Brett Has Left the Building

Dear Loyal Following,

Over the past nine months, we have shared so much. You have witnessed a special and intimate viewing of the journey from the beginning of the Specialized Master in Finance program to this final week. From my introductory blog to my first semester recap to this final thank-you letter.

Roughly one year ago, I submitted my deposit for the program and solidified my change from a Political Science/International Affairs undergraduate student to a Candidate for the Specialized Master in Finance program at the Fisher College of Business. Arguably one of the biggest decisions of my life, I switched from a pre-law track to a finance track. Looking back, it was the defining moment in my life.

I have been exposed to a vast array of financial instruments and models that I will use in my future career. The amazing faculty and staff here have been awesome in supporting my growth as a student of finance and a student of The Ohio State University. In addition, the friends I have made here will last a lifetime, coming from backgrounds all across the globe and from different avenues of business. One thing you may have noticed throughout my blogs was the influence of the different cultures in the restaurants we visited. That is one of the greatest attributes of our program.

With all that being said, this is my final week at Fisher and my final week serving the program as a graduate ambassador. I have never been great at goodbyes and thus will keep this soliloquy short and sweet. To everyone at The Ohio State University, it has been an amazing ride. I am excited to see what the future holds for us in our future careers.

Adiós. 再见. 안녕. Tạm biệt. αντιο σας. अलविदा. Ijeoma. ลาก่อน.               Goodbye, Blog World.

Brett Hornung                                                                                                     Specialized Master in Finance, Class of ’17                                                       The Ohio State University – Fisher College of Business

 

My Top 5 Moments of This Year

1. #3 Ohio State vs #2 Michigan (“The Game”) – Although this year’s rivalry week did not include the Mirror Lake jump this year, this was one of the best rivalry games in OSU history. The only game vs. Michigan that may have been better was the 2006 edition of “The Game” when #1-ranked Ohio State beat #2 Michigan to secure a spot in the National Championship. This past year’s game secured us a spot in the Playoff, but we won’t talk about that. As a lifelong fan, this rivalry means so much to me and once you step foot on campus, you will understand the rivalry.

Omar, Mark and me before rushing the field after we won in OT

2. Random Social Events –This one is sort of a catch-all. One thing I am very grateful for is getting to know my classmates pretty well. I knew some of my classmates before the program, but I also met some really awesome people through the program. Throughout the year, we had many social events with everyone in the MAcc. We celebrated birthdays together, tailgated before footballs games together, and went out on the weekends together. While there are still people I wish I got to know better while I was in the program, I am glad I went to as many social events as possible this past year to get to enjoy my final year with classmates.

Celebrating Heewon’s Birthday

3. Fisher Formal – I was hesitant to buy my ticket for this event, but it was definitely worth attending. Fisher Formal is advertised as Prom for graduate students, and since we are of age this time, an open bar is included! Everyone at formal looked amazing and it was a really great time with fellow classmates. Even though I am horrible at dancing, you would have seen me dancing like nobody was watching. Fisher Formal will be one of my most memorable moments from the MAcc program.

4. MAcc Olympics – I wrote about MAcc Olympics a few weeks ago, so if you did not read that blog, check it out. This event got everyone active and playing childhood sports together. We played basketball, volleyball, kickball and dodgeball. This event was also conveniently timed to be right after our Exit Exam was due, so everyone was pumped to be done with that and we celebrated with one big “recess.”

5. Intramural Sports – I’ve blogged about this before as well, but playing intramurals is a great way to get involved and get to know fellow classmates. There are many sports in which you can play and several competitiveness levels for you to choose from. So no matter your skill level, there is an intramural league for you. If you are still not sold on playing intramurals while you’re in the MAcc, just know that if you win the league you get a free t-shirt and get to call yourself Intramural CHAMPION for the rest of your life.

MAccletes could not win it all, but we looked good doing it.

This past year has been one for the books. I have grown a lot as a person and learned more than I thought possible in just 9 months. I have made lifelong connections and feel blessed to have been apart of this class. As promised, I made the most of this year and I encourage everyone to do the same.

