Shilpa Kumar

  • Office: Chicago
  • Practice: Advisory
  • School: University of Illinois

Shilpa's Journal

PART 1

I have had a very diverse and incredible experience with KPMG so far, and have had a chance to get a fantastic preview of what life at KPMG would be like as a first year associate.

On the first day of my internship, I flew to Atlanta, Georgia for national training. Throughout the week, I attended panel discussions about work-life at KPMG, participated in community service and social events with the other interns, and acquired the skill-sets and knowledge that would help me ease into my internship.

For example, in the middle of the week, I attended a philanthropic bowling event for KPMG's Family for Literacy initiatives, where all the proceeds went to First Book, an organization dedicated fighting illiteracy. Also, at this week-long event, not only did I better get to know the interns who I would be working with in Chicago, but I also met interns who would be working throughout the US.

Overall, it was a great way to gain a high-level understanding of KPMG's business model, get a preview of the work that I would be doing during my internship, and network with KPMG professionals and interns from around the country.

Although my internship is based in Chicago, I spent my second week in Orange County, California, at my client's site. A total of three Chicago Transaction Services teams were performing lender due diligence on three different companies in Orange County that week. I personally worked with two other KPMG professionals on my client site. Even though this was my very first project, my manager gave me a lot of responsibility.

My manager allowed me to lead my own part of the project that went directly into the final report. I was even able to organize and direct meetings with my client's top management. I learned a great deal about the industry I was working in and the specific tasks I was performing because I was able to work on one part of the project and manage it from start to finish.

After work, my team would go to dinner with the other two KPMG teams from Chicago. There were about ten people total, including Associates, Senior Associates, Managers, and Directors. It was a truly great networking experience because I was able to meet so many people during my first week of client service work and get different perspectives on work-life at KPMG. I learned about the different types of projects these professionals had worked on, as well as their travel schedules. Not only did they have the opportunity to work across the US, but almost all of them had international client experiences as well.

I realized that KPMG is truly a global firm, and one of the only Big 4 accounting firms that allowed interns to travel abroad during their internship. At dinner, these professionals also told me about how they would meet up after work for various social events in Chicago. Overall, I was truly able to develop an understanding of the opportunities that would be available to me if I were to pursue a full-time opportunity at KPMG. So far, my experiences at KPMG have exceeded all of my expectations of what I want from an internship, and I am excited for what's to come during my remaining time at KPMG.

PART 2

On my first day at KPMG, I received a mentor and a performance manager. These are two of the most valuable components of my internship. My mentor is someone who I can go to for questions and advice. She is a great resource and I have taken complete advantage of having her. I spent some time during my first week asking my mentor for helpful tips on how I should approach my first project. She also helped me develop great goals for my internship. We have plans to go to lunch periodically throughout my internship so that we get to know each other better, and so that we can talk about my progress in the internship.

My performance manager is someone who receives personal evaluations from each of my project managers and monitors my performance throughout my internship. It is his responsibility to ensure that I receive feedback on my work. The third week of my internship, we went to lunch at one of Chicago's trendiest restaurants. We learned more about each other's backgrounds, discussed my internship, and talked a bit about what type of future opportunities KPMG could offer me. My performance manager is someone who has moved up the ranks at KPMG very quickly, and is one of the youngest managers in the TS practice. I really look up to him and try to absorb as much as I can from him.

In addition to these two people, I have taken advantage of every networking opportunity available to me. I have kept in touch with my recruiter and update her on how my internship is going. This past week, we went to a really nice lunch close to the office and caught up with each other. She is not just someone who I kept in touch with during the recruitment process, but also during my internship. It is always comforting and reassuring to meet with her because she is someone who I have known throughout this experience, and she always has great insight.

Overall, the point I am trying to make is that what really makes KPMG stand out amongst the other Big 4 accounting firms is the people, as cliché as it might sound. For me, they have really transformed my internship experience and have made it truly valuable for me. People from various divisions, not just TS, are constantly reaching out to me and making sure that I am really developing myself professionally.

PART 3

I finished one project on a Friday and was not assigned to work on another project until the following Tuesday. For my Tuesday project, I was scheduled to fly to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Because I was free all day on Monday, I reached out to my scheduling manager and told him that I would be happy to work on short-term projects until my new project started. So, all day Monday, I was doing extra work for two different managers.

Because they were so impressed with my work, they called the manager of new engagement, which started on Tuesday, and insisted that I continue working on their projects throughout the week while I was in Kentucky. While my new engagement was my first priority, my new manager said that he would allow me to work on their projects during any down time I might have. It was great learning experience, multi-tasking and working on three projects at once, but it was also quite hectic.

One of the extra projects was quite challenging as it was an FDD (Financial Due Diligence) engagement. I had to create lead schedules and organize data for a healthcare company. There was a lot of data, and I didn't want to spend my time manually organizing each piece of information, so I instead used Excel tools to make the process go faster.

