A Trip to North Market

Recently, the SMF council organized the 4th SMF lunch/dinner of the year at the North Market. It gave, once again, the opportunity for the SMF class to unite outside Fisher around a great variety of food.

North Market is one of the great places that Columbus has to offer. It is an indoor marketplace with a variety of restaurants with culinary tastes of all around the worlds. North Market is home to multiple unique and independent merchants and farmers who supply this great place located in the downtown area of Columbus.

Most of the students attending the event and I decided to go for “Hot Chicken Takeover” as the lunch dish. This hot chicken fast casual dining place is known to serve “juicy and perfectly-fried Nashville Hot Chicken rubbed with a cayenne-infused paste.” I have to admit that by choosing the “warm” level of spice, which is the second lowest level of spice Hot Chicken Takeover serves, I was not expecting to rely on ranch and white bread to finish my meal!

On a personal note, shut out to Nanson for eating the hottest spice proposed in the restaurant.

I might repeat myself but I have been impressed and pleased with the events that the SMF council have been organizing throughout the year. It has given students the opportunity to meet and bond outside of the classrooms. Definitely an aspect of the master that I was not expecting but that has our experience much more enjoyable.

Red Carpet Reflections

Little did I expect that Red Carpet this year would be just as an amazing experience as it was last year! This time, from the perspective of a current student and point person to welcome in part of the admitted class, I realized how much fun it is to share about Columbus and the program experience so far. Also, through other current students sharing their stories, I was reminded of many opportunities to experience this amazing city!

During the welcome reception at the Ohio Stadium, we learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes to game day and were reinvigorated with excitement for next season! Student ticket info will be coming this summer, and we can’t wait to buy the Big 10 package again. One thing to look forward to for all home games are the great Fisher tailgates at Fisher Commons. Not only an apartment complex to look into, Fisher Commons is in a central location to bring many current students together.

I also helped coordinate the significant others/partners/spouses (SOPS) breakfast on Saturday morning at Red Carpet, and I learned some great tips for managing time between work/school/home! For example, many current SOPS put together shared calendars for each other to find times to spend together. My husband and I try to eat dinner together almost every evening and spend at least one day of the weekend away from work and study. On the next nice weekend day, we plan to check out the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, while doing some background research for one of the consulting projects I am working on for the Professional Development core class.

Finally, Red Carpet weekend came to a close with our women’s breakfast on Sunday morning. We have a strong group of women coming into the program, and I cannot wait to see how Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) and our Forte Foundation connections grow into next year. I had a great time connecting with classmates at the Forte conference last summer (see photo below) and hope to see many again this summer! Also, I hope to see a few admitted students at our first Fisher Women’s Conference on April 6th!

Overall, it was an amazing weekend, and I am looking forward to our incoming class next year!

Interview with SMF Student Zenan (Nanson) Wang

I thought that for this blog post, I would share a different perspective than the one I’ve been sharing all year long! Meet fellow SMF student Zenan (Nanson) Wang.  Nanson gave a lot of thoughtful answers to my questions and specifically talked about his experience as a Chinese student in the SMF program.  Enjoy!

Q:         Where are you from and what was your background before coming to Fisher?

A:         I am from Suzhou, China, and I received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Soochow University.  I also worked a six-month internship at a commercial bank in China.  In my internship, I worked in fields ranging from marketing to risk management.

Q:         Why did you choose the SMF Program?

A:         I chose the SMF program for the good reputation and rankings of Fisher, four different tracks that enabled me to choose my preference, the enthusiasm of the recruiting personnel, and finally, the scholarship offered by the program.

Q:         What have been some of the biggest adjustments for life in the U.S. and specifically, Columbus?

A:         I am the kind of person who can adjust to a new environment quite easily. However, I have to say it is not easy to live in an all-English environment since my English, especially my listening, is not quite good enough to understand everything. Thus, I sometimes felt lost when others talked to me, especially during the early months in the U.S.  I don’t want to be rude by not responding, but I really don’t know how to properly respond. Plus, in the U.S., it is very important to express my ideas, thoughts, and feelings. So, it can be tough when I find I can express those in Chinese but not in English– and my English skill becomes a limitation.

