This post is dedicated to a topic that many of us struggle with in our everyday lives – that of expectations.  This topic may be a bit personal for the My Fisher Grad Life blog, but it’s one that recently reared its ugly and ever-present head, and I’m guessing it’s one that many of you have struggled with as well.

I was recently promoted at my job after being in the same role for quite some time.  I didn’t actually physically move – I am still working with the same people in the same group.  The promotion was more of an acknowledgement on the part of my employer that I am a valued contributor to the organization, and thus, at some point must be recognized as such.  It came with a welcome title change, more responsibility, and perhaps some more respect from my peers.  And, of course, I also expected it to come with a nice financial boost.  This is where the expectations come in.

I had a certain percentage in mind for what I thought was a typical, standard promotion.  Not having gotten a true “promotion” at my company before, I expected the number to lie close to that percentage.  And so, when the number was lower, and even though it came with a good explanation and positive reinforcement, I was upset.  I expected something different from what was reality.  After stewing over it over the course of the weekend, and discussing it with a peer and mentor, I realized that, in fact, I really didn’t get “the short end of the stick” as I felt I had.  Rather, my expectations didn’t match up with the reality of the situation.  Another conversation with my manager showed me that, much to the contrary, the raise I was being given was actually quite fitting.  In giving me that raise, he felt that he was doing right by me, and paving the road for my continued growth at the company.

I am not suggesting that one should never have expectations.  Having no expectations is a difficult state of being, and in fact, can lead to a state of mediocrity.  Setting expectations for yourself and others means that you care, and expect a certain level of performance, which is far from being a bad thing.  So the goal is not to not have any expectations, but rather, to learn how to manage them.  This philosophy is extremely relevant in the WPMBA program.  With busy lives, we have to learn how to manage our expectations for ourselves and our peers.  Setting realistic and manageable expectations ensures that we will rise to our potential without being disappointed in the process.  It’s easier said than done, but I will continue to work on it every day!

MAcc Student Orgs and Leadership Opportunities

Sarah recently asked about student organizations in the MAcc program, and about any corresponding leadership opportunities.  I did some research, so I’ll be sharing what I found – as well as an interview with Fiona Pan, President of the MAcc Council.

Just looking at the Fisher Graduate Student Organizations list, I counted 28 different student orgs.  YEAH – that’s a lot of student orgs.  And the coolest thing is it is so easy to create a new group if somehow the group you’re interested in doesn’t exist!  This is in addition to the hundreds of other student organizations that are not Fisher specific, but that you are more than welcome to join.  I, for instance, have been actively involved with Team Buckeye, a group related to Pelotonia all year.

Having so many Fisher-specific orgs in combination with the general student orgs is great, because it really lets you mix business with pleasure.  You’ll have a great time in any org you choose, but the Fisher orgs tend to cater slightly more to your professional development.  On the other hand, the general student orgs tend to allow you to really pursue your passions!

Holding leadership positions is a little bit more difficult in the MAcc program, as typically you’ll want to be in the organization for a period of time before taking on leadership.  That’s not to say it can’t happen though!  Don’t go into it assuming you won’t get to hold a position simply because you’re a MAccer!

Of course, the MAcc Council, which is made up of just MAcc students, is a great way to hold a leadership position.  The MAcc council puts on a variety of community service, social, and professional events (such as the speaker series) for students.  Further, the MAcc council represents MAcc students on the Fisher Graduate Student Association Board, which serves as a link between students and administration.  The MAcc council holds elections early in the fall for its president, treasurer, and various vice president positions (such as VP of of Social Events, VP of Professional Events, etc).

Here’s what Fiona Pan, our current MAcc council president, has to say on her experiences this year!

First of all, I really enjoy it a lot. We have really good team, and I guess one of the benefits of taking a leadership role is to know and work with your fellow classmates and faculties outside of class. Everyone in the council team is very creative and responsible in terms of event/social planning and following up. The support from the faculty members is tremendous. They are the ones who pass on the legacy every year and we really appreciate that.

Secondly, MAcc council is always trying to provide as many opportunities in professional development, community services and social networking as possible. Though we inherited some from previous classes, such as FETCH!, EY MAcc Speaker Series, VITA and MAcc Gives Back, we also want to have something of our own, creating a character for the 2012 class. By creating events, students will have a more comprehensive experience with MAcc, Fisher, OSU, Columbus, and even the U.S. Plus in the end, people will always remember the people and the good times they spent together in the program, and that is the tone we are trying to set.

