McCombs Maintains Bragging Rights To Top-Notched Profs And Campus


Originally posted by Matt Turner in McCombs Today

Students at the McCombs School of Business continue to have some of the best teachers and campus life in the nation, according to the latest survey results from the Princeton Review.

For the second year in a row, McCombs placed among the top 10 in two categories—best professors and best campus environment—out of the 11 attribute rankings tracked by the Princeton Review and published in the annual guidebook, “The Best 295 Business Schools, 2014 Edition.”

Read More…

FAQs: International Applicants

Frequently-asked questions from international applicants:

Do I need to submit the Certification of Financial Responsibility with my application?

The Certification of Financial Responsibility is used for immigration document processing, not for admissions purposes. Therefore, the form and supporting documentation are not required for the completion of an admissions application. However, the International Office will not issue the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 until a student has been officially admitted and certification of adequate financial resources has been received.

Do I need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores if I studied in the U.S. or another English-only speaking country?

All international applicants must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score report, even if they studied in an English-only speaking country. Please see my previous blog post for additional information.

Do I need to submit a foreign credential evaluation from WES or another organization?

A foreign credential evaluation is not required. If a transcript is written in a language other than English, a complete and official English translation must be uploaded together with the original transcript.

Are all of the application materials required by the January 5 application deadline?

Your application will not be considered complete and subsequently forwarded to our department for a decision until all application materials, including the official score reports, have been received. On average, it takes at least 4 weeks for the score report to be sent, received, and loaded to an applicant’s record. Applications completed after the application deadline may need to be considered on a space-available basis.

When are international applications reviewed?

All international applications will be reviewed after the January 5 application deadline, not on a rolling basis. Admissions decisions are typically released throughout the month of February.

Am I eligible for departmental scholarships or other types of financial aid?

Due to limited funding, international students are not eligible for departmental recruiting scholarships and therefore should be prepared to meet all expenses from their own resources. A limited number of graduate assistantship positions are available through individual academic departments across the campus. For additional information, please visit our financial aid website.

Can I get in touch with any current international MPA students?

Texas MPA Admissions Ambassadors are a group of current MPA students (including international students) who have volunteered to share their experiences with prospective students. Our admissions ambassadors can provide you with their perspectives on MPA classes, the job search, campus life, and living in Austin.

FAQs: Transcripts

Should I submit my transcript now or wait until my fall grades are posted?

I recommend that you submit your transcript after your fall grades are posted if:

  1. You are taking pre-enrollment courses in the fall,
  2. You are enrolled in a significant number of accounting classes in the fall, or
  3. Your upper-level GPA will be improved substantially with your fall grades.

U.S. applicants: If you are targeting our early December 1 application deadline, you could opt to upload a current transcript (so that your application is complete by 12/1) and then send me an updated copy of your transcript via email as soon as the grades are available. However, please note that we use a rolling admissions process for U.S. applications. Your chances for admission would not be affected if you wait until fall grades are posted before uploading your transcript. Mid-December is still very early in our admissions cycle.

International applicants: You must upload a transcript for a complete application by the January 5 application deadline, even if your fall grades are not available. If you wish to provide an updated transcript, you can send it to me via email as soon as the fall grades are posted to your transcript.

Do I need to submit high school or community college transcripts?

It is not necessary for you to submit your high school transcript. Please submit transcripts from junior or community colleges if you completed our pre-enrollment requirements or any accounting courses at these institutions.

Do I need to send my official transcripts?

Please do not mail any hard copy documents for the MPA application. After you submit your online application and pay your application fee, UT will send you a UT EID and password via email. You will use the EID/password to log into the documents upload page and upload a copy of your official transcript(s). Please refer to the application materials checklist for detailed instructions. A community college transcript will need to be uploaded as a ”miscellaneous admissions document.”

I studied abroad for one semester, and the credit appears on my U.S. undergraduate transcript. Do I need to submit the transcript from the foreign university?

If you studied abroad for one semester only and the credit appears on your U.S. transcript, you will not need to request a transcript from the foreign university. However, if you studied abroad for more than one semester, you will need to submit the foreign university transcript.

If I need to submit a transcript from a foreign university, do I need to include a foreign credential evaluation from WES or another organization?

A foreign credential evaluation is not required. If a transcript is written in a language other than English, a complete and official English translation must be uploaded together with the original transcript.

