Catawba student lands job offer with Big 4 accounting firm

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

When Catawba business administration major Rafal Baran successfully completed a summer internship experience with KPMG, one of the worlds’ “Big Four” accounting companies, he did not realize that it would result in a job offer from that company.

KPMG is a European financial giant and one of the largest audit, tax and consulting service companies in the world.

At Catawba, Baran, an international student from Trzebinia, Poland, is pursuing the B.S.B.A. degree with concentrations in accounting and economics. He completed his internship experience (an internship is a requirement of all students pursuing majors in Catawba’s Ketner School of Business) in KPMG’s summer placement program, located in Nicosia, Cyprus.

There, Baran was one of 80 other undergraduate interns, most of whom came from large universities throughout Europe.

During his time with KPMG, Baran was immersed in many different activities and assigned a variety of responsibilities in the company. He spent his time confirming that financial reports and records were reliable and accurate, examining accounts of international European, Asian and American companies registered in Cyprus, and performing external audits for a variety of clients, including corporations, investment companies and funds.

In addition to these daily responsibilities, the interns were split into four-person teams and given the task of working on different case studies. Baran led his group in their case study in order to present it to the company’s Board of Directors.

His internship in KPMG’s summer placement program concluded with a series of evaluations in which Baran was one of the few interns to receive a job offer from the company.

Baran says that the internship was not just something to put on his resume, but that it provided real life experience. Not only has he advanced his work in accounting but he has also learned and utilized vital teamwork and communication skills in the real world of business. His experience has motivated him to dedicate himself wholly to the field of accounting.

Darin Spencer, an assistant professor in accounting at Catawba, lauded Baran’s achievement.

“Rafal can be proud of his accomplishment. Winning the competitive internship with KPMG, one of the global Big 4 accounting firms, is a prestigious honor. The experience with KPMG will significantly impact his professional life.”

Baran attributes his summer internship success to the guidance and dedication of his professors. Specifically, he thanks Spencer for his help during the internship recruiting process and Dr. Francis Farina, an associate professor of accounting at Catawba, for his lessons in accounting.

Now Baran is looking at his options for graduate school, with plans to pursue his master’s degree in accounting. He is considering schools in North Carolina, including N.C. State and Wake Forest University, as well as Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands.