The Man in the Glass

Harvin C Moore IIIA few weeks ago, Professor Limburg and the MPA program welcomed Harvin C. Moore to speak at our Distinguished Speaker Lyceum.

Mr. Moore began his presentation with some relatable stories, his qualifications, and who he was. To give you some background, Mr. Moore was a lawyer, businessman, and UT Grad (Hook ‘Em!) who had much success in both Real Estate Development and the Savings and Loan business. He was known for having a “Midas touch”  due to his gift for putting together lucrative real estate deals. His story seemed to be similar to others we have had the pleasure of hearing this semester in Lyceum- a successful businessperson who has graciously volunteered their time to share with us personal anecdotes and provide some advice before we head off into the real world.

All of a sudden, Mr. Moore began describing a scenario to us and asked us to close our eyes and imagine a man standing alone in the middle of El Paso. (Are you a little confused? Don’t worry- we were too.) Much to our surprise, we open our eyes and see Mr. Moore standing on stage and he begins to tell us of his time in PRISON in El Paso. His company had been issuing illegal loans, and justifying it to themselves because they were solvent at the time of the loan. Being solvent doesn’t negate the fact that the type of loaning Mr. Moore was participating in was illegal. He explained that after he was notified about the criminal charges, he knew he could not sit in the court room and plead “not guilty.”  Thus, Mr. Moore went to prison.

I found his story so interesting, and it was quite an eye-opener to the entire Lyceum audience. The MPA program provides us with ample opportunities to succeed, yet once we do succeed, we must be sure that we maintain our ethical principles. In his message, Mr. Moore alluded to the poem, The Man in the Glass, by Dale Wimbrow. The poem reminds us that we will all have the opportunity at least once in our lives to act in a way that compromises our ethical beliefs, but if you can’t live with yourself after you make such decision, it probably is the wrong decision.

Choosing a Career Path: To Ph.D. or Not to Ph.D.

One of the things I love most about the MPA program is the amazing faculty, so of course I jumped at the chance to attend Dr. Jeri Seidman’s “Don’t Mess With Taxes” presentation. Professor Seidman went broadly over some of her research findings, such as companies paying taxes on fraudulent income to avoid fraud detection and reasons for increases in the book-tax gap (the gap between what a company reports for book income and taxable income).

In her presentation, Professor Seidman also covered some of the basics of accounting research. As a dual degree student in Plan II (which, if you’re unfamiliar with the program, is essentially an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree) and the MPA program, the idea of research and writing really appeals to me. This, of course, begs the question: should I be considering a Ph.D. in accounting?

The thought has occurred to me before. After all, being a professor sounds pretty great. Teaching and researching – I mean it’s definitely hard work, but hard work that I would enjoy. So what does it take to get there? I started skimming through rankings and curriculum descriptions, and of course wasn’t surprised to find out that McCombs has a top program, so I decided that would be a good starting place to look at what it takes to get your Ph.D.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that getting a Ph.D. would require so much math, but nonetheless, once I got past my initial aversion to the words “probability” and “statistics”, I realized that the course work actually seems pretty interesting, ranging from math and economics classes to research seminars, all culminating in a final dissertation. From what I can tell, the MPA program has provided me with a strong starting point if I decided to pursue a Ph.D. here or at any other top school.

All this is not to say that pursuing a Ph.D. is the only way to have a career centered on research. During my internship in the spring, I had some amazing opportunities to work on research memos for clients facing various tax issues, which I loved! For now, at least, I think that’s definitely the place for me. I’m going to start back there full-time next fall and hopefully continue on similar research projects, but somewhere down the road, maybe a Ph.D. is something to consider?

Analytics in Practice: Going Beyond the Buzzwords

The MPA Distinguished Speaker Lyceum is one of the most important traditions in the MPA program. Last Tuesday we hosted Ms. Camille Stovall, a partner at Deloitte and the Chief Operating Officer of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services (FAS). The conversational interview between Ms. Stovall, Professor Steve Limberg, and my fellow MPA students ranged from how to approach difficult restructurings to the importance of analytics. The latter prompted Prof. Limberg to ask just how analytics are used in the real world.

