Take a Break with the Buckeyes

The weather outside is cooling down, but things in the Graduate Programs Office are heating up!

One of the best aspects of the admissions process at the Fisher College of Business is the ability for prospective students to meet with current students in different cities throughout the United States- and even internationally. Over winter break, a program called “Take a Break with the Buckeyes” will be in full force.

If you are thinking about applying to Fisher, current Fisher MBA students will be traveling around the world during winter break and have volunteered to meet with prospective students in a relaxed setting to answer any questions you may have about the program. You can check out the list of cities here: Connect with Fisher on the Road

If you have any questions or if you’d like to schedule a meeting near your hometown, please contact us!

Breakfast with Dean Poon, Lunch with CFOs

A couple of weeks ago, a few classmates and I had the pleasure of sitting down to breakfast and a chat with Dean Christine Poon.  It was a great chance for us to provide feedback on the MAcc program so far this year.  Among the topics discussed were first session courses, interviews for full-time positions, academic and applied speakers, and many others.  I was happy to hear that many of my classmates had made it through the interview process and were actually juggling multiple offers for jobs starting next fall.  We also spoke about the transition from quarters or traditional semesters to the 7-week terms that are now followed by Fisher graduate programs.  The verdict seemed to be that although we now face a vigorous pace in classes, we’re able to take advantage of so many electives, ranging from Finance to HR to Operations – and even some outside of the business school.

Not a bad way to start a morning in the MAcc!

Overall, I was very pleased with our discussion and was happy that Dean Poon took the time to meet with us!

Last Friday, a handful of students from Fisher’s MBA, MAcc, and SMF programs had the unique opportunity to sit down for lunch with CFOs from Fortune 500 companies throughout Ohio.  I had the pleasure of dining with Jeffrey Weeden, CFO of KeyCorp, and Ron Lovell, VP of IBM’s Client Center for Advanced Analytics.  Both business leaders had some interesting insights on the demand for highly complex business analytics that will change the pace of financial decision making for large public companies.  They also commented on the approaching fiscal cliff, Dodd-Frank requirements for financial institutions like KeyCorp, and other hot topics in Jeff’s industry.

It’s opportunities like these that remind me why I chose Fisher.  Whether a current or future grad student, I highly recommend taking advantage of these opportunities to network with fellow classmates, academic leaders, and members of C-Suites around the country.  Events like these serve as great compliments to courses within Fisher, so take advantage!

Fisher Serves – Working at the Animal Shelter

Fisher Serves is a student organization at the Fisher College of Business that reaches out to the community by providing service at non-profit organizations. All students from the various programs within the college are able to participate in this organization that gives back to the Columbus, OH community.

For the Fisher Serves day of service, I was asked to help at one of the local animal shelters here in Columbus. I was excited to attend but was given a simple disclosure from my wife that I was not to bring home any animals. Lucky for her, I didn’t.

When the group got to the shelter we were given a list of assignments that needed to be completed. The staff at the shelter was very friendly and made our day of service fun and enjoyable. Here is a brief list of some of the activities that the MBAs were able to help with while volunteering at the animal shelter:

  • Walking Dogs
  • Dog Obedience Training
  • Cleaning Kennels
  • Playing With Kittens
  • Washing Dog Dishes
  • Preparing Dog Treats

The day was full of fun and although it sounds like a lot of fun and easy activities, I was surprised at how tired I was after being on my feet for the whole afternoon.

I am happy to say that all of the MBAs left without an injury or wound. Even more importantly, we all left feeling a sense of gratitude for the opportunities that we have in life to reach out and serve others. I am grateful for the Fisher Serves organization and I truly feel that it helps mold more balanced MBAs during their time at Fisher.

On to the real world

So the time has finally come – after earning my MAcc degree and graduation I will finally be closing the book of academia and entering the real world, with a job! I have decided to accept a position as a Rotation Staff Accountant for the public accounting firm, GBQ Partners. The entire recruiting process that led to this decision was definitely a unique experience. First, GBQ utilizes a third party recruiting firm, CareerMax. This means that the recruiters involved do not work directly for GBQ, they simply are responsible for organizing interviews, office visits, addressing concerns and questions about the firm or recruiting process etc.

I started the GBQ recruitment with a coffee chat/pre-interview session with a member of the CareerMax team. This session was designed to get to know me better and ultimately see if I could be a good fit for the firm. Next, I had an on-campus interview with another member of CareerMax. This interview was a bit more traditional, with largely behavioral style questions about my work ethic, as well as questions about which area of public accounting (assurance or tax) I would be the best fit for. A week or so later, I was asked to come check out the GBQ office, located in the Arena District of downtown Columbus, for an informal visit to prepare me for the formal office visit. This was definitely a great opportunity, as I was able to see the office, meet several GBQ staff members, and ultimately feel more at ease for the second round interview. Lastly, the office visit came, in which a total of 10 candidates from various schools joined myself for a full-day of second round interviewing. The office visit began with actual interviews with two GBQ managers, largely a behavioral style interview setting. Then, we toured the office, met with a panel from the GBQ specialty groups and senior level staff in both assurance and tax, were treated to a great lunch at Rodizio Grill in the district, heard from a panel of GBQ partners (which was great!), and then heard from the firm director to wrap-up. While it was a packed schedule, I felt completely comfortable and was able to interact with some great people-which definitely helped make my decision easier! Another great aspect of this position was the fact that I was rotating through various departments. Typically in public accounting you are asked to choose between audit or tax for your placement-which as a student with little to no experience is hard to decide. With the GBQ rotation, I will be able to experience both, realize strengths and weaknesses within the areas of the firm and have the choice of where I will end up post-rotation. I think I will be very happy with my career decision to join GBQ and can’t wait for the Fall to get started! Now about that CPA exam…

