Finding Your People

To echo what An spoke about in her post (finding a little piece of home), it is important to have your people when you’re in college, especially as an international student.

As most know, India has many festivals that are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and love. Being away from home on such occasions is difficult but the Indian Students Association (ISA) does their best to make you feel at home. ISA celebrated Navratri with a Garba night at RPAC. There was music, food and people – that’s all we need to celebrate any festival. After that event, my friends and I decided we weren’t done for the night. So, we went over to a friend’s place, had tea, and played the game, Mafia till sunrise (literally sunrise)…

Garba Night
Food!

Another big Indian festival, Diwali, was the weekend after Navratri. We planned to celebrate it with dinner, dessert and games. So, we all (somewhat) dressed up, had dinner, played cards and charades, and again hung out till almost sunrise.

All The SMF South Asian Ladies
Almost All The SMF South Asian Men
Trying To Guess (Probably A Made-Up) Hindi Movie
Lots Of Biryani!

When I started this program, I thought I would meet a few people who probably would become my people but I didn’t know so many people would become mine. 

 

 

Being Sporty

In one of my prior blog posts, I mentioned several ways to stay fit on campus. In this blog post, I am going to reflect with you all how I took advantage of intramural sports at Ohio State this fall semester.

The registration for intramural sports comes around early on during the fall and spring semesters, and often you can miss the registration if you are still getting adjusted to the groove of school. If you have an interest in playing intramural sports at Ohio State, you should make sure to gather some friends at the beginning of the semester and look for emails from Rec Sports at Ohio State. Playing intramural sports is a great way to de-stress. It only costs $80 for a team to register, and you get to play around 3-5 games per season – the length of season is contingent on whether there are playoffs and whether your teams advances into the playoffs. When you go to register your team, make sure you have discussed with your teammates what times they are available to play and what location they prefer to play at. Note that some areas will require your team to drive to or take a campus bus.

My Rec Volleyball Team

This past semester I played on two teams: co-rec beach volleyball and soccer. I played volleyball games at 10 PM on Sunday nights in Fred Beekman Park. The volleyball rules required that we played with two guys and two girls. At first, I was hesitant about playing so late on Sunday nights, but I had a blast de-stressing, laughing, and spending time with my friends week after week. None of us had ever played organized volleyball before; thus, we got some good laughs out of our lack of experience.

The second team I played on was a co-rec soccer team with accounting friends. In high school, I played soccer, leading to my desire to want to play recreationally in college. The rules for rec- soccer allowed us to have three guys and three girls on the field plus a goalie. My team and I played every Thursday at the Praire, and I promise you we had some of the best times every single Thursday, whether we lost or lost (yes, we lost every single game).

I would highly recommend making the most of your time while at Ohio State and get involved with whatever you feel most passionate about!

Just another crossroad

Coming into a graduate program at the age of 21 with little working experience can be frightening at times. You are constantly surrounded by professionals and classmates who, most likely, have better visions of what they would like to do with their additional master’s degrees. While it’s okay to feel intimidated, you should try to look at this from another angle: you can learn just as much or even more from your peers as you do from your professors in many different areas such as selecting your career path.

 

Another close-up on our amazing SMF cohort for the year 2020
Another close-up on our amazing SMF cohort for the year 2020

One of the competitive advantages of the Specialized Master in Finance program at the Fisher College of Business is the opportunities to customize your career path into four different possible tracks: corporate finance, investment management, risk management, and real estate.

The four different career tracks offered by the SMF program

You can see how this might be difficult for someone with little exposure to the working industry to choose. This is where all those professionals and classmates come in and give you sneak peeks on what attracted them to the respective tracks:

“I chose the Investment Management track because of its competitive and lucrative nature. Some of the brightest minds in the world compete in this space.  To be able to compete among them, while providing a valuable service to investors, is something I find fascinating.”
Timothy Morris, Investment Management
“I chose the corporate finance track to prepare myself for a career in investment banking. After learning about corporate finance in my undergraduate classes, I was eager to dive deeper into the subject. I believe that courses in corporate financing, mergers & acquisitions, corporate restructuring & bankruptcy, and similar classes will provide a great foundation for a successful career.”
Domenik Koch, Corporate Finance
“I chose the track in Corporate Finance as I aspire to work in M&A or Corporate Restructuring. As the competition for these positions is very tough I believe that the courses offered in this track match my needs will add value to my skills and will help me stand out among all the applicants. Courses like M&A, Corporate Financing and Capital Restructuring and Bankruptcy will allow me to gain the right perspective and mindset as well as technical skills in order to accomplish my career goals.”
Andrea Depalma, Corporate Finance
I chose the investment track because the field has been an interest of mine since undergrad. After graduation I hope to have an equity or fixed income analyst job in Chicago.

