All posts by karinschultz

Why I Chose To Stay

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while…and yes I’m still here. I have stayed on as a MPA a semester longer than most, because I chose to complete an internship over the summer (and got credit for it).  I wanted to ensure I was making the right choice in career path and felt that actually trying it out for a few months would be the best way to assess my new profession.

I considered morning turkey sightings to be good luck.
I loved the turkeys on our campus.

I was lucky enough to intern in the Internal Audit department of a Fortune 500 company at their headquarters in Missouri. I was one of four interns for the group, and was able to participate in two audits. The job itself was a perfect fit for me, but one of the biggest draws for me was the travel component. I was based in St. Louis, but traveled to the Netherlands and Colorado during my two and a half months with the company. Best of all, this internship mimicked the full-time role that I will be taking on next year (yes-I liked it so much I signed on at the end of my internship).

The Hague
This photo was taken in the Scheveningen area after 8pm one night.
The Hague at Night
Not a bad place to go for an audit.

Coming to the MPA program people often have very set plans for the next 2-3 years of their lives. My advice, especially if you’re coming from outside the business world, is to take your time. If you’re able to spend extra time at UT, take an internship in the Spring or Summer. If you need to get out and into the workforce sooner, be sure to consider industry jobs in addition to public accounting. Up until last fall I’d never heard of the company I’ll be joining, and figured I’d be recruiting solely for full-time jobs while at UT. So never rule anything out, never close any doors-you never know what you’ll find or where you’ll go.

I went to St. Louis having never been to the state of Missouri before; next spring I will be calling it home.

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!


A Day In The Life

Hi everyone,

As I was considering programs, I remember wondering what my life might look like as a MPA student at UT. Well it’s hectic to say the least. Here’s a peek in on my day, Monday, October 12th.

5:45am – Wake up. I caught a break this morning and got to sleep an extra 15 minutes. My mom is a teacher and I ride into town every day with her, but thanks to the holiday (Columbus Day) traffic was light.

And this was a good day!

6:45am – Leave home. This is always hectic, mostly because our chocolate lab doesn’t understand the concept of personal space.

7:30am – Get to campus. I like being here early-it gives me a chance to read whatever novel I’m currently on (I’ve been reading 1-2 books a week lately).

8:00am – Financial Management for MPAs with Professor Rao. There are a lot of other MPAs in this section and he does his best to engage us at this early hour.

9:30am – Work. I have a pretty great job! I’m the Marketing Student Assistant in the Accounting Department. This day in particular I worked on blog posts, editing write ups of my conversations with PhD students, taking pictures for student profiles, and figuring out how to best highlight our faculty’s excellent research.

One hot afternoon in September I ran around campus with a tiny foam finger to take pictures for Instagram.

12:30pm – Lunchtime. I try to wait until after work to eat, but that doesn’t always happen. If I’m not eating at this time I can be found doing work in the MPA lounge or running at Gregory.

1:00pm – Homework. I spent time working on a case that’s due tomorrow in Assurance (Professor Bradshaw) and on Intermediate homework that’s do Friday (Professor Chen). Trying to get out ahead, or at least stay on track, can be very difficult especially while recruiting.

I’m still awed by the beauty of this campus. Hook ’em!

3:30pm – Managerial Accounting with Professor Laux. Our section is on the smaller side, but pretty amazing. I love that all of our learning in this class is tied directly to case studies.

4:45pm – Leaving Campus. I lucked out today and was able to get a ride home with my mom. I usually have to take a bus, which can take 45-60 minutes depending on traffic.

5:00pm – Run errands. It seems like being an adult is a constant, endless to do list.

6:15pm – Wind down. By the time we got home it was time to eat, feed the animals, and walk the dog.

7:15pm – More Homework. I revised my case study to be more concise in my statements. Writing for business school is very different from writing for media.

Who could reasonably be expected to work in such conditions.

9:00pm – Relax. This is my one hour a day (ok sometimes 2-3) where I watch some of my shows that have been piling up on the DVR.

11:00pm – Sleep. Collapse into bed.

Then wake up the next day and do it all again 🙂

So You Want To Be An Accountant…

…but don’t have an undergraduate degree in accounting…or a business discipline at all.

While I’ll admit that this isn’t the norm for our program, there are a number of tMPA students with a nontraditional background, myself included. The other variations of this program, iMPA and ECON-MPA, are designed for people with a business background, and the majority of tMPA students have similar degrees.

Arriving at UT I did not have the hard accounting skills that many of classmates entered with.

For us oddballs that want to be accountants but didn’t figure it out as an undergrad, there are not many options when it comes to a master’s program. Many programs are only designed for that university’s  undergraduate accounting students or accounting graduates from another university (though none of them explicitly say this on their website.) I had a handful of options at best, and luckily the MPA program here is flexible enough to accommodate people with an unconventional background.

This was more my style before joining the MPA program.


I narrowed my options down to four schools or so and started the basics of all their applications. The only one I went forward with in the end was my UT application. (Our Fall 2016 application is live! For helpful tips check out the MPA Admissions Blog.) That’s right-I only applied to one program. I was relying on my hard work at NYU, my improved GMAT score (I took it twice), and my unique skill set. I realize that this was a semi-risky move, but UT was the only place I really wanted to go. If I was going to uproot my life in California to move cross-country for the second time in two years, I wanted to be taught by the best, challenged by the best, and recruited by the best.

And so far, it has paid off. I’m very happy to have joined the MPA family (because you will see your classmates more than whoever or whatever is waiting for you at home) and can’t wait to see where this adventure will lead.

This is my daily mantra.