Reaching Outside the Comfort Zone

First, let me share some background on myself to give you some context for this post: I am originally from Upper Arlington, Ohio—less than 5 minutes from OSU campus. I attended The Ohio State University alongside 50% of my high school graduating class. During undergrad, while most of my high school friends could pinpoint exactly where they wanted to be 5, even 10 years from then, I always felt unclear about what I wanted out of life and unsure of how to figure it out.

In my junior year of undergrad, while many of my friends were securing study abroad opportunities, I knew I wanted to do something different, something that would challenge me and hopefully reveal to what I didn’t already know about myself—strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities. I wanted to know it all! I found National Outdoor Leadership School through a friend of a friend, and I embarked on what was to become one of the most rewarding and bizarre experiences of my life…

I slept in a sleeping bag for 85 consecutive nights next to 16 strangers who would soon become my closest friends. We backpacked through remote sections of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico and the Galiuro Mountains in Arizona, carrying everything on our backs that we needed to survive for 3 weeks at a time. We climbed the incredible granite domes of Joshua Tree National Park– powered by bacon, coffee, and laughter. We navigated class-3 rapids in whitewater canoes on the Rio Grande, paddled past Mexican military clad with automatic weapons, and didn’t see another human being for 18 days. The vastness of the wilderness was exhilarating, humbling, inspiring, and terrifying all at the same time, and I came to learn more about myself than I ever expected.

When I graduated from undergrad, I knew I wanted to marry my education in psychology with my passion for the outdoors to facilitate meaningful experiences for others who might benefit. I took a job as a Field Instructor for Evoke Therapy Programs helping struggling adolescents and young adults work through depression, drug addiction, trauma, and motivational/behavioral problems. In this job, I worked a non-traditional schedule of 8 days in the field, followed by 6 days off. I saw recovering drug addicts celebrate 30 days of sobriety in the field over no-bake pies. I saw teenage boys with autism begin to challenge rigid patterns of thinking and to develop their first real friendships. And I saw adolescent girls with a history of self-harm come to believe that they mattered in the world. I count myself lucky to have been a part of the transformation process for the clients I worked with, whose stories continue to inspire me and put my own struggles into perspective.

Me and my best friend Taylor when we worked in the field. This was the equivalent "business casual" in the industry.
Me and my best friend Taylor when we worked in the field. This was the equivalent of “business casual” in the industry.

It’s clear that the program I attended and the wilderness therapy program I worked for are very different. The takeaway that I hope becomes obvious here is that there is a certain inherent healing effect of being outside. I also think there is a deeper level of learning that comes from challenging experiences with real consequences—learning what is in and out of your control and how to adapt to adversity. I believe my experiences in the outdoors have shaped me into someone who can find hope and happiness in just about any situation, and I’m grateful for that.

If there is any piece of advice I would give someone who is uncertain about their path in life (and trust me, you’re not alone), I encourage immersing yourself in an experience that you’re afraid of. I’m talking the thing that you always wished you could do but could never actually imagine yourself doing. There is deep self-discovery and self-awareness that comes from pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone.

backpacking, Ohio State, High Sierras
The OSU Outdoor Adventure Center traveled to the High Sierras last summer. Seriously awe-inspring stuff.

The great part about OSU is that we have access to so many different experiences– so many that I hear people talk about how they struggle to fit in everything they want to do. Well, here is one more for you: the OSU Outdoor Adventure Center. Of course there is the famed indoor rock climbing wall, but what a lot of people don’t know is that as students we also have access to adventure trips. From rock climbing, to sea kayaking, to dog sledding—there is really something for all seasons and to suit all tastes. The best part is that there is no experience required for most and all are welcome.

rock climbing, OSU
Indoor rock climbing wall at OSU during the Valentine’s day climbing competition. Participants were held together by a paper chain and had to complete the climb together. They also do other silly stuff, like zombie themed climbing hours for the premier of the Walking Dead.

I can’t emphasize enough the benefit of pushing yourself to challenge fears, insecurities, an preconceived notions of your own limitations. From my own trips, I’ve learned to work with diverse teams, lead others in high pressure situations, and accomplish stretch goals with limited resources. These are all skills that translate remarkably well to “real life,” and that I plan to leverage in work and life in the future. Get out there!

