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Need a break? Take a trip to Oval Beach!

The best beach in Central Ohio

As our finals days in the Fisher SMF program approach, we have entered our fourth and final round of the presentations/finals onslaught. We have had our fair share of late nights and high pressure days over this span, and it is important to get away from it all (even if it’s only for a few minutes). Luckily for us (kind of), this final storm coincided with the arrival of spring and the end of undergraduate classes.

It is these two phenomena that have led to the annual arrival of Oval Beach. While it may not have all of the amenities of your typical beach resort, Oval Beach offers a great place for students to hang out with one another while taking in the warm spring weather. If you time your short vacation to Oval Beach right, you will see much of Buckeye nation playing sports, tanning, and just passing the time. It’s not South Beach but it’s still a great getaway destination.


Figlio Wood Fired Pizza–you won’t regret it!

Ready to eat!

Any time you move to a new city it is important to carve out some go-to restaurants. Well during my last semester here at Fisher in the SMF program, I discovered a new personal favorite—Figlio Wood Fired Pizza. This place is good enough that it earned a spot on the blog.

While the name makes it sound like a pizza joint, it is far more than that. In fact, I still haven’t even tried the pizza. What keeps drawing me back is the phenomenal pasta selection. Here is the menu (caution! It will make you hungry).

Another perk of this place is the price of entrees relative to the atmosphere. You will be hard pressed to find any selections of $15+ dollars, which is great for poor students. Better yet, the quaint but hip feel makes for a perfect location to impress a date or just hang with friends.

While I have only been to the Grandview location, I am sure the sister restaurants offer the same level of service. You can find a Figlios near you here. Buon appetito!

 


More On Thompson: The Library That Keeps On Giving

As promised in my previous post, I wanted to discuss some of the interesting details and perks of Thompson library. So, here it goes.

The aesthetics: As was previously mentioned, the library was recently renovated. It is apparent the modern, sleek, yet comfortable vibe the designers intended. A good study atmosphere is essential.

 

Entering Thompson

The café: Thompson Library boasts its own eatery, The Berry Café. This amenity is particularly convenient when an all-nighter keeps you in the library for extended periods, whether you are looking for a caffeine burst or a healthy snack.

 

Snack Shack

The top floor: If you have ever toured The Ohio State campus, you have probably already seen the views from this study getaway. Overlooking the entire campus, this room has a rustic feel that draws students in.

 

Top Floor View

Some good luck: Finally, every student needs a little bit of luck when it comes to exams. Legend has it that rubbing the head of President William Oxley Thompson’s bust gives students that extra push they need to ace even the most daunting exams. The back of poor William’s head is showing the wear and tear of these loving head rubs.

The Prez


Thompson Library – A Nice Getaway

Occasionally when you’re having one of “those weeks” (the type when you have a seemingly endless amount of work assigned) you need to shake things up and get out of your usual study area. Fortunately, Fisher students have a good number of study locations to choose between. One that I have found to be a particularly nice getaway is Thompson Library (actually it’s William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library, but that’s a mouthful).

Thompson Library is a hop, skip, and a jump from the business campus and offers several nice perks. Personally, my favorite part of the library is the energetic atmosphere that accompanies the hustling and bustling undergraduates that populate much of the area. It adds an interesting dynamic to any evening spent with your nose buried in a risk management book or trading & markets case.

Thompson Library was recently renovated, re-opening its doors in 2009. The library is the largest gathering of volumes in The Ohio State University’s network of 55 libraries that lays claim to around 5.8 million volumes. It also offers over 230 computers for student use. Located on the West end of the famous “Oval” (the traditional center of Ohio State’s campus), the library is centrally-located and near several OSU landmarks, such as Mirror Lake and the RPAC.

This is only a brief introduction to one of the 30 largest libraries in the United States. My following post will shed light on some of the interesting details related to Thompson Library. Stay tuned!


Get out of the Library, Head to Jesse Owens North

As long as I can remember I have been an active individual, whether it is competitive sports, running, or lifting. This quality made it essential for me to find a gym that I could look forward to several times a week, upon my arrival in Columbus. Ohio State offers all you could ask for in terms of recreational facilities with the RPAC, ARC, Jesse Owens South and Jesse Owens North (and those are just the ones I know). With that said, it was still important for me to find a gym that felt “right.”

After spending several weeks working out in the RPAC and ARC, I was more than content. The facilities far exceeded my expectations. Specifically, the state-of-the-art RPAC has something for everybody—seriously, everybody. However, during my first trip to the Jesse Owens North (JON) I knew it would be the gym that “stuck.”

