Archive for November, 2011

The end (of the quarter) is near!

We have finally reached the end of the quarter!  It’s the time when classes are wrapping up and finals are near.  Whether you have a final paper, project or exam, here are a few tips to get you through the next couple of weeks.

  1. Back to the lists.  Make a list of everything you have due, the requirements and the deadlines.  It’s easy to forget something for a class when things are due and sometimes a final for the class might not be at the same time as your regular class.
  2. If you have a final paper(s), ask someone to proof your writing.  As it’s getting down to the end of the quarter, your writing might not be as strong as it was at the beginning, so find a friend to proof your paper.
  3. If you have exams, study…then study some more.  Figure out your best means of studying and go at it.  If you have multiple exams, study for one for a time frame, then take a short break and study for the other.
  4. If you have an open book/note exam, be organized.  Flag chapters or important material and highlight relevant terms in your book/notes for easy reference in the exam.  Time is valuable.
  5. Set the DVR for the next couple of weeks.  You will have plenty of time after finals to catch up on television shows, but for now, focus on improving your final grade.
  6. Do not check Facebook while you are studying.  A quick look inevitably takes 10-15 minutes.
  7. Sleep and food are important.  Getting a good night’s sleep and eating a good meal before an exam are two keys to help your focus and concentration.  You do not want to be the person with your stomach growing all through an exam.

Good luck on your last week of classes and finals!


Crazy Jumping Lake (aka The Mirror Lake Jump)

November 22, 2011 … the craziest night I have ever seen since I came to Columbus, left a deep impression in my mind. Finally, the last game of football was coming. There’s no doubt that this final game would be between OSU and our arch rival U of Michigan. OSU has a tradition before every annual game with Michigan, jumping into Mirror Lake. As a student, I wanted to definitely go to the lake to feel the atmosphere and OHIO spirit there.

The evening was very cold, but standing beside the lake, I could not feel coldness at all because all the people were so excited and I was totally involved in it. At first, the lake was kind of quiet. At some point, however, the lake became extremely “alive.” People continuously arrived and they jumped into the mirror lake one by one, or group by group. Shortly afterwards, the lake was just like a big pot with many dumplings in it. Some of my Chinese fellows also jumped together with domestic students. So cool! I was shouting “O-H-I-O” with all the people around. Maybe next year, I can try to jump myself! Crazy people, crazy night, crazy spirit. I love this jumping lake here!


My MAcc year so far…

“Today’s accountant is expected to know more and do more than ever before. To be successful, accountants must demonstrate critical and analytical thinking, teamwork, leadership, and be effective communicators. Fisher’s MAcc program can give you the tools and training to get you there” (Fisher, 2011).

During this period, there are many out there who are yet to make one of the most important decisions that will shape their career path. Many questions rage on but one that I would love to answer is this: Is Fisher’s MAcc program what it says it is?

I enrolled in the MAcc program because I was convinced by what I read on the school’s site. Looking back, I have no regrets. With just a few days to end my 1st quarter in the program, I would like to give you a candid account of my experiences so far.

Critical and analytical thinking – Learning from world class professors who make you challenge every thought process will inevitably make you into an individual with good critical and analytical thinking skills. I worked as an auditor prior to my enrollment in the program where I used these skills a lot. However, examining my own thought process now makes me know that something more has been added; something has changed: I think and analyze differently – and more effectively.

Teamwork – If you don’t like working in teams then brace yourself to move out of your comfort zone. From an undergraduate program where team work wasn’t the norm, it’s been extremely beneficial having to learn how to work in teams about 60-70% of the time. As an accountant (esp. an auditor) – or in any field for that matter, the importance of teamwork cannot be overemphasized. This is exactly what Fisher works at: helping to make you a person who functions efficiently/effectively in a group and not only when you work alone.

Leadership – No group functions effectively without direction. To have direction, you will need a leader. Interestingly a “shadow” leader emerges for every single assignment even though every member of the group takes ownership of the task. We all accommodate the strengths and weaknesses of others but when it is time for the group to capitalize on your strength, you lead and drive the group to success. Leaders serve others and are blessed!