Lastly, as you asked how to get involved with MAcc Council or any other student organization. It is easy, make sure you read your Council Email and sign up for whatever you feel interested in 🙂  Take initiative on the projects you have passion with and enjoy your time in MAcc!

Well Sarah, there you have it – straight from the Prez!  Getting involved is easy, and definitely something I would recommend.  It’s possible to take a leadership role, but being in the MAcc program does make it slightly more difficult.  Just approach it with determination and you will be all set!

8 Habits of Highly Productive People

This morning, I came across an article called  “8 Habits of Highly Productive People”.  I thought it was a really interesting article and are some really great tips to get through not only a workday, but that added four hours of class time.  Plus, an added bonus to the article, was a little plug to the Fisher College and a research study!  So, in case you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s a quick summary of the 8 habits.

1. Make it a point to take breaks.  

2. Start your day off on the right foot.

3. Make mindful food choices.

4. Keep a flexible to-do list.  

5. Use technology with intent.  

6. Balance workload.

7. Put perfection in its place.  

8. Know how to say “no”.  

These are all really important to think about.  I know there’s a lot of times during the day I feel that I’ve done a lot but haven’t scratched anything off of my to-do list.  Taking breaks is also important.  Usually sitting something aside and coming back to it later in the day helps my perspective on projects.

Take a look at the article and apply some of these tips to your work or school life.  🙂


Working hard and having fun

This week really demonstrated the need for balance. With a little time management, it is definitely possible. On Wednesday, I studied a lot for a quiz but then had time to go to Bible study with two other MAcc girls. On Thursday, I spent awhile working on my exit exam (a few short essays we all have to submit near the end of the program) but then had time to visit my sister. On Friday, I had two group meetings and was on the student panel for next year’s combined BSBA/MAcc students (it’s a great group!). All of these events were balanced with friendly chats as well. Then a group of us MAccers jumped around at Sky Zone, which was a blast! It was exhausting, though, so I refueled with some Graeter’s ice cream (an Ohio favorite) with another awesome MAcc friend 🙂 I went to the spring football game on Saturday and continued to work on the exit exam. That left Sunday open for church and lunch at the local Northstar Cafe with MAcc friends, followed by a group project that was both hard work and fun.

There is a fair amount of work to get done in the MAcc program, but having awesome professors, interesting classes, and fabulous classmates makes everything so enjoyable. It’s so fun to hang out with everyone during both group work and outside of Fisher. There is always something to do, and I am thankful for such amazing experiences!

Duties of a Graduate Assistant: Part Deux

I think that means ‘Part Two’…

ANYWAYS – let me write about what you’re actually here to read about…some more duties of a graduate assistant at the Fisher College of Business!  The last post discussing GA duties focused on assisting with instruction in the introductory undergraduate accounting courses.  Today, you’ll learn more about working in the Recruiting and Admissions Office!

I have never worked in the Recruiting and Admissions Office, so I asked Bambee Dela Paz to share some insight.  Bambee is a fellow MAcc student, and I’ve seen her giving some great tours to prospective students throughout the year (Bambee talks about this more in her response!).  So – read on to see what to expect if you’re placed in the Recruiting and Admissions Office!

Bambee says:

1. We coordinate and facilitate campus visit for prospective MAcc students. In essence, we show what the Fisher MAcc program has to offer to these prospects by showing them our wonderful facilities, having them meet our outstanding professors, getting to know them and giving them an avenue to ask any questions that could possibly help in their decision making.

2. We conduct interviews for selected applicants over the phone and in person. These are 30 minute interviews where we ask the students a series of questions that help us try to gauge how well they “fit” into the Fisher MAcc program, if admitted, and if an international applicant, how fluent the applicants are in English, as well as their conversational skills.

3. We answer inquiries of any prospective MAcc student or anyone who is interested in the program through phone calls and emails.

Our job is a very “people person” job. On a day-to-day basis we have to meet and talk to people who are interested in our program and cater to their needs to show them that Fisher is a wonderful place. Our job on visits is really to give our prospects “first person” perspectives of the program, which is not very hard to do. All we really need to do is answer their questions honestly and the program sells itself! We have to adapt to different personalities and engage different kinds of people in conversation. We are hospitable and make their visits memorable so they choose Fisher once they see that it is a good fit for them. We talk to and meet so many new people who have interesting backgrounds and try to help them in making decisions that would have a clear impact in their lives/careers. I also work for the coolest guy on earth (a.k.a. Rob Chabot), and the chillest office ever (Graduate Programs Office). And of course, the occasional free/working lunch at the Blackwell is not a bad deal, either.