The JON certainly doesn’t offer the amenities of the RPAC but it has a great deal of character. It has an “old-school” gym with a loyal following. For example, the place really heats up in the summer and early fall because it has no AC, creating a sweltering environment for gym-goers. Also the group of regulars at the JON is a good size that allows you to become familiar with one another. It is not uncommon to run into fellow SMF and Fisher students getting in a quick workout between classes or group meetings; Conveniently, the JON is located a mere 100 yards from Gerlach Hall.

Although there have been several stretches of time in which school hindered my ability to go to the gym, I have been thrilled with the opportunities The Ohio State University has afforded in terms of remaining active. After all, you can’t spend the entire year in the library reading about the CAPM and Black-Scholes models.


From teammates to friends

Love these guys!

As everyone in the current SMF class has learned over the past few months, the program is heavily focused on group work. I personally have found this attribute of the program to be particularly rewarding. First, most of us will enter the workforce in roles that require a high level of team cooperation; we have certainly been presented with the opportunity to hone those skills over the past semester. Second (and more importantly), working with my team over the past 14 weeks gave me the opportunity to build three great friendships.

You never know what the dynamic of any team will be, but I was fortunate enough to be paired up with individuals that were not only analytically strong but, more importantly, great people to be around. These two attributes fostered an extremely enjoyable work environment. Working through long nights on difficult reports could have been a painful process (and sometimes it was), but we always found a way to make some fun out of it (whether it be learning about Hawaiian music, trying “real” Chinese food, or discussing the latest showing at the Gateway Film Center).

After wrapping up our final analyst report at the end of last semester, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sad. I won’t get to share the intense, and sometimes frantic, push to get through the final leg of a project with them anymore. Fortunately, we have an entire semester of time left in the program. From now on when we hang out, there will be less talk about WACC and EBITDA and more talk about the score of the game last night or which firm we will be running in 30 years. Regardless, I am just thankful I was lucky enough to work with these three great people.


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.


Becoming a Buckeye – A Transformation

Two worlds collide – A great problem to have!

As was pointed out by a previous poster (Thanks Dan), football is king in Columbus; and by football, I mean The Ohio State Buckeyes. In my first season of exposure to the OSU football experience, I can assure anyone who questions this notion: It is true! This fact has presented me with an interesting situation (or predicament, if you will).

You see, I was born 200 miles east of Columbus in the town of Morgantown, West Virginia.  Not only is it my hometown though, it also happens to be the home of the West Virginia University Mountaineers. To add fuel to the fire, I also spent five wonderful years studying finance at WVU during my undergraduate education. As most would assume, I am a big Mountaineer fan.

Prior to enrolling in the Fisher College of Business, I had no preconceived ill feelings toward the Buckeyes. I had never gone out of my way to cheer for them either, though. In fact, I never went out of my way to cheer particularly hard for anyone but my beloved Mountaineers. So as I accepted my offer to attend the Ohio State University in early 2012, I realized a transformation was necessary. I was going to have to adopt a second team, and I was going to become a Buckeye. Some diehards may scoff at me, and say there is no way I can be a true fan after passing only one football season in Columbus (Is that you again, Dan?), but I am giving it a go.

I began by adding a few articles of red to my wardrobe, and upon arrival in Columbus invested in a “Block O” doormat. I even bought an Ohio State chair for my apartment (okay maybe that was a bit over the top).  Living on the 9th floor of River Watch Tower and having a perfect view of the new scoreboard at the Horseshoe (which played old OSU football games for three weeks straight) helped too. But there was still one BIG piece of the puzzle missing: my first game. So after doing some research on current players and the 2012-2013 team, I bought my first ticket OSU football ticket. The Buckeyes would be squaring off against the mighty Knights of Central Florida (maybe a slight exaggeration).

In hindsight, the game was an amazing experience; from the tailgates to the in-game experience. The Fisher MBAs always put together a tailgate at Fisher Commons that is open to Fisher graduate students (food and “beverages” for $5). The tailgate is also a short walk from The Horseshoe (stadium) that leads you through a sea of tailgates (perfect pre-game build-up for my first game).

After all of the hype and all of the build-up, The Ohio State Buckeyes did not disappoint. Watching from Block “O” (the south side student section), I was wowed by Braxton Miller & Co. as they stuck it to an overmatched UCF. There was an atmosphere worthy of the team it surrounded too. The student section stayed enthusiastic throughout the game (letting UCF know exactly how they felt about them) and the rest of the crowd managed to remain interactive, even as OSU pulled away from their lesser opponent. It was an experience I will not forget.

