Christopher Patterson: Ultimate goal within reach

When Christopher Patterson, MST’16, MSA’17, moved from Tennessee to Indianapolis, he brought with him a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance and psychology—and a passion for numbers.

Christopher relocated to the Circle City in 2011 after an internship with Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS). Following his internship, and a final semester of undergraduate coursework at Tennessee State, DFAS offered him a full-time accounting position. At that time, Christopher, who had the “itch” for taxes, began looking into graduate schools.

His first call was to the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI; he was sold right away.

“What makes the Kelley School so unique is how the program infuses real-world and real-life experiences into the classroom,” says Christopher, who enrolled in the Master of Science in Taxation Program. “I knew this program would put me on track to achieve my ultimate goal—owning my own tax firm.”

While Christopher says both accounting and tax are equally important, taxes intrigued him, and it was something he could apply immediately in his own life, helping clients through his volunteer efforts in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

I knew this program would put me on track to achieve my ultimate goal—owning my own tax firm.

Christopher Patterson, MST’16, MSA’17

“I really appreciated professor James Motter’s courses,” says Christopher. “He digs deep into the tax code and brings out information that you wouldn’t normally see on the surface. He taught me to ask the right questions for my clients and to have all the answers in case of an IRS audit.”

"Those courses developed and sharpened my analytical and decoding skills,” explains Christopher, mentioning how the definition of particular tax laws are not always straightforward and require advanced problem-solving skills.

“Each Kelley class I’ve taken at IUPUI has molded me to become a more strategic man. That’s not only benefited me professionally, but it’s played a significant role in my personal relationships as well.”

Two years after enrolling in the MST Program, Christopher received a promotion at DFAS and a Kelley master’s degree, but that’s not all. He and his fiancé both enrolled in the Master of Science in Accounting Program, a move he explains will allow him to offer his clients more services.

He’s another day closer to owning his own business, offering what he calls “a trifecta of tax services.”