Tips for Virtual Interviews

Part of the application process for the Master of Finance, Master of Accounting, and Master of Human Resource Management programs involves completing an online video interview.  Here are some of my tips to help you ace our virtual interviews.

  • Look into the camera.  If you were in an in-person interview, you would look the person you are speaking with in the eye, right? Why not do the same for a virtual interview?
  • Pick the perfect spot.  Try to find a place that is clean, quiet, and comfortable.  We do not want to be distracted by people walking by you in the background or background noises.
  • Don’t drag it out.  If your response is shorter than the amount of time allocated for it, there is nothing wrong with ending the video! Don’t throw yourself off track by making the story longer than it needs to be.
  • Dress for success.  Dress as if you were going to an in-person interview.  Looking your best conveys the message that you are interested and prepared.
  • Test your technology beforehand.  Make sure that your browser is compatible with the interview platform.  Check to see that your voice is not too loud or too quiet.
  • Practice – Before you start the interview, make sure you have different ideas of talking points you would like to bring up to generic interview questions you may get.  Get the nerves out early!
  • BE HONEST & YOURSELF – This could be our only chance to get to know you before making a decision on whether or not to admit you into our program.  Be honest and genuine with your answers.  Let us know what you are passionate about and what makes you unique!

Best of luck with your application to Ohio State!

*Disclaimer : This is my personal advice to you and may not reflect the opinions of The Ohio State University as a whole.

Buckeyethon!

Buckeyethon is one of The Ohio State University‘s signature events each school year.  This 24-hour dance marathon is a fundraiser for children being treated in the Hematology/Oncology/BMT Unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  This year, Ohio State students raised $1,704,184.19 for the kids!

As a participant in Buckeyethon for the first time, I was amazed at how many Ohio State students selflessly sacrifice their time to fundraise money and dance for twelve hours on the weekend in order to promote awareness for childhood cancer.  My shift was the “Scarlet Shift” which ran from Friday at 7 P.M. to Saturday at 7 A.M.  My friends and I were placed on the green team.  Each color team had seemingly more than 100 members and had kids from the hospital to celebrate and dance with.

Members of the Green Team

There was more to do than just dance – I played dodgeball, mini-golf, “Gaga ball” and caught up with friends I had not seen in a while at the dance marathon.  My favorite part of the night was the 3 a.m. rave, where all of the students got together to dance under neon flashing lights in the Union Ballroom.

Buckeyethon 3 a.m. Rave

Overall, Buckeython was an amazing experience and I am so glad I made the commitment to doing it back in the fall.  I would recommend every OSU undergraduate or graduate student to take part in this event, as it is truly a great time and raises money for an outstanding cause.

Buckeyethon Kids Dancing on Stage

Snow Place Like Columbus

This January has been especially snowy at The Ohio State University (and around the country), which has provided students with opportunities to have fun in the snow! Our first snowfall in January was a big one, and so my roommates and I took full advantage by going sledding around campus using cardboard and makeshift plastic for sleds.

My roommate Nathan sledding down the sidewalk

I also was able to go skiing with friends at a resort just outside of Columbus. Ohio State offers discounted tickets to many different events and locations around Columbus, so we were able to get lift and rental tickets at a great price. Skiing as a beginner was challenging, but a ton of fun.  It’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things in order to grow! I am grateful to Ohio State and the MAcc program for providing me these kinds of opportunities to learn and have fun.

Skiing with my friends

One thing I love about the MAcc program is that all of our classes are in the same building: Gerlach Hall. This saves us from having to walk across campus to get to our next class. All MAcc students are provided a locker as well, making it easy to change out of those snowy boots into your business apparel! While the weather may be cold outside during the start of spring semester, our love of Fisher certainly is not.

Traveling Back in Time to Cuba

Fresh off the excitement of finishing my first semester of graduate school, I decided to take a break from the books, cold weather, and CPA prep courses and travel to Cuba with my brother.

Wait – that Cuba? Yes, that Cuba. Visiting Cuba has always been a dream of mine.  My grandmother immigrated to the United States from Cuba before the Castro regime took over in the early 1950s.  Due to obvious political conflicts between the U.S. and Cuba, the U.S. government restricts U.S. citizens from traveling to Cuba unless they meet one of 12 OFAC requirements.  No one in my family has ever been there, and my grandmother has not visited since she left 65+ years ago.  When the opportunity to travel to Cuba arose for my brother and me in November, we jumped right on it.

