There are many traits that employers associate with School of Business alumni—hard working, ambitious, innovative, prepared—to name a few. Many of these characteristics are what the admissions office searches for when selecting applicants to attend the university, others are developed and strengthened through the challenging courses taught by first-rate faculty. When all is said and done, they graduate from the program fully equipped and capable to flourish in the workplace. Matt Miller, EMBA ’97, not only sees the value in hiring these Patriots, but he has assisted in their development through an internship program immensely beneficial to his company and the interns alike.
Throughout the 21 years that he has been president of Miller Consulting Group (MCG), a Fairfax based CPA firm, Miller has hired 28 interns, of which 20 have been Mason students. As the predominant business school in the region, that number might not come as a shock, but the MCG team have been impressed with how much these interns are immediately able to contribute on behalf of clients as well as to the office culture. “The School of Business produces exceptionally talented accounting students. As a result of their demanding curriculum, they emerge as sharp professionals with excellent critical thinking skills,” he says.
The internship program began as a way for Miller to stay connected to his alma mater. “What better way to help students through life’s journey than by offering them an opportunity to learn professional life through an internship? The program works great,” he says. With their office just over three miles from the Fairfax campus, the interns can spend the majority of the day at class before driving over to help with client accounting or tax engagements. It’s a continued learning experience. “Through my internship at Miller Consulting Group, I was able to take what I learned in school to an entirely new level. Before I knew it, I was on the phone speaking confidently with clients,” says Emily Irving, BS Accounting ’11. As the students grow in their roles, the organization interning them also reaps the rewards. While MCG profits financially from the internship program, Miller reinvests it into the next generation of CPAs through an annual scholarship at the university.
With COVID-19 changing so much about the way business is operated, the School of Business will play an even more vital role in preparing students and equipping them with cutting-edge skills critical for the future. Practices are changing and this generation of Patriots is gearing up to be leaders in the business community. “These young people are current with technology and they understand the value of social media. Their energy is infectious,” he says. Miller believes that when companies want their bottom line immediately impacted, they should look first at Mason alumni. “Through our company’s and my own personal experiences, we have learned that Mason grads leave the school already prepared for the professional world.”