Tag Archives: Texas MPA

Live Music Capital of the World

austin city music header Now that recruiting is out of the way and one semester under my belt, I feel like I have some extra breathing room to enjoy more of the fun that Austin has to offer. My biggest new year’s resolution is to see more live music, and what better place to enable my success than the Live Music Capital of the World? Being a musician, it wouldn’t hurt to get the chance to perform some of that live music as well.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve had the chance to see a few acts already, but I still have some places on my hit list:

Victory Grill: I had the chance after our first day back of the spring semester to check out Victory Grill’s weekly Monday night blues jam. A few of us MPAs went, and have already made plans to go back. It felt like a neighborhood bar for regulars to come and play sweet blues music, taking turns on the stage to wring out their troubles.

Red River: Not a single venue, but a strip of clubs, bars, and music venues. Stubb’s BBQ and Mohawk regularly feature relatively well-known touring artists in addition to some of the local greats. Then there are several smaller venues and bars clustered around that frequently host live music.


The Legendary White Swan: This one, another neighborhood bar, has been on my list for a while, but I haven’t made it down there yet. They host a variety of local artists, from blues to punk to roots country.

Sahara Lounge: Another venue that recently appeared on my radar, the Sahara Lounge is the most eclectic on the list. The variety of music that can be found here includes Indie, African, Blues, Rock, Country, Swing, Brazilian, and Funk.

Any takers?  Any other venues I need to check out?

Points to Ponder from MPA Council Ethics Week

MPA Council had its second annual ethics week on October 21st through 25th in conjunction with the university wide Integrity-UT week. During this week, MPA Council hosted multiple events, including a screening of the movie Wall Street, an ethics lecture led by Professor Robert Prentice, and an ethics discussion for students.

My personal favorite event was Professor Prentice’s lecture, and the points he brought up will stay with me for some time to come and hopefully will lead me to make ethical decisions in my career.

He opened the lecture by pointing out that, as individuals, we tend to think we are one person who acts a certain way based on our original personalities. However, research shows that our decisions are heavily influenced by our environments and these environments can even change our personalities.

Money especially can have a huge impact on the decisions we make. Professor Prentice showed multiple academic researches that showed people behaved much more selfishly and minimized the concerns of other people in their decision when prompted with money.

Morality is something we consider when dealing with other people, and as money takes us farther away from the consequences to others, we are less likely to make ethical decisions.

Other things can also influence our decision making, such as the colors present in our immediate environment and the actions of others around us.

To learn more about Professor Prentice work in business ethics, you can check out his work and the perspective of ethics from McCombs students through Ethics Unwrapped.


Can you Identify a Fraudster?

Currently I am taking Professor Bradshaw‘s Fraud Examination class as an accounting elective. In the course we learned about the typical white-collar criminal and I believe most of us were surprised by the statistics. (I know I was!)

Maybe I have watched too many episodes of Law and Order: SVU, but I pride myself in being able to read others and anticipate who is the “bad guy” in a movie or TV show before it is revealed to the audience. Being able to read people is a valuable skill to have and, unfortunately, a necessary one because professionals in the workplace may not always be as honest as we hope they will be. In this respect, we cannot let stereotypes bias the way we view our colleagues and others in the professional environment.

Before discussing who is most likely to be a corporate fraudster, Professor Bradshaw prompted the class to describe the quintessential fraudster. In our minds, it would typically be the sinister looking professional who is either A) quiet and viewed to be anti-social or B) really aggressive. It is easy to convince yourself that the corporate “bad guys” are going to resemble the ones that you see in Hollywood dramas. However, statistically, the typical fraudster is not who you would expect.

Here are the characteristics of a typical corporate fraudster:

  • Male, aged 35+
  • Strong accounting/finance background and above average education
  • In a position of trust
  • Stable family/personal situation
  • Good psychological health
  • No criminal record

These characteristics, as Professor Bradshaw humorously pointed out, are more believable to be descriptive of the average McCombs professor, not a white collar criminal.

I would highly recommend Professor Bradshaw’s class if you are looking for an accounting elective to take! And remember to be wary in the workplace- the fraudster may not be who you most expect!

