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Long time, no see, Colorado

This weekend I went back to my home state – Colorado – for the first time since moving to Columbus, and I have to say, it was great to go back. Columbus is cool and all, but my heart will always be back in Colorado. For this post, I just wanted to share two of my weekend experiences that you can only have in Colorado.

So here’s a random fact about CO: it is one of the best states in the country for breweries of all sizes. For example, Coors is based out of Colorado. Now, I specifically visited Fort Collins this weekend, which is home to the extremely popular brewery, New Belgium (which has not quite made it to Ohio yet). In celebration of my girlfriend’s birthday, we went and did the free brew tour of the New Belgium brewery. I have been on this tour multiple times, but I am always extremely impressed with this company as a whole. They are one of those companies that does a great job of building an extremely loyal customer base by providing high quality products with a very stylish style, so to speak. They are one of the front-runners in the country for having one of the most environmentally conscious breweries in the nation (you can read about that here on New Belgium’s website), and their branding is unlike any other brewery I have come across – it’s almost like an old-timey circus type of theme; the kind where the guys have those big cool twisty mustaches and you would see people riding those bicycles with the giant front wheel and the tiny back wheel. Bicycles themselves are actually another huge part of New Belgium. You can read the whole background on why on their website, but basically, they are huge supporters of bicycles as a means of transportation. So much so that every year they sponsor a huge bike ride in a few select cities across the country called the Tour de Fat where everyone dresses up in some sort of crazy costume and then rides around town in a big group until they reach the end of the road at the brewery for some refreshments. It’s a hugely popular tradition in Fort Collins, and one day I hope to see it come here to Columbus (I think the OSU student body would have a blast with their own Tour de Fat). I’ve decided against posting my pictures from this costume party on wheels, but here are a couple of shots of the very cool brewery.

Bicycle Rim Decorations

Decorations out of Recycled Bicycle Rims

Beer Bottle Chandelier
Chandelier Made of Beer Bottles

Another stop I made in Colorado was at the local favorite breakfast spot, Snooze. This is another thing that I wish they had in Columbus, but on the other hand, it makes me love it that much more when I can finally eat there again after waiting. Snooze is a retro-style breakfast joint that puts a great spin on some breakfast favorites. In my opinion, their specialty is in the pancake department – they have some of the most creative/delicious pancake masterpieces I have ever had. The first time I went to Snooze in Denver, I had a pancake called the Cinnfull Pancake, which their website explains as a: “Glorious buttermilk pancake with white chocolate chips, drizzled with our homemade Bacon Caramel, vanilla cream sauce, pecans and topped with cinnamon butter. Brilliance.” Yes, it says “bacon caramel.” I was all set to have this pancake again this weekend until I found out that they keep things fresh and change the menu seasonally, so this time I got to try another instant favorite called the Graceland pancake. This time the pancake was filled with bananas, and then topped with some sort of sweet peanut butter sauce, butter, and of course, bacon caramel. They even top it off with a small piece of bacon sticking out of the center of the pancake. I honestly was planning to take a picture for the blog, but I was seriously too excited to eat it that I didn’t even think about it until it was too late.

Anyone from Colorado can tell you that there’s way more to it than beer and pancakes, but life is in the little things, right? Overall, it was so great to take a quick breather back home (especially at about 4.5 thousand feet higher in elevation – have to keep these lungs up to CO standard, right?), and now I’m ready to get back into the few short weeks we have left for this quarter.

Tyler


Time to Register

So this week is when most of us “MAccers” get to register for our courses for next quarter. (Quick funny story about “MAccers” – I had a friend text his roommate to say that he was watching the game with a group of us “MAccers” and since he is not in the MAcc program, he had no idea what that meant and apparently he actually tried to Google the term “MAccers” to no avail… haha, probably one of the only things out there that Google can’t answer, for now).

