Posts filed under 'SMF'

Friends Giving With the Swimmers!

Have you ever heard of a Friends Giving?? I had no idea what it was until my roommate told me we should throw one about two weeks ago. Needless to say I wasn’t entirely sure what he was talking about and needed for him to explain. I had no idea how popular these things are but apparently a Friends Giving is when you assemble, exactly like you would on Thanksgiving, except the difference is a Friends Giving is more for seeing close friends rather than relatives. So I was hooked and decided we needed to go all out!

My roommate Rowan and I started this adventure by making a list of people we were going to invite (mostly old swimming friends who can eat..a lot) and a list of food that we wanted everyone to bring. Naturally, being the hosts, we decided to take on the turkey! Roaming around Kroger, we found a behemoth of a 25 pound turkey and I instantly called my mom to ask if we could borrow her roaster and of course…how to cook a turkey.


As the day approached, I started to get nervous that people wouldn’t show up, wouldn’t bring any food or that the turkey wouldn’t turn out! Just being a little worrisome I guess. We thawed our bird, seasoned it up, threw it in the roaster and got ready to wait! After two hours it was done…I didn’t know what to do because people weren’t coming over for another two hours so we just turned the temperature way down and got to work on setting up our apartment with the amazing aroma of turkey thick in the air.


I was blown away at what amazing culinary masterpieces people brought: mac ‘n cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, bread and butter, chicken wings, buffalo chicken dip (dangerously good), ham and of course…the desserts: Oreo pudding, mini pecan pies, full sized apple and pumpkin pies, ice cream and cookies. Then came the moment of truth, it was time to cut into the bird. I was nervous but it turned out to be one of the best turkeys I’ve ever had!


The rest of the night consisted of watching football, stuffing ourselves, playing cards, eating more, recanting the funniest of stories from our golden days, trying to fit a few last bites in and a lot of sitting and digesting. All-in-all, our Friends Giving was a huge success and it made me feel like such an adult…not sure if I’m ready for that just yet!

Future Bankers

Garrett & Taylor

The other day I had the opportunity to interview Garrett Trebilcock and Taylor Richard, two outstanding SMF students who both got offers from Brown Gibbons Lang & Company, about their experience of the interview process. This is what they had to say.

  1. What made you choose to go with Brown vs. other companies that you interviewed with?
    1. Taylor: The ability to have access to senior leadership. A generalist program which exposes candidates to various industries such as healthcare, industrials, consumer products, energy and environment, and business services.
    2. Garrett: The biggest asset for me was understanding the wide range I would have in assisting with a deal. Since BGL is a middle market bank, I would have access to a variety of roles throughout my time as an analyst.
  2. How was the interview process especially in relation to companies you really wanted to work for versus other companies?
    1. Taylor: At OSU we have Fisher Connect Career services where companies come to interview on campus. Coming here, I knew that I wanted to do investment banking but it was also good to get experience interviewing with non-investment banking firms to get interview experience.
    2. Garrett: Coming to OSU, I was intrigued with investment banking. With investment banking being a hard field to get into, I found it great that there were some firms that would specifically come to campus to conduct interviews. I found that I was more vested with those specific companies that took the time to learn more about me.
  3. Did your trip to New York help cement your future search for careers in New York?
    1. Taylor: I have a background working for a regional firm and want to get back to the middle regional level. There was more flexibility to talk with senior partners that is not found in big bulge bracket in NYC.
    2. Garrett: The trip solidified my intentions for focusing a career in investment banking, rather than thinking about NYC as a location specifically.
  4. How helpful was the career management office with your search for careers?
    1. Taylor: It was especially helpful for a career in investment banking with the resources made available by the office of career management with the addition of professors who have a background in investment banking which had an added value of networking.
    2. Garrett: They definitely did a great job of coaching and providing resources to help us along the way. Also Fisher Connect was a huge asset in scanning for potential employers.
  5. What did you do outside of school to enhance your career search?
    1. Taylor: Took a trip to New York which offered networking opportunities where it helps to breakdown the geographical challenge. Went to career events given by specific firms I was interested in.
    2. Garrett: I already had an idea of what I needed to do, which was mainly to establish business connections. I tried to do my best in working those connections because you never know who would recommend you within an interview process.
  6. What advice would you give to International students trying to get into Investment banking:
    1. Taylor: Start networking early before coming to Ohio State. This is after they’ve already made the decision to come here. Aim for larger bulge brackets because they do sponsor.
    2. Garrett: Connecting with previous OSU Alumni who are in the same fields the students want to be in and asking how they got there. The toughest part is getting your foot in the door, and asking previous alumni for the steps they took to get there makes for a defined path.

