Buckeye Basketball

Over the past couple of months, the blog posts I wrote have centered around class, class activities, and life in the SMF program from an academic point of view. As a result, for those who’ve been reading or following my posts, it may  seem as if I don’t do anything much outside homework, projects, assignments and attend class- which is somewhat true but not entirely.

Aerial view of the basketball arena

One of my hobbies is basketball, both playing and watching it. And if you are wondering, my favorite players are Lebron James (hopefully I don’t lose any readers) and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

 

What I love about basketball is the intensity of the gram. For 40-48 minutes, pretty much every ounce of muscle in the human body is tested. And on top of that, players need the mental resilience to ignore the body’s plea to give up before the game is over.

About a month, ago I got the opportunity to see our men’s basketball team

Getting some love from Brutus

in action vs. Rutgers. Certainly, the intensity which I love to see in a basketball game did not lack as both teams were hungry to get that W. Despite Rutgers’ sincere attempt to overthrow the Buckeyes in the third and fourth quarter, our boys proved equal to the challenge and managed to maintain the lead and win the game.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience at the Schottenstein Center, especially because this was my first men’s basketball game. I totally recommend this as a leisure activity, but before you leave the arena, be sure to get some love from our mascot, Brutus the Buckeye.

External Case Competition

Disclaimer: If you haven’t checked out my previous blog post about the Fisher College of Business MHRM Internal Case Competition, it provides further detail about the format of the case competitions which I refer to in this post.

As a quick overview, the MHRM program hosts an internal and external case competition each year. For each of the competitions, students form teams to compete against one another to solve an HR-related business problem presented by a sponsoring organization.

The internal competition involves teams of first- and second-year MHRM students and the winners from this event are selected to participate in the external competition. The external competition is hosted by The Ohio State University and invites universities who also have well-recognized HR graduate programs to participate in this event on a larger scale.

The weekend began at the Blackwell Hotel where all the teams were introduced to one another and enjoyed a dinner sponsored by Marathon. The universities in attendance included the University of South Carolina, Texas A&M, University of Illinois, Cornell, Minnesota, Rutgers, and West Virginia University. After dinner, we continued to mingle with the other teams at the Varsity Club, a well-known bar near the university.

The following morning was the start of the competition and when we were given the case. This year’s business problem was presented by Eaton Corporation, a multinational power management company. Essentially, they were in search of a solution that would improve coaching within their organization of 98,000 employees.

This solution also needed to touch on functions such as recruitment, engagement, and retention. The case was definitely challenging due to the large scope of the issue and it needed to be applicable to all generations, skill sets, and demographics of employees.

In order to be prepared for the next day’s presentations, we created a timeline and checklist of items to be completed. We started with a silent 15-minute brainstorming session that allowed us to each come with ideas on our own before we discussed them as a team. From there, we wrote down our concerns and potential solutions on the whiteboard.

As we began to discuss solutions, we realized we could implement strategies from various classes we have taken such as talent management, leadership, and staffing.

Once our solution was narrowed down, we assigned specific parts of the solution to each team member and organized our presentation from there. It’s a long day and it can be easy to get caught up in the overload of work, so it’s important to schedule breaks to eat, stretch, and clear your mind along the way.

Early the next morning, the teams returned to present their solutions in front of a panel of Eaton and industry professionals. Each team had 20 minutes to explain their solution and answer questions. Many unique ideas were brought to the table but ultimately the University of South Carolina was recognized as having the best solution. After the competition, we celebrated our hard work over lunch and were able to have feedback sessions with the judges.

I was able to take what I learned from the first experience and apply new strategies this competition.

Having been part of the internal and external case competitions, I was able to take what I learned from the first experience and apply new strategies this competition, which reinforces the practical experience component that I believe is crucial within this program. Additionally, not only did I get to become further acquainted with my own classmates but  I also mad connections with students from other programs and HR professionals across many different industries. This has continued to be an important opportunity to me because the individuals I am networking with today are going to be the future HR business leaders of tomorrow.

