2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Noah Reyna, University of Washington (Foster)

Noah Reyna

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

“A data-driven, caffeine fueled Seattleite with passions for baking and learning languages.”

Fun fact about yourself: I once had 14 shots of espresso in one day.

Hometown: Bellevue, WA

High School: Bellevue High School

Major: Finance/Information Systems

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Finance 458, Mergers & Acquisitions with Professor Doron Levit. This class is extremely enlightening in that it made me realize how increasingly complex businesses are. When deciding upon acquiring a target, there is not one specific consideration to take into account; there’s also the current economic environment, of course, as well as financing options for such an acquisition, or what’s occurring in today’s political world. While the combination of several Foster courses provides a more interdisciplinary approach to my education, FIN 458 gives that interdisciplinary perspective wrapped in one course, which is important to teach, as not one specific externality may influence a business decision; many may.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Direct entry to the Foster School of Business

Dean’s List, University of Washington

Bob and Ann Christensen Fund Scholarship Recipient: Recipient of a $4,000 scholarship to aid in my study abroad experience as a result of my academic achievements.

Private Client Services Intern at Andersen (February-April 2020; February 2021-present): Prepared over 50 tax returns for high net worth individuals and their trusts, estates, S-corps, and partnerships last year; we’ll see how far I can get this year! I analyze financial statements, such as form 1099’s and bank statements to complete balance sheets, income statements, and trial balances for clients’ C-corps. I estimate 2020 tax liability for clients by analyzing previous return data, overpayments, and 2019 tax liability, and prepared 2020 estimate vouchers accordingly last year and 2021 estimates this year. Hopefully, I can focus on analyzing their charitable contributions, real estate, and business holdings more as my internship progresses!

Commercial Tax Services Intern at Andersen (July-September 2020): I assembled financial data in Excel to prepare form 1120 for C-Corps valued at minimum $8 million. Formulated research reports about IRS section 382 matters, such as common stock warrant classifications and deductible expenses, to maximize net operating loss carryovers. Another highlight was that I conducted M&A tax due diligence studies, identifying potential tax liability issues of target companies for buy-side clients, such as potential nexus presence, its sales tax implications, and other non-income tax liability related issues.

Undergraduate Researcher, Department of Psychology, University of Washington: Aided psychology Ph.D students and Dr. Steve Buck in collecting data for research in human color vision and how changes in the environment can affect rod and cone photoreceptor perception of color interpretation.

Lead Host, Busser, and Cashier at The Cheesecake Factory: Working here provided the foundation of my work ethic. I worked full-time here before my internships, including during school holidays and breaks, to supervise and coordinate seating activities in the dining room, train over 25 new-hire hosts and bussers, and sold over seasonal $2,000 of gift cards in a 3-week period.

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Andersen, Private Client Services (February 2021-present)
  • Andersen, Commercial Tax Services (July-September 2020)
  • Andersen, Private Client Services (February-April 2020)

Where will you be working after graduation? Incoming 2020 Tax Associate at Andersen with the Commercial Tax Services team. In addition to doing corporate returns, I hope to do some more M&A tax due diligence studies. I’ll also be attending a Master’s program in taxation at the University of San Francisco School of Law!

What company do you admire most? Out of all companies, I’d say that I most admire Microsoft. Maybe it’s just that I’m a Seattleite (they’re based in Redmond, maybe 10 miles away), but they have so many aspects that I appreciate. I appreciate how they use a diverse supply chain to help spread economic prosperity among minority-owned businesses. I appreciate how they are changing the hiring world and process with their Microsoft Neurodiversity Hiring Program, something I think that many more companies should incorporate into their efforts to increase equity for all. Finally, I appreciate how they’re working to close the gender pay gap and racial pay gap. Of course, they have great products, but their social awareness and the steps that they’re taking to use their corporate power in a positive manner makes it one of my favorite companies to discuss.

