I just got back from an amazing trip to the Windy City (Chicago). Believe it or not, I actually went to Chicago for a class trip on behalf of one of my finance courses, BUSFIN 824 – The Stock Market. It is also known as the Student Investment Management (SIM) course, and it is one of the few classes in the country that puts millions of (real) dollars in the hands of student investment managers. As a class, we are responsible for managing about $22 million, currently, of the Ohio State Endowment Fund that has been allocated to the class specific SIM Portfolio. Each student in the course is responsible for monitoring one stock in the portfolio over the duration of the quarter, and at the end of the quarter, we must decide as a class on whether to buy, sell, or hold our positions in these various stocks. For example, I have been closely monitoring our position in MasterCard (MA) over this quarter and am currently in the process of writing my final report and making a final recommendation on how to change our position in MA.
These final reports are another interesting opportunity of this course in that all of the students’ reports are considered for the “Rosenfield Family Prize” at the end of the quarter. The student with the best report is awarded $2,000 and there is a $500 runner-up award to the next best report in the class. Like any good Fisher MAcc student, I enjoy submitting a good quality report just for the sake of trying my best… but $2,000 is not a bad additional motivator.
Now back to this class trip. The SIM class actually pays for the flight to Chicago (or New York, depending on the quarter). Our trip consisted of several meetings with some higher-up individuals in various finance-focused organizations throughout Chicago, including: GEM Realty Capital, Mesirow Financial, Oak Ridge Investments, and Goldman Sachs. We met with either former OSU alumni or people with ties to Ohio at each of these firms, and they shared their varying experiences and advice. We also had the great opportunity of visiting the famous Chicago Board Options Exchange, and we even had a chance to see the trading floor.
Overall it was a great and unforgettable trip to Chicago, and I just want to say thank you to all the individuals who took the time to meet with us. For any soon-to-be MAcc students reading this, I would highly recommend taking the SIM class. Keep in mind that it is a Finance MBA course, but even for those students with just an overall curiosity about the world of finance, this has been a great course. (Successful completion of the course counts as a non accounting elective toward the MAcc degree.) For more information, check out the course website here.
Hello everyone! Spring quarter has been off to a great start! I really love all of my classes, and we’re only three weeks into the quarter, but it seems like so much has already happened in that short time – both school and non-school related. So I’ll try to touch on a few of the more interesting things of these first few weeks here in Columbus…
So I’ll start with something “non-school” related: the CD 101 concert. Here in Columbus, one of the big radio stations called CD 101 (even though it’s technically now on a different frequency of 102.5) put on a great little concert last weekend that I had the pleasure of attending. It was packed with some excellent bands including two of my new favorites, Ra Ra Riot and Fitz & the Tantrums. If you have not heard of these bands, I highly recommend both – just click on their names above to jump to their websites… Ghost Under Rocks by Ra Ra Riot and MoneyGrabber by Fitz & the Tantrums are currently my favorite specific songs by these bands, in case you need any specific recommendations. I have a feeling there will be plenty more concerts and fun events throughout the rest of this quarter as the weather continues to warm up.
Now something more school-focused but equally interesting: Senator Sarbanes (as in one of the two legislators for which the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is named). This was very cool because as far as the world of accounting goes, this is as close as I’ve ever come to an accounting celebrity. Senator Sarbanes spoke to a large group of MAcc and other Fisher grad students mostly about SOX, and it was really interesting to hear what someone who helped create the act had to say about it. (Thanks to Seth W. for the picture.) Our next scheduled speaker will be Mark Morze, former CFO of the infamous ZZZZ Best Carpet Cleaning fraud from the 1980s, so I’m sure you’ll see a post about that in the near future.
Speaking of the future, and one other entertaining topic that I can cram into this post, this Saturday a good number of Fisher students will be participating in the spring Fisher Games. Basically I’ve been explaining this to people as a field day of sorts, filled with games ranging from disc golf to dizzy bat to kickball to an egg toss. I will be joining a few of my fellow MAcc students to compete against other Fisher students, and it should be a great time!
So with everything going on this quarter, I’m sure I’ll be writing very soon about something else, so until next time!
