This week we’re spotlighting Morgan Pohl, a senior majoring in accountancy and business analytics from Minster, Ohio. Morgan spent the last 6 weeks of her summer working with Plante Moran in a virtual internship within their Denver, Colorado office. She is excited to share her virtual internship advice with us!
● Majors: Accountancy & Business Analytics
● Internship/job title: Assurance Intern
● Internship/job company: Plante Moran
● Location: Denver, CO
How has this virtual experience been different from other jobs that you’ve held in the past?
I think that the virtual aspect of this internship made this experience a little more challenging than other jobs that I’ve had. When you can’t meet people face-to-face, you have to make a determined effort to make those connections, work through problems, and find productive work in your down time. It required me to be a lot more persistent about what I wanted, and much more proactive about reaching out. While the virtual aspect of this internship made it more challenging, it also taught me a lot of valuable skills that I can bring to my first full-time job. Attacking that challenge is part of what made this such a rewarding experience for me .
How did you connect with other staff members within this virtual environment?
Plante Moran did an excellent job of setting us up with various engagement events to help us meet other interns and staff. They also provided us with a “buddy,” similar to a mentor, who helped us adjust to the environment and introduce us to staff. The best way I connected with other staff, however, was with virtual “coffee breaks.” I would set up a meeting time with a member of my team, or someone I wanted to connect with, and we’d spend a half hour talking and learning more about each other and our career paths. It felt weird at first to set aside the time to do that, but that was one of my favorite parts of my internship.
How has your remote learning experience prepared you for this internship?
I think that remote learning in the spring semester taught me how to stay engaged while in a virtual environment. In a large, remote meeting, it can be easy to hide behind your screen and not pay attention. Remote learning provided me with the opportunity to learn how to stay focused during those times, so I could stay engaged over the course of my internship. Remote learning also helped me to practice time management. When you’re working from your home, no one is making sure that you’re on track with your work. Balancing a full course load online helped me to practice those self-management skills before starting work with Plante Moran.
What advice do you have for other students preparing for a virtual internship?
First, turn your camera on when you enter a meeting. No one has met you yet , and it really helps to connect a face with a name and a voice. Do your best to ask questions as soon as you have them. As far as your workspace, I found it helpful to set up a designated area — and leave your phone at the door. You want to be engaged and act as you would in the office. Finally, the most important thing is to make the most of the opportunity. While a virtual internship may not be what a lot of us expected, you can still connect with people, join meetings, and learn what you can. If you’re willing to give it your all, it can be an amazing experience!