Q:         What have been your favorite and least favorite things about your time in the program?

A:         Favorite: When I get inspired from other people, including professors, classmates, and teammates. Least favorite: when I have to deal with many things due at the same time– and for some of these things, I have to wait until others complete their parts even though I have finished mine quite in advance.

Q:         What has been your favorite course and who has been your favorite professor?

A:         Favorite course: Derivatives. Both Derivatives 1 & 2. It is pretty exciting for me to learn something technical. Favorite professors – Professor Pirim because his data analysis class was really fun to me. I also like Professor Oglevee a lot, since I always get inspired from him and I learned the great importance of dealing with uncertainty from him.

Q:         Did you choose an area of specialization?  If so, what area and why?

A:         Yes, I picked half investment management and half risk management. First of all, I am very interested in investing, and I have tried investing in China during my undergraduate studies. Thus, I wish to learn more about this area. Plus, the financial market changes every second, so it is always exciting to face different challenges for every moment. Then, for risk management: since the financial crisis, risk management has always been a hot topic and it seems everyone has known the significance of it. Thus, it is very important to learn at least some of this area. Also, I feel this field is quite exciting. It is a field that requires one to know the financial markets, the law and regulation, the operation in many markets, and people. It can be really interesting to step into this integrated field.

Q:         How has your career search been going? Also, what are your post-graduation plans?

A:         Not quite good so far I have to say. Though some connections have been built, I have not secured a job yet. From what I have experienced, I have to say it is not easy for us international students to gain employment in the U.S. However, I am still trying and I believe I will not regret if I tried my best. Thus, I still plan to work in the U.S. for 3-5 years, and then go back to China, probably Shanghai or Suzhou.

Q:         Could you talk about your experience as part of the SMF Council?

A:         I am in charge of the social events in SMF council. From my experience, it can be quite difficult when all things are accidentally against you. When I reserve for a large group, the answer from the restaurant is almost always negative. When I make an announcement about a new event, sometimes the participation rate is not as good as I imagine. These are things I can’t control. So, I have learned to always try my best to do the things I can control, but be comfortable when I am not able to control something.

Q:         Are you glad that you are a member of the council and would you recommend it to other students?

A:         I have to say: yes. Though some time has been spent on the council work and meetings, it is always worth it when I can see how others handle their work in a different way. It is good to get inspired from others’ words and practice.

Q:         What advice would you give to all future students, and also more specifically to future Chinese students?

A:         Always get ready for the challenge, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’d like to also share especially for future Chinese students: after I came to the U.S., it was my very first time to actively participate in class. During my undergraduate studies, with all my Chinese classmates, I didn’t have to raise my hand since all other classmates didn’t do so. However, in the U.S., you have to show yourself in a proper way, and you will benefit a lot from this. In the beginning, you may feel uncomfortable with doing this, but as Professor Oglevee has said, it is important to get used to it, and become comfortable with being uncomfortable.


Grad School Hacks

As a GA Ambassador for the Master of Human Resource Management program, one of the questions I always ask prospective students when I connect with them over the phone or in person is,

“what is your biggest worry about grad school?”

Of course, the choice to return to school for graduate study is not insignificant. For some, the decision means putting off full-time work for another year or two as you transition directly from undergrad to grad school. For others, it means leaving a job to return to academia after many years away. And for many, it means moving your life from home to an unfamiliar city to pursue a degree you hope will position you better for your career aspirations. Every person’s circumstances are different, but most experience the full gamut of worry, excitement, and anxiety as they begin to prepare for this major life transition.

Over my time as an ambassador, I’ve collected and compiled a few of the most common concerns from prospective students. And, as a current student who went through this same process just a year and a half ago, my intention is to provide some additional perspective on these points to hopefully alleviate some anxiety. This is supposed to be exciting, after all!

5. Getting a Job: It is no secret that the reason most of us have decided to pursue grad school is because we want to position ourselves more competitively for the types of jobs we want. This is not to say that everyone has or should have it all figured out. We all have the raw materials for success in the HR field–ambition, passion, and grit–but many of us are still exploring where our specific interests land. Organizational Development? Performance Management? Training & Development? The beauty of the MHRM program is that is exposes us to all of these areas so that we can begin to dial in where we may want to end up in our careers.


