C-P-A. The three letters that every accounting student fears. So, what does “CPA” stand for? Certified Public Accountant. In order to practice and provide opinions on accounting matters in the U.S., one needs to obtain a CPA sometime in their career. The rewards of having a CPA are great, but most students stress out about the exam and the preparation required for the exam itself.

But the fear is unnecessary; the CPA is not as bad as it sounds! The CPA exam is actually a misnomer. It should be the CPA exams. To pass the CPA, an individual is required to achieve a score of 75 (it is not 75%, but rather a weighted score of 75) on all four exams. The four exams that must be passed within 18 months of each other are Audit and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation. Each exam is four hours long.

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Preparation for the first exam should begin a few months before you actually plan to take the first exam. Reason being: you need to apply to your state board to gain permission to take the CPA exam. Each state has different requirements that it needs to review for each candidate before the candidate is granted permission to schedule for their first exam (or given an “NTS”– notice to schedule). For example, Ohio requires a student to have 150 credit hours before sitting for the first exam. Additionally, candidates must complete 30 hours of accounting and 24 hours of business courses prior to applying for the NTS. More information on other states and exceptions to the rules, you can go to the NASBA website.

Once you have received permission to take the CPA exam, the studying can begin. Most students choose to use software called “Becker” or one of  hundreds of other software programs to help prepare for the CPA. Purchasing the software itself is expensive, but most accounting firms will provide you reimbursement for the  software if you end up working for them.

A year ago, I never imagined that I would be taking and sitting for the CPA. However, here I am, one year later and I already have one exam under my belt. The exam is not as hard as people tell you it is and as long as you come prepared, I am sure you will do fine. Best of luck to all my future test-takers!

Chat with Katharine Garrett

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with one of Ohio State’s finest MAcc students, Katharine Garrett. She is a very energetic, smart, and authentic individual. We were able to talk for a little bit about her MAcc experience earlier this week.

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Chehade: Why did you decide to get a MAcc degree?

Garrett: I chose to get a MAcc degree because I wanted more of a challenge and the combined degree gave me an opportunity to get a master’s degree without extending my education (Fisher offers select undergrad BSBA students concurrent admission into the MAcc program). I also believe that a MAcc degree will give me a starting advantage in my career.

Chehade: And why did you choose Ohio State?

Garrett: Ohio State’s MAcc degree is nationally ranked and I was excited about the opportunity to learn more about accounting from both an academic and practical perspective. Additionally, a unique thing about Ohio State’s MAcc program is that you are given the opportunity to take other graduate-level business courses such as HR and finance while you are a MAcc student.

Chehade: Almost being ¾ done with your MAcc, what so far has been your favorite experience and memory?

Garrett: Presenting and watching other student’s presentation for Professor Zach’s final project. Professor Zach provided us the opportunity create and build our own project to investigate anything we found interesting. This led to some of the most interesting and educational presentations I have ever seen.  I most enjoyed watching other presentations and seeing what amazing projects and analyses my classmates were able to put together. Truly inspirational!

Chehade: Now I am going to ask you some quick questions: What’s been your favorite course so far?

Garrett: Pat Turner’s Professional Research

Chehade: Funniest professor?

Garrett: Professor Arya. He was quick and witty!

Chehade: Favorite Place to eat in Columbus?

Garrett: Harvest in Clintonville. They have delicious pizza!

Chehade: Best thing to do on the weekend?

Garrett: I like to explore Columbus restaurants and neighborhoods.





Ohio State Basketball

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been passionate about two things: watching basketball and anything Ohio State. Growing up, I loved watching basketball. I would stay up all night watching LeBron do his thing and then the next night, I would watch whatever Ohio State team was playing on TV. When I came to Ohio State, the first thing I wanted to do was sign up to go to an Ohio State basketball game. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to go to many Ohio State basketball games including this past week when I went with a number of my MAcc friends to the Ohio State vs Penn State game.

Going to an Ohio State basketball game is not too difficult. All you need to do is to purchase a ticket is go to the Ohio State athletic page, select a game, pay $14 for a ticket (this is the student rate), and show up at the Schottenstein Center with a BuckID. Once you arrive at the entrance of the “Schott,” an usher will swipe your BuckID and hand you a student section ticket.

