“I think the most important thing is to appreciate ethical values, honesty and to lead by example. It’s these principles that can foster change in society”
He currently works as a senior tax advisor for the Dominican Republic. His future goals include founding his own tax advisory and teaching in higher education institutions.
Joaquín Taveras, Dominican Republic
- Program studied
Why did you decide to study a Master in IE Law School?
As I was researching a specialized Master’s degree in International Taxation to broaden my knowledge, I also tried to find something that would help me advance my career. I wanted a program that offered a well-rounded curriculum and would give me the opportunity to learn directly from world-class, highly experienced professors. In addition, I was looking for an internationally prestigious academic institution that used innovative teaching techniques.
With this in mind, I decided to share my doubts about pursuing an international master’s with my old work colleagues, students in academic institutions abroad, and on Internet forums. Some of my colleagues told me about IE Law School, which led me to research the curriculum content and program methodology. I found it fascinating that IE uses the case method teaching approach. Aside from that, the student diversity, faculty experience and complete program content – which ranges from finance to European Community law – drew me in.
What stands out from your experience, both professionally and personally, at IE Law School? Any stories you’d like to share?
I had spent part of my career at a Big Four in my country, so I thought I had experience in all kinds of situations and operations. But during the Master I was surprised how much I was learning from case studies, team assignments and other participants’ discipline when making presentations. The group discussions, exchange of ideas, and long hours spent working as a team were also very enriching. We would always end up laughing, and yet were also determined to solve any problems that came up.
This whole experience helped me professionally. When the program ended, I returned to my country where I began to apply the logic that I learned in the Master regarding case settlement. If there is a problem, there is a solution. You just have to find it.
The Master was also very enriching personally. Even though it’s a rather competitive program, we formed friendships and the students respected one another. After sharing a classroom for several months, we ended up becoming a family, and were always willing to help without asking for anything in return. Besides the academic experience, we had breakfast, travelled and spent our free time together. I keep in touch with as many of my friends as I can from then.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned in the Master? Do you apply it to your professional life today?
In my opinion, there are three essential pillars that define IE and its programs:
- The case method
Every time I’m given a new project or a query, I try to use this method to solve any questions that may arise. I research, question and offer my opinion. This creates a single approach for each solution, making your work unique.
This is one of the most important tools that IE offers and I’ve started using it in my everyday life. As a law consultant, I work with professionals in different areas, from engineers and lawyers to accountants and experts in foreign trade. Teamwork strategies that I acquired at IE allow me to better understand their needs and find solutions for them.
Fostering relationships in academic, business and social settings with the goal of developing a rapport and sharing experiences is a key strategy for personal and professional development. It allows you to understand both cultural diversity and diversity of thought on a deeper level.
Do you think that IE provides a more global and comparative perspective of law?
Absolutely. A clear example of IE’s global focus can be seen when studying cases from foreign countries because this requires researching their specific laws and regulations, as well as applicable European directives. I have a fond memory of a case study on the Community VAT system which dealt with various countries. We spend hours debating it in the library. In addition, the program’s international environment encourages teachers and participants from different countries to share their perspectives, which allows for a comparative view of law.
What are your professional goals?
For now I want to continue forward with my career in tax advisory. In the future, I would like to create my own tax advisory and begin working a higher education academic institution in my country.
What do you like most about your profession?
I most enjoy the fiscal analysis of day-to-day business operations, as well as writing inquiries on tax matters and comparing accounting standards applicable to tax legislation.
What advice would you give to future lawyers?
I think the most important thing is to appreciate ethical values, honesty and to lead by example. It’s these principles that can foster change in society. This allows new lawyers to grow personally and professionally, helping them to make a difference. I would also recommend getting involved in projects that provide legal advice to disadvantaged people, which creates a fairer society for everyone.
Did you ever imagine advising such high-level clients regarding such relevant issues?
It’s something I had never imagined. However, once I started to apply what I had learned, I found that doors were slowly opening for me.
Being from the Dominican Republic, have you been able use what you’ve learned from the Master in your job as a tax advisor in your country?
The program taught me to anticipate change in tax legislation, and to have a more complete vision of taxation in general. It also helped me understand how some operations that are relatively new to my country are regulated. We had studied this in the Master.