MPA Application: Statement of Purpose Essay

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 Writing an admissions essay can seem like a daunting task…

What should I write? 

How should I write it? 

How long should the essay be?

Here are some tips to consider before writing your essay:

  • First and foremost, be yourself. The purpose of the essay is to provide the admissions committee with a better understanding of what makes you unique. It gives you an opportunity to stand out from the sea of applicants. Provide a thoughtful portrayal of why you are interested in the Texas MPA and how our program will assist you in reaching your goals. Don’t write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear! We would like to know about your unique aspirations and achievements and will not judge what you aim to do with your career.
  • Develop your ideas, but be concise. Although you should focus more on content than length, the average essay is approximately two pages long. As a result, it is important to stay concise and avoid repeating information that is readily available in other parts of the application. Rather than simply listing your experiences, let us know how these experiences helped you to grow personally or professionally. We want to get to know you from a perspective that cannot be achieved by reviewing transcripts, test scores and resumes.
  • Mind your writing technique. The essay is a reflection of your written communication skills. Avoid being too wordy; stay focused and organized; and check your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Clarify. You can use the essay as an opportunity to explain weaknesses in your record. If you do, be sure to explain them adequately and address your attempts to improve.

Essay Submission Tips:

  • You will have the option to submit your online application and essay either together or separately. I highly recommend that you submit your application first and return to the essay later, if necessary, so that your references receive their Request for Reference e-mail notifications early in the admissions process.
  • Approximately 1-2 business days after submitting your application, you will receive an email message from UT, which will direct you to an online application status check. From this site you will have an opportunity to upload a .pdf of your essay.
  • Alternatively, you can log back into ApplyTexas and submit your essay through the application system. If you prefer this option, be sure to write and edit your essay responses in a plain-text editor such as Microsoft WordPad and then copy and paste the text into the essay text box.
  • If you submit your essay through ApplyTexas, the system will accept a maximum of 120 eighty-character lines of text (including spaces and blank lines). This is the maximum allowed by the system, not the recommended length! NOTE: if you submit your application and essay at the same time from ApplyTexas, the essay will take up to 24 hours longer to appear in the application status check.

Accounting Faculty Honored at AAA Annual Meeting

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Excerpted from MPA Weekly and McCombs Today

McCombs School of Business faculty shined at this years American Accounting Association’s (AAA) annual meeting, held in Atlanta, Ga. Professors Bill KinneyLisa KoonceJohn Robinson, and Lillian Mills were all honored for their achievements in accounting education and research.

Read more…

MPA Application: TOEFL or IELTS for International Applicants

International applicants: Be sure to plan early! TOEFL and IELTS test scores are received and loaded to your application record approximately four to six weeks after a test is taken. Tests should be taken early to ensure that scores arrive prior to the application deadline.

Can the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) be accepted in lieu of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

We accept either the Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS test scores.

What are the preferred minimum scores?

The MPA program prefers a minimum Internet-based TOEFL score of 105 overall and a minimum of 24 for each individual section, or minimum IELTS band scores (total and individual sections) of 7.5.

Which applicants must submit the TOEFL or IELTS? Can the TOEFL/IELTS requirement be waived?

All international MPA applicants, except those from English-only speaking countries, must submit either an Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS official score report. If you studied (or are studying) an undergraduate or a graduate degree in an English-only speaking country, the TOEFL/IELTS score requirement will not be waived. However, if applicable, you may request that a copy of your expired Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS score report be used for your MPA application if the scores meet or exceed our preferred minimum requirements.  Please refer to the Admissions FAQs on our website for additional information.

When do TOEFL and IELTS scores expire?

The TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date.

What if I do not meet the MPA program’s preferred minimum scores?

English skills are essential for success in the MPA program, both academically and professionally. As a result, meeting or surpassing the preferred minimum score requirements greatly strengthens your application. If your scores are below our suggested minimum, we highly recommend that you work on improving your English skills and retake the test.

If I retake the TOEFL or IELTS, which scores are considered?

If you retake the TOEFL or IELTS, the score report with the highest total score will be considered (scores are not averaged).

All of my application materials will be submitted by the deadline except for my TOEFL or IELTS scores. Can the admissions committee accept a copy of my score report until the official scores arrive?

All application materials, including the official test scores, must be received before the admissions committee will review your file for an admissions decision. Applications completed after the application deadline may need to be considered on a space-available basis.

What are The University of Texas at Austin codes for the TOEFL and IELTS?

  • TOEFL – 6882 (Any department code may be used, such as Graduate Management)
  • IELTS – The University of Texas at Austin mailing address

Announcing the Inaugural Terri Holbrook Scholars

Holbrook Scholars 2014-15

Originally published by Zach Lozano in McCombs Today:

Accounting lecturer, Terri Holbrook, and her husband, Ed, are providing funds for a new scholarship awarded to third, fourth, and fifth-year Masters of Professional Accounting students.

