Q&A with Jacob Cahn, MS in Taxation alumnus

Jacob CahnJacob Cahn, CPA and tax director at Freestone, shares his experiences in the UW Foster School’s Master of Science in Taxation. He graduated from the program in 2011.

Why did you choose UW’s MS Taxation program?
Several reasons: I attended the Foster School of Business for my undergraduate degree so the transition into the MS Taxation program was smooth. Bill Resler was my all-time favorite professor so that definitely was a contributing factor. Foster’s MS Taxation program has a fantastic brand in the Seattle area as well.

Tell us about your study group. How did your study group affect your experience in the MS Taxation program?
I was in a six-person study group, which I think was the perfect size. Luca Smith and Ben Haas were friends of mine from the PwC internship and Foster undergrad program, respectively. The three of us joined with Alene Vanden Heuvel, Karlin Kurokawa, and Liz Vaughn. The group was fantastic. I am still great friends with all of them. Karlin and Ben ended up getting married. I could not have made it through MPAcc without them—we would split up case studies each week and helped each other tremendously throughout the year.

What was your favorite moment during MS Taxation?
That’s a hard one. There are so many great memories from inside and outside the classroom. 2011 was a fantastic year in the life of Jake Cahn. I highly recommend the following to every MS Tax student:

  1. Work really hard and learn a ton in class; take class seriously; you WILL use the information in your career, and the more you learn and retain, the better shape you will be in once you start work.
  2. Get the CPA done before you start working. If you delay, it will not get done, and that certification is pure gold.
  3. Attend all of the social events throughout your MS Taxation year. Make friends and have fun—the relationships you build during MS Taxation are valuable (both from a life and work perspective) later on.

What strategies did you use to balance work, life, and the MS Taxation program?
I worked hard and played hard throughout my year in the MS Taxation program. It really isn’t that hard to have a blast and learn an extraordinary amount at the same time. My strategy was to study 90% of the time with my study group—two birds with one stone.

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