Noodle Expert Jeffrey Koblenz talks about the time he decided against film studies and ended up in an unexpectedly challenging career in accounting.
Who would you pick, alive or dead, to be your teacher for a year? What would you want to learn?
I have always wanted to learn music. I never thought about having one teacher for a year, but since this is a fantasy, why not learn music from Mozart? I think that learning music theory and how to play on different instruments would be great. And, of course, learning music from one of the greatest legends could be a lot of fun!
What is one small piece of advice that has had a big impact on your life?
The best advice I received is to work hard and not give up. Life can be challenging, but the best attitude is one that is positive and optimistic. It's fine to expect the best reward for your effort, yet accept what you receive with gratitude. Having both an attitude of gratitude for what you receive and perseverance to achieve your goals are the keys to success.
Where would you send a student who hasn’t traveled before?
I would send a student who has never traveled to a place that interests the student. A travel decision should be based on the student’s desire, budget, and time to travel. What do you want to experience? Is there a certain culture, history, climate, food, activity that you seek? I like adventure and look for all of these elements when planning my trips.
What is best for you? Ask yourself some questions: Do you want to see traces of history that are over a thousand years old? Would you like to be somewhere warm, say near a beach or in a desert? Do you prefer to be athletic, perhaps hiking mountains? Are you interested in a modern or ancient culture?
When was a time that you failed academically, and what did you learn from the experience?
I learned that failing academically is a sign that I made a choice that was not in line with what I truly wanted to be doing. Toward the end of college, I can recall becoming very frustrated in my chosen major and much more interested in exploring the world of entertainment. I decided to enroll in a Film Art class, but I was more interested in acting and didn’t really feel like doing the work in the class. Since the class was pass/fail and would not impact my GPA, I decided not to write the paper to pass this class. I actually chose to fail!
Ironically, I took a class that was somewhat interesting to me, but instead of applying myself, I used the experience to ‘drop out’ like a rebel. It was my way of 'acting out' before I would refocus on the serious coursework that I believed to be important and needed to graduate. Years later, I studied the art of film without the requirement to write a paper; it was more enjoyable.
Why did you go into your field, and how is it different from what you expected?
I chose accounting because I thought it would be easy to find a secure, decent paying job with a bachelor degree. It seemed like a great choice for someone who wanted to be employed and earn a ‘good living’ without going for a post graduate degree.
I don’t believe I expected the profession to be as challenging as it can be at the highest level of achievement. I didn’t expect the need for estimation, judgment, and assumption in many accounting, reporting, and tax filing decisions. These concerns can keep an accountant very busy, working late hours and debating the proper treatment while striving to meet a deadline. Accounting standards and rules can be very complicated and subject to interpretation.