MPA Admissions Blog

Insider Information for Prospective Texas McCombs Students

Fall 2021 MPA Application Opens on September 1, 2020

Have you been exploring the idea of going back to school to earn your Master in Professional Accounting degree from Texas McCombs? Then mark your calendar! The application for the traditional MPA Class of 2022 opens on September 1, 2020.

Here are all the things you’ll need to apply to the Texas McCombs MPA program:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee
  • Statement of Purpose Essay
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Professional Resume (recommendation: MPA resume format)
  • Copy of Official Transcript(s)
  • Official GMAT or GRE Scores
  • International Applicants: Official TOEFL or IELTS Scores

Visit our admissions blog in the upcoming weeks for tips on making your application stand out, and check our website in August for updated directions on applying to the MPA program.

Reach out to us with any questions, and we look forward to seeing your application!

Things To Do in Austin During Quarantine

Most of us are stuck inside during this strange time in our lives. It can be difficult to stay entertained and feel normal when there are so many uncertainties, especially around when we will be able to leave our homes and roam freely. However, there are many things we can either from the comfort of our homes or while maintaining social distancing that can help alleviate some of the stresses and anxieties that come with this pandemic, along with help us stay connected with one another and the outside world.  

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This is a very popular attraction in the Austin area, and it’s perfect for times like these when we must remain 6ft apart at all times. With limitations on crowds at their hiking trails, and the openness of the water in the lake, Lady Bird Lake offers ways to get out, get some fresh air, and stay safe! This is a great way to still get outside and see the sun, and to get some exercise too! You can even kayak with some friends while remaining at a good distance apart! This will open up so many possibilities of in person interactions with people you’ve only been able to speak with through a phone screen.

If you don’t want to go kayaking or hiking, but still want an excuse to get some fresh air, go out and see the bats on Congress Ave! You can maintain the proper guidelines set by officials to stay safe while enjoying a beautiful sunset followed by some incredible bats! You can also set up a picnic with some friends, again while remaining a good distance apart, to enjoy some company and good food before the attraction!

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If you don’t want to head out just yet and you’re a lover of ACL and other music festivals/concerts Austin has to offer, this is the perfect thing for you! Austin’s most iconic festivals are livestreaming their concerts throughout the pandemic. There are also several artists around the country that are now performing online and you can watch these concerts from the comfort of your home!

If you’re looking for a way to be creative and grow some art skills during this pandemic, The Contemporary Austin has free online art classes due to this pandemic.  You can tune into their Facebook and Instagram content to watch step-by-step tutorials to get creative and make art! Instead of art, if you’re more interested in getting active and moving, there are so many free online dance classes and workouts through different companies and individuals. Try out a new workout class or learn a new form of dance to keep your heart racing and to stay indoors!

Have you ever been to Blanton Museum of Art? No? Now is the perfect time to! Blanton is offering free virtual tours so you can explore the history and art that is stored inside this incredible museum while staying inside and safe. There are also so many online tours with several other museums throughout Austin and the country in general that are free to attend and all provide a unique virtual experience like never before.

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There are so many iconic photo opportunities that are often crowded with people during the year. However, these crowds have been completely wiped due to the current situation, so why not take advantage of it? You can drive up to SoCo and get a photo in front of the “I love you so much” mural! The mornings and evenings are perfect timings for this since the sun isn’t too harsh so you’ll have some good lighting, you won’t be too hot, and you’ll avoid crowds!

There are so many other creative ways to have fun and stay active during quarantine! These are just a few ways to get some fresh air and also stay entertained! Although some of these are easily accessible from inside your home, stay safe when you choose the outdoor options and uphold the regulations and guidelines that have been set. Stay safe, and have fun!

Earning a Master’s Degree in a Fluctuating Economy

The past few months have brought on a sense of uncertainty about the future. Going back to school and earning a master’s degree during these times could serve as a way to overcome obstacles and find stability in a turbulent economy. Read on and learn why earning a graduate degree within the next year or two may be the right choice for you.

