See You Next Semester

Time flies.

I doesn’t feel like my first day at Fisher was a long time ago, but we’ve actually gone through half of the MAcc program already. From the first day of orientation, August 14th, to the last day of class in the autumn semester, December 6th, we’ve all done some incredible work.

I still remember all the projects that we had done (and sometimes, all the frustrations they brought us). Nevertheless, all of us finished the projects well and we all learned something.

Now that I’ve been here for awhile, I can tell you that being a graduate student is a lot different from being an undergrad student. Everyone in the program is very self-motivated. We work a lot more efficiently as a group. Since the program is heavily case-based and group-based, having good interpersonal skill is very important. But it’s fun! From what I can see, everyone in the program is enjoying themselves and our groups; most of us met new people and got to know a lot of new friends.

The spring semester will start on January 8th. But when we come back to campus, we will not see the KPMG students anymore. I was talking to some KPMG students the other day and he said he met (and befriended) more non-KPMG program students than he originally expected. I was glad to hear that, but also realized that– unlike me– he would be leaving soon and coming back for the summer term to finish up his degree. It’s a unique program.

Time for me to relax over break. See you in January!

SMF Ice Skating

I recently enjoyed another of the famous SMF class dinners (the first of which I talked about in a recent blog post).  Once again, the turnout was great and this time, we even had several of our professors attend!  It was another great evening of chatting with people who we see in classrooms every day in a different setting.  However, the best part of the evening was yet to come…

After dinner, a large group of our classmates went to The Ohio State Ice Rink for ice skating!  The rink has times that the public is allowed to skate on the ice and students get a discount.  There were a ton of students there, most of whom were very graceful on their skates, and I think the SMFs stood out like a sore thumb.

Free Skate at the Ohio State Ice Rink

There were a very small number of experienced skaters in attendance from the SMF program, but that’s part of what made it so fun!  I’ve been skating just a handful of times in my life and I skate with the grace of a new born giraffe.  However, I did manage to stay on my feet the whole time (with the assistance of some strangers who I almost toppled over).   I can’t say the same for all my classmates, but for a lot of them, it was their first time skating and there were a lot of really quick learners.

Fear of falling on the hard ice bonds people like you can’t imagine

I really was very impressed by how willing everyone was to get out of their comfort zones and be such good sports the whole time.  It was great to get to hang out with the general student population and to get to participate with my classmates in somewhat of a holiday tradition in the United States.

Experiential Learning in the Community

One of the main reasons I decided to pursue the full-time MBA at Fisher was because of the many experiential learning opportunities offered, especially the GAP international consulting experience. However, little did I know that other opportunities would present themselves even within our first semester here!

One afternoon, while exploring the events on our Event Hub webpage, I stumbled across an information session to get involved with “Fisher Serves” and engage in a consulting project for a local non-profit. Fisher Serves is a student-run organization committed to promoting awareness and connecting Fisher students to service-based opportunities in the community. The information session I signed up for was about working  on a consulting project for the Columbus Museum of Art.

After attending the session, I realized what an opportunity this would be to not only get more involved in my new community and engage in the art scene of the city, but also build relationships with students outside of my core team and apply some of the key concepts we’ve been learning in class.

http://www.columbusmuseum.org/host-your-event/plan-your-event/

After a group meeting and tour of the museum with museum staff, we’re working in two teams to help improve museum event revenues and the café experience. It’s been a great opportunity working with the Fisher Serves team and we’re excited to build out strategies for the museum moving forward. Hopefully, you will see some of our new ideas come to fruition at the museum next year!

The Beauty of Ohio State

Walking on Ohio State’s campus for the first time, as a 17-year-old high school junior, I immediately fell in love. I wanted a big-city feel, but I wanted to be close to home as well. Ohio State offered that. I fell in love with the hustle and bustle of campus. People are always out on the streets walking to class or throwing a frisbee on some of the green spaces around campus. Below, I’ve outlined my favorite places on campus and the ones that made an immediate positive impression on me.

Mirror Lake

Image result for mirror lake ohio state
Mirror Lake before it was renovated

Mirror Lake has been a staple in Ohio State tradition and culture. Whether you’re relaxing and reading a book or deciding to go on a date, Mirror Lake is the place to be. It’s under renovation now, though, and is set to re-open in the spring.

Thompson Library

Image result for thompson library
Multiple photos of Thompson Library

One of the most beautiful libraries in the world, Thompson Library is 11 stories tall. You will always find a place to study and get your work done. I would suggest going up to the 11th floor to take in the views of campus and the City of Columbus.

Fisher College of Business

Image result for fisher college of business
Mason Hall

What is there not to like about Fisher? There are six buildings (all connected by tunnels underground) with state-of-the-art facilities. Grad students spend most of their time in Gerlach Hall, but students often make it over to Mason Hall which houses the business school’s very own coffee shop. Who doesn’t like convenient access to coffee and pastries?