Duff & Phelps Interview

I recently was selected for a second round interview with Duff & Phelps in their valuation services department. The entire process has been a whirlwind but incredible nonetheless. It started earlier this year when I walked into our first career fair and saw a big red table with some people in “Duff & Phelps” polos. I was nervous but walked right up and they started talking about the company, what kind of work I would do and what the different offices are like. After dropping my resume, I moved on the next table not thinking that I might have just met a future co-worker.


A few days after the career fair I received an email asking me to formally apply for a position within the firm and maybe I would be selected for a first round interview on campus. As it turned out, I was selected and the interview was going to be a few days later. I was very excited but nervous at the same time. I knew I had some preparation to do!

The first round interview went well but it wasn’t what I expected. I spent a few hours preparing for behavioral and technical questions about valuation and then during the interview, all we talked about was my past, my interests, OSU football and the Atlanta office (ok, there was one technical question about valuing the Coke brand).


About two weeks after the first round interview, I received word that I was invited to a second round in Atlanta! I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement. Over the next two weeks or so, I spent a few hours here and there doing prep questions, learning about different methods of valuation and researching different people within the Atlanta office. I have heard from people at Duff & Phelps and from different web sites like that second rounds are very technical and may have a case analysis as well. Let’s hope that all this preparation pays off! Atlanta, here I come!

Pushing Forward


Back in August we were told that things were going to move really fast forward and I was a skeptic. I realize now how fast they have moved. We’ve finished one of our biggest projects and we have been here for 8 weeks learning and absorbing material. I remember Professor Pinteris stating that we would be professionals by the time the program would be over, that it would take time to see the change, but that the change would happen. I have started to see that change, not just in my knowledge of finance but in the way I act. I communicate a lot more than I used to, and I make sure that I try to cover all bases. If I cannot cover all the bases, I cover what I can and move on. It definitely has been an interesting change.

I have had the opportunity to talk to some professionals in the Investment Industry, and having had the training from Career Management as well as advice from professionals, I was able to have good value adding conversations with those professionals. It definitely feels good moving forward knowing that what the program is offering adds so much value not only in the classroom but also outside of the classroom. Faculty and staff does their best so that we as students are allowed to take full advantage of the value added bonus.

As I start the second half of the program, I see promise on the horizon. I know that I have yet to see everything that the program offers but am excited to see what it is going to offer. Having seen just how much the first 8 weeks transformed me, I am excited to step forward and take the challenges coming with the following time remaining. I am sure it will be hard at times but I’ve come to understand that it is a matter of putting everything into perspective, trying your best, and learning from everyone around you.

First Part Complete!!!!


Ahh Finals Week (First Part)!!!!

We’ve all had that feeling when we think its almost impossible to lump into our brains material that we have just finished let alone when its for a cumulative exam. I spent the better part of the weekend before the exams as well as the week of the exams studying for exams, drinking coffee, drinking coffee (yes I repeated that) and listening to music. I did find time in there to breathe and tell myself that its all part of a greater goal which helped alot. I think the hardest part of studying for me is when I hit that wall that’s covered with “Why are you doing this?” The question of course is always obvious: because I want to be better, because it is inevitable, and more importantly proves that I can make the connections outside of class. The hard part of it is when I start thinking about the opportunity costs but I’ve come to know that those only come because I am most if not all the time extremely tired. It is a rewarding process though. There is nothing more that I enjoy than making that connection while I am studying.

It is the end of the first part of the program. Two months have passed, seven weeks of study compiled with projects, presentations and ….finals. Having taken the finals, I look back and try to process what I have learned. It is easy because of all the material I have just absorbed while studying for the finals. I know now that a bar chart isn’t necessarily the best chart to present ratio or quantitative data. I can now understand why the east side of columbus looks the way it does with the lack of banks allowing for the economy to grow in that area. I can also understand that companies wanting to satisfy their shareholders can raise dividends/repurchase shares and drive their stock price up. Arbitrageurs such as hedgefunds can then take advantage of that and buy stocks of those companies. A very intricate process all in all. These are all things that studying for the finals helped me process and absorb. It definitely adds value to my understanding of finance.

Finals regardless of how many or how hard are always stressful. There is nothing like enjoying a good meal to celebrate the completion of finals. As I am undergrad alumni and soon to be grad alumni of Fisher, all my finals have been at the OSU campus. After my finals I like to go to this Korean Restaurant on High street called Diaspora and get their spicy pork bulgogi. There is no other meal like it (at least for me). It has become somewhat of a tradition of mine. If I go there, it means that I think I did fairly well and I deserve to treat myself.

