Senior accounting student talks unique internship experience, reflects on School of Business

Blake Bruno shares unique internship experience as one of two international tax accounting interns in the U.S.

KU School of Business
4 min readDec 6, 2023
Blake Bruno

Blake Bruno, a senior accounting major, didn’t originally plan to study accounting during her undergraduate career. The Topeka native took a gap year in South Korea, and from there, her plans of studying comparative literature dissipated. Bruno came to KU as a math and business administration major and eventually switched to accounting after taking ACCT 200: Fundamentals of Financial Accounting. She is now an ACCT 200 teaching assistant.

Bruno has made her way around the school, starting as the general manager at the J Café, the school’s coffee shop managed exclusively by the Undergraduate Business Council, where she has made some of her favorite memories. She also is a Business Career Services ambassador. In her involvements, she has been able to get to know professors personally.

“I have received not only class advice but life advice from my professors that I will hold with me for a long time,” Bruno said.

Bruno recently completed an internship at FORVIS, an accounting firm in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was one of two international accounting tax interns in the country. She found her internship after attending the school’s annual Accounting Career Fair and met Hope Russell, the primary recruiter at FORVIS for the KC area. After establishing a connection with Russell and applying to positions within FORVIS, Bruno found her interests aligned with the company’s tax specialty positions, working alongside international clients.

She had three online interviews with different associates of the FORVIS Global Mobility Services (GMS) team. She found that she preferred it over a general tax internship and learned more about the company.

“I used Business Career Services for everything. I made appointments to review my resume, did mock interviews, and met with advisors about how to go about searching for which companies and locations would be right for me,” Bruno said. “The advisors are so helpful, especially in regard to just giving support for how to go about planning for your career and being someone on your side in the process.”

Bruno focused her work on individual returns that have an international component to them: U.S. citizens that are living abroad, residents that have international businesses and bank accounts, or non-U.S. citizens that are living in the U.S. Her main job was to prepare tax returns for review, ensuring that preliminary information was input correctly by software and that all client information is completed. Bruno spent a lot of time reading IRS publications about specific international tax laws and reporting standards, to ensure that she was correctly working with these specific groups.

“I learned something new every single day, which I never believed when other people would say it,” Bruno said. “There was always something to do or new work to tackle.”

While learning about different types of international accounting tax, Bruno also learned a lot about herself during her internship experience. She found she likes working with individuals rather than corporations, and incorporating international work made her job more fun. As one of the two international tax accounting interns in the U.S., she found it could be difficult to guide herself through her work without assistance. Bruno says it was hard not having another intern or associate to turn to with questions. However, the work proved to be fun and she learned a lot about international tax laws and standards.

For students seeking internships in international tax, Bruno’s best advice is to talk to recruiters; recruiters want to help you find your niche and are always looking to help you advance into the career you want.

She also recommends using the School of Business resources. BUS 310: Internships with Impact helps enhance the internship experience, and the EY Professionalism Program aims to prepare students for the interview process and network with companies and recruiters. Her No. 1 tip she recommends to students is to get involved within the school in some way. Through her variety of positions, she has made great friends and worthwhile connections with others.

Bruno is set to graduate this fall with her undergraduate degree. After that, Bruno has a winter tax internship with Grant Thornton in Kansas City. In summer 2024, she will head to Washington, D.C. for a tax internship with KPMG.

Bruno will return to KU and the School of Business to start the Master of Accounting program in fall 2024 and plans to graduate with her master’s in May 2025. After that, she plans on studying for the CPA exams. She hopes to become an associate full-time with an accounting firm.

By Lauren Hartwig



KU School of Business

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