MPA Student Profile – Rachel Chen

Name: Rachel Chen
Hometown:
  Lake Tahoe, Nevada
MPA track: iMPA – Financial reporting and assurance (audit)
Class status: 4th year
Graduation date:
 May 2019

Why did you choose the MPA program?
It is one of the best programs in the country and it offers a unique education but also opens many doors in terms of career selection.

What do you look forward to most about your MPA experience?
The opportunities MPA and McCombs have to offer in terms of recruiting and preparing for the real world is something to look forward to. The program does a wonderful job grooming us into young professionals for exceptional jobs.

What led you to accounting?
I knew I wanted to do something in business but Accounting 311 with Steve Smith really pushed me towards pursuing a career in accounting.

What advice do you have for students interested in the MPA program?
Work hard but also remember to take in the whole college experience. Participate in activities and organizations that help build your network and personal connections.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
On a nice day, the tables outside of Gregory Gym.

Where are your favorite places to go and favorite things to do in Austin?
I love hanging out on South Congress and any place that has good Tex Mex.

 

MPA Student Profile – Aris Sevastianos

Name: Aris Sevastianos
Hometown:
 St. Louis, MO
MPA track: Financial Reporting & Assurance
Class status: 3rd Year
Graduation date:
 May 2020

Why did you choose the MPA program?
Coming from Missouri, I can confidently attest that the MPA program here is extremely reputable. The alumni that I’ve spoken to both in high school and during my time at UT have always had the best things to say about the program, and suggested that I give it a look. After taking my first two accounting classes during my sophomore year, I knew this was the right program for me. Now as a student, I’ve been able to explore multiple avenues in a variety of industries, all while taking classes with top professors in an engaging classroom environment. If anything else, earning a master’s degree in five years from a #1 program is pretty efficient.

What do you look forward to most about your MPA experience?
Definitely recruiting – many firms throughout the world constantly hire Texas MPA students; being able to get valuable exposure to these firms, their clientele, and the cities in which they operate is an exciting time to discover your passions for a full-time career.

What activities have you been involved in outside of school?
I’ve been able to get involved in a variety of opportunities and organizations since coming to UT. In June 2016, I joined a UT student-run peer-to-peer tutoring startup called @Top Tier Learning. As CFO, I expanded our company to eight states and sixteen branches, strategically restructured our pricing structure, established our philanthropic partnership with Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and raised and allocated capital for our mobile app. Outside of Top Tier Learning, I am involved in Texas IFC as Director of Philanthropy, Orthodox Christian Fellowship as Vice President, Delta Tau Delta, and Delta Sigma Pi. Whenever I get the chance to go back home, I enjoy spending time with my family and playing pick-up soccer with my high school friends.

What led you to accounting?
I’ve always been strong with math and organization; the field just seemed naturally fitting.

What advice do you have for students interested in the MPA program?
Talk to upperclassmen and professors; their insight is unparalleled. They’re by far the best resource for learning about what to expect from the program. I guarantee they’ll be more than eager to share their experiences in and out of the classroom with you.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Definitely McCombs – although the building can seem serious and intimidating, it’s a much smaller community than you think. It’s always fun to run into friends between classes or during a study break.

Where are your favorite places to go and favorite things to do in Austin?
My favorite types of US cities are those that cleverly integrate both urbanism and nature into their communities; Austin lives by this idea incredibly well. Given that, I love going downtown to kayak or run along the trails next to Town Lake. I also love healthy ethnic food, which isn’t hard to find around here. Side note, however, I’m still yet to come across some Greek food and am open to any suggestions. Craving a fat souvlaki at the moment…

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!

 

MPA Student Profile – Kaelyn Scoville

Name: Kaelyn Scoville
Hometown:
  Burleson, TX
MPA track: Financial Reporting and Assurance
Class status: Graduate Student (5th Year)
Graduation date:
 Fall 2017

Why did you choose the MPA program?
Coming into college, I knew that I wanted to pursue accounting, and MPA has an incredible reputation with the best professors and countless chances to network.

What do you look forward to most about your MPA experience?
I have really enjoyed connecting with all of my peers in MPA. We spend so much time together that we’re kind of like a family. The support from professors, advisors, and other students is unparalleled, and I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone as we start our careers.

What have you been doing since you received your undergraduate degree?
I received my undergraduate degree this spring, and since then, I have been working on completing my CPA. I have passed both FAR and BEC and will take REG and AUD in these next coming months while finishing my Masters.

What led you to accounting?
I come from a family of engineers, and I wanted to be different. When I found out I got into McCombs, I became set on MPA because of its incredible reputation and career opportunities.

What advice do you have for students interested in the MPA program?
If you’re interested, definitely apply, even if you are not an accounting major. I had plenty of friends change to accounting. I think it’s also a common misconception that if you pursue MPA, you go straight into tax or audit. While most students do go down this path, the career opportunities are endless with MPA.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Chick-Fil-A, conveniently located in the SAC, a short 2-minute walk from McCombs. Just kidding, probably the BBA Program Office where I work.

Where are your favorite places to go and favorite things to do in Austin?
I love going to coffee shops and meeting new people! 4 years later and I swear I still haven’t been to half of the coffee shops Austin has to offer.

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