For many students, balancing school, work and family obligations is an ongoing challenge. Add in an internship and time tightens further. Stir in a pandemic? Things could get chaotic.
But Joel Castillo, an accounting major at the Fox School of Business, just keeps smiling.
Castillo is one of the many students adapting to a new pandemic-friendly routine. While he didn’t quite imagine his senior year of college would be this way, Castillo has still taken advantage of the professional opportunities available to him. He spent this summer doing a virtual internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
“So I actually got offers from all the Big Four (accounting firms) and a couple of other mid-sized firms,” explains Castillo. “But after all the people that I met at PwC, I just had a gut feeling. Their culture and all my interactions with them just felt like the right fit for me.”
“So I actually got offers from all the Big Four (accounting firms) and a couple of other mid-sized firms,” explains Castillo.
In a virtual meeting every morning, he meets with a “pod” of other interns and mentors. Castillo says the layout for this internship is as interactive as online can be.
“PwC is doing an amazing job with plenty of video chats and networking opportunities, but I truly miss interacting with people in person. I am definitely a people person,” relays Castillo, “But I try to look at the positive. I have a one and a half-year-old daughter. So whether it was my lunch break or when they gave me a 15-minute break, spending more time with her was the highlight of the pandemic for me.”
Castillo has his eyes on the future. He is applying for the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program at the Fox School to continue advancing his education next year.
“What I really like about the Masters in Accounting program is the tempo. It’s geared towards taking the CPA (Certified Public Accountant exam) and overall developing yourself better for the career,” says Castillo.
Outside of his internship, schooling and family obligations, Castillo maintains a strong professional network. He is also involved in the Fox Accounting Association, the Association of Latino Professionals for America, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and Beta Alpha Psi, an honors accounting organization.
Castillo uses his networks to stay engaged and connected to his personal and professional communities. He is proud of the multicultural opportunities that the Fox School and PwC offers.
“PwC has an internship called the Start Internship. Start is PwC’s diversity internship for high-performing college students that self-identify as members of underrepresented minority groups in the professional services industry, like Latinos. I’ve always been about diversity and inclusion,” says Castillo. “Being Latino myself and growing up in Philadelphia, I always wanted to be involved in a company that looks out for everybody, especially those that are underrepresented. That is exactly what PwC does with their 14th annual Start Internship.”
The road hasn’t been easy. Dealing with so many sudden changes is a challenge, and Castillo also has a job working overnight to support his family. But he remains positive. He looks forward to when he and many others in his shoes can live in a post-COVID-19 world.
“My goal is to keep developing myself professionally and preparing myself with my best foot forward,” says Castillo. “This semester should be interesting with virtual classes, but I’m planning to keep my GPA up to stay in good standing for the MAcc program and PwC.”