Posts filed under 'SMF'

OSU Round 2: Reflections of a Seasoned Buckeye

I went to The Ohio State University and majored in economics in the College of Arts and Sciences. Now that I am back to pursue a Specialized Masters in Finance (SMF) at the Fisher College of Business, I have been struck by how different life as an undergrad and as a graduate student is, and further, as an OSU alumnus, how different general campus and Fisher’s campus are.
First, OSU is an enormous school, but you would never know it from being on Fisher’s campus. Many prospective students may think navigating OSU entails a steep learning curve. On the contrary, Fisher’s campus comprises five academic buildings (Gerlach, Schoenbaum, Pfahl, Mason, and Fisher) and a hotel (The Blackwell). All graduate courses are taught on the second and third floors of Gerlach Hall. The Office of Career Management, a vital resource for graduate students (especially those in one-year programs), is on the first floor of Gerlach. I would consider academic courses and the career search to be the two most important and time-consuming affairs at Fisher, and those two activities were given priority in designing a graduate education at Fisher.
The lovely Gerlach Hall in the morning.

The lovely Gerlach Hall in the morning.

Second and related to my first point, the ease of transition to Fisher is remarkable. Many students are assigned lockers, which are scattered throughout the building, in which students can keep books and other things for school. If you are trying to save money, there are five refrigerators and two microwaves, so packing a lunch is a no-brainer. For computer labs (like for the Bloomberg terminals), you can take a stroll across the Fisher courtyard or, when the weather is bad, take the underground tunnels to Schoenbaum Hall. Most of my classes are scheduled fifteen minutes apart, so classes are densely scheduled and allow me to meet with my group for class projects or go to office hours with professors in the afternoon. There are many study spaces available, including rooms for independent and group study.
Third, when you do want (or need) to venture off the Fisher campus, most places are only ten minutes or less away. For example, you can get your workout in at either Jesse Owens North, which is directly north of Gerlach Hall, or at the crown jewel of OSU’s rec facilities, the RPAC. For studying, you can choose between eleven floors, two reading rooms, and countless reading nooks at the massive Thompson Library. And if you just need to get off campus, the Columbus’ public transportation system, COTA, will take you just about anywhere you need to go in a reasonable amount of time.
All in all, I think that Fisher puts the tools to be successful at your fingertips—you just need to grab it.​

Orientation and Networking!

Networking, Networking, Networking! Many students will tell you that the objective of any college degree is to help you obtain your dream job. This can only come through hard work and networking. This is exactly what orientation will help you to do and one of the first things you will do at Fisher is orientation.  While it is geared towards meeting your professors, career adviser and students in the program, you can rest assured knowing that at the heart of it all, you are networking.

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You will get to meet many, if not all, of the professors that you will be spending the next 9 months of your life with in the Fisher Specialized Master of Finance program. These professors are your greatest assets in the program. They have far more connections than you can fathom and chances are at least one of the professors has a contact at the company you are interested in, or in the position you want. They come from all walks of life and between their many years of teaching and spending time in the financial workplace, they have an arsenal of knowledge that far surpasses anything I have seen. I mean, where else can you meet a professor with a PhD in Nuclear Physics that teaches Data Analysis in a way that is very easy to understand and can apply it to current applications to businesses here in Columbus?!

Orienation 3

Orientation1 Orientation2

At orientation you will also have a great chance to work with your fellow classmates in some fun activities provided by the GPO. As most of you know, the foundation of strong career search is networking and at the center of that is building relationships. Building relationships is an essential skill no matter if you are in school, starting your career, or are a veteran in the work force with 30 years of experience. Orientation is a great opportunity to start building relationships with your fellow classmates. There are plenty of opportunities to talk to your fellow classmates and professors during orientation. Two weeks into the program and I felt like I had known my classmates my whole life. I can already tell, this year will be a blast!


First month at Fisher SMF!

I have realized two most important things in my first month at Fisher SMF program. One, the breadth of resources and two, to succeed here you need to prioritize!

Once you are admitted to Fisher SMF, even before the program begins, the Fisher Career Management Office (CMO) starts communicating with you to offer you personalized career search services. From how to network in US (especially for international students) to how to dress formally (important for all the female students) and how it is different from business casual to how to brand yourself, everything is personalized. In my previous academic life (trust me, it’s a long one) I have never come across such a depth and breadth of services/ resources offered.

And CMO is just one office there are many such offices and organizations here which offer ample professional and social development opportunities. When there are so many opportunities around its very important for us, as students as to how to allocate our time. For example as an international student I had to take English as a Second Language (ESL) test and it had some conflicts with my finance classes. After discussing this issue with SMF program director Professor Pinteris and advisor Jennifer Bennett, they helped me reschedule it for the next semester, which was such a relief for me. I would have missed a very interesting class. So in a nutshell, if you know what you want, Fisher SMF gives you ample opportunities to explore your path!


