Category Archives: Student Life

extracurricular activites, UT sports and other campus events, student organizations, recreation, etc.

MPA and BBA Trek to Hollywood

On May 31, 2018 and June 1, 2018, Stephen Smith, senior director of the MPA Program and Jim Franklin, director of the MPA Program guided BBA and MPA students through Los Angeles, the city of stars! There, the students visited famous entertainment companies such as Warner Bros Studios, Universal Studios, and CBS, and learned about accounting and finance within the showbiz industry. The students also had the incredible opportunity to meet and dine with Southern California McCombs alumni!

Here are some highlights from the trip:

What was your favorite part of the Trek to Hollywood?

Ross Trivisonno: “My favorite part of the trek was definitely our visit to NBC Universal Studios. Getting a glimpse at the actual film sets of movies like Back to the Future, Psycho, War of the Worlds, and Jaws was a real treat, something most people won’t ever get the chance to experience.”

Mary Yamamoto: “My favorite part of the Trek to Hollywood was getting an inside look at the vast opportunities presented in the business-film industry through presentations and panel discussions by professionals working in the industry.”

What did you learn?

Ross Trivisonno: “I learned a great deal about how the corporate hiring process works, not solely with regards to accounting and finance but across the entire entertainment industry in general. Being afforded the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with UT alumni from the likes of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer VP and Sony employees was highly informational and a rare peak into the less glamourous, “behind-the-scenes” corporate realm of Hollywood.

Ross Trivisonno at the Back to the Future Town Hall

Mary Yamamoto: “I learned of various positions within entertainment accounting that I never knew existed, from production accounting to profit participation. I also received significant insight from industry professionals, who shared the experiences and knowledge they had gained from working in their specific roles and companies.”What stood out to you?

Ross Trivisonno: “Personally, the Wofford Denius UTLA Center really stood out to me as being a truly state-of-the-art facility. Very impressive that UT students are able to have such exclusive entrance to an industry that typically only USC or UCLA film majors get to easily access while studying.”

Mary Yamamoto: “The emphasis on networking, specifically the readiness and enthusiasm with which professionals shared their experiences, stood out to me; I was able to establish meaningful connections with professionals working in my dream industry, which will undoubtedly help me move in the right direction towards the career that I want to pursue.”

Mary Yamamoto at the Universal Studios Back Lot.

What made you want to go on the trek?

Ross Trivisonno: “I am still an undeclared BBA student. By learning more about corporate career tracks in accounting and finance, I was able to hone in on what my true passions are. This trek helped me in further choosing my McCombs undergraduate major.”

Mary Yamamoto: “I wanted to go on the trek because it was the perfect opportunity to explore the industry I had always wanted to work in – the business side of film and entertainment.”

Hayley Seat at Disney



Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin

The Blanton Museum of Art hosts a permanent collection consisting of over 17,000 works, which includes a plethora of European paintings, prints and drawings, and a vast collection of modern and contemporary American and Latin American art. The museum is located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Congress, conveniently right here on the UT campus!

Recently, the Blanton Museum introduced a new installation. The American artist Ellsworth Kelly gifted to the museum a 2,715-square-foot stone building. By far one of his most monumental pieces, this work is titled Austin.


The monument features colored glass windows, a totemic wood sculpture, and fourteen black and white marble panels. Kelly envisioned Austin as a site for joy and reflection.

The exhibit is open every day of the week, be sure to check out the Blanton Museum’s website for details on hours of operation. Admissions are free for all holders of a current UT ID.

MPA Student Profile – Haley Wall

Name: Haley Wall
Hometown:  Fort Worth, TX
MPA track: Financial Reporting & Assurance
Class status: Fourth Year
Graduation date: May 2019

Why did you choose the MPA program?
You simply can’t go wrong with the MPA program. As I progressed in my studies, experienced working at a bank as a teller, and served my sorority as VP-Finance; it became clear how integral accounting is to every type of organization. After orientation in the program, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of my friends in McCombs also decided to join the MPA program. The curriculum is challenging, but the people in the program are incredible, from my peers to the faculty. My favorite teachers at McCombs are involved with the MPA program.

What do you look forward to most about your MPA experience?
After having been recruited spring semester by the Big Four, like many of my classmates, I’m eagerly looking forward to my spring audit internship, which will be my initial work exposure at a Big Four company. It is such an honor to have the option to work for one of these prestigious firms.

Additionally, I will feel a great sense of accomplishment come graduation in May 2019, having completed my 5th year with both a BBA, a MPA, and, hopefully, as a CPA! McCombs prepares us well for the exam and helps us set aside the necessary time in our 5th year to study for the exam. It will be wonderful to already be a CPA as I start my career.

What have you been up to before the start of school?
With an anticipated BBA in spring 2018, I’m highlighting activities I have been involved with here at UT Austin, but there are extracurricular activities for everyone. Previously, I was heavily involved with my sorority, especially in my role as the VP-Finance, which was an intense, but an invaluable experience. After that, I wanted to engage in some personal interests, including exploring other forms of personal fitness, beyond my knowledge of ballet and running workouts. The weight training courses through UT have been extremely beneficial, with weekly workouts to teach the correct techniques for strength building and readings to reinforce concepts from class sessions. The techniques I have learned should last me a lifetime and are satisfying and fun! I may try to take the weight training class again as a 5th year.

