Get out there!

As I bench pressed myself out of bed one recent Sunday morning, I was not looking forward to my planned, late-afternoon event. A lot of my new friends here in Columbus had convinced me to go volunteer at a local retirement home. I had done it several times throughout my four years of undergraduate school. Salty memories of college folk attempting to converse with the greatest American generation were still fresh in my mind. I especially felt guilty for unintentionally invoking one particular gentleman to cry as he spoke to me about his life in the 1940s. Thinking I was in for another teeth-gritting experience, I eventually made my way over to the retirement home.

I was in for a little bit of a shock when I walked in because the receptionist looked especially glad to see another volunteer. Making my way over to one of the multipurpose rooms, I was also surprised at what I witnessed: young adults and retirement residents all having fun! Curious as to the success of these semimonthly visits, I observed that the key with that great generation wasn’t highlighting the differences in between our lives, but rather was highlighting our commonalities. I sat around the poker table and gambled away a quarter (I’m a horrible bluffer). The table next to mine was playing Uno.

Helping the residents shuffle and deal, it was easy to see that they enjoy much of the same things we enjoy such as good company and fun activities. Afterward, a few of the volunteers made their way over to a grand piano and played both old and new show tunes. The main lobby was filled with residents, visiting relatives, and employees. They clearly enjoyed the spectacular effort demonstrated. That being said, I feel as though I (and the other volunteers) came away with the greatest benefit.

You may be wondering why I share this tale. Attending a high ranking program such as Fisher and learning alongside some of the greatest talent in the world can lead to a very subtle trap. At least from my personal experience, I can say it is easy to forget the real reason I do what I do. Yes, the higher standard of living will be great, the challenge of my future career will surely thrill, and I will definitely enjoy finding solutions to complex problems. But the reason I do all of that is to be happy and hopefully help others be the same. Sometimes, getting “caught up” in the necessities of a demanding program can entrench our behaviors to the point where we may wonder if we aren’t being selfish. The irony of it all is that doing so can ultimately limit your potential for success.

“As I told our new students at Monday’s Convocation, you will only
triumph if you try. Reach out to your faculty. Stretch yourselves. Get
involved. Volunteer. Sign up and see where life takes you. That advice
applies equally to all students — new and returning, undergraduate and
graduate.”  –E. Gordon Gee, President of The Ohio State University

As our fearless leader points out, reaching out and getting involved will do nothing but help you triumph. And there are tons of opportunities to do that! The Ohio Society of CPAs came in yesterday to present us with opportunities to go to the classroom and help educate elementary students. This year they are initiating a program called FETCH.

I think it’ll be fun to help children learn sound financial practices that will help them in life. Make sure to check back mid-November for my impressions (I hope I don’t unintentionally invoke a child to cry!).

Whether it is joining a volunteering organization such as FisherServes, helping out the future generation through programs like FETCH, or simply lending a helping hand through your church, getting involved will help us remember that work is a means to an end and life is to be enjoyed. Ultimately, you get so much more than you give when you do.

Best pizza in the land?

Hey everyone, today I will begin the first of many reviews of pizza joints. Whenever I spend considerable time in any particular city, I make it a habit to figure out what pizza restaurant is most deserving of my dining dollars. While I could go off in to euphoric memory about real New York pizza (not that Famous Rays stuff), I must live in the moment. How does pizza here fare?

Well, if Hound Dogs is any sort of signal of whats to come, I think I’ll be enjoying my occasional pizza outing. I was skeptical walking in my first time. I take pizza seriously and this place seemed to not take anything seriously. But that is exactly what makes the atmosphere so amazing! It didn’t take long to let the neon flavored lights and chalk inspired wall art to sink in. People were attracted from all walks of life. I saw a father and son stopping on their way home from a peewee league football game, a group of students having a girls’ night out, some Columbus natives, and even a few people who insisted on wearing sunglasses at night.

My group of friends were good sports and let me choose one of the pizzas to try. All I can say is try the cheeseburger pizza and go for garlic crust. This pizza is your fanfare favorite sort. It’s heavy and doesn’t sacrifice taste for health. The best part? It’s open 24 hours a day! If you’re a pizza lover, check back from time to time for my impressions of other local flavors.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Hello everyone. This week I felt it would be fun to give you a glimpse of how I felt orientation went recently.

