Reflections of a Grad Student

Today marks exactly five months and eight days since I walked across the stage in Moody Coliseum to receive my bachelor’s degree from SMU. Not that I’m counting or anything. I always shrugged off all the “it goes by so fast” warnings from people slightly older than me. Man, were they spot on or what?

However, I consider myself lucky to have the chance to stick around one extra year to get my master’s degree. Special thanks to Mom and Dad for allowing me to prolong, if only for one more year, my transition into the real world! I’ll be honest. I get a little nostalgic when walking amongst undergrads discussing their plans for the Boulevard, Brown Bag dance series, and the Annual On-Campus Concert to name only a few of our traditions during the fall semester.

Observing how much younger students are enjoying their experience brings back waves of personal memories from when I was in their shoes and makes me proud to call myself an alumni of this great university. In my four plus years I’ve seen so much growth and improvement of our campus facilities as well as the quality of each successive incoming class. Construction seems to never end, and the test scores of our incoming students continues to creep upwards. Constant improvement has become core to SMU’s culture, and makes me excited to watch what happens next during SMU’s second century.

-John Morrow



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Heading Down Under

I am super excited about going abroad next semester! I will be studying at the University of Sydney in Australia! This will be my second time studying abroad. My freshmen year I studied abroad in Paris, France, Oxford, England and Cambridge, England. I loved my summer abroad and I knew I had to go abroad again! Next summer I will be interning in Brazil (Rio), so I decided Australia was the next place to go.

Picture From:

Picture From:

I will be leaving for Sydney in February 2016 and will be staying there until June. I plan on traveling quite a bit around the surrounding countries. I have already purchased tickets to Vietnam, Bali, Fiji, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand! Next semester is sure to be an adventure. I would love to pick up surfing while living in Sydney and I have to go hang-gliding in New Zealand.
The University of Sydney has a very prominent business school and it was super easy to get classes approved through SMU’s Cox School of Business as transfer credits. I will be taking a few accounting classes and cultural classes while in Sydney. The only thing I am not looking forward to is the endless plane ride.
More than 50% of SMU’s students study abroad during their undergraduate experience and I think it is vital in order to have an all-encompassing undergraduate experience. Because I am working in Rio next summer, I will not be back in the states until August so it will be a stretch. I could not be more excited, I guess all that’s left to do…. is pack!
-Kaleb Lee
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The Life of an SMU Accounting Major

Although finance is the most popular major within Cox, as well as the most popular major on campus, I personally believe majoring in accounting is the way to go. Let me explain.

Recruiting season for accounting majors in Texas begins at the start of second semester for all juniors who wish to go through formal accounting recruitment. About a dozen public accounting firms, ranging in size from the “Big Four” to middle market and smaller firms, come to campus to start recruiting all interested juniors majoring in accounting. After many information sessions, interviews, dinners, etc., most, if not all, accounting majors walk away with an internship for the spring semester of their senior year.

For those who know they are interested in accounting by the spring of their sophomore year, they can apply to the summer leadership conferences that the public accounting firms offer between the summer of one’s sophomore year and the start of junior year. These all expense paid, two to three day conferences, can and often result in an internship offer for one’s senior year. This way, students can avoid the formal recruitment process.

For those interested in the audit track, the internship starts in January and goes until the end of March, with two accelerated accounting courses taking place during the month of April. For those interested in the tax track, the accelerated accounting courses happen in the month of January and the internship subsequently begins in February and runs until the end of April. Both internships fall within the “busy season” of their respective fields, thus keeping the interns quite busy as the name suggests!

The “Big Four” accounting firms even have a global rotational program as an option for one’s internship. Thus you can apply to spend half of your internship abroad. This all expense paid opportunity not only gives you global work experience before you have even graduated college, but it also gives you an opportunity to get exposure to a different culture. This opportunity is unique to the accounting industry and something I am currently in the process of applying for.

