How to Love Your Time at OSU

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I absolutely loved my three years of undergraduate course work here at The Ohio State University.  I was very much in the work hard, play hard mindset and think this really paid off for me.  I tried to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities made available to me, both academically and otherwise.  However, I don’t think I fully appreciated my time on campus until this past summer, when I had an internship with PwC (this was, for example, one of the great opportunities OSU made available to me).

My experiences with PwC were incredible.  I worked in assurance, and was lucky enough to work on Hirtle Callaghan & Co (a mutual fund), Mettler Toledo (scale manufacturing), The Ohio State University, and Abercrombie & Fitch.  I got to see so many different industries and really figure out what interested me the most.  PwC also did an incredible job of throwing me into the meat of the work so I could really appreciate what a day in the life of a full time auditor looks like.

Needless to say, I worked auditor hours, which are a little bit different than student hours.  This had its pros and cons, but more than anything was just something different to get used to.  The internship also carried a completely different stress than being a student.  Again, pros and cons but mostly just different.  The biggest difference?  At PwC I was getting paid for my hard work, while at OSU I am paying for it.  But one parallel I was definitely able to draw was the work hard, play hard attitude.  It appears as though this never disappears, so master it early!

This all has a point I’m trying to make, I promise.

While I loved working for PwC and being a contributing member of society, it is an incredibly different experience than what I had during school.  Once I graduate, I’ll be able to work and live in the real world for (hopefully) 35+ years.  Depending on the route you take for college, you get 4-6 years.  During those 4-6 years, its far too easy to get caught up in the rush of things and really miss out.  I’m not saying grades and studies aren’t important – I’m just saying relax and make the most of your time.  The recruiters will appreciate you making the most of your time in college, especially as you master the work hard, play hard balance.

So, as I get ready to begin working at JP Morgan in internal audit, I’m again ready to practice my work hard-play hard skills.  I really have loved every minute at Ohio State, but I’m very ready for the next step.  Ohio State (and the MAcc program in particular) has prepared me so well for what is to come, and I am eager to explore this “real world”.

Thanks to all of you who have followed my thoughts throughout the year – I hope you found them entertaining, quirky, but most of all, helpful and informative!  I really can’t speak highly enough of the MAcc program, and hope you will consider applying.  If you’re already admitted and will be here in autumn 2012, allow me to congratulate you and I wish you the best of luck during the upcoming year.  Don’t be afraid to take chances and explore all of what Fisher can offer – you’ll have a great experience.

Did You Walk? Run? Crawl? Volunteer? Fisher 5k Success!

The 2012 Fisher 5k has come and gone.  Maybe you ran, maybe you walked, maybe you crawled, or maybe you made the mistake of not getting involved.  If the latter is the case, don’t worry – it’ll be back again next year!  I was lucky enough to attend the event, and here’s what I experienced.


Getting ready to start!

The event was incredibly well run.  All runners and walkers were placed in the corral with plenty of time to get rid of the pre-race jitters before the 9.00 start.  There was ample space in the corral too – some races make you feel so packed and uncomfortable while waiting to start, but that was not the case here.  Well done, Fisher 5k!  A member of the OSU Women’s Glee Club sang the national anthem for us, and soon after 9.00 the race began.

Along the race course, volunteers did an excellent job of pointing out the route.  Not once did I question where I was going.  Further, the volunteers did such a great job of cheering on all the participants, even when they had no idea who we were.  These anonymous words of encouragement can really make a big difference during a race – especially if you’re going through a bit of a tough time.

Speaking of the route – wow!  It was a new route this year, and was incredible!  I posted a map of the route, but seeing it firsthand was incredibly different and way awesome.  Participants got to see all portions of campus, and the stretch through Mirror Lake was so picturesque.  There were no laps or repeat stretches of the course, which is always nice too.

Following the race, generous sponsors provided Panera bagels, bananas, apples, oranges, and Nutrigrain bars.  And of course, there was plenty of water and Gatorade for runners to rehydrate with.  These treats are always appreciated when you’re dripping in sweat following your great race.

Can you see all those post-race goodies!?


