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May 13, 2004

ULM Accounting Students Learn From Internship in Toronto

Seven accounting students from the University of Louisiana at Monroe's Department of Accounting spent their spring semester in Toronto, Canada as part of an international internship opportunity. The students worked for Ernst & Young, the second largest CPA firm in the world.

The students selected to participate in the internship include Ginny Caplis, a senior from Bossier City; Lashanda Ellis, a junior from Monroe; Stephanie Gibson, a senior from Monroe; Aimee Buchanan, a senior from Arnaudville; Adam Knight, a senior from Monroe, Shonda McCoy, a December graduate from Monroe; and Philip Stephens, a junior from Gilbert.

The internship program required the participating students to spend approximately three months in Toronto, Canada. The students left for Toronto in February. They then had a few days to settle into their new surroundings then spent approximately a week in intense training. They spent the remainder of their time preparing expatriate tax returns. Expatriate tax returns are tax returns that must be filed by U.S. citizens who are residing and working outside the U.S.

For ULM student Adam Knight the trip to Toronto was his first outside of the US. He said, "It was a great experience, and such a mix of culture. We went to Montreal for a day. Ernst & Young gave us tickets to a Maple Leaves Hockey Game and to a basketball game. We went skiing and ice-skating."

About the internship experience, Knight said he was in good hands. "Three managers were working with my team and they took good care of us. We were the only student interns there."

"We had a $150 per week allowance for food, and they took us to diner five or six times. On the last weekend, they took us to the Niagara Falls. Everybody over there has been great and I have kept in touch with some of them via e-mail. They have already helped me a lot by giving me some advice about what to expect when I graduate in December," said Knight.

Each year, Ernst & Young pays travel costs for the student interns. Additionally, Ernst & Young provides accommodations, insurance coverage, and a weekly monetary stipend for the interns during their stay. Though the primary purpose of the internship is to provide real-world work experience for the interns, Ernst & Young also tries to ensure that the students receive a valuable cultural experience as well. The company generally sends each intern to at least one major sporting event. Interns during the spring semester of 2003 were taken to a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game and a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game. Numerous other opportunities are provided for the interns to network with other accounting professionals and enjoy the experience of living in a large metropolitan Canadian city.

Applicants for the internship must have been admitted into ULM's Professional Accounting Program and have completed ACCT 310 (Intermediate Accounting I) and ACCT 330 (Income Tax Accounting). The applicants were subjected to a two-step competitive selection process. First, from the applications received, the accounting faculty recommended to Ernst & Young those students who met select criteria and possessed characteristics-including strong work ethic and mature, responsible personalities-that would enable them to serve as positive representatives for the Department and University. Second, John Lowden, a tax partner with the Toronto office of Ernst & Young, visited ULM in November and personally interviewed each of the recommended candidates before the final selection decisions were made.

Aleecia R. Hibbets was the first accounting student to participate in the internship program during the 1997 spring semester. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Accounting from The University of Alabama and has joined the faculty in the Department of Accounting as an assistant professor. Prior to the 2004 spring semester, 33 students have participated in the program. On occasion, the interns have spent their term in other offices of Ernst & Young, including the Montreal and Calgary offices in Canada and the Paris office in France.

All of the students who have participated in the program agree that the experience was invaluable to them in enhancing their education, building their cultural awareness of the world, and providing them with a powerful and visible line item on their resume. For more information about the program, contact ULM's Department of Accounting at 318-342-1108.

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