Phil Rohrbach, who will be a full-time visiting instructor this fall, joined the Robins School to share his passion for mentoring students and bring his real-world perspective into the classroom.

At age 60, Phil retired in June of 2009 from Ernst & Young LLP as Executive Director for Tax Services (after 15 years) where he headed up the firm’s executive tax practice in the Mid-Atlantic region.  Phil’s resume includes working with high profile clients like Nicole Kidman and Chief Justice William Rehnquist and companies like Coca-Cola and Capital One.

In his retirement message to Ernst & Young, Phil said, “I am now going into a phase of my career where I am going to give back.”

Phil teaches undergraduates in the Robins School, as well as in the MBA program.  His undergraduate classes include: Financial Accounting 201, and Accounting Research 320.  In the MBA program he teaches Financial Accounting 501.  This spring, he will be teaching Managerial Accounting 202 for the first time.

Phil’s philosophy is that a student does not just have him as a professor for the semester. Their relationship should continue throughout their undergraduate career and even when they are alumni.  

“I don’t view a class here as having a start point or an end point.  I consider (in a world-class business school like the Robins School), whether in the MBA program or at the undergraduate level, the major role of any professor is mentoring,” according to Phil.

At the end of Phil’s Accounting 201 course, he invited all of his students for lunch in private room in the Heilman Dining Center where he had set up a mock boardroom meeting.  He also incorporated the concept of the class being like a tournament, and he jokingly called out the students names with the highest class average and told them they had been disqualified from the tournament.

In reality, these students were allowed to opt-out of the exam because of their exemplary work all semester.  Phil only asked that each student who was exempt from the test send their parents’ email addresses to him so that he could write each parent a note about their son or daughter’s strengths and abilities.

In his Accounting 320 class, Phil makes a point to take each student out to lunch at least once during the semester, not to talk about their performance in class or accounting.  Instead, they talk about career planning and what the real world will be like.

Phil and his wife, Camilla, also invite his MBA students over to their home in Windsor Farms once a semester for dinner and drinks.  During the evening, they discuss the class project and debrief the entire semester.

"I bring the most value to my students through mentoring – I just stepped out of the real world, and I try to bring a perspective to help students successfully launch their careers,” Phil said.

Phil Rohrbach is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Virginia and belongs to the American Accounting Association, the American Institute of CPAs and the Virginia Society of CPAs.