MPA Admissions Blog

Insider Information for Prospective Texas McCombs Students

Latest Accounting Research: More Corporate Cash Flows into the U.S. than Out

Based on the research of Texas McCombs Accounting Professor Lillian Mills: Despite popular belief, all U.S. firms haven’t been sending most of their earnings abroad to dodge taxes, finds a study using IRS data.

BigIdeas1In recent years, one of the major exports of U.S. businesses has been cash. Several reports, such as one by Bloomberg News, have tallied more than $2 trillion of earnings stashed in foreign subsidiaries in countries with lower corporate tax rates.

So it might come as a surprise that over a decade, American businesses brought more money into the country than they shipped out. That’s one conclusion from new research by Lillian Mills, accounting professor at Texas McCombs, and two recent McCombs doctoral accounting graduates, Lisa De Simone and Bridget Stomberg.

Analyzing corporate returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the researchers found that U.S. multinationals imported $1 trillion from offshore affiliates, while they exported $830 million. Close to two-thirds of all returns showed more money coming in than going out.

Those businesses tended to be older and larger ones, which built U.S. factories and headquarters decades ago.

Read the full article in Big Ideas: Research and insights from Texas McCombs here.

The Fall 2019 Traditional MPA Application is Now Open!

It is now officially August, and that means the online application for our traditional MPA program is now open! Click here to start your application today.

All application materials, including official test scores, must be received before an application will be reviewed for a decision.

Application Deadlines:

U.S. applicants (early deadline): December 1, 2019
International applicants: January 5, 2020
U.S. applicants (final deadline): March 31, 2020

 U.S. Applications: The admissions committee reviews completed U.S. applications on a rolling basis starting in December.

International Applications: All international applications are reviewed after the January 5 application deadline.

Contact us if you have any questions along the way. We look forward to receiving your application!

Introducing Tina Reed, the MPA Program’s New Director of Career Services

Tina Reed is the new Director of Career Services for the Master in Professional Accounting program at Texas McCombs. She comes from a background in higher education and has helped many students explore their career opportunities. Continue reading to learn more about Tina and email her at to inquire about job placement options while attending the MPA program.

Meet Tina Reed

Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of work, Tina.
I enjoy bike riding, window shopping, visiting with friends, and traveling.

What did you do before coming to Texas McCombs?
Before joining Texas McCombs, I lived in Nashville, TN where I worked at Tennessee State University (TSU) as the Associate Director of the Career Development Center. My primary responsibilities were to oversee employer relations, manage some of the day-to-day operations in the Center, and create strategic student professional development initiatives for the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan. I also worked at TSU’s College of Business as the Director of Public Service where I engaged with students, faculty, employers, and alumni.

What interests you about higher education, career services, and accounting?
I am interested in higher education because it is a learning environment, and one of my philosophies about life is to “never stop learning.” Career services allows me the opportunity to assist students with developing and advancing their careers, and accounting is interesting to me because it is a profession that is designed to keep companies honest (from a financial management standpoint). As long as there are businesses, accounting will be relevant. It has been said that “money is the root of all evil.” If this is true, then companies across the world will need to use accounting principles to help manage and monitor their root.

Tina ReedWhy did you decide to move to Austin and work for the Master in Professional Accounting program?
I decided to move to Austin and work for the MPA program for a few reasons: I wanted to move back to Texas (l lived in Houston and San Antonio several years ago), and since I am very familiar with working in a business school environment, I felt that working in the MPA program would be a great career opportunity.

You’ve been here over a month now. What opportunities do you see for our program?
I think the MPA program has the opportunity to increase student enrollment through a variety of marketing techniques to brand the program.

What’s been your favorite part about the University of Texas at Austin so far?
My favorite part about UT is the school spirit. Our fans are not afraid to show how much they love this school by wearing burnt orange and throwing up the Hook ‘Em Horns. And I really like that UT is branded across the city of Austin.

Welcome to Texas McCombs, Tina!

