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Accounting Major Helps Team Win National Intern Competition

Posted on 9/8/2017 4:34:23 PM

Katelyn Cramer won an internship competition during her time at Grant ThorntonKatelyn Cramer didn’t just help her team earn first place in a prestigious intern competition this summer. She also landed a job.

Cramer, a senior accounting major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was recently part of a team of summer interns from Grant Thornton LLP that won the company’s national Key Client Project competition.

Cramer will graduate from IUP in December with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and a minor in economics.

While interning at Grant Thornton’s Pittsburgh office this summer, Cramer worked with two fellow interns from other universities to come up with a presentation showing a proposal to give to one of the company’s current clients.

The students worked on this project throughout their two-month internship. Their final presentation was limited to 15 minutes, with no more than five slides, followed by a Q&A with the midwest managing partner. They presented once via video chat, and it was recorded and passed to new judges for each round of the competition.

Cramer’s team won the first round, competing against teams from the Great Lakes market territory (Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Detroit). In the second round, they beat teams from Chicago, Houston, and Minneapolis. The final round also included teams from the eastern (Boston) and western regions (Los Angeles).

“It was amazing,” Cramer said. “When our recruiter told us we had won, we were so excited.”

In all, there were more than 100 teams of interns participating in the contest.

“For years I’ve said I’d put our top accounting students up against the top accounting students anywhere from any university,” said Kim Anderson, a faculty member in IUP’s Accounting Department and advisor to the Student Accounting Association. “Well, Katelyn proved me right. She and her two teammates competed against almost 300 other accounting majors from dozens of universities from all over the country and came out on top. It makes me proud of her, and it makes me proud of IUP.”

Headquartered in Chicago, Grant Thornton is a national accounting firm that has 60 offices in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

The prize for the winning team was a one-day trip to Chicago. Cramer and her teammates visited the company’s headquarters, where they met CEO Mike McGuire, who congratulated them on their win and gave them a tour of the facility. They then went on a scavenger hunt in the city to learn a little about Chicago’s history, and capped off the day by attending the Chicago Cubs’ game that night at Wrigley Field, where they sat in the company’s private suite with McGuire and other Grant Thornton executives.

“It was incredible to have the chance to meet (McGuire),” Cramer said. “It was awesome to have that opportunity and to also network with all professionals.”

Soon after returning from the trip, Cramer was offered a full-time position at the Grant Thornton Pittsburgh office, which she accepted.

“IUP students are in demand,” Anderson said. “In the past year alone, our graduates have been recruited by ‘The Big 4’ accounting firms as well as 20 other international, national, regional, and local public accounting firms. Our alumni know how very well IUP prepares our students: Katelyn was interviewed on campus for her internship by a former IUP student, now a senior manager with Grant Thornton. Many of our current students are recruited by our alumni. Our accounting alumni are also being hired into banks, corporations, governmental, and not-for-profit agencies.”

In January, Cramer will begin working toward her goal of becoming a certified public accountant.

“I know my experience at IUP, plus this competition, really solidified that this was the right decision for me,” she said.