Here’s to the first part of the semester being over !!!



A Hard Day’s Grind!


As a grad student, I have had to relearn how to get into the grind. It seems most of my time is spent reading textbooks, keeping up with my to-do list (life saver), exploring job opportunities, and more than anything…drinking coffee from the best grinds (personally prefer Hazelnut & Columbian). Though the picture above seems to sum it all up, it is not so. As it happens sitting in Professor Pinteris’s class and learning about how analysts value corporations is of great interest to me. From using Multiples to discounting Cash Flows, we are exposed to how most firms are valued. The To-do list in the picture is the full picture in terms: Though it looks cluttered, there is a method to its madness. On there I have important class dates, meeting dates, corrections to previous notes, homework assignments due, and notes to remember to watch a financial segment on TV. The pamphlet from Fifth Third is one of the driving goals of my education. I want to use the material learned in class to make a difference one day with a big firm …But the grind does not necessarily just reflect nights reading as we see below…

As I walk from class in Gerlach Hall to the south side of campus towards Thompson I am reflecting about the grind that I went through the night before completing assignments, applying to Fifth and Third, running to Krogers to pick up a fresh bag of ground Columbian coffee beans to make my vietnamese coffee. I am thinking about how I am starting to get used to and like this grind. This grind although it takes up a large amount of my time is well worth it. And so as the gears in my head are turning …..grinding rather.. I am thinking about my next move. Do I walk faster so that I can get that magical fourth floor spot at Thompson? No its Wednesday and the seats are probably full. Should I reach out to an other alumni through linkedin or finish my leadership paper that is due next week? I pull out my To Do notebook and notice that I have annotated both “To Dos” in my notebook. I then stop and realize why it is that I strolled across campus in the first-place knowing that I would not get a spot at Thompson this early ……….

Every chance that I get while the weather is still nice, any couple of  minutes that I am able to steal from my studies and assignments or career search on beautiful days such as this Wednesday, I try to sneak in a pass by Mirror Lake. It has this calming presence about it. It is almost a poster like entity that makes The Campus so much more meaningful and motivating. I stand there and snap a couple of pictures and passerbyers whether students, faculty, staff or regular visitors smile and walk by. Some are engrossed in their phones, some in the conversations they’re having with their peers and some others I notice are just like me; they’re enjoying that moment of quiet and peace that Mirror Lake offers before getting back to the grind. I put my phone back in my pocket and remember that by now the fourth floor has started to clear up and that there is much more to do, a lot more to read, a lot more to learn, a lot more coffee beans to be ground. Back to this grind that I’ve come to respect.


Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) Equity Research Report

So far, my blogs have only been about social events (football) and the joy of returning to Columbus. I figured it was time to write about something academic so here’s a little bit about the project I’ve been working on for the past 3 weeks…Chipotle!


Who doesn’t love a good burrito!

The SMF program is broken down into one 3-week, pre-term, “turbo” course and then two 15-week semesters that contain two terms each. In the “turbo” course, we revisit some basic corporate finance fundamentals like time value of money, the capital asset pricing model, weighted average cost of capital and different valuation methods (Discounted Cash Flow and Dividend Discount Model). During the first real term, we take a number of classes including Corporate Finance I which delve deeper into valuation and different capital structures.

The largest grade in Corporate I is an equity research report based on a company of our choosing. My group and I spent a fair amount of time scouring the S&P 500 for a company we liked that wouldn’t be overly challenging and guess what company came up??..Everyone’s favorite fast-casual Mexican restaurant, Chipotle!

chipotle 2

Why is Chipotle always so busy?? Ask me and I could ramble on for a while..

The report requires us to dive deep into the company culture, financials, operations, labor force and management to be able to make assumptions about these factors going forward so we can make a forecast of revenues, costs, expenditures and cash flows. More than anything else, the project is supposed to help those of us who want to work as analysts practice our ability to make assumptions and take a view on a company then be able to back up this view with solid projections.

All-in-all, it has been a great experience and I can’t wait to present my report to our class..I wonder if I can get extra credit for having Chipotle cater our lunch…

Buckeye Football!

If you’ve never been to Ohio Stadium (aka “The Shoe”) when The Ohio State Buckeyes are playing football, then you need to hop on ticketmaster and snag a ticket as soon as possible. I grew up watching Buckeye football my whole life and I must say, the experiences have been better with age. There is just something about the emotion of having 100,000+ people flood Columbus to cheer on this group of brothers that puts me on a whole new level of excitement. I am getting chills just sitting here thinking about it. “Buckeye Nation” is what the loyal following is known as and members range from die hard nuts to casual viewers. Whatever your interest or affiliation, Buckeye Nation is always accepting new members.

