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Career Opportunities for Those Who Understand Tax Law

September 6, 2012
Faculty Lead:  Susan L. Porter

The McIntire School held an informative evening panel Sept. 6, 2012, titled “Career Opportunities for Those Who Understand Tax Law.” The panelists discussed how beginning their career in tax law helped them throughout their careers. Three panelists shared their experiences with over 90 McIntire students. Robert Mizell began his career in public accounting and after achieving the level of Partner in the tax department of KPMG, joined Davenport & Company, where he has been involved in all aspects of investment banking.  Mr. Mizell is currently the Executive Vice President and CFO of Davenport. Gary Wallace was also a Tax Partner at KPMG, leaving to become the CFO for the Riverstone Group, where he directed all financial activities, including overseeing a significant hedge fund investment portfolio. Mr. Wallace subsequently left the Riverstone Group to once again specialize in tax consulting and is currently a Tax Partner at Keiter. Chris McGowan is a Tax Director for PwC, where he is involved in the tax planning for a variety of companies. 

Although many incorrectly believe that a career in taxation means that you will spend most of your time at a desk completing tax returns, the speakers highlighted that a career in tax required them to develop many valuable business skills that helped them be successful in their careers as business consultants. They discussed the importance of preparing returns as a training tool and as a mechanism to understand clients tax situations, but it was clear the consulting and planning aspects of their jobs were dynamic and interesting and they devoted much of their time to these tasks. They all emphasized the growth in their management, finance, and marketing skills while working as tax practitioners.  The panelists’ diverse business experiences provided students with insights into how useful tax training was in the development of their careers and that the experience they gained as a tax practitioner provided strong business skills that were valuable as their careers evolved over time. 


Robert F. Mizell ’78, Executive Vice President & CFO, Davenport & Company
Gary Wallace ’85, Grad. A&S ’86, Partner, Keiter
Chris McGowan, Tax Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP