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Why I didn’t go to Detroit with my wife to see Louis CK last week

Subtitle: …and other dumb stuff I do

Before classes started, my wife informed me that Louis CK was touring and that, as luck would have it, he was coming to Detroit on Friday, Oct. 12th. At the time, this seemed perfect… my last final should be sometime earlier that day, I thought. We’d be able to make it up to Detroit in plenty of time for a 7:30 PM show. So we bought tickets (Louis CK subverted Ticketmaster and sold tickets to his show directly on his website… awesome business savvy on his part).

Fast forward to Day 1 of orientation for the SMF program. Each student gets a really nice Fisher folder, chock full of papers with information we’ll all need in the coming days, weeks, and months. One of the enclosed documents was a calendar. The calendar showed that Saturday, Oct. 13th was also a day on which I could have a final exam (or at least that’s how I read it). Keep in mind that I had not yet received the syllabi for all of my classes yet. Based on the calendar, I informed my wife that I would likely not be able to attend the Louis CK show and that she should find a friend to use my ticket.

Fast forward to about 10 days ago… I realize that I do not have a final on Saturday. In fact, my finals are over by 10 AM on Friday. I called my wife and informed her of my incomparable stupidity (she’s already aware of my affliction); my call is a few days too late. My wife has already asked a friend who is working up in Michigan to join her. To my dismay, this friend accepted the invitation.

That is why tonight I sit at home in Dayton alone with my dog (is “alone with my dog” an oxymoron? if so I’m going to use it as the title for my first book) while my wife is probably laughing her pretty butt off to the comedy stylings of Louis CK (seriously, if you haven’t seen “Louie” on FX, check it out… it’s an odd combination of funny and sad that you won’t find anywhere else on TV… Louis CK has a rare talent for making fun of his own life in a way that induces both pity and laughter simultaneously).

The answer to the “why” in the title of this post is: because I’m dumb.

As promised, here’s some other dumb stuff I’ve done:

1) I ran myself over with my own car (it was a Ford E-150 van, actually).

2) I once asked my wife if she needed anymore “Versus cotton panties,” to which she replied, “Do you mean ‘VICTORIA’S SECRET cotton panties’?” Watch enough sports and your brain automatically turns “VS” into “Versus,” not “Victoria’s Secret.” My bad, Mr. Wexner.

3) While driving down the freeway, with the radio already turned off, I’ve reached for the radio’s volume knob because I was having a hard time conversing with my wife over the road noise. My wife noticed this and asked, “Did you just try to turn down the road noise?” Yes. Yes I did.

Enjoy the Buckeye game Saturday night. I’ve been to a game at Indiana’s stadium (yeah, just one). They call it “The Rock” (must be one of those ironic names). Not a great college football town (basketball’s a different story), but the stadium should be filled with Ohio State fans. I love it when Buckeye fans can do the O-H-I-O chant around an opposing team’s stadium. GO BUCKS!

 


Speak to Me

The fall at Ohio State is a special time. School starts in August (at least nowadays it does) and football starts in early September (unless it, too, happens to start in August). Football season is great for Ohio State (see my other posts for more information on that topic), but not just because I love Ohio State football. Football season at Ohio State means a lot of guest speakers come to campus. Maybe I’m attributing too much causation for the abundance of speakers in the fall to football season, but it’s why I’d come if I were in their shoes. In case you think I may be exaggerating, here’s a list of just some of the folks visiting our campus (and, in many cases, the Fisher campus specifically):

Tuesday, Oct. 2nd: Pavlos Yeroulanos, former Minister for Culture & Tourism of Greece

Wednesday, Oct. 3rd: Jim Griffith, President & CEO of The Timken Company

Thursday, Oct. 4th: Bill Isaac, Chairman of Fifth Third Bancorp

Friday, Oct. 5th: Lynn E. Turner, Former Chief Accountant of SEC

Monday, Oct. 8th: Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler and Fiat and John Jay, Creative Director for Wieden+Kennedy

That’s just the line-up for the seven days ending Oct. 8th. Throughout the quarter we’ve had the opportunity to hear from many other people, such as Andy Rose (CFO of Worthington Industries), KR Kent (Controller, Americas for Ford), Jim Meeth (Past President of the CFA Society of Columbus), and Danielle Fallon, Tod Schneider, and Bhavik Khothari (all of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.).

