Michelle Horning

Associate Professor of Accounting

BA, Business, Goshen College
MS, Drexel University

 

WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?

A trial lawyer (from grade six on).

WHY OR HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I always liked to argue and was pretty good at it.

WHAT’S EXCITING ABOUT YOUR JOB OR THIS FIELD?

I obviously didn’t follow through on becoming a lawyer. I chose accounting because I like quantitative issues, I like to solve problems, and I like tax law. Accounting is learning how to tell a story with numbers. Tax is about solving a big puzzle. What’s better than a good story and a good puzzle?

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

Your first job should be one where you have the opportunity to develop skills and learn new ones. You probably won’t save the world in your first job, but hopefully you will learn the skills you need to save the world when that opportunity comes later in your career.

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY PROUD OF? (IN A MENNONITE, HUMBLE SORT OF WAY, OF COURSE)

Passing all 4 parts of the CPA exam in one sitting. At the time I took the exam only about 6% of people taking the exam passed it in one sitting.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?

When I was in college, internships were not a common thing to do. I wish that I would have had the opportunity to put my academic learning into practice before I graduated. Internships are a great way to experience the real world for short periods of time, identify new skills, and areas for improvement. I graduated from college without a clear sense of what I wanted to do. I figured it out during my first job and am glad that I took the path I did. However, I would have enjoyed experiencing the business world through internships before I graduated.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG PERSON JUST STARTING OUT

Choose a first job that provides opportunities for professional development and builds new skills. Experience as much as you can in your first year or two of work. A variety of experiences will help you identify what you like (and don’t like) to do. These experiences will help you define the kind of career you want to have.