Making a Global Impact: tMPA Student Muhannad Alsharekh

To say Muhannad Alsharekh has had some extraordinary life experiences would be an understatement. He’s traveled the world representing his home country of Saudi Arabia for the Youth 20 Summit 2019 and pitched an idea for an underwater tunnel connecting Saudi Arabia and Egypt all while being a full-time traditional Master in Professional Accounting student. Let’s learn more about Muhannad, the Y20 Summit, and his time in the MPA program.

Muhannad Alsharekh

Traditional MPA student Muhannad Alsharekh representing Saudi Arabia at the Y20 Summit in Japan.

Muhannad grew up in Saudi Arabia and studied at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He originally majored in finance since his father is in banking, but when he got his first taste of accounting, he switched degrees and declared accounting as his major. To explore the world a bit more, he decided to study abroad in Denton, TX (a suburb of Dallas) and knew there was something special about this state. So after his internship with PwC in 2015, he started looking at graduate accounting schools, and the Texas McCombs Master in Professional Accounting program made his short list.

After doing more research into the MPA program, he noted that the program’s #1 ranking, notoriety of the professors, and length of the program all were key factors in his decision to apply to the program. Muhannad then met with Keri Ledezma, Director of Admissions for the MPA program, in 2016 which sealed the deal. He was accepted into the program in 2017 but deferred his start-date until the fall of 2018.

When asked what he loves most about UT and Austin, without hesitation he said, “The food and the people!” Muhannad has enjoyed exploring a new city (and new restaurants), as well as making lifelong connections with his professors, staff, and students. Plus he was a part of the MPA indoor soccer team this spring that made it all the way to the championship game.

Muhannad decided to apply to represent his home country of Saudi Arabia at the Y20 Summit, an annual international conference of youth leaders who come together as a joint declaration on policy recommendations. These young professionals discuss international issues and propose a common solution to the G20 leaders at the international forum regarding policy and international financial stability.

With the Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

Muhannad, far right, with the Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, Science and Technology at the Y20 Summit.

A few weeks after applying, he was granted an interview. After a total of three rounds of interviews, Muhannad was selected as one of two Saudi delegates to represent Saudi youth at the Y20 Summit 2019 in Japan. 70% of people are 30 years or younger in Saudi Arabia, and Muhannad was honored to represent them. “It was very important to me to help make an impact on our future,” he said.

At the Y20 Summit, the youth delegates went through lengthy negotiations to reach a consensus on the most effective and direct policy recommendations. The Y20 leaders concluded with addressing three main policy recommendations: International Trade, Future of Work, and Business and Environment, and they had the honor to deliver their proposals to the Japanese Prime Minister. But their work didn’t stop there… Currently, these young leaders are undergoing an awareness campaign about the importance of their recommendations and how it relates to youth around the world.

With Japan's Prime Minister

The Y20 Summit delegates presenting their recommendations to Japan’s Prime Minister.

Since the Y20 Summit was held during the same weekend as graduation, Muhannad did not have the opportunity to walk in the MPA Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 25. He did, however, accept a job offer before graduation at SABIC, a Saudi diversified manufacturing company, in their corporate finance department. He will have the task of monitoring business processes of the organization as a whole while increasing efficiencies and effectiveness. Muhannad will be starting with SABIC at the end of this month.

As for his future goals, he says he would love to be a leader of a large company one day as a CEO or CFO, but he added, “As long as I enjoy where I am and who I work with, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing.”


Earlier this year, Muhannad was also a part of the winning team at the Dream NEOM Competition hosted by NEOM (Saudi Arabia’s new ambitious city) and the MiSK Foundation (a non-profit Saudi organization). The aim of the competition was to gather the sharpest young minds to develop ideas for the NEOM city. His team received first place in the competition based on their idea to develop an underwater submerged floating tunnel connecting NEOM with Egypt. Along with his team members, Marah Alarabi and Suzanne Alomran, they leveraged their networks to consult with architects and engineers to test their proposal and ensure the project was covered from a technical, financial, and environmental aspect.