Once we arrived at the Schott this past week, the arena was bumping. The Buckeyes were on a high streak having gone 8-0 in the BIG10, and were ranked 13th in the nation. The game was a close one; however, the Buckeyes were unable to prevail since the Nittany Lions scored a last-second bucket from half court. Even though the Buckeyes lost, I enjoyed the night and bonded with a few of my fellow MAcc classmates.

A few of my MAcc classmates at the Ohio State basketball game


Why I Enjoy What I Do

This year, I have had the unique opportunity to be a graduate administrative assistant (GAA) and act as a student ambassador for the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program at Ohio State. My role as a student ambassador is simple; I assist with prospective student visits, answer questions about the MAcc program, and assist the graduate programs office in any way needed. All right, it is a bit more complicated than that, but you get the point.

When I was offered this position a year ago, everyone told me how awesome it was– especially since there is a lot of free food (which sold me on the role instantaneously). However, after one semester, I realized something: all the stuff that I listed above is great and fun, but that is not truly why I enjoy this role.

I love my job not because of the work I do, but because of the people I meet. Students come to me on a daily basis asking for advice on a variety of topics: about keys to doing well in undergrad to get into the MAcc program, how to get a job/internship, and just life in general.  This is what professionals call “mentoring.” I love to mentor others! The best part about mentoring is not giving the advice, but it is when students come back to me a few months later and tell me they got that job they were working hard towards or they got into the MAcc program. When people share their success with me, that is what makes me happy and gets me juiced up in the morning. That is the best part of mentoring. Seeing the smile on someone’s face and knowing that you played some role in that.

If you told me a few years ago that I would enjoy mentoring others, I probably would have laughed it off. However, this role as a GAA opened my eyes to the impact I can have on others. Upon graduation and entering the workforce, I will continue to mentor others and form connections. I want to have an impact on the world beyond myself. So next time when you go to someone for advice on getting that job, let him or her know how it worked out because that truly will make their day ten times better.

MAcc Fall Reception

As a way to wrap up the first semester of the MAcc program, all MAcc students, faculty, and staff came together this past Friday night to celebrate one last time before winter break. The evening consisted of a cocktail hour, dinner, and reception.

The cocktail hour was by far one of my favorite portions of the evening. Not because of the cocktails, but rather, the casual aspect of the cocktail hour. I was able to jump around from classmate to classmate and reconnect with them. I was even able to reconnect with some of my undergraduate professors (who also teach in the MAcc program) and update them about my life– and thank them for all that they have done for me. Once the cocktail hour ended, we sat down and had a delicious dinner. Following dinner, Professor Zach had the opportunity to give a speech. He had the whole room laughing and reminding us of all the good times we had this past semester. Additionally, a guest speaker came in who was also a part of the MAcc program a few years ago herself.

Trying to be cool at the MAcc receptionAfter the MAcc reception ended, a number of us enjoyed the nightlife Columbus offers. It’s crazy to think that we are halfway done with our MAcc (and some of us are 87.5% done with our college career). I will miss some of my peers who will go off and do an internship this spring semester through the KPMG program. However, I will continue to work hard and to make those lifelong connections!



The Beauty of Ohio State

Walking on Ohio State’s campus for the first time, as a 17-year-old high school junior, I immediately fell in love. I wanted a big-city feel, but I wanted to be close to home as well. Ohio State offered that. I fell in love with the hustle and bustle of campus. People are always out on the streets walking to class or throwing a frisbee on some of the green spaces around campus. Below, I’ve outlined my favorite places on campus and the ones that made an immediate positive impression on me.

Mirror Lake

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Mirror Lake before it was renovated

Mirror Lake has been a staple in Ohio State tradition and culture. Whether you’re relaxing and reading a book or deciding to go on a date, Mirror Lake is the place to be. It’s under renovation now, though, and is set to re-open in the spring.

Thompson Library

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Multiple photos of Thompson Library

One of the most beautiful libraries in the world, Thompson Library is 11 stories tall. You will always find a place to study and get your work done. I would suggest going up to the 11th floor to take in the views of campus and the City of Columbus.

