KOKOMO, Ind. — A little advanced preparation leads to success.
By taking advantage of campus career services, Austin Ramirez scored an internship this summer with EY, one of the Big Four accounting firms.
“I’ve made a lot of good connections so far,” said Ramirez, an accounting and finance major from Chicago. “There are people from all over the world here, and a lot of resources. I’m getting hands-on experience with things I learned from my professors, that you can’t really replicate in the classroom.”
As an intern, he’s spending time with the audit and assurance team, the tax team, and the risk consulting team, getting a taste of what each one does. Most interns are juniors and seniors, and because he’s just going into his second year, Ramirez will have opportunities to return in the future.
“Because I’m younger, I will probably be able to try two service lines in a row, which is a cool experience,” he said.
The opportunity came about because he uses a free student resource, Handshake, which is a career planning website managed by Indiana University Kokomo’s Career Services office. It provides connections between employers and college students.
“Someone reached out from the EY team through Handshake because of a lot of the experiences I’ve been part of on campus,” he said. “They invited me to an interview, and then I received an offer to come work for the summer.”
Tracy Springer, director of the Career and Accessibility Center, commended Ramirez for being proactive, adding that connecting early helps students identify interests and skills, learn how those relate to careers, and choose the right major for their goals.
“Working with the career center to take skill assessments, have career counseling appointments, and start a resume should be the first steps students should take,” she said. “Learning about careers and attending career fairs is just as important for freshmen as it is for juniors and seniors. It may help them identify a path they never considered, and networking can lead to future internships and jobs.”
Networking also played a role for Ramirez — he worked with Danielle Runda, assistant registrar, for a work study job, and she recommended he explore the career center. Also, through his job he met Mark Canada, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and deputy chancellor, who found out he was discouraged that the accounting and finance club was inactive and encouraged him to restart it.
“There are so many resources on campus that freshmen and sophomores don’t think about, and juniors and seniors regret not using soon enough,” Ramirez said. “I’ve had other students tell me they are jealous that I’m doing this internship so early and have found ways to be involved that can last all four years.”
After successfully relaunching the accounting and finance club, Ramirez serves as president. He also joined the Women in Business Club and is director of finance. He’s made sure to keep his LinkedIn and Handshake updated every time he finds a new avenue for involvement — because you never know who might be looking for someone like you.
“It allows a potential employer to look at you and see where you might fit in with their organization,” he said. “Small things like keeping those updated is important now, in a world where everything is digital.”