Dream NEOM Competition

Muhannad with his teammates Marah Alarabi and Suzanne Alomran presenting their underwater floating tunnel at the Dream NEOM Competition in April 2019.

What to Do in Austin This Summer

Take a break from MPA summer classes or your accounting internship to explore the city of Austin this summer. It’s the perfect time of year to take some leisure and try new things in this vibrant town, so check out these 10 summer events and activities you can do in Austin this summer.

Blues on the Green
29 years and counting, Blues on the Green is one of Austin’s most iconic summer events hosted by Austin City Limits Radio. This free concert series features upcoming local artists and is located at Zilker Park. Blues takes place once a month on a Wednesday, so get there early to get the best view. Parking is $15. Alternatively, you can take the bus with Capital Metro which offers plenty of routes directly to Barton Springs/Zilker. For the rest of summer 2019, the show dates are July 17 and August 7 at Zilker Park starting at 8:00 p.m.

Blues on the Green

Unplugged at the Grove
As the “live music capital of the world,” Austin boasts its fair share of music events. Unplugged at the Grove is a more frequent free concert series hosted by Austin City Limits Radio. Every Thursday, Austinites gather at the Shady Grove off Barton Springs Road to enjoy music and drinks. For summer 2019, the show dates are every Thursday until August 29 at Shady Grove at 8:00 p.m.

Barton Creek Greenbelt
Though live music may be the star of Austin, the city also offers a fantastic glimpse of the natural world. The Greenbelt is acclaimed as the place to be on a nice day with a variety of activities—hiking, biking, rock-climbing, swimming, and sun-bathing. This park has multiple access points directed towards the pool or the hiking trails. The Greenbelt provides a sweet relief from the city. If you prefer to play it safe, Barton Springs Pool is a sectioned area fed by natural spring water where you’re welcomed to chill and relax. The pool fee is $9 for non-residents and $5 for residents, plus it’s free after 9:00 p.m.

Barton Creek Greenbelt

Saturday Farmer’s Market
Every Saturday, rain or shine, the Sustainable Food Center supports local vendors and farmers by hosting a farmer’s market. With ready-to-eat foods from your favorite bakeries and fresh produce for when you want to cook, this market provides a sustainable way to support and buy local. Many artisanal products are available ranging from soap to hemp-based skincare making it the perfect place to shop for a little something for yourself or buy the perfect gift.  Every Saturday at Republic Square from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Saturday Farmers Market

Zilker Summer Musical
Zilker is the hub of summer events and the rest of the year. This year, the Zilker Theatre Production is debuting The Little Mermaid musical at the park. Bring some friends, a blanket, and bug spray to watch and sing along to the classic Disney songs we all know and love. For summer 2019, shows happen every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from July 12 to August 17 at Zilker Hillside Theatre at 8:15 p.m.

Mount Bonnell
As one of the highest points in Austin (other than our city skyscrapers), the views at Mount Bonnell are not one to miss. A popular destination for sunrise and sunset, take in the idyllic views of the Colorado River and downtown. With 102 steps, you’ll get your workout in, take some fun pictures, and enjoy a nice view. The mount is also a wonderful picnic destination and getaway.

Mount Bonnell

Pennybacker Bridge
Pennybacker Bridge, or commonly known as the 360 Bridge, is a curved bridge which offers the perfect place to capture the busy city. Crossing over Lady Bird Lake, the view combines the water and landscape for the perfect place to watch the sunset and see the whole expanse of the sky.

Pennybacker Bridge

South Congress
Just like New York has SoHo, Austin has SoCo. With funky and unique shops and eateries, SoCo embodies all the vibes of Austin as a landmark location with the iconic “I love you so much” mural. Visit Amy’s Ice Cream for a cool treat with flavors such as avocado and apple pie. You can also stop by the YETI flagship store for an experience like no other complete with a bar, customization station, and a display of historical artifacts.

