Current Position: Partner, PwC
Previous University: Wheaton College (MA)
Undergraduate Degree: Political Science
Q: As both a partner at PwC and a former student in the MSA/MBA program, you have a unique perspective on the value of the corporate residency. What did you gain from the residency when you were a student?
A: I was at PwC for three months during the busiest time of the year, so I got first-hand experience in what it would be like to work in audit for a professional services firm. After my internship, I was hired full-time by PwC and started that September. Since I had spent three months at PwC already, I was well prepared and because of Northeastern's program, I felt like I had a head start on other new hires.
Q: Now that you are a partner at PwC—one who mentors Northeastern students—why is the residency program so valuable to the students you coach?
A: We (PwC) treat [interns] like new associates. They get a variety of experience because the work is rotational. They may spend their first two weeks with a large SEC client, then move on to a smaller public company, and/or get experience with a start-up.
From this experience, students get a good understanding of the expectations and responsibilities of an associate at PwC. They also get to meet people from different backgrounds who are at different stages of their careers and hear their stories about how they were able to elevate themselves and develop new skills.
Q: What does PwC gain from participating in the corporate residency program?
A: The firm gets valuable human resources during our busiest season. Northeastern students are skilled and professional, and we hire as many as we can for internships—anywhere from 10 to 20 each year. We also hire many of our interns after graduation for full-time positions, so it is a valuable pipeline for recruiting talented new employees.
Q: In your experience as a partner at PwC, what transferable skills do liberal arts majors bring to the profession?
A: Interpersonal skills are very important in accounting. Students from the Northeastern MSA/MBA program do so well because liberal arts is part of their education. It's all about thinking, communicating, and problem-solving. That frame of mind is very different from the debit and credits of accounting. When you combine the technical and soft skills, it results in a really good auditor.
Q: How has technology shaped the work done by residents and new associates at PwC?
A: A routine audit procedure that would have taken a junior associate eight hours to complete in the past can be now be done in five minutes through automation. This means that associates have more time to analyze data or work through a transaction that involves more judgment. You cannot automate judgment. The associate still needs to understand the objective of the work being automated so that they can understand the risk.