Homecoming Weekend

Tradition is in the Air

An exciting part of the graduate life at Fisher is becoming a part of campus traditions. Recently, we celebrated Homecoming Weekend and campus began to stir well in advance of the big events! The two main events were a parade on Friday and the football game on Saturday, but there were lots of events all across campus. Here’s a highlight of what we experienced.

The Game

All Ohio State students get the opportunity to purchase game tickets at face-value and many of our SMF classmates took that opportunity. We met before the game to tailgate and then enjoyed the game together (there are many tailgating areas near the stadium). My favorite part is when the band marches into the stadium from St. John’s Arena before the game. Having family and friends who marched at Ohio State, it is always special see and hear the precision of their practice. The band also puts on an excellent halftime show. There are usually about 100,000 people at the game and everyone is excited to watch the band perform during at half-time. Of course, the football team is the main event, and they are looking good so far this year!

A view of Ohio Stadium!
A view of Ohio Stadium

Family Visit

Homecoming is also a great weekend to host friends and family, and lucky for me, my family made a trip to Columbus! It was nice to show them around campus and share my favorite spots. It was their first time they all got to attend an Ohio State football game. I am excited to share this tradition with them. Even though I am new to Columbus, it already feels like home. Hopefully, this is the first of many excellent homecoming weekends to come here at Ohio State.

The Best Band in the Land
The Best Band in the Land

Introduction

Throughout the course of this school year, I will be one of the many authors on this blog and wanted to introduce myself. My name is Hailey Nicholas and I am one of the Graduate Student Ambassadors that work in the Graduate Programs Office. I am in the MAcc  (Master of Accounting) program here at Ohio State. I am originally from South Florida and did my undergrad at Florida State University (and received my bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting). Moving out of state and starting a new program has definitely been a big adjustment, but it has been a very smooth transition since we began the program about four weeks ago.

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Deloitte in their audit practice in the Boca Raton office. I recently accepted a full-time offer with them! I know the MAcc will provide me with even more experiences that will help me grow as a professional.

While I have only been in the program just short of four weeks, some of my favorite things so far are:

  1. Attending football games at the Shoe
  2. Lunch breaks with my classmates
  3. Walking around Ohio State’s beautiful campus

Something unique about Ohio State compared to my undergrad classes is that there is a lunch break built in to your day. From 11:45-1:00 there are no classes scheduled. So rather than having an awkward break in your schedule and pretending to stare at your phone, every day I eat lunch with my classmates. There is a graduate student lounge on the 2nd floor of Gerlach Hall (where all our classes are held) and there is a refrigerator, microwave, couches, tables, coffee machine, and even a café in the building next door. It sounds miniscule, but having this lunch break has helped me make new connections with my classmates. On the first day of classes, a group of about six of us walked to Panera across the street and all got to know each other. Little things like this make the MAcc program feel like a small piece of home.

Grad Student Lounge
Grad Student Lounge (it looks very different when it’s full of students)
img_1658
A microwave is a college student’s best friend, right?

Taking a Break during my Busy SMF Schedule

“A career fair last week, 3 case discussions this week, 2 mid-term exams  on Monday next week, and FINAL exams two weeks after that.” That’s how I describe my SMF life to my friend. Later, my classmates remind me that we also have one presentation and one case brief due next week.

This is not just busy. It is CRAZYYYYYY!!!!!

But the good news is that the director of our program, Professor Pinteris, adjusts the schedule after our classmates talk to him about this– which is super sweet. (After all, we can’t miss the big game between OSU vs. Oklahoma this weekend!!! GO BUCKS!!!)

GO BUCKS!!! & BEAT OKLAHOMA!!!
GO BUCKS!!! & BEAT OKLAHOMA!!!

Having a busy schedule doesn’t mean that we cannot have some fun!

On weekends, our class usually gathers for dinner and drinks together. We have tried one Chinese restaurant, one Indian and two Mexican so far. In terms of bars, I have no clue because I cannot handle alcohol (I have no intention of fighting against my genes). But if you are a fan of drinks, there are many decent bars in town. You can definitely get what you want here!

SMF dinner
SMF Weekend Dinner

Also, some of my classmates signed up for a soccer team and had a game on Tuesday. Sun, breeze, birds, and a soccer game for that afternoon–relaxing and beautiful!

