Posts filed under 'SMF'

Negotiations

This entire post is dedicated to one class, because it is just that awesome. As an SMF, you have the opportunity to take classes outside of Finance. Negotiations is one of them. Take it. Absolutely, under any circumstances, sign up for this. It is taught by either Professor Lount of Professor Lewicki. I currently have the night class with Dr. Lewicki. I could go on and on about Dr. Lewicki’s achievements in the field of negotiations, but I will stick to the class.

I hate night classes. Simply put. There are hundreds of things I would rather be doing at the end of March from 6-9 at night and I am sure most of you feel the same way. Negotiations happens to fall in this category of things I would rather be doing. This is one of the two most engaging classes I have had at Fisher (Dr. Wruck’s Corporate 3&4 are the others). Almost every night you are participating in some sort of negotiation. You have free reign to stretch the truth, never reach a deal, anything. The thrill of winning a negotiation, even with fake money, is something that is hard to compare with. This class also gives you the opportunity to work with Working Professional MBA’s, Full-Time MBA’s, JDMBA and MHRM students. With this in mind, you know you will never be negotiating with someone of the same background or goals.

I will warn you. You might look up after laughing, cheating, and lying in your negotiation to the point where you will enjoy it so much, that you actually might be a little depressed that you have to leave for the night. The 3 hours in negotiations passes by entirely too quickly, to say the least.


Team Projects

One of the great features of the SMF program is an action-based course in the last academic term. Students have a number of projects from which to choose, from investment management to corporate finance to risk management, and students rank all the projects. Professor Pinteris then assigns people to groups based on their specializations, previous coursework, grades, and other factors. I was assigned to be team leader for a corporate finance project with Ohio State’s Treasury Office. My team and I are working with the office to model operating cash flows based on historical data, determine how much cash the university needs to keep in interest-bearing deposits, and addressing a number of pending considerations for Treasury.

The people with whom we are liaising on this project told us that they would like a candid assessment of Treasury’s results, so this project is already testing my knowledge of government and non-profit accounting. Plus the project is very relevant to the job that I took in public finance, so I’m really getting a great transition from school to the workplace.


The Saga Continues…

Spring Break has finally rolled around! It is 70 and sunny here and I cannot wait to spend half of the week outside 90% of the time. However, just because Spring Break is here, it does not mean that you can slack on your responsibilities. This definitely includes your SMF team project. A few days of your Spring Break should be devoted to working on really diving into your team project and getting a head start.

We have successfully navigated through our initial consultation with the help of Prof. Bob Lane. We determined the scope of our project, the deliverables and the communication we should engage in with our company. It really is a great experience for those who have no work experience, as well as those who have previous work experience and are looking to get back in the work force after graduation.

BUT…To the great news…

I can say with uncertainty now, that these team projects do present you with a gateway to showing your company what you are capable of and can give you the opportunity to interview with your company. I guess Friday I will see if I can continue in the interview process!


Last Spring Break!

This week is my last (predetermined) Spring Break, and I must say it’s bittersweet. I’ve spent the last four days in Las Vegas, Nevada, enjoying St. Patrick’s Day; taking in “O,” a Cirque du Soleil show; and taking a helicopter through the Grand Canyon. It’s my first time in Vegas, and I’ve been stunned by the activity, the scenery, and the just plain fun that can be had here.

View of the Hoover Dam from my Helicopter!

View of the Hoover Dam from my Helicopter!

Before my Vegas trip, I spent the weekend in Washington, D.C. staying and visiting with some dear friends and enjoying the best D.C. has to offer. Since I took a job elsewhere and will not be returning to D.C., it was a little unfortunate to inform friends that I will not be returning in the near future. Having exited undergraduate a semester early, I never got Spring Break last year, so I’m living it up now.


Bucket List for My Last Couple Months in Columbus

At the beginning of January, I accepted a job and will be moving away from Columbus. After nearly five years of being in Columbus and just finishing finals for the third term of the Fisher SMF program, it’s finally hitting me that I will be leaving Columbus. Here’s my bucket list for my last two months in Columbus:

Catch the Rocky Horror Picture Show live performance at Studio 35 in Clintonville, OH.

