Out of the Scarlet Planet

Goodbye Class of 2017: It is that time of year: graduation. Our group finished our client presentation to Vantiv (A Risk Management M&A Framework) and with that, the SMF class of 2017 is finished. Excitement, bittersweet, earnestness, calm; our class is experiencing a variety of emotions as everyone looks towards their next steps. Personally, I feel content and restful– thankful that I came to Ohio State. As I step away, I would like to take a moment to address the incoming class.

The OSU team after our presentation

Hello, Class of 2018!: Everyone will tell you that it goes fast, it will go even faster than they warned you. One of the unique beauties of our program is its diversity. You will travel from all Earth’s corners to study in Columbus. For some of you, this may be the first time in the United States. Things will be different. Before I left the U.S. to spend a summer in southeast Asia, I didn’t understand how different things could be. Sometimes, it may feel as if you are on another planet. Ohio State is a big school, we like football, etc. It’s OK to be scared, but I assure you, you will feel welcome here.

The Arrival by Shuan Tan: A imaginative novel about the struggles and awe of moving to a new country

One of my favorite authors (C.S. Lewis), tells a story about a man who goes into outer space. He first expects that space will be cold and empty, void of all his comforts. Near the end of the story, he realizes that space is not empty; the entire time it has been full of good things, the beautiful and bright creation of the galaxies. In this story, what was scary from the traveler’s perspective is actually good. It only took some time to be recognized.

If you are new to Columbus, there will be some pros and cons compared to your hometown. I encourage you to recognize and embrace the pros. Don’t hesitate, because your time here will be brief. This is my best advice for the incoming class.

To close, as we are talking about “space,” this is my final shameless plug for our campus. Check out the OSU planetarium. You will be glad you did, and I hope you will be glad you came to Ohio State.

Looking forward to meeting you.

– Ethan

A Day with Warren Buffett

About 20 Fisher graduate students traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to spend a day with Warren Buffett. The highlight of the trip was a 3.5 hour question and answer session with the Oracle himself.

Our group with Mr. Buffett

Mr. Buffett spent a large amount of time speaking about the importance of family. He said that as we grow older, our relationship with our children, (not how much money we have), will be one of, if not the main, measuring stick defining success.

Mr. Buffett supported this point by claiming, “being rich is over-rated, but if you have the chance, take it.” He explained that ease of air-travel was the only tangible “day to day” advantage he has over others.

These two concepts offered an opportunity for us to reflect on our long-term goals and decide what is truly important. Mr. Buffett serves as a reminder that choices we currently make will impact these goals, and that those of us who prioritize family will not “fail.”

I am thankful for the opportunity to meet and listen to Mr. Buffett. Traveling with our group formed a good bond as we all learned more about each other.

Our gift to Mr. Buffett – to match the Tressel ball he keeps on his desk – Go Bucks!

 

Opening Day: Glory to Columbus!

While other cities in the United States resisted soccer, Columbus embraced the world’s most beautiful game. Columbus stood apart from its peers by developing a professional soccer club, Columbus Crew Soccer Club. Free from the shadow of other professional sports teams, Crew SC organically grew to capture the city’s interest. Crew SC became the first professional sports team in Columbus, as well as the first club registered in the United States’ Major League Soccer. Columbus then proudly built the nation’s first “all-soccer” stadium. The country has returned Columbus the favor by hosting several U.S. National Team matches here in our city!

MAPFRE Stadium, the U.S.’s first soccer stadium, for Crew SC, the U.S.’s first club

March kicks off the soccer season with the Crew hosting the season opener. Two good friends who came into town from Toledo, my house-mates, and I attended the first game v. Chicago Fire (shout-out to the Fisher Finance Grad Association for the free tickets!). Check out the highlights from the game.

Everyone at Fisher should make sure to attend at least one Crew game. Even if you are not a sports fan, spend an evening checking out the atmosphere. The Crew has a loyal base of supporters that can always be found a few hours before a match at Fourth Street Bar and Grill. When you go to the game, walk a few blocks over to Fourth Street to see the support doused in yellow and black garb and feel the excitement in the atmosphere.

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Its a little sleepy today, but stop by Fourth Street before a match!

One of soccer’s attractions is its attachment to a place. People feel a sense of home with their local club and celebrate their community together though its support. This is clearly evident in Europe where many clubs are close together. Here, clubs are spread out; but, as the league is young, it escapes much of the entertainment industry’s efforts to re-brand sports as an entertainment production. This may feel less exciting than the NFL or NBA, but is a refreshing approach to stay in touch with the city. Study up on the club’s songs so that you can sign along with the Hudson Street Hooligans. See you at the game!

In the Presence of Dinosaurs: Studying at Orton Hall

Hello, finance world. As our industry becomes increasingly defined by technology, students are spending more time learning a variety of Financial software. Fisher offers state of the art financial software (such as Capital IQ, Crystal Ball, Rotman Trader and @ Risk), as well as statistical packages (such as SAS), and of course, Bloomberg terminals. These tools offer us an edge with real-world coursework and better prepare us for the job market; but today’s post is a friendly reminder that sometimes it is a good idea to get out of the computer labs and spend some time with Dinosaurs.