SMF Soccer Team
SMF Soccer Team
Birds
Birds
Sun
Sun

But as I told you before, it was a busy week for SMF student. As I result, I headed back to Fisher before the game ended because I had to go to my next scheduled event — a group meeting for our project!

My team is awesome. Everyone contributes and teaches each other. My favorite part is that we do our project literally together, not just write sections separately and collect the pieces later. After every group assignment and meeting, we learn way more than we expected. I enjoy our days and nights together.

The life of SMF candidates is busy, but we have the support and help from each other. And all the things we do in the program prepare us to change from a student to a professional. We can actually see the alteration from time to time. It is amazing that some of our classmates now sound like investment bankers or financial analysts in class discussions!

10 PM at Gerlach Hall
10 PM at Gerlach Hall

What’s Up, World?

Hello there,

My name is Brett Hornung and I am a Specialized Master in Finance Candidate at Fisher, with a focus on Corporate Finance. I am one of the Graduate Ambassadors this year for the SMF program and will be blogging throughout the year to give you all some insight into what goes on in the world of an SMF student. In the meantime, here is my story.

A picture of me as part of an introduction to who I am.
This is me, the man behind the blog posts.

A couple of random fun facts to start it off:

  • My career goal is to be an Investment Banker.
  • Go Browns, Go Tribe, Go Cavs. Go anything Cleveland really.
  • My favorite type of food is steak.
  • I speak Mandarin at an intermediate level and have been to over 10 cities within China.
  • I enjoy outdoor concerts, (of most genres) with my favorite being EDM, and my favorite artist being Flume.

Born and raised on the West side of Cleveland, OH in the beautiful town of Westlake. Ended up attending St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and ultimately choosing Marquette for my undergraduate studies. At Marquette, I double-majored in International Affairs & Political Science, and double-minored in Economics & Asian Studies. In addition, I also played NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse for the inaugural team, and last year we won the Big East Championship, so, as you could imagine that was a great way to cap off my undergraduate career.

This is me with the trophy after we won the Big East.
This is me with the trophy after we won the Big East.

 

When I realized I was interested in graduate school, specifically programs revolving around finance, Ohio State was a natural choice. My older brother was a 5-year student of Fisher, my best friends all went to Fisher, and I had only heard great things about the place. In addition, I had probably visited a million times at this point and knew the campus as well as I had known Marquette’s. So, when I received the offer to come and enroll as a member of the class of 2017, I knew it was the place for me to be.

Since our program starts in the first week of August, I have been on campus for about a month now and have been loving every aspect of it. Classes and professors are interesting, the weather on campus is beautiful, and the people I have met so far have been awesome. Really am looking forward to the next 8 months as a Buckeye, especially with the start of football season upon us. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more posts of mine throughout the year. Take it easy.

Welcome to the MAcc

Hello! My name is Caleb Gruenbaum and I am a Student Ambassador for the Masters of Accounting (MAcc) program here at the Fisher College of Business. I am currently taking advantage of a combined program that allows me to combine my fourth year of studies into a BSBA/MAcc dual program, where in four years, I will have completed my Bachelors in Accounting as well as my Masters. With many states requiring 150 hours in order to sit for the CPA (Ohio included), this provides me a great way to reach the 150 without taking “cupcake classes” all ‘senior’ year.

I spent my summer interning at Deloitte & Touche LLP in their external audit practice. This was a great experience and I am fortunate enough to be able to join them full-time in the Fall of 2017.

Being back on campus is definitely bittersweet. On one hand, I am ecstatic to see all of my friends from school and for classes to be back in session, but I also have to come to the realization that I am done with school after this year. I am on the final stretch towards graduation, and I’m not sure quite how I feel about this.

But I’m going to take advantage of many of my favorite things about attending The Ohio State University:

  1. Ohio State Football– I have been a lifelong, die-hard Ohio State football fan and being able to go to games for $35 each will definitely be missed. I also got a free student ticket through the school for the National Championship vs. Oregon.

    Me and some friends at last years Spring Game (I'm the one wearing the cool bucket hat and a red tank)
    Some friends and me at last year’s Spring Game (I’m the one wearing the cool bucket hat and a red tank)
  2. The Beautiful Campus– Ohio state’s campus is absolutely beautiful this time of the year. Watching the leaves change color every fall is a sight to behold.