So this quarter definitely flew by! I can’t believe we’re already two thirds towards earning our Masters degrees in Accounting! I really enjoyed my classes this quarter, but I’m also looking forward to my classes next quarter. I have signed up for a couple of accounting courses as well as a couple of finance courses. Specifically I’ll be taking an International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) course, a Governmental and Not-for-Profit Accounting course, Risk Management (a finance course), and a Stock Market course. The IFRS course should be a good refresher on the major differences between US GAAP and IFRS, which should be good to know in the future when the US finally adopts IFRS (or should I say if?) I am taking the Governmental and Not-for-Profit because accountants have a great opportunity to give back to the community by helping non-profits with their accounting, and the accounting in a not-for-profit organization is surprisingly different from what you typically learn in the average accounting course, so hopefully this class will prepare me to help out in the future. I am taking the Risk Management course primarily because it is being taught by possibly the most well renowned finance professor we have here at Fisher – René Stulz. The Stock Market course involves actively managing an actual OSU portfolio of investments, so that should be an interesting experience. I can’t stress enough of how great it is that we have access to many of the MBA courses here because it’s nice being able to mix up the accounting coursework with topics like finance, real estate, marketing, management, etc.
As much as I’m looking forward to my classes next quarter, I’m more looking forward to enjoying this next week off during spring break. I’ll be going back home for a solid week and it’ll be great to see all my family, friends, and even the mountains of Colorado. It will be over way too fast, and then I’ll be back here in Columbus for our final quarter. Until then.
One of the great things about OSU is the fact that it is located here in Columbus. As the capital of Ohio, it tends to be a major stop for most entertaining tours across the country. The other day a group of us MAcc students went and saw a personal favorite of these touring acts, Cirque du Soleil, and it was amazing. For anyone that has yet to see this astounding traveling show, Cirque du Soleil is basically a fancy circus. The main differences between this show and your typical “circus” are that Cirque du Soleil does not use animals and they tend to have a primary focus on acrobatic stunts rather than some of the other things you may see at a circus (you won’t see any motorcycles driving around in a big metal cage here). To be honest, I also find the clowns in this show to be more entertaining than your typical, “give children nightmares” kind of clowns from other circuses.
The brand name of “Cirque du Soleil” encompasses numerous traveling shows around the world, so specifically we saw the show entitled “Dralion.” Basically the theme of the show focused on the four elements taking human form, so they had acts that embodied wind, water, earth, and fire. One of the favorite acts of the group was the “wind” act called the Aerial Pas de Deux, which is described by their website as:
a languorous aerial dance. A couple, intertwined, flies over the stage in a long band of blue cloth. Within the cloth, they perform various acrobatic figures that demand great feats of strength and flexibility.
The other amazing acts included some mind blowing juggling, jumping through hoops, and trampolining… And yes, I just made up the word “trampolining” as in, the art of doing crazy acrobatic stunts on a trampoline. If this show or any of the Cirque du Soleil shows ever come to your town, be sure to go – it’s well worth it!
The annual Fisher Winter Games took place this past Friday, and although I did not personally participate, I sure am glad I came to watch, as it was extremely entertaining. Basically, the Fisher Games were a series of 3 team sports – Basketball, Volleyball, and Dodge ball – in which various teams made of Fisher College of Business students (and faculty/staff) competed. There were teams from all the major programs, but obviously I came to see how the MAcc teams fared. I even made it early enough to get one of the extra shirts that were sported by the MAcc participants with the more or less team name of the day: Bad Assets.
The first competition was Basketball, and I have to say, I was really impressed with how well our MAcc teams played. Some of the participants play Basketball, and Soccer for that matter, every week in the Graduate student league of intramural sports at OSU, so I suppose it shouldn’t have been a surprise that they could actually handle themselves on the court. Regardless of which teams won and which ones lost, they were all good games and it was intense to even just be on the sidelines. Here is an action shot from one of the MAcc vs. MAcc games:
The next sport was Volleyball, and although I was not able to stick around and watch all of the matches, I heard that it was just as entertaining as the other events of the day. However, I personally felt that the most exciting event of the games was the third and final competition: Dodge ball.
Honestly, it was great seeing my fellow MAcc students, the other students at Fisher, even the faculty… how do I put this… pummeling each other with straight up, good ol’ fashion dodge ball fury. I think purely because of the fact that the intent of the game is to hit each other (usually as hard as possible so they can’t catch the ball), this was by far the most intense event of the day. People were treating the dodge ball matches like a battle to the death. It was especially rough to watch when some teams were oddly superior (I mean, how do you get that good at a sport that most people haven’t played since elementary school?) I suppose some people are just naturals at the art that is dodge ball, but regardless of the winning teams in the end, it was highly entertaining. It’s almost a shame that the MAcc program here is only one year because that means we’ll never get a re-match. I guess that means it’ll be up to future generations of MAcc students (maybe someone reading this?) to always defend the MAcc pride and potentially carry on the “Bad Assets” name.
