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Real Business : Issue 1 2012
7 FOOTINTHEDOOR On the asset trail Internships have given Melissa Koh the chance to spend time in Singapore. PHOTO: MARK TEO ONE OF MELISSA KOH’s most memorable days as an intern didn’t occur in the office. Interning with the audit team at Deloitte, she was asked to accompany some staff to an asset sighting at a shipping site. “It was really cool,” says Koh. “I had to reference the assets and prove that everything was as valuable as the business claimed it was.” She was wearing heels, not ideal for a shipping yard, and so was driven around the site in a monster-sized truck. “It was a day that I won’t forget,” says Koh. The 22 year old, who left her home in Singapore to study in Adelaide, South Australia, says internships were not only a fantastic way to gain real-world experience, they also gave her a way to spend time with her family. Koh took up two internships in Singapore, one in the Australian summer of 2009 at international accounting and consulting firm BDO LLP, and one over the 2010 Christmas break at the Singapore offic es of Deloitte. Both internships were offer ed by CPA Australia, and Koh says the experiences taught her a lot and put her firmly on a career path. Having graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in accounting and corporate financ e, she has now accepted a job as an auditor at KPMG, which she hopes will lead to a career in corporate finance, her area of passion. During her internship at BDO LLP, Koh worked in the business restructuring department. “That department provides advice for companies to restructure to save money or, if they are going down, litigators advise on how to divide assets,” says Koh, who initially got a feel for the business by proofreading documents that had to be personalised for each case. She also spent some time off site conducting asset sightings for creditors who needed to recoup money. “Following that audit trail was really interesting,” says Koh. “It gave me a taste of forensic accounting.” Dealing with angry creditors, on the other hand, was tough but educational. “I really had to learn how to stay calm,” she says. “The people that we dealt with could be very intimidating and intense, we always had to be very certain of what was being said and very firm in the way we said it. Knowing the law and keeping up to date with amendments to it was a big part of the job.” Koh was offered a second internship with BDO LLP, but she had already accepted her 2010 placement with Deloitte, this time with the auditing team. At Deloitte, she and other interns spent a week in training and then Koh was taken under the wing of one of the managers, who asked her to work on a project with him for the term of her internship, rather than move from department to department like the others. “I felt like I gained a lot from that,” she says. “I stuck with this manager who knew how to push me, trusted me and exposed me to areas of the business I wouldn’t normally have seen.” IT GAVE MEA TASTE OF FORENSIC —Melissa Koh ACCOUNTING. An internship might lead you down the career path that you least expect. STORY VIRGINIA MILLEN 07Melissa.indd 7 07Melissa.indd 7 6/02/2012 6:01:15 PM 6/02/2012 6:01:15 PM
Issue 1 2010
Issue 3 2012