Spend a day at The Book Loft—I’ve been there many times, but I’d love to spend an early Spring day just strolling among the books.

The Book Loft in German Village (photo credit: Bookloft.com)

The Book Loft in German Village (photo credit: Bookloft.com)

Catch a Blue Jackets game before the season ends.

Catch a musical performance by Perfume Genius at the Wexner Center in a few weeks.

Try as many quirky coffee shops, restaurants, and bars in Columbus that I haven’t tried, particularly on South Fourth Street, Broad Street, and Downtown.


Winding Down…On to the Consultation Saga

As the end of the first term has come to a screeching halt, it is hard to believe that graduation is only a couple of months away. The feeling is bittersweet to say the least. While I am dying to graduate and put my new skills to the test, I have made plenty of friends that I will miss when we all go our separate ways.

Nonetheless, this last semester is extremely important to all SMF students. You will finally participate in the coveted team projects. This is a staple of the SMF program. All SMF students participate in a team project in the final term of the spring semester. This project is very much like a consulting project. You are given multiple projects to rank and then you are assigned these projects based on a multitude of factors. These companies include Nationwide, Wells Fargo, Owens Corning, The OSU Wexner Medical Center and many more.

I was lucky enough to get The OSU Wexner Medical Center, which was my first choice! I will be working with 2 classmates to develop a model that helps them determine whether it is more beneficial to outsource or make in-house. Our first meeting with our client is within the next few days so stay tuned for the next edition in the Consultation Saga!


Guess Who Came to Speak at Fisher?

So, I’m not name dropping or anything…

BUT….

Jamie Dimon came to The Ohio State University.

This is Jamie Dimon talking to the OSU football team

This is Jamie Dimon talking to the OSU football team

 

Due to the stature of Jamie Dimon, this event could not be released before his visit. Jamie Dimon came to address our SMF Corporate Finance 3 class taught by Karen Wruck. (Other students were allowed to attend if seats were available.) It was very interesting to listen to all that Mr. Dimon had to say. He reads about 5 different newspapers every morning and is constantly reading everything else and just soaking in knowledge. He spoke to not only working hard, but working smart. He also noted that he likes to talk to an expert in whatever he is interested in learning more about, because listening to him/her for 10 minutes is worth more than hours of reading.

Fisher tends to bring in quite a few of amazing speakers, such as the CEO of L Brands, Les Wexner, and the CEO of Cardinal Health, George Barrett. Last year students even flew to meet with Warren Buffet. Who wouldn’t want to play guess who and see who will be here when you come next year?!


The Restaurant Ranking

Having lived in Columbus, OH for nearly five years now, I’ve had many opportunities to sample the restaurants, and have come up with a list of my favorites. Unfortunately, I recently found out that my favorite restaurants, Deepwood, between the Short North and Nationwide Boulevard shut down on New Year’s Eve. Deepwood was an upscale American eatery with charcuterie, soups, seasonable vegetables, and duck, as well as a wonderful selection of bourbon cocktails. In remembrance of Deepwood, I will now run through my revised listing of restaurants.

5. The Pearl – this seafood restaurant is a bit newer on the Columbus dining scene (circa 2013), but from the first time I visited, I loved its many nautical themes and casual atmosphere. It has one of the best oysters on the half shell and Moscow Mules around, and water is usually served in mason jars.

4. Hyde Park – the upscale American steakhouse, replete with a raw bar, hearty soups, seafood sides, chop salads, and carbs galore. The ambiance is wonderful, staff are always top-notch, and it’s truly an experience no matter where you’re sitting in the restaurant.

3. Rigsby’s – while Marcella’s and Martini didn’t quite make the cut (both are fantastic restaurants), both lack the heartiness and simplicity, yet incredible diversity of northern Italian cuisine, incorporating various seasonal vegetables, wines, and meats.

2.  Till – by night, Till is an off the beaten path watering hole for the older university/young professional crowd, filled with pizzas, burgers, seafood, and tofu. By day, the restaurant is more of a café with the absolute BEST pour over coffee I’ve ever tasted. My barista had me sample a number of pour over variations from Till’s supply, and she compared them to strange flavors. I settled on a Burundi coffee that she likened to the taste of “car engine.” I can’t say that I’ve ever tasted car engine, but the coffee keeps me coming back. It’s very close to campus on King Avenue, closer to Neil Avenue, and I’ve found myself many a time studying for hours on end at the coffee bar.