The best pineapple I have ever had at Rodizio Grill


This is how the meat is served at Rodizio

Tips & Takeaways

Hey everyone!

It’s insane to think that in about one week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving and cheering for a Buckeye victory against Michigan. I cannot believe that the time is flying by so quickly!  And with each passing day, the other 1st years and I are learning how to truly navigate through our MBA program successfully.

 These may not be your most traditional takeaways, but there are sure to help you in the long run!

  • Bring lunch and snacks – The vending machine is delicious….but dangerous. It can be too easy to grab a candy bar when you are staying late to review finance or accounting, but be warned! The sugar crash later will only make your eyes heavy during class. I try to pack a lunch during my long days to stop any vending machine temptations. Packing also stops the trips to eat out for lunch. Trust me, you and your wallet will thank me later.
  • Rohr Cafe will become your best friend (and possibly Panera) – Just to build off the previous post, your two years in business school will be the years you consume the most coffee. It is the norm to run  and grab a shot of caffeine before classes, in-between classes, after classes, while studying, and a few other times during the day. To help watch the spending, I recommend brewing your own cup at home and limiting the number of coffee runs a week. And if you are one of the stronger souls that don’t drink coffee – enjoy watching the frantic dashes of your fellow students who need to the sweet taste of Starbucks.
  • Wear layers to class – Seriously. A wonderful 74 degrees in your ops. class to a freezing 64 in accounting (I know, I know. I am warm-blooded and like the temperature slightly warmer than other people). But if you don’t bring a sweater during the fall and spring months, you will be freezing in one class and sweating in another.
  • Reserve a room – If you are meeting with a few others to study for a test or work through practice problems, make sure you reserve a room!  Around midterm and finals week, they tend to fill up quickly. You need to have a total of three attendees, so form a study group and reserve a room to ensure a productive evening of hitting the books.
  • Use a calendar and update it often – It could be a Google Calendar, iCal, an agenda or a combination of the three! However, there are so many activities, meetings, networking events and more that you’ll go crazy if you don’t write things down. I check my Google Calendar daily (which in in sync to my tablet and iPod), to make sure I don’t miss anything. I combine that with my physical agenda to make sure I stay caught-up with my readings and assignments. Trust me, you don’t want to be that group member that shows up late to a meeting.

Have a great week! Talk to you guys soon.

MBA Trek To Nestle

This past weekend I had the opportunity to join 20 other marketing MBAs here at the Fisher College of Business to visit the Nestle campus in Solon, OH. It was a great experience to learn about their business and how their brand managers play an intricate role in the success of the company.

Here are a few things I learned from my experience on Nestle’s campus:

  • Food Is Abundant- I guess that shouldn’t be so surprising. After all, Nestle is that largest food company in the world. It was impressive to see how all of the pieces fit into the Nestle puzzle. We were able to speak with marketers, chefs, administrative staff, and food scientists. It amazes me that they can have all of that food around and remain productive!
  • Science Works – That is right, there is an amazing amount of testing and research that goes into the development of Nestle’s products. The insights and ideas come from customer and market insights, but the implementation has to funnel through the culinary team and the factory team. Team work and collaboration is a must a Nestle.
  • Consumers Come First – After meeting with a handful of brand managers throughout the day, I continually heard them mention that the consumer comes first. They related that nothing can happen in marketing if consumer insights are not found. Marketing and innovation always must start with the consumer.

I can say that they visit to Nestle was a great benefit for me and other MBAs. I am not the only MBA that mentioned that they wish all recruiting companies provided an opportunity like this visit to Nestle headquarters.

Skills You Didn’t Know You Would Learn During the MAcc: Carpentry

I should preface this post by explaining that I live off-campus with seven other guys. It might sound crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. To be sure, there’s never a dull moment.

