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Q&A with Jacob Hauenstein, Personal Finance Student

Jacob Hauenstein smiling, wearing a dark suit and tie, against a yellow brick background.

Jacob Hauenstein is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Personal Finance-Financial Planning. As an outstanding student, he’s earned a national scholarship from Envestnet for his senior year at UW–Madison. Upon graduating in May, he will work as a Project Manager at Epic Systems. What follows are Jacob’s insights of being a student at the School of Human Ecology:

Why did you choose to major in Personal Finance?

Growing up in a financially unstable household, I witnessed troubling financial habits displayed by both of my parents. I learned that my parents struggled with financial health and no one had the proper guidance that would help them succeed in their personal and professional financial lives. In turn, this placed a lot of stress on me and my siblings’ lives.

Ever since learning about my parents’ money issues, I wanted to go into personal finance. Given my comfort with numbers, my deep interpersonal skills, and my empathy, I learned that personal financial planning would be the perfect occupation. It would give me the ability to relate with those that have struggled with financial instability and give me the option to help vulnerable individuals who don’t have a firm understanding of personal finance.

What impacts have School of Human Ecology alumni made on your student experience?

Human Ecology alumni have had a profound impact on my ability to connect with career professionals and be exposed to the broader field of financial planning. With little understanding of how financial planning operated, I relied on those who went through the personal financial planning track prior to me entering the school.

One key observation I noticed is that Badgers are willing to help out Badgers. This is why I’m passionate about the Human Ecology alumni. Every alum was willing to have a conversation with me about their academic and professional endeavors, and that provided a lot of connections that I otherwise would not have been able to make.

How has the School of Human Ecology helped you thrive?

The School of Human Ecology (SoHE) has helped me thrive in personal, professional, and academic settings. The motto (according to me) for SoHE is to “develop a profound and impactful human experience.” The world-class curriculum and exposure to different sectors of academia have challenged me to develop into a holistic person.

Some of the key skills that I have learned in the school include: communicating with people with different perspectives, developing teamwork skills, building rapport with others in similar and different majors, and strong networking. SoHE has helped me thrive by placing me in an environment where I leverage my transferable skills to help fulfill SoHE’s mission.