Drive your team to success

Effective Communicators – Aside writing papers, presentations are much a part of most courses. Also, the rich diversity in the MAcc program provides the enabling environment to help sharpen your communication skills to be understood by both the native and foreign students (see class profile). Other opportunities such as writing blogs will help you improve your communication skills.  You would have no excuse to graduate without a significant improvement in your communication skills. You will learn and will be an effective communicator.

The MAcc program has lived up to and beyond what it says it is. I will not hesitate in recommending any of Fisher’s programs to you. Choose the program you are passionate about but pick Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Proud to be a Buckeye


 

 

 

 

 

 


To be thankful for… a break!

In the full time MBA program, the week leading up to Thanksgiving is a whirlwind.  Suddenly, there are final projects, final papers, final presentations, and of course, final exams, on the horizon.  It seemed as if my classmates and I were spinning like tops as we organized meetings, conducted research and attempted to accomplish as much as we could before Thanksgiving break.  One wise second year student said “If I could go back and give myself advice, I’d tell myself to calm down.  It all gets done.  It’s like magic.”

She’s right, of course.  But it’s hard to believe that when your to-do list is growing exponentially and time is flying by.  The saving grace?  A great Thanksgiving.  Even though most students (including myself) are probably using at least some of their Thanksgiving break to do work, it’s so important to take time to relax with family and friends, laugh, share stories, and eat and eat and eat (and eat).  This break is perfectly timed to rejuvenate us before our final week of classes and exams.  And my advice is to relax and enjoy it.

I sure did.  And as you can see, so did Einstein.

 

Too. Much. Turkey.

 


Try This at Your Next Interview!

Fall quarter hosts a huge recruitment rush (don’t worry though – there are opportunities in the winter and spring too!), so it’s good to be a well polished interviewee.  I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to sharing what I’ve found to be helpful while interviewing, and you’ll get a few tips from Jenna Koch, another MAcc student that went through interviews this fall!

  • Resume – First of all, make sure it is current and has NO typos.  Your resume should highlight your skills and interests and detail how those skills are related to the job you are applying for.  For this reason, I recommend keeping one or two resumes on your computer at all times.  This will allow you to submit a more “finance heavy” resume to the bank you interview with and a more “accounting heavy” resume to the Big Four.  The Office of Career Management can really help you polish your resume too – just check out their Resume Development Strategies!
  • Attire – Dress to impress, but make sure you’re comfortable.  I’ll be honest…I don’t know how to tie a necktie, even though this is an essential piece of the male business professional wardrobe.  Instead, I’ve opted for bow ties!  I’m much more comfortable in a bow tie, and its still professional attire.  Make sure your suit fits well, your shirts are not wrinkled, and your shoes are scuff free.  If you feel good walking into the interview, I promise the entire experience will be much more positive.
  • Be honest – This applies before, during, and after the interview.  Before you apply for a job, make sure you’re actually interested in it.  It’s good to get practice interviewing, but interviewing just to interview can be a huge time drain and you’ll be busy enough as it is.  If you know you are not at all interested in the job/company/industry, be honest with yourself and reconsider applying.  During the interview, engage in an honest dialogue.  If you take a position based on fabrications, you may find that you’re not as good of a fit as you thought you might be.  After the interview, be totally honest when evaluating the company.  Don’t feel pressured to go to round 2 if you know it wasn’t a good fit!
  • Do your research – Do you want to work for that company because you like what they do, or because they are a well-known name?  Make sure you do some background research so you can talk about why you want to work there.  This will impress the recruiters, but will also reinforce your decision.
  • When the time comes, make your decision and stick with it – If you’re lucky enough to have more than one offer on your plate, you’re going to have to just make a decision.  This is a great problem to have, and you won’t be able to make a wrong decision.  Once you’ve evaluated all the pros and cons of each firm, talked to your friends and family, and maybe even visited the Office of Career Management (excellent Career Conversation coaches can talk through your options with you!), you’re going to have to make a decision.  Make the decision and go with it 100%.  It’s not a life-or-death decision.  Sure, it’s important, but make the decision with the best information you have available and don’t look back.  The last thing you want to do is begin to doubt your decision.
As for the interview itself…here’s what Jenna has to say!
  • Ask the same question to multiple people.  You can usually tell if people are telling you how they truly feel or whether their answer was scripted by doing this.  You also want to make sure that the tone of their answer is consistent across the firm.
  • Take the time to talk to multiple people at career fairs, recruiting events, and at the actual interview.  People always tell you that this is good for networking, but it is also a great way to get a feel of the firm culture and how you would fit within that culture.
  • Remember that you are interviewing the companies as much as they are interviewing you.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Don’t let peers around you influence your decision.  Different things are important to different people, and different personalities fit better at different places.  Therefore, what is best for them may not be the best for you.  Find the fit that is best for YOU!
  • If you receive multiple offers and are having a hard time deciding between them, go with your gut.
So – any other current students have any advice?  Alum – how about you?  Share your tips via comments!

