It’s All About the People

It is four weeks into the Fall semester and recruiting is in full swing. Last week, on-campus interviews began along with pre-interview dinners and other networking events. It has been exciting to meet with prospective employers and move forward through the application process. While recruiting, students will often ask employers “Why did you choose Firm X over Firm Y? What makes your firm different?” Especially when it comes to similar companies like the Big 4, students want answers beyond putting on the mythical Hogwarts sorting hat and then figuring out which firm corresponds to which house. I doubt employers would condone this method anyhow. So, one of the tropes we have been hearing to answer that question is that “it’s all about the people.” At first, the advice may sound trivial or even an like an excuse to not answer the “real” question, but in digging deeper, it has immense value and truth. Nearly all of us MPAs are aspiring to start out in demanding positions that elicit long hours in hopes of growing our careers, and we will thus be spending more time with our co-workers than any one else we know! It will make a tremendous difference in our quality of life whether or not we actually like these people. Though we all should think about where we would like to be geographically and what type of work we would like to be doing, we also cannot forget to reach out to the people who will be central to our lives once we finish the MPA program.

With those words of advice, I will leave you with two interesting things I have seen when I have been able to take a break from the school and recruiting bubble:

Lily Allen at Stubb's

Lily Allen at Stubb’s

215 lb "Hogzilla" at a Smoke Out at Banger's

215 lb “Hogzilla” at a Smoke Out at Banger’s

Do As the Locals Do

Even though classes are picking up and recruiting is under way, I have still made time to explore some of Austin’s treasures these past few weeks! I won’t bore you with every detail of my life since I’ve moved to Austin, but I will share a few of the highlights! Fortunately for you and your stomachs (not so fortunate for mine), most of the highlights center around Austin’s hot food spots!

The first place I want to touch on is one that a few MPAers and myself visited after our first speaker lyceum class. You may or may not have heard of it. Torchy’s Tacos. This famed Austin original boasts some of the most unique and delicious tacos I have ever experienced. Some of their tacos include the democrat, the republican, trailer park, and a monthly special, which was a chili cheese dog taco when I visited. They also have incredible queso, and that means a lot coming from me because I don’t even like cheese, but I will dab a chip or two into this flavorful goodness.

Another Austin original that I visited with some fellow MPAers, again after a speaker lyceum class (I’m starting to sense a trend here) was Hopdoddy. This place may or may not be my new favorite place in Austin (and quite possibly the world). Hopdoddy isn’t your typical burger bar. With a line usually out the door, you meander through three different sections before finally ordering a mouthwatering burger. Don’t let the line scare you away though! As you wait, truffle fry samples with either queso or their spicy ketchup are brought out to you, and you can make a stop at the bar for a drink or milkshake while in line! I myself had a delicious red velvet milkshake as I waited (and regretted it as I later consumed a huge burger and order of truffle fries)!

blog1Enough with the food, though, before we all burst out the nearest door to get some grub! Let me now sway you with some Austin outdoor and live music fun! A great thing to do on the lake is to rent a kayak or canoe with your friends and see the city from the water! Don’t let three boys get into one canoe, though, because it is sure to tip at some point (with boys being so mature and all) and you will have to perform an intense kayak/canoe rescue mission to tip the canoe over free of water!

 

Alright guys, I’m almost done! Just one final spot! On Wednesday nights, the Spazmatics play at a bar called Cedar Street, and I definitely recommend going! Even though you have to pay cover and everyone else there is a lot older than you, the music is great and the atmosphere lively! [Editor's Note: Pleasant Storage Room next door has great cuban snacks if you get hungry!]

That’s all for now on becoming a local! Stay tuned for further Austin adventures!

Sports versus Food

Laugh now, but I’m an Atlanta sports fan. As a result, I had to eat my feelings this weekend. Good thing Mom and Dad (and Brother and Sister) were in town!

My wife—Meg—and I don’t like adventuring too much when we’re hosting others and we ended up taking my family to some of our favorite places to eat. In order to truly drown my sorrows in foord, we had one delicious meal for every horrible loss incurred this weekend:

Round 1: UGA versus Torchy’s

I went to The University of Georgia for my undergraduate degree. Like many (about half) of the traditional students, I was not an accounting major and studied marketing during my undergrad. Anyways, I was heartbroken to see the Bulldogs lose in Columbia on Saturday. Only two things kept this loss from ruining my weekend. One, we’re still ranked higher than the Gamecocks (Go Dawgs!), and two, priming the tank with Torchy’s Tacos.

In order to wash away the pain, Meg and I took my family to one of the best taco restaurants in Austin—Torchy’s! Torchy’s boasts a delicious menu of TexMex-style tacos. I remember we got some combination of Democrat (shredded beef), Brushfire (jerk chicken), and Mr. Orange (blackened salmon) tacos. Of course, we had to top it all off with dessert in the form of Lil Nookies (deep friend cookie dough)! Job well done, Torchy’s!

Round 2: Braves versus Rudy’s

The Texas Rangers swept the Braves this weekend. Though I was sad to miss my home team playing just up the road, it doesn’t look like I missed much. As  with the Bulldogs, I had some good food to dampen the pain of our October hopes slipping away. [editor's note: GO RANGERS!]