A T-Rex skull in the Museum at Orton Hall

Orton Hall has a Geology Museum (free and open to the public), that makes for a nice study break. Check out the variety of fossils and rocks.

The entry-way greeting to the Museum in Orton Hall

The Orton Hall Library is two stories of quiet study tables. This is the oldest library on campus.

The two story library at Orton

Technology offers an ocean of information, but we must take a step back to study the fundamentals. Mastering foundational concepts will ensure that you do not make elementary mistakes, and then allows you to properly use technology. The best way to do this is in the library with a book. Practicing takes discipline and it is easier to be disciplined far away from comfy chairs and Starbucks. The Orton Hall Library has a sense of place and purpose– and it invites you to visit with one.

Taking a break from technology is one of the reasons you should study at Orton. There are many more, but Orton is one of those places best discovered for yourself.

 

Happy Chinese New Year

It’s the year of the Rooster! And here at the Fisher SMF program we could not think of a better way to start off the new year than a delicious meal at one of our new favorite restaurants. Recently opened, HY Asian Cuisine offers authentic Chinese and Japanese food– at least as claimed by several students as their favorite restaurant here in Columbus.

Good friends, good food

The above picture shows jut one of our two roundtables. Professors, alumni, students, and friends all joined together. All together, our group was about 40 people.

We had many excellent dishes. My personal favorites were the crab, spicy pepper chicken, and mushrooms. There were many good vegetable dishes and good rice.

The works

The rooster is independent, quick minded, capable, and warm towards others, so lore says. The same attributes can be said of our 2017 SMF class. It was wonderful to celebrate the new year with such good people and I’m looking forward to our next dinner.

The Beautiful Game: Morning Brunch with the SMFs

(For the best experience, listen to this song while reading.)

On Sunday January 15th, there was a major sporting event that captivated the attention of several SMF students. No, there was not a big Ohio State game that day. Neither did we focus on OSU alumni Ezekiel Elliot playing in the National Football League (NFL) playoffs. Our attention was not actually on the NFL playoffs at all. We instead woke up early to tune into a different type of football. We cheered for our sides in the English Premier League (EPL).

The EPL is not as popular here as Ohio State athletics, or even a U.S. professional league; still, you do not have to look far to see signs of “real football” supporters. Spilling over from across the pond, EPL rivalries are heating up within our SMF class as the competition thickens. One advantage, in my opinion, of our class is that there are no Chelsea fans – on the downside, there is one Manchester United supporter (I kid, I kid). All joking aside, it is a real good time to kick back over the weekend and catch a match together!

Both squads about to take the pitch!

Sunday’s match featured a contested match-up between Manchester United and Liverpool (yes, you caught me – I’m a Reds supporter!). I hosted a game time brunch in my home, and along with several SMF candidates and my roommates we had a full house. We joked around about Pogba being out of position most of the game (too bad he wasn’t out of position when he scored the tying goal), and whenever a Liverpool player slipped like Gerrard (jeering goes both ways mate).

Finishing the game tied ensured that no one was too down to prevent them from enjoying the excellent food. If you are not a soccer fan, don’t worry, the food is almost as important – and a big match deserves a big brunch. Sunday’s match featured breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, boiled potatoes, fried onions & peppers, and shredded cheese with a dabble of hummus or guacamole. We also had yogurt with fresh mixed berries and granola. After the main course, like any good college student, we snacked on pizza.

All in all, this is just another example of Fisher students building community outside the classroom. Always remember – You’ll Never Walk Alone

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Think Global, Buy Local: Enjoying a Drink at One Line Coffee

It’s the beginning of January; new classes have begun, and everyone here is once again studying. If you are waking up early, staying up late, or warming up from the cold winter weather, there is a good chance you are enjoying some coffee or tea. Columbus features many popular coffee shops and every area has its own local favorites; but, one local coffee shop roasts top-quality coffee and has an interesting story of engaging with their global supply chain.

Yumm!

One Line Coffee– now at two locations: in the Short North and at Capital Square– is passionate about sourcing and sustainability. One Line was started by a father and son who wanted to know where the coffee they were roasting came from. They believe, “If all parts of the supply chain aren’t beneficial to the people and land involved, then the end product is not sustainable. That’s it. Simple as that.”

But it wasn’t enough to know where the coffee was grown. One Line launched an investigative mission to find out if the farmer was paid a good price– if the pickers where treated fairly, if the mills operated enough to stay open, etc. Due to this seemingly daunting mission for a local business, the One Line owners dusted off the passports and made it their first goal to travel to the point of origin for as many aspects of the supply chain as they could visit. One Line continues to travel internationally as often as possible and now has relationships with importers who understand and support One Line’s mission.

Check out the Short North location!

