Archive for December, 2011



If You Are In Columbus Over the Holidays…

If you are spending your winter break in Columbus, campus can seem quite empty, so here are a few ideas to keep you occupied and entertained during the rest of December.

1. Zoo Lights (Pictured Above)

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been hosting ”Wildlights” for 23 years now. It runs every day in December other than Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As you can see from the photo above, it is quite breathtaking. Perfect for a date or a family trip.

2. Easton Town Center

This is not a specific event, but, in my opinion, Easton has some of the best Christmas atmosphere around. If you are not familiar, it is an indoor/outdoor mall/shopping center in New Albany. They string up a crazy amount of lights, have decorations all throughout the grounds, and of course, you can see Santa there. I could not find a picture to do it justice, so here is the link to a clip on their website of the lighting ceremony. Actually, even if you are not going to go, I would still watch the video. If you can make it through without getting psyched for Christmas, your name might be Ebenezer.

3. Go to a Columbus Blue Jackets or OSU Hockey game

I have been to one of each this year. If you have never attended a hockey game, I recommend giving it a shot. I am the first to admit hockey gets pretty boring on TV, but the live action is worth the price of admission (especially the OSU games – only $11 for a lower bowl seat last week). You can check out the Blue Jackets schedule and the OSU schedule.

If nothing else, take a stroll downtown or through the short north. There are always holiday lights, decorations, and specials.

Also, there are a few New Year’s Eve events such as First Night Columbus as well as various hotel celebrations, but that is more personal preference.


Go with your gut.

Many prospective students are in the process of filing applications and visiting potential schools.  (It’s strange to think that I was in that position at this time last year!)  I was recently asked what was the one thing I wish I would have known at this point last year.  And my answer to that is I wish I would have known that trusting my gut was the right decision.

It seemed so difficult to make a decision about where I wanted to take my MBA journey. I was so afraid of making the “wrong” decision.  At the end of the process, I went with my gut.  I chose the place that felt right to me; not necessarily to friends, family, strangers (and whomever else was unfortunate enough to engage me in a conversation about the grad school decision process).  When I chose to go with my gut, then my successes are mine, and my failures are mine. And I wake up every day decidedly motivated to do my best work for me.

We all have that level of intuition about our own decisions.  And we are also fully capable of making lists and spreadsheets and complicated mathematical formulas that are supposed to predict what we’re going to do with our lives.  But it doesn’t work that way.  No formula or spreadsheet can make your final decision for you.  It’s simple psychology.  If you really want it, you’ll succeed.

With that in mind – good luck to all of you who are in the process of deciding where to invest your time and money!  And remember to trust your gut.


Time for a Break

Autumn Quarter is over!  This was the final Autumn Quarter at OSU with the switch to semesters approaching soon.  The switch also means that this will be the longest break for a good while (more than just a week at a time).  Here are some options on what to do during your break:

  • Give back to your community.  Donate time or money to an organization.  Give can goods to a food pantry or go through your closets and donate some clothes to those less fortunate.
  • Random acts of kindness.  Do something nice for someone, where it’s a compliment or a small showing of appreciation for those around you.
  • Bake/Cook.  Find some new recipes and try them out.  Host a dinner party and share your new ideas with others.  Even better; have your guests try out new recipes and make it a potluck.
  • If you are not into cooking, try out new restaurants.
  • Read.  Now is the time to catch up on reading that is not “required reading” for a class.
  • Home improvement.  Maybe you have put off a project in your house or apartment; now is as good as time as any (unless it’s an outside project, then invest in some Carhartts first).
  • Go see a movie, play, musical, concert, or sporting event.
  • Catch up on your DVR.
  • Head to the Columbus Zoo and see the Wildlights.
  • Road trip.  Take a weekend and go on a road trip.  Visit friends, family, or an attraction.
  • Exercise.
  • Enjoy the holidays.  Try not to rush around or stress out.
  • Spend quality time with friends and family.  Catch up on lost time when you might have had to cancel plans in favor of studying.
  • Plan ahead (yes, this may be the last thing you want to do but it’s still important).  Buy your books for next quarter and pay your fees.  Winter Quarter will be here before you know it.

These are just a few ideas.  Feel free to share your ideas as well.  Enjoy your break!


Grading Myself

While waiting for all of my grades to be posted this week, I decided I should be in charge of assessing my own performance. The way I see it, this quarter was broken down in to three large challenges for me. How did I fare…

1. Don’t go broke
Everyone has a different financial situation, so this one is more personal. To summarize my financial life, my dear sweet mother (God bless her) supported me for 22 years, then I worked and supported myself for two years. In both scenarios, inflow and outflow are constant. Now, with loans, I received a lump sum in September, and that’s it. Scary thought for an admittedly (semi-) irresponsible spender. Bank account looks great in September. After that, it falls fast. I am happy to report that I still have enough money to last me until January when we reset the clock and play this game all over again. I might even have enough to buy my family a Christmas present or two.

