Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT program lets students get head start on graduate-level accounting courses

Audrey Braugh

UT launched a new program this semester for non-accounting undergraduate students to get an early start on the Master in Professional Accounting degree.

The MPA Bridge program allows both McCombs and non-McCombs students to start early on graduate-level courses in their senior year. After their senior year, MPA Bridge students complete the required fifth-year coursework, an internship and earn their Master in Professional Accounting degree, said MPA program director Kristina Zvinakis. UT’s accounting program is top-ranked in the nation. 

Prior to the creation of MPA Bridge, non-accounting students had to wait until the spring of their senior year to apply to the MPA program. The MPA Bridge gives students flexibility in how they complete graduate courses. MPA Bridge students also have earlier access to MPA career services, Zvinakis said.

“When students start the program, they’re invited to employer events and to accounting speaker discussions about various career paths,” Zvinakis said. “(MPA Bridge) really allows them more time to partake in this process than if they had solely applied to that one-year graduate program.”

Zvinakis said many MPA students also go on to earn professional designations, such as certified public accountant. These professional designations require coursework and hour requirements that the MPA program helps students complete.

“The MPA program provides accounting knowledge that students can utilize in a variety of workplaces,” Zvinakis said. “It also prepares them to work in a particular area of interest, depending on the program of coursework that they have tailored for themselves.”

Sierra Flowers, a licensed CPA and senior financial manager at Walmart, graduated from the MPA program in 2020. As an undergraduate McCombs student interested in accounting, Flowers appreciated the opportunities the MPA program offered to students. According to the Class of 2023 MPA Fact Sheet, 99% of students received job offers.

“As a sophomore in the McCombs School of Business and coming from a family where I was a first-generation student, having a guaranteed job offer coming out of the program really appealed to me,” Flowers said.

Flowers said that although she works in finance now, the experience she gained in the MPA program gave her the knowledge and skills that she applies in her current role at Walmart.

“Having an accounting background is something so unique here in the finance world in that it makes me think from a different lens and also gives me the baseline of how a company runs,” Flowers said.

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