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Kuralay Baisalbayeva - first place at Ernst & Young Tax Professional of the Year competition

posted Jun 27, 2012, 2:18 AM by Michael Quinn   [ updated Sep 18, 2012, 2:20 AM by Unknown user ]

KIMEP University attracts some of the most talented students and Kuralay Baisalbayeva, CATRC researcher, recently graduated KIMEP University student, proved it once again. She took the first place at Ernst & Young Tax Professional of the Year competition and in October 2012 she is going to represent Kazakhstan at the world-wide finals, taking place in Boston, USA.

While for most participants coming from around the world – the travel to Boston will be long, for Baisalbayeva it should be a mere stone-throw – as she will be already in the USA, participating in the US-CAEF International Capstone Internship Program ( 

    While for most participants coming from around the world – the travel to Boston will be long, for Baisalbayeva it should be a mere stone-throw – as she will be already in the USA, participating in the US-CAEF International Capstone Internship Program 

What is pleasant for us is that the half of the finalists, namely four out of eight, were students from KIMEP University. Also, students from other leading universities, such as, Kazakh-British Technical University, Nazarbayev University, Gumilyov Eurasian National University and Lomonosov Moscow State University's branch in Kazakhstan, participated in this competition.

“I am pleased to hear that a large portion of the national finalists are KIMEP students and even more so pleased that the ultimate winner of the national finals is our Kuralay, who has studied Tax specialization at KIMEP ( She joined Central Asian Research Center in 2011 and has done a great job with our team. I hope and believe that the team work and leadership experience, as well as her involvement in our research activities did at least partially contribute in her success,” says Tomas Balco, Associate professor KIMEP University, Director of CATRC.

The Young Tax Professional of the Year conducted a second time and it gives a chance for future generation of tax leaders to get valuable experience, to establish useful contacts, and to get more information about career opportunities on the field of taxation. Needless to say, participation in this contest is an amazing starting point for those who want to work in taxation sphere.

“Taxation has been interest of my studies for the last two years. The competition not only enabled to assess knowledge and skills but also further strengthened the importance of tax advice in today’s tough economic environment. It is a great honor for me to become a finalist of regional contest,” says Baisalbayeva.

The competition is launched by Ernst & Young Company in the frame of international tax program. Ernst & Young is one of the largest professional service firms in the world and one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. This year Ernst & Young celebrate twentieth anniversary of its activities in Kazakhstan.

Young Tax Professional of the Year includes two stages: national and international. During the national stage on June 1, finalists were invited to solve practical problems and make presentations about their solutions.

The jury focused their attention on the analytical abilities and creative approach to the problem solving process as well on practical and communicative skills of the participants.

Presentations were judged from Ernst & Young side by Peter Reinhardt, CIS Tax and Law Leader, Zhanna Tamenova, Tax Partner, Aliya Dzhapayeva, Tax Partner, Danna Balafanova, Tax Manager, Zhannat Yertlesova, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Association of Taxpayers of Kazakhstan, and Tolganay Botakanova, Deputy Chairman of the Tax Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The second stage is an international final which will be held during the 66th International Fiscal Association Congress in the USA. International Fiscal Association is a global organization of tax professionals that brings together the world’s leading international tax specialist from different jurisdictions. KIMEP University’s professors Tomas Balco and Vladimir Tyutyuryukov are active members of IFA. CATRC is actively trying to promote IFA among business community – it is currently working on establishing a Kazakhstani branch of IFA.

According to Baisalbayeva, the experience she gained at CATRC helped her succeed in the contest. “First of all, active involvement in CATRC deepened my knowledge in taxation much. Furthermore, participation in conferences, working on various projects, organization of academic events helped me develop communication, leadership, organizational, time management and team working skills for which big multinationals seek in graduates first of all. I really appreciate knowledge and valuable experience got at CATRC,” adds Baisalbayeva.

CATRC is a leading research center on domestic and international tax issues in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. According to Balco, CATRC becomes a knowledge and research hub on taxation and investment related issues in Central Asia.

“Myself and all of our team work really hard – day and night to work on this objective. We are establishing relations with the Kazakhstani and Central Asian universities and also keep very close relations with the key stakeholders of our Center – which are both the employers of our students, business community, tax authorities, and policy makers,” says Balco.

Balco shares his plans for the future, “ it is needed to upgrade and improve the level and content in our tax courses, attract enthusiastic and truly motivated tax academics who will share our vision and work with us in achieving it, grow our own generation of tax academic – hopefully starting with tax tutors and lecturers, develop new courses and launch Major in Tax – and provide the opportunity for tax specialization also for BCB graduate students, School of Law undergraduate students and also bring taxation at world class level to our College of Sciences, which I believe has a tremendous potential to grow future generations of tax policy leaders.”

Many students today realize that tax is right at the heart of how successful businesses are run. That is why some of the smartest graduate minds want to work in the taxation sphere. KIMEP University provides students with such opportunity. KIMEP has launched Tax Specialization in 2011 – currently only Minor in Taxation. KIMEP students can study some 5 courses dedicated to taxation – focused both on national and international tax aspects within the business and legal context. The initiative is spearheaded by Central Asian Tax Research Center.

As cited in the official web site of Ernst & Young Company, “just entering the competition will give you the opportunities, confidence and platform to launch your career.” For person who will get the first place in the international stage of the competition there will be a 30-day round-the-world business trip to key Ernst & Young Area Tax Centers in London, Washington D.C. and Hong Kong.

“Though I have already graduated from KIMEP, however feel that real study for me starts only now – preparation for global contest. It is a great challenge and heavy responsibility to present Kazakhstan in international competition. However, if there is a desire, everything else is possible. Hope to meet expectations of all who believed in me,” says Baisalbayeva.

Many people support Baisalbayeva and wish her to succeed in the competition. “Kuralay is clearly a future leader in her growing and learning process. I admire her personality – she keeps cool in challenging situations, once she zooms at the target – she keeps the focus and discipline, has balanced intelligence and the necessary breadth and depth to stand up for leadership challenges. She realizes that components of success it is not only her – but herself and the team, she cares about her country and people around her. I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to teach her and work with her and this way at least partially contributes to her growth and development,” says Balco. We are very proud of Baisalbayeva and sincerely wish her success and victory in Young Tax Professional of the Year Award.