Upon successful completion of the internship, it is likely you could walk away with a full-time offer. Students who accept this offer and go on to work where they have interned love knowing their environment and colleagues before they begin work on their first official day.

This spring I will be interning with KPMG here in Dallas in their Audit Department. I am looking forward to applying the outstanding education SMU has afforded me to real life experiences, as well as learning even more from working full-time in a professional setting for over ten weeks. SMU’s Accounting Department has provided me and my classmates such unique and amazing opportunities!

-Maggie Poxon

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The Next Best Hogwarts

In my perfect world, Hogwarts would exist. However, this is not a perfect world and as such, my dream of attending Hogwarts died when I was 11 and September 1st came and passed with no acknowledgement from Hogwarts. Quincy Schurr

Luckily, the next best thing to studying at Hogwarts is studying at Oxford. This past summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad at University College at Oxford University in England for five weeks as part of the SMU-in-Oxford program. This program invites about 40 SMU students to spend the second half of the summer exploring the charm and history of one of the oldest college towns in the world.

During this program I took two history classes. There is something to be said about studying history thousands of years older than the United States itself in the place in which those historical events actually took place. I was able to take one of my two classes from an SMU professor and another from an Oxford tutor so that I was really able to experience the cultural differences between education in the U.S. and in England.

Quincy Schurr 2From the quiet afternoons spent reading at Turl Street Kitchen, to walking around Christchurch Meadow, to seeing the entire town of Edinburgh spread out below me from the top of Arthur’s Seat, to seeing a performance of Measure for Measure at the famed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, to eating Belgian waffles in Brussels, I can truly say that my experience abroad was one of the best. I know that most everyone who goes abroad says that, but my experience was truly amazing and I am so happy I made the choices I did.

Your abroad experience is what you make it. Had I not made the decision to leave my comfort zone, I would not have had such amazing experiences. I put my fears aside and took to traveling and exploring on my own. I got to travel to 4 different cities and took it upon myself to explore the museums and cultural sites that are in abundance in Oxford. I reached out and made new friends on the program – friends I don’t know if I would have met on campus otherwise – friends who still meet for a cup of tea in order to catch up and reminisce about our Oxford days.

Even though my Oxford education didn’t include learning how to cast spells or fly on a broomstick, my experience was more than magical. I would encourage everyone to take part in an SMU Abroad experience if they can. Whether or not you travel to Oxford, I know that the friendships I made and the learning that took place during those five weeks will last long beyond the attraction of the world of Harry Potter.

-Quincy Schurr


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Getting Coffee with a Professor?!?

One of my favorite times at SMU is the fall. The leaves are changing colors, the boulevards, and the pumpkins are out. However, my fall has been spent with the Strategy Brand Management track of Advertising. So far, I have loved getting to know the 15 people that I will be spending the rest of my college experience with! It is refreshing to be in classes that allow me to view concepts more openly and be surrounded by people who are equally as passionate.

Additionally, with new classes come new professors. My professors this fall have been some of the most engaging people I have ever met. Not only do they have a passion for the field of advertising, but also a passion for student development.

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Picture from:

Last week I went to Union coffee, which is an SMU crowd favorite.  There is truly nothing better than Union coffee as the days get cooler! Besides the coffee, I was there to meet a professor. Professor Baldwin teaches Strategic Management. She thought it would be a cool place to meet outside of the classroom. She asked me the progress on my project, but further, Professor Baldwin asked me about what I was passionate about. She asked my what I see myself doing and what I ponder about.  Our conversation went far beyond the classroom. I left feeling encouraged about my future and affirmed in my studies.  It was very encouraging to hear about what she does besides teaching, and how she found her love for the industry. She explained the importance of contentment in this life stage. She challenged me to be more focused on the blessings that I have, than the fleeting stresses of everyday life.  This is one of those conversations that you truly feel that you could concur the world.  It was truly refreshing.

