Name: Morgan Bernholz
Where did you do your internship?
Atlanta, Georgia with the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena
Time period for the internship/number of hours?
My work tenure ran from May 27th to August 15th, 2014 working three days a week, eight hours a day, for a total of approximately 264 hours.
Responsibilities/Duties as an intern:
- Created and maintained files for Premium Seating contracts and payments
- Created and maintained AP / AR files for the Supervisor of Accounting and Financial Systems
- Input sub ledger entries needed for accounts payable
- Created and maintained journal entry files for Assistant Controller
- Assisted with external audits by pulling and filing auditors’ requests
- In charge of account reconciliations for accounts payable, bad debt expense, deferred revenue, and others
- Unique experience within a Sports/Entertainment working environment
- Received hands on experience with industry specific software such as Excel, Microsoft Dynamics, and API
- Great experience learning a specific area within the accounting field
- Opportunity to explore relocation
- Worked for college credit with no other compensation
Skills you have developed.
I improved many skills with my internship experience learning specific accounting programs, and working with other co-workers in a team environment. I multi tasked with having to report to two separate locations and multiple supervisors within the organization. I became a self-starter when there were no reference materials available to refer to in order to make journal entries. I created a handbook and reference guide to help the next intern and my supervisors with transitioning new employees. I managed my work responsibilities within the established timelines. I improved my communication skills through meetings designed for strategic planning, employee feedback, and constructive criticism. On a personal level I learned how to cook, budget money, and navigate around a new city in Atlantic traffic.
Describe the environment.
The Hawks organization I found to have a culture that was relaxed, friendly, and highly productive. I feel that these are key components for an organization to be successful with longevity. I say they had a relaxed environment because everyone was always laughing and having fun, a more laid back approach. It’s was not the toxic top down leadership with people breathing down your neck every second making you hate coming to work. I feel the Hawks do a great job treating their employees as participants and allowing them freedom to operate with feedback and input under conditions that would improve the organization. The Hawks employees are very friendly I did not find a single person, who was negative towards me; they make all the interns feel like they are a part of the organization. An example of this was when they invited all employees including interns to a meeting because the season was coming to an end. In this meeting we went over current events and updates both on the arena’s operations and the team news. At this meeting both the general manager of the Hawks and the CEO of the company sat down and informed all employees on new information and asked for feedback from the employees. This two way communication and management involvement created an opportunity to see where things could be improved or where new issues could be addressed. Not only does this informs employees and allows them to give feedback to their superiors but it cultivates ownership with all employees and creates camaraderie by bringing everyone together which can increase productivity. Having camaraderie in a big organization is extremely important because the integration of one department depends on others and cannot run without the other. I feel cooperation and team work is essential for the organization to run smoothly and the Atlanta Hawks do a great job in this area. With this valuable past experience I will consider corporate structure as an essential component in my own decisions when deciding on a job offer.
How has your internship changed you?
My internship which took me out of state and the northeast changed me in many ways such as being comfortable outside of what is familiar. Being open to change and new experiences while pursuing a career path. I have learned the importance of networking and meeting new contacts. I am more independent and confident that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I believe in chasing your dream with a calculated plan that has to remain flexible to accommodate opportunity that presents itself along the way.
What steps did you take in seeking out this internship?
Originally I began my search for summer jobs that would be conducive to my future plan of working in the accounting/finance field within the Sports industry. My first job was cash control host and an internship for the Six Flags Corporation. These 2 years’ experience helped with familiarity with finance operations that used ticket sales, park revenue and expenses, and separate venders. I then applied to various sporting venues for intern positions. One day my brother who recently moved to Atlanta received a call about premium seating for the Hawks, the women left her phone number which was a direct line. My brother then texted the name and number of the woman to me and said I might contact her being a real person and ask if they had any internships available. I took the number and called asking if she knew of any internship positions, she contacted a coworker and they then directed me to Teamworkonline.com which is a database for sporting jobs. From there I applied to the Hawks accounting and finance internship program. Once I applied I got a phone interview with Human Resources. I was told they had 80 applicants of which they chose to interview 20 for the first round. They then picked the 10 strongest candidates and scheduled us to interview with the CFO of Finance and Accounting. There was only 1 position and I was the prevailing candidate.
Did Career Services help you search for or secure your internship?
Career Services did not help me search for my internship but they did help with reviewing my resume, cover letter, and helped me prep for my phone interview.
Any recommendations for students looking to start the internship process?
From my own experience I learned to be open to anything and to take a chance. Put yourself out there the worst that can happen is that you are told NO. Interning out of state can be an overlooked possibility that is manageable with many companies offering housing if necessary. Also be persistent, follow through so your application does not fall through the cracks.
Other interesting items about you and your background and interests?
Accounting/Finance is my chosen path and I am open to each experience to learn and experience firsthand something new and grow as a person who can contribute to society in a positive meaningful way.