Experiential Learning at its Best: ‘Journey of Exploration’ Takes AU Accounting and Business Administration Major to Internship at Global Company

By Jill Wilson | August 18, 2021
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Augustana student Giselle Mawadri ‘23, of Kampala, Uganda, is an accounting and business administration double major, also minoring in media studies. She was gracious enough to answer Augustana’s questions about experiential learning while interning at Deloitte and Touche, LLC throughout the summer. Mawadri says she is on a journey of exploration and wants to be able to create some sort of impact that matters with the work she does — for her, it’s directly connected to her identity as an African woman in the professional world and trying to create more opportunities for people who look like her and want opportunities in spaces where they have historically been overlooked.

Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

A: I am a Viking Advisor for the 2021-22 school year, but have previously been involved in ASA (Augustana Student Association), the Hult Prize, Black Student Union and African Student Union.

Q: Where or how did you hear about Augustana?

A: After I completed my SATs, an Augustana International Programs Office (IPO) counselor reached out to me and told me about the opportunities that Augie had. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Q: What is/are the reason(s) you chose to come to Augustana?

A: Augustana University made it possible for me to attend by giving me the best financial aid package out of all the other schools I applied to. It was clear to me that they wanted me to get my education here, and they made that possible for me.

Q: Where is the internship located? 

A: Deloitte has many offices both nationally and globally, but I have been interning out of the Minneapolis, Minnesota, office.

Q: What do your job duties include?

A: The internship program is rotational, meaning I am gaining exposure to different service lines, mainly Audit & Assurance and Risk & Financial Advisory. My duties have included, but not been limited to, working with various audit engagement teams and performing tasks such as case study presentations, risk assessments, accounting standards and policy research, as well as creating interactive reports with different accounting software.

Q: How did you get the internship? Did anyone help you? What did that journey look like?

A: I got my internship by attending various virtual fairs and networking with recruiters from different firms. A lot of the fairs and networking events I was able to attend were recommended by accounting professors and other faculty at Augie. 

Q: What do you like most about your internship?

A: I have really enjoyed the exposure, not just to different professionals in the space, but to accounting software and generally to the accounting industry. 

Q: What do you hope to learn/gain from the internship?

A: I went into this internship with the purpose of asking questions and making connections. A lot of the technical skills that this job requires can be learned on the job and with time, so I wasn’t too worried about not having all the answers or just generally not knowing. What I concern myself with is asking questions at any opportunity and showing genuine curiosity and a willingness to learn about the work that we do.

Q: Why is experiential learning important for future endeavors?

A: For me, this internship has demystified a lot of things about the career I want to pursue. From deciding between audit, tax, advisory and consulting to realizing that not only have I gotten a great opportunity to learn from some of the best and brightest in the industry, but that I belong in spaces alongside these individuals as well. 

Q: How important is building relationships/connections?

A: The saying, “it is not just what you know, but who you know,” has never resonated more for me. This internship has shown me the power of networking and never being afraid to voice my interests and goals to, quite literally, anyone and everyone because you never know just who might be in a position to help you achieve them. I also think that most of us have been taught to network vertically with people in more senior roles than us, but it is just as important to network horizontally with your peers, because it allows you to make connections with like-minded individuals and be in spaces where your values and goals are shared and challenged in a more organic way. 

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