Number One Restaurant: L'Antibes (credit: Columbus Restaurants)

Number One Restaurant: L’Antibes (credit: Columbus Restaurants)

1. L’Antibes – in my view, this is Columbus’ best kept secret. Usually when someone asks me my favorite restaurant and I respond with L’Antibes, they usually have no idea what I’m talking about. While its official address is on North High Street in the Short North/Italian Village, its entrance is really on Warren Street. Inside the restaurant stand about ten or so square or round tables seating two to four with white table cloths, lots of natural light, pale yellow walls, and tasteful yet discreet artwork scattered throughout the restaurant. It’s very quiet, which is such a break with all the noisy Columbus restaurants where you can’t hear the people with whom you’re having dinner. The restaurant bills itself as French with American influences. Any of the escargot and salmon dishes are to die for, as well as any of the desserts or dessert wines.


Shape your degree

One of the best things about getting a Master in Finance degree at The Ohio State University is the ability to shape your degree in any way you want. Aside from being in your available electives for your specialization, such as, Corporate Finance 3 & 4, Financial Statement Analysis, Enterprise Risk Management 1 & 2, etc, there are many other classes you can take to further your knowledge in specific area. For instance, I am taking Managerial Accounting for Decision Making. I plan on pursuing a career in Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis when I graduate. Because of Fisher’s ability to let you branch out, you can take classes in many other areas such as strategy, accounting, operations, and many others. If you feel it will benefit you and your career search, Fisher can probably make it happen.

With these classes, I was able to mold my degree into exactly what I want. I am taking a few accounting classes (Financial Statement Analysis 1 & 2 and Managerial Accounting for Decision Making) to further my knowledge in accounting to become a better analyst. By being able to read financial statements, understand managerial accounting (contribution margin, pricing, budgeting) and understanding the past performance of the company, I can better understand what has and hasn’t worked and more accurately project the future and improvements. I am also taking negotiations with Prof. Lewicki. Negotiations, while it may not benefit me much now other than negotiating my salary and benefits when accepting a job (which is reason enough), will allow me to become a better CFO or manager when I take part in acquisitions or anything else that requires me to negotiate a price with a seller, supplier or whoever it may be.
In the end, being able to mold your degree will help you to mold your career…….which is why we are here, isnt it?!


Time for Electives

The beginning of the SMF program was very structured: everyone takes the basic list of courses, which includes Corporate Finance I, Investment Management I, microeconomics (formally, Industry, Risk & Pricing), and several others. Certainly, one has the opportunity to take a few electives during the first two terms, but up to only three.

There are only two required courses in the third the fourth terms collectively, which are macroeconomics (formally, Global Financial Markets) and Team Projects (which are essentially client projects the program acquires for students to work on with the clients), which allows for up to ten electives in Spring semester.

Because I am specializing in corporate finance, I’ve chosen to take Corporate Finance IV with Professor Karen Hopper Wruck. Professor Wruck is a widely published and recognized expert on corporate restructuring. Our first two classes have combined cases that she has written demonstrating how value can be created through different types of restructuring (e.g., borrowing roughly the net worth of a firm, paying the proceeds out as a special dividend, and using the increased leverage to effect prioritizing cash flow).

Another elective I’m taking is Enterprise Risk Management with René Stulz. Dr. Stulz is a world-renowned expert in risk management and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Global Association of Risk Professionals. Our first two classes have focused on the mechanics of many of the derivatives crises, such as Barings, Lehman Brothers, Orange County, and Metagesellschaft, with the primary lesson that many of these crises came about not because derivatives are inherently bad, but because derivatives, like the machinery of almost any profession, need to be handled with care and with full knowledge of the associated risks.

In terms of fascinating classes and distinguished professors, the list goes on, and I continue to both broaden my knowledge of the various areas of finance and dive deeper into corporate finance and how firms create value for creditors and shareholders. 


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