Fisher College of Business

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Mason Hall

What is there not to like about Fisher? There are six buildings (all connected by tunnels underground) with state-of-the-art facilities. Grad students spend most of their time in Gerlach Hall, but students often make it over to Mason Hall which houses the business school’s very own coffee shop. Who doesn’t like convenient access to coffee and pastries?


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Outdoor view of the RPAC

The RPAC is a state-of-the art recreation facility. Once inside, you’ll find any cardio or weight machine you could think of. We have a very large swimming facility inside and we even boast a hot tub (my personal favorite place in campus). Additionally, the RPAC has 12 indoor basketball courts. Plus, while the RPAC is the crown jewel of facilities, there are five other recreational facilities scattered around campus.

Ohio Stadium

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The “Horseshoe” (a.k.a. “the ‘Shoe” at night)

Ohio Stadium seats over 108,000 people and it’s the place to be every Saturday during the autumn semester. You can always be certain that the Buckeyes will put up a good fight and you should expect to have a great time.

There are many places on campus (in addition to these) where students are able to find their own niche. From museums to dance halls to eating establishments, you will never be at a loss for things to enjoy.




The Job Hunt

After being in college for four years, I never thought this day would come:

I have a job! This is not one of those jobs that I had in college or high school where I worked for a few hours a week or even an internship. I actually have a real job where I wake up every day, put on a suit, tie, and help provide advice to others. I guess you could say I am (almost) an adult now…

Many of you must be wondering how I reached this stage and what the process looked like. Well, to be honest, it involved a lot of preparation, stress and free meals!

Step 1: How to get an interview

The first step to getting a job is by locking up the first-round interview. This is probably the hardest step of the entire process, but if you do it right, it is one of the easiest steps. First thing is to have an exceptional resume: solid work experience, leadership, and good grades. The issue is that having a good resume isn’t enough, as it turns out there are hundreds of student who have “exceptional” resumes as well. So, how do you differentiate yourself? Network, network, network!

I learned early on in my college life that it is not what you know, but who you know that will help you succeed in life. So that is what I did. I networked and created connections.

As a result, with every firm that I applied to, I received at least a first-round interview. These firms included all your prestigious Big 4 accounting firms and the top tier-consulting firms.

**A few of the firms that I applied for do not recruit at Ohio State, but that should not hold you back. As long as you network well, you should be fine!**

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Network! – Form those connections

Step 2: How to excel at the interview

Be yourself! Since most interviews are behavioral, just be yourself. You should educate yourself about the role and organization, but as long as you be yourself and have a few stories to tell, you should be fine.

However, if you are like me and decide to pursue a career in consulting, you will need to prepare for the case interview. During a case interview, the interviewer will present you with a business scenario and you are expected to present a logical solution at the end of the interview. These can be difficult, but are really fun! All you need to do is practice– a lot. I ran through close to 30 mock case interviews before my first official case interview.

Step 3: Accept the job

This is the best part! Be proud of where you work, and accept a job that makes you happy. As for me, I will be working in Columbus as a consultant for EY in their financial services practice. I could not be happier and I am excited for a career at EY!

EY is short for Ernst and Young

Enjoying Life at OSU

College, especially time in a graduate program, can be a lot of work and consume substantial time out of your day. However, it’s important to keep on enjoying your life and do things that make you happy. Below, I have listed a few things that help keep me sane:

  1. Watching Sports

Coming to Ohio State, you have plenty of opportunity to watch sports, especially if you love college football. Ohio State has, and will continue to have, one of the best college football teams in the country. Most recently, the Buckeyes came off a huge victory over #2-ranked Penn State (they are not our rival, even though Penn State fans may argue otherwise). The Buckeyes were down 18 points late in the second half and came back for the defeat.

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J.T. Barrett – Ohio State quarterback
  1. Playing Intramurals

OSU has a lot of opportunity for students to stay in shape and have fun. Not only do we have world-class recreation facilities, but we have a large intramural presence. We have anything from intramural baseball to intramural inner tube water polo! Personally, I make sure to participate in at least one intramural team each semester.