I was unsure about how to even approach the work, but the manager of my new project was incredibly understanding, and offered to walk me through it. Because of his help, I was able to finish the FDD task in about three hours, whereas if I had manually organized the data, I probably would have taken me over 15 hours! I finished my work for the other manager the next night, and for the remainder of that week I was able to concentrate solely on the engagement to which I was assigned.

Overall, there are several things that you should take-away from my story. First, if you have free time during the workday, reach out to others and see if you can assist with their projects. You never know what kind of work you will get and you might learn something new like I did. Second, if you have extra work to do for other projects, always keep both your previous manager and your current manager informed of your progress. They both will most likely be very understanding and try to accommodate your situation. Last, if you are unsure of something, it never hurts to ask for help. KPMG is kind of like a family, and they are there to help you succeed.

PART 4

I think that deciding to intern during busy season was one of the best decisions I've made. I have learned an incredible amount in a short time period. Although there are days when I've left the office at 5pm, there have also been nights where I've worked past 9pm. Also, less people intern in Chicago during busy season than in the summer. For these reasons, I think interns get more responsibility and more exposure on projects during busy season as opposed to a summer internship.

These past two weeks have been especially busy. Last week, I was staffed on a financial due diligence private equity project. To give you a brief description of my current project, a private equity company is interested in purchasing a few or all of the entities of a large supplies company. The private equity company hired KPMG to perform financial due diligence on the supplies company, or the target, in order to make a more informed decision as to whether they should go ahead with the buy-out.

So far, for my project, I have prepared about ten lead income statements and balance sheets using information from the supplies company's database. With this data, I re-created the company's income statements and balance sheets, and then compared it to the company's financial statements to ensure that we have all the correct data. I learned a lot about the company's financials during this process, and it was quite interesting to study some of the operational metrics (i.e. percent of sales, operating margins, etc.) to get a better understanding of how the company is performing.

Although we have yet to do this, the next step of the project is to further organize and analyze this data. For example, we will analyze top customers, top products, and top stores, to name a few. All this information will help the private equity company make a more informed decision as to whether they will purchase part or all of the company. I will be staffed on this project until my internship ends, so I am looking forward to getting to experience the full life-cycle of the project.

PART 5

Last night we had an intern closing event at an upscale restaurant called Zed. It was a great way to reconnect with all the other interns at the end of their internships and hear about their experiences. It was also great to see the recruiters and other key people we kept in touch with during our recruiting process. We talked about all parts of our internships—the projects, the networking, the traveling, and life in Chicago.

Overall, while reflecting on my experiences at the firm, I realized that I have had a very fulfilling experience during my three months at KPMG. First, I have had the opportunity to experience two of the three service lines within transaction services, lender due diligence and financial due diligence. Within lender due diligence, I have had the opportunity to experience the full life cycle of both an asset-based lending project and a Regulation A B project. I was able to meet the clients, collect raw data, perform tests on the data, and even write and foot, or edit, the final report to be submitted to the clients.

Not only have the projects been fulfilling, but I have also had many rewarding networking experiences. While traveling, I spent almost all day with my team members and got to know them fairly well. We went to lunches and dinners together and talked not only about work, career paths, and future aspirations, but also about our personal interests. Almost every day, while in the Chicago office, I have gone to lunch with either the first and second-year associates or the other TS interns. During these times, we talked about the projects we were working on, work-life at KPMG, and life in Chicago. Overall, each one of these moments has been incredibly rewarding and has helped realize even further that what makes KPMG stand out the most is truly its employees.

Furthermore, living in Chicago has been a great experience! Chicago is a fantastic city and there is so much to do here. KPMG, in particular, has provided us with many discounts and free tickets to do various things in Chicago. For example, I saw Second City, Chicago's famous comedy show, with my intern family. Additionally, KPMG provided us with free passes to visit the Shedd Aquarium and I went with the other TS interns. On my own time, I have also spent some time shopping on the Magnificent Mile and visiting the Chicago Auto Show. Overall, I have had an amazing time living and working in Chicago, and am so glad that I chose to intern at KPMG in Chicago.

Fun Facts

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

    Yes, I am involved with Beta Alpha Psi Entrepeneurs Without Borders, and the Finance Honors Program.

    What are your favorite TV shows?

    How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, Dexter

    What is the last book you read?

    Liar's Poker.
  • Have you traveled outside of the US? For school or personal? Where?

    I have traveled outside of the US for both school and personal purposes. I have studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, Zagreb, Croatia, and Singapore. Additionally, I have traveled throughout Italy, the U.K., Switzerland, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, India, Mexico, Canada, and Australia.

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

    Top three reasons:
    1. Great place to develop a wide variety of marketable skill sets.
    2. Great place to network and meet people who are very inspiring.
    3. Challenging work and continual learning curve