Ohio State has nationally been recognized as a football school for quite some time, but the student body at OSU has proven this year that they can be passionate about Buckeye basketball as well.  Starting 3 or 4 days before every big Ohio State basketball game, tents can be found lined up along the outside walls of the basketball arena, the Schottenstein Center.  For students who have already purchased the season-ticket package (which sold out at the beginning of the year in 4 minutes), placement of individual seats are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.  In other words, the earliest students to arrive at the arena are given the best seats in the student section at that specific game.  With the likes of Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, and Michigan State all playing highly anticipated games against the Buckeyes this year (all four opponents have been ranked in the Top 5), it has been a fairly common occurrence to see 15-30 tents alongside the arena in the days leading up to these games.  The lineup of tents along the arena has become known as “Mattaritavile,” a clever nickname that mixes the last name of OSU Men’s Basketball coach, Thad Matta, and Jimmy Buffet’s hit song, “Margarittaville.”

My brother is a sophomore at Ohio State and camped out at Mattaritaville for the Ohio State vs. Michigan basketball game in January.  He and his friends began camping out on Friday night, earning them front row tickets for the game on Sunday.  The Schottenstein Center was electric on that Sunday as Ohio State erupted for a huge early lead and held on for a 56-53 victory against #2 ranked Michigan.

Given the excitement of watching such a thrilling game from the front row, my brother urged me to join him as he and his friends camped out for the next big game.  The next highly anticipated game was against #1 ranked Indiana University in February, and my brother was able to convince me to join him in his tent beginning the Thursday before the Sunday showdown.  I may have had to get up for Professor Zach’s Professional Research in Accounting class at 8:30 AM the next morning, but that wasn’t stopping me from getting prime tickets to the big game.

Luckily, my brother did all the dirty work in setting up the tent.  On the rainy Thursday night, I spent the night in the cold (and eventually wet) tent and woke up just in time to walk over to Gerlach Hall for class.  While I was in class, my brother and his girlfriend even got to speak to a reporter about Mattaritaville and were on the news later that evening (see video here).  My brother and his friends manned the tent for all of Friday and Saturday, receiving free pizzas delivered by members of the basketball team, including Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas.  I stayed in the tent on Saturday night and on Sunday morning, Buckeye football assistant coach and former Super Bowl champion Mike Vrabel dropped off 50 boxes of a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for all the students.

Tip off from our front row seats

When we were finally let into the arena two hours before the game, we were ecstatic to be rewarded with front row seats.  Unfortunately, the Buckeyes ran into a buzz saw as top-ranked IU played a great game, soundly beating the Buckeyes 81-68.  Although the Buckeyes lost, I am proud to say that I got to experience Mattaritaville and be a part of this growing tradition during my time as a student at Ohio State.

Intramural Flag Football with Helmer’s Heroes


Team photo following our playoff victory

While working in the Graduate Programs Office earlier this semester, one of the student ambassadors came up with idea to start a co-ed flag football team made up of ambassadors from the various programs (MBA, MAcc, MLHR, and SMF).  As the idea caught on, Jennifer Jones and Tara Bailey signed us up and put together our team for the league.  Our team name was Helmer’s Heroes, named after the beloved dog of Rob Chabot, our boss in recruiting and admissions.

Helmer, the team mascot and namesake

Going into the first game, there was a lot of uncertainty as to how good we were as a flag football team.  While we were a predominantly inexperienced group when it came to flag football, we had a highly competitive group and even a few former college athletes, so we thought we had a good chance of being successful.

Our season got off to a great start as we assembled a solid team for the first game.  We won sixty-something (I don’t remember exactly) to zero, with the opposing team only gaining a few first-downs throughout the game.  We poured it on with an Urban Meyer offensive philosophy of scoring touchdown after touchdown without letting up.  We quickly learned the key to having a successful co-ed flag football team, which is to have girls that can carry your team.  Girls are crucial to the success of the team because you cannot make back-to-back passes from guy-to-guy.  Furthermore, touchdowns involving a girl were worth 9 points as opposed to 6.  We took advantage of these rules as we had several girls that could run, catch, and throw, allowing us to score several touchdowns worth more than the usual 6 points.

When the second game came around, we only won 16-15, largely due to the fact that we played the first half short-handed with only 7 players (each team plays with 8 – four guys and four girls).  With our busy schedules, it became apparent that the only way we could lose is if we beat ourselves – most likely due to a lack of attendance.  This became even more evident during our third game when we only had 6 players.  We struggled to cover the extra bodies on defense and, on offense, failed to get much going given our depleted roster.  As a result, we lost the game by 2 or 3 touchdowns.