What GPA is reviewed for MPA admissions purposes?

The Graduate and International Admissions Center will calculate a GPA using grades from all upper-division (junior- and senior-level) undergraduate courses and any graduate courses completed. Courses from professional programs (e.g., JD or MD) will not be factored into the upper-level GPA. The MPA admissions committee will review your performance not only in upper-division courses but also in courses within your major and any business-related courses, including those completed to fulfill the pre-enrollment requirements.

FAQs: MPA Statement of Purpose Essay

I frequently receive the following questions regarding the statement of purpose essay:

What should be the focus of the essay? 

How long should the essay be?

Do I need to submit the essay through ApplyTexas?

Need some tips to get you started? Click here to read my previous post on writing and submitting your essay.

FAQs: Recommendation Letters

Who should write my letters of recommendation?

Choose references who know you in an academic or professional context and are familiar with your academic or professional achievements, credentials, career aspirations and work history, if applicable. References should speak to your personal qualities, career potential, and potential to succeed in the classroom.

Can I submit more than two recommendation letters?

Although only two recommendation letters are required for the MPA application, you are welcome to request more than two letters, if preferred. All recommendation letters that are submitted will be reviewed.

When will my references receive the “Request for Reference” email notification?

After you submit your Apply Texas application and it is received at The University of Texas at Austin (approximately 1-2 working days after submission), your references will receive an email message which will contain a link to the recommendation system.

Can my references submit hard copy recommendation letters?

Submitting hard copies will significantly delay the processing of your application. As a result, we highly recommended that your references submit their recommendation letters online.

What should I do if I have already submitted my online application but need to make a change to my reference information?

The Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) will send you an assigned UT EID and password about 1-2 working days after you submit your online application. You will use the EID and password to log into the application status check. Under the “Letter of Recommendation” section, click on “Details,” and you will find a link to “Manage your recommendation requests.” From there, you will be able to resend the Request for Reference e-mail to any of your references or add a new reference.

FAQs: TOEFL/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, your TOEFL/IELTS score requirement will not be waived.

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


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

  1. You will be required to wait 31 calendar days if you wish to retake the exam.
  2. 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.

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.

All of my application materials will be in by the deadline except for my GMAT 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 is The University of Texas at Austin code for the GMAT?


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.

How long are GMAT test scores valid?

GMAT scores are valid for five years from the test date.

Can the GMAT requirement be waived? Does the MPA program accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT?

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

If I retake the GMAT, which scores are considered?

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.

FAQs: MPA Online Application

Why can’t I find the “Professional Accounting (MPA)” major in the online application drop-down list?

If you are unable to find “Professional Accounting (MPA)” major in the ApplyTexas application, you most likely have selected the incorrect university or incorrect semester. The Texas MPA program accepts fall applications only. If you are admitted and are required to begin our program in the summer, we will backdate your admission to the summer after you accept our offer of admission.

Do I need to take the GMAT before I submit the online application?

No. You can submit your application before taking the GMAT and either skip the test score section or input the anticipated GMAT test date, if known. Submitting an application early will better assist our Graduate and International Admissions Center in matching your GMAT score report to your application record.

I entered the names and e-mail addresses of my references, but they haven’t received an e-mail notification yet. What should I do?

The Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) will send e-mail requests to your recommenders after your application for admission is submitted and received at The University of Texas at Austin. After your application is received, you will be able to log into the application status check to monitor the status of your pending requests for references, resend the Request for Reference e-mail to your recommenders, or add a new recommender.

Can I submit the essay after I submit the online application?

Yes. When your online application is complete, you will be given the option to submit your application and essay either together or separately. If you opt to submit your application and essay separately, you will need to log back into your ApplyTexas account and select the “My Essays” tab to submit your essay. Alternatively, you can draft your essay in MS Word and upload the document to the document upload system. Please note that if you submit your application and essay together, the essay will take up to 24 hours longer to appear in the application status check.

I am a U.S. applicant. What happens if my application is completed after the early December 1 application deadline?

U.S. applications are reviewed on a rolling basis in the order of file completion, beginning with those completed by the early December 1 deadline and ending with those completed by the final March 1 deadline. To ensure prompt and accurate processing of your application, check the status of your application materials on a regular basis.

I am an international applicant. If I complete my application before the deadline, will it be reviewed early for a decision?