Anyways, most of us are students in Fisher, but John, my best friend since High School, is an engineer (although he has currently been dabbling in improv comedy). Over the summer John came up with the idea of building a bar for our living room. The other roommates, including me (at first), were picturing something like this:










Fortunately for us, John had other plans. Retreating to his room for a week of intense research and development, John put together a design of such elegance that we still hardly believe it belongs to us. The short-version of this epic saga goes something like this:

1. John designs the bar using his fancy engineering software.

2. John and I drive to a Lumber Mill to buy materials and wood.

3. John cuts the wood using a huge saw.

4. John and I stain the bar dark cherry.

4. John and I assemble the bar.


































In the end, I had refined my finesse with power tools and put a few hairs on my chest. More importantly, we had this in our Living Room:

















So how does this relate to the MAcc? There are a few key take-aways:

  • Working with a diverse group of people often leads to innovation. At Fisher you will be surrounded by MBA, MHRM, SMF, MAcc and undergraduate students. Embrace this opportunity to learn from each other and great things will happen.
  • Dream big and take control of your own destiny. When it comes to finding a job after graduation you can settle for something within your reach, or aim for the career of your dreams. My roommates and I would have been happy with a simple bar, but investing the time and energy to make a bar we were proud of was so much more fulfilling. The Fisher Office of Career Management gives you the chance to refine your interviewing skills. Our outstanding faculty give you the chance to absorb and apply some of the most important ideas shaping the business world around you. Take advantage of their expertise and get that perfect offer.
  • Work hard together and celebrate your successes together. Building the bar took weeks, but when we were finished and saw the result of our hard work we knew just what to do. We grabbed a few drinks, pulled up some chairs, and celebrated.

Classes and Majors

There are so many things going on in any typical week and it can be easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the details. The incredible faculty and staff at Fisher anticipate this, and make sure to keep us informed of what we need to know.

Recently, there was a host of Major information sessions during lunch, where faculty members introduced us to all the elective classes available at Fisher and how to organize them according to the major/minor we wanted to pursue. This was very helpful, since there are more than 100 electives offered through Fisher, and we can also choose to take any classes from OSU if they relate to the major/minor/track chosen.

In my case, I wanted to customize my major (one of the reasons I chose Fisher!), so I was mostly interested in the “Customize your Major” info session, but I attended several of the other sessions to learn more about the different classes in each major. I knew I wanted classes out of the Strategy and Marketing majors, and the sessions helped me narrow down which ones to keep in mind.

I’m now registered for Spring semester, and am currently working with the incredible MBA academic advisor here at Fisher (Jen Mercer) to map out the rest of my curriculum.

I also met with the Executive Director of Graduate Programs, Nancy Lahmers. She and Jen are providing their considerable expertise to help me align my customized MBA major with my future career goals.

The help and support from everyone in the Graduate Programs Office at Fisher is invaluable. I know that I can count on them for guidance and help, no matter what I need. And of course, if there is anything I am unsure about, I can always stop by to see the resident Fairy Godmother, Alisa McMahon!. This amazing lady in the Graduate Programs Office is loved by all, faculty, staff and students alike, and for good reason! She knows everything and everyone (or will get to know them/it, if you ask her for help), and she can Make Things Happen! Alisa once told me that Fisher was like a family, which is the perfect description of the environment here… and I love being part of the Fisher family!

Business Etiquette Dinner: “re-learning” how to eat

We recently had the opportunity to attend another great event made available to students at Fisher: a  business etiquette dinner at The Blackwell Inn,  a hotel and conference center on the Fisher campus.


The session was presented by Judith Briggs, a consultant for At Ease Inc., which specializes in domestic and international business etiquette programs.

Judith was informative and entertaining. She covered basic issues (like etiquette of napkin usage, passing the bread basket and so on), how to arrange utensils to indicate that you have completed your meal, how to handle awkward foods (olives with pits!) and the different styles of dining (American vs. European).

It was a nice evening with with my classmates (I even got to meet some great students from  the Working Professional MBA) and we had the added bonus of some delicious food, especially the chocolate mousse dessert.

 Knowing how to sit down for a meal and use proper business etiquette is an under-appreciated skill. I’m glad I was able to sharpen my skills before I start interviewing!

Anil Makhija – one of the best profs I’ve ever had

Makhija in Action


The Specialized Master in Finance program wrapped up its first-term, finals week on October 13th (one down, three to go!).  It’s always good to get that first one under your belt, but our attention was quickly turned to round two as we prepared for new courses, professors, etc.

Four weeks into our new courses, we’ve finally fought off our “post-finals week hangovers,” and settled into our new schedules.  As we have felt-out our new surroundings, one course in particular has jumped out for me and piqued my interest. That course is Corporate Financial Management with Anil Makhija. The material is focused on advanced valuation techniques, capital budgeting, and security issuance.  These are topics that will be relevant in almost any field of finance. However, there is another draw to this class—the man at the wheel, Anil Makhija.

Every class session, I find myself walking away impressed. Never have I seen a teacher who can lecture for an hour and a half with no prompts—zero, zilch, nada. He simply works off his general knowledge of the material. Not only that, but he manages to present the material in a way that “just makes sense.” It’s a unique teaching style that I have come to really enjoy because of his ability to adapt on the fly to students’ questions and concerns. Not only that, but it enables him to exude his passion for the topic more clearly to the class.

Maybe I am biased because of a developing interest in corporate finance in general, but I have heard similar sentiments from fellow students. To fellow graduate students and prospective future students: A course with Professor Makhija is a can’t-miss opportunity.