A Time to Be Thankful

This week I want to list a few things that I’m thankful for, since it’s close to Thanksgiving.  As this week is a short week at OSU (and even shorter for some of you in the WPMBA program with optional classes), take a little bit of time to reflect on your quarter and things that you are thankful for.

I’m thankful for:

  • Being accepted in the WPMBA at Fisher.  This program has already been beneficial and the opportunities available are endless.  The people I have met, the classes I have taken and the information I have learned have all had an impact on me.
  • A great group for MBA 812.  A great group can make a project so much easier without the worry of a member not pulling their weight or being too overbearing.
  • A supportive husband, family, friends, and coworkers (and my grandma, who is my loyal blog reader.)  When participating in this or any other graduate program, having the support of your friends and family is crucial.  My support system helps me study, or knows when to leave me alone to study, and they understand I may not be able to hang out as much as I used too.
  • A flexible work schedule.  Because I work 1.5 hours away from campus, I’m usually leaving work early to head to class.  But with flexible time and the ability to do some of my work whenever I have computer access, I am grateful to be able to participate in the program and still work without stressing too much.

These are just a few things that I am thankful for.  As the quarter is winding down and final papers and examinations are right around the corner, take a few minutes and reflect on your quarter.  Thank those who have helped you throughout the quarter, whether it be group members, your professors, or your support system.   Happy Thanksgiving!


Speaking and Sharing

This past week, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing an impressive variety of speakers. The Fisher network is excellent! In my logistics class, two speakers from a large logistics company spoke about transportation decision-making. In my accounting research class, one of the three required classes in the MAcc program, we were fortunate to have Jim Leisenring speak to us. He was a director at the Federal Accounting Standards Board and member of the International Accounting Standards Board as well.

Last Wednesday marked the first MAcc Speaker Series event, during which we enjoyed learning from Donald Kimble, the Chief Financial Officer of Huntington National Bank. That same day, one of our professors allowed us to ask him any questions we had about the accounting profession. We spent over an hour being enlightened on topics from work-life balance to what it was like to be a partner at Arthur Andersen.

I am thankful for the willingness of such fascinating people to share their knowledge and am grateful for the opportunity to learn from them!


Dinner with the Dean

This past Tuesday evening, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to dinner with the Dean of the Fisher College of Business, Christine Poon.  This dinner was the first in a series of WPMBA Executive Dinners, a new effort to “engage, network, and learn from our community business leaders in an intimate dinner setting.”  And in intimate setting it was.  Four of us were invited because of our attendance at the GE Summit that Dean Poon kicked off in October.  It confirmed how one good action can lead to another, which leads to another, and so on and so on.

The Dean knew that as WPMBA students, we had to be in class by 6 pm, so dinner was catered by Panera and held in her conference room.  This was the perfect setting for a quite, intimate dinner in which we could really talk and get to know each other in such a short period of time.  Right away, I felt comfortable with Dean Poon.  She was extremely warm, kind, funny – and honest.  She told us that while the Fisher WPMBA program ranks high on many listings, its alumni continue to rank it much lower – which negatively affects the overall program ranking.  Thus, if Fisher WPMBA graduates rank the program higher, then the program will likely rise in the rankings, increasing the value of a Fisher MBA.  The Dean wanted to talk to us about how we felt about the program and discuss some of our thoughts on how to improve it.