RPAC

Image result for rpac
Outdoor view of the RPAC

The RPAC is a state-of-the art recreation facility. Once inside, you’ll find any cardio or weight machine you could think of. We have a very large swimming facility inside and we even boast a hot tub (my personal favorite place in campus). Additionally, the RPAC has 12 indoor basketball courts. Plus, while the RPAC is the crown jewel of facilities, there are five other recreational facilities scattered around campus.

Ohio Stadium

Image result for ohio Stadium
The “Horseshoe” (a.k.a. “the ‘Shoe” at night)

Ohio Stadium seats over 108,000 people and it’s the place to be every Saturday during the autumn semester. You can always be certain that the Buckeyes will put up a good fight and you should expect to have a great time.

There are many places on campus (in addition to these) where students are able to find their own niche. From museums to dance halls to eating establishments, you will never be at a loss for things to enjoy.

 

 

 

Revisiting my favorite childhood sport at the RPAC

I love having the flexibility to work out whenever I want– and to do whatever activity I want. And you can take advantage, too! As an OSU student, you get to maximize the full value of our RPAC (Recreation and Physical Activity Center). It’s located at the heart of campus and attracts hundreds of students and faculty every single day. Autumn hours are from 5:30 AM to midnight. You can also enjoy the view of the Ohio Stadium (you know, it’s only the 3rd-largest college football stadium in the U.S., with 104,944 seats). Here are some other fun facts about the RPAC and sports on campus:

  1. At nearly 600,000 square feet, it is one of six recreational facilities on campus.
  2. It has two swimming pools with spectator seating of up to 1,400 people

3) Speaking of teams, there are 36 varsity sports teams in total- and free admission for students to all events except football and men’s basketball.

4) Back to RPAC… there’s a wellness center, kids zone, kitchen, fitness suite, laundry and locker rooms, cafe and juice bar.

4) Free group fitness classes! You can also play basketball, volleyball, tennis, racquetball, squash, golf, billiards, foosball, or even use the indoor walking/jogging track.

What I love most about the RPAC, is that I get to revisit my favorite childhood sport: badminton. If you’re not familiar with this sport, it’s a racquet sport that’s played with racquets hitting a shuttlecock across a net. It’s most commonly played in singles or doubles. It’s a technical sport that requires aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision, and is most popularly played in Asia. If you have never played it before, I encourage you to try it sometime!

As a child growing up in Singapore, I used to play badminton at least twice a week with my siblings, neighbors, or friends. I mastered the sport fairly quickly, so I used these sessions to catch up and hang out with my friends. It was an excellent way to stay fit and have fun.

When I was first told that there were badminton courts at the RPAC, I could not believe it. They’re located at the far south end of the RPAC, close to the squash, and indoor volleyball courts. You can rent the racquets for free, and you can purchase the shuttlecocks or bring your own. The RPAC has 6 badminton courts! What started out as a small group of classmates has now evolved into something larger. We have people who are masters at badminton, and we have others who are interested in learning this sport. We’ve also established a “Badminton” WhatsApp group. It’s only been about four months of school for me, but I feel that these badminton sessions will be good bonding sessions for us all!

Hotpot on A Cold Day

As an international student who has been studying abroad for almost five years, homesickness is not an issue anymore. However, I still miss the food from back home. One dish that my family usually has is “Hotpot,” a traditional Chinese dish which is usually eaten on a cold day. Similar to the Korean BBQ, you need to “cook” it yourself, but it’s worth the time and effort.

Homemade Hotpot

As you can see in the picture, Hotpot is literately a HOT POT. It’s very easy to make it. I usually buy the pre-made soup paste from an Asian grocery store. You can include whatever you want to eat: meat, vegetables, or noodles. No matter your choice(s), you boil the ingredients into the soup paste. I also make my own dipping sauce which is sesame sauce mixed with a little bit soy sauce and oyster sauce.

Here are the ingredients that I have for your reference if you want to replicate a Hotpot as above:

  1. Hotpot paste (available at any Asian Store)
  2. Slide beef
  3. Fish ball & fish tofu
  4. Bacon
  5. Shrimp
  6. Frozen tofu
  7. Napa cabbage
  8. Cilantro
  9. Fried tofu
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Lotus root
  12. Noodles (tips: put the noodles in last, otherwise your stew will be very thick.)

Hope you have some good homemade Hotpot!

