Category Archives: Employment

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.

Meeting New People

BBA Career Services
When I first got to college I was very GPA oriented. My parents advised me that my goals in college should not just be about achieving classroom success, but also about meeting people. But, like most things your elders say it passed right over my head. I was a social person. There were tons of people on campus. Obviously, I’d meet new people naturally. Why would I make that a goal? But, as a 4th year I can finally admit that they were right.

Networking is important. When my parents told me that I should be continuously meeting people they were really encouraging me to network. Networking sounds intimidating, but the word is multi-purposeful. It’s not just a recruitment term. Successful networking happens when you meet new people and you use your web of resources and their web of resources for both of your benefits. It should always be mutualistic. It’s important to network throughout school for academic success. When you study with a new classmate, you’re successfully networking. The knowledge you bring to the session is different than the insight your classmate will bring. But, by the end of the day you’ll both possess the same knowledge. Many people don’t realize that at a base level the skills we use to form study groups are the same skills we’ll use one day to get a job.

I realized this when I first began recruiting for internships. Anyone who knows anything about public accounting recruiting, will tell you networking is the most important skill you need to get your dream internship. The process consist of three weeks of “social events.” Every person you meet and every interaction you have matters. Don’t let the casualness of the climate fool you. These events aren’t just social they’re your interview. By the time I got to office visits, because I had successfully networked I didn’t even get asked any interview questions. They already knew which students they were interested in hiring by then. This climate is exactly why one of your biggest goals in college should be to “learn to meet new people.” It’s the practice round for the real world. College is important because it is the only rehearsal you get for learning how to quickly make connections. So, the next time someone invites you to a social gathering, info session, or new study group say yes. It’ll help you in the present and the future.

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!

3rd Year Lessons – Business Professional

If you were already a student of McCombs prior to entering the MPA program, you are probably already very familiar with the dress standards of McCombs and the degree of seriousness to which these dress standards are taken. If you’re like me, you joined the program from another university and had never dressed Business Professional in your life. I hope that you were able to blend in better than I did on orientation. I believe orientation was Business Casual. I wore white jeans. JEANS. I thought my sheer-ish chiffon shirt and heels were nice enough that a pair of hole-less white jeans were formal enough. Needless to say, I didn’t blend in very well amongst my peers of already-well-acclimated-McCombs students who all looked interview-ready in their blazers and slacks. I learned later that week in BA 101 that I had broken more than a handful of professional dress rules. The good news is that I think even the most lost souls have an understanding of these expectations by recruiting season (if you don’t feel like you’re there yet, go see Merri Su Ruhmann and ask her for one of her pamphlets, it saved me). The truth is, 3rd years typically live in Business Professional during their Spring semester. Because Business Casual is essentially Business Professional without a blazer, do yourself a favor and have more than one outfit on hand, and keep one clean at all times. If you’re a woman you are typically expected to wear heels. Please don’t kid yourself and think you will survive in heels all day. BRING YOUR TOMS, Nikes, bunny slippers or whatever it is that saves your feet. Just make sure you don’t hobble into your big interview on clearly suffering feet. Take your pants off as soon as you’re home and don’t put them on all weekend if you don’t feel like it, but your appearance really does matter significantly during that interview window. You will feel that you have been lucky to have been trained to look like a professional when you come across someone at a recruiting event who hasn’t been so lucky. This program really prepares us to be professionals in a way that will benefit our careers for years to come, if we allow it to.

Which impression would you like to make?



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!