The Big Spring Concert at OSU

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Every year, the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) puts on what they call the “Big Spring Concert”. They bring in a popular artist or
group and have a free concert for all Ohio State students as they near the end of their academic year. In the past, they have brought in groups like OAR, Passion Pit, The Chainsmokers and Weezer plus artists like Skrillex, Juicy J and Childish Gambino. Needless to say, the OUAB does a good job of bringing in a wide range of music genres. This year is no different as they lined up Marshmelllo, Vic Mensa and headliner Martin Garrix. Garrix and Marshmello are both EDM artists with Garrix being one of the most popular in the current EDM scene.

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garrixIn years past, they have held the concert on The South Oval, just across the street from The Ohio Union, and students would just walk in. This year, they held it at Columbus Commons (a very popular outdoor venue in downtown Columbus). My favorite event that I’ve attended at Columbus Commons was by far the Food Truck Festival where they brought in around 100 different trucks with foods ranging from pizza and sandwiches to cupcakes, churros and other sweet treats. To get in to the event this year, students were required to pick up a wristband from the Ohio Union. I’m not sure why exactly the university moved the concert from The South Oval to Columbus Commons but I thought it was a huge hit!

Sadly, I did not attend the Big Spring Concert this year. My sister surprised me about a month earlier with tickets to see Panama Wedding, Magic Man and The Griswolds at Newport (America’s longest continuously runningmagic man concert hall). These artists are more indie and electronic rock bands than EDM. I enjoy listening to almost every genre of music (especially live) and I have already seen Garrix and Marshmello live so it was time to mix it up a little. The indie/electronic rock bwristbandands were certainly way more relaxed than the EDM artists. Moral of the story, Columbus has many options for lovers of all types of music.

CFA Research Challenge Global Finals in Chicago

Seven months later, we finally arrived in Chicago for what was one of the coolest and most exciting events of my life. For a recap of what the CFA Research Challenge is and what it took to get to Chicago, please read my previous blog (https://fisher.osu.edu/blogs/gradlife/2016/03/07/cfa-research-challenge-pt-2/).

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When we arrived at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue, I was a little overwhelmed with excitement. Not only was the weather amazing, but the CFA Society of Chicago really rolled out the red carpet for us. The main stage was spectacular and made me a little nervous for the four teams that would be presenting up there. The structure of the week looked like this:

-Tuesday was registration and the opening ceremony

-Wednesday consisted of the semi-final round in the morning, an advancement ceremony at lunch, the national final round in the evening and dinner afterward.

-Thursday was the Engage Symposium where leaders in the finance industry talked about current topics and how students should prepare for the finance world followed by the global finals and a reception

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There were over 100 teams competing in the semi-final rounds with only 26 moving on to the national final round. Of those 26, only 4 would go on to present on the main stage in the global finals on Thursday. The 4 that made it were: Italy, The University of Georgia, a team from Asia Pacific and the eventual global champions (and the team we lost to) Waterloo. Watching those 4 teams on that stage was incredible. They all did an amazing job of answering some incredibly difficult questions but Waterloo walked away the champions. After they were crowned, we all made our way to the reception area which was a giant dance floor with a live band. The entire experience was surreal.
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After the Research Challenge was over, it was time to be a tourist. I packed my bags and left the Hilton for an Airbnb three blocks from Wrigley Field. Two friends from Columbus joined me as we explored Wrigleyville, downtown, Michigan Ave, Millennium Park and the business district. The weather was perfect so we walked for hours everyday and enjoyed every second. If you ever have a few days to explore and are looking for a destination, I highly recommend Chicago. It is hard to beat. IMG_5978

Involvement at Ohio State (and a National Title)

One of the coolest things about being a student at Ohio State is the level of involvement of the average student. Ohio State provides limitless opportunities to get involved in more ways than I can even begin to describe. There are service and leadership opportunities like Buck-I-Serve and BuckeyeThon in addition to over 1,200 student organizations ,  70 fraternal organizations and student government. There really is something for everyone! Fisher also has quite an array of student organizations ranging from The Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals to Fisher Sports Business Association to the Fisher Graduate Finance Association.

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For the sake of this blog, I am going to stick to the 1,200 university-wide student organizations and clubs. Here is a little excerpt from the Ohio Union’s website: “With over 1,200 student organizations, Ohio State provides a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved. Student organizations have a significant impact in providing effective learning environments for students, preparing them to live in a multicultural society and work in a global community. In addition to building lasting friendships, student organizations provide many benefits including serving as a medium for academic discourse, personal growth, leadership development, intercultural understanding and community service. Moreover, research suggests that involved students tend to perform better academically and are more likely to graduate when compared with their non-involved peers.”

