Obtaining a full-time role and further education in a field that you love on the heels of a successful internship is many students’ dream. Ryan Barnes ’20 has achieved that feat with KPMG. Soon, he will be pursuing a KPMG-sponsored master’s in accounting with data analytics degree at the University of Southern California while also working for the firm’s audit practice.
Building Toward a Career at KPMG
The Endicott College internship model includes multiple experiential internships. For Barnes, they included Ameriprise Financial and Commonwealth Financial Group. These internships made him an excellent fit for KPMG. He says, “Prior to my internship in the audit practice at KPMG, I completed two other internships that were both very different. The first of which was with Ameriprise Financial, acting as a Certified Financial Planner assistant, supporting the financial planning process for thousands of active clients. The second of which was with Commonwealth Financial Network, acting as member of the compliance operations and surveillance team, working on projects related to the outside business activities for the firm’s licensed professionals, and providing assistance to the personal securities team that reviewed both home office and field staff employees’ personal security accounts.”
Meet the Firms
Like many other successful Gulls, Barnes found his senior internship opening at an Endicott event focused on placement. He says, “I initially was introduced to the internship opportunity at KPMG through one of the School of Business’ ‘Meet the Firms.’ At this event, students can network and inquire about potential internship opportunities available to them. During this event, I visited the KPMG booth and spoke with some Endicott alumni who work for the firm. I also learned a lot about the opportunities KPMG has to offer, the KPMG culture, as well as how a path into public accounting can be a great option for students.”
Therefore, when he started working with KPMG, he was already a confident professional. He credits this to Endicott, his family, and his own drive. He says, “I feel that I have been more than prepared by attending Endicott to move on to this next step in my career and in my life. The biggest takeaways from Endicott for me when it comes to professional development are the internship program and the unmatched assistance and relationships with teachers and advisors. I had the ability to do several (three) internships that ranged across multiple areas of finance and accounting, developing necessary skills that bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world.
“No matter how great of an environment you are in, however, with more than enough tools and people who are willing and able to help you achieve your goals, it really comes down to yourself. I was given all the tools necessary to succeed by my parents, and by Endicott. It was just a matter of figuring out how to make all these tools and practices work for me in order to achieve anything I wanted in life.”
The KPMG Experience
Since joining KPMG, Barnes has been immersed in the day-to-day workings of the firm and has met many helpful, admirable people. That immersion led him to learn how to continue his education and would ultimately send him toward an important post-graduate career.
He says, “Since being with KPMG I have had the opportunity to work alongside a multitude of highly motivated industry-leading professionals, as well as enhance my knowledge and understanding of audit methodology and procedures. Through KPMG, I had the opportunity to attend the Discover conference, which was a way to establish relationships within the Boston office as well as learn, or ‘Discover,’ more about the firm’s practices and a future with KPMG. Prior to starting my internship with KPMG, the firm sends all the interns nationwide to Florida for a national intern training. The training is a fun way to meet other KPMG interns from around the country, learn the necessary technology we would be using during the internship, as well as learn to take an initial ‘crash-course’ in some of the procedures we would be conducting during the internship. This experience was so much fun, getting to network and enjoy some warm weather before an intense first ‘busy season’ internship started up.”
Barnes says the culture at KPMG is energetic and lively. He says, “KPMG is a global firm, but the Boston office holds true to the KPMG culture. From campus recruiting to in the home office, KPMG always felt welcoming and a great fit. However, during my internship I spent little time at the home office due to the fact I was in the audit practice and spent nearly all my time at the client site. My co-workers ranged from a variety of different positions including other interns, associates, senior associates, managers, senior managers, as well as partners. Given the fact that a partner of a firm and a senior associate are two extremely different figures, I always felt comfortable and welcomed by everyone who I had the opportunity to work with. Another massive component of KPMG that I love is that even though I was an intern, I was given meaningful work that not only proved to be great education for me, but also allowed me to feel as though I was an impact in the overall audit. One of the best ways to learn and better yourself is to ask questions, especially to those that are the best at what they do. I found that asking questions to all levels of staff was immensely impactful during my internship.
