MPA Admissions Blog

Insider Information for Prospective Texas McCombs Students

Why Should You Choose Texas McCombs MPA?

Why should you attend the MPA program at UT-Austin? Consider this…

1) Top-Ranked Accounting: The McCombs School of Business graduate and undergraduate accounting programs are Ranked #1 with U.S. News and the Public Accounting Report. What contributes to our reputation for excellence?

2) High Quality Campus: The University of Texas at Austin is ranked highly in the nation and the world. Attending a top national university offers distinct advantages, such as access to

3) Great Place to Live: Would you like to live in a city that offers a relatively moderate cost of living and other attractive features? The city of Austin regularly tops many rankings. Austin offers great weather and plenty of outdoor activities in a laid-back, friendly environment and consistently receives high accolades for quality of life, innovation, employment opportunities, cost of living…and the list goes on….

4) Longhorn Spirit: The University of Texas at Austin is filled with history and traditions and plenty of exciting athletic events.

Want to learn more about our program from a student’s perspective? Contact an MPA student ambassador.

Hook ’em!

Top 9 things to do in Austin!

Whether you are newly admitted into the Master in Professional Accounting program here at Texas McCombs or are looking to apply to our accounting graduate program, take a quick trip down to Austin to learn more about the McCombs School of Business and this top-ranked city.

Visit Austin

We’ve all heard that Austin in the #1 city to live in the country, but WHY did it come out on top? From the 230 days of sun a year to the delicious food scene to the live music, there is plenty to do in the vibrant capital of Texas. So next time you visit Austin, check out these places while you’re here:


  1. Lake Travis – Take the 25-minute drive northwest to see Lake Travis. Not only is it beautiful (and did we mention the sunsets are spectacular?) but you can take a dip in the water, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and brew-pubs, or if you are feeling REALLY adventurous, you can zipline across the lake!

Lake Travis


  1. Congress Bridge Bats – You may have heard of the bats that live under the Congress Bridge, but have you ever seen them in person? Over 1.5 million bats fly out from underneath the bridge each night nine months out of the year, and it is a sight to see! You can even get out on the water for an up-close-and-personal view of their flight into the night!


  1. Barton Springs Pool – Beat the heat and take a dip into Barton Springs Pool (if you dare)! This pool is a natural watering hole that stays chilly at 68 degrees all year round. It only costs $5 to get in, and it’s free after 9:00 p.m.!


  1. Pedal Tour – Discover downtown Austin by bike (or by barge)! Austin has bike pedal AND barge pedal tours all around the city. It’s a fun way to explore, get a little workout in, and enjoy time with friends and family.

Downtown Austin


  1. Rainey Street – This residential block is one of the most iconic and unique districts in Austin. Rainey Street’s bungalow homes have been converted into bars and restaurants. It’s an eclectic scene of good food, drinks, hotels, and food trucks.


  1. Food Trucks – Speaking of food trucks, they are EVERYWHERE in Austin. From downtown to Rainey Street to the UT campus, you can’t miss them… It’s a great way to try local eats from all genres of food.


  1. Live Music – Did you know Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World? We aren’t surprised by that title with Austin City Limits and South by Southwest making their home here, but there are also tons of other music festivals, over 250 live music venues, and stages all over this city… even in grocery stores! Pencil in some time to experience Austin’s talented musicians.


  1. Zilker Metropolitan Park – This 351-acre park located a few blocks from downtown Austin is packed with attractions. You can rent a canoe and get out on the water, run around Lady Bird Lake Trail, and even play frolf! Trust us when we say Zilker is one of Austin’s best-kept treasures.

Lady Bird Lake


  1. State Capitol – You can’t leave Austin without seeing the State Capitol Building. This granite landmark stands 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. You can explore the grounds on your own or join a free guided tour, which are offered every day.

