December 7, 2020
Hratch Karakachian has an undying love for education. It has propelled him through college, his career, as a professor, and even his hobby of Texas Holdem poker.
Over the years, Hratch has had two influences that have inspired him and fueled his love of learning. His first inspiration comes from his father. As a boy, he would spend summers and time after school working at his father’s architectural and interior design firm in Beirut, Lebanon. Despite owning a business, his father had little to no business background or financial skills to run his business. Although professionally the firm was successful, Hratch spent much time watching the business struggle due to lack of financial and business experience. lack of focus on the business over the years. Ultimately, this is what encouraged him to study business with an emphasis in real-estate.
To study for college Hratch came to the United States, more specifically Los Angeles. It is here he met his next inspiration: his professor who taught his introduction to accounting class. The professor worked full-time, had published many textbooks on courses for college-level students about real estate, and he was an investor in real estate. This was the second catalyst of influence for Hratch. He was so inspired that he decided to follow his tracks in accounting and real estate. However, after working for an accounting firm to get a license, Hratch decided not to be involved with real estate, which led him to be a CPA in tax and earn a law degree. Fast forward to the present and Hratch is a CPA tax specialist and legal specialist.
Sharing Knowledge with Others
“My work is not in the heart of financial planning. If you had a financial planner sitting in the center with a client, I would be two of the spokes on the wheel. All of them need to be working together to make sure the plan works efficiently and effectively,” explained Hratch. This ties into Hratch’s passion for helping others by using his skill set. “My knowledge of the tax field and my knowledge of the legal environment is how I help the individuals that need the advice,” he said.
As a CPA Hratch specialises in tax working with both individuals and families which includes form preparation and counseling. As a solicitor, he gives transaction orientated advice, for example, real estate transactions. His specialty is in taxation income and estate and gift taxes.
Hratch has been teaching online classes in the Financial Planning program at California Lutheran University since 2013. He teaches; Managerial Accounting, Foundations of Accounting and Finance, Tax Management and Strategy, and Principles of Estate Planning. Hratch describes his teaching style as a combination of lecture, activity, and group work with an emphasis on problem-solving to provide an opportunity for students to think
There are three reasons why Hratch enjoys teaching. The first reason is he believes it is his duty as a professional to share knowledge with the next generation of students so they can be more prepared and knowledgeable. The second reason goes back to his love of learning. As a professor, he enjoys learning more by digging deeper into class material as some areas he doesn’t work in, what’s more, the accounting world is a fast-changing environment with various rules and regulations. Lastly, as a practitioner at California Lutheran University, he has access to progress and learn with library resources, networking opportunities, events, and training.
The Importance of Professor-Student Relationships
A highlight of teaching for Hratch is hearing from students years later. He enjoys learning how they remember material from the class and applied it to a real-life situation. “That’s a nice moment of personal satisfaction,” he said. “Helping students understand the subject matter especially the complex areas. I like instilling knowledge and gaining knowledge from students that are intrigued and ask questions. It requires me to think, analyze, ask questions, and explain things,” Hratch said. His favorite part of teaching is the two-way interaction that develops between the students and the professor.
Hratch believes there are two qualities that make a good professor. The first being the ability to break down complex matters into simple and easy to understand situations including real-life examples. “It should be interesting, timely, and relevant to retain the subject discussed,” he said. Secondly, there should be humor when teaching. “A good teacher has the ability to pepper fun or funny jokes which I think enhances a student’s retention on the specific issue,” he said. Qualities that make a student Hratch believes are being focused, eager and willing to learn, motivated, and have a yearning to dig deeper to learn knowledge from the textbook and faculty member.
The parting discussion in the interview was about Hratch’s hobby of Texas Holdem poker. After playing one time on a friend’s electronic device, Hratch became hooked on the research and study of the play. “It’s interesting to me because it combines math statistics, math, and psychology. The combination of that makes it very interesting and a challenging game,” he said.
Hratch J Karakachian, CPA, ESQ, is a senior adjunct faculty member in California Lutheran University School of Management. He has been teaching in the MBA in Financial Planning Program since 2013. He has taught Principles of Estate Planning, Income Tax and Strategy, Managerial Accounting and Foundations of Accounting and Finance courses.
Rosie Baker is an undergraduate student at California Lutheran University, graduating in May 2021. She is studying Communication with an emphasis in PR and Advertising and has a minor in Creative Writing. In July 2020, she published her first book, Mirrors & Windows: Unlocking a New Framework to Envision Your Success, with New Degree Press.