 

The MBA Diaries

In the months leading up to my return to school, one question continuously crossed my mind: What does a day as a Fisher MBA student actually look like? Although my campus visits during my interview and Red Carpet Weekend gave me a good feel for the program, it’s hard to know what your day-to-day will be until you actually get here. So, I decided I would give you a taste of a typical day as a Fisher FTMBA. I like to keep myself extremely busy, but this day (below) was an unusually busy one for me. Your own schedule will obviously vary based on what you decide to get involved in and any obligations you have outside of Fisher, so take this as just one example of what life here is like:

Thursday, 11/09/17

7:45am – Roll out of bed after “snoozing” my alarms at least ten times. I hate mornings, but many of our core classes begin at 8:30am so you do what you have to do. Luckily, my roommate (a third-year vet student) shares my sentiments.

8:10am – Head to campus to begin my day. I live in Grandview a little more than two miles from Fisher, so I usually drive and park on campus.

8:30am – Operations I – I’m a marketing major, but I’ve always been fascinated by operations and I have to say that I’m really enjoying this class. Professor Hill leads us in finishing up the value stream map calculations we started on Tuesday. When he’s done, we have time to discuss potential solutions with our classmates based on the calculations we’ve made. Even though my math skills aren’t stellar, I enjoy thinking about how to make processes more efficient. This class is particularly heavy in case studies, and it’s really helpful to apply the principles of operations to real-world examples.

10am – Professor Hill lets us out a few minutes early, so I make my way downstairs to drop off some stuff in my locker and grab coffee from Rohr Cafe. I try to make coffee at home in my Keurig to save money, but I often don’t leave myself enough time to do that before I have to leave for class. On my way, I run into Julee Conrad and Sarah Campbell from Admissions. They offer me free coffee from the Fall Preview Day table. The GPO is the best!

Coffee coffee coffee!

10:15am – Accounting – We just had our second midterm exam on Tuesday, so today we’re transitioning from Financial to Managerial Accounting. Accounting is the quant-heavy class I like the most because the math is fairly basic and Professor Xue (most of us just call her Sue) is the best. Our last Financial Accounting unit was difficult, so I’m glad to be moving in a new direction.

12pm – I pass by my friend Courtney in a study room on my way out of Accounting and stop by for a chat. Courtney is a second-year student and the president of the Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB), and I work closely with her as one of FGWIB’s first-year liaisons. We talk about FGWIB, Fisher, and life in general– and before I know it it’s almost time for my next class! The second-year MBAs have been an incredibly valuable resource and I can’t wait to pay it forward next year. So if you’re reading this and are starting at Fisher next fall, come find me!

12:45pm – Quickly scarf down some leftovers for lunch before heading to Finance class. I’m not always good about packing lunch or cooking in general, but I try. Gerlach Hall, home of the Fisher graduate programs, has fridges and microwaves and there aren’t a lot of places to get food by Fisher. Plus, it’s healthier and more affordable.

Eating lunch from my snazzy Fisher lunchbox

1pm – Finance – This is our most quant-heavy class this semester, and the English major in me has been struggling. Luckily, I have awesome classmates and a great TA who help me get through it. Professor Wellman does a lot of example problems in class, and copying down the solutions as he works through them helps me understand the material. Today we continue our discussions on the interest tax shield and capital structure decisions.

2:45pm – I head to the Office of Career Management for a meeting with Chase which is recruiting on campus today. I’ve been working hard on my internship search since I got to campus, and Chase is one of my top choices.

3:15pm – I have a little time to kill before my next meeting, so I stop by the Graduate Student Lounge. I spot Ashley, another one of my second-year friends and the co-president of the Fisher Sports Business Association of which I’m also a member. The lounge is a great place to catch up with friends between classes and do group work. I often pass through just to see if any of my friends are around. I won puppy playtime with Ashley’s dogs at last week’s Fisher Follies auction, and I can’t wait to meet them!

4pm – The Office of Career Management started a Job Search Action Team program, and today is my team’s first meeting. The teams are made up of students across all of Fisher’s graduate programs and led by one of our career counselors. The goal is to support each other as we move through our internship and job searches. We get to know each other and learn about “feedforward,” a positive feedback system we’ll be using in future meetings.

5pm – After the meeting ends, I run over to the Blackwell for a happy hour with prospective students. The admissions team is always looking for volunteers for our Fall Preview Days and I love to help out. It’s nice to unwind with some of my friends after a long week and share my experiences with people who might just be my classmates one day!

5:50pm – I make my way back to Gerlach Hall for Chase’s info session. After hearing more about the company and their opportunities, we have the chance to network with a number of representatives from the Columbus office. I’m inspired by Chase’s initiatives in the digital banking space and impressed by their customer-focused mission. I leave the session exhilarated and look forward to learning more as I move through the application and interview process.

8:00pm – I finish up just in time to give my friend a ride home from yoga class. Normally we both go to yoga Thursday at 7pm at the North Recreation Center, but my schedule was just too full today.

