Internship with Big-4 as an international student. Brief Odds...

Apple's picture
Rank: Chimp | 8

I am an international student who just enrolled in a low-mid class university (recieved the AACSB accreditation not too long ago, which i see as a benefit at least to some extent) in the United States as a sophomore. I am orignially from Germany.

  • I speak German and Russian fluently and am right now taking Spanish.
  • I don't have any relevant working experience (maybe worth mentioning 9 months of service for the German Army but I doubt that this is of huge importance...)
  • I expect to graduate with GPA 3.2+ (this is more than realistic) with a major in accounting

So, given this very "skinny" resume, and taking into consideration that I probably would have to get heavily involved in extra curricular activities in the next and the following semesters, what are my chances on getting a summer internship at the Big-4 in audit between my junior and senior year? Do the Big-4 even offer that, because it would suggest that they would have to "sponsor/support" me with a working Visa.

What about a graduate position after graduation?

Does the fact that my institution is everything but top tier drastically reduce my chances?

Is my ability to speak diffrent languages of big impact or is it more of an "eye-candy" and not more than that?

Would a summer internship in Germany prior to applying for the Big-4 one increase my chances?

Thank you for your time,

Eastern Europe

Comments (8)

Apr 12, 2010

At my school (top 5 US accounting program) big 4 like a gpa of 3.5, along with extensive extracurricular involvement. So get involved asap. Any work experience would definitely help immensely. Your language ability might help, might not. My suggestion would be to shoot for lower tier accounting firms such as Grant Thornton, RSM Mcgladrey, Crowe Horwath, etc. As they might be more forgiving on the gpa. Good luck!

Apr 12, 2010

Getting my GPA up to 3.5+ wouldn't actually be a really big problem. I just had the impression that the Big-4 seem to be fine with 3.2+, but maybe I have some false information on that.

My biggest question is if they pass out internships, at all, to international students (i could imagine that they do it with graduate programs if they see potential)?

And I'm unsure if lower tier accounting firms would be as good ,because I doubt that they operate internationally on the same level as the Big-4 do. And international business is definitely something I see myself working in in the future (especially given my language skills).

Apr 12, 2010

On the other hand given my (so far) poor resume and my "not-top-anything" institution maybe I'd have more of a chance at the lower tier accounting firms. Thats basically why I created this topic to just get some facts straight and have a more clear view on this whole topic.

Apr 12, 2010

Per a Deloitte posting in my school's site:
Work Authorization: F-1, OPT, CPT, H1-B, J-1, US Permanent Resident, US Citizen

Apr 12, 2010

RSM McGladrey is a global firm. They're actually pretty big, but their industry presence is pretty low for some reason. They regularly hold OCR events on my campus and from what I've seen, it's not a bad place to work at all.

Apr 12, 2010

The big-4 hires interns who are international students from my school, but they must be a part of the 5-year integrated masters in accounting program. Not sure if your school offers something similar.

Sep 22, 2010

Hey Apple,

In my experience if you (1) are not in target school and (2) are concerned about whether you make the cut for a global company such as accounting firm or a consulting firm, you might have more of an edge outside of the U.S. Sometimes these firms face shortage of qualified candidates who speak good english and the local language. Hence working in Moscow or in the office that works with companies in Moscow might be a good bet for you. I think your fluent Russian definitely is an asset you should leverage.

My advice to you is to network within those companies and seek out groups that have clients in Russia. Same thinking applies to German but Russian is definitely a more unique skill.

We discuss job search issues for international students on our blog
Good luck.

Oct 5, 2010