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Autumn is here… love the seasons!!!

This may sound weird, but back in the days in Houston we really just have 2 seasons: Summer and Winter. Plus the majority of the time I would be in t-shirts and shorts. Winter usually lasts about 3 months at the most, and you can get by pretty easily just by throwing a jacket on. Therefore, you can see that the first real autumn for Tiffany and I are quite exciting, and apparently, we have no idea what a real winter is like. XD

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Instead of remembering autumn as the season that I always spend lots of time plowing leaves in the front yard, I’m really enjoying the colors and the scenery at Fred Beekman Park. So what would a real winter look like? I can’t wait to take more pictures!!!

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Some more pictures while I was jogging. heheh =)


The Columbus Zoo

This week I’ll let my lovely wife, Tiffany, share her experience at the zoo with everyone.

Tiffany: The Columbus Zoo is a fun place for the whole family to spend a half day.  The zoo is clean and we like how the zoo is designed so we won’t miss any attractions.

The Halloween decorations are all over the zoo. You can see pumpkins everywhere. The zoo is a good place for picnic and there are also many outdoor eating areas. We arrived at the zoo at noon and noticed that not all the food court and food stands are open. I guess it’s because it’s a weekday.

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My three favorite places in the zoo are the aquarium, the kangaroos, and the baby elephant areas. At the Aquarium, there is a huge fish tank with hundreds of colored fish. It’s easy to stay there for an hour watching beautiful fish and tank decorations, and watch every kid hunting for Dory (one of nemo’s good friends). We like the kangaroo area because we get the chance to be in close contacts with these wild animals. For example, the fences are so low that the kangaroos can jump over easily.

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Instead of buying general admission for $12 ($11 on the website), you can buy tickets from the Ohio Union located in the Ohio Stadium for $5. Parking is an extra $5 and you can pay for parking on the Columbus zoo website to save time at the tollbooth.

If you want to beat the crowd, go during the weekdays. However, some attractions are weekends only such as pony ride (for children), boat ride, and the penguin area.  So you may want to check the zoo website to see the show schedule and what attractions are open on the weekends.

Take advantage of the nice weather while you still can. Our next stop is probably the German Village or the Amish Towns. See ya~


First real exercise since July…

Yesterday I went for a jog at the Fred Beekman Park for a little over 4 miles (well, I ran 2 and walked 2). That was my first real exercise in almost 3 months! The day was perfect although the temperature was a little chilly. Nevertheless, my body was tired after the run because how out-of-shape I’ve been since moving to Columbus, but my mind was refreshed and I was ready to study for 824 and put together my 804 report!

As Manru said in her previous post, life has been extremely busy (and crazy) since week 2 of school. I am willing to bet that this is the case for everyone in the Fisher graduate programs, because we’re just that good. LOL! So on top of Manru’s time management tips, I’d like to add one personal touch and that is, give yourself a minimum of an hour or two a week and get away from the books and reports. Because as you approach that threshold where you start losing focus and motivation, if you’re like me then you’ll find yourself surfing on facebook or slickdeals or simply idling when you could be recharging yourself outside!

Here are some of my suggestions for a temporary escape from school work:

  1. Exercise – Fred Beekman Park, RPAC, ARC, or the gym downstairs at your apartment complex
  2. Columbus Zoo – you can get cheap tickets at the student union
  3. Visit German Village, Amish Country, etc
  4. Sleep – this one is particularly precious these days… when all else fail to interest you, take a huge nap!
  5. Last but not least, come read our blogs and see what suggestions or stories we have for you. heheh okay just kidding…

Relax! Chances are you’ll be in a group with 3-5 people so I’m sure you can lean on your team for a couple hours. However, I will not be held liable if your group decides to take a field trip to the zoo and somehow miss your project/report deadline… XD

Cheers~

Henry


The Coldest Football Game I’ve Ever Been To In My Life!!!