My First Experience in the Nut House

Now that football season has come and gone, I needed a new sport to go to cheer on the Buckeyes. This past week I experienced my first basketball game in the “Nut House” watching Ohio State beat a ranked Iowa team. It was a close game most of the way with Ohio State pulling ahead at the end. It was a big win for the team since they are currently on the bubble of making it into the March Madness tournament.

The atmosphere at the game was amazing. I was able to sit along the

View from the student section

sideline just a few rows back surrounded by other students. We were all on our feet the entire game cheering on the Buckeyes. I even caught a free t-shirt they were throwing out during the game. I grew up playing basketball and went to all the games in undergrad so it was a lot of fun to experience a game while at OSU. I would add going to a basketball game as a must while at Ohio State.

Basketball games are played at the Schottenstein Center, which is right off campus close to the football stadium. Students can either purchase season tickets or just tickets for individual games. Basketball tickets go for a lot cheaper than football. I was able to get my ticket to the game for only $10. The students get great seats right behind the players and right in all of the action.

The Buckeyes started off the season ranked and have had a very up and down season so far. I am hoping that with a few more good wins they will get a bid into the NCAA Tournament. This year a few of the first and second round games of the NCAA March Madness Tournament will be played in Nationwide Area, which is downtown Columbus, so I’m hoping the Buckeyes make it and I can watch them right down the road in the tournament.

Cupcakes and Canvases at Fisher!

Besides professional events (career fairs, networking sessions, case competition, alumni visits) and cultural events (Noche de Muertos- Mexican, Diwali – Indian, etc.), Ohio State and Fisher are always organizing a plethora of miscellaneous events that help students find relaxation amid demanding school time schedule.

This semester, the Graduate Programs Office in coordination with the Ohio Union Activities Board organized “Cupcakes and Canvases,” an event where students could have fun painting in canvases while enjoying delicious cupcakes!

I’m certainly not an experienced artist, rather I’m quite the beginner. However, the instructor made the painting process run very smoothly for all of us. In fact, it left me wanting to do even more canvas painting in the future.

Students from different programs (I got to meet some MHRM students and saw many MBAs) came together and enjoyed this fun activity that was honestly a brain-relaxer. After talking to some friends, they also shared a similar point of view that the activity in general was really helpful on getting our minds to think something else besides financial models, capital structures, and M&A transactions.

If you are a fan of canvas painting, want to do something fun for yourself or for a friend, or simply you just want to explore your artistic side, the process to complete this sunset was quite straightforward.

We used 5 different colors: white, black, red, yellow and blue. We started by paining the sky red and then mixing with yellow to fill out the rest of the sky down until we reach the sea level. (It also helps to have a template picture printed next to you).

Final piece of art result!

Then, you want to do the ocean starting with blue and again, mixing with white this time to choose your preferred tone of blue. You can paint all the way or just leave a narrow space at the end, it doesn’t really matter because afterwards you will be covering the bottom of the canvas with black. Next, you could move to the sky by mixing red and blue that you just used for the ocean and painting the top of the canvas.

It is pretty much up to you and your imagination on how much red/blue you want to use. My personal preference is not trying to look at what the others are doing because you could get distracted by their style, and your painting will not look as original as you would want it to be.

Once you have covered the whole canvas, you can use a new brush to paint the moon. Again, for the moon it is up to you how big you want to draw the moon, small, large, etc. Finally, it is time to use the black brush and paint the little hill surface as well as the trees and some people did birds if you are into that.

I did it! I explained how to paint a canvas without having any previous knowledge before this Cupcakes and Canvas session. See, that is what activities like this do to you–they make you expand your creativity!

