Category Archives: Career

recruiting, internship, professional development, career workshops and events

Networking for Introverts

My personality type, according to Myers-Briggs, is INTJ. This means that I’m introverted. When I tell people that I just meet that I’m an introvert, they usually don’t believe me. I’m pretty friendly when you first meet me, I love public speaking. That’s the common misconception about introverts– that we’re all a pack of antisocial outcasts that can’t hold a conversation. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

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I actually love people; it’s just that when I interact with large droves of them, it drains me. Because of this, networking for many introverts is a nightmare. However, as a business student, networking is vital for finding a job and then excelling at it.

I’ve learned that networking doesn’t have to be draining. Here’s a couple of tips of how I do it:

  1. Don’t try to talk to everyone at once.
    Seriously, you don’t have to talk to everyone at the event.  Instead, choose a couple of people that you can relate to and concentrate all of your energy on them. This is great because you make a more memorable connection with someone AND you don’t get drained by attempting to talk to EVERYONE at once.
  2. People at networking events want to meet you.
    A lot of my introverted friends are too terrified of talking to anyone at the event because they don’t know what they’re going to say. Don’t be scared. Most people want to talk to you. They want to tell you about their jobs. They want to meet you. Just ask them a question about themselves or the company and the conversation will eventually flow naturally.

Remember, you don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at networking. If you’ve been avoiding networking events because your introvert– stop. You can do it!

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.

MPA Educated Eats is more than just a sandwich…


Besides a Jason’s Deli Sandwich, there is also a cookie, a bottle of water, and a pickle… AND a professor who is open for conversation! I attended seven Educated Eats events during summer and fall of 2015, talking with both professors and peers who I knew from classes or who I met for the first time. My experience is exactly like the description on the MPA site: “a series of lunches and cookie breaks hosted by faculty and staff. These meetups provide an opportunity for students to interact with faculty and staff in a small-group setting and engage on a variety of topics.”

A few highlights from my lunches:

Professor Singer, who had years of experience in International tax and Mergers and Acquisition tax, talked about an interesting court case about whether a pre-born child can be claimed as a dependent, since “person” is not defined in the primary tax sources. He also gave valuable career suggestions based on our individual backgrounds. For instance, my biochemistry degree may offer me an edge in dealing with tax issues related to biotechnology companies.

Professor Holbrook, who worked in various professional settings- small, medium and large accounting firms and investment banking, among others, listened to questions from students and offered her opinion on what to consider when choosing between the tracks of audit or tax, as well as the differences between accounting firms of different sizes.

UT MPA faculty are leaders in the accounting research arena and are experts in business fields. On top of that, they care your success and are generous with their time. Do not miss the opportunity to interact them in a small group setting.

In summary, MPA Educated Eats offers:

  • Free lunch (which is always nice)
  • The opportunity to learn the stories of your professors, hear their advice, and let them get to know you
  • The chance to meet your peers in the program

To give you an idea who is usually hosting lunch and what topics are discussed, here is the schedule for spring 2016. I am looking forward to MPA Educated Eats this semester!

Why Accounting is the BEST Major Ever

While many of us experience frustration that comes along with pursuing your MPA, we often disregard the prospects that the major provide to its graduates. Below are some of the benefits I believe only accounting majors have the privilege of enjoying:

  • High Demand in the Workforce – whether you are planning on working in public accounting (Big 4 or otherwise) or industry accounting, there are limitless opportunities in the workforce for accounting graduates.
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  • Wealth of Opportunities– have you ever wished you worked for Google or Apple? Accountants can easily attain job positions in the most selective companies after attaining just a few years of public accounting experience.
  • Flexibility in Concentrations – when people think of accounting, they always seem to think about debits and credits. However, the accounting major consists of many different concentrations/ tracks (as our program provides) to cater to all different preferences.
  • Reasonable and Stable Salary – while working in the accounting industry can have quite the crazy hours, the salaries that accountants receive for their services is pretty fair and stable. In addition, accountants often receive year-end and CPA bonuses that are not readily available for other jobs and majors.

“The grass is always greener on the other side”, is a statement that none of us can deny, especially during the toils and hardships of exams and projects. However, let’s remember that just being part of the best accounting program in the nation is nothing short of a blessing. Cheers!

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.