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The final stretch!

Hello readers,

I know it has been quite awhile since my last post-it has been a busy last few weeks of school as we prepare for the final stretch before Spring Commencement. As the MAcc students wind down what may be our last stint of higher education, we have participated in some fun community service events, serving the city of Columbus and the local Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus. Earlier this month, our program held an entire day of service through what is known as MAcc gives back. On this day, MAcc students had the pleasure of volunteering their time and energy to various charities and local organizations around the city. Each student volunteer ranked the top three volunteer sites s/he was most interested in participating in. Such sites ranged from The Franklin Park Conservatory, United Way, and local food pantries. I had the luxury of assisting the Franklin Park Conservatory in preparing the campus community garden for the spring bloom. The conservatory is a beautiful 80+ acre site containing huge garden areas, indoor nature exhibits, and featured art work. I had no idea that such a beautiful park was nestled right in the middle of the city!

A snap shot of the Orchid Exhibit at the Conservatory

 

Me raking some leaves near the community garden

 

In addition to MAcc gives back, several MAcc students participated in the 10th annual Fisher 5K event. This run/walk benefits the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus, with 100% of the proceeds donated to the cause. The race consists of a course in and around Ohio State’s campus, ending with yummy snacks compliments of Panera Bread. While it was a bit colder than I would have preferred, the race was an excellent start to a Sunday morning, knowing that I was able to give back to this great city. It is hard to believe my time here at Fisher is coming to a close. It has been an excellent year and I know I will be back somehow, whether it be through a visit to the professors, speaking to the entering class, or simply getting together with other MAcc students. Until next time when I give a graduation recap!

 

 


On to Spring 2!

It is that time again…the start of a new session after a quick seven weeks of the Spring semester has already flown by. I only have four more classes left to go before I officially earn my Master of Accounting degree! The end is so near that even commencement information has finally been released. Here is my schedule for Spring session 2:

1.) AMIS 7010: Ethics in Accounting and Business with Professor Esselstein

2.) AMIS 7250: Government and Non-Profit Accounting with Professor Mittendorf

3.) AMIS 7520: Misappropriation of Assets with Professor Turner

4.) BUS MHR 7230: High Performing Teams with Professor Dumas

I think that this schedule will be a perfect balance between accounting and other relevant topics in business that I will use in my future career at GBQ.

Another exciting piece of news is that the University commencement will be hosting President Obama as the guest speaker in front of 12,000+ graduating students! Regardless of any political views, it is an amazing opportunity to hear a president’s speech, especially one tailored to OSU! Check out this news article in the Washington Post announcing Ohio State’s spectacular graduation ceremony to come. Perhaps First Lady, Michelle Obama, will make an appearance on campus as well! Check out this video of Michelle Obama’s commencement speech to Virginia Tech graduates last year:

I can only imagine how President Obama’s speech will compare to the one above! Stay tuned for more commencement details and Spring session 2 updates!

President Obama at a previous rally held on OSU’s campus.

 


Winter blues? Head to the Short North for a taste of Columbus.

I know it has been quite awhile since I have last posted. This winter has been jam packed with five courses, VITA volunteering (see my last post), balancing MAcc group work, you name it! Even amidst the frigid weather of Columbus, I try to sneak away to the Short North for some great restaurants, art galleries, and window shopping when I get the chance. This district of Columbus, located on the outskirts of Ohio State’s south campus gateway area, is known as the “arts district,”full of quirky shops and any type of cuisine you could imagine. Rain, shine, or snow, the Short North is always a great place to venture with friends, family, or even on your own during a study break.

This past weekend, I had the luxury of heading to the new Cameron Mitchell restaurant, The Pearl. The Peal is designed to carry innovative twists on comfort foods, oyster specialties, unique cocktails, and craft beers. While visiting The Pearl, I tried the beet salad, and grilled cheese filled with brie, pear jam, and pesto. While both dishes sound so simple, they were absolutely delicious. I also tasted a Brooklyn Sorachi beer that was excellent. Beginning in March, The Pearl will start serving brunch, which I am sure will be great given the quality of the food I tried this weekend. Below are some images from my night out, including my meal. Stay tuned for more Short North adventures!

 

Delicious grilled cheese

 

Beet Salad


With winter comes tax season!

The winter months at the Fisher College of Business bring the 2012 tax filing season and volunteer opportunities with VITA! The VITA program (volunteer income tax associate) is a chapter of the IRS’ community service initiatives that provides free tax preparation services to low income neighborhoods in the Columbus area. Fisher accounting undergraduate students and MAcc students have the opportunity to volunteer their services to assist the program from late January to early March. Fisher provides two site locations to individuals seeking free tax services. It is a great way to give back to the community, while also learning more about the tax system. The program was founded in 2003 by the MAcc program’s very own, Professor Raabe, and has provided over $4 million in tax refunds and services valued $1.2 million since the formation.

