Archive for June, 2012

It Can’t Be Over – the Finale (aka “The Best Year Yet!”)

I became friends with Wen, Yan, and Christy, seriously some of the sweetest people I have ever met, during the first week of classes, and now we're graduating!

Well, it’s official – the MAcc 2012 class has graduated! The Graduate Programs Office held a lovely reception for our class on Friday evening. It was wonderful to have my family meet my friends and their families. We enjoyed catching up over hors d’oeuvres before the start of the official ceremony, which included thought-provoking and entertaining speeches by Dean Mangum, professors Anil Arya and Pat Turner, student Jeff Howard, alumnus Bobby Murphy (class of 2010), and Michael Petrecca, a partner with PwC. We all got our names called as we walked across the stage, which is something that of course cannot happen for everyone at the university’s commencement. The finishing touch on the ceremony was a video montage of our MAcc year – so much fun! I loved having our entire class together one last time, but of course it was a bittersweet evening. I was not (and am admittedly still not) ready for our MAcc year to be over.

On Saturday, my family got to experience my exciting Ohio State life through lunch with MAcc friends and families, pictures with my undergraduate Cohort, a Cohort reception, a picnic with my roommates and families, and the candlelight ceremony on the Oval. The student speaker at the candlelight ceremony encouraged us to define our Ohio State years in 6 words, and though it would be hard to capture the essence of my time at Ohio State in such limited vocabulary, I will say this about my MAcc year: This was the best year yet!

On Sunday, commencement was held in Ohio Stadium. There was a record-setting number of graduates (around 10,640), and about 50,000 guests were there for the ceremony. Despite the stifling heat, the ceremony was fun and impressive. As the first listed graduate program in the commencement agenda (“accounting” comes first alphabetically, apparently), we all had good seats for the speakers and enjoyed sitting together as a class. We heard from President Gee, Archie Griffin, and Susan Rice, the U.S. Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations. Then we each got our picture taken on the field as we received our diplomas. It’s amazing we can get our individual photos and our actual diplomas! What a logistical feat! There was a group of us MAccers who got our picture taken with university president Gee after the ceremony, and then many of us went back to Fisher to get post-graduation pictures together.

It is so sad that many of our classmates have already left Ohio, but I know we will keep in touch! This has been a phenomenal year with lifelong friendships and lessons. I can say with certainty that the faculty, staff, and students I have had the privilege of getting to know this year have impacted my life in so many positive ways, many I likely have yet to realize. I look forward to seeing where life takes us all but know there are wonderful things ahead for everyone! In the meantime, there are about 20 of us taking CPA classes together this summer, and I am so thankful for their company. We just can’t get away yet, and I look forward to sticking around Ohio State and Fisher over the summer. In the fall, though, a new class of awesome MAccers will start their new adventures at Ohio State, and I am so excited for them! I hope that one year from now they will also be saying “This was the best year yet!”


It can’t be over … part 2

The past week has solidified the fact that everything really is coming to a close in the Fisher MAcc program. I turned in two final papers and took a final exam, but that’s not really what drove the point home. All sorts of exciting things are happening around campus, and having time to do them has been a wonderful reminder that I have no more homework! I think I am still in denial about the year being over, but for now, I am enjoying and savoring every minute!

For beating our professor in the 5K race, a group of us was treated to Jeni’s ice cream! It was so much fun :) I got to go on a steam tunnel tour and the Orton Hall bell tower tour this week, and my friends and I loved decorating our graduation caps at an event at the Union.

One really fun activity was the dessert crawl that my friends and I did on High Street. We started at Jeni’s in the Short North area of Columbus and proceeded to go to Bakery Gingham, Chocoholique, Piece of Cake, Cuzzin’s frozen yogurt, Insomnia Cookies, Pera for baklava, and Cold Stone! Don’t worry, we didn’t each buy something at every location, and we shared :) Everything was delicious. I recommend trying all sorts of restaurants and taking advantage of the amazing Columbus opportunities whenever possible. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

Us with my MAcc heart contribution to the chalkboard at Jeni's!