Fisher Wall Street Trip

One of the great opportunities that we have here at Fisher for those interested in a Career on Wall Street is the Fisher Wall Street Trip.  During this trip we had the opportunity to meet with alumni and friends of Fisher at most all the major Wall Street Banks.  We had the chance to meet with individuals from the following firms:

Morgan Stanley
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
KeyBanc Capital Markets
Bloomberg
UBS
Goldman Sachs
Barclays
Vertical Research Partners
Waverly Advisors

During these office visits we had the opportunity to talk with a wide variety of people from the analyst level, up to managing director.  This was a great opportunity to ask questions regarding the firms and investment banking in general and was very informative to those who did not know as much about the field.  In addition to the office visits, the office of career management also set up two dinners that gave us the opportunity to network and interact with alumni of Fisher in a more informal environment.  This was a great opportunity to speak with alumni in the industry about their experiences and journey from Ohio to New York City.   Overall, this was a great opportunity that I would highly recommend to any future SMF student interested in a career on Wall Street.

SMF Students in Times Square


Fisher Attracts Top Speakers

In my opinion, one of the biggest perks of enrolling in the SMF program has been the access it provides to Fisher’s impressive list of guest speakers. I am only a few months into the semester and already I have had the chance to hear from equity analysts, investment bankers, and even several CFO’s from big name corporations.

Just a few weeks ago, Robert Green, the CFO of GE Capital (a $46 billion company), came to Fisher. He was in town for the 2013 National Middle Market Summit, which was co-hosted by GE Capital, the National Center for the Middle Market, and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. Mr. Green spoke about his strategy and goals as a CFO, as well as offered some advice to the students in attendance. Namely, he recommended that students really connect to their studies, that they stay informed about world news, and that they see the interview process as a two-way street, i.e. try to find a company that reflects your values and meets your specifications rather than just taking any job that comes along.

The SMF program has also hosted several exclusive events. For example, earlier in the year, the SMF students were able to speak with Larry Hilsheimer, the CFO of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, which is headquartered in Marysville, Ohio, and coming up in the next few weeks, we will hear from Andy Rose, the Vice President and CFO of Worthington Industries, Inc., a leader in the diversified metal processing industry.

These speakers are such an invaluable resource. I can’t wait to see who will be here in the Spring!


Staying in Shape at Fisher

Here at Fisher there are plenty of opportunities to get out and do things other than schoolwork and studying.  I am a very active person and as such have taken advantage of the many physical activity programs that are available at Ohio State.

  • Intramural Football – Fisher put together a co-ed flag football team that was comprised of people from a variety of programs.  It allowed me and a few of the other SMFs to meet some of the individuals in the other Fisher programs.  Football was a good chance to get out on the weekends and get some physical activity while in a fun, competitive environment.
  • Club Swimming – I was an NCAA Swimmer in undergrad at the University of South Carolina so I am always looking for ways to continue to stay in shape and Club Swimming is one of the best opportunities that I have found.  We practice a few times a week and then swim a few meets a semester against other colleges in the area and it is a great chance to not only do a little training but also get up and race every few weeks.
  • Recreation Facilities – Ohio State offers some of the best on-campus recreation facilities in the country with the RPAC, Jesse Owens North, and Jesse Owens South all within a few minute walk of Fisher.  The RPAC is the flagship of the rec department and is one of the largest collegiate rec centers in the country.  They offer over a dozen basketball courts, a massive weight room, hundreds of pieces of cardio equipment, an indoor track, as well as one of the nicest aquatic facilities in the country.  It is very convenient to Fisher and is just a 5 minute walk into campus and is a great place to grab a quick workout in between classes or to break up a long study period.

RPAC exterior


What’s Your Type?

As part of our Leadership class today, we were asked to take a short-form version of the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test identifies your preferences between eight personality characteristics, which have been divided into four pairs of opposites: Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I), Intuition (N) and Sensing (S), Thinking (T) and Feeling (F), and Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). After answering questions like “When making a decision, the most important considerations are: a. rational thoughts, ideas, and data or b. people’s feelings and values,” you are left with four letters that are meant to encompass the major components of your personality.

I had taken similar tests before, so I was not necessarily surprised by my results (ISTJ), but I had never thought of how differences in personality play out in the workplace. For example, Dr. Rodgers presented evidence from a sample of US companies that showed that a full 70% of Junior Managers fall into the Extrovert category, while about 55% of Senior Managers are introverts. Similarly, about 80% of Junior Managers were categorized as Sensing, compared to just 40% of Senior Managers. Now, obviously this does not mean that I, as an ISTJ, am destined to be a Senior Manager, but it was interesting to see how certain personality traits align with different jobs within a company. What I really took away from the lecture, though, was that, by understanding how other personality types think and make decisions, you can greatly improve your ability to communicate and work efficiently in a team setting, not to mention understand your spouse better! For a free personality profile and to see how your four letters may play into your career path, click here.

What’s your type?