8:30pm – Get home in time to collapse on my couch and watch some TV. It’s Thursday, which means I have no class tomorrow!

Hope you enjoyed a day in my life! If you want to see more posts like this, feel free to let me know in the comments.

 

My First Football Game!

On Saturday, I had the chance to experience one of the most impressive and exciting sporting events of my entire life. I have to say that I have been to many sporting events over the course of my life such as a World Cup game in Germany, a European Cup game in France, a Premier League game in Manchester, and multiple World Cup qualification games in Belgium. I thought that no other sports could compete with soccer in terms of fan atmosphere and suspense during the game, but I have to admit that I was wrong.

39-38 was the final score of the OSU vs. Penn State game! Picture the dramatic ending: 3:07 is left in the game. After being down the entire time, Ohio State has the ball with the chance to take the lead for the first time. A little more than a minute later, Quarterback J.T. Barrett finds Tight End Marcus Baugh and… Touchdown! The entire stadium goes crazy!

As a big soccer fan, I left Ohio Stadium a surprised student. I knew that it was supposed to be a great event between two really good teams, but I was definitely not expecting myself to be as hyped as I was for an American football game. The best part of it was these 100,000 OSU fans that kept believing in their team, even after being down 14-0 three and a half minutes into the game.

I was not planning to go to the two last home games of the season, but after this game, I’ve completely changed my mind!

Enjoying Life at OSU

College, especially time in a graduate program, can be a lot of work and consume substantial time out of your day. However, it’s important to keep on enjoying your life and do things that make you happy. Below, I have listed a few things that help keep me sane:

  1. Watching Sports

Coming to Ohio State, you have plenty of opportunity to watch sports, especially if you love college football. Ohio State has, and will continue to have, one of the best college football teams in the country. Most recently, the Buckeyes came off a huge victory over #2-ranked Penn State (they are not our rival, even though Penn State fans may argue otherwise). The Buckeyes were down 18 points late in the second half and came back for the defeat.

Image result for ohio state football penn state
J.T. Barrett – Ohio State quarterback
  1. Playing Intramurals

OSU has a lot of opportunity for students to stay in shape and have fun. Not only do we have world-class recreation facilities, but we have a large intramural presence. We have anything from intramural baseball to intramural inner tube water polo! Personally, I make sure to participate in at least one intramural team each semester.

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people playing sports and outdoor
My intramural soccer team after winning our first playoff game. That’s me in the back row on the right!
  1. Getting Involved at Ohio State

Get involved, get involved and get involved! Being involved on campus is not only a great way to develop as a professional, but allows you to expand your network and create lifelong memories. Personally, I am the president of my student organization MUNDO. MUNDO is very near and dear to my heart. Moreover, joining as a new member was single-handedly the best decision I made during these past four years. I would highly suggest that you get involved in something you’re passionate about while at Ohio State!

MUNDO
MUNDO – Multi-cultural Understanding through Non-traditional Discovery Opportunities
  1. Making Friends

Being in the Midwest, people are very personable and always willing to include you in their activities. This is one of the main reasons I chose to stay in Ohio for college. Everyone here is so friendly and there is never a dull moment while at Ohio State!

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling
A few accounting students with Professor Zach at a baseball game

 Hey, My Friends: You Did Great!

This is my fifth year studying in the U.S., so I am more used to living on my own than most students who are here for their first time studying abroad. As I recall my first year in the States, I think about the hardest experience and it wasn’t studying for exams; it was celebrating the holidays and festivals by myself.

In China, people use both the solar calendar, the calendar that the U.S uses, and the lunar calendar, the one that most of the Chinese festivals are based on.

The most recent festival was the Mid-Autumn Festival which was on October 4th (the solar calendar date). The Mid-Autumn Festival is very similar to the Thanksgiving Festival here in the States that all the family members are expected to attend. For this festival, we eat mooncakes and of course, share life stories.

In order to celebrate the festival here and relax from the busy school work, I drove my friends to a local Asian grocery store to buy some mooncakes. The first thing that we noticed was a well-packaged mooncake gift box. The logo name on the box was very appealing. It was named “COME BACK HOME.”

A strange mix of emotion came to us when we saw the box. It was hard to describe the feeling at that moment. On one hand, we were heavy with stress from our different course assignments, projects, and notes to get us ready for the coming exams– and submitting tons of resumes and crossing fingers to get first-round interviews. On the other hand, we saw these bright, golden characters–COME BACK HOME– that reminded us of how far away we are from our families. Just like the needle that bursts a balloon, some of my friends could not hold back their tears.

But I celebrate their journey and all the hard work they’ve done to succeed in this new country. And I want them to know: hey, my dear friends, you did great!