What a difference a year makes

I’m officially done with a year of the WPMBA program!  It really has went by pretty fast.  Sarah’s post is really true.  Her last bullet for me was the hardest to get used to when I started.  (Don’t obsess about grades…) When you start the program, you soon learn that you have to maintain a 3.0 average in all of the core classes.  Which is a B.  When I first started a year ago, that really intimidated me.  What if I get below a B?  Or how much work is it to get an A?  As I began to learn, B’s are ok.   There will be classes in which you know you may never use the material again and are just doing what you can to get by; but even in those classes, there are still tips and information that is valuable to learn, or enough to at least sound like you know what you are talking about in conversation.  Most of the classes incorporate current/local events into the topics which helps the “Why do I really need to learn this?” question.  Virtually nobody will know (unless you share) what grades you get and employers (for the most part) will not ask to see your transcripts, just that you have graduated.

To go along with Sarah’s list, I have a couple more bullets to add after a year in the program:

  • Commuting an hour (or more) is doable.   Patience is needed when dealing with traffic on a regular basis.  I don’t know how many times I came to class complaining about the traffic on 315, but it was a lot.  It helps to be open and accommodating when it comes to group projects.
  • Take time to exercise.  The first couple of quarters, most of my free time was spent on studying and that came back to bite me.  Treadmill time and reading articles is a great combo!
  • Beware of the vending machines.  Buying a candy bar and pop before or in between classes every day is not good for the weight or the wallet.
  • Meet as many classmates and get to know them.  Networking is such a great aspect with classmates and it helps later on when you need to form groups or need expertise in a specific area.
Enjoy your summer break!

 


And in the end …

I have not contributed nearly as much as I had hoped to this blog.

I have been a blogger for two years and neither year was I able to contribute as much as I though I would be able to.  However, the past two years, I have grown more as a person than I thought possible before coming to Fisher.  So much so, it is difficult for me to wrap my head around everything that has happened and condense it into simple blog posts that could be easily digested by prospective students.  This experience has been such a developmental one that it is hard for me to fathom anyone connecting to it without it looking like over the top, dramatized platitudes.

Moving to Columbus from Detroit, I was familiar with adapting to new environments, living in a large city, and making my way without much guidance.  That was how I began my time here.  I figured I could get by just fine on my own, without depending on many people because that has always been how I operated.  My life entering the MLHR program two years ago was completely different than it is now.  So much so, I’m not sure I would recognize myself from that time.  I started here in a long-term relationship, with my girlfriend moving with me.  I was excited and nervous about courses and whether or not I had the ability to do well.  Questions constantly circled about how I could find and internship, could I get a job, as well as a number of personal issues that still had to be dealt with.

Being someone who always felt that needing help indicated a sign of weakness, I went through the first year not connecting with many on a real level.  I knew the people in my Cohort were great people, but I kept a distance so as not to appear I couldn’t do something on my own.  As the summer came and went, the relationship I was in ended and I was working as an intern at ExxonMobil in Texas.  Now as background, my family did not come from means in any sense.  Therefore, I did not leave my home state of Michigan until I was 25.  Therefore, living in a new state, in a new work environment, and being newly single created so many obstacles for me to climb, and each one being faced head on.  I found a new confidence in my ability and further engrained the thought that I can do anything on my own.  This thought was further confirmed by being extended a full-time job offer at the end of the summer.

Coming back to Columbus, I was excited to see the people I had missed over the summer.  While I had been extremely successful professionally over the summer, there was a new void.  Being used to having someone around all the time is undoubtedly something that was missed upon my return.  However, I did not feel I had connected with many in my cohort, which lead to a sense of isolation.  I didn’t have the courage nor did I think it was necessary to really open up.  This isolated feeling lead to a lack of confidence in myself.  As if, while I am smart and have a lot of interestes, I didn’t have the ability to truly connect with people.  That has been a challenge for me the entire year.  However, as with everyone, there have been challenges for me this year for which I needed a support system.  Luckily, I have found some members of my Cohort who have truly been people I feel I will forever be able to lean on and will desperately hold on to for as long as possible.

