Mollie Murphy, tax associate at PwC, shares her experiences in the UW Foster School’s Master of Science in Taxation. She graduated from the program in 2016.
What advice would you give a student choosing between several tax programs?
I think it’s important to consider what you want out of your Master’s program in the short- and long-term. For me, I knew being in the Seattle area and having a traditional class schedule, as opposed to online or night classes, was important to me. Long-term, a huge benefit of UW’s program, especially for those who plan to start full-time in Seattle after graduating, is the opportunity to get to know so many people starting at the public accounting firms in Seattle. You start building a professional network that will be really valuable in the future.
Tell us about your study group. How did your study group affect your experience in the MS Taxation program?
I had a fairly large study group of ten people which was both challenging and beneficial. We definitely learned a lot over the year about how to work together efficiently and effectively in such a large group. It was really fun having a study group with people who were starting at several different firms because I felt I was able to get to know people I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to spend as much time with. We balanced out all of our study time together with social activities and had a great time.
What was your favorite moment during MS Taxation?
My favorite moment during MS Taxation was our post-finals celebration fall quarter. Fall quarter was the most challenging quarter for me because it took time to adjust to the work load and five classes per quarter. But all of the students and professors came back to our classroom after the last final. We played games and then went to Flatstick Pub and played indoor mini golf. It was our first big event after getting to know each other better and it was by far my favorite social of the year!
What class has been the most useful in your career so far?
On the first day of orientation, Bill Resler told us the most invaluable class of this program would be our communications class. That’s become more apparent to me as I’ve started work and realized the number of times I think back to issues we discussed in our communications class in order to address a question I have. Whether it’s email or office etiquette, time management, or referencing Steve Rice’s “Writing Mistakes to Never Make,” lessons learned in this class have made the transition into the professional work environment a lot easier.
What strategies did you use to balance work, life, and the MS Taxation program?
There were definitely periods when striking the right balance between work, life, and the MS Taxation program was challenging. Most of these days involved sitting in class for six hours and then going straight to the library to study for the CPA. The program is designed to remind students to have fun in addition to working hard. We had a great social chair who coordinated all sorts of fun activities throughout the year. The professors encouraged all of us to attend these events to not only get to know our peers, but also to remind us that while it’s important to work hard, it’s equally important to balance that out with things you enjoy so you don’t burn out!