Tag Archives: communication

Melissa Takes Boston: Part 4

Hello everyone!

I am back with one last installment about my internship experiences this semester. McCombs provides  its students with a well-rounded business education and as I reflect on my internship, I realize that I used far more than just what I learned in my accounting classes. I thought I would share with you all how I used the McCombs core curriculum to succeed at my audit internship.

Finance: As as auditor, you will be exposed to a variety of financial instruments for which you need to audit and a background in finance is very helpful. I couldn’t have audited equity if I didn’t first understand present value!

Operations management: Throughout the course of the audit, you are exposed to the entirety of the business. As you audit certain areas such as inventory, you will identify fluxes (variances) that will need explanations. With my knowledge of operations management, I understood the nature of a supply chain (obtaining supplies, manufacturing, distributing, etc.) and thus I was able to dive deep into the numbers and understand what exactly was happening behind the scenes.

MIS: The MIS department will tell you this, and it’s definitely true- MIS is EVERYWHERE! Whether its the implementation of a new accounting system or database, or RFID tagging on your client’s inventory, you are definitely going to be exposed to a variety of information systems as an auditor.

Business communications: My BA324 experience is certainly a cliche one- I was a terrible public speaker (or as my professor so gracefully described it, an “inexperienced public speaker”) and the presentations and exercises in BA324 were crucial to my success in this realm of the business world. As an auditor,  you will need to be able to speak professionally with the client.

Management: As you move up in the public accounting world, or even if you leave and work in industry, eventually you are going to be in charge of some of your colleagues. And even before that, you are going to be the one being managed. This being said, the concepts that we are taught in management are always going to surround us in the business world.

Marketing: One thing that stuck with me from marketing classes, and something that I try to use in my career, is that you have to know how to market yourself. This trait did not apply so explicitly to my actual internship, but moreso the recruiting process that led up to it. I had to know how to showcase my strengths as I recruited so that my potential employers knew that I would be an asset to their firm.

I just think that McCombs is great and I hope you all agree! Remember this week that you can donate for BBA Legacy (even though we are MPA students- some of us are BBA too!)

Sacrificed communication

Before Facebook chat and text messaging, AIM was my technology-based communication of choice

Technology has always been something I have been really passionate about- hence, when I became an MPA, I kept MIS as my minor here at McCombs. I look at websites, read blogs, etc. and just love to hear the fascinating stories about how technology is shaping and improving the world we live in. However, something else very crucial to the changing world is communication. I am a strong believer in the importance of honest communication and believe that communicating, itself, also shapes and improves the world we live in.

That being said, I was intrigued when I came across a NYTimes article this morning that contrasts ‘communication’ with ‘connection,’ and discusses the role that technology has in the “sacrificing of communication.”

The article goes on to explain the notion of being “alone together.” In a world where we are attached to our smart phones and computers, we feel constantly connected to all of the people in our lives. Sherry Turkle, the author, goes on to explain how we expect more from technology and less from each other. We feel like, because we could send an email or text message at any time, we are all connected. Of course, this is important in a world that is getting smaller and I am not trying to downplay any of the amazing technologies that help business communication today. I just think it is important to remember that there is a difference in what you get out of a face-to-face conversation vs. one online or via email. Continue reading Sacrificed communication

Getting the final rose: MPA edition

some of my favorite MPAs.

Every time a new season of the Bachelor or Bachelorette comes on, I try to avoid it, however if I happen to watch the first episode, I’m hooked. Going through MPA recruiting is a lot like the Bachelor. I promise I’m not crazy- so I will explain.

1. You must dress and act to impress. The bachelor isn’t all about looks. I’d parallel this to the fact that MPA recruiting is not all about your resume. Sure, the Bachelor probably looks for a few characteristics in the women the first time they meet, just as firms are attracted to certain things on resumes such as teamwork, community service, extracurricular activities, and a good GPA. However, as recruiting continues, it is less about your resume and more about who you are.

2. There must be a mutually agreed fit. As in any relationship, there must be 2-sides of respect.  There should be trust from both sides and there must be a genuine interest in mutual success. Whenever you recruit with the firm where you are meant to work, this will become a reality for you.

3. You have to be genuine or it won’t work out. Here’s the thing about the Bachelor- sometimes these girls (Courtney for those of you who watched Ben’s season) act one way with the other girls, and another way with the Bachelor. When you act like something you aren’t to impress someone, it won’t work out in the end. This is probably why 90% of Bachelor relationships end up failing. As you recruit and try to find your perfect fit (#2), you have to be genuine. You must be real and true to yourself and your beliefs. If you are lucky, your internship will turn into a full-time offer, which turns into a career. This being said, it is important to begin the student-firm relationship with a true and authentic attitude and be sure that it is the real you that the firm knows.

HOWEVER, there is one huge difference between MPA recruiting and the Bachelor. There is more than one rose in recruiting!

When recruiting is over, I guarantee that everyone will receive “the final rose” from the firm that is perfect for them, as long as you are true to yourself throughout the process. Good luck!

Surviving my first week of career events

Recruiting is all about finding your perfect fit among the firms.

It is the point in the semester where all of the firms hold “Career Nights” for the third-year MPAs. Essentially, it is a less formal information session paired with a networking reception. To mirror my blog about mock interviews, I will tell you a few things I learned this week.

1. You really will start to discover the firm where you will fit best. Originally, I approached that notion with skepticism, thinking there was going to be a consistency between the firms. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. By no means are there “good” vs. “bad” firms, but moreso you will start to see where your personality fits in.

2. Know what makes you fun/unique. Of course it is important to know what year you are, what track you are pursuing, where you want to intern, etc. But how long do you think you can talk about that in a networking setting? Not very long. It is great when you talk about where you studied abroad, your favorite hobby, or your favorite food in Austin. And when you connect with someone who also lived in Paris, or also loves P. Terry’s, it makes the conversation more memorable and personal.

3. Get business cards and send thank you emails. But, do this because you WANT to, not because you think it something you have to do. The professionals can tell if your email is genuine or if it is forced. Make it personal. Do not have a shell email with which you “fill-in-the-blank” for firm and professional’s name.

These are just a few tips- but hopefully you get an idea for what Career Nights are really about, and I hope that my advice helps you in the future.

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