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Summer Review III

Welcome back to school! Congratulations to a new class of about 350 Traditional and Integrated MPA Students! I’m sure that you all will have a great time in this program.

The question that probably remains is why am I blogging about summer review even though school has started. Three reasons: (1) You can still take a look at these blogs as you study for your classes;  (2) Another summer will come for which to review by (seeing as the blogs are archived, they’ll be accessible for a couple years); and (3) We’re still in the triple-digits, so by my standards, it’s still summer.

First, some thoughts for this week. … here to read more

Summer Review II

June seems like it just whizzed by, right? The heat swelters across the Forty Acres; time seems like it is merely an illusion, as days pass by like water under the Congress St. Bridge while minutes by the lake linger lazily on. Perfect for a cup of coffee and a little bit of review.

The week was not completely eventless though: … here to read more

Summer Review I

We all know that championships are won during the off-season. It is this additional preparation that gives contenders an advantage months down the road. Thus, this column will conclude with an accounting concept every week for the next several installments or so. Whether you are just entering the program, a fourth-year student about to take on Intermediate Accounting, or about to finish up, the concepts to be presented should help enforce (or even set) the foundation for what you will see in the next couple of months.

As usual, though, I will begin with some interesting news bits from this past week.

The Sixth Sense?

Researchers from the UMass Medical School say they may have detected a gene that allows people to detect magnetic fields via the retina. Although research is early, they say that this extra sense would be mostly involved in sensing spatial orientation. Read more from the New York Times.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, et al (2011)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that a case brought before them could not be tried as a class action lawsuit. A woman accusing Wal-Mart of sexual discrimination tried to file a class action lawsuit with about 1.5 million other women. The Court, however, threw the case out because of a lack of commonality. Justice Scalia, who delivered the opinion of the court, wrote “A regional pay disparity, for example, may be attributable to only a small set of Wal-Mart stores, and cannot by itself establish the uniform, store-by-store disparity upon which the plaintiffs’ theory of commonality depends…[R]espondents have identified no ‘specific employment practice’—much less one that ties all 1.5 million claims together.”

Commonality is “the rule requiring a plaintiff to show that ‘there are questions of law or fact common to the class’” and requires the plaintiff to “demonstrate that the class members ‘have suffered the same injury.’” The Supreme Court did not actually rule on the Title VII violation accusation (which actually caused some dissent amongst the justices because of the timing of the dismissal along which this decision sets a precedent), but, rather, it may have established what is necessary in order to file a class action lawsuit in the first place. The New York Times article may be found here.


Summer Review: SFAS No. 5

It is my intention to go over what I would consider the Ten Essential FASes this summer. SFAS No. 5 is a classic.  This statement is known for its ambiguity because it is so overarching; however, it is because it covers so much—especially in principle—that makes it essential for understanding the nature of accounting. … here to read more

New to UT: III. How Do I Get Football Tickets?

I once heard that the athletic budget at UT was larger than the GDP of a small country. If there is anything bigger than MPA on campus, it is the football team. I remember Vince Young edging into the end zone like it was yesterday, and I still get chills every time I see the replay too. Needless to say at this point, the football team was a big part of why I attended Texas, and if there is any benefit to being a student here, it’s that you get to see a team in the upper echelon of college football royalty play for only a marginal cost.

First though, some thoughts for the week:

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally “Decoration Day,” was first celebrated in 1868 to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg, although the date was intentionally chosen to not coincide with the date of the battle. As time progressed, however, Memorial Day’s scope increased to honor the fallen of all American wars. Congress made the holiday official in 1968 under the Uniform Holidays Bill, which also established Washington’s Birthday and Veterans’ Day as official holidays. As someone who treasures freedom, I could not let this holiday pass without giving a space in my column to those who have died for me to have it, for it takes true courage to put your life on the line for this ideal. (Imagine the lifestyle in which the rights that we consider “unalienable” can be taken away for merely disagreeing with those in authority.) Thus, I leave this paragraph to honor those who gave their lives for my freedom generations later and to support those who answer the call to protect the threat of that freedom when needed. 

The Fifty Best Burgers in Texas

The Stodg, found at The Porch in Dallas, is cooked over hickory wood. It's hard to fathom that this behemoth is only No.6!

In my very first blog post, I mentioned how I have been trying to complete the AFI Top 100 movies. Well, another one of my lists is based on an article published in Texas Monthly nearly two years ago. This article ranks the fifty best burgers in the state. (Seeing as how most public accounting firms have a mandatory retiring age, I figure I’ll have time to open a restaurant once my auditing days are done.) Perhaps not my healthiest endeavor, it is interesting to see how these different establishments set up their businesses and to see the many different ways there are to just cook a burger. Personally, I find that I am partial to those cooked over a wood flame, but that can be compensated for if the quality of the meat is top notch. Thus, I realize that not all of my readers may like the aforementioned classic films, so hopefully curiosity to try a solid burger would be more relatable…and palatable.

Do you really go around trying different kinds of burgers?

Yes, even if it is just for business purposes. As a business student, I like comparing strategies of different companies to see what works, what doesn’t, and why. For example, what qualities distinguish Wal-Mart and Whole Foods even though both fundamentally sell groceries? Similarly, it is interesting to see a chain like Jack-in-the-Box with an incredibly diverse menu that extends to tacos and egg rolls succeed at the same time that the local Mighty Fine thrives on having a menu that nearly consists of only its burgers. Thus, for me it’s not only to taste awesome food, but it’s to see what simplicity can do for metrics such as throughput, quality, training costs, economies of scale, etc. 

But you really want to hear about how to get football tickets…  … here to read more