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Since I’ll be registering for courses this week, I thought any potential students reading this blog might like to hear some of the courses we have at our disposal. For winter quarter, I only have to take one required course called “Foundations of Accounting” with Professor Arya, and even if it were not required, I would definitely want to take this course. The topic sounds very interesting, but to be honest, I am really looking forward to working with Professor Arya. When I came and visited the Fisher College of Business, I had the opportunity to sit in on one of Professor Arya’s courses, and I was extremely impressed. I’ll have to blog about how I like the course next quarter.

Aside from Foundations of Accounting, here are the other courses I am debating:

-Derivatives

-International Finance

-Fraud Examination

-Financial Spreadsheet in Excel Modeling

-Business Tax and Tax Planning

-Managerial Negotiations

Derivatives and International Finance are both Finance courses, and I am considering those because I have heard that finance knowledge is a great thing to have when going into auditing for a public accounting firm. The fraud class is a clear choice for auditors as well. The Excel Modeling course, despite any predisposed notions about excel, actually sounds like a really useful course and all the alumni that I’ve asked have highly recommended this course. The Business Tax course sounds like a good way to get in some solid tax knowledge (which will be useful for my final section of the CPA exam, Regulation), and in general, I’ve heard the Managerial Negotiations class is an enjoyable course. I’ve also heard great things about the professors for all of these courses, so that is another factor in my decision process.

It’s going to be a tough choice, but regardless of which 3 of the above I choose, I know I won’t be disappointed. I will also have the option to take maybe one or two of these in the spring quarter, so maybe if I don’t take them now, it won’t be my last chance.

Until next time,

Tyler


Concerts in Columbus

I will gladly admit that I am a HUGE music fan. In fact, between playing an instrument and listening to music, I would say that music in general is by far my favorite hobby/pastime. Considering this, one of my biggest concerns of moving to Columbus was the question: “is Columbus a good music scene?” (I honestly asked that question on my tour when I came and visited Fisher during the admissions process). It’s only been a few weeks into the quarter, but I think it is safe to say yes – Columbus is a great place for concerts and music in general.

I am declaring this for two big reasons. The first being that the city of Columbus, OH is a decently-sized city – definitely big enough to be on the map of all major music tours across the country. One big concert destination for these traveling acts of musical entertainment is called the Newport and it is conveniently located directly across the street from the student union. In the small time that I’ve lived here, there’s already been a plethora of musical goodness to grace the stage at Newport including some really big names such as Guster. In the next month, other acts for Newport include, but are not limited to: Ingrid Michaelson, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Jonsi (from Sigur Ros). Basically what I’m getting at is that Newport is a great place for some great bands, and I really like it because it’s so close to campus. And of course, there are some other great venues around town – I just haven’t had the chance to venture out to them yet.

The second big reason behind Columbus being deemed a great place for music is the same reason it’s a great town in general – OSU. With one of the biggest and best universities in the country, you’re bound to have some great performers that are willing to come for a visit. Not to mention that the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) seems to do a fantastic job of ensuring that our student activity fees are spent on quality entertainment. This last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing Iron & Wine for free in the student union. John Legend is playing for free tonight as I type this, and next week I will be going to the comedic stand up act of Aziz Ansari. On top of all this, with such a diverse student body that attends the Fisher College of Business, you can quickly come across other individuals with similar tastes in music. Personally, the quickest way I have expanded my musical knowledge is through my friends (new and old) that just knew about all these great artists that I had never heard of. Basically, with the students of Fisher you can find similar interests in anything with at least someone, and music has been no exception.

Overall I am pumped that OSU and Columbus is such a great scene for music. If you are a proud music-buff like me, be sure to take advantage of all the concerts they have here. On a final note, the one band that I am anxiously holding my breath for would be The Black Keys – they started their musical career here in Ohio and I think it would be really cool to see them in the state where they started it all (I just checked and at least through next March, they have no plans to stop in OH, so I’ll be crossing my fingers for some time between March and our June graduation). Below is a concert poster for the Black Keys by one of my favorite artists, Tyler Stout. I know it’s not for a show in OH, but I wanted to get some color in this post.

The Black Keys Concert Poster

A Black Keys Poster by Tyler Stout

Thanks for reading (now go check out all the links to the great bands above by clicking the embedded hyperlinks),

Tyler


Ready… Set… Recruit!

