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Entrepreneurship at Fisher

 

One of the greatest benefits of attending Fisher College of Business is the chance to join a culture rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit. As an entrepreneur and start-up junkie this was a critical factor in my decision to continue my education at Ohio State. Columbus and OSU offer unprecedented resources and opportunities for budding “starters” such as the business builders club, start-up weekend, TechColumbus, and the Deloitte Entrepreneurship Competition. Moreover, Fisher’s Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization course was named one of the 10 best entrepreneurship courses in the nation by Inc. magazine. The course builds business around emerging technologies developed at The Ohio State University and other research institutions that have not found commercial uses.” And so, for this blog post, I thought I would share one of my current start-up projects and how Fisher College of Business and Ohio State have helped me along the way.

Columbus Start-Up Weekend

It all started during my internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers this past summer in Columbus. Believe it or not, I met the lead recruiter for our region on my first day at Ohio State – a bond that ultimately led to my internship and eventual job offer in Chicago. Anyways, one of my co-interns from Indiana University participated in Project Belize, a week long experience offered by PwC to teach underprivileged children in Belize basic financial literacy skills. When he told me about the program I was impassioned and began to seek out state-side opportunities that were similar. What I found was a financial literacy education landscape dominated by conflicting programming and mediocre performance. In fact, one study by the Jump$tart Coalition suggested that current efforts had made essentially no impact in student financial literacy over the past 10 years. That was when I realized I had to do something – to use my creative nature and knowledge from business school to make an impact. The result was the founding of Centsay, a start-up non-profit focused on providing universal access to financial literacy education.

Project Belize (PwC) – Our Initial Inspiration

Our journey – from that first brainstorming session to implementing our business model – has been an amazing adventure (and we’re still right in the thick of it), but I can with certainty say that we couldn’t have possibly accomplished everything that we have in the past 5 months without the support network and resources available via Ohio State and Columbus. To highlight a few:

  1. Being enrolled in a business school with integrating programming has allowed me to meet MAcc, MBA, MHR, SMF, and undergraduate students. These different student bodies offer unique perspectives and strengths and weaknesses. Being able to connect with all of them facilitated the construction of our core team and ability to quickly locate short-term specialists to help us overcome short-term obstacles.
  2. Professors in Fisher have been an invaluable resource for vetting ideas, strategies, and plans. They have been able to provide our team with advice about areas where we lack expertise and guidance when we encounter issues that we have no experience with.
  3. University leadership and staff have had an open door policy with regards to making our venture a success. Whether we are looking for space to work on projects or introductions to potential partners or donors Ohio State has always gone above and beyond what any of our team members expected.

Ohio State has the unique attribute of giving its students not only the skills, but also the confidence to succeed. While our venture is still in-process, we know we can count on our school for continued support!


After The MAcc: Accounting Policy with the FASB

 

When most people think about what a career in accounting entails they typically picture auditing financial statements or filing tax returns. To be sure, assurance and tax services make up a huge component of the industry and are fantastic opportunities for development and long-term success.  However, there are many other exciting ways to leverage the unique skill set developed during a Master’s of Accounting program. In this blog post I would like to describe one such opportunity, which I will be pursuing after graduation.

This past October I received an email from the accounting department at the Fisher College of Business asking if I would accept a nomination on behalf of the university for a fellowship with the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Post-graduate Technical Assistants (the formal title of the position) serve, “one-year terms, during which they become highly involved with the accounting standards-setting process and come to have an in-depth understanding of the roles played by preparers, auditors, and users of financial information.” The prospect of becoming directly involved with accounting policy and working alongside some of the top accounting minds in the world sounded like an amazing opportunity so I enthusiastically accepted the nomination. Over the course of the next six months I went through a rigorous recruitment process including obtaining a substantial letter of recommendation from the accounting department, traveling to Norwalk, CT for a final interview with the Financial Accounting Foundation, and ultimately receiving a phone call at the start of spring break letting me know that I had been selected as one of six PTAs!

Downtown Norwalk

As a PTA I will work on major agenda projects as well as short-term practice and implementation issues. According to the FASB, my roles will include, “analyzing written submissions received on documents issued for public comment, reviewing and analyzing published research, preparing memorandums on technical issues for Board members’ information, drafting due process documents, and evaluating accounting proposals of other organizations.” Additionally, I will, “attend and occasionally participate in public Board, task force, and other meetings pertinent to my projects.” Current projects at the Board include accounting for financial instruments, revenue recognition, leases, and many more.

Attending & Participating in Board Meetings

The experience I will gain through my time at the FASB will be truly invaluable and provide me with a unique skill set moving forward. It allows me to apply my accounting knowledge in an unconventional way, which aligns well with my personality, strengths, and long-term goals. I am thrilled to see what the next year has in store for me and am grateful to have attended a university that gave me the education and support needed to identify & realize this opportunity.

Fisher Campus

 


Blockbuster Research in Fisher MAcc

Argo Wins Best Picture at the 2013 Academy Awards

One of my favorite courses that I have taken since starting the MAcc program at Ohio State has been Accounting Policy and Research with Professor Zach. He always finds ways to make class exciting and has a knack for simplifying complex topics.

The class primarily consists of reading research papers related to accounting topics and writing abstracts about their core content. In addition, the students were assigned into groups of four and given the task of conducting their own research project in the form of an event study. An event study is a methodology for measuring the impact of an event on the price of a stock. My group decided to analyze whether a successful opening weekend of a blockbuster film had an impact on the price of the stock of the production company. We defined a successful weekend as a movie reeling in $70 million dollars or more.

