I would say look around, make sure that you think it’s the best fit for you. Make sure that you think that learning online works for you because there is a lot of self-discipline involved. But then that’s one of the best benefits of the program. It actually taught me better disciplined skills as well. I would just tell ‘em to compare to other programs and I think they’d be really impressed with the Northeastern program.
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I’m Timothy Gagnon. I’m an Assistant Teaching Professor and the Faculty Director for the Master of Science in Taxation for the D’Amore-McKim School of Business.
For the online program, I teach the estate and gift taxation and tax research. Estate and gift is really the other side of what we give away, how to account for it in the tax system and then that interrelates is now that you’ve died what do you have left for credits, what’s included in your estate, what’s not included and how do we pull back under the IRS code? How do we pull back certain assets into your state to get the full value to determine who do we charge in estate tax.
I spend my time trying to teach people, or my students, how to research through the tax code, whether it be the statutes, the administrative regulation, or the difference in cases. The online taxation program is 10 courses. There are five core courses that you must take and then you have five electives. We’ve tried to arrange the electives to be what we call a corporate track and an individual track, but you’re not held to only taking the corporate track or the individual track.
You can take five electives out of either one of the tracks. The whole idea being that we’re wanting you to become more tax efficient, the core courses will do that, corporations, partnerships, estate and gift, research, federal taxation issues. Those are the core because you need a broad base. But when it comes to your electives, you can take them in advanced partnerships, you can take them in income tax and trust and states. You can mix and match because we really want you to be able to take courses that refine more of the area you wanna know about or would be more advantageous to your practice in the future.
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My name is Timothy Rupert. I’m a Professor in the Accounting Group and also I’m the Group Coordinator, which is our equivalent of being the department chair of the group. I teach two of our courses, the corporations and shareholders and partners and partnerships. They’re both entity courses, and so they’re part of the required courses that students take in the program.
We have two tracks in the Online Master of Science in Taxation (MST). One deals with entity type of courses and the other deals with financial planning and more individual related courses. I teach two entity courses in our required courses that everyone takes, but those then are a feeder into those entity level courses that they take in the more advanced track for our program.
My courses are meant to give you the background, so that you can learn more, for example, about international taxes and if you are operating as a partnership or operating as a corporation and you’re doing that in an international setting, my courses give a foundation for that. I really connect with the approach that we have to education, which is experiential learning and practice oriented learning.
My research also combines with that. I look at issues that people face in the tax system. Psychology, actually, is my supplemental area. And so I look at why people comply with the law and when they do, what happens when they don’t, what happens, what drives those decisions. And I also look at factors in our tax system that might change their decision making process.
Coming into an online program, it’s different for a lot of students. Often times they’ve taken one course maybe online or maybe no courses online before coming into our program. And it is a different format that people have to get used to. Our courses are accelerated. They happen in five weeks, which is a really short period of time. And in those five weeks, we’re doing the same thing that we would normally do in a 13 or 14 week semester. So, I think one of the things that students can do to prepare for taking that type of online course is really making sure they have time in their schedule to devote to that class.
One of the things that’s great for our particular program is the fact that the students are coming from all over. We have students that are taking the program internationally, but they’re all working in tax, and they’re seeing different aspects of our tax system and what it means to be a tax professional, what their clients are like. And so, in each one of those cases, I think people can learn really well from each other.
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