MC student gets real-world accounting experience through internship

MC student gets real-world accounting experience through internship

March 31, 2015

Through a year-long accounting internship at Pennant Foods, Maryville College junior Chandni Dularam ‘16 has had the opportunity to get real-world experience that will help prepare her for a future career in accounting.

Dularam is benefitting from a partnership that began in 2013 between Maryville College and Pennant Foods, which operates 90 Wendy’s restaurants in both Tennessee and California.

An economics and finance/accounting major from Sevierville, Tenn., Dularam began interning at Pennant Foods’ Knoxville headquarters in the summer of 2014. She learned about the internship through Rebecca Treadway, her advisor and associate professor of accounting at MC.

"Pennant Foods annually offers an accounting internship for an MC sophomore or junior finance accounting major,” Treadway said. “With Pennant Foods as a partner, Maryville College is able to help students be better prepared, providing students exposure to a specific work dynamic and environment, as well as specific accounting methodology and practice.”

The position is mainly focused on the revenue cycle. Day-to-day responsibilities include daily sales reports, bank reconciliations and monthly reports such as sales tax reports and required reporting to the franchisor. Of these tasks, Dularam says she enjoys bank reconciliations the most, noting that they are very different from what she had learned in class.

Tina Hertzel, chief financial officer of Pennant Foods and Dularam’s supervisor, said the company’s position need is not full time, so a student who needs part-time work is “a perfect fit.”

“These students do an amazing job and perform the tasks with enthusiasm and pride,” Hertzel said. “In addition, Pennant has the privilege of working with these students as they determine if doing real accounting work is what they are interested in. Chandni is one of those exceptional candidates – she is thorough, accurate and eager to learn. She has done a great job with handling the reconciliation of our daily deposits as received by the bank compared to those reported by the locations.”

The internship provides practical experience in the work force, Hertzel said.

“While students learn debits and credits in school, they do not see how the process all fits together,” Hertzel said. “Chandni gets to see the entire revenue cycle. In addition, she now has experience working with an accounting software package.

“Over the course of the year, the intern also gets to assist in the budgeting process and interact with external auditors,” Dularam’s supervisor added. “Therefore, the position really can see what an accountant does day to day in ‘industry.’ She can also talk to and work with external auditors to see what their job is like, and by working with the auditors, she can build a relationship so if she decides to go into public accounting, she has contacts to reach out to for advice, networking, etc.”

Dularam, who hopes to pursue a master’s degree after graduating from MC and later a career in accounting, said the experience “makes accounting make a lot more sense.”

“Basically, it takes what we have learned in the classroom and puts that into application, so we find meaning to what we’ve been doing in the classroom,” Dularam said.

Dularam said she hopes to use the skills and experience she has gained to secure another internship for the summer of 2015.

By Evy Linkous ’16, Communications Assistant

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.