Category Archives: Max

Max Francis’ blog posts

A Weekend In Austin


One of my best friends came to visit Austin the other weekend. Guests are always a great excuse to get out and enjoy the city I so often take for granted. It forces me to get out, spend some money, forget about homework, and have a good time—and clean up the apartment! At the risk of sounding scripted, I figured I’d share what Meg and I do when hosting company in Austin for the weekend.

When Meg and I pick company up from the airport (we are both from Atlanta, so our friends and family tend to fly in), we head straight to Torchy’s to grab some delicious tacos. Atlanta doesn’t have queso—never call it cheese dip!—like Austin does, so we always get a bowl to go with a taco or two. If we’re really looking to start the weekend off with a bang, we’ll get some Lil’ Nookies, which are deep-fried cookie dough balls, AKA delicious!

After grabbing Torchy’s and letting some of the food coma wear off, it’s about time for dinner. We’ll head towards downtown for something like Tacos N Tequila or East Side King on our way to Rainey Street. We typically start the night at Easy Tiger, so if we can’t think of anything we want to eat, we’ll grab a sandwich or pretzel there. After spending some time eating, playing ping pong, and hanging outside on the bleachers at Easy Tiger, we’ll walk back to Rainey for a little while. The end of the night is a great time to hop into Bangers and eat homemade sausage before running across the street and getting mini donuts at the food truck park. Our night is usually over by midnight because we’re tired and full and have a day’s worth of events already planned for the next day.

On Saturday morning, Meg or I will go to Rudy’s for breakfast tacos and pick up Starbucks for everybody. The two places are polar opposite environments, but their combination is undeniable. The morning is a great time to take friends to the Zilker Park trails and get a nice run or walk in. Truthfully, though, that never happens—we tend to watch Netflix until lunch. Because Meg and I live off of Far West (about 15 minutes from campus), we go to lunch at the Anderson Lane Hopdoddy. No lie, it is the best burger you can eat! Even though our next stop will be South Congress, the Anderson Lane Hopdoddy has a much smaller line than the one on SoCo.

South Congress is probably what everyone thinks of when they think of the “weird part” of Austin. I like going into Allens Boots, Lucy in Disguise, Uncommon Objects, and Goorin Bros. It’s about all I can take of shopping, but it’s a good smattering of what is available in Austin. Of course, because it’s Austin, we also grab Amy’s Ice Creams while on South Congress.

At this point, we’re really not hungry anymore, but it’s probably around dinner time, so we’re going to eat again. We’ll find a place near whatever we’re doing that night. Saturday night tends to consist of meeting up with more friends or going to West (not East!) 6th/4th/2nd Street. Because we tend to walk more and are even fuller on Saturday, we don’t even make it to midnight.

On Sunday morning, everyone is pooped because we’ve walked and eaten our way through a lot of the city. We’ll start the morning with a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee and take our time getting our day started. We’ll let our company pack up, so they aren’t stressed to make their flight. Once we’re ready to roll out, the gang will probably visit campus or Zilker, but last time, we visited the graffiti park. When we’re done doing our last activity of the trip, our friends to get to the airport, so naturally, we’ll stop by Torchy’s on the way. After Torchy’s, we drop our friends so they can get their wheels up and head home.

Friend Weekends help remind me that Austin, Texas is so much more than McCombs School of Business, and there are way more fun things to do than study. The truth is, Austin is an easy city to host in, and visits from friends and family are a great way to see the parts of the city that I like the most. It’s always great to see friends and family and to eat all the delicious food. Unfortunately, when the weekend is over, Meg and I have blown our budget, outgrown our jeans, and face the grim reality of work and school the next morning; however, it was all worth it!

New Year’s Resolutions

NewYearsResolutionsI’ve never been one for New Years Resolutions, but this year I’ve come back from Christmas break inspired. The pace of last year’s summer classes caught me off guard, and I never reset before diving into fall semester and recruiting. However, Christmas break gave me a chance to veg and catch my breath, and now I’m ready for both school and extracurricular goals!

