Neil Building Graduate Housing at Ohio State

One of the things that I worried about the most when coming to Columbus was where I was going to live. Upon submitting my intent to enroll in the SMF program, I was given a comprehensive list of nearby apartments with monthly rental rates and reviews from past student residents, which I found extremely helpful. Knowing that I was not making the drive to Columbus from San Francisco, I focused on a place within walking distance to the Fisher College of Business. I initially considered Fisher Commons, which is a relatively new complex with well appointed kitchen amenities that is a short fifteen minute walk to campus. The only drawback for me was that the apartments were not furnished. The last thing I wanted to worry about at the end of the program was how to get rid of my old mattress.

Neil Graduate Housing

Since I probably cannot bum rides from friends all the time, I had to make sure restaurants and grocery stores were also within walking distance. After looking over the various locations, I decided on the Neil Building Graduate housing. Located at the corner of Neil Avenue and West 10th Avenue, the graduate housing is a twenty minute casual stroll to Fisher College of Business. CVS pharmacy is half a block away for the occasional allergy relief or late night munchies. A Kroger grocery store is also close by on East 7th Avenue and High Street (about a ten minute walk).

However, to add icing on the cake, the best part of the Neil Building by far is the Marketplace located on the street level. The Marketplace is an OSU dining food court that serves pizza, salad, pasta, sushi, Asian stir-fry, and my favorite, the Memphis BBQ beef brisket grilled panini. In addition, there is a VIP access door that connects the rest of the building to the Marketplace. I love how I can go downstairs to grab a quick bite without dealing with the outside elements, especially on a rainy or snowy winter day! How’s that for awesomeness?

BBQ brisket panini hot off the grill!

Hocking Hills: A Great Autumn Escape

Having spent practically my whole life in San Francisco, temperatures rarely fluctuate out of the 50 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit range. The mild climate along with an abundance of evergreen trees creates the same landscape throughout all four seasons. It could as easily be raining in July as it could be sunny and warm in January. Thus, if you are visiting SF for the first time, make sure you pack an extra jacket regardless of the season. One of the many reasons why I chose to come to Columbus is to experience the different seasons of the year.

If you asked me about the beauty of autumn before I moved out to Ohio to start the SMF program, I would have told you that fall colors are a figment of some genius artist’s imagination and only appear on jigsaw puzzles. Earlier in November, after a grueling week of preparing for and taking two midterm exams and putting the final touches on a 10 week long group project, I was looking forward to taking a much needed break from studying my eyes out. I was ready to explore Ohio.  While asking around for suggestions, my hairstylist suggested a place about an hour drive southeast of Columbus.

My better half was visiting that weekend, so we decided to take the short road trip out there. We were so glad we did. We stopped by the Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills State Park. The trail was about a mile and half long and connected to a shorter path that led to some falls. The falls were just a slow trickle, which was most likely due to the hot and dry summer. The park was littered with fallen leaves of all different colors and we could not have asked for a more beautiful place to hike through. Hocking Hills has several other trails that range from a quarter mile through the George Trail in the Ash Cave, to two and a half miles through the Conkle’s Hollow Rim Trail. When the weather gets better, we definitely plan on going back to check out what else the park has to offer.

Trekking through the Old Man’s Cave

Breakfast in Columbus: Sweet and Spicy Goodness

When I came across this article about the expected bacon price increase due to droughts that led to shortages of corn last harvesting season, I have to admit, I panicked a little. I was on a mission to consume as much of this pork belly goodness as possible before it became too expensive for my meager student budget. As I was searching for places in Columbus that serve the traditional bacon, eggs, and pancakes for breakfast one day, I came across reviews of a place that serves crispy bacon that is both sweet and spicy. Intrigued, I knew I had to make my way to Katalina’s to taste the creation for myself.

Mmm…Sweet and spicy bacon!

Katalina’s Café Corner is a small mom and pop restaurant on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave and W 3rd Ave, which is a short COTA bus ride south of campus.  I ordered the Nutella filled pancake balls with a side of their mouthwatering crispy bacon.  I’m usually a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, but to my surprise, the sweet glaze coating on the bacon turned back the dial on the heat and prevented total annihilation of my poor taste buds.  The pancake balls were lightly dusted with powdered sugar and definitely a nice deviation from the usual pancakes served for breakfast. You may want to think twice about popping the whole pancake ball into your mouth.  I found out the hard way that the Nutella filling takes a bit more time to cool down than the outer pancake shell.

On the corner of Pennsylvania Ave & W 3rd Ave.

Annie Leibovitz at the Wexner Center

As an SMF graduate student with limited funds, I love to maximize the utility I can get with every single bill that leaves my wallet, or rather, with every swipe of the plastic these days. From plotting all the happy hour spots around campus (check out James’ blog post on $3.50 burgers on Wednesday at Brazenhead), to scoring deeply discounted tickets to events (check out Jessica’s blog post on d-tix), there’s nothing more exciting than discovering fun things to do on a tight student budget.

One of the activities I would love to spend more of my free time on is visiting museums. Luckily for OSU students, we have the Wexner Center for the Arts on campus. Not only is the museum conveniently located, but admission is also free for all college students with ID. Do not worry if you are not a college student. The Wexner Center takes care of the general public as well by offering free admissions on the first Sunday of each month and every Thursday after 4 PM.

Currently, the masterpieces of Annie Leibovitz are on display through the end of the year. Annie started her career in the early 70s as a photographer for the Rolling Stone magazine and has amassed a huge collection of well-known celebrities she has worked with over the years. The works of art are not limited to musicians. The exhibit also includes iconic athletes like Muhammad Ali, actresses like Angelina Jolie, and political figures like Condoleezza Rice.

If you are on campus, you should definitely swing by the Wexner Center for the Arts and check out the exhibition! I promise you will not be disappointed.


Team Building Lessons

The thought of meeting so many new people was both daunting and exciting. Hundreds of questions ran through my mind. Did I make the right decision? Have I prepared myself well enough for what’s ahead? How in the world am I going to master 50+ Excel models in just seven weeks??? I am pretty sure I was not the only one feeling this way. As a part of our orientation, we went to Summit Vision out in Westerville, Ohio. There, we participated in various team building activities like the pamper pole and the ropes course.

Some of the lessons I took away from Summit Vision are:

-Take the leap of faith.  Whether it’s in the classroom or in the real world, we will never exactly know what lies ahead. We must take the risk in order to reach our full potential.

-Voice your opinions and listen to others. We have all traveled a different path to get to this point and have gained unique experiences along the way. Collaborating with teammates will lead to better, more efficient solutions.

-A little support goes a long way. We may feel discouraged from time to time. Whether it’s the fear of jumping off a perch thirty feet in the air, or publicly speaking in front of class, knowing that our teammates are rooting for us will give us the extra boost in our confidence level needed to attain our goals.

And the most important lesson of all is to remember to have fun along the way! This is a new and thrilling journey for all and we have world class professors with many years of academic and industry experience to help us become successful. I am ecstatic to be a part of the Fisher Specialized Master in Finance program and look forward to the challenges in the coming year!


Taking deep breaths helps with the shaking atop a 22′ perch.