Many people who work in a corporate environment have probably heard the term “internal auditing” before but aren’t completely sure what it means. The role of an internal auditor is actually to provide independent assurance that an organization’s risk management, governance, and internal control processes are operating effectively.
The LSU Center for Internal Auditing (LSUCIA) is considered a premier international internal audit program that offers a unique curriculum for students from different backgrounds to add value to companies all throughout the United States. Students who complete the program develop an in-depth understanding of the internal audit profession, and usually complete certifications upon graduation. Additionally, the program offers great networking opportunities for students to meet representatives from major organizations.
We recently got a chance to sit down with Dr. Glenn Sumners, director of LSUCIA, to get some insight on the profession, and to find out why an MBA and an internal audit specialization are a good match.
Dr. Glenn Sumners, LSUCIA Director
Please describe what internal audit is in your own words.
Internal audit is essentially learning the business, trying to add value to the processes, and seeing the big picture. It is the best place to start a career because you see so much in such a short period of time, and you meet some of the top people of the organization. You will meet senior people much faster in internal audit than in any of the other disciplines.
What is your professional relationship with internal audit?
I did my dissertation in internal audit and have been active in the Institute of Internal Auditors for a long time. Additionally, I served on the Research Foundation for about nine years and created their Vision University, which trains Chief Executive Auditors. I also served on the academic relations Committee and the education committee.
In the private sector, I worked for Arthur Andersen out of the Birmingham, AL office for two years and became a CPA. Then, I went to work for ESP as a CFO for three years. After that, I went back to education.
Why do you think LSU’s Internal Audit Program is so successful?
Primarily, our success can be attributed to the fact that the focus is on the students. Ultimately, we try to get the students an internship, a job, or a certification. Also, there is a secondary focus on making our students better presenters. We want them to leave the program having more presence, which makes them feel better around the practitioners at all of our networking events. I strongly feel that as long as the focus stays on the students, the program is going to be successful.
Describe the relationship between LSU’s Flores MBA Program and LSU’s Internal Audit Program
The Flores MBA Program has been good to us in the sense that it provides us with graduate assistants to help run our office. We try to recruit as many MBAs as possible because an MBA and internal audit is a good match. Most of the MBA students that go into internal audit typically take a job in internal audit. So, by taking three or four courses in internal audit, MBAs can double their job opportunities, which makes this partnership a win-win situation.
How many people has the internal audit program placed since you started it?
We have had about 3500 people go through the program and we have placed over 2600 in intern positions. We don’t track full-time because once someone leaves the program we don’t necessarily know where they go, but a very high percentage of the MBAs end up with jobs in internal audit.
Glenn Sumners with LSUCIA alum.
Talk about LSUCIA’s internship recruitment process.
An interesting fact about our recruitment process is about 75% of the people that come back to LSU to recruit are alumni of the program. The alumni enjoy coming back to LSU because they get to see people that went through the program with them. Our internship process is a win-win situation in that it allows companies to have the ability to evaluate a person during the summer before they make a full-time decision, and the students get to do the same with the companies.
What do you think the future holds for the internal audit program?
We have to do some succession planning. The success of the program is dependent upon the quality of the students we recruit. Students have more options today than they had 30 years ago, so everyone is competing for the student’s attention.
To learn more about earning your MBA with an internal audit specialization, visit https://www.lsu.edu/business/mba/academics/full-time/specializations.php .