Student Success Story: Jake Stone

Jake Stone

Major: Accounting

Minor: International Studies

Class Standing: Senior

Internship: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

What interests you about your major?

I’m really interested in business in general and accounting gives me the opportunity and ability to work with firms of every industry, of every size, and of every type and form.

Can you give us some background on PricewaterhouseCoopers and the role you played in the company as an intern?

They are one of the big 4 accounting firms. They provide financial and professional services, so they do primarily tax and audit work with some consulting. I worked in the audit division at their main office in Manhattan with around 7,000 people—which is actually bigger than the number of people in my hometown. I did audit for private companies, so I only had one client during the summer, The Shubert Organization. They own about 70% of the theaters on Broadway. It was pretty cool because I got to work right in the middle of Time Square.

How did you obtain it?

The big accounting firms do sophomore leadership programs the summer after your sophomore year. So I applied for those through the accounting department. They have been fantastic because I only needed to fill out one application and it got sent out to all the firms. At a lot of other schools you have to fill out separate forms for everybody, so they do a really great job.  I went on a couple of those with a few accounting firms and they take you out and bring you to Yankees games and all kinds of cool recruiting stuff. You go on a couple interviews and hope they give you a job offer and I was offered a few jobs that led to the internship in New York.

What was your favorite part?

The challenge.  The company I was working for was pretty small, so as an intern I was able to work with practically the entire firm and see a lot of things that you wouldn’t normally get to see that early in your career. I even met with the CFO of the company and it’s things like that where you just know you wouldn’t get the same kind of experience at a bigger company.  I was able to learn a ton in a really short amount of time.

What was the most challenging part?

Just that there was such a wide breadth of material. It created different challenges to overcome not only because of the size of the company, but also the different things I was doing. Most interns would be on just one type of account the entire summer, but because the firm I was on was so small, that account would only take a half a day and then you’re on to something else. It was great, but also really challenging. The first couple weeks I felt like I was drowning, but the people there were really good about helping me out and it was a really great experience.

Can you think of a time you really wowed your supervisor/employer?

I tend to get up pretty early so I was usually in the office by 7/7:15 and there was one day where I was sitting in the main office working and I was the only person on my floor that usually consists of a couple hundred people or so. One of the lead partners came in and saw me and asked who I was and why I was here so early and I said I was the intern and that really impressed him.

What kind of marketable skills did you acquire from this experience?

I got a lot of great overall business knowledge, a really good understanding on how different companies work, and gained more specific accounting skills that are applicable in real world professional settings.

Can you tell us about some of the things you’re responsible for as a peer-leadership intern for the Office of Education Abroad?

It’s a new role this year and they are having me and another intern figure out how to help the office and suggest what we want to do with it. Particularly for me, I focus more on campus outreach and do a lot of different events. I go into a lot of the FYE classes and tell freshman why studying abroad is the best thing they could ever do and that they should all definitely try to take that opportunity while they’re here. So, mostly just day-to-day spreading the word across campus and helping people with any questions that they have.

Have you studied abroad?

I’ve studied abroad twice actually. When I was a sophomore I went to Singapore in the fall and then last spring I was in Dublin.

How did you obtain this position?

I sent out an email to everyone who studied abroad and I filled out the form. When they got back to me they actually told me that they were going to do more interviews, but they decided to forego that because they wanted me to come and work for them.

What have you found to be most rewarding from these internships?

Helping other students have the same opportunity that I had. Studying abroad was just an incredibly rewarding experience and I honestly believe that everyone at UConn can and should study abroad. One of the things I talk about in my presentations is that I hear a lot of kids say “I wish I could study abroad, but I’m a physics major” or something like that or “I can’t afford it,” and that’s just not true. Everybody really does have the ability, so I’ve really enjoyed the fact that I’ve been able to change at least a few kids’ minds and that they will be studying abroad.

What I found most rewarding from my PwC internship would probably be the contacts and friends that I made. I met some incredibly smart interns and employees from working there and it’s helped me build a really great professional network. People from accounting firms tend to end up all over the place in different industries and at different companies, so having contacts spread across the entire business world would be really helpful for me down the road.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Ideally, I’ll be with PwC, but on international rotation. So my big long term goal is to go work there for 4 years and then in the fifth year get them to send me somewhere either in Asia, South America, or Europe. I want to continue traveling as much as I can and then hopefully go for my MBA after that.

What has been your favorite part about being a UConn student?

The sense of community. Something that has stuck out to me going abroad is that other schools in different parts of the world just don’t have that same feeling of a cohesive student body. I think sports are a huge part of that, but the amount of pride that we have in our school isn’t something that you find in a lot of different places.

Can you give any advice to your fellow UConn students?

Take advantage of all the opportunities you have here and plan things out. You really can do a lot more than you think you can. It just comes down to sitting down, figuring out what your goals are and then putting yourself out there.

By Brittney Austin
Brittney Austin Communication Assistant