Summer Leadership Program Builds Future Leaders and Friends
In June, 15 thoughtfully-diverse college accounting students from across Ohio were invited to participate in our “Building My Future” Summer Leadership Program (SLP). Now in its fourth year, this exclusive program gives students a first-hand view into working at a regional firm – and more specifically, what it’s like working at BMF.
This year’s program featured a variety of topics and events, including a discussion on the transition from college student to CPA, a robust Clifton StrengthsFinder workshop, a panel discussion with SLP alumni and interns, a fraud case study, a rooftop networking lunch in downtown Cleveland, ending it all with an ice cream social and lawn games.
Throughout the two days, students engaged with over 30 BMF associates from interns to partners, all of whom were integral pieces to the overall success of the program. Perhaps one of the most beneficial sessions for the students was our Peer Perspectives discussion on Relationship Building, which featured a young professional in the community who shared their career and the strengths they leveraged to become successful. As the accounting industry moves from compliance-based to advisory-focused, the importance of relationship building and critical thinking skills have become imperative for both seasoned professionals and students alike.
Applying and interviewing for these SLPs has become more important than ever for accounting students. While it is important that students get a broad view of the CPA landscape, it also offers students tangible insight into the culture and work environment of the firm. Most importantly, it provides students an accelerated opportunity to be hired for full-time internships. By attending SLPs, students get a chance to see if public accounting is where they truly want to start their career – something that isn’t easily determined through college courses.
“BMF’s summer program helped me become immersed in their working environment and helped me find a place where I wanted to establish my career.” -Evan Baschko, SLP Class of 2017
BMF was the first regional firm in Northeast Ohio to offer this type of program and now nearly every firm is offering some type of similar program for college sophomores and juniors interested in public accounting. These programs have completely changed the recruiting model not only for accounting students but for firms themselves. Gone are the days of recruiting students their senior year. Firms are now engaging students as early as their freshman year and extending offers for internships as early as sophomore year.
The feedback we received from our participants has been tremendous and we’ve received multiple comments from the students on all that was learned during the SLP that isn’t taught in college. When we asked participants their most “standout” takeaways of the program, these are a few of their responses:
- The importance of focusing on your strengths rather than on your weaknesses
- A better understanding of public accounting and the business world
- Key differences between tax and audit
- Advice from recent graduates about securing internships and pursuing the CPA exam
- How to begin networking and building relationships
Know an accounting student who might be interested in attending our Summer Leadership Program?
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