Hello everyone, long time no see! Actually this was quite possibly the shortest winter break I can remember of my academic career, but it still feels like it’s been awhile since I “blogged.” We are already into our second week of the winter quarter, and it looks like it will be a great quarter of challenging, yet very worthwhile courses. This quarter I have four classes, and I figured I’d give a brief explanation of those courses since a lot of potential students read this blog and might find it interesting to hear what options they may have in the future…
My first class of the week is a required course for all MAcc students: AMIS 803 – Foundations of Accounting with Professor Arya. After one week, this class seems to have a strong focus on managerial or “cost” accounting, but with an interesting spin. The professor likes to take the typical accounting that we have always learned throughout our education and mix it up by throwing in different variables and assumptions that maybe you never thought of before. There also seems to be a good mix of economic theory mixed into this class, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of this course.
My next class is Finance 822 – Security Markets and Investments with Professor Bao. The course title is somewhat self-explanatory, but so far in this class we have talked about interesting finance-focused topics such as the efficiency of stock markets and the varying hypotheses that go behind that. As an MBA class that does not focus on accounting, this course will be a great way to get a break from my accounting coursework while also improving my overall finance knowledge.
The third of my courses is another accounting course called AMIS 861 – Fraud Examination with Professor Turner. I am looking forward to all of my courses, but this one especially since I will be going into the field of auditing – a profession where fraud is extremely important. Not to mention it is just an interesting topic to learn about. For example, today we watched the video “How to Steal $500 Million” and in our last class we had a nationally recognized speaker on the topic of fraud that has given similar presentations to the likes of the FBI, Office of the Attorney General, the SEC Institute, and the AICPA.
My fourth and final course is FIN 849 – Financial Spreadsheet Modeling in Excel with Professor Oglevee. In this course we will learn how to create around 55 types of financial models using excel, while learning various useful techniques of how to use excel along the way. I know some people are not the biggest fans of Excel, but after taking this class, you’ll quickly realize that it is a powerful tool and most people have no idea of the things you can do with it.
So that’s my course load for the quarter. It’ll definitely be a busy quarter, but in a good way, and I so am really looking forward to the next 9 weeks.
Now that I’m officially on break, I felt obligated to write one more quick blog entry for the quarter (and by “obligated” I may mean that I have so much more free time without group projects to worry about that I have plenty of time to write a blog entry). I cannot believe I am completely done with my whole first quarter here at OSU. My fellow MAccers and I now are 33.33% Masters of Accounting! It may be partially due to the fact that I’m used to the 16-week semester system, but these last 10 weeks have simply flown by!
Regarding finals week in the MAcc program – it was not entirely unbearable. I had two final exams, and luckily for me, they were both on Thursday. This made Thursday kind of rough, but I had the entire week off to focus solely on preparing for my exams, which was nice. Aside from a ton of studying during the week, the MAcc group made sure to enjoy our last week together before winter break. Here’s a great group picture of some of the MAcc students at an end of quarter get-together:
“This set of independent exhibitions features the work of six rising international artists on view inside and outside the Wexner Center. Organized by the Wexner Center and opening in conjunction with the center’s 21st anniversary celebrations, the presentations continue the Wex’s tradition of supporting younger artists in their efforts.”
My favorite piece was a LED lighting exhibit on the exterior of the building by Erwin Redl. This was just another example of how there are always interesting things happening on campus, and the majority of them are free for us students (such as the Wexner Center exhibits).
I will be spending the duration of my break back home in Colorado and it will be great to be home for the next few weeks. To all my fellow MAccers/friends around the world during break and to anyone reading this, happy holidays and enjoy your time off this winter!
This weekend I went home again for Thanksgiving and it was a great time. Although it’s always hectic traveling to and from Colorado in one weekend (and luckily, no, I did not have any trouble with the overly-hyped new security measures), this was definitely a perfect way to recharge my batteries before this last week of classes. I started the weekend by walking around my old college town, Fort Collins, with some good friends – and what better way to stay warm in the Colorado cold then some hot chocolate?
