Jeffrey Trey, J.D., LL.M., M.B.A., an expert in the field of international tax and a clinical professor at Sy Syms School of Business, is the new director M.S. in Taxation.
Trey has been an international tax consultant for many companies (PricewaterhouseCooper, Crowe Global, RSM International and the Brix Group), an in-house senior tax attorney (Citigroup) and head of tax for a publicly listed multinational (GFI Group). He also has been a much sought-after speaker on the topic of the U.S. international tax landscape and publishes chapters in books and articles on international tax (publications include a chapter on the GILTI and FDII international tax provisions in Taxation of Intellectual Property [Matthew Bender 2021] and International Tax Issues for Newly Multinational Corporations [44 The Tax Adviser 215 (2013)]).
YU News managed to catch up with him to talk about the degree program.
How does a Master of Science in Taxation help students?
A master’s degree in taxation helps students jump-start their taxation careers. Prior to joining the YU faculty in August, I had over 20 years of practicing tax as an attorney, at CPA firms and in-house. A large part of my responsibilities was recruiting tax professionals. In looking for tax professionals, I wanted to know that applicants had a sincere interest in tax, had the ability to apply difficult tax concepts in practice, and could clearly communicate tax concepts both in writing and in discussions. An M.S. in Taxation was strong evidence that a student had the interest and abilities to succeed as a tax professional.
What are some of the interesting challenges in taxation that students will be prepared to meet?
All our faculty are either current or former tax practitioners in business or government. That allows our faculty to prepare students to meet challenges that their professors experienced in their careers. For example, in my mergers and acquisitions tax class, I draw on my experience in tax planning for the acquisition of a premier league team. And in my international tax class, I discuss some of the due diligence issues encountered when I assisted clients with acquisitions of defense contractors in Africa and the divestiture of subsea fiberoptic cable networks in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. By applying real world examples, we can prepare students to meet the challenges of applying the tax principles learned in class in their careers as tax professionals.
What differentiates the Sy Syms program from others on the market?
There are many excellent advanced tax programs. What differentiates this program is the accessibility of the professors, the depth of experience that the professors bring to their courses and the focus of the program in developing ethical tax practitioners. Current and former students often tell me that one differentiator of the program is how easy it is to obtain advice from our faculty and how caring we are towards our current and past students.
What advice would you give current or prospective students?
I would advise current or prospective students to ask a lot of questions as they are learning new tax concepts and make sure they understand the answers. In tax learning and in tax practice, there is no substitute for independently understanding the tax principles you are working on. No one else can convince you whether a tax planning principle works unless you understand how it works yourself. The best way to understanding is to read the source material and make sure you understand preferably with the guidance of seasoned tax professionals.
“With an M.S. in Taxation degree from the Sy Syms School of Business, you will master the discipline that shapes Fortune 500 decisions and defines the corporate landscape.”