South Congress

Movies in the Park
A take on drive-in movies, the Austin Parks Foundation hosts movie nights for everyone to enjoy in parks around town. There’s no specific genre, but come out and watch for the first time or re-watch your favorite classic movies from Space Jam to Harry Potter. Food trucks are available on-site where you can grab a bite from an Austin favorite. For the remainder of summer 2019, dates and movies are: July 25 (The Road to El Dorado) and August 16 (Caddyshack).

Yoga Summer Sunset Series
Presented by Wanderlust Yoga, this summer series event is not one to miss with free yoga Tuesday evenings. A perfect way to wind down and relax from the workday or your studies before heading home for the night. You don’t have to be an experienced yogi to enjoy this event which is suited for all levels. Bring a mat and bathe in the setting sun wearing your most fashionable athleisure fit. For summer 2019, yoga is every Tuesday between July 2 and August 27 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

More Than Just Accounting: Enroll in MBA Electives

Did you know MPA students have the opportunity to enroll in MBA courses? Not only can you expand your skillset by taking a diverse set of classes across all business disciplines, but you will also have the chance to learn and work with MBA students.

MBA Electives

Customize your specific career goals and broaden your knowledge by enrolling in accounting and MBA electives in areas such as finance, information technology, strategy, management, international business, and more. View the accounting and MBA electives offered at Texas McCombs below.

Financial Planning for Wealth Management
Strategic Control Systems
Government/Not-for-Profit Accounting
Petroleum Accounting
Fraud Examination
Studies in Auditing
Management Auditing and Control
Computer Audit and Systems Security
Accounting Research: Intro to Design and Evaluation
Financial Statement Analysis
Advanced Accounting
Tax Research
Taxation of Entities I (Corporations)
Taxation of Entities II (Partnerships)
International and Interstate Tax
Tax Planning for Business Entities
Oil and Gas Taxation
Taxation of Real Estate Investments
Tax Practicum

Advanced Corporate Finance
Investment Theory and Practice
Mergers and Acquisitions

Art and Science of Negotiations
Corporate Governance
Entrepreneurial Growth
Supply Chain Management
Corporate Restructuring/Turnaround/Bankruptcy
Technology Strategy

Managing International Risk

Consumer Behavior
Creativity and Leadership
Strategic Branding

Commercial Transactions
Corporate Law
Legal and Ethical Environment of Accounting
Law for Entrepreneurs
Law of Commercial Real Estate
Intellectual Property
Energy Law

Behavioral Economics
Business and Global Political Economy
Corporate Political Strategy
Law/Economics of Capital Markets/Financial Intermediation
Strategic Corporate Communication
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility

International Operations and Management
Emerging Markets

Strategies for a Networked Economy
Predictive Analytics and Data Mining

Real Estate Investment Decisions
Real Estate Capital Markets

MPA Students Study Abroad in Buenos Aires and Prague

Each summer, MPA students have the chance to study abroad for five weeks in Buenos Aires or Prague. This opportunity allows students to earn six graduate credit hours toward their MPA degree, gain global business perspective, and explore a new country and continent with classmates. One course is taught by a Texas McCombs professor, and the other is taught by an international faculty member from one of our partner universities.

MPA students study abroad and explore in Prague

Master in Professional Accounting students Jason Chia, Derek Lutz, Daniel Romagosa, Wilson Vick, Aris Sevastianos, Mitchell England, Lauren Gaddis, Makensie Holland, Jena Mrochek, and Sierra Wallace are pictured enjoying a hike after study abroad classes in Prague.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Buenos Aires campus is Universidad de San Andrés (UdeSA) and is one of the top business schools in Argentina. Texas McCombs professors Kristina Zvinakis and Steve Goodson taught courses in Argentina this summer. Buenos Aires is often called the “Paris of Latin America” and is known the world over for its colorful and lively culture.

