Happy Thanksgiving!

holiday-food

It’s almost the holidays!

Beyond wonderful time with family, I always look forward to ridiculous amounts of pie, turkey, potatoes, and cookies. However, this weekend, I was thinking of Thanksgiving and how lucky we all are to be in this wonderful country. I started wondering what makes this country so great, and I realized that the first Thanksgiving embodies what is so special: We all pitch in to help each other out.

As we all know, the Pilgrims would not have survived without the Native American people. The Native Americans provided food for the Pilgrims to survive the winter. Thankfully, Americans have made not only a habit but a culture of pitching in. Therefore, I want to encourage everyone to help others as well!

Without a doubt, one of the best parts about being an accountant is job security—every company needs us. This also means that every non-profit and organization needs us too! There are unlimited opportunities to help the people around us, and the holidays are a great reminder to do so. Therefore, I charge us get involved however possible, whether giving back to the MPA Program, serving food to the homeless, helping underprivileged folks with their tax returns, volunteering as an organization’s treasurer, or any other way we can help other human beings.

This Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful for all the times we’ve been helped, and let that inspire to get involved and lend a hand ourselves!

Cookie and Lunch Breaks at the MPA Office

In my previous post, I highlighted some perks about being an MPA wherein I focused on tangible goodies like laptop rentals, nameplates, and the lounge. However, there are many more reasons that I am proud to be an MPA, namely the constant and varied opportunities to learn new things outside of the classroom. Specifically, I have enjoyed the opportunity to interact with accounting professors during cookie breaks and faculty lunches hosted by the MPA Office in their conference room. At cookie breaks the office provides a delicious variety from Tiff’s Treats, established in 1999 by two UT sophomores from their dorm room oven. For lunches, an assortment of sandwiches from Jason’s Deli is provided. Though yummy, the focus here is not on the food, but rather the interaction with the faculty.

Most recently, I joined Professor Michael Granof for lunch, wherein he discussed his background (he has been at UT since the 1970s!) and current projects including his position on the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Dr. Granof relayed stories of sitting in deliberation for hours on end with his fellow board members, discussing a new standard. At the beginning of his tenure in 2010, he initially found the proceedings quite tedious. With some time, however, he found the gradual and detailed conversations to be not only useful but necessary. Standards setting is a high-stakes and complex process with nuances and implications that should be given fair and thorough thought. Each board member brings a unique viewpoint to be considered and in the end, a unified compromise must be made. Dr. Granof remarked that at first it was difficult to let go of objectives he held dear to his heart and make such compromises but in the end, one “cannot let the perfect stand in the way of the good.” This sentiment struck a cord with me as its application certainly extends beyond the GASB board room and into our every day lives. Dr. Granof certainly got me thinking and I look forward to attending another cookie break or lunch at the office soon.

On a completely unrelated note, one of my most recent Austin adventures was to Allen’s on South Congress. I was considering making my Texan-hood official with a pair of cowboy boots but didn’t bite the bullet this time. I will definitely be back if not to seal the deal, to ensconce myself once again in that velvety leather smell. I suggest you check out this Austin staple and their 4,000+ boots on display.

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Delta Lambda Phi – Annual Toy Drive Extravaganza

10756473_10205291661199713_2027977432_oThis is the second year Delta Lambda Phi ® fraternity’s Beta Rho chapter at The University of Texas has held the annual holiday toy drive. All the proceeds (and toys) from this event is donated directly to UT’s Orange Santa organization.

Delta Lambda Phi ® (DLP) is a social fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men. So what is this toy drive, you ask? It’s when active brothers from DLP perform variety of talents. As drag queens. Several brothers from DLP perform in drag in various performances, competitions, and downtown Austin. Queens agreed to come together this Sunday, November 16th, in order to spread the joy of the season to all UT students and families in need.  Admission? Free. DLP only asks you to donate what you want to donate. It’s a great way to get a little early holiday spirit, a whole lot of sass, a bunch of class, and a million drag queens promoting the holiday joy.10807531_10205291690440444_822129322_o

As a fellow active brother in DLP (and a part time drag queen), I will be performing in the toy drive as well. Please join us for this joyous event full of fantastic performances that you do not want to miss! Besides, who wants to miss a diverse group of drag queens giving it their best for everyone to have a great holiday?

