MPA Council Hosts Catherine Cook, Founder of MyYearbook

MPAC members with Catherine Cook

Last Wednesday, April 4th, the MPA Council invited Catherine Cook (founder of MyYearbook.com) to speak as part of their Esteemed Speaker Series.

Ms. Cook started off describing what MyYearbook was all about. When I hear about social media sites, I assume they are destined to fail since they are competing with the powerful network effects of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But Catherine Cook explained how these three social media giants don’t cover the entire span of the social media market. Facebook is for people you already know, Twitter is primarily used for news and entertainment feed, and LinkedIn is for the professional sphere of social media.

None of these sites are for meeting new people. That is the goal of MyYearbook. Cat Cook told us she got the idea at 15 when she moved to a new high school and didn’t know anybody. One of the purposes of the site is to help people who move to a new city engage with new people within a certain mile radius of them. Continue reading MPA Council Hosts Catherine Cook, Founder of MyYearbook

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” -MLK

My donated TOMS!

Last week, a group of MPA students, myself included, who are recruiting with one of the Big 4, had the opportunity to participate in an activity co-sponsored by TOMS shoes. For those of you who may not know the story behind TOMS, essentially they donate one pair of shoes to someone in need everytime a pair is purchased.

At the recruiting event, the donations were two-fold. First, because of the buy one-give one strategy at TOMS, one pair of shoes was donated to someone in need for every student attending the event. Second, we also donated our decorated TOMS to a local Austin charity.

The community service aspect of public accounting certainly increases my desire to work in the industry. All of the Big 4 have multiple ways of helping to serve and improve the community. Midcaps and regional firms definitely participate in community service as well- I am just focusing on the Big 4 for the sake of this blog.

Here are some of my favorite community service efforts by the Big 4:

Deloitte’s big community service event is called IMPACT day. On IMPACT day, Deloitte professionals across the country all set aside their work and work for a nonprofit in their community. Just to put this in perspective, there are OVER 50,000 Deloitte employees nationwide and almost all of them will participate in this special day- that’s a lot of community service!

A great community service effort was done by KPMG last September, on the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. KPMG called this campaign, “Service in Remembrance.” For this campaign, KPMG professionals teamed up with the rest of the nation and over 200 nonprofits in honor the victims and the heroes of September 11th. Continue reading “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” -MLK

Group Motivation!

Our study sessions look like this.

Here at McCombs, we’re in the home stretch of the Spring semester, preparing ourselves for that one. last. exam (per course) before summer. Sigh, time passes so quickly.

Some Updates: Work at Greenlights is going well. I have been doing quite a bit of  data analytics using Excel (putting those concepts I learned in our Information Technology in Accounting class to work). I just completed a project that involved performing calculations of retention rates and general stats using our donor database. Now, I’m transitioning into a very (but not so) different project – grant writing! Also, next week I’m going to be attending a Board Essentials workshop, run by Greenlights, where I will be learning about the basics of putting together a strong nonprofit board and possible opportunities for me to be involved when I start working full-time at an accounting firm. CPAs are actually a real (desirable!) asset to any nonprofit board.

My internal audit team recently wrapped up a project with the City of Austin (Office of the City Auditor), where we performed a follow-up audit of the Controller’s Office regarding their hotel occupancy tax collection process in regards to Short Term Rental (think HomeAway and AirBnB). A report on that audit is now available to the public here. During the length of the project, my team communicated with the City Auditors as well as accountants at the Controller’s Office, interviewed Short Term Rental Owners, and got a first hand account of the hotel occupancy tax collection process. We wrote engagement letters and work papers and came up with a final deliverable report. Much was learned, I should say.

Ah, on the side, I’ve recently taken on the role of being an assistant editor at a literary journal and have been interviewing authors about their writing (authors that fall into the science-fiction and fantasy genre). Last night, I had a wonderful conversation with a sci-fi writer about her concept of “the alien.” And, while I’m being tangential, today in the parking lot of the Korean grocery store, I found a patch of mimosa ferns! I used to live in Hawaii and haven’t seen mimosa ferns since those days.

As for school work: What are we doing in this last stretch to motivate ourselves, you ask? Well, group study is at an all-time high! Otherwise, we find ways to enjoy our diminishing time here in Austin. The weather is temperate – Barton Springs is thriving again. We gather together to watch Game of Thrones on Sunday evenings and eat cupcakes with cadbury egg centers.

A fellow MPA delighting in a Cadbury Egg.

Signing off!!

An interesting proposition for colleges:

The Economist published an article on April 9th concerning an idea of California college students that could possibly radically affect college students everywhere if it is taken into consideration by universities.

Students of the University of California propose that instead of charging tuition, they’d like universities to take 5% of their salary for the first twenty years following graduation.

This idea has some huge implications for higher education. An individual’s level and quality of education would no longer be determined by parental current income, but by a student’s future income, which would open more opportunities for them.

What particularly fascinates me about this article is the potential overhaul of universities’ organizational structure and culture. They would be the ones bearing the most risk under this proposal. With their income being contingent on their student’s job placement, universities have large incentives to become much more focused on placing their students in high paying career positions. Continue reading An interesting proposition for colleges:

MPA is a Mixtape: B-Side

The best B-side to an album ever is the B-side to Abbey Road. Period.

However, I feel that I just gave away my age by admitting that I remember when an album was organized in two halves…and I guess by also admitting that I still buy albums instead of songs. Regardless, it should be pretty apparent that I did not actually construct an actual mixtape of songs because, well, tracks 16-21 comprise about half an hour’s worth of music while the duration of all the songs combined is about an hour and forty-two minutes.

Interestingly enough, the remaining songs have two artists which I doubled–something I did not intend to do, but had to do anyway. The extent of musical complexity that Bach explores is unparalleled. It is amazing how casual a piece of music can sound when listening passively, but when listening intently, it is mentally exhausting! Being a fan of Bach since I was a kid though, it is not a surprise that two of his pieces ended up on this list. Thus, included in this last stretch are two Bach pieces that just plain connected with me during the past five years. They are both part of larger works, and I completely recommend listening to the entire pieces if you find the time.

Set your speed to 45, ’cause this side is shorter:

Continue reading MPA is a Mixtape: B-Side

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