Despite the loss, we made it to the playoffs with a record of 2-1.  We won our first playoff game with a score of 30-10 on a cold Thursday night.  We had a solid showing of 10 people, leading to a great team victory.  Our second playoff game was postponed due to weather and was rescheduled at an inopportune time – 5:30 on a Wednesday night, which conflicted with the evening classes of several of our team members.  Unfortunately, we did not have enough players to play and had to forfeit the game and the remainder of our season, leaving us to wonder what could have been if we had a full roster for all of our playoff games.

I had a lot of fun playing in the flag football league and was disappointed to see the season come to a close.   It was a great way to spend time with the other ambassadors outside of the class and work settings and I look forward to the upcoming intramural seasons next semester.

A glimpse at Helmer’s Heroes’ high-powered offense

Warren Buffet Visits Ohio State

In late October, Fisher students had the unique opportunity of hearing from arguably the most successful investor of the 20th century: Warren Buffet.  The Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, also known as the “Wizard of Omaha,” was joined by Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric, in a fireside chat open to Fisher students.

Jeffrey Immelt played host during the conversation as the two of them discussed a variety of topics, including: the economy, the presidential election, Buffet’s philosophy as an investor, and his advice for students as they enter the business world.

Some of my notes from Warren Buffet’s talk:

  • Buffet believes our economic system is self-generating; he says the economy is cyclical and it will heal itself following times of recession.  Furthermore, he believes that while the short-term economic future is typically uncertain, the long-term future is more certain.
  • He believes fixing the budget has to be the number one priority of the presidency.
  • When looking for companies to invest in, Buffet prefers to buy businesses that are already well-managed.  It is also essential for the individual’s running the business to love the business – not the money.    Furthermore, managers should not only have great passion for their business, they must also be customer-oriented as well.  Lastly, he typically avoids buying businesses he does not understand (for awhile, he did not buy technology companies for that reason).
  • He encourages students to look for the job they would take even if they did not need the money.  He says that, while this job may not be immediately attainable, this is the job we should strive for in the future.

After listening to Warren Buffet speak for a little over an hour, I am amazed by not only his high level of intelligence, but by his charismatic personality as well.  He carries himself with an overwhelmingly strong sense optimism that I imagine is contagious to those around him.  He is surprisingly very quick-witted and had the crowd laughing throughout the duration of his talk.  Without question, Warren Buffet is one of the most impressive individuals I have encountered and it is easy to see why has been so successful throughout his life.  What a unique opportunity to hear from him during my time here at The Ohio State University.

Mirror Lake Jump 2012

The Ohio State vs. Michigan game is one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports.  In fact, “The Game,” as it is popularly known as, was ranked by ESPN in 2000 as the greatest American sports rivalry.  Thus, it goes without saying that there is a lot of tradition surrounding the Ohio State vs. Michigan game.  For instance, one tradition is that, during “Beat Michigan Week,” any signs on campus with the letter “M” are crossed out with red athletic tape.  Perhaps the most popular tradition of the week is the Mirror Lake Jump.

The Mirror Lake jump, typically held on the Thursday night of Michigan week, is a tradition in which thousands of Ohio State students show their Buckeye pride by leaping into the freezing-cold lake (which is actually more the size of a pond) from approximately 10pm to 2am.  During the past two football seasons, the Michigan game has been played on the Saturday following Thanksgiving break, which has forced the tradition to be moved to Tuesday night when students are still in campus.  This was the case again this year, as thousands of students made the trek to Mirror Lake fully clad (and some not so fully clad) in scarlet and gray.  Chants of “O-H-I-O” and other Buckeye cheers could be heard all throughout campus and became louder and more frequent as you approached the lake.

Although I had witnessed the Mirror Lake jump two years ago, this was my first time jumping.  Given this was my one year as an Ohio State student, I figured this was not only my one chance to jump, but also a rite of passage of becoming a true Buckeye.  As a Buckeye fan growing up in Columbus, I had heard about the Mirror Lake jump for years and my opportunity to take the plunge as a student was finally here.  The weather was perfect – it was a calm, mid-40 degree night (in previous years, there has been cold rain and even snow).  My roommates and I jogged down to Mirror Lake in a pack until we were about 40 yards away from the water.  At that point, we had to nudge our way forward through hundreds of bodies surrounding the water.  When we finally made it to the edge, we jumped into the freezing-cold water which went up to our waists.  The feeling of being in the water was similar to that of being in an ice bath – the numbing sensation made it difficult to feel any part of my legs.  As cold as it was, it was difficult to stay in for more than a few minutes at a time, but it was well worth it – because now, I am a true Buckeye.