Student Perks: D-Tix

Of the many perks available to Ohio State students, I think one of the neatest and least advertised is D-Tix (abbreviation for “discount tickets”). Through OSU’s vast network of community partnerships, the school is able to offer general discounts and discounted tickets to special events through an online lottery system. Everything from Hocking Hills zipline tours, passes to the Columbus Zoo, and gift cards to local restaurants may be available at any given time on D-Tix.

The website is set up similar to Groupon, but with a lottery component. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students can enter the lottery for any particular event they are interested in, and if selected they pay a discounted price for the tickets (anywhere from 25-50% less than face value).

Obviously, the popularity of the event determines the probability of being selected. The recent John Mayer concert at the Schottenstein Center was quite popular (by the way, Chance the Rapper will also be performing there next month), but for other lower-key entries (gift certificates to local restaurants, for one example) students have a relatively high chance of being selected. Also worth noting—for any unclaimed tickets, they are sold first-come, first-served at the Ohio Union.

One of the benefits of attending a large, public institution like Ohio State is that perks like D-Tix come at a very small cost to each student and are included in the student activity fee (hello, economies of scale!). Let us also not forget the general student discounts afforded to students at various establishments around the city by simply presenting your BuckID. I am grateful that we’re able to enjoy so much of the city, even on a student budget!

A Formal Affair

If you thought prom was over, you thought wrong. Prom is no longer just an event for American high school students, it is a social event for Fisher graduate students too! This event is a great stress reliever following a long week of mid-term exams. The event is technically referred to as “formal”, however, I prefer to think of it as prom.

A great thing about this event put on by the Fisher Social Chairs Committee is that it is for all graduate programs in the Fisher College of Business. This is a great way to get to mingle and interact with people outside of your specialized program. Programs in attendance were: MAcc (Accounting), SMF (Finance), MHRM, Part-time MBA, and Full-time MBA.

It is a great opportunity to hang out with your classmates outside of the classroom, on a more casual level. Having the same classes with the same 80 people throughout the school year, you get to know your peers pretty well. One of the many positive traits of the Fisher MAcc class is how close-knit of a group we are. Coming from out-of-state, I didn’t know anyone prior to the program orientation, which takes place a few days before classes start. The numerous group projects and social events, like Fisher Formal, really encourage students to get to know one another better. At this point in the year, we are nearing the end with about 3 weeks left of class. This is a great capstone to the end of an amazing school year at Ohio State.

We clean up well!
Enjoying the photo booth with fellow MAcc classmates

 

 

Current SMF student, Brett, having way too much fun with future accountants

MAcc Attack!

Some of you may have read my previous blog about the MAcc Olympics. Since many faculty were unable to attend our MAcc Olympics, we decided to have a separate event where you can try to beat Professor Arya and Rob Chabot in table tennis or racquetball, appropriately named “MAcc Attack.” Rob works out of the Graduate Programs Office (the “GPO”) and is the Director of Recruiting & Admissions for the Specialized Masters Programs. He is an absolute beast at racquetball.  Professor Arya teaches one of the core courses and used to be the Director of the MAcc program. He is not only really good at racquetball, but he is also great at table tennis.

We rented out racquetball courts at the RPAC and invited the whole program to attend. I was optimistic that one of the current students would be able to compete with the faculty in racquetball, but I was very wrong. One student was able to beat Arya in table tennis several times (shout-out to Rui), but none of us was able to compete with the two faculty in racquetball. So if you’ve ever played racquetball before, practice throughout the year so you can humble Rob and Arya when you get your chance to play them. It is very rare for a student to beat them, so start preparing now!

MAcc Attack!

Other than getting our butts kicked by the faculty in racquetball, it was a lot of fun to play other students in the MAcc program. These games were actually competitive and we all had a blast. We also played doubles in table tennis, which was new to me, but surprisingly fun. This event, similar to the MAcc Olympics, provided everyone with an opportunity to spend time on the weekends together in a fun memorable way.

As the year starts to wind down, I am starting to look back on my favorite moments of the program, so my next blog is going to be a ranking of those moments.

The End Is Near

I spent a part of this morning going through photos from the past year, and man, it is crazy how quickly these past eight months have gone. Reminds me of this old country song by Trace Adkins. As our email inboxes get flooded with graduation information, ways to purchase regalia, and other information regarding diplomas; graduation is starting to become a real idea indeed.