In the interest of keeping this post short, I’ve left out a lot of people who have taken the time to give back to The Ohio State University. Their generosity is greatly appreciated by the students. Getting to hear from people in industry, people who have built successful careers in their fields of interest, is a unique opportunity for us to learn about the opportunities that may be available to us after graduation.

In conclusion, to all of the people who have come to campus to share their experiences with us and to all of the people who are coming later this semester or next, on behalf of all of the SMF students, Thank You.


A stroll around Wright-Patt

Back in March, before I had any idea that I’d be leaving my job to return to school full-time, my wife and I signed up for the Air Force Half-Marathon. On September 15th, my body had to cash a check that my big mouth wrote six months ago. My wife, her mom and sister, 15,000 of our closest friends and I walked or ran or otherwise propelled ourselves (there were a lot of wheel-chair racers and hand-crank racers, which I think is just amazing) for distances of 10K, 13.1 miles, or 26.2 miles.

The day started bright and early. Alarm set for 5:15 AM. On the road to my sister-in-law’s house by 6:00. We were standing near the starting line just after 7:00 AM. The starting gun for the Full Marathoners and 10K participants went off at 7:30 AM. Our race, the Half Marathon, started at 8:30 AM, but when 15,000 people want to do something at roughly the same time, it’s best to show up early. The highlight of the day, other than finishing the race, was the fly-over by a B-2 bomber, a plane I’ve seen in person at the National Museum of the USAF but never seen in flight before today. Check out this video if you want to see it in the air and hear “The Sound of Freedom.”

Some details worth noting:

1) My sister-in-law is six months’ pregnant. Does her OB know she’s doing this? This is the 2nd half-marathon she’s walked while pregant (different pregnancy last time).

2) My mother-in-law turns 60 this year. Goes to show that you’re never too old to abuse your body by walking way farther than anyone alive today in America really has to.

3) I beat my wife by one second. She knew, as we approached the finish line, that beating her was the last victory available to me that day.

4) Don’t worry… I didn’t miss the OSU-Cal game. Thank you, DVR. One of the Top 5 technological innovations in my lifetime. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but my wife knows my catchphrase well: “I don’t watch commercials.”

5) If you ever want to walk or run a long distance and you’ve never done it before, it’s important to get out and practice. But don’t practice too much, lest you realize how bored you’ll be at Mile 11 of 13.1. At about that point, your mind shifts its focus off of the road in front of you and onto the beer and pizza and bananas and Gatorade waiting for you at the finish line. But if you’re practicing, none of that good stuff is waiting for you. You just end up back in your own crappy house staring into your own empty refrigerator. How disappointing.

I just have one photo I’d like to share with you today… this is the flagpole outside the entrance to the Air Force Museum. The flag is at half-staff in honor of the slain US ambassador to Libya and the other Americans who lost their lives in service to their country recently.

Flag at the National Museum of the USAF at half-staff in honor of those who have given their lives in service to their country.

 

 


TGI Football Season

Saturday saw the beginning of the Urban Meyer era at THE Ohio State University. A slow start was followed by several exciting scores (if you’re a Buckeye fan, that is). Without looking at the archives of the 2010-2011 season, I can’t say with certainty that the Buckeyes scored 56 points in their first 4 games combined last year (they must have, but the fact that I’m not certain should tell you something about my recollection of last year’s offensive prowess). All in all, it was an exciting game to watch as a Buckeye fan. Braxton Miller (whom my wife calls “B” like they’re BFFs) set a single-game rushing yardage record for an OSU quarterback. Devin Smith had what LeBron James tweeted was the catch of the year (The King may be right), and the oft-maligned Travis Howard had two interceptions.

So why have I recounted all this for you, my captivated reader? Because at Ohio State, football matters. An ESPN Sports Poll in 2011 revealed that the Buckeyes are the most popular football team in the country (follow link, scroll down to last paragraph of the story). That, plus the football program brings in about $35 to $45 million in profit, some of which goes right back to the University’s general fund. None of that even takes into account the economic benefit conferred upon the city of Columbus by 100,000+ people huddled into The ‘Shoe and countless (OK, they’re probably countable) others who come out of their hovels to simply be near the action.

But I digress… I don’t really, deep down in my soul, care as much about any of that financial/economic benefit mumbo jumbo as I care about the football games themselves. I grew up in the suburbs of Columbus, less than 20 miles from Ohio Stadium. Buckeye football is on Saturdays… Church is on Sundays. Let’s just say… I’m a fan.