All in all, I am excited about having a second team. Call me BuckEer? A MountainBuck? Maybe not, but I do know red and blue look just fine together, and I can’t help but let  a new personal motto run through my head: The more football, the merrier!


The Ultimate Hunt: Finding a Job

Fisher students in action – winning over recruiters.

The academic year is young, but that did not hinder The Fisher College of Business from kicking off the job hunt full-force for its students. Not one, but two, career fairs took place within the first month of the semester here at The Ohio State University, and they were both focused toward students pursuing business-related studies. In addition to the career fairs, the SMF program has had the privilege of numerous information sessions with prominent financial figures.

On September 5, the Fisher College of Business career fair took place in the Ohio Union. The magnitude of the fair was so great that it required the first AND second floor of the student union. An impressive list of companies was present. A student’s worry wasn’t about finding a company of interest, but more about finding time to talk to all of his/her companies of interest. Here is the Student Career Fair Guide. A quick skim will show you what I mean.

Five days later, the Fisher College of Business Graduate Career Fair rolled into town. Conveniently set up in the Blackwell Hotel, this recruiting event was geared toward graduate students only. It offered a more focused, intimate setting to build relationships with potential employers. Needless to say, there was yet another impressive list of companies in attendance.

The most exciting part of it all (for me at least) is the chance to make immediate use of the connections you developed at these fairs. The Fisher College of Business brings many of these recruiters on-campus to do the initial round of interviews. On top of that , all available job listings are posted in an organized, searchable fashion on Fisher Connect for you to apply through. This gives students a significant advantage over non-recruited schools because you have the opportunity to apply twice (Fisher Connect and company website), and we all know how important getting your name seen is!

Since the career fairs, many other recognized individuals have visited our campus to connect with the Fisher College of Business student body. This past Tuesday, the CFO of GE Capital gave a riveting, private presentation to the Specialized Master in Finance class. Other campus visitors include Diamond Hill Investments, Tres Knippa (a registered trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange), a previous president of The CFA Society of Columbus, and Greece’s Minister of Tourism just to name a few. Not only were these prominent individuals, but they exposed us to a wide array of financial arenas.

I have been TREMENDOUSLY pleased with the amount of resources Ohio State University and the Fisher College of Business has been able to offer me thus far. However, a word of advice to future students is necessary: be prepared to work your tail off! Even with all this help at your disposal, landing that coveted offer is a full-time job. It requires a tremendous amount of preparation, research, and networking to become the student that your “star” firm is looking for. So be ready: no one said the ultimate hunt would be easy!


Back to School! SMF Kickoff/ Orientation

Some of the 2013 SMF class getting acquainted on the first day of orientation.

 

The first day of school is always full of excitement and mystery! The first day of orientation a couple of weeks ago was no different for the 2013 SMF class. The majority of the students came to the program from other parts of the country or world! That means most of us were, not only, coming to a new school and program, but also to a new city and new group of friends. One would have expected the introduction process to have a timid ambiance, but the day couldn’t have gone smoother from beginning to end. So for anyone who is nervous about a big move from out of state, or even from abroad: Don’t be scared! It’s an exciting opportunity to go outside your comfort zone!

Quick Notes From Orientation:

  • We were introduced to the program by Nancy Lahmers (Executive Director of Grad Programs Office), Christine Poon (Dean of the Fisher College of Business), Karen Hopper Wruck (Associate Dean), and George Pinteris (Director of the SMF Program). It is clear the Fisher College of Business and the Specialized Master of Finance program are in great hands. These people have valuable experience to go along with a fantastic vision for the future. It’s enough to get anyone excited about the program!
  • We are certainly going to be well-prepared for the financial world in a year’s time! Select members of the SMF faculty introduced their respective classes to us. The professors made it clear we are going to be working hard and learning a lot! The backgrounds and past experiences of the faculty are diverse and should lead to an exciting array of learning opportunities.
  • Audra Fry and the Office of Career Management are for real! The resources and opportunities they have put together for us seem limitless. I am ecstatic about the support I will be receiving in my job hunt throughout the year.
  • Finally, we will be receiving outstanding guidance and exposure throughout the program. On our very first day, Rene Stulz spoke on what it will take to complete the rigorous Financial Risk Manager Program and representatives from the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of Columbus discussed the ins and outs of surviving the demanding CFA Program. Furthermore, the exposure to outside entities through career fairs, speakers, workshops, seminars, and so on will be a tremendous perk as we move toward careers in the financial world.

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