Taking on the CPA Exam

As you may know, there are four parts to the CPA exam, which you take independently of one another. The four parts in order of length from longest to shortest are Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Regulation (REG), Audit & Attestation (AUD), and Business Environment Concepts (BEC). First semester, I focused on adjusting to a new school, new city, and a new job as a graduate assistant. I knew that I plenty of time to prepare for the CPA before starting work full-time next fall, so I decided that it would be in my best interest to wait until the second semester to begin my CPA studying. 

Application Process

Due to the extensive application and Notice to Schedule (NTS) process, I applied about 6-8 weeks before I planned to begin preparation. Every state has a unique process for applying; the NASBA website is a great resource to learn about the guidelines and application process for the state you are sitting for. Since I will be working in Chicago, I am sitting for the Illinois CPA exam. The current rules require me to apply through the Illinois Board of Examiners.  Due to the high volume of applications in November, it took about 6 weeks for me to receive my NTS. Once I received my NTS, I chose the two exams that I wanted to take first.

I chose to take my exams in the following order: AUD, REG, FAR, BEC. I chose this order because AUD and REG are middle size exams which I knew would be easiest to study for while in school. Once summer begins, I plan to study for FAR (the largest exam) since I will have unlimited time. I chose to take BEC last because it is the smallest test, therefore if I do not pass all four before I start work, it will not be too large of a beast to tackle while working full-time. Everyone chooses the order of tests differently. I have seen classmates manage to study for FAR during school; the order in which you choose to take your exams really is a personal preference!

Study Plan & Tips

I am currently taking four classes and working 10 hours per week, so my study plan is a slower pace than it will be this summer. I am at a rate of approximately 15-20 hours per week of CPA studying, which equates to a little over 1 chapter per week.

Some days I choose to stay home and study in the comfort of my apartment, but I also love to study at libraries around campus. My favorite study spot is Thompson Library on the Oval. It is always full of other Ohio State students studying, so it is a prime environment to be productive. Almost every day, a group of students in the MAcc program reserves a room in Gerlach Hall to study after class together. I studied often with my friends in the MAcc program as we began our final review before taking our first exams. Regardless of your study plan, it is best to always make time for fun! Balance is the best way to get through something like studying for the CPA. For example, a group of us play trivia every Thursday night, and we are in an intramural volleyball league on Sundays. Like I mentioned in my GMAT advice post, never burn yourself out!!

GA Intramural Volleyball team!

Takeaways

The biggest piece of advice that I have taken from all of my mentors has been to FINISH THE CPA EXAM BEFORE YOU START WORK! Your year in the MAcc program is a great cushion to take the exams while in a learning environment. So many of your classmates will also be studying for the CPA which makes the processes much more enjoyable.

 

Tips for Virtual Interviews

Part of the application process for the Master of Finance, Master of Accounting, and Master of Human Resource Management programs involves completing an online video interview.  Here are some of my tips to help you ace our virtual interviews.

  • Look into the camera.  If you were in an in-person interview, you would look the person you are speaking with in the eye, right? Why not do the same for a virtual interview?
  • Pick the perfect spot.  Try to find a place that is clean, quiet, and comfortable.  We do not want to be distracted by people walking by you in the background or background noises.
  • Don’t drag it out.  If your response is shorter than the amount of time allocated for it, there is nothing wrong with ending the video! Don’t throw yourself off track by making the story longer than it needs to be.
  • Dress for success.  Dress as if you were going to an in-person interview.  Looking your best conveys the message that you are interested and prepared.
  • Test your technology beforehand.  Make sure that your browser is compatible with the interview platform.  Check to see that your voice is not too loud or too quiet.
  • Practice – Before you start the interview, make sure you have different ideas of talking points you would like to bring up to generic interview questions you may get.  Get the nerves out early!
  • BE HONEST & YOURSELF – This could be our only chance to get to know you before making a decision on whether or not to admit you into our program.  Be honest and genuine with your answers.  Let us know what you are passionate about and what makes you unique!

Best of luck with your application to Ohio State!

