Experiential Learning at its Best: AU Accounting and Finance Major Testing ‘Internal Controls’ at First PREMIER

Augustana student Kalle Bushfield ‘23, of Harrisburg, South Dakota, is double majoring in accounting and finance. Soon after earning a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA), Bushfield plans on taking the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam. She’s hoping the internships she experiences during her time at Augustana will help guide her career aspirations, including her opportunity at First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard in Sioux Falls this summer.

Q: Where or how did you hear about Augustana?

A: I grew up in the Sioux Falls area so Augustana was always a part of my community. I toured Augustana because people close to me thought it would be a good fit. Turns out, they were right!

Q: What is/are the reason(s) you chose to come to Augustana?

A: I decided to attend Augustana because I knew my education would be a priority. It was clear that the Augustana community strives for excellence. At the same time, Augustana encourages students to explore different areas of study. Some of my favorite classes have been completely unrelated to my major. I also chose to attend Augustana because of its smaller class sizes, which allow for close connections with classmates and professors. 

Q: What do your job duties at First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard include?

A: I work with the Internal Audit Department to test internal controls within different divisions of the company. I interview employees and review documents to ensure internal controls are implemented and working properly. After testing the controls, I document my findings in reports that are eventually presented to the Audit Committee and Board of Directors.

Q: How did you get the internship? Did anyone help you? What did that journey look like?

A: I had spoken with First PREMIER representatives at job fairs on campus, so I knew the company had internship opportunities. In January, I met with Mary Toso in the Student Success Center to review my resumé and cover letter prior to applying for summer internships. I interviewed for two different internship positions with First PREMIER and internal audit ended up being the right fit!

Q: What do you like most about your internship?

A: I enjoy seeing how what I have learned in the classroom applies to the internal audit process. I also like how First PREMIER provides opportunities for interns to work together on projects and network with company executives.

Q: What do you hope to learn/gain from the internship?

A: I hope to gain a greater understanding of how businesses like First PREMIER operate and why certain controls are necessary to mitigate risk and ensure compliance with laws and regulations. Most importantly, I hope to build connections with other peers and professionals in the industry.

Q: Why is experiential learning so important in preparing for future endeavors?

A: I believe there will always be a difference between learning something in the classroom and experiencing how it operates in the real world. Experiential learning enhances your understanding of a topic, which will improve your chances of success in your career and life endeavors.

Q: How important is building relationships/connections?

A: It is a common saying that “it is not what you know, it is who you know.” Learning about a topic is the main reason why you are in school, but it is also important to build connections with others. Internships also provide powerful networking opportunities. Take advantage of them!

Media Inquiries: Contact Jill Wilson, public relations and communications strategist.