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!

Class of 2014 Gives Back

Over the summer a MHRM alumnus contacted the program about planning a five year reunion for the MHRM Class of 2014 and incorporating that into a networking opportunity for our current students. The MHRM council jumped at the chance to welcome back fellow MHRMs and coordinate the event. With support from the Career Management Office, Alumni Association, and Class of 2014 we were able to host a very special two-part event.

Before our Thursday evening class, there was an MHRM/MHLR panel that

represented alumni 2-3-5-15-25 years out of the program. From organizations such as Wendy’s, Qualtrics, and DHL there was no shortage of diversity. The panelist spoke about how their careers have evolved since they left Fisher and offered valuable insights on career paths. Our most senior alumni on the panel, former CHRO, had just started her own consulting firm called Connect the Dots Consulting.

After class, we also had a Networking Social at Buffalo Wild Wings. This was an awesome opportunity to chat more casually with local alumni, as well as the larger group of the class of 2014 who was in town for the reunion. We had a great alumni crowd at this event and some beloved faculty/staff members too!

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!

Undergraduate vs Graduate Accounting Recruitment and Tips

Fall break marks the end of our first session of Fall semester, as well as the end of recruitment season for many MAcc students who are very excited to be done with the process. Though I didn’t go through the process as I did it during my undergraduate program, I recognized some differences between the two experience when talking to my friends so I wanted to outline them below, as well as offer some tips on how to tackle recruitment season when starting the Fisher MAcc program.

1. The process is so much shorter!

This is the clearest difference between the two processes. While undergraduate recruiting season often lasts for almost the

entire semester with many different networking and social events organized by the firms, my graduate classmates started their job searching process around the end of August when classes started, and had most of their interviews done at the beginning of October. So the time pressure was intense. I highly advise you to prepare well during the summer by polishing your resume and practicing your interviewing skills and be ready to jump right into the process when the program starts, or you’ll be very overwhelmed with events and homework.

2. Full-time vs internship.

Most students applied for internships in junior year and completed them in senior year of undergraduate. However, once you’re a graduate student, often you would apply for full-time positions. Since internship is like another round of interview where firms can take another look at your ability before offering you a full-time position, the competition is a bit more lax and firms often hire more interns to cut some out later. Full-time positions can be more challenging to get, especially when firms already retain a decent number of interns, and they often expect more of you to adapt quickly with the way of working as you did not go through the internship with them.

3. Location preferences.

Many of my classmates, including myself, did our undergraduate studies out of state, so attending OSU allows us to apply for firms and offices in Ohio, nearby Midwest states, and other states farther away since OSU is a huge university with a very recognizable brand name and an extensive alumni network. It was more restrictive for me when I applied for internship at my previous college since it is a small liberal arts school so most students went to companies/offices within the same state. However, many of my classmates can apply to positions in cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. That’s why I often recommend my friends, especially those who did not do an accounting internship, to complete their Master’s at a big university like OSU to expand their opportunities.

Those are all the tips I have to prepare you for a successful recruitment season in graduate school. The main restraint is definitely time, as the program lasts for only nine months and you would want to secure a job before graduation as soon as possible. However, if you come prepared from the beginning, you should feel much less stressful about the entire process. Good luck!

 

My Summer Internship: Niagara Bottling

Hello readers! I am back on campus for my second year of the MHRM program at Ohio State. I’m excited to share my experiences over the next 8 months as I close out my graduate school journey.

After going through the recruiting process last year, I accepted an offer with Niagara Bottling and recently completed a 10-week internship with them in Ontario, California. At Niagara, I worked on their Compensation & People Analytics team. One of my main projects was to support the development of a new compensation structure and the implementation of a cloud-based compensation data management tool.  Easy right? Considering I knew next to nothing about compensation, I was pretty nervous how I would add value in my role.

However, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge so I spent my first weeks of the internship studying the fundamentals of compensation, Niagara’s compensation philosophy, and current trends in the industry. After sitting in on many stakeholder meetings and asking plenty of questions I felt confident working with the team. I utilized the newly implemented tool to create templates that defined standard formats and content for job descriptions to ensure accurately priced roles for the compensation structure. I also lead a talent development initiative to increase retention and engagement through evaluation of 12 potential exit
survey vendors.

