This summer, Maliha Azizi '17 worked as a private company services tax intern for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the second largest professional services firm in the world. As a multinational network, its 223,000 employees help individuals and companies maximize value by providing assurance, tax and advisory services in more than 157 countries. At their office in McLean, Va., Azizi helped the company achieve its ultimate goal of solving important tax problems for clients in local, national and global markets.

An accounting major, Azizi chose to intern with PwC because it would give her valuable experience in her field of study. After a simple online application process and two rounds of interviews, she was brought on board to do hands-on accounting work with clients, which required her to draw upon the business courses she’s taken at Colby-Sawyer. Azizi also cited courses in other disciplines as instrumental to her summer success.

“My public speaking and writing courses helped me perform my job well and communicate professionally with my colleagues,” she said.

An active and engaged student on campus who’s a tutor at the Student Learning Collaborative and member of the Cross Cultural Club, Accounting Club, Community Service Club and Art Club, Azizi jumped into the life of the company. In addition to completing standard tax work with PwC, she assisted with the company's annual Promotion Day and participated in its community service projects. PwC also put her through a rigorous training program and offered many networking opportunities where she met interns working at the company across the country. Azizi identifies teamwork and interpersonal skills as two of her biggest takeaways from the experience.

Azizi finds the internship experience so beneficial that PwC was not her first: she spent a previous summer receiving college credit while working as a Client Accounting Service Intern at SwissRe in Armonk, N.Y. Her internships not only gave her a better understanding of taxation and her major, but also confirmed her career plans. “I am certain about pursuing a career in accounting,” she said.

Azizi transferred to Colby-Sawyer from a large university in her home country of Afghanistan, and she immediately appreciated the college’s small size. “It helped me to know more people on campus and make friends,” she said. Her own goals, combined with access to professors, opportunities and activities, have made her college education a vibrant, vital step on her career path. And, as she’s found, there are still big opportunities at a small college: a gift to Colby-Sawyer from Jean Cragin Ingwersen ’54 helped make Azizi’s internship possible by defraying some of the travel costs.