Cupcakes and Canvases at Fisher!

Besides professional events (career fairs, networking sessions, case competition, alumni visits) and cultural events (Noche de Muertos- Mexican, Diwali – Indian, etc.), Ohio State and Fisher are always organizing a plethora of miscellaneous events that help students find relaxation amid demanding school time schedule.

This semester, the Graduate Programs Office in coordination with the Ohio Union Activities Board organized “Cupcakes and Canvases,” an event where students could have fun painting in canvases while enjoying delicious cupcakes!

I’m certainly not an experienced artist, rather I’m quite the beginner. However, the instructor made the painting process run very smoothly for all of us. In fact, it left me wanting to do even more canvas painting in the future.

Students from different programs (I got to meet some MHRM students and saw many MBAs) came together and enjoyed this fun activity that was honestly a brain-relaxer. After talking to some friends, they also shared a similar point of view that the activity in general was really helpful on getting our minds to think something else besides financial models, capital structures, and M&A transactions.

If you are a fan of canvas painting, want to do something fun for yourself or for a friend, or simply you just want to explore your artistic side, the process to complete this sunset was quite straightforward.

We used 5 different colors: white, black, red, yellow and blue. We started by paining the sky red and then mixing with yellow to fill out the rest of the sky down until we reach the sea level. (It also helps to have a template picture printed next to you).

Final piece of art result!

Then, you want to do the ocean starting with blue and again, mixing with white this time to choose your preferred tone of blue. You can paint all the way or just leave a narrow space at the end, it doesn’t really matter because afterwards you will be covering the bottom of the canvas with black. Next, you could move to the sky by mixing red and blue that you just used for the ocean and painting the top of the canvas.

It is pretty much up to you and your imagination on how much red/blue you want to use. My personal preference is not trying to look at what the others are doing because you could get distracted by their style, and your painting will not look as original as you would want it to be.

Once you have covered the whole canvas, you can use a new brush to paint the moon. Again, for the moon it is up to you how big you want to draw the moon, small, large, etc. Finally, it is time to use the black brush and paint the little hill surface as well as the trees and some people did birds if you are into that.

I did it! I explained how to paint a canvas without having any previous knowledge before this Cupcakes and Canvas session. See, that is what activities like this do to you–they make you expand your creativity!

Tips for Admitted Students

As the application season goes on, many students wait for the results of their applications (and some were already admitted, if that is you, congrats rockstar! ) Either if you are on the fence about multiple admission from different schools or trying to decide whether OSU is the right choice for you, I wanted to share some tips for students as they make their final admissions decisions.

Location
For me location was very important in a sense that I wanted to stay in the Midwest after completing my undergraduate degree. I also knew that I wanted to be close to major financial hubs such as Chicago (6hr drive) or New York (8hr). Random reason is that I also wanted to experience the four weather seasons, I have to admit fall is short but beautiful at OSU, and coming from warm weather in my home country I wanted to live through a real winter with snow since I have never seen snow before. My advice is to at least have a general idea of where you would like to work post-graduation and don’t forget to factor cost of living into your list.

My friend and classmate Jeff Chiu won a snowman contest in his resident complex as best snowman this January. Go bucks!

Alumni Network
One of the biggest factors for me in choosing the SMF program was the extensive and global OSU alumni network . This can be particularly helpful when job searching as there is a high likelihood to find an OSU graduate working for a particular company of interest, and Buckeye alums are certainly willing to connect you with other people. TIP: After my graduation once I become officially a Buckeye alum, if you are connecting with me just don’t forget to mention the ‘Go bucks’ at the end of your email 😉

Faculty and Program Curriculum
If you are intellectually curious, I’m very certain that you care about which professors will be teaching you in the future. When deciding programs don’t forget to review the school’s websites and learn more about the faculty at that school. I believe the OSU SMF program has excellent faculty including industry wide well-known professors due to their academic research and publications as well as professor with corporate work experience. Personally, I found the mixture between both intellectually stimulating as in some classes I was able to learn the theory, frameworks and technical concepts while other will allow me to practice these concepts such as in the Core Capstone class. I have heard about this from previous SMF students, so don’t hesitate to reach out to GAs to ask them about their experiences in the program.

