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Pictured is 2015 accounting alumna Mariah Jensen, audit associate for Hill, Barth & King. | Photo by Jim Judkis

Meet Mariah Jensen

Job title: Audit Associate
Employer: HBK CPAs & Consultants
Degree earned: Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a minor in Economics and Finance
Graduated: May 2015
College activity: Student Accounting Association
Scholarship from Point Park: Presidential Scholarship
Hometown: Meadville, Pa.
High school: Meadville Area Senior High School
Now living in: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Hobbies/interests: Running, cooking and traveling
LinkedIn: Mariah Jensen

How did you line up a full-time position with HBK CPAs & Consultants before graduating?

I reached out to HBK CPAs & Consultants the summer before my senior year of college because I knew I was interested in working for a regional firm with a reputation for focusing on its employees having a healthy work-life balance. I was offered a tax internship for the following tax season in 2015. After a successful and very rewarding internship with HBK, I was offered a full-time position as an audit associate.

Tell us about the work you do there.

I work almost exclusively on audit and assurance engagements. A majority of my exposure for the past six months has been with not-for-profit organizations. In addition to the compilation, review and audit engagements I work on, I am currently the designated preparer of Form 990 Tax Returns for organizations exempt from income tax. I do complete some corporate tax work on occasion as well.

For what reasons did you choose Point Park and its accounting program?

I chose Point Park and its accounting program because I was interested in experiencing life in the city but I also wanted to be part of a university where I wasn't just a number. Point Park was the perfect fit for me and I believe the University gave me the opportunity to receive an excellent education due to the personalized interactions I received from professors who have real-world accounting experience. I was able to learn from the textbook but also had knowledgeable individuals discuss with me situations they encountered in the workforce and that truly made a difference.

Discuss additional internship experience you gained throughout college.

Prior to my tax internship at HBK, I interned at Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in Meadville, Pa., in the accounts receivable department. This internship was especially helpful for the audit engagements I now complete because I can better understand how the accountants at a corporation are performing their work. I believe this made me a more proficient auditor and has enabled me to think about the processes I audit from an inside perspective.

How did your Point Park classes prepare you for the CPA exam?

Point Park's professors are dedicated to their students' success and part of that for accounting students is providing us with the resources so we understand how important it is to obtain a CPA license. I can also specifically recall being assigned multiple choice questions in my audit class that were meant to mirror CPA exam questions - and they were not easy! Receiving challenging assignments like that absolutely helped me better understand the difficulty of the CPA exam.

What are your favorite Point Park memories?

My favorite memories at Point Park definitely revolved around the fact that the University is located in Downtown Pittsburgh. I especially loved being able to go to the Point or walk along the river trails on a nice day.

What advice do you have for our accounting students?

I absolutely advise accounting students to seek out meaningful internships. I would not be a full-time associate at Pittsburgh's eighth highest-earning CPA firm without first being an intern. Also, accounting students should strive for 150 credits either in undergraduate courses or with a graduate degree. Obtaining your CPA license absolutely makes you more marketable to accounting firms and is a highly regarded title.

More About: Rowland School of Business, Student Accounting Association, alumni, success story, economics and finance, internships, accounting, Meadville Area Senior High School, scholarships