Who is your favorite professor? I’d say my favorite professor is Dr. Nuno Lopes of the University of Navarra. I took the equivalent of Introduction to Marketing with him when I studied abroad, and he made it incredibly engaging for a more numbers-oriented person such as myself. He demonstrated the relationship between marketing, finance, psychology, data analytics, and created projects that catered to each. While I’m not currently studying marketing, he sparked my interest in data analytics and combining it with other business concentrations (in my case, finance). Even though I was an international student at UNav, he took the time to get to know me on a personal level, provide guidance on how data analytics can be used to guide business decisions, and enlighten me on Spanish culture.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? There’s a balance between being confident and humble. The amount of social and emotional intelligence required in the business world is immense, even for finance and accounting positions. There’s a time and place for everything; some situations need more confidence than humbleness (perhaps during a job interview or client meeting), and some require a more humbled presence (during an informational interview with a partner of the firm, for example). Regardless, be yourself! Everyone has unique qualities that may be leveraged as strengths both in individual and group work settings.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Take the time to get to know yourself, your interests, and passions. Your interests in high school and early university years may be different by the time that you’re approaching graduation. This was certainly the case with me – when I was in high school and the beginning of college, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, then doctor, then psychologist. Now I’m interested in tax, and I’m majoring in finance! As long as you keep your mind open, you’ll be surprised by what interests you. Don’t be afraid to learn new things and leverage your connections to find out more about a specific topic.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Overall, I’m satisfied with my undergraduate career; I’ve made some connections, stressed a bit, and learned a lot. I’ve developed a great work ethic for my future academic and professional career. However, thinking about it, one of the features of the Foster School that I think is incredibly useful is the peer mentoring program that we have. I wish I would’ve either been a peer mentor or mentee. I say a peer mentor because I enjoy giving guidance and any accumulated expertise to people, especially within my own community. I say a peer mentee partially because I’d hope that I would’ve been less scattered with my interests throughout university. I realize that everyone is on their own track and that the majority still don’t have some parts of their life put together. Like a complex puzzle, life is built with concentration, thought, and persistence. Having a peer mentor would’ve helped initiate thought on why I’m interested in certain topics.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m most proud of my study abroad experience at the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. This is my most coveted achievement – so far – for several reasons.

First, I’d never travelled outside the US before studying abroad, so heading to different parts of the world (I travelled to France and Norway during my time there as well) helped expose me to different cultures, paces of life, languages, and life perspectives. It also gave me a chance to practice the Spanish that I had taken throughout high school and college in a real-world environment. I also got to connect with the linguistic side of my heritage there; I’m half Mexican, but wasn’t raised bilingual, so I found it fulfilling to connect with the language (despite struggling using the vosotros conjugation instead of the nosotros one taught in schools here). I was also able to be more independent, as I was a commuter student during the non-pandemic years – even if it was a big jump from being at home with my mom one day to being more than 5,000 miles away the next.  Finally, I also made some wonderful memories with some life-long friends during my time there who I know I can go to if I need personal or professional advice.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire Briana Del Rosario of the biology department here at UW. She’s helped guide me through my university career, both inside and outside Foster, and my professional career. I’ve been glad to see her and her interests develop and I’m truly amazed by her maturity and awareness of the intersectionality of different social causes. She has a desire to make an impact on the greater world, whether that’s through research or through tutoring in economically disadvantaged areas. She’s educated, self-aware, and (most importantly) has integrity. I’m excited to see the places she’ll go and what she’ll achieve in the coming years.

Who would you most want to thank for your success?

Regardless if it’s my personal, academic, or professional successes, my mom has always been there to support me. She’s taught me many valuable lessons on embracing my strengths, my flaws, and most importantly, myself. She’s not afraid to speak up what she believes in and provided so much positive energy in my life. Thanks for your constant support!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. The first one is to have a side hustle that brings in enough revenue that is 25% of my earned income. I’ve been researching different possibilities, such as dropshipping or tutoring English online, since my first job was teaching English and basic math to pre-K students. I hope to save up this income for a down payment for a small business loan for my own bakery!
  2. I’d say my second is to have a published research paper in economics, finance, accounting, or information technology. I’ve always been an academic, so research is something that is innate to me and I appreciate how it can be used to fund the greater development of the world.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy baking, but particularly enjoy making cakes, cookies, and biscuits, such as my chai tea latte cookies. I also enjoy gardening  – my lemon tree, lime tree, and herb garden are somehow still alive! Learning languages is another favorite hobby of mine, whether that is listening to the news in that language or reading news articles, I always enjoy flexing that part of my brain. I’ve practiced Spanish, Italian, and Norwegian.

What made Noah such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Ever since meeting with Noah during our first Foster Career Coaching Session together this past summer, I was blown away by the diverse range of accomplishments that took form over the duration of his University of Washington and Foster School of Business career. Noah’s proactive spirit toward engagement has consistently impressed and inspired me each time we have met via his interaction with Foster Career Services; I know wholeheartedly that this positive spirit will take Noah far as he begins his professional career following graduation this spring. Noah has made an impact on the Foster community through his intentionality and care for others and their best interests, values that were apparent through my individual interactions with him via our conversations with one another. I admire Noah’s thoughtful consideration of the world around him as he navigates life and look forward to seeing the ways in which his considerate decision-making philosophy helps to ensure a brighter future for him and his communities.”

Lucas Ruiz
Assistant Director, Undergraduate Career Development


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