WASHINGTON, PA (September 16, 2022)—W&J junior Ryan Coughenour may not be an acrobat, but after this summer, he knows how to balance the books.
An accounting major and economics and computing & information systems double minor, he spent the last few months in Philadelphia, working at KPMG—one of the big four accounting firms—and exploring the company’s advisory, audit, and tax practices as an embark scholar intern.
Serving in the role allowed Coughenour to experiment with hybrid work and consulting scenarios, work to master Excel, and learn data analytics programs, like Alteryx and Microsoft Power BI.
“They’re not something I’ve had much experience with, so that was really valuable,” Coughenour said. “It seems like that’s the direction things are shifting in for all three practices, so it’s definitely a good skillset to learn.”
Though developing that skillset enhanced all elements of his work, Coughenour most liked using it in advisory services.
“Out of the three practices, it seemed like advisory was the most dynamic,” Coughenour said. “It seemed like every day was different and had high-level problem solving, which I thought was interesting.”
Still, his appreciation of the internship went beyond the work. Coughenour grew to be more assertive in the role, finding many ways to contribute, and learned to collaborate with a variety of staffers.
“It was a really great experience,” Coughenour said, noting that, in his final week, the company flew him to Florida for the presentation of his capstone project. “But the people, by far, were the best part. Everyone was unbelievably friendly, and I made a lot of connections through networking.”
Connections, it seems, at all levels of the company.
“There were 15 other embark scholars who I was obviously super close with,” Coughenour said, “but I had a lot of insightful, one-on-one conversations and lunches with KPMG employees of all levels, from associate to partner.”
Partner lunches were a highlight of his experience.
“It was just really nice sitting down and hearing their experiences and how they got to where they are in their careers,” Coughenour said.
Having consulted with Rachel Stalker, the assistant director of the Center for Professional Pathways, and Dana Allen, an assistant professor of accounting, to land the role, Coughenour is already establishing a career of his own with the support of W&J.
“I’ve already accepted an offer from KPMG for their summer 2023 advisory internship in Deal Advisory – Financial Due Diligence,” Coughenour said. “W&J has prepared me extremely well [and] KPMG is definitely somewhere I want to be in the future.”
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu or call 888-W-AND-J.