Higher education is an excellent opportunity to grow your skills and explore new ones. Whether you get a master’s degree immediately after your undergrad or after working for a few years, the continued learning that an advanced degree provides you will be useful in the long run. This option can also be used as a means of switching career paths. If the field you currently work in or have an undergraduate degree in is no longer a passion of yours – or you have discovered an interest in a different area – pursuing a graduate degree can help you further explore new careers and gain the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue them.

When the economy is unpredictable and job openings are few and far between, it can be extremely daunting to enter the workforce right after your undergraduate degree. It may also feel like the workforce is uncertain at a time when unemployment rates are rising. However, pursuing a graduate degree can allow you to not only gain more expertise in a given area, but it can also give the economy time to stabilize before you enter or re-enter the workforce. Pursuing a master’s degree is a great investment and productive use of your time as you plan ahead and wait out the current economic fluctuations.

There have been many studies done by researchers to analyze the differences in median salaries between individuals with bachelor’s degrees and those with graduate degrees, all other factors being relatively the same. One such study, conducted by Georgetown University, showed that college graduates earned around $17,000 more annually on average with a master’s degree than with a bachelor’s degree. This study went into further detail with breakdowns by major to show that, despite what these degrees were obtained in, having a master’s degree showed higher salaries than a bachelor’s in almost every single case.

The reasons mentioned above are compelling when deciding whether or not to pursue a graduate degree not only in general, but especially during an economic situation like the one we are facing now. With the plethora of benefits from earning a graduate degree, giving this option more weight in your decision process is significant to long term success and growth.

If you are interested in joining the Master in Professional Accounting program at Texas McCombs, the application for the MPA Class of 2022 will open on September 1, 2020.

Meet Recent MPA Grads Ben Levine-Drizin and Rachel Wolfson

Ben and Rachel are both traditional MPA students who graduated in May 2020 and are engaged to be married! Let’s learn more about them and their experiences at UT, as well as hear their advice for those considering accounting.

Ben and Rachel standing on the Darrell K Royal field at Texas Memorial Stadium.

Ben: Because of its reputation for having the best graduate accounting program in the country, as well as a desire to spend some time living outside of the midwest (I had visited Austin before with Rachel and knew that it would be a fun place to live).
Rachel: I chose to attend UT for the MPA program because I went to UT for my undergrad. I love living in Austin and being a Longhorn. It also doesn’t hurt that UT’s MPA program is ranked #1!

Ben: My post graduate plan is to return to Chicago, get married, study for the CPA exam, and start my new job in January in the audit department of Plante Moran.
Rachel: Post-graduation I am planning on being an auditor at Ernst & Young in Chicago.

Rachel and Ben escape an Austin panic room with friends!

Ben & Rachel: We actually met in a previous graduate program for teaching at Northwestern University. We both taught for a few years and ultimately decided that it wasn’t for us.

Ben: I grew up in the Northern suburbs of Chicago (Winnetka, IL).
Rachel: I am from Chicago.

I enjoy working out (specifically long-distance running), spending time with Rachel and puppy, and watching sports.
Rachel: Right now, I am really into knitting and yoga. I also love to travel and spend time with family and friends.

Ben: I would say that it definitely was an adjustment, but it wasn’t too bad. The biggest obstacle for me was developing a new routine and staying focused on my work, even when I didn’t really leave my apartment other than to walk my dog.
Rachel: Remote learning was a change! At first it was hard to stay motivated and keep a normal routine, but the professors and university did an amazing job communicating and helped us all adapt to the new learning environment.

Ben: To prospective and incoming students, this is an amazing program with a ton of resources and great people. I have already grown a lot as both a professional and a person since I started school here. I am truly going to miss the people that I have met, the program itself, and the city of Austin. Take advantage of all the time you have here because it goes by fast!
Rachel: The MPA program is challenging but also so rewarding! If you’re looking into accounting as a profession, UT has the best resources to prepare you for the future. I would choose this program again without hesitation!