With OSU being such a big school, it is a key school for the recruiting circuits of countless firms, nationwide. I know there are a ton of companies in general that are in the process of recruiting the highly coveted Fisher students, but specifically, there is a great line-up of accounting firms interested in the MAcc students. I won’t list all of the firms here because I do not want to leave anyone out, but trust me, they have a great lineup.

This week is when most of the bigger accounting firms begin their first-round interviews, and of course, a lot of those firms tend to have a pre-interview social the night before their interviews. So what does that mean for the MAcc students who are career hunting? A very busy next few weeks! On the one hand, it’s great to see all the career opportunities that are open to students here, but on the other hand, I do not envy how busy they’ll be during this time-intensive process.

For those of you new to the recruiting process, most companies start the season with some welcome event, followed by an appearance at the career fair, then they start the selection process which starts with a first-round interview with a “pre-night.” After a few weeks, the applicant pool is narrowed down and then come the second-round interviews which typically involve doing an actual office visit (most likely of the office you are interested in) and then a whole second day of interviews. After all this, they usually can narrow it down enough to make their offers a few weeks later. Overall, it is an extremely quick process to go from applying online to accepting an offer for a full-time position or internship, but speaking from a perspective of someone who has been there – it is all completely worth it. I honestly applied to about 15 accounting firms back in CO and was accepted to first round-interviews to all of them. After that I was able to narrow it down, but going through recruiting for so many firms at the same time was extremely intensive. I do have to say my favorite part of recruiting season was the chance to network with so many new people, not to mention the other students who were right there with me. (The free meals every other night were also a nice perk).

So for those of you going through recruiting right now, I just wanted to wish you the best of luck!

Tyler


It’s a BIG change…

As I mentioned before, I did my undergrad at a decent sized school called Colorado State University. By decent sized, I’m talking around 25,000 students enrolled. I thought that was a huge number of people, so you can understand my disbelief when I discovered that the Ohio State University has total enrollment of more than DOUBLE that amount (around 60,000!) That’s right, sixty-thousand people! Not to mention the campus employs about 40,000 people, so overall, OSU is a whole different ball game than my undergrad. With such a huge university, there are so many things that are on a whole new level here.

First and foremost would be football, hands down. The stadium itself is massive, and I almost feel that the stadium from Colorado State could actually fit inside the stadium here. Apparently it is the 4th largest football stadium in the country! When this place is packed (as it is for every single game), it is definitely an amazing experience. I went to my first football game of the season last Saturday against Eastern Michigan, and it was an instant classic memory. I was able to squeeze in with a few of my fellow MAcc’ers and I did my best at trying to learn all the new chants. I have to say that the Buckeyes get two of the coolest songs of all time for their different chants – Hells Bells by AC/DC and Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. For anyone who has seen the music video for Seven Nation Army would agree that the song is especially fitting for the crowd – a sea of red. Here’s a picture to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

The Horseshoe

OSU vs. Eastern Michigan

My favorite part of the game was when the four sides of the stadium took turns yelling O-H-I-O in waves around the stadium. Football at CSU was a big deal, but honestly nothing in comparison to the Buckeyes!

Another aspect of OSU that is on a much bigger scale is the campus entertainment. They already had Weezer (safe to say one of the most popular bands out there) come play on campus for free for all students! Upcoming events include a free concert by Iron & Wine, a stand-up performance by Aziz Ansari, and another concert with John Legend – all just in the first quarter. At my old school, we’d be lucky to have one of these big names in the entire year, let alone in just a few months.

One other dialed-up feature at the Ohio State University is the campus and the physical buildings in general. Both the student union and the main campus library are brand new and almost larger than life. The library is 11 stories tall, and the union reminds me of a huge shopping mall. The main recreational center (called “RPAC”) is also massive, and I am hoping to be utilizing it in the near future.