On the 12th of September I woke up, put on my white #5 jersey, grabbed a snack and took off for Lane Avenue where I met my fellow Buckeyes for some pre-football tailgating. We stopped at a few tents on the way to our destination (all overflowing with people and FOOD..lots of food) but eventually made it to Fisher Commons where our host and fellow SMF student, Taylor Richard, had buffalo chicken dip ready to be demolished. After enjoying more than my fair share of buffalo chicken dip, we took off for The Shoe and what we hoped would be another Buckeye victory.

Buckeye Football

As a rank 4 student, we have some pretty incredible seats!

There really isn’t anything quite like a Buckeye football game. I could go into details about the deafening roar of the crowd when we score a touchdown or the amazing feeling you get as you sing Carmen Ohio while embracing your fellow Buckeyes arm-in-arm, but I am going to let you experience it for yourself! Because my words just don’t do it justice.

Career Fair 101!!

Elijah Lee - Career Fair

Interviewee: Elijah Lee – “Awesome SMF graduate student”
Interviewer: Didier Hirwantwari aka “Not as Awesome as Interviewee but still Awesome graduate SMF student”

Setup: Beautiful Afternoon at an even more beautiful Gerlach Courtyard Graduate Career Fair at the Blackwell!!!


D: Elijah you look very dapper in your suit, who is your Tailor?
E: Thank you Didier, but I cannot divulge that awesome information right now, maybe after the interview!!
D: I will certainly take you up on it!!

D: Well shall we get started then, I do not want to keep you.
E: Lets!!

D: First and Foremost, thank you for taking part in this Interview, hopefully we can learn a lot and impart it on the graduate student body both international and domestic.
E: You are welcome and it is a pleasure to partake in this Interview.

D: Was this your first career fair and were you nervous?
E: This was my first fair yes and I was a little bit nervous. It was more of a good nervous since I was anxious to walk in there, meet company reps and make good impressions.

D: As we sit here talking, how would you describe your experience at the fair?
E: The experience was great. I learned how to talk with professionals, picked up on nuances of what I should and shouldn’t do as well as what kind of questions to ask. I learned about the interview and application process and more importantly, when to apply as some companies were closing their application windows that same day.

D: How many Companies did you want to talk to?
E: I wanted to talk to as many companies as I could.

D: Has this Career Fair prepared you for the next one and how so?
E: It did prepare me for the next one. I have a better grasp on what kind of questions to ask and how to do company research before the fair.

D: Did you exchange any tips with your fellow graduate students about any particular companies?
E: I exchanged a few tips about certain companies with my classmates because the end goal is for all of us to succeed in our job search.

D: Elijah, I definitely appreciate the time you took to do this interview. I definitely hope to have you back when you land that dream job, and for your time I will not ask you about your suit tailor. Thank You!!!
E: Thank You Didier and good luck to you as well!!!!

Many thanks to our viewers and readers!!! Hope you enjoyed the interview — More to come in the future

Returning to Columbus!

It’s hard to explain the feeling you get when you return to a place that you called home for four years. Four of the best years of your life! Simply put, it feels incredible to be back. Back in the capital of the Buckeye state! After graduating from Ohio State last May, I spent the summer working in the human resources department at Great Clips and truly enjoyed my time. my experience, there is no better feeling than getting off the highway and looking at Ohio Stadium knowing that you are about to begin another year at one of the (if not THE) best school(s) in the nation. For me, returning to Columbus was the simple decision, figuring out what I wanted to do here was the hard part.

I specialized in Human Resources as an undergraduate student here at OSU and until last November, I was certain that I was going to pursue the Masters of Human Resource Management. That was my plan until I fell in love with the material taught in my Introduction to Finance course. This new found interest prompted me to explore a little bit and I decided to take a trip across the Fisher courtyard from the undergrad building (Shoenbaum) to the graduate programs building (Gerlach). On my visit to Gerlach, I met with multiple faculty members who explained what it would be like in the Specialized Masters of Finance program and what resources are available not only for career search but everyday life at Fisher as well. After the visit, my decision was made and I applied right away.

Mason Hall 2

Coming back to Columbus this time was a little bittersweet because I knew it could be the last time I pull off the highway and look at Ohio Stadium knowing I have another nine months in this beautiful place. Who knows though, maybe soon I will look upon Columbus as my future home as a finance professional.

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