Leaving a Legacy: E. Ben Yager

E. Ben Yager received a BBA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1947 and received the first ever MPA degree in 1949. Seventy-one years later, his granddaughter, Katherine Glass, is following in his footsteps and graduated with her MPA this spring. Though Ben passed away twelve years ago, as Katie tells us, his legacy lives on through his family and accounting career.

A young Katherine Glass and her grandfather, Ben Yager, smile for a photo.

I grew up in Florida and completed my undergraduate studies at Elon University. In addition to my grandfather and me, my father, sister, uncle, two aunts, and two cousins have majored in accounting!

Initially, I was attracted to accounting because it offered solid career opportunities. Through my accounting coursework, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that it is also dynamic and growth-oriented.

Because of its prestige, wealth of resources, and the exceptional community of diverse, impressive faculty and peers. I knew this program would offer a broad array of opportunities for academic and professional growth. Plus, my grandfather went to school here, so McCombs runs in the family.

I remember that grandfather was a loyal fan of both Longhorn and Cincinnati Reds’ baseball, and he always welcomed my visits to Texas with Fig Newtons — a tradition begun by his father.

In his 35 years as a professor and later as a department chair, my grandfather worked to enhance the accounting profession by educating several generations of accounting professionals, actively contributing to numerous professional organizations, and building long-term professional relationships with leaders in accounting and finance. Upon his retirement in 1989, an endowment was created in his name that provides scholarships for accountancy students at Miami University.

This fall, I am excited to be joining PwC’s Assurance practice in Tampa, Florida!

After graduating from UT Austin, Ben worked as the Chief Accountant of Sul Ross State College in Alpine, Texas. He then entered Indiana University’s PhD program and received a Doctorate of Business Administration. At Indiana, he met his wife, Jeanne, and they were married on June 13, 1953. In 1955, Ben began his teaching career at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He was named the C. Rollin Niswonger Professor of Accountancy and was Department Chairman for over five years before returning to his beloved job as a professor. He co-authored three editions of the CPA Examination: A Comprehensive Review. Ben was a CPA in Texas and Ohio and was a member of the American Institute of CPAs, Ohio Society of CPAs, American Accounting Association, Financial Executives Institute, and Alpha Kappa Psi business society. The E. Ben Yager Scholarship is awarded to one undergraduate student at Miami University annually.

Two Weeks Left to Apply to MPA!

Are you thinking about earning your Master in Professional Accounting degree from Texas McCombs this fall? You still have time to apply! The application deadline for the MPA program is Monday, June 1 at 11:59 p.m. CDT for U.S. applicants.

Be sure to submit all required application materials when you apply, and please note that it may take a few weeks for your official test scores to be sent, received, and added to your UT application record. Send Keri Ledezma an email with your unofficial report if your official scores do not arrive by June 1.

You can also read through our MPA COVID-19 FAQs and reach out to us with any specific questions you have.

We look forward to seeing your application!

Why Choose Accounting for Your Master’s Degree

There’s a common misconception about accounting being for those who simply love to crunch numbers and sit behind a desk all day. In reality, accountants hold vast skillsets that help make financial decisions and affect the bottom line. Let’s take a closer look at why accounting is the language of business and how it might be the perfect fit for you.

Variety of job opportunities.
Accounting is the backbone of a company and opens doors in almost every industry. Keeping the books for a company, understanding its financial stance, and predicting future financial positions are all responsibilities that fall on the accountant. Without it, a company simply cannot successfully move forward. Here’s a list of just a few of the career paths that accountants can pursue:

  • Consulting and Advisory
  • Financial Services and Investment Banking
  • Government and Nonprofit
  • Private Industry
  • Public Accounting

As you can see, any industry that requires financial tracking needs an accountant, and their high demand offers many opportunities for growth.