Cost
Most of us as graduate students are trying to save up as much as possible during school, therefore the cost of the program (and the amount of scholarship received) ends up being a determinant factor to our commitment to a program. Personally, Columbus Ohio is one of the cities where you would get the most bang for your buck with cost of living being considerably lower than many big cities while still experiencing the vibe of a metropolis and having exposure to Fortune 500 companies HQs.

Opportunities
One of my favorite sections! As the number one/two largest university in the country, Ohio State has SO many extracurricular opportunities tailored for everyone! Some of them include:

Career Fairs

• Networking Events: with SMF/Fisher/OSU alums and corporations

Case Competitions: CFA Research Challenge, ACG Cup, NBIC Investment  Banking, Real Estate Case Competition

• SMF Educational Visit: Chicago Companies Visit, Venture Capital Tour

• Getting involved with a Student Organization

• Leadership roles in the SMF Student Council

Speakers at Fisher, and much more!

International Reach
OSU graduates are literally in every part of the world, I can tell from experience. If you are walking in an airport and someone sees you wearing OSU clothing, they would yell at you ‘Go Bucks!’ or ‘OH’. One time, I was in Peru and a couple of men, saw me wearing an Ohio State pullover and said you go to Ohio State? Oh great, go bucks! I was truly amazed by how many Buckeyes we have abroad including in far away places such as Peru.

 

FUN
After all that hard work studying, you also want to have some time to distress de-stress and bond with your fellow classmates. Columbus is a vibrant community with many enjoyable things to do across the board. Besides all the fun activities within Ohio State and Fisher, we have the Short North, Easton Mall and Polaris, Columbus Downtown, many local restaurants, breweries, and coffee chops, activities such as skiing, snowboarding,  snow tubing, zip lining, The Columbus Zoo, and so many other!

Short North

Regardless of what school you decide, I hope this blog helps you consider important factors when making your decision besides from ranking or school reputation. All for all, I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Ferny

Participating in the ACG Case Competition

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the ACG Case Competition. ACG is the global community for middle market M&A as well as broader corporate finance dealmakers and business leaders. The organization represents a variety of financial sectors including private equity, investment banking, family wealth management, lending institutions, accounting, among others. The Association for Corporate Growth hosted around 10 teams in this annual investment banking and private equity competition.

The ACG Cup provides a unique opportunity for MBA and graduate students in the finance field to get real-world experience while interacting and networking with leading financial professionals and companies. My team was tasked with solving an M&A case that involved valuation of an LBO, M&A synergies and valuation of a stand-alone company through different valuation techniques. The event is a highly valuable experience for those interested in pursuing a career in investment banking/private equity/wealth & asset management.

For those of you interested in participating in a case competition, ACG is a great opportunity to get involved in a competition related to the finance field. Besides the opportunity to develop your own valuation model with your team and practice presenting in front of an audience of final professionals, there is also opportunity to network after the competition. I found this opportunity extremely valuable if you are looking for a job or looking to join a professional organization. Regardless of the outcome, ACG members which ranged from managing directors, associates, and analysts were very welcoming and willing to connect you with other professionals in the field that you were interested.


Details

  • Valuation techniques involved: LBOs, Exit Multiples, Precedent, Comparables, DCF, Synergies valuation
  • Location: Cleveland, OH
  • First, second and third place receive cash prize and the first-place team was invited to join InterGrowth – ACG’s yearly conference for private capital professionals in the middle-market – this year taking place in Orlando, Florida.

Winter Break Road Trip Adventure

Hello, everyone! I hope you all had great, relaxing and recharging holidays!

One of the great things about being in Ohio is how close we are to many cities that are easy to visit in a road trip. After I was done with my exams, a couple of friends from the program and I decided to take a three-day road trip to Nashville, Tennessee. I have heard great things from several people about that city so I was excited. I had the chance to visit Nashville very briefly when I was for a tennis tournament around three years ago but we did not get to explore much of the city.

My friend and I planned the road trip and we decided to stop at different cities along the way:

  • Yellow Springs, OH
  • Louisville, KY
  • Bowling Green, KY
  • Nashville, TN
  • Cincinnati,OH

The whole road trip was a blast, strongly recommended if you have three free days and a group of friends you want to have a good time with.

