Internship Profile: Eric A. Clayton

Submitted by Web Communications on May 1, 2011

I’ve learned that I need to be working much more with people than numbers because my strengths are in writing, speaking, and interacting with others rather than paging through tax documents and inputting numbers.

Eric A. Clayton

Programs: International Studies, English (Creative Writing)

Hometown: North Wales, PA

Extracurricular: Writing Center Tutor, Eucharistic Minister Co-leader, Nicaragua Service Trip Co-leader, Journal of Global Citizenship Editor, Resident Assistant, Quick Center for the Arts House Manager

Honors/Awards: St. Ignatius Loyola Medal Recipient, Academic Award for Excellence in International Studies, Short Story selected for Sigma Tau Delta conference presentation, Phi Beta Kappa, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Sigma Nu, Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Mu Gamma, Sigma Iota Rho

Why Fairfield?

I chose Fairfield for International Studies because of its proximity to NYC, the variety of classes offered, and the numerous opportunities for international experiences (study abroad, research, service trips). My internship was related to the field of International Studies, but not necessarily in the way I had been studying it, which is part of the reason why I chose this internship. By working in expatriate tax, I learned the business – the “numbers” – side to a lot of the work I’ve done studying humanitarian issues and social justice. I now have a better appreciation for a completely different, though just as essential, component to globalization.

Why KPMG?

I really wasn’t pursuing an internship for this semester, so I didn’t consider other options. I chose KPMG because the Career Planning Department sent out an email with the subject “International Law,” which is what I’d like to ultimately do. It all worked out – I was able to attend the meeting, got called in for an interview, and landed the internship. Again, I was intrigued by this international field that was so radically different than what I knew, and I wanted to gain the hands-on experience and skills this opportunity could teach me. I was a seasonal tax intern with KPMG in Stamford, Conn. where I primarily did tax analysis and frontloads (the beginning stages of the tax return). I also worked on more specific projects for members of the team, usually involving data entry, research, or design, and interacted with clients on the phone and at business lunches. I averaged 4 days and 22 hours a week.

Lessons learned

I’ve learned that I need to be working much more with people than numbers because my strengths are in writing, speaking, and interacting with others rather than paging through tax documents and inputting numbers. I’ve also learned the value of common sense as in past internships I’ve been able to pull from a reservoir of common sense to solve problems and accomplish tasks; in an internship for which I had very little preparation, I couldn’t do this. I now know for certain that I need a career that will challenge me daily with new ideas and problems, and that I want to be on the move – meeting clients or groups of people and working with them rather than sitting in a cubicle looking at numbers.

Another side of globalization

I’m really glad I put in the hours for this internship this semester – it taught me the value of prioritizing and the real-life lessons of having a demanding job, especially during tax season. I learned a lot about things I’ve never been exposed to and accomplished my goals of seeing another side of globalization.

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