Texas State Capitol


Now that you’ve read some of the exciting things Austin has to offer, make a trip down here and start exploring! No matter where you go, you’ll enjoy the weather, the people, the culture, and (of course) the FOOD! Make sure to stop by UT Austin and the McCombs School of Business while you’re here. We’d love to meet you in person! For admitted applicants, two MPA Preview Days are coming up in February and March, or you can schedule a visit that works best with your schedule.

Visit the Texas McCombs MPA!

We encourage prospective and admitted applicants to visit Texas McCombs to learn more about Austin, the MPA curriculum, career opportunities, our faculty, and the MPA experience.

Admitted applicants are invited to attend MPA Preview Day on either Friday, February 15 or Friday, March 29, to explore the MPA program, meet your future classmates, and celebrate your admission.

Admitted applicants who are unable to attend MPA Preview Day and all other prospective students can arrange a customized visit schedule by submitting the visit form to the MPA Program Office at least two weeks prior to your planned visit.

We look forward to meeting you!

AICPA Legacy Scholarships

If you are seeking scholarship opportunities for the Texas McCombs MPA program, be sure to check your eligibility to apply for an AICPA Legacy Scholarship. The scholarships have a March 1 application deadline and are limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Scholarships include (but are not limited to):

  • The John L. Carey Scholarship: provides financial assistance to liberal arts and non-business undergraduate degree holders who are pursuing both graduate studies in accounting and CPA licensure.
  • The AICPA Minority Scholarship: provides financial awards to full-time minority students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting or an accounting-related major.
  • The AWSCPA Scholarship: provides financial assistance to outstanding female students majoring in accounting or an accounting-related field.

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

Texas McCombs MPA Admissions Update

Here is a quick admissions update as we start the new year!

  • We have been reviewing completed U.S. applications and releasing decisions on a rolling basis. The final U.S. application deadline is March 31, but apply early if you can! Admitted applicants will be considered automatically for a possible recruiting scholarship (a separate application is not required).
  • The international application deadline was January 5. The application review will begin in late January, and decisions will be released in February. Please be sure to submit all of your supplemental application materials by mid-January if you would like your application to be considered in the first round of admissions decisions. Also, please send Keri Ledezma a copy of your GMAT or TOEFL score reports if they have not been posted to your application record yet.

The admissions decision will be posted on the application status check page, and admitted applicants will receive additional correspondence from the MPA Program Office.

Introducing Sam Henderson, a Texas McCombs tMPA student

Meet Sam Henderson, a current tMPA student here at Texas McCombs. He’s Texas-grown but has worked all over the U.S., and now he is back in the Lone Star State. Here’s his story.

Sam Henderson Student Profile


Who inspires you right now?

This sounds cheesy, but my fellow students. I am constantly being impressed by the caliber of people that surround me! They inspire me every day to do better.

Sam Henderson Student Profile with MPAs


What motivates you?

My current and future family. I want them to be proud of me and the work I am putting in to make our collective lives better in the future. 


How is the MPA Program helping you accomplish your goals?

I’m a career changer and the MPA program is not only giving me the hard skills necessary to succeed in the future, but they are actively helping to map out my future, beyond the program. They are truly dedicated to ensuring a bright future for us.


What do you like about Austin?

Austin has always been the home-base for my family. I’ve moved around the nation quite a bit for work, but always come back to Austin for visits with family. The food and music culture are incredible and despite the recent growth, it still maintains a small-town feel.


How does Austin compare to your hometown of Houston?

Even though I claim Houston as my hometown (and while I still have love for it), the sheer size can make livability an issue. I often find I don’t participate in as many activities in Houston because of the travel time involved. Austin makes it so easy to participate in a wide range of activities, all relatively close to campus.


What led you to apply to the Texas McCombs MPA Program?

It’s the number one accounting program in the nation! Of course, the proximity to my family played a big part in my decision, as well.


What is your advice to students debating whether they should apply to the Texas McCombs MPA Program?

The program is first rate, the town is fun, and your fellow students make you better. There is no downside… don’t hesitate to apply.


How have you benefited from the MPA recruiting process?