In its inaugural year, the eponymously named Terri Holbrook Scholarship in Accounting has been awarded to 15 MPA students. Scholarship recipients will receive one check per semester. Each award ranges in size from $5,000 to $10,000. With the establishment of this scholarship, Holbrook says she hopes to alleviate the cost for students attending McCombs.

Read more…

MPA Application: GMAT

GMAT

Tips:

1. If feasible, plan to take the GMAT exam no later than mid fall because:

  • You will be required to wait 31 calendar days if you wish to retake the exam.
  • Your scores will arrive at UT-Austin and become an official part of your application approximately four weeks after the official score report is requested.
  • All application materials, including the official test scores, must be received before the admissions committee will review your file for an admissions decision.

2. UT-Austin code for the GMAT: 396-44-94

3. All MPA applicants are required to submit GMAT scores. We do not accept the GRE in place of the GMAT.

4. If you retake the GMAT, the score report with the highest total score will be considered (scores are not averaged). If your application is complete and you are retaking the GMAT, please notify me of your new test date. The admissions committee will hold off on a decision until we receive the new test results.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to take the GMAT before I submit my application?

No – Rather than indicating your GMAT scores in the online application, you can either leave the entire GMAT section blank (if you have not set a test date yet) or input your planned test date but leave the scores blank. Your official test scores will be sent electronically to UT-Austin (if you have designated UT-Austin as a score recipient) and will be matched to your application when they are received.

What is the minimum GMAT score the MPA program will consider?

The MPA program does not impose minimum scores and considers the GMAT in the context of a holistic review of all admissions criteria. That said, the GMAT is an important component of the MPA application. You may find it helpful to review our current student MPA class profile as well as information on the characteristics of a strong application.

Can I use test scores that are about to expire? 

GMAT scores are valid for five years from the test date. As long as the official score report is submitted to UT-Austin before the expiration of the exam, we can use the score for admission purposes. In other words, the exam does not have to be valid at the time of enrollment. For example, if you took the exam in November 2009 and submit the scores before November 2014, we can use the scores for the entire application cycle for fall 2015. If you do not submit the scores by the exam expiration date, you would need to retake the exam.

MPA Application: Frequently Asked Questions

Question Mark 3

What major should I select in the ApplyTexas application?

Be sure to select “Professional Accounting MPA” as the major NOT “Accounting-Professional Program, (PPA) Fifth Year.”

I do not have an accounting background and need to start the MPA program in the summer. However, I cannot find a summer 2015 MPA application in ApplyTexas

You will complete a fall application, even if you are required to start in the summer. If you are accepted to the MPA program and decide to attend, we will backdate your admission to the summer so that you can enroll in summer courses.

How do I pay the application fee?

Payment of the application processing fee may be submitted electronically via MasterCard or Visa if submitted on the ApplyTexas site. If you do not pay your application fee on the ApplyTexas site, you will receive an email message after submitting your online application which will include instructions for making payment to The University of Texas at Austin directly. Payment options will include Discover, MasterCard, electronic check, or electronic funds transfer. Please note that The University of Texas at Austin does not accept Visa. If you wish to pay by Visa, you should pay your application fee on the ApplyTexas site.

What other application materials do I need to provide, and how do I submit them?

A comprehensive checklist and instructions are available on the MPA admissions website. I also recommend reviewing the characteristics of a strong applicationadmissions FAQs, and the MPA class profile.

I am a U.S. applicant. Should I apply by the early deadline?

As a general rule, U.S. applicants benefit by submitting their application materials as early as possible in the admissions cycle. However, if you need additional time to prepare your application (to prepare for the GMAT, for example), it is to your advantage to take your time and present the strongest application possible. Keep in mind that we use a rolling admissions process for U.S. applications in which we review applications in the order of completion. Therefore, if you do not complete your application by the early December 1 deadline, you do not need to wait for another “round” on March 1… apply as soon as you are able!

I do not hold U.S. permanent residency or citizenship status, but I will receive my undergraduate degree in the U.S. Can I apply as a U.S. applicant? Do I need to submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores?

Only U.S. permanent residents and U.S. citizens are eligible to apply as U.S. applicants. All international MPA applicants, except those from English-only speaking countries, must submit either an Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS official score report. Studying an undergraduate or graduate degree in an English-only speaking country will not waive the TOEFL/IELTS score requirement. However, if applicable, you may request that a copy of your expired Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS score report be used for your MPA application if the scores meet or exceed our preferred minimum requirements.  Please refer to the Admissions FAQs on our website for additional information.

Granof Reappointed to Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board

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 Originally posted by Jeremy Simon in McCombs Today

With his recent reappointment to the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB), Michael Granof will continue to help ensure that the financial health of the federal government is communicated clearly and truthfully to U.S. citizens.