-Anna Scott Phillips

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Peace, Soul, Rock & Roll

I absolutely love live music. In fact, I’ve been too close to the speakers at so many concerts that I have hearing loss in my left ear. When I was in high school, I went to at least one concert a month, if not more. I couldn’t get enough of the atmosphere, the fans, the memories, and the overall experience of a live show. When I got to college at SMU, I thought that I wouldn’t have nearly as much time or money to attend the amount of concerts that I wanted to.

Shortly after the start of my first semester, though, I realized that SMU would make my concert-loving dreams come true. Within a few weeks, I was at a free Aaron Carter concert – who, by the way, was my childhood crush – right outside my commons. At this concert, I happened to push my way to the front and Aaron Carter actually grabbed my phone and took a video of himself on it! Not too long after this, B.o.B. came to McFarlin Auditorium, a 2-minute walk from my residence hall, and SMU students got to open up for him. The next year, I got to not only see, but meet Kailin and and Myles, some vine-famous pop artists who I still listen to today. Chance the Rapper came to SMU that same year. This year, I got to break out my cowboy boots for a free Eli Young Band and Cam concert on the eve of SMU’s 100 year anniversary.

Outside of the free concerts that SMU provides for my friends and me at least a few times a year, we live in Dallas, TX, one of the best places for live music in the nation! I’ve been to countless shows for under $30 over the past few years as an SMU student at all kinds of incredible venues like the House of Blues, Southside Ballroom, or Gexa Energy Pavillion. Just south and west of downtown is my favorite venue ever: The Kessler Theatre. I don’t even have to drive to these concerts, either. SMU students get a $5 DART pass for all four years that we are here, which is the equivalent to two day passes. I can take the DART to pretty much any concert venue I want, and as long as I use my DART pass twice, it pays for itself!

Overall, SMU has provided an incredible experience for me as a live music fanatic. Not only can I walk outside my residential commons and watch free concerts multiple times a year, but I can take the DART for a few minutes and see inexpensive concerts in Dallas. In addition to all of this, as a Finance and English major with a musical performance hobby, I have been able to perform for my fellow students at the Family Weekend Talent Show, Celebration of Lights, and local coffee shops like Union, just a few miles from campus. SMU has already given me so many opportunities to enjoy listening to and performing music, and I still have a few more years to go. We’ll see which concert I see or perform in next!

-Jacqui Jacoby

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At SMU, anything is possible. If you want to have a snowball fight in August, you can! That’s what I did when One28, a campus ministry here at SMU, hosted their annual One28 snowball fight! Every year One28 brings out hundreds of snowballs onto Dallas Hall Lawn, so that students can enjoy the biggest snowball fight of their lives.

My team and I during the snowball fight!

My team and me during the snowball fight!

When asked if I would be willing to be one of the team captains this year, I was ecstatic. I could not wait to lead my team, the red team, to victory. However, to win the glorious honor of being the 2015 One28 Snowball Fight Champions, the next step was to recruit the dream team. I didn’t want the people that were the biggest and strongest, but the people that were dreamers. I wanted a team who understood just how glorious it would be to be crowned the champions. To me, these were the real winners.

After recruiting the final member of the dream team, we were ready to step out onto the field and win. The referee blows the whistle, and snowballs start flying everywhere. It was so much fun. I got hit with snowballs more times than I’d like to admit. We lost, but it didn’t matter. It was a blast, and a great way to cool off especially in August. At the end, each member of the winning team received a paper star. One of the winners didn’t want his star, so I took it. So in the end, I felt like I won anyway.

-James Jang

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Oktoberfest in Munich

I’m fortunate enough to be spending my fall semester in Madrid, Spain through SMU Abroad!

I'm lucky enough to be studying abroad with some friends from SMU; this is us at Oktoberfest!