All international applications are reviewed after the application deadline rather than on a rolling basis.

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.

Accounting Department Again No. 1 In Rankings Trifecta

Originally posted by Matt Turner in McCombs Today.

The McCombs School of Business continues to lead the nation among academic institutions of accounting.

For the ninth time in 12 years, McCombs ranks number one across all three of the 2013 rankings of the Public Accounting Report (PAR) Annual Professors Survey: undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D.

Additionally, this is the fourth year in a row for McCombs to take first place on all three bases.

Undergraduate Ranking: 1

For 22 years in a row, McCombs has placed first or second in this ranking. Second place goes to our only undergrad rival, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, followed by Brigham Young University in third.

Master’s Ranking: 1

McCombs has lead the nation at the master’s level in 19 out of the past 20 surveys. BYU and Illinois take second and third place, respectively.

Doctoral Ranking: 1

McCombs has landed among the top four doctoral programs since 1994, and has now taken the number-one spot 10 times in the last 12 years. Currently we rank above Stanford (2), the University of Chicago (3), Michigan (4), and Illinois (5).

Read more…

Navigating the New MPA Website

In early September, the MPA program launched a new website design for easier navigation. I have highlighted a few web pages below that may be the most useful to you during the admissions process.

MPA Home Page

To locate information that is most relevant to prospective applicants, select “Prospective Students” from the MPA home page.

Prospective Student Home Page

The prospective student page highlights key information about our program, such as:

Traditional MPA Home Page

The Traditional MPA web page contains the detailed information you need to apply to our program, such as:

and includes other important program information, such as:

If you have any feedback on our new site or are unable to find what you need, please let me know!

Start Your Fall 2014 MPA Application!

Attention, MPA applicants: The fall 2014 online application is open!

Application Deadlines

U.S. applicants (early deadline): December 1, 2013
International applicants: January 5, 2014
U.S. applicants (final deadline): March 1, 2014

U.S. Applications: The admissions committee reviews U.S. applications in the order of completion starting with those completed by December 1. 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.


I would encourage you to post general admissions questions to this blog. I can guarantee that if you have a particular question, other applicants have the exact same question! Any specific questions that are unique to your situation should be sent to me via e-mail.

We look forward to receiving your applications!

100 Years And Still Counting: McCombs’ No. 1 Legacy

In the latest Notesworthy blog post, Dean Gilligan commends the Texas MPA and The University of Texas Accounting Department for their dominating spirit of achievement.

Fall 2014 Applicants: It’s Never Too Early to Prepare!

The MPA admissions cycle is officially closed for fall 2013.

Thank you, applicants, for taking the time and effort to apply to our program. Once again, the admissions committee was impressed with the strength of the applicant pool this year!

Interested in applying for fall 2014?

Here are ways you can prepare for your application:

  • Review our admissions website in late August. Updates on the application process will be posted before the application opens in early September 2013.
  • Take courses this summer or fall if you have not completed our pre-enrollment requirements. Please note that we have added introduction to managerial accounting as a pre-enrollment requirement for fall 2014.
  • Prepare for the GMAT and TOEFL (if applicable) early so that we receive your test scores before the application deadline.
  • Stay tuned to 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!

Welcome, Texas MPA Class of 2014!

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…

Learn about UT’s history and traditions with Ten Things Every Longhorn Should Know.

Take a virtual tour of The University of Texas at Austin’s campus.

Become familiar with student life at UT and in the McCombs School of Business. Over the years, our student bloggers have published a McCombs mini tour, information about the MPA Lounge and other favorite places to study, and the perks to being in Austin and attending a large, prestigious research university.

A Mini Tour of the McCombs School of Business

 Love the Place That You Study In!

 The MPA Lounge

Austin, TX

Run, Austin! (2.0)

 I Met a Famous Author Thanks to UT!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Accounting Professor Lisa Koonce Selected in the Top 10

Originally posted by Katy McDowall in the AlcadePhoto by Matt Wright-Steel.

There are some teachers you just don’t forget. Nominated by alumni, these professors are among the best and most inspiring on the Forty Acres. Meet this year’s Texas 10.

Lisa Koonce

Professor, Accounting

Growing up in a small town in Southern Illinois, Lisa Koonce never thought she would attend college, let alone become a professor. She assumed she would be a secretary.

“It’s surprising to me still, at this point in my life, that I’m actually a university professor,” Koonce says. “People from my town didn’t do that sort of thing.”