Recruiting is tough. It is a huge time suck and will weigh heavily on your mind even when you shouldn’t be focusing on it. The Recruit McCombs website makes it easy to organize your career options, and the MPA career advisors help you throughout the process, making sure you put your best foot forward.


How do you think your experience in the Texas McCombs MPA program stands out?

It stands out in so many ways: your fellow class cohorts, professors with prestigious national standing, MPA program faculty willing to go the extra mile for you to succeed, and a recruiting base that ensures you have the opportunity to get with top companies. All of these experiences stand out and it is impossible to unwind all the benefits they collectively give you. The entire program is geared towards challenging you to be better in all aspects.

Sam Henderson Student Profile studying


Alright, Sam… Your turn to fill out this questionnaire:

Sam Henderson Questionnaire


If you would like to connect with Sam, you can email him on our Student Ambassadors page.

UT-Austin Closed for Winter Break

The University of Texas at Austin will be closed for the holidays from Monday, December 24 through Tuesday, January 1. Please contact the Graduate and International Admissions Center if you are having technical difficulties with your application materials, or contact the MPA Program Office after the break.

Enjoy the holidays!

International Applicants: January 5 Deadline

International applicants:

Your application deadline is quickly approaching! Be sure to monitor the status of your application materials in the online application status check.

What if all of your application materials are not received by January 5?

  • Please update Keri Ledezma  on the status of your outstanding application materials. If your file is not complete by the application deadline or very shortly thereafter, we will do what we can to include your file in the first round of admissions decisions; however, if your application materials arrive too late, we cannot guarantee it. As a result, make every attempt to complete your application as close to the application deadline as possible.
  • If your TOEFL/IELTS or GMAT scores are not posted to your application record by January 5, please update Keri Ledezma with the date of your test and a copy of the score report, if possible.
  • Your application will not be considered complete and reviewed for a decision until all application materials, including the official score reports, have been received. On average, it takes at least 3-4 weeks for the test scores to be sent, received, and uploaded to an applicant’s record.

Reminder: All international applications will be reviewed after the January 5 application deadline, not on a rolling basis.

Decision Timeline for U.S. Applications

Congratulations! You completed your U.S. application! What can you expect next? 

We are beginning to review applications that were completed by December 1 and will start releasing decisions before UT-Austin’s winter break. The decision will be posted on the Application Status Check page. If you are accepted, you will receive a separate message from the MPA program with additional information.

If you complete your application after the 12/1 early deadline, you can expect to receive a decision approximately one month after your application is complete.

NOTE: All materials, including official test scores, must be received in order for an application to be reviewed for a decision. Be sure to check the status of your application on a regular basis.

You were admitted to another university and the acceptance deadline is approaching, but you haven’t received a decision from the Texas McCombs MPA. What should you do?

If you receive an admission offer from another university and need to respond to the offer before you receive a decision from us, please send Keri Ledezma an email message with the name of the university and the admission response deadline. Although we cannot guarantee an earlier admission decision, we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Meet Flora Sun, a current tMPA student

Flora Sun is a current tMPA student who will be graduating in 2019. Let’s learn a little more about Flora, her journey to Texas McCombs, and the experiences she’s had in the MPA program.

Meet Flora Sun


Flora, who inspires you right now?

The faculty members at Texas McCombs are inspiring me every day. Specifically, Professor Steve Kachelmeier inspires me. He encourages my motivation and determination to stay in academia after graduation from the MPA program. I’m taking his accounting research class this semester and can see his passion for research and teaching. Plus, I love his sense of humor during classes. He’s such a great inspiration – he’s experienced, proficient, and passionate in his specialized auditing research area. I admire him, expect to learn from him as much as I can, and become a qualified accounting researcher in the future.


What motivates you?

The upcoming PhD  application! School life has been a little overwhelming these days. I have to balance my time among MPA courses, PhD seminars, TA responsibilities, RA work, and the upcoming PhD application for fall 2019. But I know my hard work is meaningful.


How is the MPA Program helping you accomplish your goals?

