Q&A with Mollie Johnsen, MS in Taxation alumna

Mollie JohnsenMollie Johnsen, Manager at Berntson Porter & Company, PLLC , shares her experiences in the UW Foster School’s tax program. She graduated from the program in 2013.

What advice would you give a student choosing between several tax programs?

The UW tax program was the first time in my schooling experience where everything I was learning was directly related to what I would be doing for the rest of my life. I feel like the students in the program understand that and everyone worked hard to try and prepare themselves for the real world. That makes the whole experience worthwhile, because when you have 40 students with a shared goal, to learn tax, it gets pretty interesting. Also, if you are starting a job in a state other than Washington, which I did, having a Masters in Tax will get you a higher starting salary 🙂

Tell us about your study group. How did your study group affected your experience in the tax program?

We are still the best of friends 5 years later. The program is hard, so utilizing study group members helps to lighten the load on every person and offers different ideas and opinions then you may get yourself. Tax is in some ways subjective and it’s fun discussing opinions! It also helps with planning and studying for the CPA and time management. It’s crazy how even after all this time, I still find myself calling on my study group members for real world help.

How has the tax program impacted your career?

Anyone going through the program will get a massive Seattle, and nationwide, network of tax accountants. You will know people at every firm, and in a lot of states. Even the UW tax program alumni group is huge! I started work in New York and there were multiple people in my group that were UW tax program alums.

What strategies did you use to balance work, life, and the tax program?

UTILIZE YOUR STUDY GROUP!! They are there to help you! Also, know your limit. I worked part time through the program, and school and work was fine for me. But then adding the CPA exam, I got overloaded. It’s all about balance and not biting off more than you can chew. Remember you want to be able to have some fun too!

Is there anything else you want to tell prospective students about this program?

Don’t forget that this is FUN! It was honestly my favorite year of college and I made a lot of lifelong friends. Go to the events, go to office hours and make the most of your time in the program.