Jazz up your Linked-in profile and practice using the platform. You’d be surprised how helpful it can be with forging connections along the way as you meet people throughout your time in the program. The Fisher Office of Career Management is integral to this piece of the process. Use their resources too! (Oh, and don’t worry, Fisher provides professional head shots at the career fair Late August!)

4. Workload: Many prospective students I talk with express worry about being able to “keep up” in class. I will say that the time spent outside of class is similar to undergrad, but the nature of class work in grad school is different than what many will have experienced. There is more reading outside of class (textbooks, Harvard Business Review cases) and classes are discussion-based. Without homework assignments, there are few “checkpoints” along the way, and professors expect you to have read before class. In other words, it requires discipline.


Look at the readings due for the following week on Friday and plan out when you’re going to accomplish each. Writing down my assignments allows me to stop thinking about them incessantly.

3. Night Classes: To be honest, this was a huge concern of mine. Something I love to do is see live music, and so I like to keep my evenings free. I was afraid I would miss out on opportunities to do what I love. I found out quickly though that three evenings a week is very manageable, and I really haven’t missed out on anything. What’s more–I love having my days free to sleep in a bit, work out when I want, and get outside.


It’s all about reframing. I assumed that because I had been living according a certain schedule that I would be unhappy otherwise. I didn’t consider that I might actually enjoy having my days free more. One of my classmates Vinessa wisely said that this is our last chance to enjoy our daylight hours before entering the full-time workforce, and I’ve come to appreciate that.

2. Making Friends: MHRMs are a friendly folk. Even after the first day of orientation I felt connected to my classmates, and some of my closest friends I’ve met through the program. You’ll find that because a lot of MHRMs are transplants to Columbus, everyone is looking for a community.

A couple of MHRMs at the Fisher Follies Fall Auction.


Say yes. Take advantage of opportunities to be social with your classmates–and there are plenty. We tailgate together, go bowling together, see movies together, and even decompress on Thursdays after class at Varsity Club together. Position yourself in a living situation where you have easy access to activities and people you want to be around. This makes it much more convenient to say yes.

1. Housing: Although the first four are in no particular order, concerns about housing are perhaps the most common I hear about. Fortunately, we have a handy-dandy housing packet that is helpful in identifying different neighborhoods that Fisher graduate students are attracted to.


2018 Columbus Housing Packet

I hope these hacks are helpful in relieving some of the nervousness and uncertainty that comes with such a significant life transition. At the end of the day, I hope excitement prevails as you embark on a journey that will pay dividends for your future career success and happiness.

A Dream Come True

When I was younger, my brother gave me a poster from one of his soccer magazines. To most, this would seem like a small thing. After all, kids save posters and random papers all the time. But this poster was different. For the next ten years, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team hung above my closet door, inspiring me through every achievement.

Although I love soccer, I myself am not very athletic. I never aspired to be a professional soccer player. In fact, my aspirations were pretty fluid. Archeologist. Psychologist. Mathematician. When you’re constantly finding new interests, there may not be a constant female role model in your own field (especially since you’re not even sure what you want your field to be). So instead, I looked up to this group of women on my wall who would never share a career path with me, but motivated me nonetheless.

As I got further into college and discovered a passion for accounting, I never forgot the team of women who inspired me to dream big and go after what I want in life. I cheered them on in the World Cup. I felt my heart swell with pride when they fought for equal pay. And last Thursday, I finally got to see them play in person.

The team had to do a lot of warming up before the game since it was so rainy and cold.

By some miracle, I won discounted tickets in the OSU ticket lottery to go see the “She Believes Cup” in Columbus. And when Megan Rapinoe, my favorite player, scored the only goal of the game, I knew without a doubt that Columbus and the MAcc program are exactly where I need to be. Out of all of my experiences this year, this is the moment that I truly felt like I had come full circle– back to that little girl who dreamed big and went after what she wanted.

We got seats right above the tunnel and saw the players walk onto the field.