Part of the Road Trip – Parthenon in Nashville, a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens

Our fun little trip started by visiting Yellow Springs, which is a very colorful, chill and cute small town close to Dayton. We ate breakfast there and walked around the streets exploring different shops. The town had such a happy vibe (see below picture of the colorful trash cans) that we stayed exploring for around two hours.  Unfortunately, it was getting dark and we needed to make it to Louisville on time if we also wanted to explore the city there.

We left Yellow Springs around 3 p.m. and arrived at Louisville around 7 p.m. We were starving at that point so we stopped by a Vietnamese pho place to grad dinner. It was delicious! After dinner, we headed back to our Airbnb, which, by the way, had the best hosts we could imagine!

For day two of our trip, our hosts had some coffee and cookies available for breakfast before we took the road to head out to Bowling Green. One of our friends who was initially coming with us is a big car lover, why is why we decided to include the National Corvette Museum as one of our stops. Once we arrived, the place was not too fabulous thus we were a little bored and one man at the museum suggested us to go visit the Mammoth Cave.

The Mammoth Cave turned out to be a blast!

Mammoth Cave – part of the longest cave system known in the world

After our tour at the Mammoth Cave, we headed over to Nashville! We arrived quite late that day around 6 p.m. and were exhausted and almost decided to go back to our Airbnb and go to bed. But we were at Nashville, and Nashville is known besides its food for its fabulous nightlife so we pushed through it and ended up having the best time.

Nashville!

On our way back from Nashville, we stopped by Cincinnati, which is less than two hours from Columbus, and we regretted not having planned more time to visit. The city was so beautiful, especially at night. Cincinnati was our last stop before we returned home.

I came back to Columbus, Ohio recharged for this last semester of studies.

O-H!

Class Dinner Time!

One of the things I love most about the SMF program is the diversity of our students. Last Friday, the SMF Council organized a dinner to celebrate the culmination of our capstone class. During the capstone class, all the teams were able to develop an equity research report about a company of our choosing. Two Fridays ago, all teams presented their final report to a panel of professors and the entire class.

SMF Capstone Presentation

That same Friday, the Fisher Indian Association was celebrating Diwali Night. One of the SMF students, Sowmya Mikkilineni, introduced me to this beautiful dress (see picture below).

Kurti dresses!

Our initial plan was to attend the SMF dinner and then head over to Diwali night at Fisher. The SMF dinner end up taking longer than planned—it had been a long day presenting our equity research reports. However, we were able to take a group picture with everyone before they headed home!

Group Picture at Tadka

Big shoutout to Sowmya and Jayaprabha for being kind enough to introduce us to all the exotic dishes. We ordered so much food but I’m really glad we did!  The food was truly delicious.

I look forward to our next group dinner soon!

Ferny

Planning and CFA

Hey everyone!

I am back to blogging again! I mentioned I would talk about how planning helps us in grad school. Developing time management and planning skills is particularly useful especially during the holidays. This year many of my peers traveled back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Thus many teams had to plan ahead how our schedules would look like, what times would be best to meet, before or after the holidays, dividing up the work, etc.

One thing that was particularly helpful in our planning process was the development of a project management plan. I was given the opportunity to develop a project management plan following a template that we were provided after one of our speaker’s presentations. In this project management plan, we assigned tasks to each member of our group would be responsible for and set deadlines to complete each milestone of our projects.

CFA Planning

I have been amazed by the level of effort, skills and diversity of knowledge that peers bring to class every day. I asked a couple of my peers preparing for the CFA and CFA Research Challenge to share about their experiences. This is what they said.


Joey Nguyen, Interested in Investments Track

How has your experience been getting ready for the CFA exam?

Since I’m taking it in December, while we are overloaded with a lot of projects and I also have to work on the CFA research challenge, I just think I would try my best for the exam. Everything you learn in the exam materials is what you need if you want to work as an equity analyst or break into investment management.

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

Two things I learned from the preparation for the exam: first is stick to your schedule because it’s a big commitment, and second is being patient because you might have to take one level more than one. So just do it when you are really interested in asset management. One good thing is that 70% of the materials for level one will be covered from all courses in Fisher.