Okay, I know I’m probably gonna get laugh at for saying this, but I don’t care: The OSU vs. Wisconsin game was the coldest football game I’ve ever been to! I have to be fair though, the weather was terrific. Blue sky, tiny bit of cloud, mild wind, last but not least… 50-55 degrees… orz (that’s almost winter for Texans)

I’ve been to plenty of games back in Texas, both college football and NFL, and I’m accustomed to be in a 90-100 degrees environment (100+ if you’re in the sun) plus the heat from the 100,000 fans surrounding you. I’ve also been to the Rose Bowl twice in January and even then it didn’t feel nearly as cold as today. I ended up going home early in the 3rd quarter after we opened the quarter with a kick-off return and expanded the lead to 24 points. Here’s my excuses for having such pitiful endurance and lessons learned:

  1. Defense > Offense – our defense and special teams scored 3 TDs but that only came once every 30 minutes or so. I’m sort of the offense kind of guy. I like seeing big plays. GO LONG!!!
  2. Not much of a challenge – their QB looked pretty good, but still, I get bored easily, especially when the margin goes beyond two possessions
  3. Bring a bigger jacket!!! I felt really smart wearing a t-shirt and a light BR jacket (just for looks) and found out that our section has our backs to the sun. Never have I missed the sunshine so badly. LOL

I said the same thing on fb when I got home last night and almost immediately I got a couple responses saying “just you wait til the Iowa game in November”. Time to bring out my Columbia heavy-duty skiing coat. I’ll be ready!!!

GO BUCKS!!!


AMIS 824 – Corporate Finance

I love all 4 of my classes this quarter, but I want to bring your attention to this particular one – AMIS 824 Corporate Finance. This class is unique in many ways. To start off, in the introduction email Professor Dave Williams sent to the class, he specifically mentioned that we won’t be doing any journal entries, T-accounts, or cite FASB statements. But wait a second, I thought this is an accounting class??? (AMIS stands for Accounting & Management Information System)

Now that school’s been in session for about 2 weeks, I started to get a feel of what he means. Dave (he likes to be informal and prefers to be called by his first name instead of Professor Williams) usually starts the class by reading an article or two on the Wall Street Journal and discuss with the class the magnitude of the news and the effect/consequence/special meaning it has both to the accounting profession and the financial industry. Then we spend the remaining class period analyzing financial statements of various companies in a very fun and intuitive way. You might say, how is analyzing hundreds of pages of the 10-K fun?

Well, first of all we don’t look at the entire 10-K because Dave is environment-friendly and would like to save trees. Second, some day we look at just the income statement, another day we’ll look at the balance sheet followed by the statement of cash flow, or sometimes the combination of them. Then he’ll make the students think hard and fast what lies beneath the numbers. He asks questions like: why do you expect to see a high balance in the inventory account for so and so? What does it mean when you see cash outflows from PP&E every year? Is that a good thing or a bad thing and why? So far we’ve looked at the financial statements of Tootsie Roll, Hershey, GE, Southwest Airline, Whirlpool, Campbell’s Soup, 5/3 Bank, Amazon, J-Crew, American Eagle Outfitter, and Pacific Sun. Next week we’ll talk about revenue recognition and look at Microsoft’s financial statements. Microsoft!!! I’m getting excited just as I’m typing this.

Dave is ingenious in drawing the class’ attention. He tells jokes, makes fun of himself and sometimes his kids, and you can be sure that he’ll call you out (not to embarrass you, but all for good fun) if you say something silly without giving it some thought. He comes at you fast and furious and you better devote 120% of your attention to him if you don’t want to miss anything important (and the jokes). Starting this week I’m bringing a digital recorder to record the lecture so that I don’t have to take notes frantically. Lastly, I tried to imitate his style a little bit and be funny in front of the 211 students (I’m a TA) but so far to no avail.


Why a MAcc

About 2 years ago I made one of the hardest decisions in my life. This decision has two parts to it: 1. To quit or not to quit my job; and 2. If I do quit, should I get a MBA or something else?

The first part turned out to be pretty straight forward. I was dragging my feet to work everyday and when I’m at work, my morale hit rock bottom. I was chatting online and writing emails to friends constantly asking for their opinions because a number of them ran into the same situation and ended up going back to school for their MBAs. So a decision was made: I’m quitting this job. See ya~

Before I sent in my resignation, I had to think really hard about what I want to do after grad school and hence what I need to accomplish and learn from grad school. My ill-fated start-up experience taught me a lot about running a business and brought out my hidden business side. I took on many challenges and really enjoyed the process and the sense of accomplishment. Okay, so definitely not going back for a master in engineering. Now what? Get a MBA?

I wasn’t quite sure what a MBA is for except that it spells Master of Business Administration. I knew many of my friends were pursuing one. So I began my research by going down the list of some of the most prominent business schools according to the USNEWS ranking.  Stanford, Harvard, U-Penn, Chicago, etc, all of them were very dazzling and what amazed me the most was the number of areas they cover in their programs in order to make their MBA candidates successful. I took a step back and thought, well I’m not big on management (at least not yet), I’m really not a marketing/sales person, and I’m not really interested in HR, logistics, PR, operations, etc. So what did I like the most out of my start-up experience? Yup, you guessed it, accounting & finance.