Bambee makes it sound so easy, which I am sure it is not.  However, I’m also sure that this is a highly rewarding position that provides great opportunities to further connect with faculty and prospective students and learn a ton more about Fisher.  Communicating with all the applicants is also a great way to develop your people skills, as Bambee mentioned, and this is certainly hugely beneficial in the “real world”.

P.S. – The free/working lunch comes into play when giving a prospective student a tour.  Each tour consists of a GA from Admissions, the prospective student, and a current MAcc student.  I’ve had the pleasure of attending one of these tours as a current MAcc student, and I can say that Bambee is not lying when she says the lunch is not a bad deal!

The Lieutenant Governor and two Americas Vice-Chairs … in the same week!

Last week was once again an exciting one for the MAcc program! Mary Taylor, Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor, spoke to a group of MAcc, MBA, and Specialized Master of Finance students on Tuesday. As the first CPA to be Auditor of State, and now as the Lt. Governor, she brings a unique perspective to the political arena. She spoke about her accounting background, balancing career and family, her efforts to make Ohio a business-friendly state, and how she was raised to always do the right thing. We were all so impressed by Mary Taylor’s expertise and personality and were thankful for the opportunity to hear her speak. Afterward, we were able to ask questions, and I presented her with a small thank-you gift from Fisher. It was an honor to be able to interact with such an impressive individual!

On Wednesday, Ernst&Young’s Tom Hough (Americas Vice-Chair for Assurance Services) and Debbie Kissire (Americas Vice-Chair and East Central Managing Partner) took time out of their busy schedules to speak to us. They talked about their career paths, issues in the industry, and how to balance details with the big picture in order to form opinions. It was an honor to have them at Fisher and learn from their impressive backgrounds.

In The Presence of Greatness

When evaluating whether or not to return for grad school for the SMF degree, I came up with a litany of “pros”, most of which have come to fruition. One that I had not given much thought to is the exposure to unbelievably successful people right in the classroom. Certainly I knew I would be among other motivated and talented students, many of whom will be worthwhile friends and acquaintances moving forward. Also, as I have mentioned before, there is a great gateway to an unbelievable number of companies via our Career Services Team. What has been more surprisingly impressive is the quality and quantity of professionals we interact with every day in the classroom.

Just in the past week, I have met the CEO of Bob Evans (Steve Davis) in a class co-taught by the former CEO of Hyperion/President of Americas at FedEx (Jeff Rodek – who was also told he was one of 3 people in the company who could replace founder and current CEO Fred Smith) and former Chairman of Sears Mexico/CAO at Cardinal Health (Tony Rucci). I had the pleasure of meeting with the current President of JobsOhio (Mark Kvamme), who also happens to be one of the more successful venture capitalist partners from one of the most well-known companies, Sequoia. Although much of what he told us was confidential, let’s just say he was in on the ground floor of some incredibly savvy investments into what are now global icons. And this is for a class co-taught by the CFO of Ohio State University, and a quite successful Asset Manager at JPMorgan in his own right, along with a well-respected and published professor, Michael Weisbach. Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting with a Senior Analyst and a VP from Wells Fargo Equity Research. To sum that up in the parlance of our times, most of these people are on the short list of Google results for searching only their first name. And that was just this week!

Although last week was admittedly more action-packed than most, it is certainly not out of the ordinary. We have countless other opportunities to meet with incredibly successful and well-respected professionals and professors on a daily and weekly basis, something many people probably take for granted. Sometimes you need to step back and realize just how remarkable many of our interactions at Fisher can be.

Scheduling Time

It is week four of the quarter and the semester conversion is right around the corner!  I cannot believe it is almost time to register for another set of classes!  When your registration appointment opens, you will be able to register for both Summer Term and Autumn Semester.  I’m excited about registering this time around because of the ability to schedule whatever classes I choose.  Since I began the program last June, we have been on a pretty strict schedule with the conversion looming.  To best align with the switch, we had a specific set of core classes to take each quarter.  After this quarter, I’ll only have two core classes left which will be offered in next Spring Semester.  So that means a wide variety of electives available to fit my schedule, work experience, and interests.