As you can tell, student organizations and clubs at Ohio State are a big deal for growth, development and preparation for life after college. My nats smallexperience with clubs was limited until earlier this year. Throughout my time here as an undergraduate student, I wasn’t involved with a single club. I spent the majority of my time either studying, in the pool or in the weight room. Academics and varsity swimming were my life so I really wasn’t even aware of all the opportunities available to students. This year however, I was looking for something to get involved with and I found that in the form of the Club Swim Team.

trophyOn April 3rd, the Ohio State Club Swim Team was crowned East Coast Collegiate National Champions by defeating 9-time defending champion Colorado. The meet lasted three days, took place in Atlanta, Georgia (my future home) and saw two current SMF students competing for gold (myself and Garrett Trebilcock). It was amazing seeing the team’s hard work paying off in the water and it really made me realize the importance of involvement, whether it be in the form of club swimming, student government or fraternal life. My advice to any incoming students, undergraduate or graduate, is to get involved! Find something that interests you and pursue it in your spare time! You never know what connections you’ll make, lessons you’ll learn or accomplishments you will achieve.

 

Finals – Term 3

How is it March already? I swear just a few days ago we were learning about basic capital structure in our “turbo-finance” course in the middle of August. All of a sudden, Christmas break had come and gone. I guess time really does fly when you are busy learning in courses that you enjoy. I knew six courses would be a great deal of work but I didn’t know they would go by so fast! May marks the turning of a new chapter in my life and I am not ready to leave this place just yet! Columbus is home.

On February 29th, I had three finals for my third term courses. As a reminder, the SMF program is split up into five separate “terms”. There is the pre-term or “turbo-finance” course in the middle of August followed by two semesters that are split into two terms each. For the most part, the SMF program offers single term classes but some full semester courses are available. My first exam was Derivatives II at 10am followed by Corporate Financial Reporting at 3pm and finally Financial Statement Analysis at 6pm. Sound like a lot to handle? It wouldn’t have been if I had prepared correctly. Let’s just say I had some distractions when I was trying to studying.

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The week before that Monday, I told myself I would start studying and get ready in advance for my three finals. What happened? Classic procrastination – “I can wait, I still have five days!” “No worries, Monday is three days away still” “Oh no, my finals are tomorrow!”. It also doesn’t help that there were some distractions. Saturday and Sunday just happened to be the nicest days Columbus has had in weeks. So naturally, I indulged by wasting my studying time walking around the North Market and Goodale Park. Then came Sunday night. This just happened to be the night my favorite EDM DJ, Hardwell, decided to play a show in Columbus at the Bluestone. I couldn’t and wouldn’t miss this show.

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Somewhere between walking around downtown in the beautiful weather and going to the concert, I found time conceptually understand Derivatives II. I still needed to practice and start studying for the other two exams. Monday morning was a little stressful, waking up at 4am to do practice problems and start Corporate Financial Reporting. Derivatives II came and went pretty well (I believe) and then came crunch time. Would I be able to study enough to be successful on my other two exams? You bet! I even had time to grab a coffee with a friend as a study break. I guess it goes to show that when you are studying material that you truly enjoy, it sticks much easier and makes a whole lot more sense (especially when I think about the physics and chem exams I used to have to take).

CFA Research Challenge Pt. 2

Well, after almost five months of research, writing and preparation, we were finally readyEditing to give our presentation. On Tuesday, my research team and I got up in front of a panel of CFA charter holders to give a recommendation on Owens Corning, a basic materials company headquartered in Toledo. Just to recap, every year The CFA Society puts on a research challenge open to all colleges. The challenge consists of writing a research paper (my last blog) and giving a presentation to the local CFA societies (in our case, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati). We successfully made it past the paper stage a few weeks back and have since been preparing a slide deck and presentation based on our paper. The presentation was to be 10 minutes long and broken down into a few sections: company introduction and recent events, business segment descriptions, industry overview, financial analysis, valuation (the most important part) and risks. After the presentation there was another 10 minute session but this time the panel could ask us any questions they had.

So we knew exactly what the presentation would be like, we just needed to finalize what we wanted to say and practice until we had it down. It took almost no time to put together our slide deck…memorizing what we were going to say took a bit longer. As a team, we met a few times in the week leading up to the presentation to practice. In the end, we knew that getting up in front of the panel would be a beast all on its own.

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Finally, presentation day came and what better way to bond with your team then to ride in a minivan together. We made our way down to Wilmington, Ohio (a midpoint between Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati) and signed in right around 4pm. The schedule was: Ohio University at 5:00, Capital University at 5:30, Ohio State Team Sheridan at 6:00 and Ohio State Team Wellman at 6:30 (that’s right, Ohio State sent two teams!).

