Mind in Peace – Hiking
Fall semester is near to its end. The weather in Los Angeles is a bit crisp now and fallen leaves can be seen on roadsides. Students of MAcc/MBT are now either preparing for their final course projects or studying for their final exams. Looking back at the past couple of months, it is amazing to see how much we have been through: studying, projects, recruiting, etc. During such an intensive period, every student in this program has found his/her own means to de-stress. I personally have found hiking.
When I was searching for peace of mind, a good friend and classmate, Jason Jacobi, introduced me to some amazing hiking trails easily accessible near LA. The first trail was Los Leones Canyon, which is one of the most popular hiking spots around the city without having to drive too far. The trails (either 3 or 7 miles) are well maintained, and the views over Pacific Palisades, Malibu, and Santa Monica are beautiful. My favorite part of the hiking trail is that it is not crowded—I can quietly enjoy the scenery and have gentle chats with my friend. All you need is some food, light snacks, water, and a strong heart.
Entrance to Los Leones Canyon
View of the Pacific Ocean covered in fog
Hike with a friend
MAcc Class of 2014
Left to right: Traddies, Leventhal Library, Lyon Center
USC MAcc/MBT can be challenging, as we near Thanksgiving break there are a flurry of exams, projects, papers, and general stressing out. In these times it is crucial we do not forget to practice good self-care. A few places on campus have become regular haunts as students try to balance workload and relaxation.
Nothing relieves the stress of examinations like preparedness, every day you will find MAcc/MBT students working hard at the Leventhal Library. This is my favorite spot to study because you can reserve a room to study alone or sit in the open areas and work in groups. (This is where many spend hours poring over the infamous 585 case studies). But all work and no play would not be the MAcc/MBT Leventhal way. After a long day of studying, Traddies and Lyon center are great places to unwind. Traddies is the on-campus restaurant/bar where groups will often go out to celebrate finishing a large project, play pool, and watch sports games. The Lyon center is the gym/wellness center—I enjoy going for a run to relieve stress whereas others take advantage of basketball courts, swimming lanes, group classes, and free weights.
Slightly less common ways to relax include events put together by the school, unfortunately I do not have a picture but we recently had a MAcc/MBT Thanksgiving dinner! Everyone from the program was invited for a delightful dinner with faculty and friends. It is amazing to see such a diverse group of people become so tight-knit within just a few short months, truly living up to my expectations of the Trojan Family.
Until next time, work hard, have fun, and Fight on!
MBT Class of 2014
Today is a big day for many of my MAcc/MBT classmates. The big four accounting firms extended employment offers today. Many of my classmates feel a sigh of relief after a long and grueling recruiting process.
The recruiting process began even before the first day of fall semester. MAcc/MBT students participated in a three day event called Quickstart. During Quickstart, we participated in workshops where we learned tips on what to do during the recruiting process. We learned things such as how to dress professionally and how to ace the interview.
When fall semester started, we had a chance to meet the public accounting firms during breakfast receptions. In these events we met with the recruiters and professionals from many different accounting firms face to face. We had a chance to use our networking skills that we learned during Quickstart.
Fall semester was demanding. We had to juggle five graduate classes, (including 585 mentioned in a previous blog), recruiting events, interviews, writing cover letters and thank you notes. I’ve had days were I had to wake up to go to my 8 am class and stay in school until 10 pm to attend an information session. Then I get to go home and work on a case, a group project and also study for midterms.
Finally, it’s over for many of us. The fear of uncertainty after graduation is gone. We now have something to look forward to after we are done with school. I’m excited to start a new life and I’m grateful to the USC MAcc program and my classmates for helping me with my journey. Tonight, my classmates and I plan on celebrating.
MACC Class of 2014
Among the many case studies and group projects, the one I have found to be more interesting is the consulting project in BUCO533: Managing Communication in Organizations course. The project involves a group of students, who are to offer free consulting services to small businesses or non-for-profit organizations. While the project is extremely taxing and time consuming, the project allows for exposure to managing client relationships and solving problems in the business world.
My group has been fortunate enough to land Bank of America as a client for the consulting project. While Bank of America does not qualify as a small business, a representative from the Commercial Banking Group has been kind enough to work with my group for the project. For the engagement, our group aims to assist the business development department in assessing prospects specific markets in Southern California. As our group conducts market research at the office, we have the chance to learn more about the operations of the Commercial Banking Group and to meet great professionals.
Although the project takes a large amount of effort and time, I enjoy the opportunity to work with a client like Bank of America. While our group’s research will probably provide a small value to the Bank, this project has provided a great learning experience for our group. This kind of exposure was never presented to me during my undergraduate study, and is a great example of the opportunities that the USC MAcc program provides!
MAcc Class of 2014
A warm, sunny day on campus in the middle of November!
It’s difficult to believe that we are already nearing the end of our first semester. These past few months have been a whirlwind of group projects, study sessions, recruiting, and late-night coffee trips. The first day of the semester seems so far away, and as I look back, I am amazed by how much I learned over the course of the semester. My most challenging classes, Acct 585 and Acct 581, have become my favorite because through the use of rigorous cases, I learned how to think critically about accounting issues. In Acct 581, for example, we analyze the financial statements of companies from the perspective of users. We are challenged to look beyond what is presented and to really understand the factors that drive the numbers in the financial statements. The most rewarding aspect of this class is when everything “clicks,” and suddenly you understand why you are doing all the various computations!
So far, my experience in the MAcc program has been truly amazing. I learned how to tackle complex accounting issues, and along the way, I have made some great friends to share this experience with. The top-notch professors, excellent courses, and great sense of community have made my experience at USC one that I will never forget.