Today, Koonce is the Deloitte and Touche Chair in Accounting at UT, where she has taught for 22 years and she’s earned a number of awards, including The University of Texas System Regents’ Teaching Award.

Teaching mostly seniors on their way to becoming certified public accountants, Koonce’s goal is to show her students that there’s more to accounting than just right or wrong answers.

“It’s not just black and white,” Koonce says. “There are a lot of financial situations that require judgment. I hope they realize that’s what they’re going to spend most of their professional lives doing.”

Koonce’s classroom also doubles as her research lab. While researching how accountants measure assets and liabilities at fair value, she often uses her students as test subjects.

“A lot of the projects I work on are related to ideas that students bring up in class,” she says. “If I really listen to them, I understand how they’re messing up their reasoning process.”

Ultimately, the research ideas Koonce gets from her students come full circle, helping her to teach more effectively.

“I view it as a pretty big privilege to work here,” she says, “and I feel very responsible for how they turn out.”


Meet our other Texas 10 professors here.

Texas MPA is #1…Again!

The Texas MPA was ranked first in the nation for the seventh year in a row in the U.S. News and World Report’s survey of Best Graduate Schools!

Visit our MPA rankings web page to learn about recent faculty accomplishments, highlighting the hard work that makes ours the top graduate accounting program in the country.

TOEFL Scholarships

TOEFL scholarships are now available to students living in five locations: China, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. A TOEFL scholarship can help students study at any of the 8,000+ institutions listed in the TOEFL Destinations Directory. The scholarship program is designed to reward TOEFL test takers for achieving academic excellence, exhibiting leadership skills, performing extracurricular activities and demonstrating English-communication proficiency.

Scholarship Criteria

The TOEFL Scholarship Program rewards students who have high academic achievement as well as:

  • an outstanding ability to communicate in English
  • demonstrated leadership skills
  • well-roundedness in extracurricular activities, including community service
  • innovative ideas as reflected in essays (and interviews, when applicable)

Scholarship Eligibility

To be eligible to win a TOEFL scholarship, you must:

  • Currently be living in the country from where you are applying.
  • Beginning undergraduate or graduate study in 2013 at a college or university listed in the TOEFL Destinations Directory.
  • Hold a grade point average of at least 80 or higher on a 100-point scale or a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. For high school students in Korea, you must have a level of 1–3 on a 9-level scale in any three subjects in your last semester.
  • Have a valid TOEFL test score used as a requirement for admissions into your undergraduate or graduate program.
  • Complete the application form online and upload your transcripts.

The deadline is April 30, 2013. Please visit the ETS website for more information.

AICPA Scholarships

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: $3,000/year
  • The AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship: provides financial assistance to accounting majors who plan to become CPAs. Amount: $2,500/year

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

Final U.S. Application Deadline is Today!

Don’t forget! Today is the final application deadline for U.S. applicants for fall 2013. 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 Friday, March 1 to submit your application from the ApplyTexas system. If you save the application in Apply Texas but do not submit it by 11:59 p.m., you will not have the ability to submit it later. Additionally, be sure to complete your application by supplying all other 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 are not appearing on your record by Monday.
  • Your references will receive an email notification with instructions for supplying the recommendation letter AFTER UT-Austin receives your application from Apply Texas, approximately 24-48 hours after submission. This is also when you will receive a notification and will have the ability to upload your supplemental documents.

If you have any questions or concerns about your application, please contact me. Thank you for considering the Texas MPA program!

Are You Ready for the Texas MPA?

The Texas MPA program accepts individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds. In fact, typically 50% of our incoming class is comprised of students who hold undergraduate degrees in areas outside of accounting!

If you are an incoming student with a non-accounting background, you may be 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.
  • 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.

Keep in mind that

  • Our curriculum is customized based on a student’s academic background. Students with accounting undergraduate degrees will waive and substitute electives for our core courses if they have completed the equivalent prior to entering our program. Those without an accounting background will start with our core courses (ACC 381 and ACC 380k.11) in the summer, continue with additional core courses in the fall, and enroll in classes with others from non-accounting backgrounds.
  • Our students are high achievers but come from diverse backgrounds and operate in a collaborative environment.

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?

 A Rise in the Fall

Teamwork and the MPA

ChatClick here to chat!+