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While Ohio University was presenting, we decided to find another room where we could practice a few more times. Needless to say, we were a little nervous. For the life of me, I could not remember one of my lines and I was worried it wouldn’t come to me when the spotlight was on. Time was drawing near as we headed back to the waiting room. Ohio State Team Sheridan came out of the presentation room looking confident which, honestly, made me more nervous! Nonetheless, it was go time!

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We walked in, greeted the panel, and off we went. I think we did pretty well and apparently the panel agreed! Ohio State Team Wellman took home the victory and will be headed to Chicago in April to compete in the national level competition. Who knows, maybe we can make the Americas competition or even the global level! Look for more to come on the CFA Research Challenge, the journey isn’t over!

(Winners!)

CFA Research Challenge

This year, I have had the incredible opportunity to participate in the CFA Research Challenge with three of my fellow SMF’s. The CFA is considered to be the must-have designation in the finance world and the CFA Society is represented by thousands of charter holders. Each year, local CFA Societies host and review local level research papers prepared by college students. Each region decides on a few papers they deem competitive enough to make it to the regional and global rounds. Our local level includes the CFA Societies of Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati so we are competing against the likes of University of Dayton, University of Cincinnati, Miami University and another Ohio State team. If we are chosen for the next level, we will have to prepare a presentation to give to regional and global CFA Societies who will decide on a global winner.

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We are assigned Owens Corning (OC) as our company to be researched. At the beginning of the competition, we were invited to an investor presentation put on by the Vice President of Investor Relations for OC and hosted by Ohio STRS (State Teachers Retirement System). At that point in time, we found out we had a lot of work to do. We started by splitting the paper into different sections (business segments, investment thesis, financial analysis, investment risks and industry profile) and worked individually on each section then came back together to edit for content and grammar.

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By the time we reached a week out from the submission deadline, we knew we had to get in gear. Over that last week, my teammates and I spent anywhere from 5 to 10 hours each day working on the paper. Most of the content was done with about a day to go, we just needed to finalize our grammar and make sure it was pristine. Despite our beliefs that we were ahead, we ended up scrambling at literally the last moment to get it turned in. Who knew that trying to combine a 35-page paper would bog down a MacBook and take a few minutes to upload to the internet? In the end, the submission went through at 12:00.15 and we were safe. Check back here in a few weeks to see if we made it to the regional round!

Golfing in Naples, Florida!

After I thought all of the presents were opened this Christmas, my littlest brother (Wyatt) brought out one more envelope for me to open. I was a little nervous but extremely excited for what may be inside. After opening it, I read his 13 year old scribbling and the biggest smile came across my face. He, with the help of my mom, had put together a golf trip to Naples, Florida for me, my dad and my other younger brother (Patrick). That wasn’t the only surprise though. My mom decided to add an extra ticket for Wyatt to go with us too!

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Two days after Christmas, we were packed and ready to make our way down south. We arrived in Naples around 10pm so Patty and I ordered pizza because nothing else was open. I would say it was a great start to the trip. On the first day of the trip, we woke up at 7am to grab some breakfast and head to the golf course. We walked on the first tee box and I was just in awe at how incredible this golf course was. The greenest grass I’ve ever seen paired with some of the bluest water. Now came the hardest part of the entire trip…Trying not to embarrass myself. My first tee shot was miserable. The golf ball popped straight up in the air and fell about 20 yards in front of me; I had tee’d it up too high and walked back to the cart, red in the face.
The rest of that first round was better than the first shot but I still finished above my average score. I also lost more golf balls than ever before (thank god for Santa). After getting cleaned up, we adventured to downtown Naples to try and find a cool place to eat. We settled on an authentic Mexican restaurant that barely had enough room for 20 people. The food was incredible! After that adventure we made our way around to different shops and stores before taking off for the hotel.

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Day two was similar to the first but I shot a little better. After the round of golf, Patty and I relaxed on the beach for a few hours as the sun went down. Sitting on a beach in December is an amazing experience and I highly recommend it! On the last day of our trip, I shot the best nine holes of my life on the back. What a great way to finish the trip! Patty and my dad beat me on every round except those last nine holes and I will be proud of that for months to come!

Finals, Baseball and Sushi!

What a whirlwind it has been the past two weeks. It’s mostly my fault for procrastinating quite a bit but I can honestly say I spent more time in our computer lab over the past two weeks then I did in my apartment. As we approached finals week, I knew that I had a lot of work to do but wasn’t entirely sure how much. Finally, I sat down to get organized and realized I had two Corporate Finance case briefs due, a paper and presentation on the Norwegian economy, a HUGE Financial Modeling project due and a test in Derivatives worth 75% of our grade. It was time to get it in gear! With the help of my team, we crushed our Corporate Finance case briefs and presented our project on Norway like we were natives! Financial Modeling on the other hand was a bit more time consuming. We were responsible for creating a model in Excel that would provide flexibility and user-friendliness for anyone who was trying to price out a business trip to Honk Kong. After a combined 100 hours between four people, we had created a model that we were incredibly proud of. I needed a little break before starting to study for Derivatives so I took the night off and watched the original three Star Wars movies to get me pumped for the newest episode! Then it was back to the grind. I believe I could have prepared a little better for what I consider the busiest two weeks of my life, but everything worked out ok!