Looking back on these photos brought back great memories. For example, I remember our orientation and our Turbo Finance class, where I was planting the foundation of my current financial knowledge and getting to know my new classmates better. Another example is the numerous dinners that we went to as a class and all the great food and conversations we had.

My first team at Fisher

Fast forward to the Fisher Follies Auction event in the fall, to accepting my job, to traveling to NYC and meeting with the banks, to finishing out the first half of the program on a strong note. Christmas vacation was an awesome time to have some rest, start studying for the CFA exam, and begin to prepare for the second half of the school year.

Classmates and me in NYC in the fall.

Looking back on the past two months, I also did a lot of traveling: Denver, New York, Chicago, and Islamorada. It was awesome being able to enjoy these places with family, friends, and classmates. It was also nice to do a little traveling while I was still in school and before I started my job.

Skiing out in Denver at Keystone.

Now, we have just over one month left and I am going to cherish these moments a little bit more than the rest as I recognize that this is the end. We have a few more events planned, including the Fisher Follies Variety Show event and a few other SMF events. I am looking forward to this next month and walking across the stage with my classmates at graduation.

The Global Food Map of Columbus

One cool aspect of the SMF program is how diverse it is. We have students from all over the globe who have their own unique cultures and culinary backgrounds. The latter is something that I have found most interesting over the past few months. Below you will find the different eateries that I have tried since we arrived back on campus from winter break:

First up: Saigon Asian Bistro out in Lewis Center, OH. We had a class dinner here, where the majority of the class showed up; even some of our professors and their families came. I ordered the Beef Pad Thai and it was pretty good. Unfortunately, God did not give my mouth the ability to handle spicy foods so I always have to order no spices. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this meal.

Next up, a few of my classmates and I headed to Taco Loco in nearby Dublin, Ohio, for a friend’s birthday celebration. One thing about this place is the guacamole. Man, oh man, they have some of the best guac in the state of Ohio. In addition to filling up on guac, I also indulged with one of their burritos, which was also very tasty. All in all, a solid little spot.

SMF Group at Taco Loco

Third, headed to New Taj Mahal on High Street near campus for some Indian food. This was my first attempt at Indian food since the summer of 2014. As mentioned above, I was not blessed with taste buds that are cool with spicy foods, so I was a bit scared. However, I ordered the shrimp biryani and really enjoyed it. Also, the buttered naan that we ordered for the table was delicious.

Fourth and final destination: a few weeks back a group of us headed out to Drelyse African Restaurant in Columbus, OH. This place specializes in West African cuisine and it was my first ever try at this style of food, so I was pumped up. I ordered the jollof chicken, which is pictured below. It was AMAZING. Also, my friend ordered the fried plantains and those were a nice little side dish. Would recommend this place to anyone who is interested in trying West African food.

Jollof Chicken at Drelyse

Four great experiences so far this semeste– really looking forward to continuing to explore the different cultures that we have here in Columbus and expanding my food palette over our final few months in school!

In the Presence of Dinosaurs: Studying at Orton Hall

Hello, finance world. As our industry becomes increasingly defined by technology, students are spending more time learning a variety of Financial software. Fisher offers state of the art financial software (such as Capital IQ, Crystal Ball, Rotman Trader and @ Risk), as well as statistical packages (such as SAS), and of course, Bloomberg terminals. These tools offer us an edge with real-world coursework and better prepare us for the job market; but today’s post is a friendly reminder that sometimes it is a good idea to get out of the computer labs and spend some time with Dinosaurs.

A T-Rex skull in the Museum at Orton Hall

Orton Hall has a Geology Museum (free and open to the public), that makes for a nice study break. Check out the variety of fossils and rocks.

The entry-way greeting to the Museum in Orton Hall

The Orton Hall Library is two stories of quiet study tables. This is the oldest library on campus.

The two story library at Orton

Technology offers an ocean of information, but we must take a step back to study the fundamentals. Mastering foundational concepts will ensure that you do not make elementary mistakes, and then allows you to properly use technology. The best way to do this is in the library with a book. Practicing takes discipline and it is easier to be disciplined far away from comfy chairs and Starbucks. The Orton Hall Library has a sense of place and purpose– and it invites you to visit with one.

Taking a break from technology is one of the reasons you should study at Orton. There are many more, but Orton is one of those places best discovered for yourself.