Nikolas Stella, Investment Management

The point of all this is this: don’t be afraid to make use of all the “resources” available for you! You can make up for your lack of working experience through learning from those around you just by asking.

There’s More to Recruitment Than Free Water Bottles

Some of the recruitment swag given to Fisher students this year.

As you can see above, recruitment provides a ton of opportunities for free swag at every event and tabling session. (Sorry PwC, I already misplaced your water bottle :/) Obviously recruitment is about more than the water bottles and notebooks, so I’m here to give you some tips for the job hunt as a MAcc student.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Recruitment for full time jobs happens right away when classes start in August. It can be pretty stressful to hit the ground running like that, so it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into before coming to campus. The Fisher Office of Career Management will hook you up with resume and interview tips over the summer that help a lot. One of the first things a recruiter for a public accounting firm will ask you are your preferred service line (audit, tax, or advisory) and your preferred location. Having ideas about those concepts going in will make your process easier.

Go to EVERYTHING.

There are events all the time, especially early on in the semester. Especially if you aren’t 100% sure on the size of firm or service line you want to be in, go to every recruiting event you can find and talk to everyone. This can be a good exploratory stage to learn more about future career options, especially for students like me who didn’t get as much exposure to public accounting in undergrad. Be sure to get business cards and use them to send thank you’s and follow-up questions.

Don’t get frustrated.

For the first few weeks of classes, it felt like I had a networking event practically every night to juggle with my group projects, individual assignments, and settling in to Columbus in general. A lot of my classmates felt the same way, commiserating about our busy schedules. Now that the recruitment season is mostly over, we can all look back and be glad about the work we put in as we have offers to choose from. If you ever feel overwhelmed, just take a breath and remember that if you’re a Fisher MAcc student, you are a smart and capable person. It will all work out!

3 Months as an MBLEr

We are now standing in the halfway of a semester. Looking back at the memories we made, I found countless sparkling moments. MBLEr is a noun created by me, which includes every student in this program. Once an MBLEr, forever an MBLEr! There are several highlights I would like to share with you here.

This is how we get started

Our new semester started with a lot of outdoor activities, I still remember the scenario at Ohio Union when we rushed to the papers listing out the activities we could participate in. Columbus Zoo left me with a strong impression. That was also the place where I met many of my classmates, and everything was like yesterday. There were a lot of kids in the zoo that day, compared to the animals. I paid most of my attention to the children around me. We were amazed by the third largest zoo in the USA, while laughing and discussing, we had a preliminary understanding of each classmate’s background and personality. This is super cool!

The most important thing as a student!—Study

Our first class started on August 20th. The overall class experience is: fast and inspiring. The most exciting part of the class is that we not only learn about fundamental knowledge but also do projects that are related to real-world logistics operations! Although the project has not started yet, I am looking forward to it now!

When asking about the question: “which course impresses you the most” to our classmates, I bet 100% of them will answer with: “Linear Programming”. Despite the difficulty, all of us worked hard. LP is very applicable for solving problems, for example, logistics, and transportation network. And since this is a data-driven world, learning LP helps us in the future if we learn programming languages. I love LP!

The most challenging thing right now—work

Fisher College of Business provides us with adequate resources to attend a lot of career fairs and supply chain symposiums. Thanks to these events, I got a chance to do an internship and strengthened my understanding of Supply Chain and Logistics. Career guidance is also very helpful. I did not even know how to polish my resume, but after meeting with Steve Singer and GAs, I am very satisfied with it and more confident about how it helps with my future interviews. Career service is one of the reasons that I chose MBLE, and I found that it never disappoints me.

Columbus Weather

As a southerner of China, I only experienced summer and winter. Late Autumn in Columbus is all I have expected for this beautiful season. Autumn colors are orange, yellow and pink. Season transition from summer to autumn takes a blink of an eye, and green turns to caramel. Because of Columbus, autumn becomes my favorite season in my whole life.

The first semester has not ended, but I already miss it! The next inspiring part is that winter is coming!

Making the most of your days as a grad student

From my previous blog post, I made it seem that the life of an SMF student is just hours and hours of studying and group projects in the Bloomberg Lab. Fortunately, there are many events around Columbus that give us the opportunities to “break free” and enjoy our days to the fullest.

On October 13, my friends managed to drag me out of my apartment after finishing the finals to go to the Chainsmokers with 5 Seconds of Summer and Lennon Stella Concert at the Schottenstein Center.  To be honest, I had one of the most exciting nights in my life watching them performing live. To make it better, I got to spend some quality time with my classmates whom I had only been able to talk with briefly in our core courses together.

My friends and me at the concert

This upcoming Sunday, October 20th, one of my all-time idols, Celine Dion is coming to perform at the Schottenstein Center. If you are in the area and you love her as much as I do, you might want to check out her concert.