 

Additionally, I was fortunate enough to go outside of my department and gain exposure to how the business operates. I saw the manufacturing process first hand with a”Pellets to Pallet’s” tour of one their facilities as well as took a yellow belt training on Lean Six Sigma practices. Over the course of the internship, I had a Regional Sales Manager as a mentor who introduced me to how Niagara attracts new clients and manages their current contracts.

Not only did I gain valuable work experience, but I’ve always wondered what it would be like to move to the West coast and having the opportunity to spend three months in California working full-time was a perfect way to determine if it was somewhere I would actually want to move post-graduation.

Internship Relocation Guide

If you went through the recruitment process this school year and secured a summer internship then you may be feeling a sense of accomplishment and relief that it has come to an end. For those who are required to relocate for the summer, finding housing is more thing on the to-do list that can be a  timely challenge if you are moving to an unfamiliar location. Questions such as: Where do I live? Who can I live with? How do I find something short term? How much is this going to cost? I found myself asking these questions and more as I prepared to head to the west coast for the summer.  I hope that my experience of finding summer housing can help those reading with their own moving process!

Image result for location icon

Full disclosure, the cost of living and availability of housing will differ between locations and it is worth asking the organization if they offer relocation stipends or having corporate housing options.

Connect with Other Interns 

Most organizations will utilize Linkedin Image result for connect iconor Facebook groups to introduce incoming students to their internship cohort. This is a great opportunity to expand your network and find others who are looking for roommates and housing options as well. In addition, there may be students who already live locally that can offer suggestions on where to live or provide housing resources in the area. If the employer you’re going to be working for doesn’t do this currently, ask if you can have a contact list of the incoming interns.

 Short Term Options

Some apartment complexes Related imagewill offer short term leases but with a premium on top of the regular rental prices. This definitely isn’t the cheapest route to take and I would research other options prior to resorting to this one. Other options include searching for colleges in the area rent out vacant dorm rooms for the summer, hotels that offer short term stay discounts, or utilizing Airbnb.

Subletting

Subletting is more than likely going to be the best value, many students will be looking to sublease their apartments for a lower price than they actually pay. Some of these offers may also include utilities or come Image result for sharing iconfurnished. Search for colleges within the area and see if they have an off-campus housing page. If you don’t find it at first don’t be afraid to call the university and ask for it. A quick google search can also provide many links to sublet apartments in the area.

I hope these options will help you to find the perfect place for the summer! When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to family or friends who may have contacts in the area your looking for. Congratulations on the opportunity to expand your resume and gain real-world experience. Best of luck this summer my fellow interns!

Silicon Valley Venture Capital Trek

The week after spring break, myself and a few of my MBA peers were fortunate enough to go on the Silicon Valley Venture Capital Trek in various cities – San Francisco, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and a couple others. As members of the student organization, Fisher Entrepreneurship Association (FEA), our goal is to learn about Entrepreneurship, Start-ups, Venture Capital (VC), and Investing through networking, events, and experiential opportunities. This was my first time on the trip, and it was by far one of my favorite MBA experiences so far. We met with Managing Directors, IPO Lawyers, Venture Capital Partners, and Founders & CEOs from various companies: Wilson, Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR), Google X, EY (Ernst & Young), DFJ (now Threshold Ventures), Prevedere Inc., and Aeris, and a couple others.

Listening to professionals in this space was eye-opening. There were so many questions myself and my peers had as young minds interested in learning how to get into the start-up space and understanding what type of professional experience and knowledge you need to be successful in it. Hearing success stories, failure stories, stories about the “grind” of this world, and honest perspectives about the start-up and venture capital industry gave many of us the ability to narrow in on what we would love to do professionally in this space. For me, after a few years working in tech and sports/entertainment, I would like to start my own company which will tie my passions together.

