USC Leventhal MAcc/MBT Student Blog

Stories straight from the students

Coming-up, Commencement!

Spring semester is now close to an end, and the commencement date has come up within a month. Students are now becoming busy with the preparation for our new life once we graduate from the program. I see friends who are trying to find new places to reside, studying for CPA exams, or scheduling their summer vacation.

One preparation that everyone needs to do is to visit the Grad Fair to rent cap and gown. At the Grad Fair, students can not only rent cap and gown but can also have pictures taken in cap and gown and purchase yearbook. It costs extra to purchase additional items other than to simply rent cap and gown, but some students deem that the cost is worth the memory at USC.

 As I think about how only few weeks is left until the commencement, I already feel sad about leaving USC. That is why I will try to make more everlasting memories before the actual commencement date!

Fight on!

Wooin Park

MAcc Class of 2014


Sunday Excursions

Los Angeles is great because there are so many things to do once you leave campus. As mentioned in the February 24th post, Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory are not that far from campus and they both are a good way to get away, even if only for a little bit, from the hustle and bustle of downtown LA.

I heard about the Griffith Observatory before I move to California and it was mentioned in one of my classes as a recommended place to visit. Another fellow MAcc student and I decided to go out and get some fresh air on what turned out to be a great Sunday afternoon. When we first arrived to the observatory, we noticed that people were taking full advantage of the beautiful weather. There were families, friends, and couples enjoying picnics outside either before or after they complete the tour.


The lawn in front of the Griffith Observatory. Over the years the observatory has evolved; it opened in 1935 and was a gift to the Los Angeles public so that everyone could enjoy what astronomers got to see in space on daily.

Once inside the observatory we entered the rotunda and saw a beautiful mural on the ceiling and surrounding walls. This is directly above a display of the Foucault Pendulum that continues to swing as long as Earth rotates on its axis.


The main lobby of the observatory

After going through the observatory we exited outside to the balcony. The view of Los Angeles is something out of a movie scene. It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day tasks of being a graduate student, but this view is a nice reminder that life does exist outside the walls of JKP (Popovich Hall).


View of downtown LA


The Hollywood sign sight is better than what my camera could capture

Patrice Turner 

Macc Class of 2014 

Fitness and Wellness

Fitness and wellness is important to me and USC provides a lot for me to achieve my goal.

1) Group exercise classes

USC offers a variety of group exercise classes throughout the semester and during summer. This spring, I joined the group class and tried Yoga, TurboKick, Cardio Funk, Hip Hop and Zumba. Zumba is my favorite, so far because I feel great and refreshed after the liberal exercise. Mentally, Zumba teaches me to be confident, be patient and hold myself accountable.

2) Cromwell Field and Track

I prefer to run outdoors instead of inside the gym. Thus Cromwell Field and Track is a good place for me to have a morning run or night run. 


Exercise is an attitude and a life style. Have you exercised today? 

Sue Wang

MBT Class of 2014 

Festival of Books


Tents being set up in preparation for the festival

 USC is always bustling with various events and activities. Throughout the semester, you can find various events being held on campus, and this weekend, USC is going to host the annual Festival of Books! The Festival of Books is a major attraction in Los Angeles, and it brings bestselling authors, entertainers, and bands together for a weekend of fun. Attending events such as these on campus is definitely a welcome break from all that studying!

Lisa Yu 

Macc Class of 2014 

China Trip 2014

Over Spring Break, 23 MAcc and MBT students have made a memorable trip to Shanghai and Beijing as part of the ACCT 526 Global Accounting Experience course. This year, we had the opportunity to visit two Big 4 firms (EY and PwC), Baosteel (China’s largest steel producer), CSRC (China’s equivalent of SEC), CICPA (China’s equivalent of AICPA), Peking University (China’s equivalent of Harvard), and BOE (giant manufacturer of liquid-crystal display products). Needless to say, there were also a lot of sightseeing, eating, and drinking involved. Through these visits, we were able to learn firsthand about China’s accounting and business environments, economic and political systems, and most importantly the cultural differences. Below are some pictures from the trip.


EY Shanghai office


Steel mill at Baosteel


Yu Garden


Bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing


Transparent touchscreen LCD refrigerator door at BOE


Great Wall of China


Tiananmen Square

This was truly a once in a lifetime experience, and we enjoyed every single part of it!

Fight on!

Joe Urano

MAcc Class of 2014

Social Networking

imageMAcc students Julio, Kevin and Simeon enjoying some social networking

I recently got the chance to attend a bi-monthly mixer held on the lawn outside of Popovich Hall. It was a great chance to interact with my classmates and MBAs alike, who, especially during spring semester, you see a lot more of. It gave me a chance to finally put a name to all those faces who may not know their debits and credits as well as us, but are great with business acumen!