This company is a prime example of two important things that Fisher students can strive to emulate: first, the environment, every step in the the supply chain, and the customer share mutual dependency; and second, that local action can successfully engage (and I dare say be a catalyst) in the global environment. The good news for us here at Fisher is that a made to order cup is right down High Street.

Holiday Party & Lights in the German Village

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The SMF program kicked off December with an evening together at our professor’s house enjoying a holiday party and explored the German village’s Village Lights. The highlight of the party was a “secret Santa” gift exchange where we all exchanged a gift with one of our classmates. In the giving spirit, I want to give you some of the best moments from a fun night with great people.

Enjoying the evning with SMF students & Dr. Pinteris
Enjoying the evening with SMF students & Dr. Pinteris.

Like any good party, there was good food! Sweet chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered mint Oreos, sugar cookies, and candy set the stage for savory snacks like meatballs and mushrooms.

The snack table is always a popular hang out
The snack table is always a popular hang out.

My favorite part of the party was decorating the Christmas tree together. The only rule of the party was that everyone had to put an ornament on the tree. At the end of the day, our work look great!

The finished product! Teamwork makes the dream work
The finished product. Teamwork makes the dream work, as the saying goes!

Near the end of the party, we all went outside to explore the neighborhood. The first Sunday in December, the German Village hosts “Village Lights.” Many people decorate and open their homes– and stores stay open late– as others come and visit. Check out what it looks like here in this video.

Wishing you all a safe & warm holiday season, and a healthy new year!

 

The Game

A brilliant 10-year anniversary of “the game of the century”

Every last Saturday in November, the greatest rivalry in Unites States sports takes place. It’s Ohio State versus Michigan, in the border battle football game. This year, the teams entered the game ranked number two and number three in the country (respectively) with each team fighting for one of the four spots in the college football playoff. The stage was set for an instant classic, and like so many installments before, both teams delivered a hard-fought game of unimaginable toughness and passion. We don’t claim that this was the greatest match, because that disrespects the teams of the past; but, undoubtedly, this game rises up and joins the legendary games in the rivalry.

This game holds a special place in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Toledo sits on the border between Ohio and Michigan. In 1835, both states nearly came to war over each’s claim on Toledo’s strategic port. Thankfully, President Andrew Jackson stepped in to prevent war and also make the Toledo strip undoubtedly part of Ohio; but, the city’s split identity still prevails. Today, many Toledoians attended both schools and work in both states. The city’s strong industrial core draws it closely to Detroit auto manufacturing, while others honor the state boarder and unwavering support all things Ohio.

Both states claimed the territory in red, thus fueled the rivalry

Moving from this divided community to Columbus was a transition (spoiler alert: there are no Michigan supporters in Columbus!). During rivalry week, it was odd to see houses and cars decorated only in Scarlet & Grey. Cheering with my roommates in the sixth row of the south end zone student section, there was one lone Michigan fan directly behind me. He has seen Ohio State dominate the rivalry over the past decade, came to a hostile home crowd, and still represented his school well. He was a good reminder that there are much, much more, important things in life than any football game. We are rivals, but are more alike than different. Ohio State and Michigan love each other more than anyone will admit, and it is great to be a part of it – Go Bucks!

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Video footage of my roommates and I storming the field to celebrate our win! (Mazin is jumping in the bottom left, Drew is above him jumping over the rail, and I am next in the grey hat.) – Memorable last home game! O-H-I-O!

The Story of & a Night Out at Ohio Theater

This blog post uncovers one of the beautiful buildings here in Columbus. Ohio Theater opened its doors 1928 and is still a cultural center to this day. The theater houses many events and is the permanent home of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. I recently visited the theater for the Columbus Symphony’s Beethoven Marathon.

The view from the top of the balcony

The theater originally opened as an elegant movie theater. The designer aimed to separate guests from their daily lives by making a luxurious and fantastical environment. The design of the walls points attention to the ceiling. Here, the intricate patterns in the ceiling change from section to section and invite the guest’s attention.

The theater successfully ran until it closed in 1969. A development company planned to tear the building down and build a more profitable office complex. Community leaders responded by working together to save the theater. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra made the theater its official home and national musicians such as Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper, and The Grateful Dead came for fundraising performances to keep it open. During the next decade, the theater was fully restored to its original design.

The view from stage left

 

Now, the theater is again the home of movies, music, dance, and theater performances. Many of these events offer discounted tickets through the university’s DTIX Program open to all students.

The main chandelier

The story of Ohio Theater is a testament to traits that all Fisher graduates should emulate. First, Fisher Grad students are being trained to be self-motivated leaders effective in both local and global teamwork environments. Saving and preserving the building was a local effort that required a strong team environment to be successful. Second, Fisher students are ethically sound by being committed to excellence in all aspects of life. Architecture and art often go unprotected. Business analysis showed that the land had more economic utility as an office space. Even so, people stepped in to say that more needed to be considered than just numerical analysis. Preserving the theater shows how supporting excellence in all aspects provides a better outcome for our communities. Not only does the theater provide an example for Fisher students, a visit provides a wonderful start to your evening. Make sure to stop by!