It provides unique opportunities to get familiar with the accounting research area. During the past two months, I have talked with quite a few accounting professors who specialize in capital market research and gained tons of insights from them. In addition, courses offered by the MPA program include some accounting research courses that are helping me get prepared for my PhD study. I truly can see the collaborative environment within UT’s accounting department and will definitely apply.


What do you like about Austin?

The city’s “free style” and no “rule of thumb” – be who you are and wear what you like! I also love the popularity of outdoor sports here.


How does Austin compare to your hometown of Hong Kong?

It is less crowded with bigger apartments! I am more relaxed and enjoying life here. Honestly, I fit in with the Austin community much better than I ever thought I could.


Meet Flora Sun


What led you to apply to the Texas McCombs MPA program?

The prestigious accounting faculty and reasonable program track design.


What is your advice to students debating whether they should apply to the Texas McCombs MPA program?

There is no reason to not apply! The professors are great and there’s plenty of academic and career resources from the MPA Program Office. It is an intense program, but you will accumulate a lot of knowledge and experience.


Meet Flora Sun


How have you benefited from the MPA recruiting process?

I have had multiple opportunities to meet potential employers before real interviews. Additionally, I have succeeded in pushing myself out of my comfort zone in order to professionally communicate with workplace elites.


How has the MPA Career Services team helped you with recruiting in the U.S.?

It’s more difficult than I thought for international students to find jobs here. I accept this reality and think that the Career Services team has done an excellent job in helping me get familiar with the U.S. job market. Jo and David held special sessions for international students and talked about the H1B visa and other immigration issues when international students look for jobs in the US.

And I love the mock interviews… I met real employers, practiced my interview skills, and obtained feedbacks from the interviewers. This is such a privilege provided by the MPA program!


You were an Assurance Associate with PwC Hong Kong for a few years. How has the MPA program challenged you even though you already have an undergraduate degree and professional experience in accounting?

My previous accounting knowledge focused on IFRS. And it was not very “up-to-date.” Here, I am refreshing my knowledge base and learning more about U.S. GAAP. Because I’m also taking some challenging accounting research courses, I’m really forcing myself to link my previous working experiences to academia. I’m definitely entering a deeper knowledge area, which requires more logical and creative thinking.


What are you looking forward to on your Study Abroad venture to Buenos Aires?

I CAN’T WAIT! I was once an exchange student at University of Strathclyde in Glasgow during my undergraduate study. I mingled with local students and traveled all around the U.K. Beyond coursework, culture exposure is my favorite. You never know what an outside world looks like until you see it yourself. That’s the main reason why I applied for Study Abroad Program to Buenos Aires in summer 2019. I’ve never been to Argentina and imagine it is a passionate and energetic country. I will probably fall in love with the country and move there later. Who knows!


How do you think your experience in the Texas McCombs MPA program stands out?

I see myself as a proactive and diligent person. So far, I am quite satisfied with my academic performance. Also, I feel some sense of achievement as professors are giving positive feedback on my TA and RA work.


Can you elaborate on how the office facilitates engagement between students and staff/faculty?

I have a sense of belonging as an MPA student. I went to two MPA tailgates, and we had our own MPA tent which felt like home… where MPA staff and students talked and shared things about football, school life, and other fun stuff. I even ran the Zilker Relays for the MPA program! It was exciting and gave me a totally different experience beyond classroom study. By the way, the tacos provided after the relay were delicious! I also attended two MPA Educated Eats sessions with Professor Sara Toynbee and John McInnis. I’m not taking their classes, but the Educated Eats provided me with the chance to listen to about study and work experiences, get to know their research interests, and know what their life looks like off campus. All in all, I truly feel that the MPA Program Office is creating an environment where faculty and students can easily communicate and interact. I feel very comfortable and free when talking with staff and faculty here. They are supportive to students and really willing to share!


Meet Flora Sun


Last question… Will you fill out this questionnaire for us? Choose wisely! 🙂


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