Tag Archives: students

In High Gear

Note: Not the actual class. We’re better looking.

Days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months. It is hard to believe that it’s been almost three months since I started the MPA program. From orientation to recruiting workshops, company info sessions, and of course, the classes and group projects, one can understand how quickly time flies. I like saying that the program is in high gear. Although, looking back now, I wonder if it ever was in any other gear. All joking aside, if you are looking for a rigorous program that is bent on educating and training future accountants committed to excellence, this is it.

One thing I love about the program is the drive and motivation that my peers have. It is contagious and encouraging at the same time. In spite of the whirlwind of events happening right now, everyone is as eager and passionate about what they do.

A good example of this is a class I have on late afternoons on Mondays and Wednesdays, which is typically the sluggish time for most people. Now, I did not pick the class section because of that, it was the only one available by the time I registered. I was disappointed because I thought this class would be such a drag. But a few weeks into the semester now, my previous assumption could not be further from the truth. I look around the classroom and everyone is engaged and focused on the professor. I think I sometimes even see actual wheels spinning on their heads. There is a lively discussion of ideas and free flow of thoughtful questions. At times, we don’t even finish the slides because of the discussion.

As much as the program is in high gear, the students are as well. I could not have asked for a better set of cohorts than the MPA Class of 2014 because they encourage and remind me of why I’m here. In an intense program like what we have, it is good to be surrounded by friends who do not accept mediocrity. That is special. So even though our journey has only begun, I am convinced that these are relationships that would go beyond the weeks and months we have in our MPA experience.

“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

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!

SOPA: what it means to this MPA blogger

Google's response to SOPA

If you’ve visited Wikipedia, Google, or various other websites yesterday, you probably noticed their blackout/anti-SOPA messages and warnings. Before I go any further, let me just say that this blog entry is an attempt to explain SOPA in the most colloquial way that I can. I realize that there may be some missing pieces in my explanation.

SOPA stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act, which, on the surface seems to be a worthy cause. In theory, this act attacks something that is actually a real problem, internet piracy. The word piracy has a negative connotation and thusly initial public response would be that it is harmful. Haven’t we always been taught that plagiarism is wrong? Sure, the surface goal of SOPA is to stop foreign sites from providing users with pirated material and that is something the general population should at least try to support. And why companies such as Time Warner ARE supporting the bill. But, the repercussions of the bill would be far worse than just having to wait an extra week for the episode of your favorite show to be up on Hulu.

SOPA would have the biggest effect on any sites that use user-generated content. This may be why Wikipedia is so enthralled in the anti-SOPA movement. Other sites include Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube. Of course, this bill will not criminalize posting YouTube videos, per say, but it will hold YouTube to a new level of accountability and make it far more difficult to share and watch videos online. SOPA gives the Attorney General the ability to act against infringing websites without a trial or a court hearing and with that comes the ability to take advantage of this power. This would potentially cause more harm than the good that comes from intellectual property protection. Of course, SOPA would not go to the depths of some internet censorship such as that in China, however in practicality, it will have similar repercussions.

There have been attempts to stop piracy in the past- for example there are bills that have already passed that do exactly what SOPA is claiming to do and so, some believe that SOPA is unnecessary.

Of course, I am not supporting plagiarism or internet piracy. I go to a University with very high ethics and I plan to always stand by the honor code. However, I believe SOPA would do more harm than good and I hope that everyone takes a minute or two to get educated about the bill.

If this at all resonates with you, then please, do some research and find out how you can make a difference. Google has a few things to say about the bill and check out this full page ad that ran in the NYTimes a few months ago.

Please keep in mind that these are my own personal views, and may or may not reflect the opinion of McCombs or the University.

Carpe Diem

The signature motto of The University of Texas is “What starts here changes the world.” When I first came to UT, I felt that this was just a showy saying with little substance behind it. I am starting to realize, however, that this statement is truly the cornerstone of our university.

When most students decide to continue their education at Texas, they do so not only because they want a great education, but  because they want to matter in the world. The University of Texas gives them the appropriate means to accomplish their goals.

Every student I have met here wants to matter in the world. They are all extremely ambitious people with big goals for their futures. The majority of MPA students take on leadership roles in organizations on campus, participate in company networking sessions, sign up for interviews and mock-interviews, and work hard to get excellent grades in their coursework to set themselves up for a fantastic job. UT students invest their time and energy in things that will give them the opportunity to matter in the world.

I continually share with my parents all of the things McCombs and the MPA program offer to maximize my future opportunities. My mom said, “Ally, it’s a wonderful program and it is great that you are focused on your future, but don’t neglect to focus on the present and enjoy this time of your life.” It wasn’t until August of this past year that I understood the true meaning of what she was telling me.

The first thing I understood about focusing on the present was that I would only be in college at UT with all of my friends for a finite period of time, whereas I will be working forever. It only makes sense to take advantage of everything the University offers while you are a student: going to football and basketball games, attending campus events, and spending lots of time with friends. Continue reading Carpe Diem