Why IBT was the right choice for me

Gepubliceerd op: 06/02/2019

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International Business Tax Economics is well-designed and demonstrates that taxation is more than understanding rules from textbooks, preparing elaborate calculations and learning about tax returns.

Prior to my master’s degree, I had already worked as a tax advisor in Budapest for a few years. I was interested to learn more about international taxation and the rules of other countries. It was important for me to have an education in this topic, which would allow me to have flexibility regarding where to live, whilst advancing my career. When I found the course in English at Tilburg University, I sent my application without hesitation. Looking back, I can say that the master’s degree program truly met my expectations and I sincerely enjoyed my year within the program.

The focus of the program was not the tax regulation of a specific country, but rather the fundamentals and guiding principles of international taxation in general. We had the chance to learn about the underlying purposes, different goals and functions to be fulfilled by tax regulation systems. Furthermore, the program goes beyond analyses of different tax regulations, and examines how these, sometimes fundamentally different, systems interact with each other in our globalized world.

A good example for this was the subject of value added taxes (VAT). Even though the course focussed on EU regulations together with ECJ cases, we also had the opportunity to learn about the sales tax in the US, the goods and services tax (GST) in Australia and New Zealand, and the VAT in Brazil, for instance. The knowledge I acquired during the course became very important when I worked as an EMEA VAT specialist in the Netherlands. Knowing the EU VAT regulations was essential to get the job. Furthermore, when the VAT was introduced to the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (namely The United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), knowing the fundamentals of different VAT and GST systems was extremely useful to have a clear and quick understanding of the new rules in the area. Other courses, such as business taxation, corporate tax structures or international and European taxation were designed to equip students with a suitable toolset to deal with international tax matters and to start a carrier in an international organization, or a multinational company. Currently, I work in an international tax role within the direct tax area. To understand the tax strategy, the global tax planning scenarios and compliance issues of a multinational entity group in our fast-changing world and regulatory environment, the above-mentioned courses provided a valuable basis to build upon. Besides the substantial theoretical knowledge that we had to acquire, including tax structuring, international court cases, transfer pricing matters, BEPS and other initiatives, we also had to deal with many moral issues. When dealing with topics like aggressive tax planning, or the concept of fairness for instance, it is essential to ask certain moral questions, to understand contradictory opinions and to take into account the interests of different shareholders. During the lectures of these courses, there was always a possibility to share our opinion or raise a question regarding certain decisions or regulations. Due to the fact that our group consisted of people from different parts of the world with various backgrounds, we had very often quite vivid and interesting discussions. These discussions were often eye opening, because we had the chance to share our thoughts with people from countries with fundamentally different legal structures.

I believe that choosing this master program was one of, if not the best, decision I made in my carrier. The Master opened many doors for me on an international level and provided me with greater freedom in planning my carrier in different fields of taxation or in different countries.

Diána Balázs

Investment Tax Manager at LGT Capital Partners, Student IBTE master program 2015/2016