*Disclaimer : This is my personal advice to you and may not reflect the opinions of The Ohio State University as a whole.

All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

As many of you know, the Specialized Master of Finance is a 9 month program that allows students to take on a heavy load of elective courses, which is a good thing because as students our main goal is to learn and grow our professional competencies. The danger though, is that one can easily get too wrapped up in the demands of the program, causing one to forget or pay very little attention to other aspects of student life. And without a balanced student life, one’s performance may be negatively affected.

One thing I have truly enjoyed  here at OSU, is the extent to which the campus is endowed with facilities and opportunities to have fun. That is, to develop a balanced student life. As much as I work hard to get stuff done, I also make sure I play hard because all work and no play makes jack a dull boy. One way I do this is by utilizing the recreational facilities here OSU. Six Rec Sports facilities are located conveniently throughout our campus with a wide range of operating hours and amenities. Also, over 90 acres of outdoor facility space stretch across campus.

RPAC Aquatic Center

 

ARC soccer

One thing I love about the recreational facilities on campus is that most sports and activities are catered for. For those who like squash, there are many courts to play squash, for those who like to run- you can do so indoor or outdoor, and even for those who like adventure activities such as wall climbing- there is a facility for that as well. My personal favorites are basketball and soccer. I played both sports in high schools and have had the opportunity to compete in intramural competitions here at OSU.

Finally, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with various people from other colleges and departments through recreational activities, which has helped enhance my experience here at OSU. With this in mind, I highly encourage all current and future OSU students to get out and have some fun at the rec centers we have on campus- it’s worth it!

My Favorite Class: Strategy

As an MBA student there are number of classes we take in our first year designed to given us an understanding of a wide range of business aspects, from finance and accounting to data analytics and marketing.  As someone who came from the supply chain background I found these classes to be exceptionally in learning the about industries I had not previously had experience with.  There is one class in particular that students take in their second semester that I have found really show what the MBA is all about, that class is Strategy Formulation and Implementation.

 

In this class MBA students take all of the knowledge they gained in the previous semester and apply it to cases about real companies and the decisions they made to reach a level of success and what decisions they should make when at a strategic crossroads.  This class helps to put students in the CEO’s shoes and consider all the opportunities and risks they face when considering the decisions needed to maneuver a company through the marketplace.

 

Along with the in-depth case studies and discussion-based lectures there are computer simulations that let provide students with a company their own to run, and where they can see the outcomes of their decisions.  Something as straightforward as a manufacturers decision on its delivery schedule can have profound effects on its profitability and place in the marketplace.

 

Tips for Admitted Students

As the application season goes on, many students wait for the results of their applications (and some were already admitted, if that is you, congrats rockstar! ) Either if you are on the fence about multiple admission from different schools or trying to decide whether OSU is the right choice for you, I wanted to share some tips for students as they make their final admissions decisions.

Location
For me location was very important in a sense that I wanted to stay in the Midwest after completing my undergraduate degree. I also knew that I wanted to be close to major financial hubs such as Chicago (6hr drive) or New York (8hr). Random reason is that I also wanted to experience the four weather seasons, I have to admit fall is short but beautiful at OSU, and coming from warm weather in my home country I wanted to live through a real winter with snow since I have never seen snow before. My advice is to at least have a general idea of where you would like to work post-graduation and don’t forget to factor cost of living into your list.

My friend and classmate Jeff Chiu won a snowman contest in his resident complex as best snowman this January. Go bucks!