To get to Cuba, we took a small cruise ship that left from Miami.  Cuba is only about 330 miles off the coast of Miami.  Upon arrival, I felt as if I stepped back time time.  The first thing you notice is the old cars.  They are everywhere!  Due to economic sanctions, it is nearly impossible for Cubans to get new cars or new car parts.  Because of this, they make sure to keep their cars from the 1950s in top shape and even make their own parts for repairs.

Pink Car Cruising down the Street
Me in a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado

My brother and I rented a gorgeous 1955 Eldorado for three hours and drove all over Havana (we had a driver) to see the sights before deciding which ones we would explore more.  Driving around, you will not see anything that you would in America: no fast food chains, major billboards, bright lights, or department stores.  Communist propaganda is everywhere around the city.  Even the U.S. embassy was closed.  The only American reference we saw was the capital building in Havana, El Capitolio, which was modeled after the White House.

El Capitolio in Havana

Day-to-day life is drastically different too.  Many Cubans do not have cell phones or internet access.  One Cuban we talked to said they got access to Google the week before we arrived (early December).  For example, Cubans have to go to the “Black Market” to watch American TV shows we see every day, such as South Park or Game of Thrones.   The vast majority of people in Cuba make $10 a month, with doctors being the highest paid at $50 a month.  Education and healthcare are free for all and you can take advantage of these services as much as you want.  A tour guide we had showed us her “Ration Book” that she has to take to get her bread and rice from the government.

My trip to Cuba was eye opening and made me feel very blessed to have been born in the United States.  Everyone we talked to was extremely friendly. I’m very grateful to be able to visit and share my experience!

Thanks for reading!

Thanksgiving Break Activities

Thanksgiving break allows Ohio State University students to take a break from the stresses of college life and enjoy time with friends and family.  At Ohio State, we get the Wednesday through Friday of Thanksgiving week off.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to go back to my hometown of Buffalo, New York for break.

Thanksgiving Hockey

After saying hi my family, I hit the ice! Hockey has always been a huge part of my life, and so having the opportunity to skate around for a couple hours and play the sport I love felt great.  Hockey is a very popular sport in Buffalo, while it is just starting to grow in popularity in Columbus.  I participate in intramural hockey at Ohio State, which I find to be a great way to exercise after classes.

My view for the Sabres game

After playing hockey, I decided to go watch an NHL game! My hometown team is the Buffalo Sabres, and they won their seventh straight game when I was there! Columbus has an NHL team called the Blue Jackets, which is popular around campus.  The Blue Jackets offer discounted tickets to students, and I go to their games occasionally too!

Catching up with long time friends

I caught up with some friends from Buffalo, ate a massive Thanksgiving dinner, and then went back to Columbus for “The Game,”  which refers to the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game, which happens every year on the day after Thanksgiving.  Our two schools are well known to be the biggest rivals in all of sports.  This game was especially important because the loser would essentially be knocked out of the college football playoff race.  Ohio State won 62- 39 and everyone stormed the field to celebrate during the final seconds.

Beating Michigan!

As I have said before, school spirit runs high at Ohio State.  Students here are proud to be Buckeyes both inside and outside of the classroom!  Thanks for reading and as always, please let me know if you have any questions!

The GA Life

Ohio State Specialized Masters Programs all have Graduate Assistant (GA) opportunities available for students.  Many of those who contribute to the My Fisher Grad Life Blog are graduate assistants, including myself, so I figured it would be helpful to explain a little more about the GA position and what we do!

In my opinion, the GA position is the best opportunity for a graduate student to work on campus.  Graduate Assistants work 10 hours a week and are rewarded with a 50% tuition waiver and monthly stipend.  Everyone who applies for a graduate program is automatically considered for a GA position.

Graduate Assistants work as recruiting ambassadors, teaching assistants, or help out with special projects.  As a recruiting ambassador, I have had the opportunity to interact with students from across the world and talk to them about how great Ohio State’s Master of Accounting program is.

Promoting Ohio State Masters Programs in the Graduate Programs Office.

