Deep Fried Everything

The TX/OU game is coming up soon and one of the best parts of OU weekend is the State Fair of Texas. The State Fair of Texas has been taking place in Dallas since 1886. It’s a time when Texans come together to try new rides, take pictures with Big Tex (thank goodness they fixed him after he caught on fire), sell their artwork, show off their award winning farm animals, and most importantly gorge themselves on fried food. The State Fair recently released their list of new foods that will be available and I’m going to share the items I’m most looking forward to and the best way to prepare for your oncoming food coma.

chocolatewineteaserChocolate Tease Wine cooler: Chocolate and wine are a very popular pairing. This year the State Fair has decided to put them together to create a refreshing drink. And, if you’re anything like me and love wine and chocolate I’m sure we’ll run into each other in line in a few weeks. (21+)

clamchowdaDeep Fried Clam chowder: I’ve always been mystified by deep fried liquids. It almost seems to defy logic. How do you fry something into a ball that has no shape? The State Fair has figure it out. And, I’m not complaining. They previously had fried coke and fried ice cream which, were both delicious. I’m sure the savory fried liquid combo won’t be any different.

S0030_Cannoli_Bites_Reflective_Table_v01Deep Fried Cannoli Bites: One of my favorite deserts are cannoli. I don’t know if I love the sweet fluffy cream in the middle or the crispy flaky shell more. But, either way I’m excited to see the State Fair’s take on this classic Italian dessert. As every good Texan knows, everything is better deep fried. I can’t imagine cannoli being any different.

The weeks before the State Fair of Texas I like to eat healthy and workout. I don’t want to feel gross about the number of calories I’m about to intake in a few weeks. So, I like to make sure I’m in a healthy state before I go to the fair. I view the fair as my ultimate cheat day. You can’t have a cheat day if you haven’t been following your regimen. This reassures me that my gluttony is actually well deserved. Not something I should be ashamed about. I want the food I eat at the fair to be something I enjoy. Not something I end up regretting.

Canary in a Flock of Penguins

An ocean of students in suits and pad-folios flooded UT Campus this past week. Career Week. The partially heat-related, partially nerves-related sweat could be smelled in the air.

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Career week  is nerve-racking for a number of reasons:

  1. The recruiters you talk to could be the people hiring you.
  2. Everyone wants an internship or job.
  3. Saying the “correct thing” can be daunting.
  4. Standing out is difficult. 

“Set yourself apart from everyone else.”

This is a piece of advice that gets tossed into the mix every second or so. The ironic thing is that it’s cliched advice. Of course everyone wants to stand out. We all want to be special so that we can be the candidate our desired company wants to hire above everyone else. However, this is easier said than done.

McCombs has a strict standard for how its students dress to events like the Career Expo. There’s even a bouncer at the door to stop any “sloppy dressers” from entering. It makes sense that McCombs does this; UT wants to exude professionalism. Walking into Career Expo is somewhat akin to walking into a zoo and seeing flocks of penguins gathering at different feeding stations. (Don’t we sort of look like them in our suits?) So the question remains: how do you set yourself apart from the pack? How can you be the canary in a flock of penguins? These are a few non-dress-code related things that I tried.

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  1. Ask Unique Questions: One of the recruiters I was talking to at the expo told me that at the end of the day, he tallied how many students had asked him to “please tell them about the finance opportunities offered at the company” (approximately 150 times). Not only can this information be found online via a quick Google search, the same question get annoying. We have to realize that much like us, recruiters are human. They get bored after repeating the same thing over and over.  Research the company and come up with questions that will get the recruiter talking about things that he or she enjoys. If the person enjoys the conversation with you, chances are you’ll leave a positive, lasting impression.
  2. Follow Up: Very often, we will talk to someone and then never follow up. Even if you made a good impression, it might not last because the recruiter will forget who you are. Take the recruiter’s business card and thank them via email or even a quick phone call for talking with you. Recall specific parts of your conversation to include in your thank you so that they will remember you.
  3. Use humor: We often forget that recruiters are human. Humans like to laugh. It’s okay to crack a joke once in a while, and it can actually be quite refreshing. I actually got an interview last week because I let my sense of humor loose. I’m not saying to make inappropriate comments or try your best stand-up comedy lines. I’m just saying that sometimes being too serious is actually a hindrance. There are hundreds of students in the room that are also seriously gunning for a job. Smile. Laugh. Be confident enough in what you’ve done.

Hopefully these tips help. If you have any of your own, feel free to comment! Remember: even if you have to look like a penguin, it doesn’t mean that you’re not actually a canary.

There is more than one library on the UT campus

It was right before one of my finals last semester. Usually, exam classrooms are arranged throughout the UT campus. I overheard one MPA talking to another, “I walked to more places on the UT campus today than I did in past 4 months.” It is not surprising that PCL and the productivity center are top picks for most business students, particularly traditional MPA (tMPA) students, because these are close to classes and tMPAs have limited time to explore campus. Although I am now a tMPA, I happened to obtain my undergraduate degree here as a science major. Thus, I am more familiar with campus than most of my peers. Here are a few libraries I would recommend if you are looking for a different place to study.

