Monday, April 9, 2012

Guest Blogger: How the Leaders' Institute Led to an Internship!

By Aaron Rawlings
Student, George Mason University

2011 Leaders' Institute Attendee
As I anxiously approached the entrance to the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skeleton Conference Center, I began to think about what the Leaders’ Institute would be like. Among the many things I wanted to achieve during the weekend, I wanted to make sure that I left with a greater understanding of what steps I needed to take in order to become a CPA.

My anxiety was immediately alleviated by the welcoming smiles of representatives from Ryan Sharkey and Cotton & Company. We spoke about various topics such as the difference between working in a small or large firm and I even got suggestions on ways my résumé could be tailored to the needs of accounting employers. I also had the opportunity to talk with recruiters and inform them about my career aspirations while learning how to be a successful employee.

Once the Leaders’ Institute was over, I had a greater understanding of how I wanted to pursue my career as an accountant as well as the steps that I needed to take. The purpose I had for going to the event had been fulfilled — I had a plan. Along with that plan came motivation. My new goal was to have an internship by the same time the following year. I was able to successfully achieve this goal with the help of my mentor whom I met at the Leaders’ Institute and who has continued to support me long after the event.

The Leaders’ Institute is the perfect place to gain a greater understanding about accounting as a career, to improve your networking skills and to gain direction from current employees and partners from accounting firms. I would encourage any rising junior or senior accounting major to attend this event. It is my hope that they gain just as much insight and motivation as I did, if not more!

The 2012 Leaders' Institute takes place on June 2224, 2012, at the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center. Applications are due by May 4, 2012. For more information and to apply, visit

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