Culture Corner: New Minds, New Perspectives (Emily Grostern)
Each month, we usually interview a Richter partner to gain insight into how our leadership finds balance and focus in a demanding job, and what non-technical skills contribute to career success.
However! For the summer, we’re switching it up a bit. For the next few weeks, we will be chatting with our summer interns, to learn more about their experience at Richter, and what working life is like at the very start of their young careers.
This edition features Emily Grostern, an intern in Audit.
You’ve been at Richter for almost one month now, tell us about your experience working here; what have you worked on so far?
I felt a bit nervous at first, because I have never had a full-time job in a firm before. After the first weeks of training, I already felt more comfortable. Even though I have taken accounting classes, I realized early on that this is very different from what I have learned from school. I have been learning so much every day about different topics and processes, and I have already been working on a few client files.
What were your expectations for this internship? Is it what you expected or has anything surprised you? (Did you face any challenges? How to deal with these challenges? )
I didn’t know what to expect at first. I haven’t completed my bachelor’s degree yet and I was worried before the start of the internship because I still have a lot to learn. A few weeks down the road, I can say that everything has been very interesting so far, and I really enjoy the work a lot more than I thought I would. I am currently working on a file with other people and we all sit in the same room, which really encourages our teamwork and collaboration. Everyone has been more than willing to help me and answer my questions. Moreover, all that I’ll have learned by the end of the summer will help me a great deal when I go back to university in the fall.
What skills do you wish to get out of the rest of the summer? (Any soft skills you want to work on or technical skills you would like to develop?)
For technical skills, I have never been the best in using Excel or those kinds of computer programs. But in the past month, I’ve learned more than I ever did before, and I want to continue improving this skill until the end of the summer. In terms of soft skills, I think that both through the recruitment process and by working with outgoing people, I have become less shy than I was before. Everyone here has been so welcoming, and I know I can count on them if I need help.
What’s been your favorite thing about working at the firm?
The people are great here, and I like how we work as a team! Everyone has had different experiences, and we all learn from each other every day. There are other people who just started working at the firm as well, and even though they are full-time employees, they don’t always know how to do things a certain way either. It’s comforting to know that I am not the only one learning new things and that we can share our knowledge.
What advice would you give to younger students looking to land an internship at a firm like Richter?
I would tell them not to be shy and be themselves. I personally am a shy person and I’ve always felt nervous when I had to introduce myself to people I didn’t know. I learned through the recruitment events that they want to see who you are beyond what is written on your resume. It’s important to realize that in order to succeed and find the right place for you, you must truly be yourself.
Every summer, Richter interns are also tasked with organizing charity events to raise money for a cause of their choosing. Can you tell us about these events?
Of course! This year, the summer interns agreed on choosing a local charity that people would relate to. We wanted them to be able to see the outcomes of their donations and feel engaged with it. We also wanted the charity to be geared towards helping children. This is how we came to choose the Just for Kids Foundation; its purpose is to purchase medical equipment for the Montreal Children’s Hospital. If we get to raise a specific amount of money, the JFK Foundation will attach a plaque with Richter’s name on it on a piece of equipment!
To reach our goal, we have planned a few events throughout the summer. First, we had a bake sale at the Montreal office. Following its amazing success, we decided to schedule a second sale. We also wanted to organize activities that would encourage people to participate, like a yoga session at the office and spinning event. Finally, we planned a raffle to be held at the firm’s summer event, as well a 5 à 7 event in August. Being involved in a real-life group project is an amazing experience. When I reach out to new people or to other companies to request donations for example, I am proud that I get to represent Richter. It’s very motivating to do something that has such an impact on other people in our society, and I am grateful that Richter gave us this opportunity to make a meaningful difference.