Spotlight on MIS

Imagine doing all your accounting on this paper!

Last week was the deadline for resume submissions for Spring MPA internships. It was a stressful process and it is such a relief to be done! That being said, I do not have much recruiting-wise to talk about in this week’s blog.

Instead, I am going to talk a little bit about another discipline that I believe is becoming increasingly important in the accounting industry. Management Information Systems, or MIS as it is known around McCombs, is essentially a technology/business hybrid. MIS focuses on bridging the gap between the business world and the computer science world, which is every so important as the distinction between those two fields begins to blur. If you are interested in MIS, you should definitely consider it as your minor.

If you saw the picture above, there is a good chance you didn’t know what that is. That’s ledger paper. Accountants use to use it to report journal entries and reconcile accounts. My Audit professor likes to show it to us occasionally to remind us how important technology is to the accounting profession today.

I stumbled upon a crazy article on this morning about how Target uses data mining in its operations. Data mining is “process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing it into useful information – information that can be used to increase revenue, cuts costs, or both.” Target uses data-mining to discover which coupons/promotions are most appropriate for each customer. By analyzing customer’s purchases over time, Target professionals see patterns that they can then use to interpret buying habits of each customer. The Forbes article describes a situation where Target discovered, based on buying patterns, that a young girl was pregnant and thus, sent her coupons for diapers, cribs, etc. Her father was infuriated and insulted until he realized that his daughter actually was pregnant. Target is definitely not the only company using data mining- so be aware! I think data mining is so interesting, but there are certainly some critics who believe that we are heading towards a Big Brother situation with all of this personal data being stored by different companies.

Speaking of Big Brother, I love this 1984 Apple computer commercial.

Why I Live Strong

My friend Allie and I running the LiveSTRONG Marathon in Austin last year to spread awareness

At the very beginning of 2012, I joined Team LiveSTRONG. As a member of Team LiveSTRONG, I help raise awareness and raise funds to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. Although I have never personally had to battle cancer, my life as still been affected by this disease.

To summarize my history with cancer, both my beloved Grandpa Jimbo and one of by best friends in elementary school, Bailey, ran out of time in their battles with cancer. After losing them, I guess I thought that cancer was done with me. That I could no longer be affected….but of course that could never happen.

In September, my dad found out his best friend from college, Mike, was diagnosed with cancer and had a very slim chance of survival. I felt so helpless seeing the hurt my father felt while dealing with this news. My parents and I visited Mike and his family over winter break, and I suddenly became furious at the toll that battling cancer took on such an incredibly funny, bright and kind man. It was then I realized cancer would never stop affecting my life, or millions of others’ lives, until it was cured.

Now, obviously because I am a student in the MPA program, I am in no way qualified to cure cancer. But, I could take action. I decided to join Team LiveSTRONG so I could no longer feel helpless in the fight against cancer, and so I could spread hope to people like Mike and his support group.

I personally got involved in the war on cancer because I became fed up with being helpless. I know almost everyone has an issue close to their heart that they can’t stand for and we all need a way to find a sense of agency and hope.

So… What do you do about it? GET INVOLVED! Continue reading Why I Live Strong

Spring Meanderings

A candy store on SoCo.

Is it Spring? It’s hard to tell in Texas sometimes. But I say, it is! In honor of the emergence of Spring (and the fact that I hail from a city north of Houston dubbed Spring, TX), I’m going to mention just a few fun things I’ve done / will do this Spring.


went to a reading.
There are a couple of contemporary writers that really excite me, that just make me feel completely starstruck. One of them is Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet (sweet cover, right?). It was terrific to see him read at BookPeople, “Austin’s leading independent bookstore,” in January. Marcus is actually an Austin native (I did not know that) and his reading is the result of a partnership between BookPeople and the literary magazine, American Short Fiction, I worked for in the Fall. I am really excited for their reading series and future collaborations. Continue reading Spring Meanderings

Surviving my first week of career events

Recruiting is all about finding your perfect fit among the firms.

It is the point in the semester where all of the firms hold “Career Nights” for the third-year MPAs. Essentially, it is a less formal information session paired with a networking reception. To mirror my blog about mock interviews, I will tell you a few things I learned this week.

1. You really will start to discover the firm where you will fit best. Originally, I approached that notion with skepticism, thinking there was going to be a consistency between the firms. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. By no means are there “good” vs. “bad” firms, but moreso you will start to see where your personality fits in.

2. Know what makes you fun/unique. Of course it is important to know what year you are, what track you are pursuing, where you want to intern, etc. But how long do you think you can talk about that in a networking setting? Not very long. It is great when you talk about where you studied abroad, your favorite hobby, or your favorite food in Austin. And when you connect with someone who also lived in Paris, or also loves P. Terry’s, it makes the conversation more memorable and personal.

3. Get business cards and send thank you emails. But, do this because you WANT to, not because you think it something you have to do. The professionals can tell if your email is genuine or if it is forced. Make it personal. Do not have a shell email with which you “fill-in-the-blank” for firm and professional’s name.

These are just a few tips- but hopefully you get an idea for what Career Nights are really about, and I hope that my advice helps you in the future.

Hear that?

That’s opportunity knocking at your door, right here in Austin!

This blog is the next in the series of blogs discussing the components that make Austin such a great city to go to school in. Austin is a city just brimming with opportunity. Whether it is internships or job opportunities, volunteering opportunities, or really any opportunity, Austin can provide it for you.

Internships/ Jobs

The lovely UT campus is located deep in the heart of Austin. A few blocks away from McCombs is the Texas Capitol, home of the Texas Senate and House of Representative. I had the opportunity to intern at the Capitol last spring to explore my interest in law and politics. After a semester as a legislative aide, I figured out that politics wasn’t my forte, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to immediately find out it wasn’t a field I wanted to continue.

A few blocks from the Texas Capitol is downtown Austin, where opportunities for jobs and internships in almost every industry possible are readily available. As you read earlier, a fellow blogger Xinmiao interned at American Short Fiction and is currently interning at Greenlights for Nonprofit Success. The opportunities are seemingly limitless. Continue reading Hear that?

MPA Student Life Blog