On July 11, FASAB Chairman Tom Allen announced that McCombs School of Business Accounting Professor Granof had been reappointed to the board for a second five-year term running from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2019. Granof, who is the Ernst & Young Distinguished Centennial Professor of Accounting as well as a University Distinguished Teaching Professor, also serves as a member of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

Read more…

Ready…Set…Apply to the MPA Program!

 apply now

MPA applicants: The fall 2015 online application is open!

Application Deadlines:

  • U.S. applicants (early deadline): December 1, 2014
  • International applicants: January 5, 2015
  • U.S. applicants (final deadline): March 1, 2015

All application materials, including official test scores, must be received before an application will be marked as completed and forwarded to the MPA admissions committee for review.

U.S. Applications: The admissions committee reviews U.S. applications in the order of completion, starting with those completed by December 1 and ending with those completed by the final March 1 deadline. As a general rule, U.S. applicants benefit by submitting their application materials as early as possible in the admissions cycle. However, if you need additional time to prepare your application (to prepare for the GMAT, for example), it is to your advantage to take your time and present the strongest application possible.

International Applications: The admissions committee does not use a rolling admissions process for international applications. Instead, we review all international applications after the January 5 application deadline.

Questions?

I would encourage you to post general admissions questions to this blog. Any specific questions that are unique to your situation should be sent to me via e-mail.

We look forward to receiving your applications!

Accounting Department Continues No. 1 Ranking Sweep

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Originally posted by Matt Turner in McCombs Today

Continuing to lead the nation among academic institutions of accounting, for the 10th time in 13 years the McCombs School of Business ranks No. 1 across all three of the 2014 the Public Accounting Report (PAR) Annual Professors Survey rankings: undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D.

This is the fifth year in a row McCombs took first place on all three bases. The PAR even notes in its August edition that The University of Texas at Austin “has practically formed a habit” in the three-way sweep.

Read more…

Texas at the Top of Fastest-Growing Cities

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According to a recent article by the Associated Press [emphasis added in bold]:

“Three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities — and seven of the top 15 — are located in the Lone Star State, new data from the Census Bureau shows. The Texas cities of San Marcos [located between Austin and San Antonio], Frisco [located just north of Dallas] and Cedar Park [located just north of Austin] were No. 1, 2 and 4 in percentage population growth between 2012 and 2013, each growing by at least 5 percent in that time span.”

and

“By population increase, New York City is still on top, growing by 61,440 people in 2012 to 8.4 million people in 2013. In addition to having the largest numerical increase, New York City is also still the largest city in the United States by population.

 

Houston increased by 35,202 people to 2.2 million in 2013. Los Angeles grew by 31,525 to 3.8 million.

 

The rest of the top 10 by numerical increase were: San Antonio, up 25,378 to 1.4 million; Phoenix, up 24,843 to 1.5 million; Austin, Texas, up 20,993 to 885,400; San Diego, up 18,867 to 1.35 million; Charlotte, North Carolina, up 18,420 to 792,862; Seattle, up 17,770 to 652,405; and Dallas, up 15,976 to 1.3 million.”

Congratulations, MPA Class of 2014!

UT Tower-Commencement 2014

Students from the MPA Class of 2014 are already demonstrating great success! Of the May/August 2014 graduates who were actively seeking full-time employment:

  • 97% accepted offers of employment. 1% opted to continue their education post-MPA.
  • 95% of our international MPA graduates accepted offers of employment.

Our MPA graduates secured full-time employment in a variety of geographical areas throughout Texas, the Northeast, West, and Midwest and with a wide variety of employers:

  • 5% consulting
  • 3% finance
  • 4% industry
  • 87% public accounting
  • 1% public service

Congratulations!

Fall 2015 Applicants: It’s Never Too Early to Prepare!

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The MPA admissions cycle is officially closed for fall 2014.

 Applying for fall 2015? Here are ways you can prepare.

  • Review our admissions website in late August. Updates on the application process will be posted before the application opens in early September 2014.
  • Take courses this summer or fall if you have not completed our pre-enrollment requirements.
  • Prepare for the GMAT and TOEFL (if applicable) early so that we receive your test scores before the application deadline.
  • Keep an eye on this admissions blog. I will begin posting tips on applying, updates on the admissions process, and highlights of our program after the application opens…Don’t miss out!

Texas Wins NCAA Title in Accounting Research

Originally posted by Madison Hamilton in McCombs Today.

Although The University of Texas at Austin is no longer in the NCAA Tournament, the school has won the title in accounting research.

Each year, Brigham Young University reformulates the March Madness bracket by ranking the teams based on their accounting departments’ productivity. Texas, which also won in 2010 and 2012, has prevailed again after defeating Ohio State in the accounting finals.

