Katie Petchell, '13

Katie Petchell, '13

Major: Economics and Management, Gerstacker Institute

Current Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Job Title: Tax Staff at Plante Moran

In a nutshell, what do you do, and did Albion prepare you for the job?

After Albion, I spent a year at the University of Michigan where I earned a Masters of Accountancy. While completing my grad program, I accepted a position at a regional accounting firm, Plante Moran, as a tax staff member. I have been at the firm for just over a year now, and my roles include preparing individual, business, trust, and not-for-profit tax returns, along with tax planning for our higher wealth clients. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to assist with firm recruitment and staff training events.

I can honestly say that I would not have gotten to where I am now without all of the wonderful support Albion has provided me. Albion's Gerstacker Institute prepared me for grad school/my career through career planning, resume reviews, mock interviews, and numerous networking events, and I have my taxation professor to thank for pushing me to apply to U of M and for sparking my interest in tax. Additionally, Albion gave me an advantage when it came to studying for and passing the CPA exam. While most of my grad school peers were not eligible to sit for the exam until the spring semester of our program, Albion's curriculum allowed me to start testing right after graduation, giving me a head start that helped me to complete all four parts before I started at Plante Moran.

What did it mean for you to be involved in equestrian activities at Albion?

I grew up loving horses, so it only made sense for me to continue riding through college. I joined the western team my freshman year and had a very successful career as an open/reining rider. Riding provided me a break from classes, while also allowing me to advance as an equestrian. The western team coach, Denise Webber, really took me under her wing and went out of her way to develop my skills. Together, we started many young horses, and she also gave me the chance to ride numerous talented reining horses. I was even able to develop my own custom internship through the Gerstacker Institute where I interned with Denise for a semester. During that I time I helped her to manage her boarding facility, improve her accounting and business systems, and even train an unruly Arabian Gelding who went on to be an endurance horse.

What's your favorite equestrian memory?

I have many fond memories of the western team, including riding in a limo to have dinner at the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas, while competing at Semi-Finals, driving through the mountains of West Virginia on our way to an invitational meet and almost bouncing Denise off the seat when we hit a dip in the road, riding Peppy, an amazing reining stallion at Nationals in 2012, and many inside jokes that developed between my teammates and I over the four years I spent on the team.

Are you still active in equestrian life? 

I still own my horse, Image, and make time to spend with her as much as I can. Together we show on an open circuit during the summer, and we also do some cow work and trail riding when we can. Additionally, I have coached the Pinckney High School and Junior Equestrian teams for the past few years. I also have returned to the college equestrian team world by competing as an alumni rider at the western equestrian meets for the 2015-2016 season. I can't imagine not being involved with horses in one capacity or another. It's important to me because riding is something I'm very passionate about and I enjoy sharing my passion with others. Furthermore, riding helps to keep me balanced when work/life gets hectic or stressful.

How did your Albion experience help you in your career?

Riding for Albion allowed me to practice balancing work and riding, and it also helped me to work on my networking, time management, and organizational skills. The relationships I built with my professors have been invaluable to me as I started my job search and went through my grad program - the individual attention I received at Albion really helped me to figure out where I wanted my career to go and how to get there. Now that I'm at Plante Moran, I'm encouraged to maintain relationships with my professors and fellow Albion grads, so participating in any equestrian events is fun for me and looks good for my career as well.