In order to participate in the VITA program, students must go through basic and intermediate training through the IRS. Training consists of realistic tax scenarios and applying the IRS tax code. Then, tax software training is required using “tax wise” systems. Simulations were created for software training to allow students to file a “fake” return using typical tax information a client may provide. The training provides an excellent opportunity to understand the structure of the tax code, learn the basics of individual tax returns, and ultimately take this knowledge with us to our career.

This past Friday marked the opening session of VITA and I had the opportunity of participating. For some, if not most, of our clients, this will provide the biggest pay day of the year. It was amazing to instill such extreme happiness in the VITA clients upon hearing the news of their tax refunds and I cannot wait to continue this throughout the rest of my time with VITA this season. Check out this video to learn more about VITA.


Winter Festivities: The 2013 Columbus Beer Festival

Winter in Columbus warrants many fun activities, one of them is the annual Columbus Winter Beer Festival! This event is exactly is the name portrays, a festival of beers in which participants get to experience tastings from over 60 breweries (both local, domestic, and imports), 300+ beers, and a 10,000 person capacity! The festival was held at the Columbus Convention Center, which I discovered is a humongous venue. I was lucky enough to attend this event along with some fellow MAcc students this past Saturday  and had a great time.

The festival ticket provided entry, a 5 oz. tasting cup, 25 tickets to sample the various beers at the brewery booths distributed around the convention center floor, and a map of the layout. In addition to tastings at each booth, there were concession stands, raffles, projections of the NFL football playoff games, and a “silent disco.” If you were wondering what a silent disco is, it basically consists of a typical dance area, but dancers are wearing headphones to listen to the DJ’s music, versus through speaker projection (a very odd concept). The event also offered a “designated driver” program, which offered non-alcohol drinkers a discounted ticket and food/beverage vouchers, a great way to promote alcohol safety

The 5 oz. tasting mug

As a person not so familiar with the science behind brewing, this was a great opportunity to try something different and experience the taste of IPAs versus Pale Ales and so on. Some of my favorite samples were from the Victory, Harpoon, and Ace Cider brewery booths. The Ace Cider booth had an excellent Pear Cider flavor, which was so refreshing! Columbus is a great city with quirky events such as this, an event full of young professionals, academics, and Columbus locals looking for a weekend activity. Stay tuned for updates on further Columbus adventures.

Some of the cider flavors offered at the brewery, Ace


Back to the grind

Yesterday marked the start of my Spring semester in the MAcc program, which is my last semester eek! Winter break felt like it flew by, though it was definitely nice to relax before hitting the books once again. I also came to the somewhat sad realization that this is the last year I will have a “winter break.” From here on out it will be all paid vacation in smaller increments.  Over winter break, I was able to spend a beautiful winter weekend in Deep Creek Lake (as I mentioned in my last post). While in Deep Creek, I was able to go hiking in the state park by the shore, ice skate at opening weekend of WISP ski resort, and relax by the fire in the cozy cabin we rented. Below are a few pictures from my cabin adventure.

View from the cabin in Deep Creek at sunset

 

Taking a walk by the lake at Deep Creek State Park

 

Also over winter break, I was able to spend some time at home with my family in Maryland, where I was able to enjoy some Redskins football, good food, and relaxation! It was great to be home, but I am recharged and ready to go for the Spring semester. The MAcc students are actually required to submit the application to graduate this first week back. I will have completed a total of 31 credit hours this year, including our core classes, accounting electives, and non-accounting electives. Since it seems like the end of the program is nearing far too soon, I am going to make it a point to work hard in school, yet also have some fun with my classmates. On our first day back, I was able to venture to lunch with some MAcc friends to a spot I have never been to before that day: the quaint restaurant in the Short North, Tasi. This cafe was friendly, casual, and had delicious fresh food. Tasi serves breakfast all day long (made from scratch), delicious sandwiches and paninis, salads, and beer/wine. I ordered a grilled chicken panini and it was delish! I will most definitely be going back for brunch in the near future! Below is a view of the counter inside Tasi. I will continue to post about classes and Columbus adventures as the semester continues!

A view of the counter inside Tasi


Winter Break Festivities

Hi readers!

I can’t believe the second session of Fall semester is already over! It is hard to believe I am already halfway finished with the MAcc program either … with classes ending, that of course means finals are among us. This time around, I was done with finals week on Tuesday and am now free for winter break activities! On Friday, I plan on heading to Deep Creek Lake, which is halfway between Columbus and my hometown of Mt. Airy, MD. I have been going to cabins at Deep Creek for years during the summer months for fun weekends of boating, tubing, and relaxing with friends and family. During the winter, the nearby Ski resort, WISP, is open for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, you name it. This coming weekend is the opening day for WISP’s winter season and I am hoping to get out there for skiing and ice skating! There are also tons of hiking trails along the lake and mountains of western Maryland to add to the winter activities list. After a long day of outdoor adventures, it will be great to come back to the cabin and relax in the hot tub! (Check out the pics below for some nice scenic views of Deep Creek.)

