Internships: Insight and Initiative

DebbieTanju300Internships create vital links between the School of Busi­ness and the larger business community. They are an integral part of students’ education and training, and it’s not uncommon for internships to lead directly to a career.  UAB School of Business partners with as many as 60 firms to provide internships for business students, including the Big 4 CPA firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Faculty mentors form the backbone of the School of Busi­ness internship program. Thirty-year UAB veteran Debbie Tanju, Ph.D., professor of accounting, has been involved in the accounting internship program since its inception 20 years ago. Her many contacts in the Birmingham business community pave the way for students seeking internships with established firms. She’s also heavily involved in recruiting students to UAB.

“We identify potential accounting students in high school and offer them scholarships because accounting firms look at students’ overall grade-point average, including English and writing skills, in addition to their accounting ability,” Dr. Tan­ju explains. “We keep in close touch with scholarship recipi­ents. Another reason we’re recruiting earlier is that we now have alumni employed at many firms and they want to train interns based on how their companies do things. That means interns could work for companies for two or three years while in school and then be hired full-time after graduation.

“All of the internships are paid and many lead to full-time positions,” Dr. Tanju notes. “Some interns receive as much as $25 an hour. Through our regular internship program, stu­dents also can earn three hours of course credit doing entry-level staff accounting work for a CPA firm. This is the same type of work many graduates would be doing.”