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A Little Recruitment Advice

Today’s blog is about recruitment. No, this isn’t recruitment for college football. No stopwatches and no campus visits to see the big game. No, this recruitment is for… wait for it… full time jobs! As daunting as this may sound, especially if you are considering joining the MPA program in the future, recruitment is an exciting time when, much like college football recruiting, you get to showcase your talents, network with the big leagues, get treated like a queen or king, and even get flown out to office visits in exotic locations such as Dallas or Austin! It is a very important time for all students who enter the program, and I would like to offer up three pieces of advice for the whole process.

gourmet fillet mignon steak at five star restaurant.1. Bring your appetite. For those of us who entered the program without full time jobs already secured, recruitment began before classes even started with a networking reception. The first part of the reception was a fancy dinner! Nothing says lets talk about work like a giant steak and potatoes! Then, after you start connecting with companies and applying for jobs, you get to go to interview pre-dinners! If you apply for four or five jobs, much like I did, then these dinners will be happening almost every night of the week for two or three weeks! And these dinners are NICE. We are treated to the nicest restaurants in Austin and you better bet your buttons that dinner will include an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert! Sometimes there may even be drinks! Just be cautious about how much you drink, because recruiters are making judgments from the moment they first meet you and you want to be careful about how you come off. THEN, if you make it to the office visits, you get to go to another nice dinner in the city of the office you are going for! Again, so much steak, fish, chocolate cake, peanut butter pie. Everything is just delicious and you just keep eating and eating and eating! I think that with all of these meals, the recruiters are testing your ability to eat because as future accountants, we will always be having lunches with clients or dinners with our audit team or late night snacks with our audit team or even later night snacks… with our audit team. They just want to make sure you can handle all that food!

2. Don’t let the perceptions of others interfere with your perceptions of a company. This was something that I struggled with a lot throughout the recruiting process. I would go to a recruiting event and absolutely love the people I met, but one of my friends might have not meshed well with the people or the company. This is okay and it will happen, I guarantee it. Everyone is different, and everyone is going to view the people and culture of a firm differently. You just have to make sure that others’ perceptions don’t get in the way of your own perceptions. You need to decide where you fit in best and what people you can really see yourself with, because it’s going to be you who is working there, not your friends.

No Limits Sign3. Do not limit yourself. Coming into this program, I was convinced that I had to do audit or tax, much like most people who major in accounting. However, after just beginning the program, it became very clear that our options were indeed limitless, so why not explore every option. I went to industry nights and learned about jobs with Intel and Google. I also learned about jobs with oil and gas companies. I even explored consulting and advisory within the Big 4. Just know that you are not limited in this program. If you really want to work in a certain industry, then pursue that option. Advice number 3: Do not limit yourself.

Now the recruiting process is over! We all have our jobs, and are all very excited. Take time to celebrate with your fellow MPAs. You deserve it! Nothing feels better than being excited about your future job and knowing that the sky’s the limit!

Finding my Place in MPA

roommatesAt the start of the MPA Program, I was uncertain as to what kinds of people I would encounter. After meeting fellow students through meet and greets in the program, study groups and recruiting; I decided to room with three girls who were also in the MPA Program. Together, we became four roommates with three 4th-year MPAs and one 5th-year MPA. If you had asked me my freshman year, I would have never guessed that I would be rooming with three other girls in the same program. But this living situation has led to so many advantages.

First off, while we may not be taking the same courses or have the same schedule, living with people in the same program has kept me motivated to do well. Although I have struggled through preparing for exams and staying on track since the beginning of the semester, I have always had my roommates right by my side helping me through any situation that may arise.

Secondly, these girls have a similar level of work ethic. We work hard but we play hard. I feel like we are always studying throughout the week, with almost no end in sight. Studying day in and day out. However, we have found a way to balance learning with experiencing everything Austin has to offer. We try to stay on task during the weekdays, making it possible to take breaks on the weekends and have fun.
We all understand what each person is going through. I think there is some difficulty understanding what each major struggles with and it can be hard for some people to understand why certain majors are difficult. Because we are in the same program, each one of us understands the high level of difficulty we are all facing whether or not we are taking the same course. Being in one of the top programs is not an easy task, but it always help to have a group of people, like your roommates, who are your support system.