 

Intramural Sports at Ohio State University

One of the really enjoyable things I like to do outside of class is play intramural sports. Ohio State has a huge program in place to allow students to create teams and join leagues for all types of sports at all different competition levels. There are men’s and coed leagues for soccer, basketball and volleyball– and they also have sports such as table tennis, battleship (it’s a game that takes place in the pool; look it up because it’s awesome) and flag football. These leagues are relatively cheap to join, usually $80 for a team, and the leagues usually have a couple (3-4) regular season games, followed by a playoff to determine the intramural champions.

Here is a picture of the MAcc sand volleyball team from the Fall.
Here is a picture of the MAcc sand volleyball team from the Fall.

This year, several MAcc students have come together to make teams. In the fall, we had a sand volleyball team, and this spring we have a basketball team, a volleyball team– and we will be creating a coed indoor soccer team in a few weeks (we have several soccer players in the MAcc, so I think we have a chance to win this league).

Through intramurals, we get to compete against other Ohio State students and it is always a blast! You do not even need to be good at the sport you are playing. I have never played volleyball before and I am on the MAcc volleyball team called the “MAccletes” (play on the word “athletes”). We just finished up the regular season with a 2-1 record and we are waiting for the playoff bracket to come out. We’re surprisingly pretty good, so we’ll see if a playoff run is in our future!

It is always fun to hang out with some fellow classmates at these intramural games because we all get to know each other a little better outside of class. While sometimes it gets competitive, regardless of what my fellow blogger Brett Hornung (current SMF student) might say, it is always fun to play – win or lose.

Where should I live?

Many people don’t realize that Columbus, Ohio, is the 15th-largest city in the United States with nearly a million people living in and around the metropolitan area. With big cities come LOTS of options, particularly, lots of housing options.

As a Columbus native and having attended undergrad at Ohio State, I’ve lived in many distinct areas around the city including Upper Arlington, Victorian Village/Short North, Old North, and Central Campus. Currently I’m living in Old North Columbus, which is just north of Ohio State’s campus. It is by far my favorite area I’ve lived in. Now I’m going to tell you why.

The Old North is located just north of Lane Avenue on the edge of campus, and extends up until where Clintonville begins further north. Cost of housing here is some of the least expensive in the Columbus area. Most of the houses in the area were built in the 1920s and have a lot of personality. Front porches and backyard space is common, and off-street parking is abundant.

oldnortharcade280
Old North Arcade is a bar+arcade combo located in Old North. They do a mean trivia night on Mondays and you’re likely to catch a team of MHRMs (“merms”) in the lead.

The Old North tends to be an area where Ohio State students move when they’ve had just about enough of the somewhat more raucous atmosphere that is more common on central campus. The Old North “scene” is a bit dive-y in that the restaurants and bars themselves are older, as is the crowd that frequents them. This area tends to attract young people in their mid- to late-20s and early 30s, resulting in a fun, eclectic, laid-back vibe. The area tends to be more bustling than Grandview or Upper Arlington. I personally think it’s a really accessible, no-frills area for people that still want to be connected to the social scene of Columbus, but don’t necessarily want to be living in the middle of it.

ca-n-cbdanube-3
An Old North favorite: The Blue Danube is a popular restaurant with incredible, cheap nightly specials and they serve breakfast all day. “The Dube Special” is a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne and two grilled cheeses for $160. I’ve never seen anyone order it, and it is a bucket-list item for me.

I know from my experience in moving to other cities that housing complexes can be appealing in that you know exactly what to expect and you don’t have to worry about finding roommate. My one piece of advice for anyone coming from far away is to consider looking for a month-to-month housing option for when you first arrive. Then as you explore and acclimate to Columbus a bit more (and meet classmates who could be potential roommates) you’ll know better what area you might want to be in longer-term (for the next year or two of your life—or longer… Columbus tends to have a magnetic effect and it is difficult to leave).

I have heard from some of my classmates that they wished they had done more research, because the area they are living in is not necessarily where they spend most of their time, and they would like to be closer to the Short North, Old North, Grandview—wherever it may be. A great resource for locating housing aside from some of the bigger, more advertised complexes is the Off-Campus Housing website. You can search for available housing with filters for # of bedrooms, pets allowed or not, and other amenities. I’ve found some stellar places through this website and would highly recommend.