This fall, I start my career as an auditor. I will be the first person in my family to have a bachelor’s degree and the first to earn a master’s degree. I will be living in a major city that I have grown to love. I will meet strong women in my own field. And on my phone will be a picture of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to remind me to dream big and go after my goals.


C-P-A. The three letters that every accounting student fears. So, what does “CPA” stand for? Certified Public Accountant. In order to practice and provide opinions on accounting matters in the U.S., one needs to obtain a CPA sometime in their career. The rewards of having a CPA are great, but most students stress out about the exam and the preparation required for the exam itself.

But the fear is unnecessary; the CPA is not as bad as it sounds! The CPA exam is actually a misnomer. It should be the CPA exams. To pass the CPA, an individual is required to achieve a score of 75 (it is not 75%, but rather a weighted score of 75) on all four exams. The four exams that must be passed within 18 months of each other are Audit and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation. Each exam is four hours long.

Image result for cpa exam

Preparation for the first exam should begin a few months before you actually plan to take the first exam. Reason being: you need to apply to your state board to gain permission to take the CPA exam. Each state has different requirements that it needs to review for each candidate before the candidate is granted permission to schedule for their first exam (or given an “NTS”– notice to schedule). For example, Ohio requires a student to have 150 credit hours before sitting for the first exam. Additionally, candidates must complete 30 hours of accounting and 24 hours of business courses prior to applying for the NTS. More information on other states and exceptions to the rules, you can go to the NASBA website.

Once you have received permission to take the CPA exam, the studying can begin. Most students choose to use software called “Becker” or one of  hundreds of other software programs to help prepare for the CPA. Purchasing the software itself is expensive, but most accounting firms will provide you reimbursement for the  software if you end up working for them.

A year ago, I never imagined that I would be taking and sitting for the CPA. However, here I am, one year later and I already have one exam under my belt. The exam is not as hard as people tell you it is and as long as you come prepared, I am sure you will do fine. Best of luck to all my future test-takers!

Buckeye NutHouse

Football withdrawals were a real thing for me this spring. I missed having plans on Saturday to be with friends and enjoy a game in the stadium. If this is a concern for you, don’t fret: there’s basketball! I went to my first game in the “NutHouse” (Schottenstein Center) for the Ohio State vs. Iowa game. You can buy student tickets for $14 or less per game, and occasionally, there are free student tickets! In addition to really cheap tickets, the seats are amazing! Pictured below is the view from the student section which is courtside.

view from seats at the game

Plus, the Buckeye atmosphere is amazing! All students are on their feet the entire game in suspense– cheering on the team. The staff working at the game also hand out free items such as a baton that lights up. This year, Ohio State basketball has been selling out games for the first time in years. The team is currently ranked 13th in the nation and 2nd in the Big Ten Conference (exceeding expectations). Some attribute this performance to hiring a new coach, Chris Holtmann, who previously coached at Butler University. With March approaching, it means March Madness is ahead! For those who are unfamiliar, March Madness is a NCAA Division 1 Men’s basketball single elimination tournament. There are conference tournaments first, and the winning team automatically qualiies for the March madness tournament. There will be 36 remaining spots for teams to play after the automatic qualifying teams have been accounted for; then, the NCAA selection committee will select the 36 teams to be included in the March Madness tournament. As long as Ohio State keeps performing well, we should hopefully see them there!


Becoming a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant

Each year, the Master of Accounting Program organizes the Volunteer Income Assistant (VITA) program to help local individuals file their Federal and state income taxes. We, as volunteers, go to a site twice a week to help individuals who have made appointments.

Most of the tax preparers are either enrolled in the MAcc program or undergraduate accounting students. In order to be certified to help file taxes, we need to pass at least four different exams.

The VITA program not only helps the public to file their taxes for free but also helps our students to apply  in-class knowledge to the real world. It prepares our MAcc students to be more comfortable communicating with the clients and to improve various “soft skills” which are necessary when we start our professional job.

It is definitely rewarding to see what you prepared then get approved– and, in some cases, result in tax refunds deposited to the clients’ accounts. It was a little more difficult when clients would have tax due, meaning that they didn’t have enough tax withheld during the year and they needed to pay the IRS out of pocket. We needED to be very careful about how to deliver the message.