I honestly don’t know what else the Fisher 5k could have done this year to make the event any better.  Operations seemed flawless, all participants I spoke to and saw had a great time, and it looked like a fantastic turnout.  I’ll be very excited to see what the final fundraising dollars are when they are released.  If you were unable to participate in some way this year, make sure you do next year – and remember, even if you’re graduating you can still run/walk/crawl!  Trust me when I say that you won’t regret it.

Fisher 5k – Run, Walk, Crawl, Volunteer!

Hasn’t the weather in May been fantastic so far?  I mean seriously – bright, sunny days…warm temperatures…it’s just the right weather to be outside!

Every year, Fisher does an incredible event in May called the Fisher 5k – you guessed it, a 5k run/walk (or even a crawl, according to Rob).  The Fisher 5k is always a lot of fun, but the heart of the event lies in service, which makes it even better.  It has been an annual event since 2004 and claims the title of the largest 5k on campus.  Proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus.  Just to brag a little…in 2011, the Fisher 5k raised over $21,000 for the Boys and Girls Club.  Yeah, not too shabby!

Registration for the “race” (it is a race, but you certainly don’t have to treat it like one!) is open!  Further, registration is not open to just students.  Anyone can race – the more the merrier!  The Fisher 5k is also accepting volunteers, if that’s more your style.  Definitely consider getting involved in one of these two ways… I will be!

Looks fun! Such a nice tour of campus!!

Here are the quick facts for the 5k:

  • The race is May 20th at 9.00 AM
  • Preregistration is open, but you can register day of the race from 7.00AM-8.45AM
  • This year features a brand new course that winds through campus!  See the map above.
  • Parking for the event is FREE
  • Post race refreshments (bagels, fruit, beverages) are provided

The weather should be beautiful, you’re supporting a wonderful cause, and you’ll be surrounded by over 1,000 of your favorite Ohio State students, faculty, staff, alumni, and fans.  Sign up today and join us for the 2012 Fisher 5k!

Market to Market – Another Rockin Time in Columbus

I’ve written a few posts that talk about how awesome Columbus is, mostly dedicated to the awesome coffee shops we’ve got, but also to boast about some restaurants and events that are put on in our fantastic city.  Today I write about another event that occurs twice per year (once in the spring and once in the fall) and is INCREDIBLE.  So what’s this event?  The Market to Market Bicycle Adventure.

They always have such great advertisements - and themes!!

Before I can tell you about the Market to Market Bicycle Adventure though, I feel as though I must tell you about the North Market and the Worthington Hills Market, which are the two markets that sponsor the event and give it its name.  The Hills Market offers local products, such as coffees, meats, and beers.  It’s really cool to see products from all over Ohio in one location, and all are fairly priced.  There are tons of events to partake in too, such as wine tastings and food samplings.  The North Market is less of a grocery store, and more of a permanent indoor farmer’s market.  During the warmer months, the market extends outdoors too.  Tons of people love going to the North Market for lunch, as many of its vendors don’t sell produce but meals…and there is some GREAT food there.  I recommend Clever Crow Pizza! North Market is definitely something you need to see in person when you’re in Columbus.

Now – onto the ride!  Participants choose which market they would like to start at and have breakfast and coffee.  At your leisure, you then ride to the next market along the Olentangy Bike Trail.  This is about a 13 mile ride, but there are sponsors all along the route to stop at and refresh.  This year’s sponsors included Pattycake Bakery, Yelp!, and Wild Goose Creative to name a few.  At the destination market, riders enjoy a few scoop of Jeni’s Ice Cream – said by many to be the best in Columbus!  Riders are also given a bag full of coupons to use at both markets for discounts on groceries, produce, and meals.  We used some of ours for lunch at the North Market, and it was delicious.

This event is perfect for anyone.  I had an incredible time (and I’ve done it for the past three years, each time more fun than the last), as did everyone I rode with.  The group I rode with covered everyone from serious riders to those that ride a bike maybe once per year.  It caters to all!

Here's my girlfriend and I rocking the moustache theme - although mine ended up on my eyebrows since I was rocking a real 'stache

To polish off this Columbus-themed post, I thought I’d include a quick video about some of the other awesome offerings in Columbus.  Warning:  After watching this video, you’ll find moving to our city absolutely irresistible!