Law library:

This is probably the second largest library on campus, but it is a bit of walk from McCombs, approximately 15 minutes. It opens at 10 am on Sundays, which is two hours earlier than the PCL. I like the spacious cubicles that each have plugs and light, so I am isolated from distractions but still have plenty of space. One interesting thing is that once you see the amount of reading of others, who are generally law students, suddenly you will feel the amount of reading and writing you do is rather light.

Architecture library:
architecture lib

In my opinion, this is the most classical library on campus. It was built over 100 years ago, with antique furniture and modern equipment. If you can get a big table next to the window, it is an ideal place to study. The only downside is that you cannot bring food and drinks into library (you can leave them at the entrance desk). Another one is plugs are not as accessible in here as they are in PCL and the productivity center.

Life science library:
library_life science

It is located on the second floor of the tower. Similar to the architecture library, it has a main hall full of character and historical atmosphere. Some people say this hall reminds them of Harry Potter. You can bring drinks and food into the library, but the plugs are not very accessible at the long wood tables. They also have another area behind the check-out desk that has individual tables, separated by screens, and plugs are very accessible there, but the internet connection is not as good (To me this is actually a good thing, avoiding unnecessary web surfing). This place provides options for those who like to study in an open space, as well as those who like to study in more isolated spaces.

Time Management Isn’t a Course, But You’ll Learn It Anyway

So I went into this semester thinking my life would be less hectic than the fall…I was wrong.

I thought running a 1/2 was a good idea...when I signed up in June.
October: I thought running a 1/2 was a good idea…when I signed up in June.

Quick recap of the fall: I was in 4.5 classes (lyceum was once a week with very little work involved beyond going to class) and was recruiting. I also ran a half marathon and had pneumonia (yes…at the same time); took the whole week of Thanksgiving off to attend a wedding in Key West,  then passed through on Austin on my way to Denver to see the Broncos beat the Patriots in OT. So…I was a little busy!

I can't lie, spending a week in South Florida was an amazing way to relax before the homestretch.
November: I can’t lie, spending a week in South Florida was an amazing way to relax before the homestretch.
Later that same week. It was 16 degrees during the game, but given the result I was ok with it!
November: Later that same week: it was 16 degrees during the game, but given the result I was ok with it!

I assumed that this semester would be lighter-5 classes, but no recruiting, no racing beyond a 10K in April, and no skipping school for personal obligations. HA! I didn’t consider that my course load would involve group projects in 4/5 classes, with tests in some, plus individual homework and projects.

Some days, this is me
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

I no longer get to spend my Fridays at home sleeping in and doing homework in sweatpants, which I miss terribly. Instead I’m up early every day of the week (including weekends) trying to get my work done and pull my fair share in projects. For my own sanity and health I’ve also upped my days at the gym to at least 4/week, alternating between weights, swimming, and running.

While I am extremely busy, I don’t see this ending anytime soon. Students are drawn to UT’s MPA program because it gets you to your goals faster, whether that’s a FT job offer, CPA eligibility, or a chance at a new career.


This is, logistically, one of the busiest times in my life, but I am going to leave McCombs knowing myself better and how to make the best of any future work or personal situation…and if I’m not sure, well-I’ve been taught how to learn and question by the best…so I think everything’s going to be fine :)

Courses by Semester

Fall 2015: Finance, Managerial, Intermediate, Audit, Lyceum

Spring 2016: FSA, Management Audit (Internal Auditing), Strategic Controls, Business Law, ITAC

It Depends…

For many of us in the traditional MPA program, our lives have changed drastically in the past few months. Exiting the workforce, entering grad school, trying to get offers to re-enter the workforce, maintaining a life (with some of us fairing better than others), and balancing shifting priorities.

I came into this program with my ideas of what grad school, accounting, and being an accountant all meant. Most of my preconceived notions have been shattered.

The Beginning of the Journey
The Beginning of the Journey

Grad School
I’m not sure what I really thought grad school would be like, but it’s hard. Like, really hard. It strains your patience, brain capacity, and time management skills. But it’s also amazing. I’m learning so much, often about things that I never questioned or thought would be of interest to me. I’m also finding unique intersections between my communications background and accounting.

Taking introductory accounting courses in a low pressure environment made accounting seem easy. Shocker-it’s not. There’s such a steep learning curve here, especially since I don’t have an accounting background that I sometimes want to cry.

Being An Accountant
I came in thinking that numbers are everything. And they are, but only when paired with professional judgement. We constantly hear the phrase

“It depends”

and it’s so true. Nothing is black and white, and if someone tells you it is, as one of my professor’s says, “Run away!”

So before committing to this program or this profession, do a self-assessment. Do you want to be challenged? Can you handle tears, both your own and your classmates? Do you want to learn everyday? Do you want to apply what you learn in one class to all your others, and the real world?

Burnt Orange Everything
Burnt Orange Everything

As always if anyone is considering our program please reach out to myself, or another MPA Student Ambassador. We love this program, and want to help you figure out if it’s the right fit for you!


MPA Student Life Blog

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