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It was time for a little fun. The other day I was asked by one of my international classmates to play some baseball. Naturally I was very interested having played ball for a majority of my life. We met at Anheuser Busch Sports Park and split into two teams consisting of two domestic and three international students each. I wont lie, I was a little over confident and was brought down a few pegs when I hit an easy pop up on my first pitch. The rest of the game was much more competitive than I thought it would be and my team ended up losing by only a few runs. Needless to say, I had an absolute blast and am excited for the next time we get out there. With this weather though…who knows when that will be.

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After our game of baseball, we took an adventure to Tensuke Market! I was told this was the absolute best and most authentic place to get sushi and traditional Japanese dishes in Columbus. We walked in to the market and I was instantly overwhelmed with foreign sights, sounds and smells…I was excited. I ordered a crunchy salmon roll, a jumbo spicy tuna roll and raw conch prepared sashimi style. The conch was the most exotic thing I have tried in quite some time and I loved it. If you are ever up on Henderson Road just off 315, I highly recommend you go check out Tensuke Market, you will not be disappointed!

Friends Giving With the Swimmers!

Have you ever heard of a Friends Giving?? I had no idea what it was until my roommate told me we should throw one about two weeks ago. Needless to say I wasn’t entirely sure what he was talking about and needed for him to explain. I had no idea how popular these things are but apparently a Friends Giving is when you assemble, exactly like you would on Thanksgiving, except the difference is a Friends Giving is more for seeing close friends rather than relatives. So I was hooked and decided we needed to go all out!

My roommate Rowan and I started this adventure by making a list of people we were going to invite (mostly old swimming friends who can eat..a lot) and a list of food that we wanted everyone to bring. Naturally, being the hosts, we decided to take on the turkey! Roaming around Kroger, we found a behemoth of a 25 pound turkey and I instantly called my mom to ask if we could borrow her roaster and of course…how to cook a turkey.

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As the day approached, I started to get nervous that people wouldn’t show up, wouldn’t bring any food or that the turkey wouldn’t turn out! Just being a little worrisome I guess. We thawed our bird, seasoned it up, threw it in the roaster and got ready to wait! After two hours it was done…I didn’t know what to do because people weren’t coming over for another two hours so we just turned the temperature way down and got to work on setting up our apartment with the amazing aroma of turkey thick in the air.

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I was blown away at what amazing culinary masterpieces people brought: mac ‘n cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, bread and butter, chicken wings, buffalo chicken dip (dangerously good), ham and of course…the desserts: Oreo pudding, mini pecan pies, full sized apple and pumpkin pies, ice cream and cookies. Then came the moment of truth, it was time to cut into the bird. I was nervous but it turned out to be one of the best turkeys I’ve ever had!

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The rest of the night consisted of watching football, stuffing ourselves, playing cards, eating more, recanting the funniest of stories from our golden days, trying to fit a few last bites in and a lot of sitting and digesting. All-in-all, our Friends Giving was a huge success and it made me feel like such an adult…not sure if I’m ready for that just yet!

Duff & Phelps Interview

I recently was selected for a second round interview with Duff & Phelps in their valuation services department. The entire process has been a whirlwind but incredible nonetheless. It started earlier this year when I walked into our first career fair and saw a big red table with some people in “Duff & Phelps” polos. I was nervous but walked right up and they started talking about the company, what kind of work I would do and what the different offices are like. After dropping my resume, I moved on the next table not thinking that I might have just met a future co-worker.

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A few days after the career fair I received an email asking me to formally apply for a position within the firm and maybe I would be selected for a first round interview on campus. As it turned out, I was selected and the interview was going to be a few days later. I was very excited but nervous at the same time. I knew I had some preparation to do!

The first round interview went well but it wasn’t what I expected. I spent a few hours preparing for behavioral and technical questions about valuation and then during the interview, all we talked about was my past, my interests, OSU football and the Atlanta office (ok, there was one technical question about valuing the Coke brand).

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About two weeks after the first round interview, I received word that I was invited to a second round in Atlanta! I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement. Over the next two weeks or so, I spent a few hours here and there doing prep questions, learning about different methods of valuation and researching different people within the Atlanta office. I have heard from people at Duff & Phelps and from different web sites like glassdoor.com that second rounds are very technical and may have a case analysis as well. Let’s hope that all this preparation pays off! Atlanta, here I come!