While there were several other auxiliary type events going on (such as association fairs), orientation primarily consisted of three days of activities. The week before classes began, we gathered within the Gerlach hall to initiate the adventures. As you would expect, there were some “get-to-know-you” games going on throughout the morning with a promise of prizes to those who participated the most. After a continental-type breakfast (very popular in the program), we began a series of presentations and discussions designed to help us ease our way into the program and feel out the atmosphere. Professors introduced themselves, administrators gave great advice, and it was incredibly fun to get to know those who shared similar ambitions as mine. Later that night, the MAcc program put together a welcoming social mixer that was held in the president’s box at the buckeye football stadium (Ohio Stadium). As was promised, prizes were given for the games earlier that morning and I won a gift card to Kroger (score!). All of the prizes were sponsored by firms that would be having a recruiting presence during the quarter. While it was fun to network with professionals from different corporations, I think most would say the best part of the evening went to the outstanding tour of “the Shoe.” Many alum would love to see the press box or walk on the field (I think there was even a wedding going on that same night between a couple of true buckeyes).

The next day was just as great. The morning began with a couple more presentations. We were familiarized with different resources available to us along with some handy information concerning the CPA examination and how to prepare. After a brief lunch (no, we did not eat underwear… get it?), we all hopped on buses and were taken 20 minutes north to begin our summit vision. The summit vision was first and foremost an incredible time. The MAcc students were divided into teams of about 12 to 15 and we were tasked with different challenges. Some tasks were designed to build teamwork skills such as a timed three-dimensional puzzle. Others were meant to simply get us out of our comfort zones. One of my team’s high-element challenges was jumping off a platform and swinging 40 ft above the ground. Other teams had to balance on the top of a pole nearly as high. While many lessons were gleaned from the summit vision, I feel one that stood out to me was that I was among an incredibly talented group of individuals. While I think very highly of my undergraduate education, I always considered myself as a top-performing student and often sought to lead on team assignments. After confronting our challenges alongside my classmates, I felt as though any single person in the group was more than qualified to lead. I learned to trust.

The third event I would consider meat and potatoes of orientation was the MAcc boot camp. This day was filled with guest speakers and panel discussions. Working professionals gave advice on careers, succeeding in life, and professionalism. Of our panels, one consisted of former MAcc students all working in different areas of accounting. It was great to see that some were still working their way through ranks of large public firms while others had the flexibility to move into industry and get into corporate accounting. Another panel was filled with only individuals working in industry and that had a background in accounting. Most of the topics discussed dealt with the corporate world and how accounting helped those in it. A third panel was composed of public accounting firms (recruiters specifically). I was amazed to learn how hard the big 4, other national, regional, and local CPA firms worked in order to compete for the talent coming out of the Fisher School of Business. The big 4 even hold office hours on campus with open door policies designed to help us get a feel for the atmosphere present within their respective companies.

As I navigated my way through these different events, I was gratified knowing it was far more than a pleasantry to truly tell those that surrounded me, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Why O H I O ?

Well everyone, this is my first post. In order to give you all a little bit of perspective, I think I’m going to start off with a few details concerning who I am and where I’ve been. Although I’d like to start off with the dark, stormy night 25 years ago, I think it more prudent to start off with where I’ve been since graduating from high school in Durham, NC. After working a year in order to support myself, I served a full time, two-year religious mission for my church speaking Spanish in rural Idaho. At first, I felt that taking three years away from my education and future would be a huge sacrifice. It turns out, the time off from school helped me gain perspective and focus. That focus enabled me to do well in my undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University-Idaho and helped me land an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, NY. It also kept me on track for a good graduate education and may be the single most reason for my being here.

After bouncing around from a couple different majors, I chose to focus on accounting for an education as I felt it truly opened the most doors to opportunities I wanted to pursue. Clearly, to open the most doors as an accountant, you want to arrive at the CPA designation. More often than not, this means obtaining 150 semester hours and in certain instances even means obtaining some of that in graduate level coursework. A Masters in Accounting (MAcc) makes sense. The only major decision in my then immediate future was choosing a graduate school to attend. I sent my GMAT scores to four or five different top ten programs and had many opportunities to attend various top accounting programs.

If you’re anything like myself, I wanted to get the best combination of top-talent faculty, national recognition, and return on investment. As I began weighing my options (BYU, Texas, USC, Ohio State) and visiting the different campuses, I felt that all of these programs carried similar characteristics. All staffed amazing faculty, all were nationally recognized, and all had resources and close networks with the big 4 accounting firms and fortune 500 companies. Where the MAcc program here at Fisher really stood out, was the return on investment. After weighing my options, I felt that my opportunity cost was smallest here. Between the cost of living and affordable tuition, The Ohio State University came out as a clear winner on my ROI.

Looking forward, I will be trying to weigh in with my observations on the accounting program along with different opportunities the Fisher College of Business provides with it. As I am writing this, I am gearing up for my first day of classes. To be honest, I feel mostly excited and maybe even a little giddy. I look forward to working with a professor who not only knows tax accounting, but also co-authors several graduate level tax texts. I am excited to begin working along side some of the best classmates found not only in the country, but also in the world. I am anxious to own my very personalized masters degree (a focus on taxation with some financial accounting and finance courses on the side). Above all, I am ready to embark on the journey that is becoming an Ohio State buckeye!