Real World Experience
Internship provides growth, connections
At the age of 17, Simon Zelazo '08 of Florida, Mass., entered the halls of MCLA with 24 college credits already earned through CLEP testing and a National Merit Scholarship under his belt. He graduated from the College in a mere five semesters and headed off to pursue his Masters of Business Administration at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass, but not before he garnered real world experience through his senior internship at Mountain One Financial Partners.
"Particularly within the business community, classroom knowledge can only take a recent business graduate so far," he said. "Employers within the business community tend to search for individuals with real world experience, and Mountain One provided me with the opportunity to grow as a person, employee and accountant. Additionally, my internship provided a way to introduce myself to other connections."
While working as an accounting intern at Mountain One, Zelazo said he developed personal relationships with the staff and experienced several aspects of the finance and banking industry firsthand because of the company's size.
"By choosing to intern at an medium-sized organization such as Mountain One, I had the opportunity to network with and receive recommendations from individuals such as Steve Crowe," he said. "Any internship or job experience is largely dependent upon personal abilities and a willingness to work hard. However, instruction and training tend to be more individualized in a more focused environment."
Although technically a member of the Class of 2008, Zelazo completed his graduation requirements in December 2007 and accepted a full-time position with Smith Watson & Co. LLP, an opportunity he credits directly to his internship experience. He began graduate school in the fall of 2008.
"I think the best thing I could have done was spend that time getting a real taste of what the life of a CPA is like," he said. "It's something I can see myself doing, but not for the rest of my life. I'm thinking I'm better suited for something less static, such as a venture capitalist or something to do with finance."