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RSM McGladrey grooms its workers of the future.


Every year at tax time, the halls of RSM McGladrey are buzzing with the company’s employees and a growing team of interns. Four years ago, the company had two interns. The next year they had four, then seven, and now 12.

“They’re energetic, eager to learn and eminently trainable,” said Rod Foster, managing director of RSM McGladrey in Des Moines. “We probably won’t add too many more. You have to supervise them fairly closely. It’s like bowling with bumpers. Then we ease back until they’re doing it on their own and they don’t even realize the bumpers are gone.”

One might think that tax season would be the worst time to have a crop of interns, but Foster says it’s the perfect time.

“We started out having them in the summer, but they didn’t get as much out of it. Honestly, it’s interns or hiring seasonal workers. Finding qualified seasonal workers is harder, and they tend to be more set in their ways.”

RSM McGladrey is the seventh-largest U.S. provider of tax and accounting services, according to Accounting Today. The RSM McGladrey internship program focuses on college juniors and seniors majoring in accounting with a 3.0 grade point average or better. The intern selection process starts months in advance with referrals, resumes and on-campus interviews followed by interviews at the RSM McGladrey offices. It requires long-term planning by students who cultivate their internships wisely, knowing that an accounting student’s internship may be his or her best chance for a job offer.

“They know we come on campus. They know we recruit early and they can have a job at graduation,” Foster said. “You’ve got to remember, they’re accountants. They’ve probably been planning this since diapers.”

Korey Keninger, a recent graduate of the University of Iowa, has had two internships at RSM McGladrey. His first came during his junior year, and this one follows his graduation. Keninger says that at college, the emphasis is always on joining the largest firms.

“But smaller firms allow a bigger array of experience,” he said.

According to Keninger, he knew after the first internship that he had found the firm for him.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Kenninger said. “You hear all of the stereotypes, that accountants aren’t interesting. It’s not true. Being an intern gave me a good taste of the office.”

Foster says the program gives him a chance to get a better feel for the interns as long-term employees, too.

“It’s much better than a 30-minute interview,” he said. “You know how they handle problems and you know their work ethic. It’s given us greater success in getting and keeping the right people.”

Keninger, who will join the staff at RSM McGladrey in the fall, says the program also helped him to succeed in his college classes.

“You go into a corporate tax class, and it’s a breeze,” he said. “In fact, when I was taking the [certified public accountant] exam, things I’d done [during the internship] came back to me.”

“You just have to jump into it, work hard and do your best,” Keninger said. “The pay is good, you get school credit, and you get the opportunity to show your talents.”

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