excel in my senior year and beyond.

PART 4

I made it! With only a few days being left in the internship, I've been reflecting on the MANY things that I have learned. Not only did I expand on my technical skills and accounting knowledge but I believe that I have grown as a professional. This internship has given me more insight into what the future can potentially hold for me. I feel like I have a greater Idea of what career path I want to take.

I recently participated in the intern recruiting bowling event in downtown Cleveland. I thoroughly enjoyed networking and passing on the knowledge and advice that I have gained to other students. I was in their position just a few years ago and I hope to pass on information to better prepare them for their future intern experiences. I also recently had breakfast with two of the intern transitional coaches. They truthfully answered any questions that I had throughout my internship experience. I thank them for their honesty and support.

All in all, this internship was been a WONDERFUL learning experience. I look forward to working here at KPMG!

Fun Facts

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

    Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of Greater Greensboro: I am a Big Sister

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

    Beta Alpha Psi (President), NABA
  • What are your favorite TV shows?

    GLEE, So You Think You Can Dance, Law and Order: SVU

    What is the last book you read?

    Better Than I Know Myself

    What do you do for fun/hobbies?

    Listen to Music, Karaoke
  • Have you traveled outside of the US? For school or personal? Where?

    No

    What are the top 3 reasons you chose KPMG for your internship?

    The people, the opportunity to learn and grow as a professional, the environment
  • What advice would you offer to a student just beginning the recruiting/application process?

    Feel out all of the “Big Four” firms and regional firms before you make a decision. Each firm and office has its own distinct personality and you need to find where you would feel comfortable and have the greatest opportunity for growth.

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

    Put God First.