With his earning three Master degrees under his belt, teaching in the California State University, Northridge undergraduate and graduate accounting and business programs and recently becoming an alumnus of its graduate tax program, it is clear why Robin Rousselet is this semester’s Bookstein Institute’s featured alumni.
Looking back, Rousselet said his business and accounting study began when he attended Hollywood High School. He needed to take a business lab class where he was able to choose from three different sections, which included typing, business machines or bookkeeping.
“I really wanted to try the typing section, but realized that it had the maximum number of students already,” recalls Rousselet. “I looked at the business machines section and immediately knew I did not want to work with those huge machines; keep in mind this was in 1973 before the introduction of personal computers. I turned to the bookkeeping section that had about three other students and chose it.”
He realized he enjoyed working with accounting and handling numbers.
After recollecting on this experience, he laughs.
“You need to be careful when you are young because the little decisions you make can send you on a lifetime trajectory,” he said.
After graduating from high school, he enrolled at CSUN. It was during his freshman year that he decided to work and a connection helped him find a job.
“I was exposed to accounting after a friend recommended me to work for a business management and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm called Lurena Deutsch CPA in Hollywood,” said Rousselet, who is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Rousselet Accountancy PC. “Without a degree, I was hired. I feel that Hollywood gives amazing chances to young people.”
He managed several Hollywood entertainers and academy award winners at the firm.
“I was very young and doing taxes my first year,” recalls Rousselet.
After working at the business management firm Rousselet realized he wanted to major in business at CSUN. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1980.
He worked at Deloitte & Touche as a certified public accountant for five years. He handled clients working in real estate, defense, technology and entertainment industries.
After Deloitte & Touche, Rousselet worked at Voit Real Estate Services (previously known as The Voit Companies) as Chief Financial Officer for 22 years. He worked on multiple real estate projects including the Warner Center in Los Angeles.
During his time at Voit, he earned a Master of Science in Business Administration, Finance at University of California, Los Angeles in 1991 and a Master of Science in Accountancy at California State University, Northridge in 1997.
“I saw earning the Masters degrees as my way of contributing to the Voit team,” he said.
He recalls the “24/7” job involving a lot of traveling. He pitched deals to companies in order to try to raise the debt and equity so the company’s projects would be financed. He retired from Voit in 2007.
He decided he wanted to increase his knowledge in the subject of income taxes and learned about the Master of Science in Taxation program at CSUN. He chose to attend CSUN because he was familiar with the school and it had an ideal schedule for a CPA, which he has been throughout his professional career.
“Even though I have a family, I am always a student,” said Rousselet. “In life, there is always more to learn.”
While beginning his studies in the tax program, he opened his own business and accounting firm titled Rousselet Accountancy PC. He handles a limited number of clients in the tax and real estate field.
In 2010, he graduated from the Master of Science in Taxation at California State University, Northridge.
A couple months later, an email was sent from a CSUN faculty member that asked if there were any alumni that would like to be a part-time professor. Rousselet immediately jumped at the opportunity.
He teaches undergraduate and graduate accounting classes at CSUN and loves working with the students.
“I spent a lot of my life in business learning about accounting and taxes,” he said. “I want to teach students not solely theory in business and accounting, but immerse them in real-life transactions. I teach how to apply theory principles to the real world.”
Being a part-time professor is not Rousselet’s sole role at CSUN. He is involved in the Peer Learning Facilitators program where he helps students become more successful in the Accounting 220 and 230 classes.
As he sits back in his office chair, he recollects on the one lesson that can be learned after hearing his life experience.
“Just get out there and do it,” said Rousselet. “You will meet people and one thing always leads to the next.”