My Trip to President Gee’s House

A few weeks ago, I had the unique opportunity of visiting President Gee’s house.  As president of The Ohio State University, Dr. Gee hosts several events at his house throughout the year.  On this particular night, President Gee hosted a dinner to welcome the new president of Wittenberg University, Dr. Laurie Joyner.  My cousin, who is on the Board of Trustees as the graduate student representative, frequently attends the events at President Gee’s house and he invited me to join him on this evening.  Being a recent Wittenberg alum, I was excited about the opportunity to meet President Joyner as well as President Gee.

The evening started with a quick tour of President Gee’s elegant house.  In his backyard resides a tennis court and a large swimming pool.  Inside the house, the rooms are wide-open and well-decorated.  There are two pieces of art which I found especially interesting in the house.  First, there was a large painting of President Gee and his signature bow-tie; interestingly, though, he was also sporting a red athletic headband in the painting that stretched from the floor to the ceiling.  The second fascinating piece of art was a sculpture of Johnny Cash playing his guitar.  The sculpture was made entirely of several thousand small crayons.

The Johnny Cash sculpture and painting of President Gee

After the tour, my cousin and I ate some delicious food and mingled with several Ohio State and Wittenberg board members.  My cousin briefly introduced me to President Gee before the formal welcome reception began.  Shortly thereafter, everyone made their way to the living room where President Gee provided President Joyner with a gift and some welcoming remarks.  President Joyner then returned the favor to President Gee with a very thoughtful gift: a Wittenberg bow-tie.  The formal welcome ceremony concluded with Ohio State’s men’s a capella group, Buck That, serenading the party with several Ohio State songs, including: Buckeye Battle Cry, Hang on Sloopy, and the alma mater, Carmen Ohio.

Throughout the evening, I was impressed with President Gee’s hospitality and generosity in welcoming President Joyner to the state of Ohio.  I had the opportunity to meet President Joyner after the formal welcome reception and she was very appreciative of President Gee’s kind gesture and welcoming remarks.  And as a Wittenberg alum and Ohio State graduate student, I felt very fortunate to be a part of such a great event and also be connected to two very outstanding university presidents.

Touring the Woody Hayes Athletic Center

As an Ohio State sports junkie, I jumped at the opportunity to take “The Business of College Sports,” a course that provides a business-focused analysis of intercollegiate athletics, including an in-depth look at the OSU athletic program.  The course is a combined class of Sports Management and MBA students.  I am actually neither a Sports Management nor MBA student, but the flexibility of the MAcc program permits us to take any elective MBA course, which is a unique feature of the program.

The course is structured as follows: we hear from a different guest speaker within the Ohio State Athletic Department every day, with each of them discussing a different topic.  For instance, the Head Athletic Director, Gene Smith, was the first speaker and he presented us with the mission, values, and organizational structure of the athletic department.  He also spoke on current NCAA issues such as conference realignment and the BCS.  We also got to see the Athletic Department’s budget and the contract of head football coach, Urban Meyer.

Another feature of the class is that we have the opportunity to tour a few of the athletic facilities on campus.  Last Thursday, we were given a tour of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, which is an indoor training complex for several of Ohio State’s varsity sports.  We toured the football portion of the complex, which was essentially an Ohio State football museum.  I felt like a kid in a candy shop as we got to see several Big Ten Championship trophies, all seven Heisman Trophies, and the crystal ball-looking National Championship trophy from the 2002 season.   We walked down a long hallway of Ohio State memorabilia with sections designated for legendary coaches (Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, and Jim Tressel), All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, and NFL players.

There was a tour guide who provided us with various facts about the program throughout the tour.  The tour guide explained that, according to ESPN, Ohio State is the most-watched college football team in the country.  He also highlighted that College Gameday, the ESPN college football preview show, has visited Ohio State’s campus more than any other school in the nation.

During the tour, I also learned about former Buckeye football players who not only played in the NFL, but made a significant impact on society as well.  For instance, I learned that Max M. Fisher (the benefactor of the business school) was in fact a football player and after graduating, grew an oil business into what we eventually become Marathon Oil.  I also learned that a former football player was instrumental in developing the computer animation for the comedy film, Toy Story.

Lastly, I saw the team meeting room, the indoor practice field, the outdoor practice fields, the massive weight room, and the state-of-the art training room.  To conclude, it was a dream come true to get this inside look at the Ohio State football program.   I was in awe as I toured the remarkable facility while also learning more about the history of the storied program.

