Alum feature: Meet Phil Patrick

Phil Patrick Professional Headshot

Going the Extra Mile

Phil Patrick strives each day to be a little better than the day before. He seeks out opportunities for constant, steady growth, and after serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Army for six years, he was ready for his next big challenge: higher education. 

He decided to pursue a business degree, and as he progressed through the foundational coursework, he soon found himself drawn to the complexity of accounting. He realized that he didn’t want to stop there — he wanted to take his knowledge to the next level. 

Skills that Can’t Be Automated

A firm believer that the results you achieve are driven by the level of effort you invest, Phil was attracted by the rigor and opportunity of PSU’s Master of Taxation program. With a national shortage of entry-level tax professionals with graduate tax education, according to the American Institute of CPAs, prospects for his career were promising. And although technology has successfully automated many facets of business and accounting, analytical and critical thinking skills simply can’t be replicated by computers. 

“Accounting created a wealth of career opportunities, and it was something I really enjoyed doing,” he says. “The program requires conceptualization as well as practicing technical skill, and it was a perfect fit for what I needed.” 

The program helped Phil develop a lifelong network while honing the business mindset and tools he would need to thrive in accounting. 

“PSU really helped me with the technical skills to enter my career at a level above most of my first-year peers, and also with soft skill development,” he says. “From shaking hands with firm partners at school networking events to working closely with a professional cohort, the experiences have certainly had a positive impact on my career.”

Committed to Education

Phil lives by the motto that “extra effort is free.” His work ethic and drive for constant self-improvement led him to a role he loves at Irvine & Company. 

“I like that we specialize in the wine industry and have a wide spectrum of accounting work, especially in tax,” he says. “The environment is great, too – who could complain about ‘Wine Tasting Wednesdays?’” 

Phil sees a bright future for current students in the field, especially those who are willing to work hard. 

“My advice would be to go ‘all in,’ especially with a grad school degree,” he says. “Don’t put school on the back burner. It is an important experience and should really be taken advantage of.”

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