Class is in Session

As we begin to wrap up the first of our seven week sessions, our first set of SMF classes is coming to a close.  These classes are imperative to success in the program as they provide the foundation for many of the other classes that we will take.  For those students without a finance background they also give them the opportunity to learn many of the basic financial concepts and theories.  During the first 7 weeks all members of the program have taken the same four classes: Turbo Finance, Financial Modeling, Industry Risk and Pricing, and Data Analysis.

  • Turbo Finance:  This class is taught by the SMF program director, Dr. George Pinteris, and as its name suggests, provides a full overview of the many financial theories and concepts that are necessary for success in a rigorous program such as the SMF.  This course covers a set of fundamental techniques for financial analysis.  In this class we have examines the investment decision in detail looking at both the NPV and IRR of projects to determine their viability. We have also spent a third of the class on valuation analysis looking at both the multiples and DCF methods.  The third key focus of this course is financial statement analysis and we will focus on using a set of tools and methods to analyze companies and sectors.  This class also involves a company report where we will apply all of the techniques that we have learned in the class to analyze a particular company.  In my case we are working on an analysis of FedEx.
  • Financial Modeling:  This class is taught by Professor Daniel Oglevee, a former Wall Street Professional with a great deal of experience in financial modeling from his time in the private sector.  In this class we have constructed dozens of models that could be applied in our future jobs from NPV analysis to forecasting financial statements.  This class serves as one of the foundations for the program because the skills learned will be used in every other class we take.  In addition, in almost any job in the business world, knowledge of Microsoft Excel and financial modeling are extremely important and employers actively seek candidates with these skills.
  • Industry Risk and Pricing:  This class is taught by Dr. Michael Brandl, and provides an overview of applied microeconomics.  What sets this class apart from many other economic courses I have taken is not only Professor Brandl’s enthusiasm for the subject, but also the application of economic theory to real-world financial situations.  He stresses for each of us to think as an analyst and in order to fully understand the influences and forces on a company or sector, you must understand the economics behind the growth or decline.
  • Data Analysis: This class is taught by Dr. Daniel Magestro, explores some the most common techniques used in financial and investment analysis.  One of the main focuses of the class, as evident by the title, is data analysis which is the application of quantitative methods to characterize financial datasets, including which to use in different situations.  In this class we also create analyst reports on various topics that allow for students to apply many of the techniques we have learned in a real world application.

My First OSU Football Game

As things are heating up on the academic front with finals rapidly approaching, it was fantastic to momentarily escape the stress this Saturday night at the Ohio State Buckeyes football game.

Braxton Miller overpowering the Badgers Defense

 

Having earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, I am no stranger to Big 10 sporting events.  During my four years in Champaign-Urbana, I attended numerous Illini football and basketball games.  In January 2008, I traveled to Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl game between The University of Illinois and The University of Southern California.  All of my experiences at Illini sporting events wrapped into one cannot compete with my first Buckeye football game.

 

The fans, the band, the stadium, everything surpassed my high expectations.  Not a single student in my row sat down from the opening kickoff until the fourth quarter.  It was truly fascinating to witness the passion in which Buckeye fans cheer on their squad.

 

Although the football team played great, the Ohio State Marching Band might have been one step better.  A flawless performance highlighted by the designed formation of a cowboy tipping his hat as members of the band scurried back and forth in perfect unison.

 

Coming into the Wisconsin game unbeaten in 16 straight, the highly touted Buckeyes rode the Horseshoe’s electric atmosphere to their 17th victory in a row.  Wisconsin was no slouch, but the Buckeyes looked the superior team throughout.

 

Before Saturday’s game, I strongly considered selling some of my tickets.  There is absolutely no chance of that happening now.  For now, I will have to patiently wait for my next chance to see the Buckeyes.  October 19th could not arrive soon enough!


Decisions, Decisions

Even though it feels like classes just started, second term is only weeks away, and it is already almost time to schedule for spring semester. That means I need to start thinking about which track I will be specializing in: corporate finance, investment management, risk management, or real estate. Right now, my SMF classmates seem pretty evenly divided between corporate finance and investment management, with a handful of others pursuing risk management and real estate. I personally am still torn between the corporate and investment tracks. Not having a finance background, I think it will take me a bit longer to determine what jobs interest me, and into what categories those jobs fall.

Luckily for me and other students in a similar position, the SMF program is designed to help you find the right path. During the second term, which runs from mid-October until Winter Break, all of the SMF students are required to take Corporate I and Investments I, along with Leadership, Derivatives I, and Data Analysis II. This allows everyone to get a taste for the two main tracks and, from what I hear, I should know pretty quickly in which direction I am leaning.

However, if I still cannot make up my mind, I am sure the SMF faculty and staff will continue to be a great source of guidance. One piece of advice I have heard from several of our professors is to read—read the textbooks, read newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, and read magazines like The Economist. Then think back on what topics, industries, and companies caught my attention, what was I naturally drawn to, even if seems like a far-fetched career path. That could help point me towards not only a track within the SMF program, but also possible employers for the future. Because, after all, shouldn’t the end goal be to get not just any job, but a job I actually love?

Check out the full list of spring semester electives here!

 


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