There’s so much involved to start or run a business. You are in contact with numerous entities daily. Vendors, lenders, customers, employees, partners, etc, all of which require some forms of resource going back and forth, which then can all be translated into money. Without a good information system, you go with what you know and hope for the best. However, if you know some accounting or have someone manage and design a sound accounting system for you, then you can base your decisions and strategies on information you can trust. Lastly, if anything, I used to be an engineer and still think like one so I’m very logical and good with numbers. Cliche? Ha, maybe~

So what are you trying to learn in grad school and what are your goals after you’re done?


The PreMAcc Seminar

Forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but I can’t remember if I mentioned my undergrad degree in my last post. So here it is again, I graduated  from the University of Texas with a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering.

So how much accounting training did I have before deciding to switch career to accounting? nada~ I took 2 intro accounting classes at a local community college and that’s it. I did take 6 calculus classes in undergrad but that probably doesn’t make too much of a difference, does it? To close up the gap and be able to catch up to the rest of my peers, fortunately there’s this summer intensive accounting bootcamp called PreMAcc and I’m here to share with you what we went through in just 6 weeks.

The seminar is divided into 3 modules: Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, and Auditing.

Financial Accounting

In a nutshell, 3 quarters worth of intermediate accounting packed into 13 days including 2 Saturdays. Sounds scary and crazy at first, but you come out of it knowing more accounting than you ever did. Some notable topics that really opened my eyes were: Revenue Recognition, Time Value of Money, Debts, Statement of Cashflow, etc. Make sure you learn these concepts well, because they will keep coming back not only in your future accounting classes, but also finance classes. Having seen these concepts once makes it so much easier to grasp the advanced topics and if you fear that you might be getting rusty, fear not, the rigorous schedule of PreMAcc have long carved the concepts in your memory. They will come back very quickly!

Cost Accounting

So you’ve been through the toughest module and everything from here on out is all downhills. You learn about different costing methods, CVP, Decision Making, Master Budget, Capital Budgeting, etc. Here you get a taste of private accounting, in other words, what managers see inside a company that enable them to make decisions and evaluate different strategies. This module was only half as long as the first one and lasted 7 days. This module is fun because you get to turn the table around and gain an understanding of why some managers do certain things.

Auditing

Before this module I had no idea what auditors do. All I know is back when I was still working in IT consulting, whenever there’s auditors on site we’d have to be really careful of what we say and sometimes we even stop our development because of Sarbane-Oxley. I’ve also heard “horror” stories from friends who are/were doing auditing in public accounting about their 60-70 hours weeks and how much they hate their “busy work”. All that’s changed after going through this module. We started by learning why there is the need of the profession “auditing” in the first place. Then we went about how an auditor should understand the risks his/her client’s particular business is exposed to, how to plan the audit to evaluate the internal controls and assess the chances that the client’s financial statements might be misstated due to error or fraud, and last but not least, the liabilities auditors are facing and proper documentations.

Having completed the PreMAcc both boosted my confidence and sharpened my accounting skills so I’m ready for the real deal. Feel free to drop me any questions if you think you’re going to take the PreMAcc. I can even give you a preview of the professors that you’re going to meet. All three of them are great, intelligent individuals who know the stuff inside out.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to my fellow PreMAccers: Chia-Lung, Ya-Ting, Bobby, Bennett, Dustin, Nadia (our fellow blogger), Yang Yang, Wei, Qi, Lisi, John, Peishan, Michael, and Stephen. Good Job Guys!!!


Back to School

This title can mean 2 things:

1) Our break will end officially in two days.  I am eager to take on my classes, at the same time, I am also anxious about the career fair the following Tuesday and all the interviews thereafter (fingers crossed, pick me pick me).

2) I finished my undergraduate five years ago and worked in the IT consulting industry for about four years. Toward the end of that career I was dragging my feet to work every morning and thus began searching for a new direction. After a series of events, I decided that I need more formal education, particularly in accounting, in order to succeed in the business world. Therefore, I’m going “back to school”.

At the beginning of the application process I was confronted by a hard decision: MBA or MAcc? I ended up picking MAcc (for reasons that I’ll save for another topic) and I applied to a number of schools, namely Texas, USC, Vanderbilt, Indiana, and of course, Ohio State. I received admissions from several of them, but this time it was a rather easy decision. OSU’s innovative MAcc program itself and the people I was in contact with totally won me over. I expect many of you prospective students be in touch with Rob, and you’ll see what I mean.


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