I spent the next day, Thanksgiving, with my family and one of the stories that came up was the Mirror Lake jump. Yes, I was one of the students just crazy enough to partake in this tradition this year. For anyone that has not heard about it yet, every year a ton of Ohio State students go over to Mirror Lake – basically a decent sized pond – and they simply jump in the freezing water. Apparently this ritual is supposed to “bring down the spirit of Woody Hayes” to make sure the Buckeyes beat Michigan, but all I know is that the water was freezing! I probably only stayed in about 30 seconds, but when it was all said and done (and I did not get hypothermia), I’m definitely glad I was able to take part in this crazy tradition. If anything, it was a great topic to discuss while eating some good ol’ turkey and mashed potatoes.
The rest of my Thanksgiving weekend was filled with a little homework and some more quality friend/family time. Now we just have to get through this last week of classes, then I have two finals next week, and then I’m officially done with my first entire quarter! It seems like it has completely flown by!
This week was a good week for community service here at the Fisher College of Business. Not only did we have the FETCH! Program, which Michael Barbosa already discussed on this blog, but we also had an aptly named “community service day” on Friday. Although it was mainly for first year MBA students, this event was open to all Fisher grad students and gave us an opportunity to volunteer for various causes around the Columbus area.
Since we did not have classes on Thursday this week, a few of the MAcc students decided to use the extra long weekend to help out with this great cause. As a group, we were assigned to volunteer at the LifeCare Alliance. I believe other places for volunteers included an animal shelter, the Ronald McDonald house, etc. The LifeCare Alliance’s website explains that the
LifeCare Alliance provides services to assist older adults or chronically ill residents in Franklin and Madison Counties. These services include, home meal delivery, homemaker and home health aides, and health services from RNs at our Wellness Centers. The primary goal of each of our services is help seniors remain in the comfort of their own homes with dignity, which is where 100% of them want to be. For each older adult or chronically ill person LifeCare Alliance keeps in their own homes, it saves Ohio taxpayers over $40,000 per year.
Along with these great services, they basically have a miniature grocery store within their facility where people can come and shop for the essential things anyone would need at an affordable price suited for the clientele of the LifeCare Alliance. This is where the MAcc group spent our day volunteering. We helped do a lot throughout the day, but mainly we assisted in cleaning up one of their storage rooms as well as helping to sort some donated food products. Not only was this a great chance to give back to the Columbus community, but it was also a great opportunity to spend some quality time with some quality people. Here’s a picture of the happy group at the end of the not-so-labor-intensive day (unfortunately there were no “Team MAcc” shirts, but now we all have a great disguise if we ever need to blend in among the MBAs):
The next MAcc-related community service event will be the VITA program, which I’m sure will be featured on here by at least one of us MAcc students, so stay tuned.
The Fisher College of Business is obviously a prestigious institution that draws talent from all over the country, but I guess I never realized their pull until I started to experience it first hand with the guest speakers that come to talk to the graduate students here. In my AMIS 804 course, we’ve already had two guest speakers that both have had very impressive resumes and interesting presentations to give to the MAcc students.
Our first presenter was Jim Leisenring. Jim was in town for an event related to the Accounting Hall of Fame (fun fact – the Accounting Hall of Fame is based here at OSU) and our professor managed to get him to come speak to our class. Jim Leisenring is both a former FASB board member and a former IASB board member, which when you think about it, is as close to a rock-star in the accounting world as you can really get…
We had our second guest speaker for that class today. His name was Robert Sledge, and he was coming to us from the Transaction Services group of KPMG in Chicago. Apparently Robert was a student of the MAcc program (class of 2006) and then moved onto bigger and better things, including a postgraduate technical assistant (PTA) position with the FASB.
As it just so happens, there was also a guest speaker in another one of my classes today – Brand Management. Although I unfortunately cannot recall his exact position, he has worked with the brand managements of multiple successful brands, including Elmer’s and Bob Evans. As an extra bonus, he brought some baked goods to go along with the Bob Evans brand, and I have to say they have some amazing cinnamon rolls!
Aside from these occasional guest speakers in class, we also have the opportunity to hear guest speakers for the weekly Accounting Research Workshops. These speakers visit from all over the country to present their current research papers in progress. I’ll admit that some of the topics feel a bit over my head (some of them are more PHD focused than others), but they are always interesting/engaging topics. Just a few days ago, we had someone presenting their paper on the topic of the contagion effect of audit failures – interesting stuff!
I’m really glad that the MAcc program provides us the access to all these great speakers, and I look forward to all the excellent speakers to come.