Internal Revenue Service turns Rutgers accounting students into "agents" for one eye-opening day

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A group of Rutgers Business School accounting students spent a day role-playing with agents from the Internal Revenue Service as a way of learning about career possibilities in law enforcement.

"Most accounting students don’t know that law enforcement is a good fit for them,” said IRS agent Robert Glantz, who organized the event. "We want to open their eyes to it.”

The Internal Revenue Service started the role-playing event, which is dubbed the Adrian Project, in 2002 as a way of introducing college accounting students to the agency and its work.  The event is named after Michigan’s Adrian College, where the first event was held. It has been held at Rutgers Business School eight times previously under the guidance of Senior Associate Dean Martin Markowitz.

Robert Glantz, an agent with the IRS, explained some of the steps involved in a typical criminal investigation during an event at Rutgers Business School on April 4.

During the course of the day, the students took on the role of IRS agents showing up unexpectedly at a tax preparer’s office to question an accountant (played by an IRS investigative analyst) as part of their investigation into fraud. They studied bank documents for suspicious withdrawals and deposits and spent time being coached in defensive tactics.

The Adrian Project squeezes into a day what might take IRS agents months to carry out, from receiving information about a possible crime, carrying out an investigation and making an arrest. The students received coaching on everything from investigative tactics and red flags on documents to handcuffing suspects.

About a dozen IRS agents – seven Rutgers University alums among them – participated in the Adrian Project on April 4 at the Livingston Student Center. The event attracted 17 RBS students and nine Sayreville High School students who are studying honors accounting.

The IRS prepares students for every part of a career in law enforcement during the Adrian Project event, including defense tactics, which agents must use during arrests.

Emily Aversa, a Rutgers Business School freshman who intends to major in accounting, said she had no idea that an accountant could have a career in law enforcement.

"I don’t even know if I’ll stick with accounting,” Aversa said, "but I’m interested in seeing all different sides and getting a full spectrum of the possible jobs I could have.”

After a day of role-playing, Aversa said working as an IRS agent seemed “way cooler” than sitting behind a desk all day as a corporate accountant.

Akshar Patel, a junior accounting student at Rutgers Business School who did a summer internship with the New Jersey Department of Treasury, said he signed up for the Adrian Project event because he wanted to learn more about what IRS agents do.

"It’s a pretty cool experience,” he said.

-Susan Todd   

TAGS: Accounting Marty Markowitz Partnerships Undergraduate New Brunswick