Grade: A-

2. Don’t Flunk Out (But Don’t Lose My Social Life)

This was probably my biggest concern coming into the year. I have enjoyed free weekends for the last few years, and really for most of my life (read: I have watched as much football as possible during the fall). With grad school, I knew the demands were much higher and weekend work was possible. Class work vs. socializing is a tough battle to fight, but I knew I had to find a balance. Three months later, I am quite certain I did not flunk out (grades aren’t out yet!), and I was STILL able to watch the Browns and Buckeyes disappoint me for much of the year. SUCCESS!

Grade: A (I may or may not have been convinced to go out when I planned to stay in and work a few times, but not too often)

3. Don’t Get Addicted to Coffee (or Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, NOS, etc.)

If I had a nickel for every time I had the following conversation in the last year, I would not have to worry about point 1:

Self-proclaimed know-it-all/psychic/pessimists: “Do you drink coffee?”

Me: “No.”

Them: “You will.”

Well, doubters, I win. As I watch some of my classmates strung out on coffee and energy drinks during midterm and finals week, I am even more proud of my self-discipline. My humble advice: get some sleep, exercise, eat an apple… anything to avoid a caffeine addiction. I promise, you’ll be happy.

Grade: A+

Straight A’s. Mom will be proud. However, I will probably keep checking those actual grades. I have a feeling some people will be more concerned with those results than my own.


Celebrating the end of a quarter

Last Friday, we had our Autumn quarter MAcc reception at the Faculty Club. It was a wonderful evening of catching up with friends and professors! Even better than the amazing food was seeing how much we enjoy each other’s company. Professor Turner read some comments that we students submitted to him, and they all mentioned how awesome this year has been so far. At the end of the evening, we took a class picture and then pictures of various groups of students and professors. The lobby was just one big network of friends!

I cannot believe how close our class has gotten after only three months! Though we were all concerned about finals, our bigger concern seemed to be that we won’t see each other for three weeks over break. Classes and group projects brought both a lot of learning and a lot of laughter, and though I am very excited for Christmas break, I know that coming back will be easier because of everything I have to look forward to during the rest of this program!

Some of the sweetest people I know!


A Quarter in The Fisher MAcc Under My Belt

I can’t believe fall quarter has come and gone already.  Seriously, it seems like last week I was making sure I had enough notebooks, pencils, and pens to last me 10 weeks.  I was just sitting down to write my first blog post.  I was getting ready to meet my professors for the first time.  Yeah – that wasn’t last week…

So what do I think about the MAcc program, now that I’ve actually had the chance to get my hands dirty?  Come on – you know that on paper (or on the website) Fisher makes the program out to be incredible.  ”Work on incredible teams, learn from the best faculty, attend once in a lifetime guest speakers, and participate in great extracurriculars” are just a few of the claims you’ll hear through Fisher.  I can honestly say that each and every one of them is true.  I’ll even go so far as to back them up.

1.  Work on incredible teams – Each of the courses I took this quarter involved teamwork.  Some (Professor Turner’s 804) required a ton, while others (Professor William’s 824) required a little bit less.  In any case, there’s a slim chance that you’ll work with the same people for every class, so you get a lot of exposure.  And this exposure will be to different thinking styles, different backgrounds, and different cultures.  My finance 811 group, for instance, consisted of six members:  an American student, a Chinese student, a German student, a Puerto Rican student, a Ukrainian student, and a Phillippino student.  How’s that for an incredible team?

2.  Learn from the best faculty – When you can wake up in the morning excited for class not one, not five, but ten weeks in a row, the faculty must be doing something right.  Each faculty member I’ve had the pleasure to learn from so far has been obviously passionate about what they do, and want nothing more than to teach you as much as possible.  They’re willing to meet anytime to discuss lingering questions and more than happy to do whatever you need to make sure you learn.

3.  Once in a lifetime guest speakers – Guest speakers are a great way to mix up a class, as they can provide such a unique view to what you’re currently learning.  (Sorry Professor Dietrich, but I don’t think I can include your guest lectures in this category – just kidding!  Professor Dietrich guest lectured in one of our classes this year, and we had the opportunity to think critically about some bizarre accounting treatments…there were no right or wrong answers, so we really got to just think.  How often can you do that in a class??)  We also heard from Jim Leisenring, a member of the Fisher Accounting Hall of Fame and an influential member of the FASB and IASB.  Outside of the classroom, there are always events you can attend to listen to speakers…many of them include a free lunch too!  I was able to listen to Donald Kimble, CFO of Huntington Bank, talk a little about how the current economic environment has affected a regional bank.  His insight and talk of the future truly was fascinating.

4.  Participate in great extracurriculars – If you read my blog posts regularly (thank you!), you’ll remember some of the posts I’ve done relating to this topic.  My personal favorite this quarter had to be the MAcc intramural flag football team.  Return of the MAcc was so much fun, and I got to develop some new friendships with some of my classmates.  There are so many other great extracurriculars, such as the FETCH service program (teaching financial responsibility to younger kids), the VITA program which will happen this winter, and weekly Event of the Weeks.  If the academics haven’t convinced you Fisher is the right choice, these definitely should.

