Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Two Degrees, Same University

By Tyler Carter

Jessie Austin is a 24-year-old recent University of Mississippi graduate from Jackson, Miss. Austin obtained his Bachelor of Accountancy degree here in 2011 and recently completed his Master’s degree in Taxation degree in May of this year. Austin was thoroughly involved both academically and socially during his tenure here from 2007-2013. He was a member of the Ole Miss Class of 2011 Student Hall of Fame, an Orientation Leader, a member of the Columns Society, a Resident Assistant, Director of Student Involvement for the Associated Student Body, president of the Minority Affairs Leadership Council, and the chairman of Rebels for United Way. Austin was also a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, a Roger Friou Accountancy Scholarship recipient and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Austin talked recently about his experiences at the University of Mississippi and after.

“Life at Ole Miss was exciting for me,” Austin said. “I made long-lasting connections and met several friends from different walks of life.

“The mentors and role models I met here really took me in and made me feel that I could accomplish anything I wanted to. The idea of Ole Miss still fascinates me; it is great yet small, historic, beautiful, and friendly but still competitive. My experience at Ole Miss was exciting. I remained busy and goal-oriented and if I had an opportunity to try anything new, I went for it.”

Austin returned to obtain his Master’s Degree from the Patterson School of Accountancy. He talked about why and what was it about his professors and environment that made him want to return.

“Deciding to return and continue into graduate school at Ole Miss was an easier decision due to my professors. In the Patterson School of Accountancy, Dean Wilder and his staff really do take an interest in your success, in the classroom and in the work field.”

Austin felt that his professors pushed him throughout his undergraduate career and they encouraged him on into his graduate program. They gave him the sense of it not being an ‘if’ he was going to pursue his master’s degree, it was ‘when.’

Austin is currently an associate at the Dixon Hughes Goodman accounting firm in Memphis, TN. He has some advice for current undergraduate and graduate students.

“My advice to those interested in pursuing graduate education at Ole Miss is to prepare and plan ahead,” said Austin. “This will allow you time to not only obtain competitive qualifications for the programs but to also network and make connections with faculty in those programs. Networking and building that support system is essential in graduate school.”

“I encourage all undergraduates to pursue graduate assistantships, which not only help with your financial needs of graduate school but can help provide great work experience for your future career,” said Austin. “To all current graduate students, I challenge you to push yourself now. Be eager and dive deep into your research or curriculum. The Ole Miss faculty and staff will be there to support all the way.”