Archives for Student Life

Longhorn Nation: the connections between Longhorn football and Texas MPA

The thing that usually comes to mind  with The University of Texas at Austin is Longhorn football. Football is such a huge part of the culture here and is part of the Longhorn identity. Football also illustrates some of the core characteristics that come to define the university as a whole and especially the MPA program. Some of these qualities include teamwork, loyalty and excellence

Longhorn football fans at the start of a home game

Teamwork

Sitting in the stands of the football stadium, wearing burnt orange along with 100,000 other people, I feel like I am part of something so much bigger than myself. Although I am not on the field playing football, I feel as if I am part of the team. Everyone on the field and in the crowd wants to succeed as one and conquer all the challenges that face us.

This team-oriented culture is also very prevalent in the MPA program. The curriculum is very team based, so it provides the program a much more collaborative than competitive atmosphere. I was personally very nervous about joining such a prestigious program, and heard that everyone was extremely competitive concerning grades and job offers. However, because of the team-oriented culture my experience has been everyone trying to succeed together and accomplish a common goal.

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An introduction of sorts

Hello, Reader!

Ellen Furman playing her "Long Stringed Instrument" in the Architecture Library at UT

I’m looking forward to sharing some of my thoughts & adventures with you and hope that they will shed light on what goes on at the MPA Program here at UT Austin.  I’m looking forward to writing about a number of topics, generally introduced below, but I am willing to and probably will divert!

THE PROGRAM

The exciting challenge of being immersed in an accounting education for the first time is navigating through the opportunities and job paths available to you in such a short span of time. With accounting there are many – more options than I realized before starting here.  Thanks to a very thorough academic advisor (that has helped me rework my course schedule numerous times), a career staff that has steered me toward jobs that match my interests and professors I drop in on from time to time, I have expanded my interests. I’m now interested in quite a few areas of accounting, from non-profit and fund accounting to IT and security system audits.

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Sentiments of a Fifth-Year MPA Student

Karen celebrates birthday with MPA friends.

Wow! I never thought I would get this far. Being a fifth-year Integrated MPA student still feels surreal to me. My years of hardwork as a college student will finally come to a close. It surely feels bittersweet.

What does a fifth-year student’s schedule look like?  After going through my recruiting and internship semesters, I have just been focusing on my remaining courses and enjoying Austin as much as I can.

I have a couple of undergraduate classes left to satisfy my BBA degree and three remaining graduate courses. Group projects, midterms, and deadlines are still the main highlights of my semester.

Even though this is my last year here at UT, I still strive to maintain my grades. while also making room to take fun classes that are non-accounting related, such as theatre and music.

I have also been preparing for the CPA Exam, which I am taking in April 2012. Testing under out-of-state requirements can be challenging, but I am very fortunate to have very helpful academic advisors that walk me through the process. I have also looked at Becker CPA Review courses to prepare for the exams. The AICPA website provides a good overview of the exam components and requirements for candidates.

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While you were sleeping…

W. A. Mozart (1756-1791) Any place named after a virtuoso like Mozart gets my stamp of approval!

…I was probably drinking coffee.

Therefore, we have the theme for my first official blog of the 2011-2012 school year.

It’s great to be back in this mode too! If you have read my blogs before, I profoundly apologize. If you haven’t, now you get a double shot from me as you read my thoughts about life and the Texas MPA Program.

Favorite Coffee Places
Those that know me know I love my coffee in the morning…and with lunch, in the late afternoon, with dinner, in the early evening, and in the late evening. I have my favorites—I’m not gonna lie. Here they are and why, in no particular order:

Mozart’s—especially after interning, I got into the glorious habit of studying outside. Whether it was on the roof of the SAC, at George’s Patio Café, or at Mozart’s.
Mozart’s is great because it is conducive to both studying and socializing, something I can’t say for all coffee places. Nevertheless, I’m always in favor of being able to soak in the sight of Lake Austin, drink some hot coffee, and either chat or read.

Bennu Coffee Shop—this is definitely in the hipster neighborhood, and they definitely have some hip coffee! In addition to having an entire menu named after literature, this place is open 24/7, which makes it a very convenient place to crash for a loooong time. Try the Raven or the Don Quixote! Oh, and yes, those are power strips coming out of the ceiling for your laptop!

 Epoch—this is the North campus version of Bennu; open 24/7. Come here and do some “epoch” studying! (Bad pun? That’s my  forte…)

Spiderhouse Coffee—this is one of my favorite places, but not for studying. This is undoubtedly the place to chill on old-school metal patio furniture and reminisce with an old friend. The lethargic pace of service makes this perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

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My First Blog!

Bevo, the UT Longhorns mascot, on campus

Hello All – I am very excited to write my first blog as an MPA blogger!  I want to write about some of my experiences thus far as an MPA at UT.

I got here in August, when the Austin heat was blazing in record high temperatures, eager to start classes and get into the swing of things.  Orientation was the first step, which is still one of my favorite events so far.  I was able to meet all the new people I would be spending the next year or so with, and we all took to each other very well! We had a few administrative speakers welcoming us to the MPA program as well as more informational speakers, such as Kathy and Jason (two advisors whom you will get to know very well as an MPA).

We were also thrust into the career recruiting process right away, with an etiquette dinner, a “speed dating” event, and the career fair.  It was helpful being able to meet perspective employers and the recruiters at both the etiquette dinner and the speed dating event before the career fair so that a relationship was already built.  Orientation week was finally over, and I was able to take a bit of a rest before my classes started.

Orientation was a great way to get introduced to the program, UT and my fellow MPA’s.

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