The hour went by very quickly.  We discussed topics like career services, orientation, class offerings, and how to keep WPMBA students engaged in general.  Dean Poon encouraged our honest feedback, and facilitated the discussion in a way that made us feel like we were truly welcome to provide it.  I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to sit next to the Dean for an hour and have such an intimate discussion.  If she is able to have a similar discussion with every person in the WPMBA program (a lofty goal), then I’m certain that the Fisher WPMBA program will rise in the ranks.

Thank you, Dean Poon!


CSCMP Roundtable Event

This past Thursday was my first experience with CSCMP. CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) is an international organization for supply chain professionals. During the luncheon, I was informed by an active member that the Columbus CSCMP Roundtable is among the oldest roundtables dating back to ~50 years ago. The long history was impressive but what really impressed me most was the new knowledge you get from attending the event.

The adventure started at 10:15am (departing from Gerlach Hall). Steve Singer, career consultant for MAcc, MLHR, SMF, and MBLE, was our driver. It was also his first time to CSCMP Roundtable, and it was really nice of him to take 11 students to the event. Ever since I went to Fisher, I realized that networking is one of the most important things you actually learn in business school. Studying is definitely important but business school separates from other graduate programs in that “soft” abilities such as communication are emphasized more, as they might be the keys to our future success. Therefore, we dressed in “business formal” and embraced the golden opportunity to go into the meeting room with experienced supply chain professionals.

Upon arriving, networking started even before we entered the meeting room. I approached the people around me and made introductions. People were nice and they enjoyed sharing their experiences with me. Also, at the end of the luncheon, Steve taught us a lesson of how to network even if you are not an expert in the field . According to him, using some more personal interest-related topics (e.g. football, etc.) is definitely helpful. Surely, there were people in the fields of procurement, inventory management, transportation management as well as supply chain consulting … how could I have same level of interest to their field and have a nice professional discussion with them all?

This luncheon had a specific topic. IBM North American Leader in Optimization & Supply Chain Software Group gave us a presentation about optimization in supply chain. The presentation was built on very large quantity of data and information. Lack of experience as well as “English as a second language” created somewhat of a barrier for me … however, I still was able to get a sense of the latest trends in the field of supply chain management and I definitely enhanced my understanding of the concept “optimization” as practiced in the real world.


End of Fall Recruiting Season

It’s not even the end of fall quarter and many MAcc students are already celebrating the end of recruiting season. Recruiting season started on the very first day of orientation, with a special reception held at the ‘Shoe (OSU’s Football Stadium) at which students had the opportunity to mix and mingle with recruiters and employees of the Big 4 public accounting firms and other regional and local companies. This event was followed by weeks of meet-and-greets, info sessions, pre-nights, first-round interviews on campus, and finally, second-round office interviews in the city where they would be working.

Throughout the first half of the quarter, students had to balance all these different recruiting events on top of a demanding course load and other extracurricular obligations. It was very important to make sure to put in enough face time to get noticed by the target companies. The first major milestones are first round interviews, which all take place within a week of each other. You know it is interview week when your peers come to class in their business suits and fidget nervously with their portfolios in preparation for the 30-minute interview with a recruiter or a partner of the firm. From there comes the sometimes-agonizing wait to hear whether or not you were selected to move on in the process with a second-round interview. Second rounds present another set of hurdles –scheduling travel arrangements to places as far as New York and San Francisco and making sure you don’t miss too much class time as a result.

Within a couple of weeks, the last of the second-round interviews will be over, and many students will go home for Thanksgiving with the knowledge that they have secured a job for next fall.  All of this recruiting finishes up just in time to spend a few relaxing days at home with family and friends, only to come back at the end of November and start studying for finals! There is always something on the horizon. For those students who were not lucky enough to land a job this fall, there will be many more opportunities in the coming months to find something that appeals to them. All of this speaks to the strength of Fisher’s recruiting program: it was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Fisher. To see just how successful MAcc students have been at landing jobs before graduating, take a look at this statistics page.


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