The Transition from a Small College to Ohio State

I completed my undergraduate degree at Wittenberg University, a small liberal-arts institution in Springfield, Ohio, a city about 45 miles west of Columbus.  The school held about 1,800 students, which was only slightly larger than the high school I attended so I grew accustomed to having a small, cohesive community of classmates.  I also came to appreciate small class sizes where class participation and interaction with professors was encouraged.  At Wittenberg, I could walk to any location on campus within ten minutes.  Therefore, you can imagine the amazement I felt as I walked around Ohio State’s campus the first few weeks of school.

The first two things I noticed about coming to Ohio State was 1) the size of the campus and 2) the amount of people.  The length of my walk to class in the morning has more than doubled now that I am at Ohio State; the walk from my apartment on South Campus to the Fisher College of Business takes a little over twenty minutes.  Furthermore, I see several hundred students on that twenty-plus minute walk every day, which is reasonable given that Ohio State has over 56,000 students, making OSU the third largest university campus by enrollment as of fall 2011.

Despite the great size of Ohio State, I have been able to experience the same features I found so attractive at my small undergrad institution.  Because the MAcc program has only 85 students, I still have small classes where participation and interaction with professors are key elements of the educational experience.  Moreover, while the MAcc program has a small-school feel to it, the resources and the facilities made available to us in the MAcc program are far greater than those I experienced at Wittenberg.  The Business building at Wittenberg and the career management office at Wittenberg pale in comparison to the state-of-the-art Fisher College of Business complex and the Office of Career Management at Ohio State.  For instance, in my four years at Wittenberg, I never had the opportunity to meet with a representative from the Big Four because we were so small and had minimal resources.  Contrast that with Ohio State, where, prior to even beginning our program, we were able to connect with representatives from the Big 4 accounting firms, regional accounting firms, and other leading companies in industry during orientation.  The Big 4 seem to be running events on a weekly basis and even have office hours in the Fisher Office of Career Management.

MAcc students mix ‘n’ mingle with recruiters during orientation

To conclude, it has become clear to me (and hopefully to you) that the only downfall of the transition from a small college to Ohio State is the long trek to class in the morning.  That aside, the MAcc program at Ohio State has the classroom experience of a small institution but with large school resources and facilities.

Exploring Ohio Stadium

MAcc students enjoying a tour of the stadium and the brand new HD scoreboard

I cannot imagine a better introduction to the Fisher College of Business MAcc program than the one we experienced during our first day of orientation.  At the end of our first day, we made the short walk over to Ohio Stadium (popularly known as “The Horseshoe”) where we were given the opportunity to network with classmates, professors, and recruiters, as well as tour the stadium.

As a lifelong Buckeye fan, I have long adored The Horseshoe and have considered it one of the most fascinating places to visit.  Interestingly enough, this visit to Ohio Stadium was much different than my prior experiences at the stadium.  During my prior visits inside the historic Ohio Stadium, I was watching an Ohio State football game on a Saturday afternoon with 105,000 other screaming fans.  In fact, the boisterous crowd that fills Ohio Stadium during every home football game is a major reason why Yahoo! Sports recently named Ohio Stadium Number 1 on its list of “College Football’s Top 25 Toughest Places to Play”.

The closed end of The Horseshoe

However, the electric atmosphere I grew accustomed to was missing as I saw the suddenly peaceful stadium empty for the first time during our orientation event.  I felt privileged to be one of only 100 people in the stadium at the time, taking in the magnificent views of the bare stadium from field level as well as the press box.   During our tour, we learned a lot about the history and evolution of Ohio Stadium, which was built in 1922.  It is nicknamed “The Horseshoe” because of its once-open south end.  The stadium is now only partially open as permanent seating has been added to the south end over the years.  An interesting fact about The Horseshoe is that it actually provided living quarters for students beginning in 1933.  In fact, the University’s dean at the time noticed that there were many Ohio high school students that could not afford to go to college and, thus, he provided them with affordable housing through the stadium dormitory.  The students’ rent was a meager $1 a month, but in return, they were responsible for completing all the chores throughout the dorm while taking classes at The Ohio State University.

Our tour concluded with a trip to the Press Box
My appreciation for the stadium was greatly enhanced during orientation as I learned more about its history and saw it from a completely new perspective.  With that being said, nothing compares to being in the stadium with 105,000 rowdy fans as the Buckeyes kick off on Saturdays.  I cannot wait to be in the stands with my fellow MAcc students for the first game of the year as the Buckeyes take on Miami University.  After the orientation event, I have a feeling it is going to be a great year, not only for the Buckeyes, but for all of us in the MAcc program.  Go Bucks!