Prague, Czech Republic
University of Economics is the campus of the MPA study abroad session in Prague and is a leader in the field of management and economics in the Czech Republic. This summer, professors Donna Johnston-Blair and John McGuire taught Texas McCombs MPA courses in the Czech Republic. A beautiful and exciting city, Prague has been a political, economic, and cultural center of Europe for more than 1,000 years.

Stay tuned for more updates from South America and Europe on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as students share their study abroad photos and stories.

MPA students study abroad in Prague

Pictured above are MPA students Wilson Vick, Derek Lutz, and Daniel Romagosa skydiving in Switzerland after completing their study abroad session in Prague this summer!

Meet Stephen Smith, MPA Program Senior Director

You may have seen the name Steve Smith on this blog, or you may have talked to him on the phone or met him in person, but let’s take a closer look at the Senior Director and leader of the MPA Program Office with a quick Q&A.

Stephen Smith, MPA Senior Director


I’ve been happily married to Stuart (a Texas McCombs BBA grad) for 22 years and am a proud dad of two wonderful kids: Mackenzie, who is in her second year at Northwestern University, and Whit, who is graduating from Anderson High this year. I am a native North Carolinian and enjoy hiking and skiing every chance I get. My undergraduate accounting degree is from NC State, and I hold an MS in Accounting from the University of Virginia. I worked in public accounting with Arthur Andersen and PwC, as well as in industry with Dell.

Stuart and I originally moved to Austin 20 years ago when I entered the accounting PhD program. After one year in the program, I realized it wasn’t for me and went to work at Dell. Luckily, eight years later, Ross Jennings asked if I would teach a section of managerial accounting, and Brian MacDonald (the former treasurer at Dell) gave me the go-ahead. Three months later, I left Dell and have been teaching ever since. I took a leadership role in the MPA program three years ago.

I have two main goals for the program: increasing student diversity and developing a stronger MPA community. We can achieve success in regards to diversity with a more proactive marketing effort. As for building community with our current students, I’d like to create more opportunities for students to engage outside of the classroom through activities like tailgates, dinners, trivia nights, and escape rooms. In terms of community for alumni, I’d like to have even more MPA alums stay engaged with the program in the role of mentors to current students and as a resource to help prospective students understand the benefits of an MPA degree.

There are four things that distinguish our program. It starts with our students. We are fortunate that such a densely talented group of students come to Texas McCombs and the MPA program. Second, we have a faculty that is dedicated to both research and teaching; they create a rigorous, relevant, and stimulating academic environment. Third, the MPA Program Office carefully works with each student to develop a degree plan and offers significant amounts of career counseling. Last but not least, we have great relationships with an engaging and diverse group of employers. This enables our MPA students to learn about the many employment options available to MPAs as they launch their careers.

I teach ACC 311 (Fundamentals of Financial Accounting) and ACC 312 (Fundamentals of Managerial Accounting). I enjoy being many students’ first professor for a business course and work hard to spark an interest in accounting.

I played racquetball competitively in high school and early on in college. I won two state junior championships and competed at a national level. Some of my longest and deepest friendships began through racquetball. I tried something new this semester and played doubles intramurals with current MPA student Andrew Bramlett. I don’t move quite as quickly as I once did, but we had a blast! Since Andrew is graduating this year, I’ll be looking for a new partner next year.

Welcome Traditional MPA Class of 2020!

It’s official! The Master in Professional Accounting program has our traditional MPA Class of 2020!

We have students joining us from four different countries (China, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and the United States), as well as from 15 different states.

From biology and Spanish to mathematics and accounting, the MPA Class of 2020 has a wide range of skills and undergraduate majors. Some have earned MBAs and some have Master of Science degrees, but all of these admitted students will come together to study at the top-ranked graduate accounting program in the nation.

Let’s take a closer look at our Class of 2020 with our incoming students’ profile:

We are looking forward to seeing all of our students together for the first time at the tMPA Fall Orientation starting August 20! Some students will have the chance to meet each other beforehand in summer classes and career workshops.

Welcome to Texas McCombs, Class of 2020! Hook ’em!

Congratulations to the MPA Class of 2019!