From my experience as an undergrad at OSU, here’s a few pointers when scheduling for electives.  Before your appointment opens, take a look on BuckeyeLink of the different class options that are available.  Some electives only have open seats of 20-30 people so it’s good to have an idea on what classes you want to take and some backup options.  Read the course descriptions and ask fellow classmates if they have any recommendations on classes or professors.  Also, check out some of the graduate opportunities outside of Fisher as well.  You can request to take a free elective outside of the Fisher College if it aligns with the MBA program.

Happy Scheduling!

I Had Lunch With the Lieutenant Governor

It’s not everyday that you can say “Hey, I had lunch with Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor!” (although as a student in the MAcc program, you can get pretty close to saying such awesome things on a daily basis).

Well my friends, the MAcc program made sure that we could say just that.  So, I’ll say it – I had lunch with Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor.  Granted, it wasn’t a one-on-one lunch or anything.  But still, Mary Taylor came to speak to all of us MAccers (and a few other graduate students) at lunch.  How cool is that!?

For those of you who are not familiar with the Lieutenant Governor’s background, this is such a big deal because she is the first CPA to hold an elected office in the state of Ohio.  This is great news for students like me, who do not plan on making their living with their CPA in the field public accounting.  And even better news – she  is adamant that while she does not explicitly use her CPA on a daily basis, it has proven to be invaluable in her career.

I think the best part of this experience came in the Q&A session.  Lt. Governor Taylor provided great information regarding her background and career evolution at the start, but was eager to hear our questions.  This proved that the event was really for US, which I really appreciated.  She ensured that the hour was dedicated to ensuring that all of the MAcc (and the few MBA and SMF) students could learn exactly what we wanted to know.

Lieutenant Governor Taylor was great to listen to – she spoke openly, engaged us all, and answered all of our questions.  She provided some really unique perspectives on how becoming a CPA can broaden your thinking, and how it applies beyond the field of accounting.  I feel more confident than ever now that just because I have an accounting degree does not mean I’ll be an accountant forever.  From the way Lt. Governor Taylor made it sound, having your CPA is one of the best moves to make…you’ll be prepared for anything, and benefit from the unique methods of analysis it prepares you for.

Exciting opportunities like this happen all the time in the MAcc program.  This was one of the bigger awesome opportunities, and I am so thankful I was able to attend.  But rest assured – if you enroll in the MAcc program, you’ll have plenty of chances to attend outstanding presentations just like this.


“This is Sarah Chait, and I Approve This Message”

Elections for the 2012-13 WPMBA Council are quickly approaching, and I have my name in the hat for “Internal Public Relations”.  The WPMBA Council is a group of six current students that represent the WPMBA student body.  The Council serves as the interface between students and the Graduate Professional Office, Career Management, and other student organizations, and is responsible for a variety of professional and social events.  Specifically, the Internal Public Relations representative is responsible for student communications, event HUB management, and maintaining the Facebook page, amongst other activities.

Believe it or not, I have never run for office, or at least that I remember.  My mother tells me that I ran for Secretary of the National Honor Society my junior year of High School, but I certainly don’t remember a campaign of any sort.  Call it motherly bragging.  So, as far as I’m concerned, this is my first dabble into “politics”.  So far, it’s been…interesting.  I am running as part of a “ticket” with 5 of my classmates, a strategy taken by last year’s council, and one that proved to be successful.  This ticket has caused some drama amongst my fellow classmates, of which I won’t divulge here – but suffice it to say, it’s been somewhat “political” – at least more than I expected.  WPMBA students are more competitive than I thought!

As for me, I just want to be “the one that sends all the emails” – in this case, “Internal Public Relations”.  This is generally my MO in life as it is.  At work, I manage our internal and external communications and marketing programs, and am the one who organizes birthday lunches, team happy hours, and other morale-building activities.  In my personal life, I am the “social coordinator” – the one who brings my group of friends together for nights out and dinners in.  And, in the WPMBA program, I have naturally assumed the informal position of “the one who makes everyone go to the bar on Thursdays”.  I believe in the value of being involved, and the intangible benefits it brings not only to the individual, but to the collective group.  As the Internal Public Relations representative, I believe I can rally the troops, and make for a more beneficial and enjoyable program for all.

“This is Sarah Chait, and I approve this message”

WPMBA Council Elections - Vote!
WPMBA Council Elections - Vote!