Student Perspective: Jennifer Hochwald, MST

Career Focus

When it came time to focus on her career after taking time off to raise her boys, Jennifer Hochwald knew she didn’t want to return to insurance underwriting. With a longtime interest in accounting, Hochwald was drawn to Walsh’s Master of Science in Accountancy program. “My husband graduated from Walsh with an MBA, and after supporting him during his studies and attending his graduation, I was really impressed.” Small class sizes, strong relationships with local businesses, and opportunities for internships and jobs made Walsh Hochwald’s top choice. She says, “When I decided I would go back to school, Walsh was the only choice.”

But after enrolling, life threw Hochwald a curveball when her husband lost his job. Fortunately, he found a new position, but it meant moving her entire family to Virginia. Remaining committed to her education while settling her family in a new state hasn’t been easy, but Hochwald hasn’t let her new circumstances derail her. Although she’s juggling classes and schoolwork with unpacking and helping her children with their virtual schooling, she’s found a way to balance school with the needs of her family and remains committed to her education.

Choosing Walsh

Although she considered switching to a local program when she moved to Virginia, Hochwald decided to stay with Walsh. Its reputation as one of the top accounting and tax schools in Michigan, along with their ability to deliver classes 100% remotely, helped make her decision easier. Not only is Walsh a better financial decision for Hochwald, she says “The support and professors at Walsh are amazing, and the relationships you can establish with faculty and fellow students sets Walsh apart. I can plug into Career Services to help with my resume, connect with Walsh alumni in the local area, and the list goes on.”

From Accounting to Taxation

Based on her interests and abilities, Hochwald eventually decided to switch from accountancy to the Master of Science in Taxation program, a decision she made with the help and guidance of her Walsh tax professors. “Professor Rick Davidson took the time to give me advice and recommendations when I had questions about switching my major to tax and helped me plan for what classes to take. He is very knowledgeable and encouraging.”

Professor Davidson also found ways to foster connections between students in remote class settings, such as a virtual show-and-tell. Each student brought an item to share and talk about themselves, and although Hochwald reports that she was initially nervous, the experience ultimately proved fun and relaxing. “We all had laughs and made a connection with each other.” She also appreciated getting to know her professor a little bit better. “He told us stories about his hobbies and did his own show and tell as well, so it was neat to learn about our professor on a personal as well as professional level.”

Engaged Faculty

In addition to her positive experiences with Professor Davidson, Hochwald shares, “The faculty at Walsh have been absolutely wonderful. I think the relationships the students can develop with their professors and the genuine care and concern they have for their students sets Walsh apart from other colleges.”

Even though Covid-19 has placed more stress and responsibilities on teachers and students alike, Hochwald goes on to say, “During this pandemic we have all had to switch gears and be more patient, flexible, and understanding. The faculty deserve appreciation for all their hard work during this time because they have offered extra time to help us grow and learn.”

Going the Extra Mile

Hochwald notes that her professors go out of their way to make sure their students are engaged and learning. Whether it’s staying after class to answer questions, discussing projects over email, or even joining a Zoom study group before an exam, Walsh faculty operate in an environment of caring and professionalism. Of her current tax professor, Eric Skinner, Hochwald says, “He has a passion for tax and is very knowledgeable. He does a great job explaining the material and has been very gracious with his time in offering extra Zoom sessions to answer questions, as well as staying after class to go over questions and help us prepare for our exams. His exams are tough but also challenge you to think in a different way to make sure you know the material.” Walsh faculty are known for going the extra mile for their students, and Hochwald’s professors exemplify that observation.

Planning for the Future

Now settled with her family in the Washington, D.C. area, Hochwald looks forward to graduation, and being able to teach people how to prepare, plan, and organize their taxes.

As Hochwald prepares to take the CPA exam and continues her coursework, she’s also got an eye on what lies ahead in her career. When it comes to her future clients, she says, “I don’t want to have a once-a-year relationship with clients, I want to be able to guide and mentor them throughout the whole year. My Walsh education will help me achieve that goal.”

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