An Unexpected Internship in Marketing

By Paul Van Peursem, Career Services Ambassador 

Accepting a summer internship in Marketing and Business Development at Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, an accounting firm, felt weird. Since I’m an economics major, should I not be doing an accounting internship? This was the question everyone was asking me. I had no idea what the summer would hold; however, to my surprise, I not only used my economics knowledge, I also expanded my research and networking skills.

When one thinks about marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is consumer products – like popular drinks, food products, clothing lines. So how does marketing accounting services compare?

There are many similarities – like market research, analyzing data or trends and creating marketing materials. However, because this is a largely services-focused industry, the marketing department is primarily business development. So the main goal is expanding  clientele, which meant I did lots of research on how best to expand the geographical footprint and figuring out what service-line expansion would attract more business.

Business development also entails networking and lots of professional interaction. So, besides getting to produce reports and research, I had the opportunity to get face-to-face time with tax and marketing professionals. Even during the research process, I interacted with professionals within the firm – including the strategic planning committee, which used several of my reports. The job also allowed me to start out really general and help with marketing within several industries. However, I learned that after you’ve found your niche, you can choose a specific area of interest and really become invested in that sector and working with the clients in it.

What did I learn from this unexpected internship? If you ever hope to run your own business or hold a high-up position within a company, you’re going to need strong business development skills – i.e. the ability to sell your company and its services. Also, you can build a wide array of skills – research, quantitative analysis, communication, presentation, and networking. All this to say that, marketing internships can provide extremely relevant experience for those looking to enter the business world.

Paul’s internship with Dixon Hughes Goodman was made available through Davidson’s 100 Internship Challenge.  

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