Wes Lin – Wes was the first person I met at the awkward mingling thing that was part of our first year orientation.  We are roughly the same age, although, for the record, I believe he is older.  (I just say that to make myself feel better.)  Wes was someone that I did connect with very early in the first year.  Perhaps it was the age, perhaps it was because we are both secret nerds, who knows.  But going through personal turmoil, Wes was always someone I could depend on talking to without being judged and would get sound advice.  Even if it was to stop being an idiot…sometimes that the best advice to give.

Rachel Brokaw – Rachel and I talked very little in the first year, mostly during group get-togethers.  Early this year there seemed to be a perfect storm of my personal problems, coordinating group work, and a lack of desire by others to go to the VC that caused us to socialize more.  While I was going through some of the worst personal crises of my life, Rachel became someone that I could confide in.  I knew after a short period of time that, similar to Wes, I could open up to her and not be judged by the difficulties that were thrust upon me.  In addition to that, in my personal opinion, she is without question one of the hardest working people I have ever met.  I have the deepest respect for what she is able to do with her time and still be successful at all of it.  Her work ethic inspires me every time I talk to her.

Rebecca Zurek – Rebecca was the absolute first living soul I met when coming to Fisher.  My first thought was “this person has to be the most energetic woman ever, I’m too old for all this.”  We were always friendly, but again, it was not until this year that we became close.  We have come to depend on each other during various emotional roller coasters.  We are rarely the thing that brings the coaster back up, or relieve the anxiety of a steep drop, but are always there as the safety bar to hold onto and feel safer.

Micaela Savage – Only in the last few weeks has Micaela become close…this may be a case of too little too late.  As is a theme, I have come to trust her opinions and her friendship.  I have a tendency to be a little on the negative side, so having a friend who can call me out without judging is a pretty good deal.

There are just a few of the people in the Cohort that have helped me the most during this very trying year.  I could list so many others who have had an incredible impact on my life and who I hope to stay friends with for a long time to come.  Jen Hunt, Shawn Henderson, Amber Stephens, Stacey Falardeau, Dana Wagner, the list goes on.

The point of all this is to say, while I am still the same person I was when I started, I am very different.  I have learned, almost more importantly than the class work, that I absolutely cannot do everything alone.  I need people around me to lean on.  I need people I can trust and who can push me, put my in my place, bring me up, and let me do the same for them.  I do not have a large supportive family like many of my classmates, but I am able to create my own if I choose the right people to spend my time with.  Luckily, this Cohort was not lacking in amazing people to let into my life.

Thank you to everyone I listed here.  You have all made a larger impact on my life than you could truly know.  To those not listed, please do not take offense.  I will remember this group for a long, long time.  Especially since half of you are coming to Houston with me.

Good luck to everyone.  I wish nothing be success for all of you, and if I can ever be there for any of you the way some of you were here for me, you know where I’ll be.

 

Peace and Love


Much more than classroom knowledge

Fisher has great faculty and staff whose contribution to the wonderful fisher experience is priceless. In here, I would like to highlight just a few of the many people who made my 10 months in the Fisher College of Business MAcc program a memorable one.

Patrick Turner – I spent all three quarters learning from Pat. Aside the “academic” knowledge gained from him, I learnt a lot from Pat as he shared his personal experiences with us. I was particularly encouraged by these two things  he shared with us:

1. It takes an extra effort to succeed amidst all the pressure and stress in public accounting. What distinguished him from others he worked with was his resilience.
2. He always made an effort to have dinner at home with the family so he could spend time with his wife and children. He will then continue his work later on in the night when the kids are in bed. For me, this is one of the most creative ideas I have ever had about managing one’s time. Thank you Pat.

