Strive for Success
Are you someone who wants the very best out of a product or service?
Whether you enjoy working with numbers through calculations and forecasts, prefer to persuade others toward a specific goal, or have a natural acumen for identifying successful innovations, careers in Business + Entrepreneurship offer ample opportunities for the savvy student.
As the backbone of economic activity, people who pursue Business + Entrepreneurship are often driven to increase efficiency and profitability through roles such as finance, accounting, management, sales, real estate, operations, logistics, actuarial science, and quantitative analysis to predict future business models. Learn how you can jump-start your career in Business + Entrepreneurship and reach your highest potential.
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Gain Experience: Accounting
For complete information on internships, student jobs, research opportunities, extracurriculars, and more, review our starter tips to Gain Experience in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.
Gaining experience in accounting is very important, especially if you want to develop your career in the professional accounting field. However, it can be challenging to acquire direct accounting experience at the beginning of a career. Formal internships primarily occur during the summer after your junior year, though there are many ways to gain experience during your first and second year.
The easiest way to get started is to gain leadership experience through campus organizations, part-time jobs, Greek life, or volunteering for tasks that relate to financial responsibilities. More specifically, working part-time as a bank teller or serving as a treasurer for a campus organization are also valuable experiences to showcase on your resume.
For incoming transfer students, your priority should be completing major coursework in a timely manner. Complementing your academic degree with relevant, hands-on experience while you are at UCSB should be your next priority. Accounting firms want to know what you have done beyond the classroom setting.
Types of Experience
Click below to see various ways to begin gaining experience in accounting.
If you are new to campus, gaining experience through leadership opportunities is a great way to showcase your skills.
Here are some common campus organizations related to accounting:
- Undergraduate Accounting Society (UAS): Allows you to learn more about the accounting industry and network with accounting professionals by participating in meetings and events.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): Trains you in preparing taxes for low-income families within the local Santa Barbara community.
Here are some Associated Students (A.S.) campus organizations related to accounting:
- Community Financial Fund (CFF): Conducts student-to-student financial literacy education through workshops and presentations.
- Finance & Business Committee: Oversees and allocates A.S. funds to campus organizations.
- Investment Advisory Committee (IAC): Invites you to participate in student-run committee managing and investing A.S. funds into companies.
- Office of the Controller: Allows you to serve as consulting unit for A.S. entities and seek proposals for business enterprises or ventures within A.S.
As duties within the industry begin to become more automated, accounting firms are looking for additional skill sets for units such as advisory and data analytics. Therefore, it is important to diversify your skill sets beyond simply attending meetings.
To gain additional experience and further prepare yourself, you can also enroll in basic accounting courses offered through the Santa Barbara Career Skills Institute, or your local community college. Through these courses, you can build your skill set as a bookkeeper, demonstrating the ability to be accurate and detail-oriented.
Formal programs hosted by firms are the best way to gain accounting experience and be competitive for full-time employment post-graduation. For all formal programs, review the information in the Get Hired section of this page to adequately prepare your application.
First-Year Students: Exploration Programs
During the late spring and summer, some firms offer exploration programs which are designed for first-year students to learn about the profession. They are typically one-day visits, and are very similar to an Open House format. You can participate in many different programs over the summer, but there is still an application process. If you are interested in partaking in an exploration program, research early as applications are typically due during winter quarter.
Second-Year Students: Leadership Programs
For second-year students, leadership opportunities occur in the late spring and following summer. You can participate in multiple programs, as most firms (i.e., Big Four, mid-tier firms, and local firms) offer two-day visits. These programs provide you with the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the different areas of service that the firms offer. Leadership programs may lead to internship offers during the following summer, so treat this visit as an "extended interview." Leadership program applications are typically due during winter quarter.
Third-Year Students: Internship Programs
Internships most commonly occur during the summer and provide a full-time schedule over a three-month period. You can only participate in one internship during the summer, so it is important to determine which firm best fits you personally. Sometimes, local firms offer winter internships during the busy tax season. These internships may lead to full-time offers for post-graduation employment. Internship program applications are due prior to the start of the academic year (usually in late September), so it is important to check Handshake for specific recruiting deadlines.
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