Alumni Network
One of the biggest factors for me in choosing the SMF program was the extensive and global OSU alumni network . This can be particularly helpful when job searching as there is a high likelihood to find an OSU graduate working for a particular company of interest, and Buckeye alums are certainly willing to connect you with other people. TIP: After my graduation once I become officially a Buckeye alum, if you are connecting with me just don’t forget to mention the ‘Go bucks’ at the end of your email 😉

Faculty and Program Curriculum
If you are intellectually curious, I’m very certain that you care about which professors will be teaching you in the future. When deciding programs don’t forget to review the school’s websites and learn more about the faculty at that school. I believe the OSU SMF program has excellent faculty including industry wide well-known professors due to their academic research and publications as well as professor with corporate work experience. Personally, I found the mixture between both intellectually stimulating as in some classes I was able to learn the theory, frameworks and technical concepts while other will allow me to practice these concepts such as in the Core Capstone class. I have heard about this from previous SMF students, so don’t hesitate to reach out to GAs to ask them about their experiences in the program.

Cost
Most of us as graduate students are trying to save up as much as possible during school, therefore the cost of the program (and the amount of scholarship received) ends up being a determinant factor to our commitment to a program. Personally, Columbus Ohio is one of the cities where you would get the most bang for your buck with cost of living being considerably lower than many big cities while still experiencing the vibe of a metropolis and having exposure to Fortune 500 companies HQs.

Opportunities
One of my favorite sections! As the number one/two largest university in the country, Ohio State has SO many extracurricular opportunities tailored for everyone! Some of them include:

Career Fairs

• Networking Events: with SMF/Fisher/OSU alums and corporations

Case Competitions: CFA Research Challenge, ACG Cup, NBIC Investment  Banking, Real Estate Case Competition

• SMF Educational Visit: Chicago Companies Visit, Venture Capital Tour

• Getting involved with a Student Organization

• Leadership roles in the SMF Student Council

Speakers at Fisher, and much more!

International Reach
OSU graduates are literally in every part of the world, I can tell from experience. If you are walking in an airport and someone sees you wearing OSU clothing, they would yell at you ‘Go Bucks!’ or ‘OH’. One time, I was in Peru and a couple of men, saw me wearing an Ohio State pullover and said you go to Ohio State? Oh great, go bucks! I was truly amazed by how many Buckeyes we have abroad including in far away places such as Peru.

 

FUN
After all that hard work studying, you also want to have some time to distress de-stress and bond with your fellow classmates. Columbus is a vibrant community with many enjoyable things to do across the board. Besides all the fun activities within Ohio State and Fisher, we have the Short North, Easton Mall and Polaris, Columbus Downtown, many local restaurants, breweries, and coffee chops, activities such as skiing, snowboarding,  snow tubing, zip lining, The Columbus Zoo, and so many other!

Short North

Regardless of what school you decide, I hope this blog helps you consider important factors when making your decision besides from ranking or school reputation. All for all, I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Ferny

How to Find Housing

After being accepted to a Fisher graduate program, the next big step is figuring out where to live. As someone who had never been to Columbus before, this was a big stress for me. I didn’t even know where to start, so I am here to help you out!

Columbus is an affordable city with many housing options, including plenty of places within walking distance or accessible by public transportation. The average one-bedroom apartment is around $700-$1,100 per month. There are on-campus graduate options, but it seems many students tend to live off campus. One thing to keep in mind is that most MAcc classes will be held in Gerlach Hall at the Fisher College of Business, which is on the very north end of campus.

Some things you should consider when doing your search is what kind of amenities you are looking for.  Some apartments have the option to be furnished, have a gym, parking or a shuttle to campus etc. I know for me, the apartment being furnished was a big factor during my search. I was only going to be here for a year and did not want to figure out a way to move it all out here. These along with price and location should all factor into your decision about where to live. A list of popular off-campus options is sent to all admitted students to help you in your search.

COTA bus stop directly in front of my apartment that goes right to Fisher

If you are choosing to live further off campus, there are many free or cheap transportation options available to you. With your BuckID, students can ride the Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) or the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) for free! When I am too lazy to walk, I take the COTA to and from campus and it drops off right in front of Fisher. Some apartment complexes also have shuttles to and from campus if you are not bringing a car. Columbus is a very accessible city with public transportation.

The university also provides great help in finding off-campus housing that fits your needs. Best of luck with your housing search!