MAcc Student Orgs and Leadership Opportunities

Sarah recently asked about student organizations in the MAcc program, and about any corresponding leadership opportunities.  I did some research, so I’ll be sharing what I found – as well as an interview with Fiona Pan, President of the MAcc Council.

Just looking at the Fisher Graduate Student Organizations list, I counted 28 different student orgs.  YEAH – that’s a lot of student orgs.  And the coolest thing is it is so easy to create a new group if somehow the group you’re interested in doesn’t exist!  This is in addition to the hundreds of other student organizations that are not Fisher specific, but that you are more than welcome to join.  I, for instance, have been actively involved with Team Buckeye, a group related to Pelotonia all year.

Having so many Fisher-specific orgs in combination with the general student orgs is great, because it really lets you mix business with pleasure.  You’ll have a great time in any org you choose, but the Fisher orgs tend to cater slightly more to your professional development.  On the other hand, the general student orgs tend to allow you to really pursue your passions!

Holding leadership positions is a little bit more difficult in the MAcc program, as typically you’ll want to be in the organization for a period of time before taking on leadership.  That’s not to say it can’t happen though!  Don’t go into it assuming you won’t get to hold a position simply because you’re a MAccer!

Of course, the MAcc Council, which is made up of just MAcc students, is a great way to hold a leadership position.  The MAcc council puts on a variety of community service, social, and professional events (such as the speaker series) for students.  Further, the MAcc council represents MAcc students on the Fisher Graduate Student Association Board, which serves as a link between students and administration.  The MAcc council holds elections early in the fall for its president, treasurer, and various vice president positions (such as VP of of Social Events, VP of Professional Events, etc).

Here’s what Fiona Pan, our current MAcc council president, has to say on her experiences this year!

First of all, I really enjoy it a lot. We have really good team, and I guess one of the benefits of taking a leadership role is to know and work with your fellow classmates and faculties outside of class. Everyone in the council team is very creative and responsible in terms of event/social planning and following up. The support from the faculty members is tremendous. They are the ones who pass on the legacy every year and we really appreciate that.

Secondly, MAcc council is always trying to provide as many opportunities in professional development, community services and social networking as possible. Though we inherited some from previous classes, such as FETCH!, EY MAcc Speaker Series, VITA and MAcc Gives Back, we also want to have something of our own, creating a character for the 2012 class. By creating events, students will have a more comprehensive experience with MAcc, Fisher, OSU, Columbus, and even the U.S. Plus in the end, people will always remember the people and the good times they spent together in the program, and that is the tone we are trying to set.

Lastly, as you asked how to get involved with MAcc Council or any other student organization. It is easy, make sure you read your Council Email and sign up for whatever you feel interested in 🙂  Take initiative on the projects you have passion with and enjoy your time in MAcc!

Well Sarah, there you have it – straight from the Prez!  Getting involved is easy, and definitely something I would recommend.  It’s possible to take a leadership role, but being in the MAcc program does make it slightly more difficult.  Just approach it with determination and you will be all set!

Duties of a Graduate Assistant: Part Deux

I think that means ‘Part Two’…

ANYWAYS – let me write about what you’re actually here to read about…some more duties of a graduate assistant at the Fisher College of Business!  The last post discussing GA duties focused on assisting with instruction in the introductory undergraduate accounting courses.  Today, you’ll learn more about working in the Recruiting and Admissions Office!

I have never worked in the Recruiting and Admissions Office, so I asked Bambee Dela Paz to share some insight.  Bambee is a fellow MAcc student, and I’ve seen her giving some great tours to prospective students throughout the year (Bambee talks about this more in her response!).  So – read on to see what to expect if you’re placed in the Recruiting and Admissions Office!

Bambee says:

1. We coordinate and facilitate campus visit for prospective MAcc students. In essence, we show what the Fisher MAcc program has to offer to these prospects by showing them our wonderful facilities, having them meet our outstanding professors, getting to know them and giving them an avenue to ask any questions that could possibly help in their decision making.