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My intramural soccer team after winning our first playoff game. That’s me in the back row on the right!
  1. Getting Involved at Ohio State

Get involved, get involved and get involved! Being involved on campus is not only a great way to develop as a professional, but allows you to expand your network and create lifelong memories. Personally, I am the president of my student organization MUNDO. MUNDO is very near and dear to my heart. Moreover, joining as a new member was single-handedly the best decision I made during these past four years. I would highly suggest that you get involved in something you’re passionate about while at Ohio State!

MUNDO – Multi-cultural Understanding through Non-traditional Discovery Opportunities
  1. Making Friends

Being in the Midwest, people are very personable and always willing to include you in their activities. This is one of the main reasons I chose to stay in Ohio for college. Everyone here is so friendly and there is never a dull moment while at Ohio State!

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A few accounting students with Professor Zach at a baseball game

How to earn your BSBA and MACC in four years at Ohio State

One of the best opportunities that Ohio State has to offer is the BSBA/MAcc program. What is that, you may ask? Well, the BSBA/MAcc program is exactly as it sounds. You are both an undergraduate and graduate student at the same time; several students and I are are currently fourth-year students enrolled simultaneously in the Masters of Accounting program and undergraduate accounting program at Ohio State. Therefore, once we graduate in May,  we will receive two separate degrees: a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree.

I highly recommend this experience. You need to meet a few criteria to join the program:

  1. You MUST be an Ohio State undergraduate student studying accounting.
  2. By the end of your junior or third year, you must have earned 120 credit hours.
  3. Your GPA must be 3.5 or above.
  4. Once the above criteria is met, you must complete an application during the fall or spring semester of your junior year and apply (be sure to take the GMAT as well).

Also, you do not need to be 100% done with your undergraduate accounting degree before you start in the MAcc. There are a number of undergraduate accounting courses that can be taken as equivalents in the MAcc. This allows maximum flexibility in completing other undergraduate courses and requirements. Here are some examples of course substitutions:

BSBA/MAcc Course Substitutions

I know that I have provided a lot of information, but if you have any questions about my experiences, the BSBA/MAcc program, or life in general, please feel free to reach out and I would love to chat. Overall, my classmates and I have had a great experience so far in the combined program and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested!

Welcome to Ohio State

Welcome week and orientation at Ohio State is a big thing for both undergraduates and graduate students. As a Master of Accounting student, we have a 4-day orientation prior to when most students come to campus. The orientation is a great way to learn more about the MAcc program, what careers are available– and to get to know your classmates better.

The highlight of my orientation week was when we (the MAcc students) had the opportunity to go to Summit Vision. For those of you who don’t know what Summit Vision is, it’s an outdoor team-building organization located on the outskirts of Columbus.

When we arrived, we were placed in groups of 12 students where we were tasked to traverse through the wilderness of Columbus and take part in a number of team-building activities. Of all the activities, the most exciting activity was the ropes course. Summit Vision has a massive ropes course that even includes zip-lining. My group decided to try the most challenging obstacle! This obstacle required a partner and me to climb 20 feet into the air where we each stood on separate round logs that were positioned in a “V” against one another. Then, my partner and I put our hands out and pushed against one another. As we pushed, we simultaneously took small steps away from the center of the “V”, where the two logs met. As we stepped further and further away from the center, and continued to push against one another, our bodies flattened out and eventually became parallel to the ground. It was an exhilarating feeling knowing you are seconds from falling (even though you are 100% safe) but the only thing keeping you from falling is your partner.

My team at Summit Vision preparing to climb the ropes course
Photo of the specific obstacle we were challenged by on the ropes course

Another great opportunity during Welcome Week is the Involvement Fair. The involvement fair is held annually on the Oval where (almost) every student organization at Ohio State promotes their organization to the whole student body. This year, unlike the first few, I was standing as the president at my booth promoting my student organization MUNDO. (Time for a shameless plug for MUNDO: if you love to travel and/or are interested in learning about cultures, you should check this organization out. It is for both undergrad and graduate students.)

Me at the involvement fair with my student org, MUNDO

Regardless of what interests you, Ohio State has plenty to offer for Welcome Week. It’s a great way for you to mix and mingle with your classmates and to get acquainted with the rest of the student body.