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KPMG Internship: Pro Tips To Land a Big Four Gig

by | Oct 16, 2020 | Internships

When you’re on track toward a future you’re passionate about, getting hands-on experience in the field is an essential next step in your professional growth. Internships allow you to step into the shoes of real-life employees, put your education into practice, and learn from the pros. For business or tech-savvy students, landing a KPMG internship gives you the chance to do all three as part of a Big Four accounting firm.

KPMG is an industry leader that’s recognized all over the world. Gaining a spot in one of the firm’s comprehensive internship programs doesn’t just get you a major resume boost — it also helps you fast-track your professional development and hone the right skills to get a step up in your career.

Not sure where to get started with your KPMG internship application? We’ll provide all the must-knows and tips for landing the internship opportunity in this guide.

KPMG Internship Programs

KPMG is best known for two types of internships that are available in offices across the United States. The company takes on interns in San Francisco, New York City, Denver, Honolulu, Austin, and many more cities in between.

The primary internship track at KPMG is built for students who are nearing graduation — just 1-1.5 years out from their future careers. Whether you choose a winter or summer internship, this opportunity gives you thorough training and resources for a future in tax, advisory, and audit practices. You’ll gain experience in two out of three of these accounting and consulting practices, while getting the chance to do a deep dive into one.

If selected as an intern, you’ll further be able to apply for KPMG’s supplementary Global Internship Program and go abroad during your semester with the company. In this program, you’ll be able to experience your preferred practice at an international scale.

The second type of KPMG internship is geared toward freshmen and sophomores — and specifically, students of color — who are still exploring their potential career paths. This program, called Embark Scholars, allows you to learn about KPMG and all three areas of the firm (audit, tax, and advisory services) in the course of two summers or more.

Students must be pursuing a finance, accounting, or IT degree and maintain a 3.0 GPA to qualify for Embark Scholars.

On our podcast, you can listen to Kathleen Schaum, executive director of campus recruiting at KPMG LLP, discuss these internship programs in further detail. She also provides further insight into what KPMG looks for interns and what your experience could actually be like.

KPMG Internship Application and Interview Process

The KPMG internship application process can vary depending on the exact program and office you’re applying to, but all college students can expect at least two steps in the application and interview process.

1. Online Application

KPMG internship: Man thinking infront of a laptop

Becoming a KPMG intern always starts with a simple online application. This part of the process gives KPMG an idea of who you are and what future career opportunities you’re interested in, so they can determine if your desired program is actually a good fit. You’ll complete a form that asks for:

  • Basic details: You’ll need to provide your name, contact information, school, major, and graduation date — all the easy details that confirm your eligibility.
  • Internship preferences: KPMG will also ask you about what you want from your own internship, including where you want to intern at and what you want to focus on.
  • Work experience: You’ll be able to highlight any relevant work or internship experience you have (though this isn’t required). Make sure to create a resume that includes any prior experience in accounting, financial services, information systems, data analytics, or anything else that makes sense for your desired program.

If you’re interested in a standard KPMG internship, your application must be submitted through the KPMG careers portal or through recruitment processes at your college campus. If you’re interested in Embark Scholars, you apply by tapping the “Embark Scholars form” hyperlink at the bottom of this info page (when summer intern applications are open). 

2. One-on-One Interview

After your online application is submitted, you may be invited to an interview with a KPMG professional. Though your interviewer may want to learn more about your experience, you can expect this interview to primarily focus on behavioral questions.

As you’re answering these questions, keep in mind that team members are looking for team-oriented students who have leadership experience and skills. Showing your ability to take initiative and be flexible can also be helpful, since going remote during COVID-19 increased the importance of proactive interns at KPMG.

This one-on-one interview may take place on campus, at a local KPMG office, or over the phone.

Some students chat with a recruiter before they speak directly with a manager or partner in the firm. In some cases, you may be invited to a second interview, group interview, or technical test before you receive an offer.

What It’s Like To Intern at KPMG

group of people smiling with notebooks and tablets

As you may expect from a Big Four firm, KPMG provides a highly beneficial internship experience that’s packed with learning and networking opportunities.

If you’re interning in the Embark Scholar program, you’ll have a mentor to guide you through your training and provide advice for your future career. During your first summer with the company, you’ll rotate between the different practices within the professional services firm. Then, during your second year, you’ll be able to put more of an emphasis on one area.

The Embark Scholar program will give you the foundation you need to excel in your career path, while also offering opportunities to socialize with your peers and KPMG team members.

If you’re going through the main KPMG internship program, you’ll actually kick off your experience with a national training at KPMG Lakehouse, a state-of-the-art training and innovation center in Orlando. Here, you’ll go through a widely recognized training process that sets KPMG apart from other Big Four firms.

During your internship, you’ll be paired with a mentor, interact with KPMG professionals at all levels of the company, and even engage directly with clients. If you’re accepted into the Global Internship Program, you’ll spend four weeks of your internship with an international team, working with major clients.

In either KPMG internship program, you’ll hone important skills that you can apply to the rest of your college education — even if you’re moving forth to a master’s degree — and your future full-time career.

KPMG Culture

Interning at KPMG isn’t just endless trainings and work. KPMG puts a huge emphasis on its culture, which is based on five values: integrity, excellence, courage, “together,” and “for better.”

This means the people at KPMG will make your experience unique. The company is filled with professionals who are committed to their growth — and who will encourage and challenge you to grow, too. You won’t be surrounded by hot shots, but rather people who you can go to for advice at any time.

Take a Big Step Toward Your Career

Whether you’re most interested in becoming a tax, advisory, or internal audit intern, KPMG makes it possible for you to gain thorough, hands-on experience in an area you love. At the same time, you can explore various aspects of the professional services field and work with experts in the field.

To get connected to more opportunities like KPMG internships, sign up for Scholars to start chatting with the right recruiters about your future. Our platform makes it easy to schedule interviews and take a leap forward in your career.

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.