“This research ranking measures productivity in total, but what distinguishes UT is that our research has both depth and breadth across topics and methods, and contributes to both theory and application,” says Lillian Mills, Chair of the University’s Accounting Department. “In basketball language, we aren’t a team with a single outside shooter – we have such a deep roster that any one of my colleagues could be the star on another team.”

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Welcome, MPA Class of 2015!

New Texas MPA students,

In the not-to-distant future, you will be stepping foot on The University of Texas at Austin campus and spending plenty of time in the McCombs School of Business. The MPA Program Office staff and accounting faculty will be assisting you, step by step, to prepare you for your classes and the busy, yet exciting, employment recruiting season. In the meantime, we recommend that you…

A Mini Tour of the McCombs School of Business

Love the Place That You Study In!

The MPA Lounge

Study Group to Roommates: My MPA Family

First Impressions of Being a TA

MPAs Work Hard, Play Hard

MPAC in the Community

Live Music Capital of the World

Next Stop…More Barbecue

Run, Austin! (2.0)

I Met a Famous Author Thanks to UT!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Prepare for the Texas MPA

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Incoming students are often concerned about being prepared to start our program. Yes, our program is challenging, and our students are high achievers, but have no fear! Taking a few extra steps now will help you feel ready.

  • Complete the pre-enrollment requirements prior to starting our program.
  • Take advantage of the self-study resource that is mailed to students early in the summer so that you can get a head start on the financial accounting (ACC 381) material.
  • Meet with your academic advisor and participate in a career orientation webinar and resume review early in the summer.
  • Review the MPA technology orientation website and complete the Excel training.
  • Plan to attend MPA orientation in August, as you will meet the rest of the traditional MPA incoming class; learn from faculty members, MPA staff, current students and alumni about course options, study abroad options and career paths; and prepare for the employment recruiting season.
  • Be prepared for a busy fall schedule! Not only do your classes intensify in the fall, but also employment recruiting is in full swing. Maintaining a balance between your courses and recruiting activities is a definite challenge, so plan to keep your course load moderate and extracurricular activities to a minimum.
  • Consider joining the MPA Council to connect with other MPA students and expand your network.

Our student bloggers provide their thoughts as they progress through our program. I recommend that you read the blog regularly to gain an insider’s perspective! Here are a few posts related to adapting to the program:

Surviving and Thriving as a tMPA

You Have a Liberal Arts Degree. What Should You Expect in the Program?

Here Comes Recruiting!

Teamwork and the MPA

U.S. Applicants: March 31 Final Deadline

March 31 2014

We are quickly approaching the final March 31 deadline. If you are interested in applying to the Texas MPA program and haven’t done so, you will have until 11:59 p.m. CST on Monday, March 31 to submit your online application from the ApplyTexas system. Be sure to submit all required application materials as soon as possible because space in our incoming class is limited.

Please note that it will take about 3 weeks for your official GMAT scores to be sent, received, and loaded to your UT application record. I recommend that you send me an email message with an unofficial report, in the meantime, if your official scores do not arrive by March 31.

If you have any questions or concerns about your application, please contact me.

Why Consider the Texas MPA?

We're No. 1

Although there are numerous reasons to consider attending The University of Texas at Austin’s Master in Professional Accounting program, here are a few highlights:

Want to learn more about our program from a student’s perspective? Read Live and Learn, our student blog, or contact an MPA admissions ambassador.

Hook ‘em!

UT-Austin’s Spring Break

spring break 2014

The University of Texas at Austin will have a spring break next week (March 10-14). The University offices, including the MPA Program Office, will remain open, but classes will not be in session.

Also, don’t forget that Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the U.S. and many parts of the world on Sunday, March 9!

2 a.m.

AICPA Scholarships

AICPA

If you are seeking scholarship opportunities for the Texas MPA program, be sure to check your eligibility to apply for an AICPA scholarship. The majority of the scholarships have an April 1 application deadline. Scholarships include (but are not limited to):

  • The John L. Carey Scholarship: provides financial assistance to liberal arts and other non-business related degree holders who are pursuing graduate studies in accounting and the CPA designation. Amount: $5,000/year
  • The AICPA Minority Scholarship: provides awards to outstanding undergraduate and graduate minority students who plan to pursue the CPA licensure. Amount: $5,000/year
  • The AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship: provides financial assistance to undergraduate & graduate-level students who are seeking the CPA license. Amount: $2,500/year

Many of our students have received these awards in the past. I would strongly encourage you to apply!

U.S. Application Deadline Extended

Deadline Extended

The MPA admissions committee has extended the U.S. application deadline to March 31, 2014, to provide you with additional time to submit your application materials.

Keep in mind that we review files on a continuous basis, in the order of completion, and cannot guarantee space availability. As a result, I recommend that you submit all application materials as soon as possible rather than waiting until the final deadline.

As a reminder, you can track the status of your application online in My Status.

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