What led you to accounting?
Accounting provides a solid foundation that enables you to apply yourself within a wide variety of business opportunities. It offers a seemingly endless level of flexibility, which you don’t often find in other fields.

 What advice do you have for students interested in the MPA program?
If you are interested in doing the integrated approach, focus on doing well in your beginning accounting 311 and 312 classes and ensure the professors know you and can see you are working hard. Also, demonstrate your interests outside of the classroom and pick up an extracurricular – whether it’s a part time job or involvement in a student organization.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The patios outside the Union – I love to be outside! I also really enjoy walking by the tower on my way to class every day.

Where are your favorite places to go and favorite things to do in Austin?
Austin is known for its great food. Some of my favorite restaurants include La Condesa (contemporary Mexican), 24 Diner (farm-to-table), and Musashino Sushi Dokoro (delicious sushi near West Campus). For a real treat, get Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon drive-through takeout and find a pleasant spot outside to go enjoy it with friends and family. By this description of well-loved restaurants, you may realize why fitness activities for me are a necessity!

How to be a Dog Lover in Austin When You Don’t Own a Dog

If you are anything like me, you often find yourself bonding with dogs more than you bond with people, and you would much rather hang out with dogs than most other beings. Same. But being a full-time grad student, I know I don’t have time to have a dog myself. Between my apartment, my night classes, my oh so exciting social life (totally kidding), and my general lack of funds, having a dog is just not feasible right now. So how in the world do I find dogs to socialize with while I’m in Austin? Easy!

Have a Picnic at Zilker Park
When I had my first picnic at Zilker Park, I had no intention of running into dogs. I went to find some shade after my morning hike and check out a beautiful park. However, I picked a place in the park right off Riverside and stumbled upon a park with a plethora of off-leash pups. They all came up to say hi, and I got to make tons of new furry friends that day. Contrary to what you might think, it is not weird at all to go to Zilker without a dog. Some people were there playing frisbee, lots of us were out having picnics, and plenty of people were walking through all without dogs. This is the easiest way to interact with lots of dogs any time of the day!


Volunteer at Animal Shelters
Austin is a dog-loving city with lots of people and lots of canines. This leads to a need for a large number of animal shelters.  Texas Humane Heroes is the animal shelter for the city of Austin, and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities there to help you fulfill your love of dogs (and even cats!) In addition to Texas Humane Heroes, you can volunteer at Austin Pets Alive, Austin Animal Center, PAWS Shelter of Central Texas, and Town Lake Animal Shelter (just to name a few!) Theses shelters are always in need of volunteers, and you can help by walking the dogs, cleaning their cages, socializing puppies, and even fostering dogs if you have the capabilities to do so! This is a great way to interact with Austin’s pup population and feel great doing it. Most of these animal shelters took in rescue dogs from Hurricane Harvey, and they all need lots of help right now!

Become a Dog Walker
This option will let you interact with dogs AND make a little cash. What a deal! There are plenty of different avenues you could pursue to become a dog walker from apps to websites to even walking dogs on your own and spreading the word to your friends. Although I will not advertise one avenue over the other, if you have experience with dogs and desire to walk dogs, board dogs, or offer dog sitting then this is a great option to meet Austin’s vast array of dogs.

It is no secret that Austin has a vibrant canine population, and there are plenty of ways to interact with these dogs all over the city. These are just a couple of ways I have become involved with pups in Austin, but I would love to hear your suggestions!

Also, here is my puppy Joey from Fort Worth who makes me miss having a dog in Austin every day!


Places to Relax on the UT Campus

Fall is finally here! Temperatures are dropping, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back in business, and students are breaking out their long-sleeve Comfort Colors. But, UT students know better than anyone else, this time of the year is also the busiest time of the year.

With midterms, assignments, group projects, student org responsibilities, recruiting for summer internships, and on top of that, trying to have a social life — life can be a mess. As students, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and lack the motivation to continue to work hard. It’s so easy to fall out of love with our passions.

However, I cannot stress how important it is to take a minute for yourself, to rekindle those passions. Here are some cool places on campus to relax in between study sessions!

South Mall

When the weather is great, nothing beats sitting out on the lawn, looking up at the clear blue Austin skies. Find a spot on the grass and get a good view of the Tower while relaxing.

College of Liberal Arts Patio

Here’s another place to be when the weather is nice. The CLA Patio is quiet and peaceful, exactly what you would need to get away from the stress of college. There are many chairs and tables available for you to sit with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Gregory Gym

Working out can be a very effective way of relieving stress, and Gregory Gym offers a variety of facilities as well as group exercises you can join. You can also get your smoothie fix at the gym!

Student Activity Center

The SAC is a popular place for students to get work done on campus. There are many spots for you to get comfortable and be productive, or just to eat your Chick-Fil-A! The famous nap stairs can also be found in the SAC.

Cactus Cafe

The Cactus Cafe can be found on the ground floor of the University Union, next to Starbucks. The cafe is an intimate live music performance venue, always hosting a range of artists. This can be the perfect way to unwind after a busy day!

In between your back-to-back schedules, remember to take care of yourself. Mental health is a real thing, and it’s an important thing. Know your limits, and understand that giving yourself a break does not equal weakness. Work hard, take care of yourself, and hook’em horns!

Also, we’re so close to Thanksgiving.