This really was a great 10 weeks and I’m sad to see it come to an end.  On the plus side, I’ll get to experience brand new courses and faculty, work with new groups, and participate in even more extracurriculars in just a few weeks.  And it does feel good to have a quarter under my belt!


Final-ly!

It’s final-ly here, the end of the term!

And I can certainly reconfirm,

That whether or not it was what we thought,

In our first quarter, we learned a lot!

 

Does marginal benefit equal marginal cost?

In accounting, do you ever find yourself lost?

On a cash flow statement, you subtract a gain,

Are you aware of the intangible value chain?

 

Extra study sessions may be something you savor.

Can you manage post contractual opportunistic behavior?

Rational, Evaluating, Maximizing individuals have a choice,

Make sure you evaluate your strong leaders using VOICE.

 

While we’re studying and prepping for this final week

For once in our lives, we’re not unique,

We are all working hard (of course, not to cram!)

Good luck to all on your final exams!


Meeting the Master of Master’s in Finance

Last October, I made the decision to pursue a graduate degree in finance.  I was an agricultural economics major, so I did not really have any faculty members or advisers from the field of finance to provide suggestions for potential programs.

…and then I found MSFHQ.com.

Anthony DeAngelis, the founder and editor of MSFHQ.com, created the website to promote and provide information related to the Masters in Finance degree.  As the most comprehensive online resource on Master’s in Finance programs, MSFHQ offers detailed information on admissions, curricula, tuition, and much more.

A few weeks ago, Anthony visited Columbus to meet students, faculty, and admissions staff and learn more about the program.  I had the opportunity to go to dinner with him … what a cool guy!

Choosing a Masters in Finance program is a major decision.  The investment in time, tuition, and hard work required by the degree justifies a thorough exploration of all potential options.  By leveraging the insight and information from MSFHQ during my program search, I was able to choose The Ohio State University/Fisher SMF program with the utmost confidence in my decision.  I would encourage anyone exploring various Masters in Finance options to do the same.

 


The Hardest Quarter

When I started writing for the Fisher Grad Life Blog ten weeks ago, in the beginning of my second quarter in the Fisher WPMBA Program, I was quite nervous about what lied ahead of me – check out my first post here.  Thursday nights at the Varsity Club had taught me that Fall Quarter was supposed to be the hardest one:  Stats and Econ.  With an Engineering background, I wasn’t particularly worried about Stats – in fact, I was kind of looking forward to it.  Call me a dork.  But Econ was another story.  I took one silly Economics course my freshman year of college, and that was the extent of my knowledge in the subject.  I knew the course required a lot of reading and comprehension, which meant that I was actually going to have to do work on my nights off and weekends.  I was nervous.

Well, now that I am just one weekend of studying and two finals away from a ONE MONTH winter break, I can say that it wasn’t all that bad.  Yes, this quarter was infinitely more time consuming than last.  I had to read and answer questions for every Econ class, write two group papers, take 3 tests (not including finals), and give a presentation.  There were many lunch breaks spent reading, many nights spent emailing my group.  But now that those ten weeks are almost behind me, I can honestly say that it really wasn’t all that bad.  I was still able to find time to tailgate, go shopping, exercise, and do *almost* all of the things that keep me sane and happy.

If truly the “hardest” quarter is almost behind me, then I know I can make it through the next ~2 years.  I’ll keep working hard – and enjoy my breaks!


Stand Up and Speak Out!

It is the final week of classes. That means that final exams are next week and class presentations are upon us. This is the time when roles switch. Students supplement class discussions with some quite impressive deliveries—informing the class on different topics, including companies’ performance, information on CEO compensation, and even how to best manage generation “Y” and get their best work. Just admit it—as you walk to the front of a room for a public presentation, every nervous tension comes along with you.

After practicing for days and building up all confidence known to man, it all begins to deflate as you approach your big moment. You want to deliver. After all, there’s a lot of work that goes into the preparation of a great presentation. Rest assured: this is normal.  Here are two simple things that I have learned that will help relieve some of that nervousness:

  • Stand Up:  Although this may seem a bit obvious, posture is shown to increase the clarity of your voice. Here’s the trick: as you walk to the front of the room erect, take the deep breaths as you have always been told. Then, inhale one last time before you begin speaking.  To avoid what I call the “shaky voice” syndrome, after you take that last breath very slowly exhale as you begin speaking. The pressure of the air will help reduce the shaking. Try it. It works.
  •  Speak Out:  Be sure to project your voice. The important thing is that it should be natural but don’t lose control. This is your moment so just let the audience hear what you’ve practice many times. And remember that your presentation should be very similar to the flow of a normal conversation.

Now that you know what to do, practice as much as possible in front of friends and family.  Don’t forget the two steps! As  you walk up to give a presentation, “stand up.” And as you speak, speak out to the audience.

 

 

 


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