David Williams – I walk to class feeling tired but the moment class begins, I feel refreshed. This is what the atmosphere created by Dave did to when I took his class (corporate financial reporting) in the first quarter. If you are to ever meet the personality of Dave you would know what I am talking about. His approach to lecturing is phenomenal. One thing I picked up from him is this: get what you have to get done appropriately and in time but don’t make those around you feel pressured so much so that they panic. Be jovial but be serious.

Anil Arya – I took Arya’s class in the most stressful school session I have ever had but I always had a smile on my face every time I sat in his class (Foundations of Accounting). Learning about the moments shared with his wife, his tremendous e-mail response rate, and his powerful sense of humor impacted me greatly. My take away from him is this – make time for the people you care about; spend time with the people you love and do your best to help others reach their full potential.

Samantha Schnitzer and Kaylin Ward – From responding to mails through chatting and spending time with students to putting together programs and activities; Samantha and Kaylin have taught me what it means to work with passion. Do what you love doing and be sure to give your all are the words that would keep on ringing in my mind every-time I hear the name and think about Samantha and Kaylin.

Alisa McMahon – If you have ever heard the phrase – a smile speaks a thousand words- then stop by the GPO office and Alisa would show you what that means. Work and happiness is one thing I am taking away from Fisher, courtesy of Alisa. Don’t let the pressure take away your lovely smile.

To all the wonderful people I wasn’t able to highlight, know that I cherish and admire each and everyone one of you. I love you all.


First Year = Check!

Last night while we were enjoying beers and basking in the post-finals glow at the Varsity Club, one of my friends pointed out that we were officially “one year down” in the WPMBA program.  I’ve thought about that before, but for some reason, hearing him say it made it real.   I survived four whole quarters!

Now, notice that I don’t say I’m “halfway done” – because I’m not.  The program will take me ~2.5 years to complete, which means I am not quite halfway there.  But hitting the year mark is really something.  That’s one year of four hours, two nights a week, for 40+ weeks.  And during all that time, I’ve learned some things along the way that are worth passing along:

  • You get used to the schedule, but it never gets easy
  • It’s OK to occasionally (ok, more like rarely) skip class in favor of a beer with your friends – or a night with your couch
  • Always bring a sweater to class – the rooms are cold!
  • Packing your dinner takes away the stress of having to stop somewhere on the way
  • Work in groups as much as possible – it makes doing homework much more fun, and you might learn more than you would on your own (I know I do)
  • It takes some time to establish your group of friends, but once you do, the program takes on a new level of fun
  • Don’t obsess about grades like you may have in undergrad.  Grad school is all about learning, and getting an B doesn’t mean you didn’t learn

Here’s to the next 1.5 years!


How to Love Your Time at OSU

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I absolutely loved my three years of undergraduate course work here at The Ohio State University.  I was very much in the work hard, play hard mindset and think this really paid off for me.  I tried to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities made available to me, both academically and otherwise.  However, I don’t think I fully appreciated my time on campus until this past summer, when I had an internship with PwC (this was, for example, one of the great opportunities OSU made available to me).

My experiences with PwC were incredible.  I worked in assurance, and was lucky enough to work on Hirtle Callaghan & Co (a mutual fund), Mettler Toledo (scale manufacturing), The Ohio State University, and Abercrombie & Fitch.  I got to see so many different industries and really figure out what interested me the most.  PwC also did an incredible job of throwing me into the meat of the work so I could really appreciate what a day in the life of a full time auditor looks like.

Needless to say, I worked auditor hours, which are a little bit different than student hours.  This had its pros and cons, but more than anything was just something different to get used to.  The internship also carried a completely different stress than being a student.  Again, pros and cons but mostly just different.  The biggest difference?  At PwC I was getting paid for my hard work, while at OSU I am paying for it.  But one parallel I was definitely able to draw was the work hard, play hard attitude.  It appears as though this never disappears, so master it early!

This all has a point I’m trying to make, I promise.

