Q&A with Kristen Munechika, MS in Taxation alumna

Kristen MunechikaKristen Munechika, Manager and CPA at Moss Adams LLP, shares her experiences in the UW Foster School’s Tax program. She graduated from the program in 2012.

How would your life be different had you not gotten your masters in tax at UW?

I don’t think I would have been able to progress as quickly in public accounting if I had not gotten my masters in tax at UW. The  program really gives you a strong foundation in tax technical knowledge, and that solid base becomes fairly evident once you start working. On a personal note, my life would be missing some of my closest friends if I hadn’t done the program. I am still very close with many of my old classmates and we still get together on a weekly basis to catch up. We’ve helped each other move, gone to each other’s weddings, and seen each other through job changes. It’s hard to imagine my life without these people!

What class has been the most useful in your career so far?

Research. I’ll admit that I really did not enjoy this class as a student, but the skills I learned in the tax research class were directly applicable at work right off the bat. As a staff, you are not expected to know everything (or anything), but what will make you stand out is your ability to problem solve and arrive at conclusions on your own. Knowing how to navigate the Code and Regs and how to access all of the resources available is actually an incredibly important and useful skill in the work place.

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

My study group’s schedule was the key for balancing school life and normal life. We treated the tax program like a job – we worked hard either in class or in a study room every Monday – Thursday from 8am – 5:30pm. We were able to finish most of our homework and projects during the time in between classes. I treated my Fridays similarly, and wrote my case studies and papers during normal working hours. I actually hardly remember having to study excessively on weekends.

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