“It’s never the person you most suspect. It’s also never the person you least suspect, since anyone with half a brain would suspect them the most. Therefore I know the killer to be Phyllis, AKA Beatrix Bourbon, the person I most medium suspect.”
                                           –Dwight (during a Murder Mystery on The Office)

Recruiting Pep Talk

Be prepared- It is nerve racking coming into an event trying to make a good impression on an employer. Being prepared will ease your fears, and let you focus on what you are there to do. Being prepared goes farther beyond company research, being prepared means also know your own schedule and accommodating your recruiting events so you are not stressed about how much study time you are missing out on. Being prepared also means being sure on what the dress code is, where the event is, and how you plan on getting there, so you can show up on time and ready. Unfortunately, in both accounting and recruiting, the devil is in the details, and taking the time to account for them will help you not sweat the small stuff.

Be inquisitive- Ask lots of questions at these events. You have questions, and they have answers, so be sure to ask away. Asking questions about the work you are going to see as first year staff, advancement opportunities, training and mentorship programs, etc., shows you are serious about pursuing a career with the company.

Be eager- Every year, I see students at events for a firm they have firmly decided to not accept an offer that are completely disengaged and are making no attempt at hiding this decision. Even if you have decided to not go with a firm, if you find yourself at that firm’s event make an effort to seem be eager to be there because this network you establish in recruiting will follow you during your professional career. Not to mention recruiters talk to each other. In my experience, eagerness is the quality that translates to recruiters the most and is the hardest to fake. Recruiters remember people that are eager to be at their events.

Be professional- You will bond with recruiters, but remember they aren’t necessarily your friends. Avoid topics and language that would make a future employer hesitate to put you in front of a client. Again, remember that recruiters talk, so things can carry across firm lines.

Be yourself- This is the most important “Be” by far. The whole purpose of recruiting is to see where your personality and skill set will fit the best. It’s impossible to determine if you fit if you are not being yourself, and being whoever you think recruiters want you to be.


Czech it Out- Cultural Excursions

In Old Town Square before our walking tour!

Yet another installment of my summer abroad experience!

While in the study abroad program, you have a cultural liaison who is affiliated with UT (usually a masters or PhD student) that is familiar with the culture and fluent in the language. Your liaison is responsible for organizing cultural events every week so you get a good taste of the culture in your short time abroad.

Our liaison was Jaro, a UT PhD student from Slovakia, and he did an excellent job organizing our events so we would get a feel for the distinctive culture in Prague.

The cultural event for our first week was an extensive walking tour of the city so we could get our bearings. This was very informal and a good way to start to get to know our fellow MPA students also in Prague. Prague is a city rich with history: stretching back from being the cultural center of the Holy Roman Empire under Emperor Charles IV, being invaded by Prussians, becoming the capital of Czechoslovakia, being invaded by Nazis, being taken over by communist powers at the end of WWII, to leading the Velvet Revolution to end the communist regime. Prague also is one of the most picturesque cities in the world with it beautiful baroque architecture that is everywhere you turn. The only unfortunate thing about the walking tour is that we found ourselves in the worst flood of the decade (and a nation-wide state of emergency) so some of the areas close to the Vltava river, including the famous Charles Bridge, were closed.

Jaro leading our tour in the Communist Museum

The next week, Jaro was our personal tour guide through the Prague Communist museum. Jaro shared his personal experience growing up in a communist country, and the experiences of his family during the communist regime. This is where the effect of Communism became really apparent, and it became impossible to ignore how often you saw its impact on the city throughout the rest of the trip.

Prague is a city famous for its jazz music. Some go as far to say it’s the best city next to New Orleans for jazz in the world. The city has many famous jazz clubs where all the American greats have performed out. Even Bill Clinton graced the citizens of Prague with a performance on the saxophone while he was here as US president. Jaro booked us a jazz river cruise for the night after our exam for Professor Kamas’ half of the course. I think he was so nice to us since we missed the river sights on our earlier cultural experiences due to flooding. We enjoyed the company of our fellow MPAs, Professor Kamas and his wife, wonderful jazz music, and the beautiful sights of the Prague waterfront.

Our last cultural experience was a visit to the opera. Prague is famous for its opera, and it was definitely a … hmmm, how do I say this…. cultural experience. So, it turns out opera is not my cup of tea, but it was still a wonderful experience and I can now say that I have attended an opera!