Wednesday was International Food day, so along with good-ole fashioned American drinks, there were some exotic, tasty food items! It was a blast to get a chance to enjoy some great food, drink, and conversation on a lovely 70° evening in Southern California (as I write this, my hometown on the east is still getting snow!).

Marshall (the overarching school of USC encompassing the MBA and ACCT programs) sponsors these events every other Wednesday evening. I only just attended my first one but definitely plan on going back in 2 weeks! And this serves as your heads up, with a bit of time to plan, to make your way to these events. It’s a great way to hang out with classmates and meet new friends alike, even in the waning time of the semester!

So instead of face-booking, make the decision to social network at the Wednesday night mixers next year!

Until next time, fight on

Mike Uhle, MAcc Class of 2014

MBT Electives

The MBT program is structured so that most core classes are completed in the fall, leaving the spring for electives. I’m taking five tax electives, and each one is very different.


In Advanced Partnership Taxation we’re currently learning about liquidations and sales of partnership interests. Partnership taxation is unique because, though certain transactions are handled in different ways, the right person almost always ends up being taxed in the right way and at the right time.

International Taxation looks at how U.S. entities and their foreign subsidiaries are taxed by the U.S. government when operating abroad. This week we’re learning about foreign tax credit limitations.

Advanced Corporate Taxation focuses on how to qualify mergers and acquisitions for tax-free treatment and satisfy the conflicting needs of stakeholders involved in a transaction.

Tax Accounting Methods is a timing course. We learn how to plan a transaction to accelerate a deduction or defer income and whether to capitalize or deduct certain costs.

Income Tax Accounting and Auditing gives a firsthand look at tax provisions and how tax expense on the income statement is impacted by a certain year’s activities by accounting for differences in how items are treated for tax versus book purposes. Groups are given a challenging tax provision project to work on throughout the semester.

The tax electives in the MBT program each provide specialized knowledge in certain areas. As I learn more about tax I realize how little I actually know and how much more there is to learn.

Joel Facchinelllo

MBT Class of 2014





Field Trip to SpaceX

As Joe mentioned in a previous post, spring semester is full of choices. I chose to take Management Accounting and Control Systems as one of my electives and the class deals mainly with cost accounting and how businesses can make better management decisions. One of the best ways to learn cost accounting is to visualize it, so Professor Wride decided to take our class on a field trip to SpaceX headquartered in Hawthorne, California.


After arriving in a bus from campus, our class had to check in at the front desk. The security at SpaceX is fairly strict. We had to give our information ahead of time and bring our driver’s license.  Bags, cameras or cell phones were not allowed on the factory floor. After checking in, we met Bret Johnson, the CFO of SpaceX. We listened to his presentation and watched a video about SpaceX. The video gave us an overall picture of the business.


After watching the video, we started our tour of the factory floor. We had a chance to see the production process first hand. When producing a rocket, SpaceX moves the rocket from one part of the floor to the next. The factory floor was huge and it had a modern feel to it. There were offices located high above the floor. According to Bret, it was built that way so that they can watch the production process. A few other interesting things I saw during my trip was SpaceX’s mission control. It is a room with many big screen tvs and computer monitors.


Overall, the experience gave us a better understanding of SpaceX’s cost accounting. It also made it easier for the professor to explain some of the cost accounting concepts during lecture. He used the lessons learned from the trip as examples and made it much easier for us to visualize the accounting concepts. 

Sights Around USC and LA

There are many places to see in the immediate vicinity of USC and in the Los Angeles area as a whole.

Exposition Park is just south of the USC campus and right across the street from Popovich Hall, where most of my classes are. Besides holding the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Exposition Park is a great place to relax or take a jog.


Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at Exposition Park


Exposition Park


Shrine Auditorium, across the street from the north side of campus

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, Griffith Park is about 10 miles north of USC. It has great hiking trails and a wonderful view of Los Angeles.

Time for Coffee!

I became a coffee addict once I started the MAcc/MBT program.  Thankfully, there are so many cafes in LA to choose from and each place is uniquely decorated.  I especially enjoy it when baristas design my coffee.

Below are pictures of a few of my favorite cafes to study or spend time with my classmates outside of campus.


Here is Urth Caffe in the Arts District of Downtown LA.  My favorite coffee is the Spanish Latte.  It’s not too sweet or bitter, but most importantly, it keeps me alert and ready for my tax classes.

imageThis is a picture of a vanilla latte from Caffe Bene in Koreatown.  I come here quite often to study because I love the high ceilings and the second floor is specifically designed for people to study.

Selena Han 

Macc Class of 2014