Tag Archives: academics

Jumping Right In

Hi y’all! My name is Karin Schultz and I’m a Louisiana native that came to the MPA program by way of New York and California. I’m currently enrolled in two summer courses with about 30 other tMPA students gearing up for the fall semester. I’m happy to say that I’ve survived my first three weeks of class, including a Financial Accounting test and a Tax test! In our short summer sessions we have our second tests in both courses coming up this week.

Tax Present
We even got a present our first day of tax!

Coming into the program I wasn’t sure what to expect: I took my prerequisites at a local California university, and honestly, they weren’t very challenging. Being out of a rigorous academic environment for two years had led to some mental shock that can be best described using phrases such as, “Will the ratio of 10 chapters of reading/5 hours of sleep=coffee?” and “I’ve been doing my taxes wrong all this time.” Both professors, Lendecky (but please, call him Brian) and Holbrook, are excellent; they take time to explain things that students don’t understand and have office hours multiple days a week for us to come ask our ever mounting questions.

While these classes are pushing me to get my mind in shape, I’m already finding areas of accounting that appeal to me. This is fantastic, given that recruiting starts in less than a month! Three weeks from now I’ll be meeting with faculty, classmates, and recruiters as I try to figure out where I want to be when I graduate. I’ve heard it’s a wild ride, but this intensity is part of what drew me to the MPA program. I want to learn with the best, from the best, and be recruited by the best. (In case you didn’t know, my use of “best” is warranted.) In my short time on campus I’ve even learned a little phrase that will make you friends wherever you go:


Hook ‘em Horns

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Learning to accept average has been among my many lessons in this competitive program.

Much like the aforementioned idiom this post is more about perspective than it is about beauty. Since I’ve been in the MPA program I’ve had two interesting encounters with perspective:

1. A change in my perspective

When people used to ask me how I did on an exam or an assignment I would always compare to myself, generally my past performance or a goal. So someone might say “how did you do?” and I would think about how my performance stacked up and say “I did well” or “I didn’t do as well as I would have liked”.

In this program I have no idea what “well” means. Objectively my percentage of comprehension/retention of presented material is about 75% which to me seems awful, but we’re comparing apples to oranges in terms of amount material presented.

On the bright side the program does provide an alternative measure of performance: comparison to others. This is a less attractive option to me than self comparison because the people here are really smart, but it’s what I’ve got to live with. Now that I’m getting a better grasp of the curving system I always compare myself to the mean. It’s a very strange adjustment to make statements relative to average because historically average has never been my goal, but I try to remember that in this crowd average is still pretty good. Continue reading Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Sentiments of a Fifth-Year MPA Student

Karen celebrates birthday with MPA friends.

Wow! I never thought I would get this far. Being a fifth-year Integrated MPA student still feels surreal to me. My years of hardwork as a college student will finally come to a close. It surely feels bittersweet.

What does a fifth-year student’s schedule look like?  After going through my recruiting and internship semesters, I have just been focusing on my remaining courses and enjoying Austin as much as I can.

I have a couple of undergraduate classes left to satisfy my BBA degree and three remaining graduate courses. Group projects, midterms, and deadlines are still the main highlights of my semester.

Even though this is my last year here at UT, I still strive to maintain my grades. while also making room to take fun classes that are non-accounting related, such as theatre and music.

I have also been preparing for the CPA Exam, which I am taking in April 2012. Testing under out-of-state requirements can be challenging, but I am very fortunate to have very helpful academic advisors that walk me through the process. I have also looked at Becker CPA Review courses to prepare for the exams. The AICPA website provides a good overview of the exam components and requirements for candidates. Continue reading Sentiments of a Fifth-Year MPA Student