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September 21, 2023

Liberal Arts Grad Doing MSA: Deciding Between IT Audit and Tax

I studied history in my BA program and then I did a MA in history part-time while working at a university business office. I originally thought about doing a PhD in history, but after a lot of consideration I decided that route wasn't worth the time and money it required (average length for a PhD in the humanities is around 7 years or more with few permanent job prospects). I am in a local MSA program (in-state tuition makes it very reasonable) and my program requires us to choose from one of three tracks (IT Auditing, Financial Reporting, and Tax). Based on the classes I've taken I'm primarily trying to decide between IT auditing and Tax. I've previously done some work with security compliance (mostly PCI stuff) and I enjoyed it a lot. On the other hand, the work I've done in tax has been interesting and there's a certain appeal about the research and analysis it requires. My father-in-law is a univesity CIO and my wife is tax accountant (previously at a Big Four firm, but now at a local firm for better work/life balance), so I'm look to have some firsthand accounts of life in the respective fields. 

I have to make a decision later this month, and I'm having a difficult time deciding. I like IT auditing and I think that eventually I'd like to do something in information security managment (maybe a CSO or CISO) or full on management as a CIO. I also have a friend who works at Accenture and likes life as an IT consultatant. Would doing IT audit help put me on a good career trajectory to fuflill these goals? One thing I'm a bit apprehensive about is that I am a pretty strong introvert. Though I do pretty well interacting with people, it does take a lot out of me and I find that I do best when I have at least some stretches of time where I can work by myself. In that regard tax seems to be a better fit and I find the material reasonably interesting. Tax also seems to be a bit safer during economic downturns than IT advisory or auditing, but perhaps that is changing due to greater regulatory requirements. 

Any suggestions, perspectives, or additional infomration that you can offer would be much appreciated. 

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