It is safe to say that professionally speaking, these six weeks in London have been extremely helpful for both developing soft and hard skills. During my time abroad, I was able to take one class and one internship in the accounting field. This was my first work experience within my major and my first work experience abroad, so professionally speaking I had to develop adaptability skills as I was learning about the projects I had to complete during my internship.
When I first started my internship, I only knew what accounting was inside of the classroom and only had some knowledge of the day-to-day tasks accountants are required to do. With the help of my supervisor, I was able to first get exposed and learn about different sets of accounts and how to analyze them. I developed critical problem-solving skills and trend analysis skills. My supervisor preferred to give me a task and let me come to my own conclusion with the knowledge I had from my previous classes and what I was learning throughout my internship before he explained to me what solution he had found. Very rarely did we have similar ways of coming to a conclusion, but the purpose of this was for me to develop problem-solving skills and find solutions to problems I had never been exposed to before.
During my internship, I was given the opportunity to work with QuickBooks and Xero as well as gain more knowledge about excel. I was first required to do a project solely with QuickBooks, accounting software also used in the United States. For the second part of my internship, I was given access to a Xero account to practice reconciliations and verify accounts. Throughout my entire time at my internship, I had to use excel to perform trend analysis, verify accounts, and organize any work I would do.
During my six weeks here, I was also able to enhance my communication skills. Moving to a different country where the similarities stop at the language, it is important to ask questions and be proactive so that we learn and understand the diverse culture that we are in. Whether that was during my class, when we couldn’t quite understand concepts presented to us by the companies we visited or while exploring London and its surroundings, or when I did not know how to complete a task given by my internship supervisor, I found myself asking many questions throughout this study abroad experience and therefore gained a deeper knowledge by communicating with locals. Furthermore, I worked with another student at my internship and had many projects to complete together where great communication would be critical to perform well.
As part of the Pitt study abroad program, Pitt business students were also able to attend an alumni event, where Pitt alumni currently working in London came to network with us. This helped us create connections that we wouldn’t have had the chance to have otherwise. Being able to extend my network beyond just the United States is something that will be extremely helpful for me in the future as I have endeavors that could require me to travel abroad. I was also able to extend my network during the site visits we had as part of the International Business Issues and the City of London, as well as at my internship site. Overall, growing professionally has been one of the most rewarding parts of my experience in London.