My main role as a recruitment GA is to coordinate visits for students who are invited to visit to the Master of Accounting program.  I talk with the prospective student and find a day that works well for them to visit.  I then make the necessary appointments with faculty, recruiting and admissions, and Office of Career Management so that the student gets to experience all the important aspects of Fisher.  On visit day, I will meet the prospective student, bring them to a class, take them out to lunch at the Blackwell Bistro, walk them to their appointments, and give a tour of the Fisher College of Business or the whole Ohio State University campus.

A Student Recruitment Lunch at the Blackwell

Aside from coordinating visits, I help manage our MAcc email box and answer questions daily from interested students.  I also speak to potential students over the phone or during walk-in visits about the MAcc program.  Being a combined BSBA/MAcc student, I am the “go to” for information about getting a combined undergraduate/graduate degree for The Ohio State University undergraduate accounting majors.

Working hard on Halloween

Other responsibilities I have as a recruitment GA involve helping with applicant relationship management in our Salesforce database and speaking to undergraduate classes or on panels about graduate school.  Working in the Graduate Programs Office at Fisher is great because you get to know people from the other programs Fisher offers, such as the MHRM, SMF, and MBA programs.  Everyone in the office is very helpful and friendly and make me enjoy coming to work every day!

With Audrey (MAcc GA) and Elise (MHRM GA) at a Buckeyes game

I hope that this blog has helped provide some insight into a great work and funding opportunity the Fisher College of Business provides select graduate school applicants.  I love The Ohio State University and being a part of the Fisher College of Business, so it’s only a bonus that I get paid to promote the school that has given me so much!  As always, please feel to reach out if you have questions about the MAcc program or life as a graduate student!

How to Get Both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in 4 Years

Picture this – It’s May of your senior year of college. You are at graduation in Ohio Stadium and walk across the stage with your classmates, shake the Dean’s hand, and get handed two separate degrees: bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.

The combined BSBA/MAcc program is one of the most unique opportunities the Fisher College of Business has to offer.  You are essentially both an undergraduate and graduate student during your final year of college, taking graduate level classes that satisfy both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.  Every year, high-achieving undergraduates who have met the combined BSBA/MAcc requirements enter the MAcc program and take classes with graduate students from all around the world.

In order to be able to join the combined BSBA/MAcc Program, you must:

  1. Be an Ohio State University undergraduate student studying accounting.
  2. Have 90 credits at the time of application and 120 credits by the time you enter the program.
  3. Have a cumulative GPA at 3.5 or above.
  4. Have taken all required 3000-level accounting specialization courses (except 3400 – tax) by enrollment.
  5. Complete an online application during the fall of your junior year. For the application, you will need to have taken the GMAT and have at least two academic letters of reference, so make sure to plan ahead!

There are a number of undergraduate accounting courses that can be taken as equivalents in the MAcc to satisfy both graduate and undergraduate requirements. This allows for maximum flexibility in completing other undergraduate courses. For example, I was able to finish my Spanish minor my Junior Year because I could defer undergraduate courses to the MAcc program. Here are some examples of course substitutions:

                                                       BSBA/MAcc Course Substitutions

If this seems like something you might be interested in, plan ahead! It is never too early to come into the Graduate Programs Office to speak with a Graduate Ambassador about planning out your undergraduate schedule to meet the program requirements.

I know that this is a lot of information, so if you have any questions about my experience with the BSBA/MAcc program, please feel free to reach out. Being a part of the MAcc program has been an enriching experience and I would recommend it to anyone looking to make themselves stand out by obtaining a graduate degree.

Buckeye Road Trip

School spirit runs high at Ohio State, especially during football season. On September 28, my friends and I made the trek to State College, PA, to watch our undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes play Penn State. We sat in the Ohio State student section and cheered as loudly as we could as Ohio State fans were vastly outnumbered in the stadium. Penn State set an attendance record with 110,800 people, and of those only about 5,000 were dawning the scarlet and gray.

This was one of the most stressful athletic events I have ever watched in my

Cheering on the Buckeyes

life. This game, between #4 Ohio State and #9 Penn State, had massive implications on who would advance to the college football playoff in December. I have always wanted to experience a National Championship at some point during my Ohio State career, so this was a crucial game to win.

