Saturday, October 20, 2007
This week's Tax Prof Spotlight continues a series of profiles of folks starting their careers this fall as law school tax professors. I hope the profiles will help introduce our newest colleagues to the tax community.
Edward Kofi Osei (Widener)
- B.S. 1981, University of Ghana
- M.A. (International Management) 1985, Baylor
- M.A. (International Relations) 1988, Yale
- M.B.A. 1989, Stanford
- J.D. 2003, Temple
- LL.M. (Tax) 2007, NYU
My Ghanaian communal background, which charged me with the welfare and upkeep of my “neighbor,” has helped shape the development of my career and helped me to intertwine my well-being, happiness, hopes and dreams with those of my society. Extensive business travels have offered me the opportunity to contribute to, and be enriched by, the experiences and perspectives of different peoples and cultures. My journey to a tax professorship has been long and winding. Long and winding because I had worked in business as a non-lawyer for over 15 years before deciding to attend law school.
I was born in Ghana and had my first break in life when I was selected by my Ghanaian high school to be an exchange student to William Hall High School in West Hartford, CT. Upon graduating from Hall High, I returned to Ghana to attend college at the University of Ghana.
While in college, I quickly came to the realization that I could become self-actualized in my birth country because of political instability. I therefore began looking for a way to get back to the United States and secure financial assistance to attend graduate school. My persistence paid off when Baylor University in Texas offered me a full scholarship.
Baylor University is a wonderful institution that made my transition and immersion into the U.S. a smooth one. I had many excellent professors and mentors, including Dr. Stan Madden of the Business School, who challenged me to excel and to expand my horizons. After Baylor, I applied to Stanford Business School and Yale’s International Relations Program. I got accepted into both, and designed my own joint-degree program which enabled me to get an M.B.A. from Stanford and an M.A. from Yale.
After Stanford, I worked in the fields of Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, and Sales and Marketing. I began my post M.B.A. career with Eastman Kodak and then moved on to Pepsi-Cola. At Pepsi, I led multifunctional teams to acquire companies worth $20 million to $100 million in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. I also spent two years in South Africa as part of Pepsi’s start-up team responsible for strategic planning. In 1996, I joined Bristol Myers Squibb as their Senior Manager for Business Planning. In 1999, I joined AstraZeneca as their Manager for Managed Care Marketing and Contracting.
It was while at AstraZeneca, that I began thinking about law school and tax law. My role at AstraZeneca brought me into daily contact with lawyers, and I began to view law school as a way of enhancing my business knowledge. In addition, in my many years of business experience, I saw companies fail to capitalize on promising business opportunities because of legal and tax constraints. Oftentimes, such failure was caused by a lack of appreciation for the legal and tax issues raised by the transactions. These experiences left me curious about the interrelation of law and business, as I was struck by the strong correlation between a strong economy and a strong legal tax system. It is for that reason that I applied to Temple Law School’s evening program and also took many tax courses at Temple Law School, and why I want to NYU to deepen my tax knowledge.
After law school, I had the opportunity to clerk for the late Clifford Scott Green of the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. I then joined the law firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner in Short Hills, NJ as a litigation associate with some exposure to transactional practice.
In all those years, I realized that I live to teach and learn, and that I particularly enjoy the university environment. It was for that reason that I applied for a law teaching job at Widener Law School. Right now, I teach basic federal income tax, sales and contracts. It is quite a challenge teaching for the first time, but it gets better every day. I have, however, been pleasantly surprise at how much I enjoy teaching and how supportive my Widener colleagues have been. I look forward to a satisfying professional life.
Each Saturday, TaxProf Blog shines the spotlight on one of the 700+ tax professors in America's law schools or on one of our international tax colleagues. We hope to help bring the many individual stories of scholarly achievements, teaching innovations, public service, and career moves within the tax professorate to the attention of the broader tax community. Please email me suggestions for future Tax Prof Profiles. For prior Tax Prof Profiles, see here.