2. We conduct interviews for selected applicants over the phone and in person. These are 30 minute interviews where we ask the students a series of questions that help us try to gauge how well they “fit” into the Fisher MAcc program, if admitted, and if an international applicant, how fluent the applicants are in English, as well as their conversational skills.

3. We answer inquiries of any prospective MAcc student or anyone who is interested in the program through phone calls and emails.

Our job is a very “people person” job. On a day-to-day basis we have to meet and talk to people who are interested in our program and cater to their needs to show them that Fisher is a wonderful place. Our job on visits is really to give our prospects “first person” perspectives of the program, which is not very hard to do. All we really need to do is answer their questions honestly and the program sells itself! We have to adapt to different personalities and engage different kinds of people in conversation. We are hospitable and make their visits memorable so they choose Fisher once they see that it is a good fit for them. We talk to and meet so many new people who have interesting backgrounds and try to help them in making decisions that would have a clear impact in their lives/careers. I also work for the coolest guy on earth (a.k.a. Rob Chabot), and the chillest office ever (Graduate Programs Office). And of course, the occasional free/working lunch at the Blackwell is not a bad deal, either.

Bambee makes it sound so easy, which I am sure it is not.  However, I’m also sure that this is a highly rewarding position that provides great opportunities to further connect with faculty and prospective students and learn a ton more about Fisher.  Communicating with all the applicants is also a great way to develop your people skills, as Bambee mentioned, and this is certainly hugely beneficial in the “real world”.

P.S. – The free/working lunch comes into play when giving a prospective student a tour.  Each tour consists of a GA from Admissions, the prospective student, and a current MAcc student.  I’ve had the pleasure of attending one of these tours as a current MAcc student, and I can say that Bambee is not lying when she says the lunch is not a bad deal!

I Had Lunch With the Lieutenant Governor

It’s not everyday that you can say “Hey, I had lunch with Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor!” (although as a student in the MAcc program, you can get pretty close to saying such awesome things on a daily basis).

Well my friends, the MAcc program made sure that we could say just that.  So, I’ll say it – I had lunch with Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor.  Granted, it wasn’t a one-on-one lunch or anything.  But still, Mary Taylor came to speak to all of us MAccers (and a few other graduate students) at lunch.  How cool is that!?

For those of you who are not familiar with the Lieutenant Governor’s background, this is such a big deal because she is the first CPA to hold an elected office in the state of Ohio.  This is great news for students like me, who do not plan on making their living with their CPA in the field public accounting.  And even better news – she  is adamant that while she does not explicitly use her CPA on a daily basis, it has proven to be invaluable in her career.

I think the best part of this experience came in the Q&A session.  Lt. Governor Taylor provided great information regarding her background and career evolution at the start, but was eager to hear our questions.  This proved that the event was really for US, which I really appreciated.  She ensured that the hour was dedicated to ensuring that all of the MAcc (and the few MBA and SMF) students could learn exactly what we wanted to know.

Lieutenant Governor Taylor was great to listen to – she spoke openly, engaged us all, and answered all of our questions.  She provided some really unique perspectives on how becoming a CPA can broaden your thinking, and how it applies beyond the field of accounting.  I feel more confident than ever now that just because I have an accounting degree does not mean I’ll be an accountant forever.  From the way Lt. Governor Taylor made it sound, having your CPA is one of the best moves to make…you’ll be prepared for anything, and benefit from the unique methods of analysis it prepares you for.

Exciting opportunities like this happen all the time in the MAcc program.  This was one of the bigger awesome opportunities, and I am so thankful I was able to attend.  But rest assured – if you enroll in the MAcc program, you’ll have plenty of chances to attend outstanding presentations just like this.

Electing Electives in the Fisher MAcc Program

I’ve said this previously, but one of the coolest aspects of the MAcc program is the option to take electives … lots of electives.  Under the new semester requirements, you’ll take 31 semester hours of courses.  Of those, only 10 semester hours are core requirements!  You do the math…okay, okay I’ll do it for you…that leaves 21 semester hours of electives!!  Sarah asked what some of my favorite electives have been, and I’m more than happy to elaborate on my experience!