As a Spanish and International Studies double major, I’ve had the most incredible experience so far practicing the language with my host family and traveling inside and outside of Spain. Even though I’m missing SMU life, I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything! There’s so much to learn about the world and all of the cultures within it, and it’s so awesome that SMU allows its students opportunities like this.

I spent this weekend in Munich, Germany for the authentic Oktoberfest and it was absolutely incredible. We spent our first day in the city of Munich itself, which is absolutely beautiful with its vibrant yet quaint city square and Disney-esque architecture. Don’t even get me started on the food. I probably ate my weight in pretzels, sausage, and strudel and it was wonderful. We also took a short train to Salzburg, Austria for dinner Friday night. However, one of the most interesting parts of being in Europe at this particular time is witnessing the current refugee crisis firsthand. We had a late train back to Munich that night which was actually canceled due to the refugee influx, as were all other trains back into Germany. After much frustration and slight panic, we got a hotel room for the night and somehow found a way to get back to Munich on a bus leaving at 5:30am.

It’s safe to say we got minimal sleep this weekend, but it was definitely an experience and the Oktoberfest was one of the most amazing events I’ve ever attended. I like to describe it as the State Fair of Texas on steroids with its carnival rides, authentic German food stands, and thousands upon thousands of people. I’m so humbled by the experiences I’m able to have through SMU Abroad and can’t wait to be back in Dallas for the spring semester!

-Nadine Kakish


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My Advertising Internship

 This summer, I interned at Publicis HCG. I wouldn’t have gotten the internship if it wasn’t for the support and guidance of SMU’s faculty. The Temerlin School of Advertising definitely made sure my application and recommendation letters were of the highest caliber. From 9-5pm, I’d work on projects at my internship. This ranged from planning social events for the office, to writing copy for clients, and even working on an unbranded depression app for the Apple Watch for our intern project. At 5pm, I’d go home to grab dinner and would continue to work from 6-10pm, sometimes even later on passion projects.

My first day in New York was a scene right out of a movie. I managed to get myself to Target via subway, but had no idea how to get back home. The Uber driver who picked me up not only offered me his mixtape and a date the following weekend, but also dropped me off no where near where I needed to be. My phone died and my friends that I somehow managed to find accidentally put me on the wrong train home. When I finally made it back, I realized that between lugging my purchases from Target around town, and grabbing dinner, I had lost my ID to get into my room. I was feeling discouraged, but was hopeful for better days to come.

As the summer moved forward, I became more acquainted with the city and the people that came with it. The one thing that I loved most about interning in NY was the variety of people I befriended and how people were always willing to help me move forward in my career. I also found a friend group that doubled as my family away from home. We made each other laugh, cooked dinner when someone was too busy to feed themselves, and always made it a point to keep each everyone motivated. As interns, we learned to work hard, but to also save some time to play hard as well. We filled our free days with visits to Coney Island, stuffing our faces with delicious food at Smorgasburg, and appreciating all of the art that NYC had to offer. New York was a life changing experience, and I can’t wait to go back for good!

Tien Dang-Tien Dang

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Career Fair at SMU

Evan Giacomini

A couple weeks ago, I got to participate in career fairs brought onto SMU’s campus by the Hegi Family Career and Development center, as well as the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership. Because it is my junior year, I spoke to tons of recruiters about the prospect of interning with their firms this upcoming summer. I was able to connect with over 15 companies including State Farm, Credera, Insight Global, Deloitte and many others. Better still, I was able to see some of my good friends, that had recently graduated, come back to SMU to recruit our students to their companies as well. Additionally, it was so incredible to see how forward thinking our students are, with a good percentage of students in the room being first year or sophomore level students. So far, I am still applying and looking for positions, both in the Dallas area and elsewhere. So far, a company has already contacted me and set up an interview in mid-October for an intern opportunity which I am very excited about. The career centers on campus deserve to be commended for their hard work and success on such wonderful career fairs because they really helped me get my name out into the corporate world with such ease.

-Evan Giacomini

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