Thank you to Rudy’s off of 183 for your mid-sweep boost! I love Rudy’s breakfast tacos. Like usual, we got some combo of bacon, sausage, and potato breakfast tacos. They are delicious to start out with, but add a little heat, and mmm mmm mmm! Unfortunately, I only had room for one taco this time because I knew I needed to leave room for my next big loss.

Round 3: UT versus la Barbecue

UT UCLA vs la Barbecue

What to say?! The Longhorns played much better and with much more heart than last week’s loss to BYU. Unfortunately, games are longer than 57 minutes. The Horns fought the entire game and forced a key turnover with the minutes winding down, but it wasn’t enough to hang on. While the effort and the execution were markedly improved, it still resulted in a credit to the Win-Loss account. Thankfully, I had some serious meat to make it better.

La Barbecue came onto the Austin circuit only a couple of years ago, but it has certainly made a name for itself. La Barbecue comes from the Franklin lineage, which Brooks covered in his BBQ tour last year. I haven’t been to Franklin’s, yet, but supposedly the quality isn’t much different, and the line is substantially shorter.

We got to la Barbecue around noon on a dreary Saturday and waited about one hour to order before we inhaled 3 pounds of brisket and a pound of pork. The food truck/trailer/park is BYOB, which makes the wait fly by, and any time you did spend in line is completely forgotten with the smell and taste of John Lewis’s work. The UT loss stung, especially with the victory in our grasp, but La Barbecue did a lot to make me feel better.

Round 4: Falcons versus Hopdoddy

On Sunday, the Falcons did not Rise Up against Cincinnati. Like UGA’s defeat, the Falcon’s loss was upsetting, particularly coming one game after such great victories. Regardless, we credited the loss column again, and as a result, I turned to the dinner plate.

While it’s no fun to watch your team lose, delicious burgers do make it better. Hopdoddy is a must while you’re in Austin. Their burgers are incredible and the atmosphere is fun. Anything you order will be great; just don’t forget queso and fries!

Honorable Mention: Fantasy versus Pinthouse Pizza

Clearly, I wasn’t perfect this weekend. My starters were about as stout as wet noodles, and my bench, with 4 total suspensions and deactivations, scored almost as many points as them.  Don’t worry, though, I’ll follow it all up with Pinthouse Pizza. It’s a yummy pizza joint with home-brews and a family-style atmosphere. Perfect for washing down a fantasy meltdown!

Orientation Week with this Geek

texasHey blog readers, and welcome to my first post! I thought I’d kick things off with a bang and tell you a little bit about orientation week! However, I’m not going to do this in a normal manner. No, instead I’m going to use my freestyle rapping skills to lay down what orientation is all about in the form of a poem.
Note: I am actually quite good at freestyling, so find me around campus if you want to hear or have a rap battle!

Orientation began at the AT&T center
Where the temperatures were as cold as a Midwest winter.
We got MPA swag including a shirt and name tag
And a very nice black Texas MPA bag.

Each person was assigned three different animal tables
Where we met fellow lions, and maybe a few giraffes if we were able.
There was a professor panel about classes and advice on careers
And despite the cold temperature, every student was all ears.

Everyone was a bit tired after orientation day one,
But we all went bowling after for some pizza and some fun!
We developed friendships with other MPA students and exchanged numbers of phone
So that when we went to games and 6th street, we wouldn’t be all alone!

Orientation week is now over and classes have begun
But that doesn’t mean I’m not still having fun!
I’ve used the knowledge I gained in my classes and career path
And still have the friends I made who can always make me laugh!

I am so excited to be a Texas MPA
Where I learn something new each and every day.
Where I get to explore Austin cuz it’s a hell of a town
And learn about accounting with the brightest minds around!

 

 

Orientation, Recruiting, and Easy Tiger

Things have been quite busy for us MPAs these last few weeks between the close of summer classes, orientation, recruiting events, and the start of the fall semester. With the kickoff of fall classes comes OCR deadlines, employer information sessions, and mock interviews in the next week or so. Some tMPAs have already had actual interviews and before we know it, we will be receiving offers even though we officially started school just one week ago!

Despite the hustle and bustle, I managed to find some time to explore Austin. Most notably, I checked out Mozart’s on the lake (stunning lake view, tasty coffee drinks, and delicious pastries), relaxed on the rooftop of 219 West (great view of downtown and tasty drinks of another variety), saw the kickoff football game versus North Texas (burnt orange everywhere; we won!), and most recently explored Easy Tiger.

IMG_9108      IMG_9105

 

Easy Tiger is a unique space that combines bakery and beer garden in a way only Austin could. When you enter the building, you are first presented with their bakery counter that serves house-made breads, pretzels, sausages, and corned beef. You can see straight back into the bakery itself and watch the magic in action. If you proceed downstairs, you find yourself in their dining and bar area where they have a large selection of craft beers, wines, spirits, cheeses, sandwiches, etc. Go through the back door and you are on their outdoor patio that straddles Waller Creek. There are walkways and bridges around the creek that are fun to wander around. Easy Tiger is right on the edge of “dirty sixth” where it turns into east sixth and is a low key and welcome alternative to the nearby offerings of sixth street. I will be going back for the bread, chai tea, and the outdoor atmosphere.