Last quarter, I took a course on Entrepreneurial Finance.  This was an awesome course that combined both the soft and hard aspects of starting a company.  We looked at valuations…how to determine appropriate cash flows, how to select a discount rate, what assumptions are valid for future growth, etc.  However, we also spent a lot of time discussing whether or not a given entrepreneur was the right person for the business – did they have an appropriate background and education, were they plugged in to the right circles, and was their personality and motivation matched to the task at hand?  The course was case based, so each of the scenarios we looked at involved real companies.  And Professor Berk Sensoy was excellent – I’d highly recommend this class (and Professor Sensoy).

This quarter, I’m taking all electives.  While it’s early, I’ve enjoyed each of them and will tell you what I can…I can give you an update on these courses later on in the quarter though!  I’ve got Accounting for Mergers and Acquisitions, Real Estate Finance, and Logistics Management on my plate for the quarter.  I’m trying to be well balanced here!

Accounting for Mergers and Acquisitions:  First of all, Professor Dave Williams is teaching this course.  He was our professor for a core course taken in the fall, so I knew before signing up that this course would be awesome.  Dave does a great job teaching the concepts, and makes going to class fun by analyzing transactions and firms using phrases such as “hey in the hall” (satisfactory performance) and “kick in the butt” (poor performance).  Back to the class though – we’ve had some interesting discussions on why mergers and acquisitions might be attractive for both parent and target companies.  We’ve looked at goodwill and goodwill impairment, as well as how this touchy subject has evolved over time.  The best part of the course?  If a merger/acquisition is happening real time, we talk about it in class!

Real Estate Finance:  This course is taught by Professor Izhak Ben-David, who is clearly passionate about real estate.  He’s discussed his research with us, which proved his interest and dedication to the topic.  So far we’ve just talked about valuation of real estate.  I’m a little bit biased because I have always been fascinated with real estate, and it’s an area I plan to invest in (specifically the residential rental market).  We’ve looked at valuations in the rental markets – both commercial and residential.

Logistics Management:  I am taking logistics management with Professor Michael Knemeyer.  I feel like a broken record here, but wow is this dude is passionate about logistics!  You know that UPS commercial “We Love Logistics”?  I’m thinking UPS just followed Professor Knemeyer around for inspiration.  Anyways, on to the course.  We’re going to learn about logistics, but Professor Knemeyer is setting up the course in some very interesting ways to help us really understand logistics management.  There is a simulation called LINKS that puts you in charge of making decisions for an imaginary firm.  You analyze all aspects of the firm, but it boils down to managing your supply chain in a competitive, dynamic environment that pits your firm against your peer’s firm.  He’s also set up an “Individualized Learning Project”, which gives me the opportunity to study the logistics (current and future trends, best practices, etc) of THE COFFEE INDUSTRY!!!  This project gives you a lot of freedom to learn about specific industries you’re interested in.

So – I hope I’ve helped, Sarah!  I’ll answer your question about leadership opportunities in another post.  Good luck picking your electives!  There is a lot to choose from, but I can assure you – you can’t make a wrong decision.

The Fisher MAcc program has a LOT of electives. Be ready to make some choices!

The ‘Who’ and ‘Where’ of Graduate Living

This post is for Alice – and for all you other AU ’12 MAccers out there who were too shy to ask about finding a roomie!

Finding a roomie can be a tough task, especially when you’re new to campus.  You’re so excited to start the MAcc program and there are a lot of other things to think about, so finding that perfect roommate that you’ll be living with for an entire year and finding that perfect apartment can just add to the rush of it all.  Well, take comfort in knowing that the whole purpose of this post is to help you figure allllll of that out!

Let’s start with location:  Alice asked where most Fisher grad students live, and I’m not sure there’s really a great “here” answer.  What I can do though, is provide some insight on popular areas and why they are popular!  To begin, Fisher grad students have access to Fisher Commons, which are some really nice university-affiliated apartments on the corner of Lane Ave and Kenny Rd (this will make perfect sense once you’re familiar with the area).  These apartments are close to campus, but not necessarily walking distance.

