Internships Pay Off for Menlo Seniors

Sidra Iqbal, accounting major, got a job offer from KPMG after completing her internship.

September 27, 2011

With the Fall semester well under way, three seniors reflect back on their summer break and the internship programs they completed during it. Beginning with the 2011-12 academic year, students must complete six internship units as part of their graduation requirements. This move was made by the college last spring to bridge academics and real-world experience, to produce graduates that are job-ready.

Although it wasn’t yet a requirement, accounting major Sidra Iqbal, finance major Michael “Chip” Brown, and sports management major Christopher Lonergan chose to complete an internship anyway. They gained hands-on experience in their field of study and believe that the new requirement will provide Menlo students with a strong competitive advantage over graduates from schools where internships are optional.

“Our professors really help plan out our college career and our future careers,” said Sidra Iqbal. She worked for 8 weeks this summer for KPMG—one of the largest professional services firms in the world—after being recommended for the company’s internship program by Professor Kenneth Leong. During the program, Iqbal performed the work of a first-year auditor and was so successful in the program that, upon completion, she was offered a job with KPMG. She is expected to start in the fall of 2012.

While the internship requirement is new to Menlo, internships themselves have always been an important part of the Menlo curriculum. Many students opt to complete internships to serve financial needs as well as earn professional experience, build their work portfolios, and make an easy transition into the professional world.

Michael Brown managed to get one of the top 10 internships in the country—at Northwestern Mutual. He worked independently finding prospective clients and closing deals; essentially, running his own business. What employers in this field are looking for is not only intelligence, but also “drive, [and] readiness to go above and beyond the expectations,” said Brown.

Christopher Lonergan also interned this summer, working as a news intern at KTVU Channel 2 in Oakland. He had a variety of responsibilities; the most exciting experience was during producers’ meetings, when the news director would decide which stories to run. “It was fascinating to see what the process was like,” says Lonergan. “I loved my experience at KTVU. The people there were nice, and they took the time to teach me what I needed to know.”