Overall, I would definitely not say that bigger is better when it comes to comparing my school experiences, but I will simply say that OSU sure has a lot going for it! One of my goals when deciding to move across the country to OSU was to make the absolute most of my experience, and so I feel I owe it to myself to take full advantage of the football, the entertainment, the campus, etc. while I am here. One of the best pieces of advice that the OSU student panel during MAcc orientation had was to keep in mind that the Fisher College of Business is just a portion of the campus as a whole and that the rest of campus is a world well worth exploring – I will make sure that I take that advice over the next 9 months.

Thanks for reading,

Tyler


CPA Exam – Better Sooner than Later

For my first blog of the year, I’d like to discuss a topic that has been a huge part of my life lately – the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Exam, but let me start with a brief self-introduction. I am coming to “The” Ohio State University all the way from Denver, Colorado. I did my undergrad at Colorado State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in Spanish. The summer before graduation I did an Audit internship within the Denver office of KPMG and have accepted a full time position for next fall. The number one question I have received since moving here to Ohio has been, “why would you come to Ohio from Colorado?” (and they usually have that “you’re crazy” look in their eyes…) While Ohio may – at first glance – seem slightly less appealing than my home state, I definitely had some huge reasons for electing to join this prestigious program. Primarily, the MAcc program here at Fisher was the best of both worlds regarding my main concerns and considerations while evaluating various programs. On the one hand, OSU has a huge national appeal and the MAcc program in particular has an extremely high national ranking, while on the other hand, OSU does a great job of making the program financially accessible to students from all walks of life.

Now to the point of this post – the CPA exam. I’m going to be honest with you: as far as commonplace tests go, this one is a beast. You can read all the grimy details of the exact specifications of the test online on a number of websites, but here’s the basic idea: you must pass all 4 sections (that each range between 2 to 4 hours of actually test lengths) within 18 months. When I put it that way, it sounds deceptively “not that bad.” However, keep in mind that between those 4 sections, there is an absolute TON of information that you need to cram into your head, and not all of it is strictly “accounting” knowledge. Every person who studies for the CPA exam has a different experience, but there is that common denominator – you need to STUDY! Now the time that you actually should commit to studying depends on whether or not you have a photographic memory, but just to give you an idea, here is a graphical depiction of how I have spent ALL of my free time over the past few months while taking the CPA exam:

Goodbye Social Life

Sadly enough, I don’t think that’s a dramatization. I took Audit (AUD) while working full-time over the summer, followed by Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) while I wasn’t working, and currently I am studying for Business Environment & Concepts (BEC), which I will take at the beginning of October. Mainly because I had a full-time job over the summer and now I am starting the MAcc program, I have had to fit in all my studying during my free time. As we all know, when you’re working and going to school, that free time is scarce, hence the chart above.

Please note that I am not trying to scare you; I just want to share my advice after my personal experience with the CPA exam, and if I had to sum it up in one sentence: take the CPA exam as soon as possible and get it out of the way! If at all possible, I recommend taking it at a time in your life when you don’t have any other large commitments (primarily school or work) because this is one of those things that has exponential returns for the amount of time you put into it. I know because of different educational requirements of varying states, not everyone can start sitting for the exam before school, but if you’re like the typical accounting student, you’ll most likely finish school in summer and will not start working full-time with an accounting firm (especially the Big 4) until the fall. That “last” summer break is a great chance to squeeze it in! During my internship with KPMG, I talked with a few full-time employees who were studying for the CPA exam while working (even during busy season), and trust me, they were not happy. If they had the chance to do it over again, every single one of them said they’d prefer giving up one summer and getting it out of the way.

Sorry for the HUGE first post, but I know this test is on the minds of a lot of the MAcc students, both current and incoming, and so I wanted to provide my take on the exam. If you do think you’re ready to look into it, I’d suggest the NASBA website: here. Also, make sure you talk to the recruiters/representatives of the firms that you are interested in working with, because most accounting firms have some huge perks regarding the exam such as paying for the entire test or even providing a monetary bonus as an incentive to pass the exam. Once you are ready, best of luck, and the studying may seem downright dreadful at the time, but I can assure you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Thanks for reading!

Tyler


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