Pop Culture: The key to success?

My professors tell me the best way to prepare for interviews, is to read newspapers every day. They highlight the importance of being aware of what’s going on with the economy and current events outside of the 40 Acres,  because that’s the world we will be living in. When speaking with adults, being able to apply what we are studying to current events creates more stimulating conversation than talking about assignments and grades.

What better place to follow sports than at our own Frank Erwin Center cheering on the mens Longhorn B\basketball team!

I have accepted this as something I need to do to be successful with recruiting. I thought this was all that I needed to do, until I read a blog by the Young and Frugal highlighting the importance of sports in the business world. They made an excellent point:

“In the real world most people won’t talk politics with you for fear of offending you (or someone else), and not many people want to talk business because that’s what they do all day.”

Sports is something that you can talk about with everyone, and use as a gateway to talk about most anything: from the business of sports, player gossip, personal experiences from playing the game, and locations you have traveled to watch games. It is a topic almost everyone can relate to or have an opinion about, and a great way to join a conversation. In fact, a Green Mangoes blog made an interesting point on the importance of sports in the business world:

“My friend Anna, who is Hungarian, told me once that when she was in school in Hungary, studying English, she took a course on doing business in America.  (Maybe that wasn’t the title, but that was the topic.)    One of the things they stressed as a key to being successful in business dealings with Americans was to be familiar with the names and current records of sports teams.   Because there is no better way ‘in’ than , ‘Hey, how about those [fill in name of appropriate sports team here]?  Think they can go all the way this year?’”

To summarize up the underlying reason why sports are essential in business, I would like to go back to the Young and Frugal blog:

“Talking sports is about relationships. The emotional connection that forms between you and “your” team, the relationship that forms with your co-worker because his team is your team’s rival, and the relationship of feeling that if you can have a good conversation with someone about sports, you can have a good conversation with them about anything. On the contrary, when meeting someone who doesn’t follow sports it’s extremely difficult to break the ice and find a common ground. Up- to-date knowledge of sports is a key part of business in today’s world because businesses are about relationships, and sports can be the key to developing strong relationships.”

After this I thought I had what I needed for recruiting down: news and sports. In addition, when I think back to my prior experiences with recruiters, it is true that I have discussed sports and current events many times, but many conversations centered on pop culture like movies, music and TV shows. Talking about these things has the same effect as sports, they help establish relationships. Talking about these things helps me to determine if I could work with someone for over 8 hours a day. If we like the same movies and TV shows, we most likely have very similar senses of humor and personalities.

This revelation helps me in two ways. First, it will help me prepare for recruiting and building relationships. Second, it will help me convince my parents  it is essential for me to catch up on all my TV shows over break!

Cities (Probably) Overlooked During Recruiting: Part 1

Dinner in San Fran with my brother and cousin

Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you all survived finals. I know it can be a rough time of year.

This is the first MPA blog from California!
If not, my apologies to the MPA blogger of the past for stealing your thunder.

Spring recruiting is coming up for us third-years, and I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite cities that I will be visiting over the holidays.  Don’t be afraid to recruit for an internship in a city that isn’t Austin. Of course, Austin is one of the best cities in the world, but let’s not forget the other contenders.

First stop, San Francisco!

I’m here in San Francisco visiting some family and am reminded of my love for the city. There is just so much to do and see.

Disclaimer: All Big 4 firms have offices in San Fran, as well as tons of midcap and boutique firms. Could be a good life for an accountant!

There are lots of great things to do in and around the city, as well. Some of my favorite spots are: 

1. Exploratorium: This famous science museum in San Fran is fun for everyone. I have always been a nerd, and I proudly embrace it. Thus, my first time at the Exploratorium I was wide-eyed and grinning the whole time. And to this day, it is still an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. If we are being honest, when I visit the Exploratorium today, I probably still sport the same cheesy grin I did when I was a kid. Continue reading Cities (Probably) Overlooked During Recruiting: Part 1

Is the classical accounting personality required for success?

You don't have to be a stereotypical accountant like Angela (from The Office) to be successful!

I just read an interesting research article about personality types that succeed in accounting. The article by Bealing, Baker, and Russo researches the Myers-Briggs personality types of graduating accounting students and compares them to the personality type of other graduating business students. The overall Myers-Briggs personality type for accounting students was ESTJ.

For those of you unfamiliar with Myers-Briggs personality type, it measures the perception of individuals and classifies them into one of sixteen different personality types based on four different characteristics (Side note: I highly recommend everyone takes this test, its jaw-dropping to see its description of your personality and definitely helps you become more self-aware. I also think it is crucial for successful teamwork because it helps me understand how others are approaching the same problem but getting such different results.) An ESTJ means that the individual is extroverted (outgoing), sensing (paying attention to information that you collect through your five senses), thinking (making objective decisions), and judging (prefer a structured life style).

You might be asking why I am I telling you this. Am I trying to say that if you are not an ESTJ, you will not be successful in the Texas MPA program? DEFINITELY NOT! Continue reading Is the classical accounting personality required for success?

Fiction & Accounting Venn-Diagram

In honor of both my accounting finals being over AND my internship at American Short Fiction coming to a wrap, I am dedicating this post to accounting & fiction. Think of a venn-diagram – “fiction” written into one circle and “accounting” written into the other.  Here are just a few names that might reside in that overlap. I’m pretty excited about this attempt…

1) David Foster Wallace, a terrific and ground breaking fiction writer and essayist known for his ginormous book Infinite Jest. His last book was, you guessed it, about accounting. Searching around the NYT for a bit, I found this: “David Foster Wallace and the Literary Tax Accountant”.  According to the article, Wallace “pursued tax arcana with an exuberantly obsessive relish.” After enrolling in accounting courses and corresponding with a handful of I.R.S. agents and CPAs, Wallace came up with the world and characters of his posthumously published novel, the Pale King. A plus: his exchanges with various accountants (the brunt of his research) are housed here at the University of Texas at the Harry Ransom Center. Class field trip?

I think that Wallace’s interest in tax accounting /research was genuine. He studied tax accounting with a philosophical interest in system logic and ultimately built his book around the premise that “tax work may be the gateway to transcendent ecstasy.” A bit far fetched and absurd, yes, but let’s think: essentially, within our tax structure lies the minutiae, collective compartments, and number-coded ecosystems of our lives, no? Hmm…

Continue reading Fiction & Accounting Venn-Diagram

Halfway Done and Proud

Well now that finals are over, I can say that I’m very excited that I have completed my first semester!  It was definitely a challenging week studying for all my finals but now that it’s over I feel accomplished and proud.  Kind of like what Paul said – the more effort you put in, the larger the result.  I am just hoping and encouraging myself that all of the effort I put in will give me the results I want.

Anyway – not much else to report on right now.  Most people (including myself) have left Austin for our  month long winter break.  I am excited to be home but at the same time, I already miss my MPA friends :)

I just wanted to mention that although it may seem (from our last slew of posts) that finals are insane, it isn’t really a bad thing.  This is probably the most I’ve studied (at all or at least in a really long time), but honestly I am really happy and feel very accomplished.  You are not coming to the best accounting program to be a slacker.  You are coming to work hard, learn a lot (get your money‘s worth), and get what you can out of your opportunities.  Having said that, I’m glad I spent my free week studying to really get the most out of these tests.  Finals are just tests.  And having almost a week to study for it is a gift – most tests you have to study for in the midst of doing 100 other things.

Also during this break I plan on starting the process of applying and studying for my first CPA section, so I will keep you updated with that process as I get it underway.

Have a great holiday season everyone!

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