A huge goal of mine last year was searching for a job I wanted, then going and getting it. I still can’t believe how quickly the process flew by, but there it went. Now, I’m trying to get back into good habits to make life in Austin a little easier and to prep myself for the working world again. First, like everyone else, I want to get in better shape. This is more of a need than a want for two big reasons. One, exercise is extremely important to both physical and mental health, and two, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I signed myself up for a few of road races (including the 3M Half Marathon and Cap 10K), and I really don’t want to be that guy in the back of the ambulance at Mile 5. As a result, I’m starting to take better advantage Gregory Gym across from McCombs and trying to consume less Starbucks and Chick-fil-A at the SAC. (I’m so basic.)

Since I’m beginning to panic now that I know I’m leaving Austin in just six short months, my second big goal is to take better advantage of the city. I’m double dipping on this goal because I also want to take my wife on more date nights, thanks to the suggestion of my wonderful co-workers in Career Services. Therefore, I enlisted the help of Austin Yelp and Austin Eater for great suggestions on places to go. Goodbye to getting in better shape!

Additionally, some goals will not change. Of course, I still want to do well in school. Also, we are planning awesome events for spring recruiting that I want to make sure are exceptional. I guess that’s the thing that has surprised me most about this program: Despite how challenging the coursework is, I have always been inspired and encouraged to do more, and that’s exactly what I’ll do in 2015!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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!

Interview Season

Interview SeasonYou probably haven’t noticed, but it’s been a while since my last blog. (I know, Rule #76: No excuses—play like a champion! Hear me out, though.) I’m finally wrapping up interview season, so I have some extra time now. Actually, I was traveling for an office visit and watching a TV segment on real life wedding crashers when I made a connection. Interviews are a blast, but absolutely tiring. I need to be cool, but also on my best behavior. I get to see a lot of friends, but they weren’t the reason I am there. I realized that interview season is sort of like wedding season.

Rehearsal Dinner
Most interviews through McCombs have what’s called a pre-interview dinner, basically a rehearsal dinner. As you would expect, these dinners are casual and typically at a fun venue. Early on in interview season, when rusty and nervous, I was grateful that faux pas were overlooked at dinners. However, once in mid season form, I relaxed and no longer relied on mulligans. Instead, I’m now comfortable enough laugh, crack jokes, give compliments, and make friends. Honestly—and this is never the case with actual weddings!—I look forward to the pre-interview dinner more than the main event.

I’ve never walked down the aisle, but I have gone down a hallway to an interview. It’s probably the same feeling. I have a nervous excitement with butterflies in my stomach; all I can think about is the person on the other end of that hallway; I know I’ll be asked a tough question, and I just hope I have an answer for it.

The main difference between an interview and a wedding is that for a wedding, if you blink and it’s over, it’s a good wedding. That is not the case when interviewing. Most interview slots are 30-45 minutes, so they require a conservative but respectable clip. And just like weddings, you can expect many similarities between interviews. Also, there are many flavors of interviews: some are long while others are short, some require lots of interaction while others not, and some are conservative while others are more “progressive.” Finally, as with wedding ceremonies, I go into interviews with one goal—don’t cry. (In both scenarios, it helps to prepare and anticipate what is coming.)

It hasn’t always happened this year, but if I can make it through the ceremony, I am generally asked to join the host at the reception, or office visit. This is the last hoorah. Office visits have given me a chance to meet folks from the other side of the aisle, all the way from analysts and staff (friends) to controllers and partners (grandparents). Again, at the beginning of the season, I was tense, but after getting one or two office visits under my belt, I was grooving. Ultimately, the office visit serves as the final chance for both the employer and myself to put our best foot forward. The employers make lasting memories for me, and I am hopefully a fun and respectful guest who they would welcome back.

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!