    Campus in the Fall
    The Oval in the Fall
  3. Accounting Faculty– Coming from an Ohio State Accounting undergrad, I was blessed with constant interaction with some of the MAcc professors– some of whom are leading researchers in accounting, and others of whom are world-class professors that make the student’s growth their number one priority. I am excited to keep learning from such bright minds in the coming year.
  4. Being a Buckeye– This one has me reminiscing on what has already been the best three years of my life, and focusing on having the best year possible this upcoming year. While being enrolled in classes may last a limited time, I will proudly be able to say I’m a Buckeye for life. With over 500,000 alumni worldwide, you’d be amazed how global of a brand Ohio State is– and how much the school means to those who have attended.

Although this is my final year, I am determined to make the most of it, and I am excited to bring you readers along for the ride.

Week Two: First Monday and EY on Campus!

Monday Morning in Columbus
Monday Morning in Columbus (Aug 29)

“There will be no rest for the weary”, as they say.

Today is the first Monday of this semester since week one started with Tuesday (Aug 23).

Monday is a long day for SMF students this session because we have THREE classes (Corporate Finance I, Data Analysis I & Econ I), from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, with only a one-hour lunch break. So, I was in a bit of a hurry to have a quick lunch at SUBWAY with my friends. When we were heading out of Gerlach, I heard one of my classmates yell, “WOW FREE PIZZA!!!” That’s when I discovered recruiters from Ernest & Young (EY) with DELICIOUS PIZZAS (both Veggie & Meat), EY-yellow sunglasses and EY T-Shirts! This is recruiting season at Fisher– and you’ll often find various organizations on campus. With free food and give-aways!

EY Yellow at Fisher Campus
EY Yellow at Fisher Campus

BTW, I was so relieved that I escaped from SUBWAY for one day because I almost ate there every day in the pre-term. How busy and crazy our SMF schedule in the pre-term is! Just check my previous blog to have a peek! Subway is something that you can eat every day because it is fast and close to Fisher, but you don’t want to! Basically, it is a combination of Meat + Veggie + Cheese + Bread. If you eat it every day for a while, it will taste like the same thing despite various recipes. TRUST ME or TRY IT. You will know what I mean! Or you can prepare your lunch the day before and take it to Gerlach as some of my classmates do. There are two refrigerators on the second floor of Gerlach.  

After a few bites of pizza, I talked to several EY staff in the field, including Adam, Meg, Anna & Harrison. They were so patient and helpful & answered questions from students one by one just as in the career fairs–but under sunshine without air-conditioning and a fancy building.

However, the conversation continued in the “fancy building” (Mason Hall) with AC after 5:30 pm with more EY staff answering questions for more students. Ther students were so polished and professional. I am really impressed and proud of our Fisher family!

Imagine Yourself Thriving

Hi, Friends!

My name is Nikki Villoria and I am a first year MHRM student. Just a bit about me: I am from Alexandria, VA and attended The Ohio State University for my undergraduate degree in Psychology (I’m a proud double Buckeye!). I graduated in 2015 and this past year, I worked as an Educational Leadership Consultant for Alpha Xi Delta Women’s Fraternity. It was a wonderful experience to be able to travel and meet many different women across the nation. Mainly, I assisted in the areas of project management, leadership development, and recruitment and retention. I am excited to be going back to school to become an expert in the field of HR! I’ll be posting regularly throughout the school year so I hope you enjoy following me along on my journey!

Here’s a little look into the early days of graduate school life:

August 22, 2016: The day before classes officially start at Ohio State. The anticipation is quite high! Whether it’s been a few years since we’ve been in a classroom or we’re just ready to start studying a subject that really interests us, it seems that my peers and I are really excited to get going!

Today was also the day for the New Graduate Student Welcome and Resource Fair. This event was held in the Ohio Union to accommodate all the various graduate students from all across campus. Like many of the events we’ve had thus far, orientation to trainings, the morning started with a mingling session (I’ve been meeting new people non-stop!) and of course….breakfast. There were many students coming together from all different types of graduate programs. They mentioned there are about 10,000+ graduate students this year.

IMG_1799

(Enjoying the sunshine in the Fisher Courtyard while reviewing all the information from the fair.)

