A long time ago, in a place not too far away…

One of the most appealing aspects of attending the University of Texas is the fact it is located in the heart of Austin. I know that I was a little nervous moving to a big city for college, but Austin is the perfect college town.  Why would I say that? First of all, I say that because the UT campus is off on its own on the north end of downtown Austin, so you get that feeling of being on a centralized college campus that is rare in urban universities. Second, the entire city seems to be compromised of Longhorn fans and alums, so you’ll see that welcoming shade of burnt orange everywhere you go. The other reasons Austin is a great place to go to school are Austin’s history, opportunities, entertainment and food.

To do the city justice, I will write a post about each of these components of Austin. Today, we are going to focus on the city’s history.

The Founding of Austin

The city’s recorded history began in 1830s when Anglo-American settlers arrived. These settlers eventually founded the city (then called Waterloo) along the banks of the Colorado River.  During this time period (around 1836-37), Texas had just won it’s independence and recently formed the Republic of Texas. In 1837, President Sam Houston established the Republic’s capital in Houston.  It was at President Mirabeau B. Lamar’s instructions that the Texas Congress purchase all the land of Waterloo and surrounding the banks of the Colorado River to establish a permanent Texas capital. The Texas Capital named the new city Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, “the father of Texas,” and officially chartered the city in 1839. Continue reading A long time ago, in a place not too far away…

Time Travel: The History of Accounting

Once a number cruncher, always a number cruncher!

The celebration of the UT Accounting Program’s centennial anniversary is fast approaching. What would be a better way to celebrate this longstanding success than looking back at how the field of accounting was born? This will be the first of a three-part series on accounting: how it started; how it’s viewed and used in today’s world; and how the accounting program was established and developed at UT.

It might be a surprise to some, but accounting is one of the oldest professions in history. Families and small communities had to account for food and other necessities in preparation for cold and harsh seasons. Researchers and anthropologists found evidence of accounting records that existed during the Babylon Empire. In other words, formal accounting records were already in existence since 4500 BC! They also found accounting records in the Code of Hammurabi which dates back to 2250 BC! This just proves that as business transactions and government tax systems became more complex, people knew that they had to account and keep track of their revenues and expenses. Continue reading Time Travel: The History of Accounting

Not Just Your Average Number Cruncher

I thought I would take a minute to talk about one of my classes again.  This time I am not so much in fear of the class, as I am enjoying it!  My business communication class is turning out to be very useful and practical for my life and career.  We are learning about writing, speaking, and interpersonal communication skills – all KEY skills to being successful in an accounting career, and pretty much any other career for that matter.

Some of the assignments so far include memo writing and revision, presenting in front of the class, and learning how to work with various personality types.  Even as I am writing this blog, I am thinking about some of the tips and tools to write more effectively (most notably, the SEC recommendations issued in the “SEC Plain English Handbook“).  When writing a memo, (which I anticipate writing many as an accountant), it is important to be clear and concise.  More importantly, you must know who your audience is and direct your writing towards them.  A memo directed to the CEO versus one directed to lower level staff may have a different tone and different information because who its intended audience is.  The SEC guide shows many more suggestions for how to write and communicate most effectively. Continue reading Not Just Your Average Number Cruncher

In defense of mock interviews

Rishnie and I at our first MPA recruiting event!

Hello everyone! Recruiting season is officially here! This week was a relatively light week according to older MPAs and my audit professor, Professor Kachelmeier.  Regardless, this week has definitely taught me that time management is going to be ESSENTIAL as the recruiting season goes on. This week we had mock interviews, and company nights with a few firms. I will share with you three things that mock interviews taught me this week.

1. Don’t be nervous: This is KEY to the interview process. I can tell you that before I have even had my first ‘real interview’ because it is a universal truth that completely applies here. Your interviewer can sense your nerves. Sounding nervous can convey the message that you are unprepared, which is something that can quickly put you at the bottom of the firm’s prospective intern list. You have to remember that recruiters are people too.  Don’t be nervous because you think that they are judging you. They truly WANT you to succeed.

2. Be yourself: I think this little idiom applies to every aspect of life, however, I will explain its relevance in regard to mock interviews/real interviews. Basically what it all boils down to is that we are all MPAs.  Texas has the number one accounting program in the nation, and the recruiters know how well McCombs prepares us for our careers. That being said, your interviewer is really trying to discover if you would be a good fit for his/her firm. It is all about your personality because nobody wants to work with colleagues that they do not like. You must stay true to yourself because the “interview version” of you must be consistent with the “work version” or else you convey that you are not being real.

3. Practice makes perfect: There is no better way to prepare for real interviews than participating in a mock interview. If you make a mistake in a mock interview, you can fix it before your real interviews. If you make a mistake in your real interview, you can’t go back and fix it.

I strongly encourage EVERYONE to do mock interviews and please comment if you have any questions about the process!

A different perspective…

If you read Melissa’s post from a couple of days ago, she spoke about the MPA: Building Connections event about an introduction to recruiting.  I was also at the event but on the other side – helping the 3rd year MPAs practice recruiting by posing as a recruiter and giving networking advice.  It was pretty fun doing this! I got to talk to the students and get to know where they were in the recruiting process and what their interests are in the accounting profession.

The funny thing is that I also learned a lot from this event.  It had been a while (at least 6 months) since I was at a networking/recruiting event and I was a little rusty on my skills.  Listening to what Michelle Polkinghorn and others had to say was a great reminder of the small details that make you stand out from others, as well as great refresher on the conventions and etiquette of business interactions.  Mainly, it was fun talking to the 3rd years and sharing my experiences with them.  I was able to talk about my internship experience, what I liked and what I did not like, and then relate that back to them and to help them take advantage of their opportunities.

If any 3rd years (or anyone else for that matter) have questions about recruiting or networking tips, the people at career services are experts in that area.  In addition, I would be happy to share my  thoughts with anyone about my experiences in networking, both in a recruiting sense as well as in a general sense.  Networking can definitely be tiring, but it is also very fun, so enjoy it and take advantage of meeting new and exciting people!

Please leave comments or questions below.

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