Kayla Bishop is an accounting student at the UAF School of Management. She interned at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) during the summer of 2013. After graduation, Kayla plans to earn her MBA and CPA.
I was in my junior year, and I was panicking a little, as it had not occurred to me how important internships were in the world today, and how limited they can be. After finding three options, I applied to them all, and honestly had no idea what to expect. As soon as I finished the phone interview with APFC, I realized that this was the one I really wanted. I had an amazing opportunity to be a part of something important to Alaskans, gain some real experience, and work alongside KPMG during their annual audit. The list of benefits just went on and on. When they decided to hire me, there was no way I could say no.
I learned a lot about investing, which I previously knew nothing about. I learned about what APFC actually does, more than just that they give dividends once a year, and I learned a ridiculous amount about Excel. I learned a lot of life skills as well: how to dress appropriately, how to conduct oneself at a meeting, what goes on when one works with people who are across the country, how to network, etc. It was a really invaluable experience.
I was absolutely terrified when I went in on my first day, as I had had no formal experience whatsoever. The most important thing I learned was that the people you work with in an internship truly want to help you. Everyone at APFC was so accommodating and helpful and really wanted me to get the most out of my internship, and if you try and mirror that, and put in as much effort as you can to doing your job well, they really appreciate it. My advice to a student interested in internships is: don’t be afraid, know you aren’t alone and that they expect you to be new to everything. Just try your best and that is more than enough.
The best part of my internship was the people. I really loved everyone in the office. They were in the same boat as me, working 9-5ish, sitting in an office all day, and they wanted to make the most of it. Everyone was extremely nice, and tried to enjoy themselves as much as possible, which was not something I expected form such a prestigious corporation. They were professional, but they weren’t pretentious, and they genuinely appreciated the work I was able to do for them, something I also didn’t expect. I actually made their lives a little easier by being there, which really made my internship seem worthwhile.