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Plante & Moran MP on their internships: “The only cup of coffee you’ll fetch is your own”

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June 10, 2010

Back in the ‘60s, accounting students aka interns at Southfield, Mich.-based Plante & Moran worked in the firm’s proofreading department to review financial reports. Today, they work on client engagements and visit clients’ places of business.

Now the firm is reflecting on nearly 50 years of developing future leaders.

At Plante & Moran, 94 percent of the firm’s interns (on average) get full-time employment offers after graduation and nearly 100 percent accept – and- more than one-third of the firm’s current partners had internships with the firm.

“When interns ‘grow up’ with the firm, they tend to maintain the idealism of firm philosophies and incorporate them into their supervisory and mentoring approach,” said Gordon Krater, the firm’s managing partner. “This keeps the firm’s traditions and heritage alive as staff members pass on beliefs and values from one generation of P&Mers to another.”

Annually, more than 100 students experience a three to four month paid internship. The latest round of students will begin their internships on June 14 in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois firm offices. On the agenda? An Intern Summit, which is a two-day, off-site meeting focused mainly on team-building and community service projects. At the end, interns give a formal presentation on their reflections and lessons learned from the experience.

During their stay with the firm, interns also receive feedback from their managers and are evaluated against the same competencies as full-time staff. Instead of waiting solely until the exit interview, they are asked questions midway through the internship process, as well.

“As an assurance intern, I was given the opportunity to go into the field and perform real audit work, not just sit behind a desk or get people their coffee,” said Staci Tobe, a former Plante & Moran intern and Michigan University student. “I also appreciated the firm’s open door policy. I never expected to be able to walk into a partner’s office and seek advice, but Plante & Moran encouraged it.”

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