How has your experience been preparing for the CFA Research Challenge?

I have applied what I learned from class to a real investments project, also to work and to think as a real analyst. Bloomberg and modeling are two big key skills you can leverage from the classes while working. You also have to read a lot and try to find the key points (conceptualize it), learn where to start while reading a 10K and spot out the company’s problems. The CFA society also asks the company selected for the challenge to give a presentation about their company to all the participant teams so we need to know which questions we should ask to make them disclose some unique information.


Rizvi Bari, Interested in Investments Track

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

I would say start as early as you can and do a lot of practice questions. I’m still trying to find more sources, but I think the professors are good resources. Working closely with the CFA institute helps a lot as well.


Jayaprabha Dhavale, Interested in Investments Track

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about taking the CFA?

Personally, as I was already working, I studied on weekends only. Many of the topics were not as hard but some topics were new. Topics covered in the Financial Analysis Valuation class are covered in the exam. Regarding planning, I’d say you have to have a time line such as finish studying equity by this date, derivatives by this date.


Thank you to my peers who collaborated on this 😊

Cheers and Go Bucks!

How to Become a Time Management Ninja

Happy Fall, everyone! The temperature is dropping here in Columbus but some beautiful fall colors were seen these past few weeks!

Fall at Ohio State campus

I was recently advised to blog about how my experience as a student-athlete has helped me as a finance graduate student. That gave me the idea to write a post on what skills will help you be successful in grad school and detail along some specific examples where these skills are put into play in the SMF program. So here it goes!

In my first post, I mentioned used to be part of the Ohio State University tennis team when I was an undergraduate. During my time as a student-athlete, I found myself juggling school, academics and life in general. Life as a student-athlete is very busy, especially during the season when you are playing two matches per week, sometimes even either at home or away, or when there is a tournament happening out of town and you have to miss class for a whole week. Also, the more your team wins, the more days you will need to take off school to play matches if you are playing a tournament. Therefore, you learn to use every minute of your time productively.

I was thankfully able to begin to develop my time management skills back when I was younger, as I used to juggle tennis, school and life since I was 11 years old when I started traveling for tennis tournaments and would come back home to catch up with school.

Time management skills developed in my earlier years are definitely helping me with my responsibilities between school and being a graduate assistant. I would share to anyone applying to graduate school that time management is something you will need to master during your years as a graduate student.

In graduate school, you are taking around fifteen credit hours per semester but most of your time will be spent working on group projects outside the classroom. For example, I am currently part of two teams for three different classes. One of my teams is working on an R (coding) project, my other team is working on our core capstone equity research project and several Excel presentations. I would say at least five hours each week are out put into group work, and that is keeping it short. Another SMF team was meeting for six hours straight one of these days. Kudos to them, seriously!

Either you run the day or the day runs you. — Jim Rohn

I was not familiar with Jim Rohn’s background as a motivational speaker but found this quote on the Internet and decided to include it in this post because it could not be more true.

Either you start working on that long assignment today or the length of the assignment will seem more daunting tomorrow. Either you read that one more chapter of the book today or are lost in class and have to read two more chapters tomorrow. Time is so valuable in the life of a business student and professional in general, that either you control it or it starts controlling you.

But what is the best way to control time, you may ask? Some might have different answers for this one but this leads me to another topic for my next blog: planning! No pun intended, but I’m planning to ask some SMF students who are currently preparing for the CFA about their experiences studying for the exam and how they are dealing with time management. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

First Semester, Second Session

Hi everyone!

Second session classes have just started and I can’t believe it is already time for us to schedule classes for next semester. As the other SMF Ambassador Tatenda wrote in his blog, time is really flying by. It feels like yesterday when I was sitting in Gerlach 305 for our first Financial Analysis and Valuation class. During this first half of the semester, I had the opportunity to meet my fellow classmates a little bit more, participate in several networking and career fair activities as well as have some fun attending a Beyoncé concert and Ohio State football game.

