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Alumni, Partner at RubinBrown Recalls Assignment that Helped Launch Career

Every discussion, assignment and activity in a course has a purpose that could benefit students in the long-run. Chris Tkach, a 2009 graduate of the Chaifetz School of Business Master of Accounting program, recalls an exercise from his professional writing class that ultimately led him to become a partner at RubinBrown.

Chris Tkach, Chaifetz School Alumni

Chris Tkach, Chaifetz School bachelor's and master's in accounting alumni, was recently named a partner in RubinBrown's Assurance Services Group. Photo by Kelly Siempelkamp

"This assignment got me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to go after what I want," Tkach said. "I think back to the assignment more than any other as it had a huge impact on how my life and career progressed."

Before Tkach decided to pursue a Master of Accounting, he obtained a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the Chaifetz School. He recalled an assignment from his undergraduate Business and Professional Writing course that required students to interview business professionals in their desired field.

"I ended up calling John Herber, the Managing Partner (at the time) of RubinBrown (in addition to the managing partners of the other 5 biggest accounting firms in St. Louis). I knew little about him (or RubinBrown), but since RubinBrown was the biggest accounting firm in St. Louis, I gave him a call," Tkach said. "John was the only person of all those called that called me back, and after I interviewed him, I was determined to work at RubinBrown."

RubinBrown LLP is one of the nation's leading accounting and consulting firms. In 2019, the St. Louis Business Journal's Book of Lists named the firm #1 among St. Louis' largest accounting firms.

Tkach interned at RubinBrown in 2008 as an Internal Audit Intern, became an auditor for the firm upon graduating and eventually took a role as an Assurance Manager. Recently, he was named a Partner in RubinBrown's Assurance Services Group.

At RubinBrown, Tkach now leads the assurance data analytics initiative and serves private and public clients in various industries including manufacturing and distribution, real estate and not-for-profit. He also consults on accounting for complex transactions with a focus on revenue recognition.

Tkach was motivated to pursue his Master of Accounting due to the 150 semester hour requirement to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and the advantage of obtaining both a bachelor's and master's in accounting through SLU's accelerated program.

"The graduate program did a great job preparing me to take the CPA exam which helped to launch my career. My professors took an active interest in me and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone," Tkach said. "I won the Elijah Watt Sells award, an award granted to the individuals who achieve one of the 10 highest scores on the CPA exam in a given year. Winning this award provided recognition inside and outside my firm."

SLU’s nationally ranked Master of Accounting program challenges students to develop strong technical, ethical and professional skills to excel in an accounting career while preparing to successfully sit for the CPA exam.

Learn more about the Master of Accounting program at the Chaifetz School of Business.