Some of you may be unfamiliar with Ohio State football, college football, or even American football altogether. If you’re thinking of visiting campus this fall, I encourage you to schedule your trip to coincide with a home football weekend (assuming you can get a hotel room). If nothing else, please make a point of walking by the stadium just to bask in its glory (ok, I’ll stop gushing now). And if you’re like some of my classmates of international origin and have some questions about American football, just ask. People who love football love to talk about football.

GO BUCKS! Here’s another picture of my rascally animal from his youth…

We took this on the day we got Captain home. I think this is still set as the wallpaper on my wife’s phone.


A lot of pizza and a little bit of finance

Just a quick blog post before my Thursday 8:30 AM class (BUSFIN 6221: Industry, Risk & Pricing with Prof. Brandl… I’ll probably write a post about him at some point… he’s a lot of fun in the classroom)…

Most of you may not know that I got my BS in Electrical (& Computer) Engineering from tOSU in 2002 (I put the “& Computer” in parentheses because that was a name change implemented AFTER I chose Electrical Engineering as a major… I assure you that I am not qualified to program a computer, build a computer, or fix a computer). During my time at tOSU from 1997-2002, I probably ate Adriatico’s pizza half a dozen times and never really thought it was great (though it was the favorite pizza of many of my friends at the time). Then I went about 10-12 years without having it, until last Friday, when the Fisher Graduate Finance Association (FGFA) provided Adriatico’s pizza for free at their Info Session. (Aside: If you want “college kids” to attend anything, provide food. If you feed them, they will come.) Though I love pizza, and especially free pizza, I didn’t truly appreciate Adriatico’s until recently. It was AWESOME!!!

Yesterday after class, a number of my SMF classmates and I couldn’t help but notice some tables set up out in the “quad” (I actually don’t know what the open area in the middle of all the buildings is called). There were large open boxes of pizza (again, Adriatico’s) on the tables. It was free; provided by the good folks at Ernst & Young. They also gave out free t-shirts (“I <3 EY”).

In light of all the free-food opportunities at tOSU, my classmates and I have decided to found the Fisher Finance Food Association. Do you like Finance? Yes. Do you like Food? Yes. Welcome!!!

On to class… Prof. Brandl doesn’t like technology out while he lectures. Computers and phones in their cases, or incur his wrath.

You saw Captain at 1 year. Here he is at about 9 weeks.


Treat it like it’s your job

I’m an outlier. The average age of the 2012-13 class of SMF students is around 23 years; I’m 33. The average work experience of the group is about 1.5 years; I’ve been out in “the real world” for 10 years. So maybe it’s just that I don’t know any other way to approach this SMF thing than this: I plan to treat it like it’s my job.

Some of you reading this post may not have ever had a real job before (you know, the kind that pays you well enough to support yourself, independent of your parents, and, in exchange, requires you to dedicate a significant portion of your time, brain power and effort). Here are just a few tips for treating something like it’s your job…

Be on time. By this I mean to include both showing up on time and completing your work on time (sounds simple, but most people have a hard time dealing with the planning fallacy)

Check email regularly. So much information gets shared through email. If you’re not checking yours regularly, what are you missing?

Calendar everything. When I was 23, I truly believed I could remember every appointment I had just because I was so darn smart. Ten years later I’ve learned that relying on your ability to remember everything isn’t so smart the first time you miss a meeting with someone you might have wanted to impress (client, boss, love interest). Forget gold; time is the most precious commodity on earth. For that reason, time management is really, really important. Check out this book if you want some guidance on the topic. (Side note: I got a new boss in March 2010. About a month later, I approached him to ask about his early thoughts on how I could improve my performance at work. All he said back was, “I don’t know how you organize your time.” Then he handed me a copy of Getting Things Done, the book I link to above.)

Dress for work. Sad but true: people will judge you based on how you look. Personally, I’d rather be pre-judged as competent and well-groomed than have to exert extra effort trying to change people’s first impressions to the contrary. Wear shorts and flip flops if you want… just don’t be surprised when people treat you like a person who wears shorts and flip flops.

Step up and lead. There are opportunities to lead all around us. And the beautiful thing is that we each get to choose our own level of involvement. So the next time a leadership opportunity presents itself, why not take it? Afraid of failure? Guess what, so is everyone else. To quote Mark Twain: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

To wrap my very first blog post up, and to show you, kind reader, that I am not just the miserly old man in the classroom, I will share with you a picture of something I love…

My dog, Captain, who turns 1 on Monday, August 27th

 

 



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