Besides the VITA program, the MAcc Council also organizes other community service events to do our best helping the local organizations and to take part in fun activitiesin and around Columbus.

Power to my core team!

At Fisher, incoming MBA students are assigned to a core team that will tackle projects together. As the year comes to a close, this is a huge shout-out to my amazing core team a.k.a. Team 9! Neethi, Adam, Sangyoun (Shin) and Andrew have made the core team adventure a valuable experience from the start!

Beginning with team announcements during pre-term and into our first team-building exercises, we took time to get to know each other and have fun. During pre-term, before classes began for the semester, we had the chance to compete in a mini-case competition and take on a ropes course! Not only did we win the case across the teams presenting in our room– we also won the photo contest from the ropes course (see one of the winners below)! We spent these challenges taking time to get to know each other’s backgrounds and not taking things too seriously, resulting in effective teamwork and great times!

Throughout the year, we have worked hard to keep each other in mind outside of class projects… from having birthday celebrations to venting about the internship search to sharing favorite snacks. Most importantly, we are all very lucky to have Neethi who brings delicious snacks for our group meetings and Shin who brings some of his favorite snacks from Korea (see below).

Overall, we stay motivated, but have fun while we’re working on assignments together! This semester, we’ve discovered the power of communication and working as a virtual team. With interviews ramping up, along with group projects, we have realized the power of working together remotely.

After things die down in a few weeks, we’re looking forward to a celebration together over Korean BBQ! From case analyses to marketing plans, we have found ourselves frustrated, giggling, sweating from spicy ramen snacks, and in deep concentration to meet deadlines among all of the other activities going on at school. It’s been a challenging and rewarding experience, and I wouldn’t trade my core team for another!

Semester Number “Fore”

Seeing as it is the last semester of my MBA experience, I have taken it upon myself to ensure I am squeezing very penny’s worth out of my tuition.  In this particular case, this means branching outside of Fisher to take a class that will help me develop some important life skills not covered by the MBA curriculum.  Which class, you ask? Golf I, offered through the College of Physical Activity and Educational Services (PAES).

Individual “hitting cages” for practicing full swings.

Golf class quickly became a highlight of this semester.  We meet twice a week for a 55-minute session, led by a PGA-certified golf pro, who teaches at a golf course in Columbus during the summer.  The class runs for the full 14 weeks of the semester and there are about 15 students in each section.  Classes are conveniently held at the Recreation and Physical Activities Center (RPAC), just a few short blocks from Fisher.  This facility has an indoor putting/chipping area and a series of indoor driving “cages” where we work on full strokes.  The curriculum also covers essential rules and etiquette, and all clubs and materials are provided.

I coordinated with Fisher classmates to sign up for the same class section– and that’s made golf not only informative and relaxing, but also a fun social activity.  As the snow melts, we look forward to testing our skills on Ohio State’s two golf courses: Scarlet and Gray.

Left: interior of a hitting cage; Above: putting/chipping area–difficult to tell from the photo, but it features a variety of holes and terrain to simulate both the green and fringe







My experience with golf is emblematic of a larger theme as an Ohio State Student: you can do everything here.  Speaking just within the confines of PAES electives, this means similar courses in boxing, dance, fencing, tennis, rock climbing, and much more.  The RPAC also offers free group fitness classes daily, across disciplines such as yoga, Zumba, spinning, Pilates.  Then consider 36 varsity sports to watch, free events through the Ohio Union Activities Board, and over 1,300 Ohio State student organizations doing, well…more than 1,000 different things… and needless to say, there is a limitless amount to do here.  And nearly all of it is free after you’ve paid tuition.

The Fisher MBA experience can be anything you want it to be—and this is a major strength of the program.  It is entirely possible to spend two years just here in Gerlach Hall and have a rewarding experience.  However, as a “double Buckeye” (having attended OSU as an undergrad), I like to encourage my classmates and future students to branch out and take advantage of the entire campus at our disposal.  This can be easier said than done when the rigors of the program kick in, but when you make time for such activities, it is a rewarding way to feel that you are making the most of the “student lifestyle.”