A conversation with Glenn Sumners, director of the Louisiana State University Center for Internal Auditing

The internal audit profession is hot right now, as companies are generally looking to hire additional auditors and are willing to pay more for talented individuals. Among the top academic programs that are looking to develop this next generation of internal auditors is the Louisiana State University Center for Internal Auditing.

We recently caught up with Glenn Sumners, director of center to talk about what audit departments can expect from this next generation and what young auditors must do to be successful.

Sumners talked about the rapidly evolving internal audit profession and spoke about the difficulties that pace of change presents to students to keep current on education and training. "When I graduated, I could rely on those skill for 30 years. That's not going to be the case for my students," he said. "They have to have life-long learning, and we are looking for people that have a thirst for knowledge and critical thinking. If they don't have life-long learning, they are going to struggle."

Sumners says it also creates a challenge for the center to build a curriculum that develops internal auditors that can meet the needs of the modern internal audit department. "One of the skill sets we really look for is self-awareness. We have a lot of case studies where the students can really get to know who they are," he said. "It's not just instruction, but we also have a mentoring process to try to tell them where they need to work and what they need to do to be successful."

He also advises young students who are interested in the internal audit profession to work hard and develop a well-rounded and diverse knowledge base. "One of the problems that we have is that the gap is growing between the skill sets that people want and the skill sets of the people that are coming out of universities," he says. "Companies are looking for the person that has the passion and the thirst for knowledge, and who want to take ownership of their career. So that is the message that has to get across to students."