Ohio State was down 12 points with 8 minutes left, and scored 13 points to win the game in what became the highest rated college football game of the year. Chants of “OH-“ followed by “-IO” rang throughout Beaver Stadium just before we celebrated our win by singing “Carmen Ohio” with the players. Hanging out with Ohio State students and alumni before, during, and after the game showed me how passionate Buckeyes are about our school.

This game was a memory I’ll never forget. I am glad to have the opportunity to go to a school with such a plethora of athletic, academic, and social activities!

Trip to Seattle for Microsoft Interview

In early September, I flew out to Redmond, Washington for a final round interview with Microsoft for a finance position.  Even though I am in the Master of Accounting Program, I decided to explore other career paths besides public accounting when deciding where I wanted to apply.

When I first stepped foot on the Microsoft campus, I was instantly reminded of Ohio State.  The campus is very green and large yet easy to navigate.  People were outside running and enjoying their time on the basketball, soccer, and volleyball courts that are scattered throughout the Microsoft campus.  Microsoft also has a bus service that takes employees around campus, similar to Ohio State’s CABS system.   I enjoyed being able to see technology of the past, present, and future at Microsoft’s Visitor Center.

Microsoft’s Campus in Redmond, Washington

After walking around campus to get the nerves out, I went into my “Super Day” where I had lunch, four interviews, and dinner with Microsoft finance professionals.  I had an awesome experience talking with employees from the company and decided to accept a full time position with them the following week.

No visit to Seattle would have been complete without visiting the Space

My view from the Space Needle in Seattle

Needle! I was stunned by the amazing views from the top deck of the 605 foot tower. There is also a deck a level below that has a rotating see-through glass floor. Having never been to the Pacific Northwest, I was amazed at how beautiful the natural environment was.

Signing my name on my offer of employment was a huge stress reliever.  After having interviewed with dozens of companies throughout my college career, my best advice to someone in the job hunt is to just be yourself!  By landing an interview, you have already demonstrated to employers that you have the background of someone who is a potential fit for their company.  Now, it is time to make sure you are a cultural fit for them and they are a cultural fit for you! Most people do not realize that interviews are meant to find a mutual fit.  It is important to do your research and have a strong list of questions prepared to learn more about employees at the company you are evaluating.

A fun fact about the MAcc program is that all students receive a career consultant to work with as we are searching for jobs. I utilized mine to help with evaluating and negotiating my various offers.  There are so many different career paths that you can take after the MAcc and I am glad Ohio State provides us with the resources to figure out which path is best for us.

Hi, I’m Matt

Hello!

My name is Matt Steffan, and I will be serving as the combined BSBA/MAcc Graduate Ambassador for the 2018–2019 school year.  Now what does being in a combined program mean? Essentially, I take Master of Accounting classes while in the fourth year of my undergraduate program.  I am able to satisfy the requirements for the handful of accounting classes that I would take my senior year of undergrad by taking equivalent classes in the Master of Accounting Program.  I truly get the “best of both worlds,” as I am eligible to go to events for both undergraduate and graduate students.

My background is in accounting and I spent two summers as an intern with KPMG Buffalo. I worked in audit the summer after my sophomore year and took part in a rotational program where I was in both audit and advisory the summer after my junior year. After graduation from the combined BSBA/MAcc program, I will be working as an analyst for Microsoft.

Outside of school and work, I am a huge sports fan.  I go to all of the Buckeye football games and most of the hockey games.  While I love the Buckeyes, my heart has always been with the Buffalo Bills (#BillsMafia) and Buffalo Sabres.  I am patiently waiting for the day my city gets a championship because I know Buffalo will never be the same after.  I have played hockey competitively my entire life, and still play recreationally while at school.

My close friend Brutus

In my free time, I exercise, routinely come up just short in fantasy football leagues, and play video games.  I also manage a few investment portfolios and am very into the stock market, being a member of Buckeye Capital Investors on campus.  If you are reading this, I encourage you to start investing today! The best time to invest was 20 years ago, but the second best time to invest is today.  As the wise Warren Buffet once said, “The stock market is a tool for transferring money from the impatient to the patient”.

A snowy Bills game in Buffalo, New York

I am very excited to have the opportunity to blog for Fisher Grad Life regarding my MAcc experience.  If you ever have questions related to my experiences with the MAcc program or as a combined student feel free to reach out!