MAcc Class of 2014
MAcc/MBT students got the chance to show off their Halloween costumes and celebrate at a party hosted by students at their off-campus house last weekend. All MAcc/MBT students were invited and people got creative with their outfits.
This was just one of the events that gave us the chance to socialize outside class and unwind after a busy week. Students regularly attend sports games and go to bars together.
There is a very friendly environment and events are open for all. This openness makes it very easy to get to know people in the program and get involved.
The amazing weather makes all of this even more enjoyable!
MAcc Class of 2014
It’s been ten weeks since the start of the semester. Recruiting is coming to a close, and those of us in the MBT program are now two weeks into our second round of classes. As challenging and rewarding as classes and recruiting have been, making new friends has definitely been a highlight of the semester.
Because of its size, the MAcc/MBT program gives students the opportunity to get to know each other well, both in and out of class. My team in communications class was formed at the beginning of the semester after the professor had us fill out applications about ourselves and paired us with teammates. In my team’s case, the result was a group of four people who probably wouldn’t have been more than casual acquaintances otherwise.
As the semester has progressed we’ve become more than just a project team. We hang out together for fun and enjoy seeing each other outside of class.
My team in communications class is just one example of the many friendships that have grown out of my classes here. The MAcc/MBT program is great in many ways and making friends has been one.
MBT Class of 2014
As a MBT student, the fall semester at USC has been one of the most challenging semesters I’ve ever had to endure. Balancing school and recruiting have been quite overwhelming and exhausting at times. While these two things have been the center of my life in the past two months, I found a great need to find an avenue to relieve stress and keep calm. For me, exploring and eating delicious foods with friends and staring into the night views in L.A are how I cope with stress. Below are a few pictures of my favorite eats in L.A:
All-you-can-eat Korean bbq
Chicken and fries from Dino’s Chicken and Burgers
Along with the pictures of the food, here are pictures of the beautiful nights in L.A:
View of Downtown L.A
View from Griffith Observatory
The combination of good food and peaceful nights has not only been a comfort, but it also has helped me fully enjoy the MAcc/MBT program at USC.
MBT Class of 2014
Professional Responsibilities in Accounting, aka “585” is one of the most rigorous courses in the MAcc program. It is probably the only course that is recognized by its course number by literally everyone in the program. This is because we are always concerned about finishing our 585 assignments. It has become a part of our daily conversation: “Hey, what’s up? Have you finished 585?” “No, I have no idea what a push down accounting is.” “Same here! I guess we’ll just have to try our best for now and wait until the next class.” So, what is 585 all about? In this post, I would like to explain this in more detail.
As a core accounting course, 585 is designed to challenge your accounting research, analysis, writing, discussion, and presentation skills. It is taught by experienced professors who are former executives at Big 4 firms, who know inside and out about accounting and audit. Case studies are the primary method of learning in this course and assignments are given almost every week. For each case, we work in teams and (a) identify accounting issues and problems, (b) research the accounting literature, (c) analyze possible accounting alternatives, (d) arrive at logical and supportable solutions to the issues and problems, and (e) present the solutions in written form and oral presentations. The presentations or role-playing interviews are given in business attire that simulates real-life communications between auditors and management.
Our team preparing for a role playing case in the courtyard at Popovich Hall
So far, we have covered a variety of topics in our cases. They are all challenging real-life cases and require a lot of logical thinking, technical knowledge, professional judgment, and teamwork. By struggling through these extensive case studies, students are able to progressively achieve the ultimate goal of this course, which is to enhance the understanding of the underlying concepts of accounting theory and principles.
Professor Smith explaining the case solutions
585, in my opinion may be the toughest course in the MAcc program, but at the same time, I strongly feel that I am learning all the required skills in order to become a successful accounting professional. After all, this is what we are going to be doing in real-life when we enter the accounting industry. Besides, we are not alone. We are all in this together.
MAcc class of 2014
As I sit and reflect on the past 9 weeks since starting the MAcc program here at USC, countless thoughts pop into my head…my first time meeting Shirley and Cathy, the very entertaining orientation session, my first football tailgate/ game, midterm week, 585. Many of these thoughts will leave great memories (albeit not all of them- stand up midterm week) and most have been discussed previously in the blog, given that they are influential events that we have all experienced together.
Since this is a chance to reminisce on my own experiences, I can’t go much further without thinking of the diversity of MAcc/ MBT student body. If USC’s first home win this year was a powerful experience (and trust me it was after the Washington State debacle), think about the diversity of our program! How many schools in the country, let alone places in the world, can you attend and meet such a diversified group? My answer is, as you expected, nowhere.
USC, and specifically the MAcc/MBT program celebrate and encourage diversity in their classes. And as much as you and I read and hear about how important diversity is, you don’t actually realize its impact until you experience it first-hand. How can you have a meaningful class discussion (not a lecture mind you) about a Singaporean I.T accounting system, then switch gears 2 days later, and discuss a retail I.T distribution system in Germany if everyone in the class has the same background and experiences?
Diversity is the catalyst behind this process. We have students who have visited Singapore, who are from China, who can predict fantasy football trends, who don’t know what football is, and who just took Intermediate Accounting. Sounds random, doesn’t it? Yes! That is the beauty of diversity. We all come from different backgrounds, different cultures, have different skill sets, different preferences, and different tastes. Our diversity not only drives in-depth and unbelievably enlightening class discussions, but also opens your eyes to the depth of culture in the world we live in today.
Was I tempted to attend a program where I would be very similar to everyone else? Sure, at first. But luckily I chose USC, and learned that North Carolina-style BBQ may not be the best after all.
As we all say, fight on!
MAcc Class of 2014