ISU College of Business Graduates its First Master of Taxation Class

POCATELLO – After launching its new Master of Taxation (MTax) program in fall 2017, the Idaho State University College of Business graduated its first class in this discipline on May 4.

The five students who started in the program fall semester all graduated. These students are Aaron Anderson, Holly Behling, Nyssa Bradley, Sheldon Brown and Ayanda Godi.

According to Director of Graduate Studies Heidi Shiosaki, the program’s launch was a success.

“For a new program it went really well. The students, who are all outstanding, have really enjoyed it,” she said.

The students came from a variety of backgrounds: one was a graduate of ISU’s undergraduate accounting program, one switched from ISU’s Master of Accounting to the Master of Taxation program upon the launch of a more specialized program, two students were Brigham Young University-Idaho accounting graduates and one is already working in an accounting career in Idaho Falls and traveled to Pocatello for classes.

Aaron Anderson, a BYU-Idaho accounting graduate, was the first student accepted into the new Master of Taxation program and has been recognized as the program’s Outstanding Student Award recipient for the academic year. “From my experiences at BYU-I, I knew that I wanted to work in the tax service line in public accounting,” Anderson said . “I had known for quite a while that I wanted to continue my accounting education at ISU, but was disappointed that it didn’t offer a MTax program. Once I heard that they were creating the MTax at ISU, I was so happy and knew that it was exactly where I should continue my education.”

Anderson’s experience in the newly launched program was just as he had hoped it would be.

“Overall, the MTax program was fantastic. The professors were knowledgeable, but more importantly were open, approachable and sincere in their efforts to help us learn,” said Anderson.

For these students, a specialized degree in taxation has given them the opportunity to build a greater understanding of the tax system.

“I have gained insights on how the tax system works and how taxes are regulated, so in some ways, a specialized degree will set me apart in knowledge and understanding of some areas of tax in comparison to my peers,” said student Ayand Godi who will be starting her career in California at the global Big Four accounting firm, Ernst & Young. “Because of this specialization, I believe I will have the capacity to understand project requirements at a much quicker pace,”

Anderson felt that the specialized degree also helped to build upon his understanding at a much deeper level.

“Technically speaking, I have become more proficient dealing with individual, partnership, s-corp, corporate, gift and estate tax. Beyond just those skills, I became better at discussing issues, thinking through problems and communicating my conclusions relating to tax matters,” Anderson said.

Anderson has also accepted a full-time job offer at a Big Four firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington D.C. where he also completed an internship.

“A specialized masters degree in taxation is becoming evermore important for tax accountants in both public accounting and for accountants who work within a specific company,” Anderson said. “Many companies are looking for individuals who have specialized degrees and many companies also significantly increase their salaries for those who have it.”

The College of Business is looking forward to the program’s second year. For questions related to the Master of Taxation program, contact Associate Professor of Accounting Ray Rodriquez atrodrramo or call 208-282-2504.

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