What distinguishes the Master of Business Taxation program from other graduate business programs?

The MBA and other general business programs do not provide the degree of concentration found in the Master of Business Taxation program. When we developed the program, we discussed whether or not we should be part of the MBA program, but determined that the specialized nature of taxation requires greater in-depth study than the MBA program could provide. On the other hand, there are graduate tax programs that go to the opposite extreme—they are far more specialized than we are and offer only technical tax courses. There are also tax programs in law schools that do not have our business orientation. The MBT program provides specialty tax courses within the broader framework of general business decision-making.

Can I enroll in MBT courses if I haven't been admitted to the MBT program?

We do permit non-degree candidates, on a limited basis, to enroll in some classes. By providing a range of courses, we can enroll people who are considering the program or who simply want to take a specialized course. Often this brings into the classroom individuals who share valuable knowledge with degree candidates. Prior to admission, prospective degree candidates can take a maximum of 12 semester credits (we recommend 6) of graduate-level coursework that can be applied to the MBT degree. This includes coursework taken from the MBT program and transfer coursework from other graduate programs you may have been admitted to. Therefore, it's important to apply for admission into the program on a timely basis.

What are typical course loads for part-time and full-time students?

The program was established to permit part-time students who work full time to complete the program in approximately three years or less, taking an average of 4–6 credits per term. A student enrolled full time and taking roughly 12 credits a term can finish in one calendar year. More important, the program is flexible—we realize that work schedules and other factors don't always make it possible for students to enroll in consecutive terms. However, because of the way required courses are scheduled, students generally are required to attend fall, spring, and summer semesters at least once.

Do MBT courses satisfy continuing education credit requirements for CPAs and lawyers?

Yes. The Minnesota State Board of Accountancy grants fifteen hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credit for each semester credit earned in the MBT program. The State of Minnesota Board of Continuing Legal Education awards continuing legal education (CLE) credits for MBT tax courses, but there is no standard formula. At the end of a term, the MBT office sends an email that lists the number of CLE & CPE credits awarded for the class.

How do MBT students gain work experience before graduation?

The program can help degree candidates who want to gain experience while pursuing their education find full-time or part-time employment. Most students enter the program already with full-time jobs. Many of the 10–15% of MBT students who initially enroll full time secure work experience while finishing their degree because of the strong demand in the Twin Cities for temporary employment, particularly during the early spring term. Degree candidates may also use the Undergraduate Business Career Center (UBCC) , which schedules on-campus interviews with a variety of firms and companies. The UBCC is located in 2-180 Hansen Hall (HMH) which is connected to the Carlson School. In addition, students often make employment contacts through classmates.

What value does an MBT degree hold in today's business world?

The MBT degree benefits both the tax professional and their firms. The firm benefits from having more competent and effective tax professionals carrying out its tax function. For the tax professional, growth within the field requires a strong commitment to continuing education, which MBT courses provide. In fact, an increasing number of seasoned tax professionals believe that in the near future a graduate tax degree, such as the MBT, will be the requisite credential for anyone pursuing a tax career.

Are Carlson School MBT graduates competitive in the job market?

Exceptionally competitive. Though most of our graduates stay in the Twin Cities area, we generally find placements for them. Those who have ventured out of the area have had no difficulty finding good positions. Our alumni are employed in most larger metro areas of the US, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, New York, and Chicago.

How do students benefit from the school's Twin Cities location?

They benefit in two ways. First, it's a very pleasant place to live. Most of our graduates have chosen to stay in the Twin Cities because it has much to offer, including cultural and sporting activities, a moderate cost of living, clean air, and world-class theater. The Twin Cities is a good place to raise a family and has excellent school systems. Professionally, the Twin Cities area has a strong, experienced, and lively business environment. Many Fortune 500 firms and small but flourishing companies are headquartered here. The opportunities for professional growth are plentiful.

Does the local business community play an active role in MBT education?

From the outset, the local business community has been active in the MBT program. Members of the Tax Executives Institute and the Minnesota State Society of CPAs, who were then serving on the Department of Accounting Advisory Council, studied the feasibility of offering a graduate tax program. After encouraging the program's creation, they helped develop curriculum and examine budget and administrative issues. This active support continues today. Indeed, the program would not be at its current level without community assistance. Tax professionals from the local business community serve as adjunct faculty and share their real-world experiences with students. Firms and tax professionals have also helped fund the program by providing financing for research databases, visiting faculty members, and library facilities. In addition, they encourage employee enrollment in MBT courses, with most firms reimbursing tuition costs.

What does the future hold for tax professionals?

The future is very bright for tax professionals. In many ways, as our society becomes more complex tax laws reflect this trend. There is a growing demand for people with the tax education needed to guide business and economic decision makers. In fact, taxation is one of the fastest growing areas within accounting firms and the larger business community. Furthermore, the demographics are such that there is a decreasing pool of high quality students for which the tax field will be competing with other professions in the future. The demand for tax professionals is strong, and the supply will not soon catch up with that demand.

What future goals has the MBT program identified?

We're committed to drawing an increased percentage of high-potential students into the program and broadening our recruiting base in this region and the rest of the country. We also strive to foster relationships between graduates and students through the alumni association.