Anything that’s on “North Campus” is very convenient for Fisher students.  This area is what is north of Lane Avenue, and includes streets such as Norwich, Northwood, and Oakland.  You’ll find a combination of apartments and houses for rent in these areas, all of which are close enough to Fisher that you can walk to and from class every day.  There are fun restaurants north of campus, too, which makes going out with friends easy and convenient.  Check out the Blue Danube, for instance.

South Campus is less convenient, but offers a totally different experience than North Campus.  On South Campus, you’ll have a good 15+ minute walk to class everyday, but I’ve been doing it for the past three years and have never had any trouble with it.  I wouldn’t recommend living further south than 8th Avenue, unless you skip a few streets and go into what is considered Victorian Village.  I’ve found that a lot of the apartments and houses on South Campus tend to be nicer in terms of upkeep, but sometimes are more expensive for this reason.  I’ve always felt incredibly safe on South Campus, too.  A huge bonus of South Campus is that you’re right by the South Campus Gateway, which has restaurants, bars, and a movie theater, as well as the campus Barnes and Noble.  You’re also pretty darn close to the Short North and downtown Columbus, so a night out is easy access.

For both North and South campus, you’ll want to check out what some of the area landlords have to offer.  I’d recommend Inn Town Homes and Apartments, and some others that I’ve heard of are Buckeye Real Estate and Pella.

Be sure to check out a few prior posts on housing to get other perspectives too!  Here are a few…

The Key to Graduate Housing

Fisher Commons – No Left Turn!

The Pros and Cons of South Campus Living

Village, District, Whatever the Name, They’re All Great!

Now – on to roomies.  Alice specifically mentioned finding roomies that are also prospective MAcc students, but note that you don’t have to live with someone from your program.  There’s a chance you’ll take MBA classes, so living with MBAs might not be a bad idea!  Just something to consider.

One of the best ways to find a roommate is to join and/or create a group for MAcc 2012-2013 students on Facebook.  In the admitted student gateway you can see the names and profiles of admitted students – go ahead and creep to find them on Facebook, then invite them to the group!  (And if you haven’t already uploaded your profile to the “Admitted MAcc Profiles” section of the gateway website, be sure you do so!) You’ll all be looking for roommates, so this will give you a place to talk and figure out if you’re roomie-material.

Speaking of the admitted student gateway, there is always a bulletin board in the gateway that is dedicated to helping students find roommates.  Be sure to take advantage of this!  Some MAccers won’t have a Facebook, or might join the group a little late.  Every MAcc student should be looking at the bulletin boards immediately though, so this might be a faster and more reliable method to find your roomie.  There will also be a Google Group that is dedicated to housing available through the gateway – take advantage of this resource too!

My biggest piece of advice is to simply not be shy.  Get on the gateway, find some other AU ’12 MAcc students and send them an email.  Go grab lunch to get to know each other – if things go well, you’ve found a roommate.  If things aren’t great, you’ve at least met a classmate which will still be extremely helpful in the very near future!  Don’t be hesitant to look at multiple apartments or houses when you call a leasing office – the first one you find probably won’t be your favorite.  There are a lot of great living spaces in the area, but there are some nasty ones too.  Take your time to make a good decision, because you’ll be there for a year.

Good luck!

Welcome Back – Our Final Quarter … The Final Countdown

Hello all!  Welcome back – I hope your spring break was as fantastic as mine, and that you are well rested and ready for the LAST spring quarter at The Ohio State University!

This quarter I’ll be taking Accounting 841 – Mergers and Acquisitions, Finance 872 – Real Estate Finance, and Marketing and Logistics 880 – Logistics Management.  I welcome any questions about the courses, or why I chose to take them.

I also wanted to take a minute to remind you not to be shy about asking questions!  This is your last quarter to ask me anything and everything about Ohio State, the MAcc program, Columbus, etc etc etc.  Any question you ask will be answered in a blog post, or if nothing else, via e-mail or another comment to the post.  I’ve already gotten a question about housing for MAcc/grad students, and that post will be up soon!

Remember to stay focused this quarter…I know, it can be tough.  The weather is getting nice and we’re so close to being done…but hang in there!! It’s the final countdown …