At times, life can get so crazy and busy at times that you might forget to live it. It is during those times that you might want to stop, take a deep breath, and enjoy yourself. It doesn’t have to be a concert or a fancy night out. Sometimes, just a night for yourself is all you need. After all, it’s the memories of these nights that you look back on down the road.

The life of an SMF Graduate student

After finishing my undergraduate studies, I was very excited to see how drastically my life would change going through the Specialized Master in Finance program (SMF). Today, I can confidently tell you this: there’s not a day goes by where you don’t have something to work on.

During our first session of the Autumn Semester, we are going through the core required courses within our program structure to ease us into customizing our career tracks. Personally, for someone with little work experience, I am very much grateful for these courses as they are providing me with some basic exposure to different fields in the industry, which is helping me in my decision-making process of what to do in the future.

Our beloved Bloomberg Lab

Throughout the program, SMF students get the chance to get acquaintance with different financial software applications through both the core and elective coursework. Learning how to use the Bloomberg terminal was one of the things I was so excited about before coming to the Ohio State University. My first time looking at Bloomberg terminal was like looking at an alien software with so many numbers and so much information that I had trouble analyzing all the data. After spending dozens of hours in the lab and receiving guidance from my peers, I must say that I have gotten quite used to it, but I still have so much more to learn.

Group meeting has become a daily routine

In all of our core courses, we are selected to be in a preassigned team throughout the academic year. Due to the amount of coursework and assignments we have to work on, it is almost impossible to go on a week without meeting up with our respective groups. Through trials and errors, my group became more efficient in delegating duties to best divide the workload while engaging all the members in the process. Because of the diverse backgrounds of the members in the cultures and work experience aspects, I always manage to learn something new every time we meet up.

Up to this point, I can proudly say that I am enjoying every day of the program, and I am always looking forward to what is coming next.

My First Game in The Shoe

A few weekends ago, I experienced my first-ever Ohio State Buckeye home game in the Horseshoe. Ohio State squared off against Miami University (OH), and after a close first quarter, it was a constant celebration all afternoon as Ohio State won by a score of 76-5. Together with my parents, my little brother, and some family friends, it was a perfect afternoon to celebrate a Buckeye victory and show my family my new “home” that I’ve been living in for the last month.

As the school year begins to pick up at a rapid pace with finals just around the corner, it was nice to see my family after over a month of being apart. My family is my biggest support system – it was great seeing them and  spending time with the people I love most!

From right to left: my dad, me, my dad’s best friend, and my little brother at the Shoe

There’s No Place Like Home

The view from my apartment on the 10th floor – Go Bucks!

 

One important part of my journey to Ohio State was finding housing, especially as someone totally new to Columbus. Moving to a city when you aren’t familiar with the area can be a challenge, but there are a ton of options near campus that can suit pretty much any preference or budget. Columbus overall is a very affordable city, especially given how bustling it is. I live by myself because I was interning in Columbus over the summer, but plenty of MAcc students made plans before the program started and decided to be roommates.

I live in Riverwatch Tower on Lane Avenue, which is basically across the street from Fisher. (So convenient for when I inevitably end up hitting snooze one too many times…) Being able to walk to class was a priority for me as I checked out options, but a lot of grad students drive or take the bus to campus as well. There are a lot of houses and apartments on the north side of campus that are close to Fisher. Some of my classmates live farther south near the Short North Arts District for easier access to that part of town.

Another plus for me is that my apartment came furnished while still being on the affordable side. Not having to worry about buying and moving furniture is amazing. Other complexes have amenities like gyms and swimming pools, so keep that in mind if you want to take advantage of those perks. Overall, pretty much any housing preference you have can be taken care of in Columbus. Do your research and know your priorities and you’re sure to find a great fit.

Finding a little piece of home

Homesickness is something that most international students have to deal with during their time abroad. You can never be completely used to it, but there are days where it gets easier in the company of the right people at the right place at the right time.

For countries following the lunar calendar, we have an annual festival called the Full Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival where families and friends gather to give thanks to the moon for our harvests as well as to pray for the upcoming ones. Needless to say, I got rather homesick during this period as my family does have a tradition of celebrating it together. It was thanks to the new friends I had made in the Specialized Master in Finance program here that I managed to find a little piece of home in the states.

This is a picture of us dining at a BBQ restaurant to celebrate the occasion

In addition to us celebrating the festival with bellies filled with BBQ, we got to enjoy a traditional dessert that comes along with this occasion, Mooncake.

The mouthwatering Mooncake that I got to enjoy thanks to my friends.

Indeed, the celebration here can never be completely similar to the ones we might have back home. However, it was certainly more than enough to make our homesickness go away for a short while.

It doesn’t really matter if this is your first year, second year or your fifth year living in the U.S., homesickness is always going to be a bit harder to cope with during special occasions. It is during these times that you should surround yourself with good friends who can help you find that little piece of home just like mine did.