Developing transferable skills.
An accounting degree offers the development of many versatile skills, including:

  • Budgeting
  • Communication
  • Detail-orientation
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Quantitative Reasoning

These skills, along with many others, are gained while earning your master’s degree in accounting and continue to develop and sharpen as you move up in the workplace. The range of skills presented shows an accountant’s ability to apply them to different fields, industries, and parts of life.

Stability and growth.
Accounting, being in high demand for any business, provides a stable rate of employment despite fluctuations in the economy. This field also continues to grow through the years. Taking a look at data from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the accounting field will continue to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026. This rate is higher than the national average for all occupations! Accounting is a field in which unemployment is not as high a concern given the nature of the job and is another reason why it is such an appealing career choice.

Right fit for you?
If you enjoy working with numbers and organizing data but also solving problems and communicating outcomes, accounting may be the perfect fit for you. To sum it up, accountants determine the financial stance of a company so that it can make forecasts about the future and understand the possibilities of each decision. They also record financial statements of the company and are aware of every transaction that takes place.

Watch this video created by the Texas McCombs Master in Professional Accounting program to learn more about accounting and if it’s the choice for you!

Accounting is more than just looking at numbers all day; it’s about building relationships with people and understanding how to improve on previous decisions for better future outcomes. If you think accounting is for you, learn more about the top-ranked accounting program at UT Austin and visit the MPA website.

The application deadline to start your graduate accounting degree this fall is June 1, 2020! Start your application today!

Meet Current MPA Student, Alerie Sebastian

Alerie Sebastian is a traditional Master in Professional Accounting student who is graduating this May. Let’s learn about her experience at Texas McCombs, how virtual classes are going, and what her post-graduate plans are.

Fords, New Jersey!

Financial statements and accounting reports tell stories. I wanted to learn the “language of business,” as Warren Buffett says, and how to create, analyze, and communicate the financial information needed to make important business decisions.

I chose UT because it was in a city I wanted to move to and it offered endless career opportunities. Additionally, since it’s ranked #1 in the nation, I wanted to challenge myself. I knew that going to UT would be difficult but it would change me for the better.

After graduation, I will be working in Austin, Texas as a management consultant for Sense Corp!

I consider myself an “extroverted introvert,” so I honestly love remote learning because it is straight to the point. And without travel and traffic, I have more time to work on my hobbies! However, it’s sad that I currently cannot see all the friends I have made at UT; I have met so many people who have made my MPA experience so amazing!

Alerie and some of her MPA friends visit Lucy’s Fried Chicken in Austin.

I run an Instagram page (@girlmeetswealth) which is all about getting people to learn how to control their money so that money does not control them. The statistics surrounding the financial health of Americans are alarming, and I want to help as many people as I can through the power of social media.

Managing @girlmeetswealth takes up most of my time. On top of that, I love watching combat sports like boxing and MMA. Once the pandemic is over, I plan on joining an MMA gym!

For incoming MPA students, think about what you want to do with your MPA degree. For example, are you interested in audit, tax, industry, or consulting? Accounting is not just about the Big 4. Learn as much as you can about potential career paths because you can do so many different things with a graduate accounting degree.

For those exploring accounting, I have similar advice. Ask yourself, “Why accounting over any other field?” and “What do you want to do with your degree?”


Meet more current MPA students here!

6 Things Future MPA Students Can Do While Social Distancing

If you are wondering how you can you make the most of your time while social distancing, the MPA Program Office has some tips for staying busy and preparing for your accounting master’s degree during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the past few months, the world has been challenged in extraordinary ways by the COVID-19 crisis. Many people are still finding ways to accomplish normal life tasks, establish new routines, and secure basic needs. And while the uncertainty can seem daunting, a positive distraction can be a great way to ease fear and anxiety.

If you are considering going back to school to earn a Master in Professional Accounting degree, you can use your time in quarantine or self-isolation to focus on preparing for grad school.