After a few days in Deep Creek, I will head back to my parents’ house for about 10 days to visit with family and friends for the holidays. I know one thing for certain…I will be getting my fair share of delicious seafood while I am back on the East Coast. (Sometimes good seafood is hard to come by in the Buckeye State :-)) Then before I know it, it will be back to Columbus to get ready for new years celebrations and the start of spring semester. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which I mentioned a few weeks ago, will also be getting started in January with several training sessions to prepare the MAcc students for this important service project. It is going to be one busy winter! Happy Holidays everyone!

A view of the lake from the ski slope at WISP

 

Ski Slopes at WISP

 

A shot of the cabin I will be staying


Beat Michigan Week!

This past week marks the greatest week of Ohio State football season: Beat Michigan week! This week marks the final football game of the regular season against longstanding rival, University of Michigan. Before I came to Ohio State, I had always heard of the rivalry, but never fully acknowledged how important this game truly is to the University, alum, students, and anyone affiliated with the University. Events were held on campus each day of the week to mark this tradition. The schedule included events such as the Michigan Blood Battle, a fight to beat Michigan in the amount of blood pints donated to the Red Cross, Beat Michigan craft night at the Ohio Union, and the Beat Michigan pep-rally fully equipped with OSU cheerleaders, the OSU marching band, and excited fans! The history of this rivalry is long and extensive; there is even a great documentary produced by HBO. Here is a snippet of some OSU-Michigan trivia per the University archives:

  • Ohio State didn’t win until the 16th game in the series (1919).
  • From 1968 through 1980 (that’s a 13 year period) the Big Ten Rose Bowl rep, was either Ohio State or Michigan.
  • Jim Tressel was only the fourth coach in Ohio State football history to win his first game against Michigan and only the 2nd Ohio State coach to start 2-0 against the Wolverines. The other was Francis Schmidt, who started 4-0 from 1934 to 1937.
  • Schmidt also introduced the tradition of the “gold pants.” After accepting the coaching position, he was asked how he expected to cope with the OSU nemesis from Ann Arbor. His matter-of-fact answer developed into a cliché: “They put their pants on one leg at a time same as everybody else.” Schmidt’s comment led to the formation of the “Golden Pants Club,” which awarded miniature gold football pants to all players who had a hand in a victory over the Wolverines.
  • Biggest margin of victory in the series for the Buckeyes was in Schmidt’s second season, 38-0 in Ann Arbor.
  • Under Tressel, the Buckeyes posted a 8-1 record against arch-rival Michigan.
  • This year (2012) will mark the 109th game between the two Universities.

This time around, we won the football battle! The final score of this year’s rivalry game was 26-21 with OSU picking up the win!! It was such a great game and the fans rushed the field for celebration as soon as the clock hit 0:00!! It could not have been a more perfect ending to my last OSU football game as a student. Now, about those alumni tickets…

Storming the field with friends after the Buckeye win!


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


Spring Scheduling..already?!

Well, I can’t believe it is already here – spring semester scheduling. I feel like I just walked in the door of Gerlach Hall for the first time, and yet the first semester of the MAcc program is almost over! There are a few differences between class scheduling as an undergraduate here at OSU and as a graduate student-differences I find to be in favor of the grad students! One difference is that MAcc students only have four required classes, our “core” classes. The second major difference is that we are able to plan out and/or are aware of exactly which classes we are going to take for the entire year, when the classes are available, and which professors are teaching the courses offered. The only trouble with these features is deciding which classes to take-there are so many options! Here is what I have for Spring semester right now:

Session 1:

AMIS 6202-Accounting Policy and Research (a core/required class)

AMIS 7240-International Financial Reporting Standards (this course is going to be very helpful for the CPA exam)

AMIS 7530-Fraudulent Financial Reporting

BUS FIN 7280-Legal Business Issues (super excited for this one!)

BUSMHR 7240-Managerial Negotiations (I hear this class is a great elective)

Session 2:

AMIS 7250-Government and Non-profit Accounting (another helpful CPA course)

AMIS 7520-Fraud Examination: Misappropriation of Assets (this one should be interesting)

AMIS 7010-Ethics in Accounting and Business (always interesting stories and cases in these types of classes)

BUSMHR 7230 Developing High Performance Teams (I am curious to find out what the structure of this course is. Group scenarios? Readings? We will see)

Time has completely flown this first 10 weeks of the program. Hard work definitely speeds up this time as well. Other upcoming events for the program include our MAcc Autumn Reception scheduled for early December. During this event, we will be treated to dinner at The Faculty Club - which I have never stepped foot inside in all 4 years I was in undergrad! Many MAcc students will also participate in the VITA program- a program that provides tax return services to low-income individuals in the Columbus area, a great cause! While we are still in the midst of Autumn semester, I already can’t wait for what is to come this Spring!

 


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