What a journey! It’s been a year full of learning, making new friends, studying for exams, drinking coffee, consuming as many tacos as possible, and so much more. The Master in Professional Accounting Program Office and the Department of Accounting were thrilled to celebrate the MPA Class of 2019 at Commencement on Saturday, May 25.

Family, friends, faculty, and staff came together on Saturday to congratulate over 300 students (including integrated, traditional, and ECON MPAs) graduating from the Master in Professional Accounting program.

Before walking across that stage, an MPA Commencement Reception was held in the Graduate School Building Atrium. The food was plentiful and the photo booth was lively as graduating students and their families mingled with faculty and staff from the McCombs School of Business. It was a great way to kick off an exciting day ahead.

Students then headed across Speedway to Gregory Gymnasium to get ready to receive their diplomas! Over 200 MPA students and faculty members were a part of the ceremony, including MPA Senior Director Steve Smith, Department Chair Michael Clement, and Dean Jay Hartzell. They all mentioned in their speeches how this class continued to exceed expectations and how bright these students’ futures are.

 Dean Jay Hartzell along with faculty and students making their way to Gregory Gymnasium for the 2019 MPA Commencement.

Dean Jay Hartzell along with faculty and students making their way to Gregory Gymnasium for the 2019 MPA Commencement.


Our keynote speaker was Brien Smith, the Managing Director of Neuberger Berman and the COO of the Neuberger Berman Private Equity Division. Mr. Smith received a Master in Professional Accounting and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Brien Smith of Neuberger Berman and MPA alum was our keynote speaker.

Brien Smith of Neuberger Berman and MPA alum was our keynote speaker.


We also had graduating MPAs share their experiences in the program. James Olsen is an iMPA who was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is a first generation college student. Alec Weismann is also an iMPA student and grew up in Minnesota. They both are outstanding people and future leaders, and we loved their speeches on how this Class of 2019 “truly will change the world.”

iMPA student James Olson closing out his speech.

iMPA student James Olson closing out his speech.


Additionally, student awards were given out during Commencement. Adam Landefeld won the Outstanding 4th Year MPA Award. Adam’s outstanding academic performance has earned him several scholarships including the competitive Endowed Presidential Scholarship.  According to one of his instructors, Adam “is a natural leader and was prepared for class with interesting questions.  He was a delight to teach!”

 Adam Landefeld and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.

Adam Landefeld and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.


Alec Weissman won the Outstanding 5th Year MPA Award. Alec also worked as a TA for accounting professor Jeff Johanns who explained that Alec “demonstrated dedication way above a typical TA” by, among other things, volunteering to mentor a struggling student.  Academically, Alec is among this highest performing MPAs with a graduate GPA of 4.0.

Alec Weissman and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.

Alec Weissman and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.


Derek John received the MPA Outstanding Student Leadership Award for his meritorious service and support of the Master in Professional Accounting program and community. Derek was a Peer Career Consultant (PCC) and continually went above and beyond to ensure MPA students were getting all they could out of their time at Texas McCombs… From recording webinars to conducting mock interviews to reviewing resumes, Derek added something special to the program, and we are so thankful to have had him as a student and PCC!

Derek John and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.

Derek John and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.

Emily O’Keefe received the Outstanding tMPA Award for her exceptional contributions to student life and class unity through demonstrations of personal character, class spirit, and campus leadership. She was also the person to close out the MPA Commencement Ceremony by singing “The Eyes of Texas.” Congratulations, Emily!

Emily O'Keefe and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.

Emily O’Keefe and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.


Even though the Ceremony lasted almost two hours, it seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. MPAs hugged and took pictures together, then said their goodbyes. It’s always bittersweet to see our students move on to the next chapter in their lives, but we know they truly will change the world and will always be Longhorns. We are so proud of the graduating MPA Class of 2019 and cannot wait to see what they accomplish. Hook ‘em!

 Congratulations to the MPA Class of 2019!

Congratulations to the MPA Class of 2019!


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