Ohio State Stadium
Beyonce at the Ohio Stadium (Aug 16th)
Fisher Graduate Latino Association at the Prospanica Conference in Milwaukee, WI

As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to make it to a football game several times and I just love the atmosphere while at the stadium. As a graduate student with more loaded schoolwork and less availability over the weekends, I wasn’t really planning on going to the stadium this semester. However, a couple of weeks ago, Tatenda was kind enough to invite me and some of his friends to the OSU vs. Minnesota football game. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed being at the stadium and experience a football game.

I LOVE the school spirit here at Ohio State, especially when it comes to sports!

When I first arrived to Ohio four years ago, one of the things that impressed me the most about Ohio State folks was their love for football and college sports. People really get into it when it comes to college football and I can certainly understand why. Initially I had no idea what was going on, or even how the scoring system worked. Coming from a country (Peru) where soccer is the most popular sport, I really had no chance to learn about football when I was growing up. However, people from my tennis team and friends in general were really patient explaining me the rules to help me become a master of football rules. Totally kidding—I’m far from being an expert, but hey, I do understand enough to have fun while watching! 🙂

The marching band also had an astonishing performance during halftime.

As second session continues, I look forward to more learning experiences in and outside the classroom, and sharing those with all of you!

Go Bucks!

View of the Fisher Courtyard

A week before finals

Hi there!

This is Ferny again, sharing some new stories about the SMF program.

These past few weeks have been busy for everyone, as first-session finals are right around the corner. Personally, right after attending the Prospanica Conference, I came back to Columbus to take a midterm that Monday. Since then first session classes have gone by rather fast and now it is time for finals! In this post, I would like to highlight a couple of activities that happened at Fisher since the last time I posted.

During one of our investment classes, we were fortunate to receive a visit from SMF alum Nitish Gupta. Nitish is currently working at Diamond Hill Capital Management as an ETF Consultant. He shared his advice on career search, networking skills and how to break into investment management.

Nitish Gupta at Fisher

Professor Pinteris also held a professional development presentation in which he described thoroughly different career paths that we could follow within finance. This session helped students who are still undecided about which career track to follow, get a better idea of career options available for Master in Finance students. Professor Pinteris also gave great advice on what steps to follow for specific career paths.

More recently we heard from Phil Renaud, the Executive Director of Risk Institute as well as Mary Beth McMormick, Executive Director of the Real Estate Center as they presented their respective organizations and several activities organized by their institutes throughout the year.

As a side note, my classmates and I also spent a lot of time these past few weeks at the Bloomberg Computer Lab, completing assignments for our Financial Software Applications class.

Picture of SMF students in Bloomberg mode, completing the Bloomberg Markets Concept course on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Side note 2, I hope you had the time to watch the Buckeyes’ comeback versus Penn State recently. If you follow college football we have climbed up to the number 3 spot in the AP top 25 poll, beating all other Big Ten schools. As always, it is a great time to be a Buckeye!

I promise to make the next post a little longer and to share with you more stories outside academics. 😊

I hope you all have a great rest of your week.

– Ferny

Professional Networking Event and Career Fair

Hello everyone!

I started writing this post on my way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as I was heading out to a Professional Conference & Networking event organized by a professional organization called Prospanica. I was given the opportunity to attend the conference by the Fisher College of Business Office of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as the Office of Career Management at Fisher.

Fisher students at the 39th Prospanica Conference

This year, five master students—3 MBAs and 2 SMFs from the Fisher College of Business—participated in the 37th Prospanica Conference. The purpose of the organization is to connect Latino students and other diverse student populations with employers and recruiters from Fortune 500 companies.

All of us had the opportunity to practice our elevator pitch with many recruiters and had the chance to interview on-site. Some companies that were present during the conference were Google, Nike, Nintendo, Nationwide, Northwestern Mutual, Henkel, GE Healthcare, CenturyLink, John Deere, Federal Reserve, Eaton, among others.

The Prospanica Conference is only one of the many events that are supported by Fisher, OCM and ODI. This coming week, there is another Conference for the National Black MBA Association that I know many graduate students will be attending. I would like to thank both OCM and ODI for this opportunity, and wish all the best to students attending future conferences.

Now, I am ready to go back to campus and continue studying for my first data analysis midterm; hypothesis testing, confidence intervals and all that fun stuff.

Me for the next five days

Cheers and go Bucks!

Ferny