DePaul’s Master of Science in Taxation (MST) program is No. 1 in the nation, according to JobsInTax, which is part of TaxTalent, the largest online network of tax professionals. In 2012, JobsInTax surveyed heads of corporate tax departments (151 participants) and alumni of MST programs (184 participants) to find out which MST programs and degrees are held in high regard by professionals in the field.
“I’m not surprised to hear that we’re the best,” laughs Kevin Stevens, director of the School of Accountancy, Driehaus College of Business (left in photo).
“Our MST program stands out for a few reasons. First, we offer a full range of tax courses: corporate, state and local, international, estate and gift, subchapter S — they all get deep-dive coverage. This kind of depth and breadth is really rare.
"Second, our classes are taught by people who really know what they’re talking about, people who address complex tax issues every single day in their work—partners and managers from accounting firms, tax executives in industry, auditors with the IRS, you name it—we’ve got really, really good people.”
Ronald Marcuson, retired partner with Ernest & Young, visiting professor, and director of the MST program, agrees:
“Our teachers bring to each course not only tax theory but also real-world practice. The Internal Revenue Code and case law are our textbooks. Most of our students are working professionals: they take courses as they need the content in their jobs. It’s a very intensive approach — immediate and relevant — in which the academic work becomes, in effect, part of a person’s career progression. That’s why our MST program is rated so highly by both employers and graduates.”
Stevens continues: “Also, our students gain valuable perspective as our teachers represent a variety of possible career paths. Plus, in our program, they can take electives anywhere in the College of Business. Say, one wants to start his own independent tax practice — he can take our entrepreneurship classes. This access to a broader, bigger education is another reason our MST program is so good.”
The program enrolls about 100 students.
In addition, an online version was created for McGladrey LLP, a national accounting, consulting, and tax firm, which offers the MST to employees all over the United States. “That has worked out really well,” says Stevens. “Feedback has been very positive. Many of the firm’s tax people live and work in cities where an advanced degree in taxation simply isn’t an option. For McGladrey, our program is a significant recruiting and retention tool. Everyone wins.”
The program started in the late ‘60s when a partner at Arthur Young was looking for a place to get an in-depth, hands-on tax education. “We started the program to fill a need, and we’re still doing that today,” says Marcuson. “Maybe only one or two programs in the country can compare.” Stevens echoes the same idea: “We are rocking and rolling with our tax program, and always have been.”