Wall Street (A Blockbuster Movie about Business)

Our results were really interesting. It turns out that, in general, prices actually go down following a major success at the box office. How can this be? We hypothesized that production companies are only a minor component of much larger entities and so despite $70 million seeming like a large sum, in reality it is small fries for the parent company. In addition, we contended that investors may be overconfident in the future success of a movie. As a result, stock prices may be inflated due to unrealistic expectations for the movie’s success prior to its release. Therefore, even a “successful” weekend may lead to a decrease in price.

This was a great experience and opened my doors to the world of practicing accounting research. While this was a very minor first step, it was certainly an invaluable experience and something I know I wouldn’t have had the chance to do outside of Ohio State.

The Fisher College of Business


Skills You Didn’t Know You Would Learn During the MAcc: Carpentry

I should preface this post by explaining that I live off-campus with seven other guys. It might sound crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. To be sure, there’s never a dull moment.

Anyways, most of us are students in Fisher, but John, my best friend since High School, is an engineer (although he has currently been dabbling in improv comedy). Over the summer John came up with the idea of building a bar for our living room. The other roommates, including me (at first), were picturing something like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately for us, John had other plans. Retreating to his room for a week of intense research and development, John put together a design of such elegance that we still hardly believe it belongs to us. The short-version of this epic saga goes something like this:

1. John designs the bar using his fancy engineering software.

2. John and I drive to a Lumber Mill to buy materials and wood.

3. John cuts the wood using a huge saw.

4. John and I stain the bar dark cherry.

4. John and I assemble the bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, I had refined my finesse with power tools and put a few hairs on my chest. More importantly, we had this in our Living Room:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So how does this relate to the MAcc? There are a few key take-aways:

  • Working with a diverse group of people often leads to innovation. At Fisher you will be surrounded by MBA, MHRM, SMF, MAcc and undergraduate students. Embrace this opportunity to learn from each other and great things will happen.
  • Dream big and take control of your own destiny. When it comes to finding a job after graduation you can settle for something within your reach, or aim for the career of your dreams. My roommates and I would have been happy with a simple bar, but investing the time and energy to make a bar we were proud of was so much more fulfilling. The Fisher Office of Career Management gives you the chance to refine your interviewing skills. Our outstanding faculty give you the chance to absorb and apply some of the most important ideas shaping the business world around you. Take advantage of their expertise and get that perfect offer.
  • Work hard together and celebrate your successes together. Building the bar took weeks, but when we were finished and saw the result of our hard work we knew just what to do. We grabbed a few drinks, pulled up some chairs, and celebrated.

Beautiful Ohio State: Top-Five Visual Moments of the Fall Season

There is a certain magic that sweeps through campus during fall at The Ohio State University. Between the start of MAcc classes, Buckeye football, and wonderful autumn weather we are truly spoiled in Columbus, OH. Moreover, Fall is a visual reminder of how beautiful our campus truly is. And so, without further ado, I would like to present Beautiful Ohio State, a countdown of my top-five visual moments of the Fall season on campus.

5.) Running along the banks of the Olentangy River on the Olentangy Trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Bringing a date to Mirror Lake (grab ice-cream at the Mirror Lake Creamery).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Hanging out with friends in the Oval (Frisbee, football, or soccer ball recommended).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.) Simply walking around campus (don’t underestimate this one).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.) The Shoe (There’s nothing like a football game at Ohio Stadium).


The Search for the Perfect Breakfast in Columbus: Jack & Benny’s

Specialized Master in Breakfast

My friends had been telling me about this local watering hole since freshman year of undergrad. Delicious food, great prices, and a chill atmosphere camouflaged behind a rustic blue awning, layers of worn bricks, and retro white shutters in an aged building off High Street in the Old North. This past Saturday conditions were perfect for the long-awaited trip, so I grabbed a few friends, hopped into my car, and began what was sure to be a mouthwatering adventure for my taste buds.
The View From High Street

After parking (and determining whether my parking spot was legitimate or a ticket-waiting-to-happen) I caught my first glance of Jack & Benny’s. It reminded me of the Mom and Pop restaurants I had come to love during my childhood. Visions of Corned Beef Hash, Juevos Rancheros, and Gut-Busting Omlettes raced through my head. This was going to be delicious. My stomach growled in anticipation.

Paradise Found

We sat down in a booth near the back of the diner. My eyes wandered between a myriad of hanging pictures and decorations, an inadvertant time capsule of long-forgotten heroes and modern-day legends. An electric clock sitting on a shelf beside the stove buzzed from years of ware, the sound of sizzling sausage and bacon and clinking glassware and hushed conversation set the scene. Our waitress poured coffee and took our orders behind the remnants of a Spanish accent.
So Delicious…

At last a server appeared with a smorgusbord of plates, overflowing with hashbrowns, buttered toast, and freshly scrambled eggs covered in swiss and cheddar and salsa. For several moments our conversation stood still - savoring a meal that was truly delicious.  Soon my Chorizo Scramble had evaporated from its plate and our waitress appeared with the check. To my surprise, the cost of such indulgence was less than the overwhelming majority of campus fare – roughly five dollars for my massive plating. Needless to say, I am definitely becoming a regular.

-Steve



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