1. Study for the GMAT or GRE.

Why not do it now? Studying can keep your mind off everything else going on in the world, and your scores are valid for five years! So even if you aren’t planning on starting your master’s degree this year, you can get the GMAT or GRE out of the way.

If you are looking to apply to the program and start this fall, the TOEFL and GRE are now being conducted through the use of live remote proctoring services, and the GMAT recently launched an interim online alternative to the exam.

2. Make new connections.

Everyone is craving human interaction right now, and most people currently have more time on their hands. Reach out to an MPA student ambassador – they would love to hear from you and answer any questions you have on life at Texas McCombs. The MPA program also has over 20,000 alumni to connect with if you have questions about different career paths or are seeking advice.

You can also make a virtual appointment with our Director of Admissions, Keri Ledezma, to learn more about our program and your future in accounting.

3. Explore online professional development opportunities.

Many schools and organizations are currently offering free online courses. For example, Harvard, MIT, and all have free courses available. It’s an excellent opportunity to invest time in enhancing your skillsets or try something new.

4. Update your resume.

From highlighting your academic and professional achievements to formatting, resumes can be intimidating. Fortunately for MPA applicants, we have guidelines for updating your resume, including a Word template and specific instructions. Take a few hours to revamp your resume and check it off your to-do list.

5. Write your MPA application essay.

The MPA admissions committee is looking to see who you are outside of your test scores and GPA. The essay question of, “Explain how obtaining a Master in Professional Accounting degree at the McCombs School of Business will assist you in further defining your primary personal and/or professional life goals. Why is now the best time for you to pursue this degree?” is your chance to highlight your unique aspirations and achievements. Your response can include a description of both your intermediate and longer-term career goals, as well as a current vision of your desired employment upon graduation.

6. Stay invested.

Devoting your time, effort, and money into prepping for grad school may seem trivial during this crisis, but it isn’t. The skills you will gain from an MPA degree will be valuable in both good times and tough times. Earning an MPA degree will develop your technical and leadership skills, and you can start investing in yourself now.

While we realize the news and narrative about COVID-19 can be daunting and overwhelming, it is important to focus on the positive steps you can take now. The world will need people like you to solve new problems.

GMAT Online Exam Registration Is Now Open

Registration is now open for the GMAT™ Online exam, an interim alternative to the test center GMAT exam.

Appointments are available for test dates as early as April 20, 2020 and extend through June 15, 2020. Future appointments will be added as needed.

The benefit of the GMAT Online exam is that you can schedule your appointment time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing for greater flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GMAT Online exam will offer:

  • Exam Structure & Time – The interim exam is similar in structure to the GMAT exam delivered in test centers and has been adapted for near-term access on an online testing platform. The exam has the same number of items and time for completion across the Quant, Verbal and IR sections (the AWA section is not included). Altogether, the GMAT Online exam will take approximately 3 hours to complete – 2 hours and 45 minutes for the exam and 15 minutes for the online proctor check-in process.
  • Exam Scores – Section and Total Score and associated percentiles will be on the same score scale as the test center GMAT exam for consistency and will be available to you within one week of the exam appointment.
  • Access – The GMAT Online exam is accessible on a personal computer with a MAC or Windows operating system that meets the required technical specifications. You will be provided with detailed information on these requirements and will have an opportunity to run a system test prior to your test date.
  • Accommodations for Candidates with Disabilities – Accommodations will be available in mid-May to assist test takers with disabilities.
  • Availability  – The interim exam is available in all markets globally except for mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and  Slovenia due to regulatory and data privacy rules.
  • Security – The check-in and security protocols are designed to account for and accommodate the online delivery model, and remote human proctors will be used to maintain the test integrity.

For more information about the GMAT Online exam, including registration instructions and FAQs, please visit Contact Keri Ledezma, Director of MPA Admissions, with any questions on applying to the Master in Professional Accounting program.

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