In(terning) at the top


Jan Orvik

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In(terning) at the top

Not many interns get involved in a corporate acquisition. Even fewer prepare the bank documents. Or have an assistant. Jake Miller is the exception.

During a 15-month internship with NorthStar Telecom (now BeMobile) and GF Wireless in Grand Forks, the West Fargo native was in at the ground level when NorthStar Telecom was approached by Verizon with an offer to purchase 37 Pro Cellular stores in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Miller helped check financial information from Pro Cellular, forecast profits, and prepared a pro forma report for the bank loan.

“Completing the pro forma project was rewarding,” Miller said. “I was satisfied with the way it was received and when the loan was approved.”

One memorable part of the internship was a four-day trip with the owner and controller of NorthStar. The three of them visited each of the 37 stores to do due diligence and assess each store’s culture and employees.

“The trip was a great experience,” Miller said. “It gave me insight into the different analyses a business owner looks at when approaching an acquisition like this.”

After the acquisition was complete, he was assigned to travel to La Crosse, Wis., to meet with new co-workers and begin to instill NorthStar’s culture.

Miller graduated with an accountancy degree in December 2011, and is now head of financial analytics for BeMobile. He does payroll, receivables, and reporting.

“We went from 37 stores and 40 to 50 employees to 44 stores and more than 230 employees,” Miller said. “It’s been fun to watch it grow.”

The internship wasn’t easy: In addition to job duties, Miller attended classes and finished his degree.

“I had a lot of responsibility for someone still in college,” Miller said, adding that at the beginning of the internship, he did a lot of mundane work. He worked early, late, on weekends, did his schoolwork, and still managed to attend hockey games and spend time with friends.

“UND’s reputation helped me obtain the internship,” Miller said. “The internship program is phenomenal. And the accountancy program is top notch.” Not every school, Miller says, can persuade employees of Deloitte and other large firms to drive for hours just to talk to an accountancy class.

Professors are tough, he said. But their work helps students achieve some of the best CPA exam pass rates in the nation. Miller will take the first portion of the CPA exam in May.And he will continue with BeMobile. “I continue to grow every day,” he said.

Jan Orvik

University Relations Editor

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