By Andrew Aguilera,
Stillman News Editor
Nichole Lala is a junior, double majoring in accounting and finance. She is from Lodi, New Jersey.
For fourteen years, she fulfilled her passion as a dancer but then decided to shift her focus and time to part time work. During her time in college, she has had two internships. Her first internship was in commercial real estate at Marcus and Millichap. Currently, she is interning at Goldman Sachs in the investment tax services division. On campus, she is also involved in Beta Alpha Psi.
The Stillman Exchange team interviewed her to learn more about her internship experience at Goldman Sachs.
Q: What are your responsibilities as an intern?
A: My current responsibilities include assisting in the review of federal, state, and foreign tax forms distributed to investors to manage tax compliance for real estate, private equity, and employee funds.
I help prepare different tax work papers, schedules, and estimates to update quarterly and yearly information.
Another responsibility includes contacting different taxing authorities, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and various state department of revenues, to reconcile payments.
I also frequently work with specific software that aids in the tax compliance process such as updating tax filings and reviewing investor packages.
Q: Why did you choose to apply for an internship at Goldman Sachs?
A: Working at Goldman Sachs provides me with the opportunity to work with the most talented individuals which challenges and enhances my way of thinking every day.
As both a finance and accounting major, I figured it would be the perfect experience to harness my accounting skills in a practical setting as well as focus on the financial services industry which are my two main career interests.
Q: How did you go about getting the internship?
A: My main source of internship application opportunities was definitely Navigator. I regretfully did not attend many networking sessions/events last year, but simply took the risk of sending out my resume when I saw the information on navigator for a Goldman Sachs Investment Tax Group intern.
Q: What was the most valuable skill that you learned while interning?
A: The most valuable skill that I learned, and this may sound very unoriginal, was definitely teamwork.
As one of six interns on our team specifically, it was critical that we were able to leverage each other when it came to communicating with one another about questions and completing assignments for deadlines.
It was also important to understand that even the more senior level staff were all on the same team as us.
So, if we simply had a question about an assignment, we should respectfully ask instead of internalizing our confusion.
It was being able to recognize the importance and value of each person on the team that made me understand how success really derives from a teamwork attitude.
Q: How was learning in a work environment different than learning in a classroom?
A: In a field as practical as accounting or finance, it was actually great to apply some of the knowledge learned in my classes to what I was actually doing at work.
The difference between a classroom setting versus a work environment is that I was being exposed to a greater amount of actual examples of what I was conceptually learning about in my textbooks.
I could learn the definition about what a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is in a finance class but then at work look at a tax return for one and obtain an entirely different outlook.
The insight and knowledge that could be learned at an internship is invaluable compared to the simple binding walls of a classroom and a textbook.
Q: What was the company culture like?
A: Goldman Sachs is a very professional and collaborative environment to be a part of. I noticed easily after a short while of being there that the staff really shares a commitment to their work and because of that it is a pleasant place to be a contributor.
Q: What were some skills that you learned at Seton Hall that you used in your internship?
A: Seton Hall gave me the related accounting skills through prior coursework, excel proficiencies, confidence to communicate with business professionals, and ability to easily operate in group settings which are most often encountered in the work place.
Q: What advice would you give to students who are actively searching for internships?
A: I would tell students to take advantage of the opportunities on Navigator and to not underestimate the potential that it has in terms of finding just the right opportunity.
I would also encourage students to be confident and take risks because it cannot hurt to just apply to something, no matter how competitive the selection process is.
Speaking entirely from experience, also remember how important the career fair is because leaving a lasting impression means more than you might think.
After accepting the offer from Goldman, companies still called to inquire about hiring just from a brief encounter at these on campus events. The opportunities are here at Seton Hall; you just have to take advantage of them.
Q: What is next for you in your career?
A: In terms of a shorter projection for the future, I plan to stay at Goldman Sachs another semester and experience the busy tax season to gain even more exposure in the field I eventually plan to enter.
For the future, I plan to become eligible to sit for the CPA exam hopefully upon completing another accounting internship.
Realizing how passionate I am about what I am studying here at Stillman, I am truly eager to find out what my next endeavor will be.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 13th print edition.
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