The Welcome Event included a few different speakers like President Drake and Bruce McPherson, the Executive Vice President and Provost, who gave us all a warm welcome into graduate life. A speaker who really resonated with me was Todd Gibbs, Wellness Coaching Program Manager and Doctoral Candidate in Counselor Education. His talk touched on his own graduate school experience and the work he is doing for his doctorate. He talked about “imaging ourselves thriving” through the graduate school program. I really liked this idea. With the uncertainty in starting something new, it is normal to be unsure of why and how I am where I am. There seems to be some fear of the unknown but also excitement knowing that there are wonderful things ahead. I hope that keeping a positive attitude and envisioning myself thriving will help me push through any challenges that might come my way. I am thankful to be where I am today, though there are a few nerves. The idea of “transitions” or “starting a new journey” has been a recurring theme throughout these first few days. I am excited to continue to stay curious and take advantage every opportunity that comes my way!

Go Bucks,

Nikki Villoria

IMG_1797

(Buckeyes checking out all the resources and organizations to get involved in as graduate students.)

 

Better the Devil You Know…


In the weeks leading up to my arrival at OSU, I was filled with a potent mix of anticipation and anxiety.

The anticipation came from the nerdy schoolboy in me jumping for joy at the prospect of being back in a classroom. “Imagine all I’ll get to learn!” “I wonder what interesting people I’ll meet!” “I can’t wait for football games!”

The anxiety came from my inner skittish recluse pulling his hair out at the prospect of being back in a classroom. “What if I can’t keep up with what they’re teaching?” “What if people don’t think I’m interesting?” “I don’t even like sports!”

I suppose this anxiety would be a little more palpable if I explained my background. I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ School of Filmmaking in 2014 with a focus on film directing. I moved back home to Youngstown, OH after graduation where I did a mix of videography, editing, volunteering at a ballet company, participating in community theater both on- and off-stage and working a variety of part time gigs. I decided an MBA was the right choice after my experiences told me that my passion for film had grown to all arts. I decided I wanted to be the guy who could talk to the stuffy suits as well as the airy artists.

image
My mom made me take this photo!

No time in a big corporation. No use of what math skills I had. No sports. Does that anxiety make sense now?

Fast forward two weeks and that potent mix has been replaced with something much more powerful.

Coming back to school has felt more like a coming home. I had been to OSU only twice before, but within 48 hours, I felt like a prodigal son returned to his joyous father. Being here has felt like digging an old baseball glove out of a dusty attic and finding that it still fits after all this time (sports!).

I don’t know what a pivot table is or what exactly a consultant does, but orientation at Fisher has made me feel like I’m going to be the best businessman the world has ever seen. The faculty and upperclassmen have not been stingy in telling me how hard I’m going to have to work to make it through the next two years, but without attending a single class yet, they’ve managed to make me feel like I’ve learned a lifetime’s worth of information.

image
My core group and I during our preterm scavenger hunt.

Adoration has replaced anticipation and until class starts, the anxiety still exists. Now, though, I know better what I’m getting myself into. I know who to turn to for help. I know what boundless resources I have at my disposal. I know who Urban Meyer is (sports!!).

I feel I’m staring into the abyss and the abyss is staring back, hungry. You know what I have to say to it, though?

Bring it.

 

Exciting Semester Starts with FINAL EXAM for SMF!

Aha! The new semester begins! Believe it or not! SMF students are preparing for their first final exam this week! How exciting! : )

SMF stands for Specialized Master in Finance. There is no doubt that we are a special group who has already done two group assignments and five case studies before the new semester begins and is going to take a FINAL EXAM in the first week of the new semester.

???

There are maybe many question marks in your head: Are you kidding? Do you finish a course for only one week? How is that possible?

Well, that’s because we have been on campus for three weeks before the semester officially begins! We were taking a course called Turbo Finance which covered almost all basic ideas of Finance, from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 3 pm.

Additionally, we met successful alumni of our program and took Bloomberg training with the legendary rock star of Bloomberg, Professor Matt Sheridan, during the busy pre-term schedule.

This sounds like mission impossible, but we did it! The awesome staff of Fisher and the director of our program who is also our professor for Turbo Finance, Dr. George Pinteris, prepared and scheduled perfectly to make all of these happen.

& Here is some beautiful view of campus and Columbus!

Fisher College of Business:

Fisher

The Oval:

The Oval

The One & the Only RPAC:

RPAC

Ohio State Fair (Annually August Event in Columbus):

Ohio State Fair

Columbus at night:

Columbus Nightview