“Toward the end of the internship, I had a growing interest in data analytics and emerging technology. This was mostly due to my thesis topic and start of work for my thesis back at Endicott. I spoke with multiple people at KPMG to try and learn as much as I could about the Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics (MADA) program through KPMG, I was fascinated and knew I had to apply to the program.”
“Toward the end of the internship, I had a growing interest in data analytics and emerging technology. This was mostly due to my thesis topic and start of work for my thesis back at Endicott. I spoke with multiple people at KPMG to try and learn as much as I could about the Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics (MADA) program through KPMG, I was fascinated and knew I had to apply to the program. The process was extensive, and rightfully so, considering the firm only sponsors a little over 100 students in the entire country. But after countless interviews, both in person and over the phone, taking the GMAT exam, and gaining acceptance from University of Southern California, I was able to gain sponsorship from KPMG to get my master’s in accounting with data analytics degree.”
At the moment, Barnes is focused on starting his KPMG career and his education, but eventually, he hopes to rise to a leadership role there. He says, “As of right now I know I am going to be starting my career in public accounting with an obligation to stay with the firm for three years minimum. I’m not sure that I will always be in public accounting, but I do believe it is the perfect place for me to start. I will be able to receive my master’s, as well as my CPA under sponsorship by the firm, as well as work with the elite professionals in an industry that experience is highly sought after. I would love to eventually act in more of a finance position, whether it be a controller or CFO, of a private company, or taking my accounting experience private. However, I think it would be an interest of mine to potentially open my own practice someday. The funny thing about the future is that you can never ‘connect the dots’ looking forward, but only can connect them looking backwards, meaning that the future is always unknown, but what you are doing now and what you have done, can help determine where you will be next. I know that KPMG will provide the most optimal future for me, whether it is to stay in public accounting, or to go in a different direction.”
Barnes has simple, but poignant advice for his fellow Gulls. He says,“For other Endicott students trying to break into the data and analytics side of accounting as well as pursue a master’s, it’s simple, keep your ear to the ground and be curious about what is new. I would always try to be proactive and enthusiastic on the internship site because you never know the opportunities and relationships it will form. And lastly is to be passionate. If you are passionate about anything that you are doing, not only does it make it more fun, but it allows you to push your boundaries outside what you normally would have, making for the best experiences in the long run.”
“Ever since I was young, I played sports, specifically hockey and baseball. I feel that playing team-oriented sports set up a solid foundation for my ability to succeed in any situation.”
Barnes also advocates getting involved with athletics. He says, “Ever since I was young, I played sports, specifically hockey and baseball. I feel that playing team-oriented sports set up a solid foundation for my ability to succeed in any situation. My parents always used a quote when speaking to me before and after games and it read, ‘The price of success is hard work’ which is a Vince Lombardi quote. This quote has resided in me in a multitude of ways from sports through school and now my professional career. The more effort and passion that you have for something, inevitably the better the outcome is. I also feel as though that the sports I have participated in played a major role in my overall development as a human and have provided me with the tools necessary to be successful in any environment. Whether that be communication, teamwork, or empathy.”
Three Things Everyone Should Know
But Barnes is more than numbers and patterns. He’s deeply focused on human connections, he loves expanding his horizons, and enjoys staying healthy. We asked him what three things everyone should know about him as a person.
Hey says, “I am a sociable person who embraces human connection. I am a perspective addict, and love to learn and gain people’s perspectives on anything and everything (from life to the work place).
“I also love to travel. Having the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland, traveling the world as much as possible, and learning about different cultures and people is something I live for.
“Being active, being health-conscience, being outside, being with my friends, family and those I love, being curious, being weird, being kind, being courageous, and being empathetic–these are just a few of the many things it takes to be me.”
Barnes is an excellent example of an internship success story. If you would like to read more stories like his, visit endicott.edu/news-events/news/internships-careers.