While I loved working for PwC and being a contributing member of society, it is an incredibly different experience than what I had during school.  Once I graduate, I’ll be able to work and live in the real world for (hopefully) 35+ years.  Depending on the route you take for college, you get 4-6 years.  During those 4-6 years, its far too easy to get caught up in the rush of things and really miss out.  I’m not saying grades and studies aren’t important – I’m just saying relax and make the most of your time.  The recruiters will appreciate you making the most of your time in college, especially as you master the work hard, play hard balance.

So, as I get ready to begin working at JP Morgan in internal audit, I’m again ready to practice my work hard-play hard skills.  I really have loved every minute at Ohio State, but I’m very ready for the next step.  Ohio State (and the MAcc program in particular) has prepared me so well for what is to come, and I am eager to explore this “real world”.

Thanks to all of you who have followed my thoughts throughout the year – I hope you found them entertaining, quirky, but most of all, helpful and informative!  I really can’t speak highly enough of the MAcc program, and hope you will consider applying.  If you’re already admitted and will be here in autumn 2012, allow me to congratulate you and I wish you the best of luck during the upcoming year.  Don’t be afraid to take chances and explore all of what Fisher can offer – you’ll have a great experience.


The End of the Quarter System

The end of Spring Quarter will be the end of an era.  The end of quarters and the start on semesters, Ohio State has had quarters ever since the college started back in 1870…back when Ohio State was strictly an agriculture and mechanical college.  Initially, when I found out semesters were coming, I was not very happy.  Going from 10 week classes to 14 did not seem all that exciting.  What if I don’t like a class?  I’m going to have to sit through it even longer.  But, the WPMBA program has made many of classes half term which will be seven weeks.  This will give us more opportunities to take elective classes that fit our interests.

Another change that will happen with the semester switch is only taking one class per night.  I’m really excited about this.  Many times, over the past year, I have neglected reading in one class for doing homework in another.  Or, like this quarter, having two midterms on one night….that made for a long four hours!   So only one class that will last from 6:00 – 9:15 will be a welcomed change.

So as we move to semesters, there will be plenty of uncertainties, confusion, and trying times.  But we should all embrace semesters with some patience because everyone in the university will be new to this system.  Good bye Quarters.  Hello Semesters!


It can’t be over! … Part 1

I have finished all of my classes, both for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Thankfully, I do not think this fact has fully sunk in yet. I completed two final exams and only have two more standing between me and graduation!

The last week of classes was busy but fun. We made and ordered a MAcc yearbook on Mixbook.com and wrote messages for each other! It was wonderful to think back on the year and how close our class has become.

Signing yearbooks made us remember our high school days of doing the same, and another “Are we really grad students?!” moment occurred in the graduate student lounge on Tuesday. The Graduate Programs Office gave us Jeni’s ice cream and a photo booth! We had so much fun taking goofy pictures as a break from studying!

Speaking of Jeni’s ice cream, it was rated the best ice cream in America by US News Travel! Graeter’s ice cream, another Ohio favorite, was ranked sixth.  Although I’m admittedly not ready for this awesome year to end, I am looking forward to a summer being surrounded by the best ice cream in the country :-)

We had so much fun with the photo booth!


Balancing Act

This past weekend was a great example of the balancing act that is life.  The weekend before finals (for some) corresponding with a holiday weekend.  Three days to study?  Great in theory.  However, that wasn’t the case.  On Saturday, my sister-in-law graduated high school and is now a Buckeye!  The superintendent had five things that not only the graduates, but everyone, should do every day: pay someone a compliment; do a good deed; be yourself and love what you see in the mirror; do something for yourself; and make a memory.   Such good advice.

On Sunday, I was able to fit in some studying and attended a “Dave Boone FUNance study session” which was very helpful!   On Memorial Day, we had a homecoming luncheon at our church and then had my sister-in-law’s grad party.  Busy, busy weekend.

After a year of being in this program, there will be busy weekends like this one and there will be others that aren’t as busy.  My advice is plan ahead.  Plan out your weekend and know when/if you can fit in studying.  Also look ahead and realize that if you have an upcoming busy weekend, try to do homework or readings ahead of time.  Helps lessen the stress of trying to do all the readings and homework at the last minute.

 


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