Continue reading Analytics in Practice: Going Beyond the Buzzwords

MPA Council: Best Decision of my MPA Career

One of my biggest passions in the MPA Program: MPA Council. Since the council is involved in so many areas of student life, it’s hard to fully describe it in a blog post. I’ll attempt to present a good overview of the group and if you have questions I haven’t answered, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section.

What is MPA Council?

Before I describe the Council, I am going to describe the MPA Program the way I currently see it. The MPA Program is composed of 4 groups: students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Each of these groups have a lot to offer the program, and there will come a time you need help from one of these groups, and it pays to have a variety of contacts in each group to get things done.  One of the overall long term goals of MPA Council is to be a central body that facilitates communication between these four groups. I love diagrams, so I have drawn a diagram to illustrate this.  For example, if the MPA Program Office had a new idea, and wanted to gage student interest, it could talk to the Council and the Council could gain insight from a large number of students. The Council’s overall mission is to create a community within the MPA Program. It is commonly interpreted that this means the Council provides MPA students to get to know each other in a variety of settings. This is true, but more than that, the Council is about establishing a community within the four aspects of the program I described earlier. In other words, the Council hopes to synergize the unique and extremely proficient skill sets and capabilities of each of these groups and use them to ensure our program is the best in the nation.

MPA Council members at our boat party on Lake Austin

The council provides members with professional, academic, community service, and social events to participate in. Some of the events hosted this year include a boat party on Lake Austin, State of Accounting discussion with Dr. Lillian Mills, the Accounting Department’s Centennial Celebration with our lovely mascot Bevo, and a PhD panel (you can see pictures from our events here). Coming up we have Ethics Week, speakers for our distinguished speaker series, Faculty Appreciation Week.

Why did I join the Council?

I remember sitting at orientation listening to the professor panels, and professors saying how important it was to know your classmates for group cases and the importance of studying with classmates. I started freaking out, as I only know about 5 people on a speaking basis in the entire integrated class, and I was convinced I was going to fail everything. They talked about the Council at orientation, and I dove in so I could meet my fellow MPAs outside of the classroom. It was the best decision I have made in relation to my MPA degree. I have met so many people with distinct backgrounds and perspectives that I would never have been able to do in the classroom. It’s also provided me so many opportunities and resources within the MPA Program I don’t think I otherwise would have had.

What is my favorite part about the Council?

My personal favorite event of the Council is Member’s only Monday. One Monday a month, the Council provides its members with bagels, breakfast burritos, and coffee. It’s a come and go event, but it’s nice to sit in between classes with lovely MPAs and have a delicious free breakfast!

Welcome back, Longhorns!

BevoWelcome back, everyone! If you are new to the MPA program this year- congratulations and I hope you are excited for an amazing year! I hope everyone had a wonderful summer and the transition back into the swing of things isn’t proving to be too difficult. My summer was a fun one, but I am glad to be back at McCombs.

Over the summer I was informed of some fantastic news about UT. The UT Austin ALPFA Chapter received the Student Chapter Award for the Central Region! ALPFA is largest Latino association for business professionals and students with chapters nationwide. Every year they chose a student chapter from each region and this year, it was UT! I am increasingly humbled and honored to be a part of this school when I learn about all of the accomplishments and accolades that UT is constantly bringing in.

Another tidbit of exciting news this summer was the selection of the winners for the 2012 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards. This year, two McCombs professors were honorable recipients, Anitesh Barua and Steven Kachelmeier. I had the opportunity to take an MPA class with Professor Kachelmeier last semester and it is great to see a familiar professor receive this award! In the article, Professor Kachelmeier is quoted regarding the importance of passion in a teaching role saying, “If a teacher is not passionate about the subject matter, one can hardly expect students to feel otherwise.” Passion about the subject is something that I really value in a professor and if you are new to McCombs this year, you can certainly expect to see passion for their subject is key to McCombs professors.

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