Most interesting things I heard during the trip:

  • Most of successful companies created their own market (ex: Facebook, Google, Intel, Cisco).
  • This idea of collaboration in tech is called “coopetition”.
  • Value = product-market fit / risk (execution).
  • NETWORKING is crucial!!
  • Get a mentor.
  • 3 parts to venture: 1) sourcing, 2) due diligence, 3) portfolio.
  • People who start a company aren’t always the ones to scale it.

What venture capital firms look for in entrepreneurs:

  1. How self-aware is this person?
  2. Are they able to recognize the fires and won’t ignore the problems?
  3. Do they recognize their own strengths and weaknesses?
  4. Are they persistent and do they have the mental endurance it takes to build and grow a company?

If you’d like to learn more about VC, start-ups, and entrepreneurship, below is a list of books and videos that were suggested to my classmates and I during our trip:

  • “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
  • “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki
  • “The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company” by Steve Blank & Bob Dorf
  • “Straight Talk for Startups” by Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman
  • “Venture Capitalists at Work: How VCs Identify and Build Billion-Dollar Successes” by Tarnang Shah and Shital Shah
  • “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore
  • “Something Ventured” – Netflix movie
  • “Secrets of Silicon Valley” – YouTube

Below is a list of people you should be familiar with – learn their stories as they either successfully built up billion-dollar companies or founded VC firms with highly invested portfolio companies in the Silicon Valley area:

  • Larry Ellison – Oracle
  • Marc Andreesen – Netscape
  • Andy Grove – Intel
  • Alan Shugart – Seagate Technology
  • Gordon Moore – Intel
  • John Chambers – Cisco
  • Steve Jobs – Apple, Pixar
  • Scott McNealy – Sun Microsystems
  • John Doerr – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Larry Sonsini – WSGR
  • Lewis Platt – Hewlett-Packard
  • James Clark – Netscape

A big thanks to Fisher College of Business, Professor Oglevee, Mr. Terranova, Mr. Coleman, and the MBA student leadership of FEA for making this trip happen and providing a wonderful growth experience.

Taking on the CPA Exam

As you may know, there are four parts to the CPA exam, which you take independently of one another. The four parts in order of length from longest to shortest are Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Regulation (REG), Audit & Attestation (AUD), and Business Environment Concepts (BEC). First semester, I focused on adjusting to a new school, new city, and a new job as a graduate assistant. I knew that I plenty of time to prepare for the CPA before starting work full-time next fall, so I decided that it would be in my best interest to wait until the second semester to begin my CPA studying. 

Application Process

Due to the extensive application and Notice to Schedule (NTS) process, I applied about 6-8 weeks before I planned to begin preparation. Every state has a unique process for applying; the NASBA website is a great resource to learn about the guidelines and application process for the state you are sitting for. Since I will be working in Chicago, I am sitting for the Illinois CPA exam. The current rules require me to apply through the Illinois Board of Examiners.  Due to the high volume of applications in November, it took about 6 weeks for me to receive my NTS. Once I received my NTS, I chose the two exams that I wanted to take first.

I chose to take my exams in the following order: AUD, REG, FAR, BEC. I chose this order because AUD and REG are middle size exams which I knew would be easiest to study for while in school. Once summer begins, I plan to study for FAR (the largest exam) since I will have unlimited time. I chose to take BEC last because it is the smallest test, therefore if I do not pass all four before I start work, it will not be too large of a beast to tackle while working full-time. Everyone chooses the order of tests differently. I have seen classmates manage to study for FAR during school; the order in which you choose to take your exams really is a personal preference!

Study Plan & Tips

I am currently taking four classes and working 10 hours per week, so my study plan is a slower pace than it will be this summer. I am at a rate of approximately 15-20 hours per week of CPA studying, which equates to a little over 1 chapter per week.

Some days I choose to stay home and study in the comfort of my apartment, but I also love to study at libraries around campus. My favorite study spot is Thompson Library on the Oval. It is always full of other Ohio State students studying, so it is a prime environment to be productive. Almost every day, a group of students in the MAcc program reserves a room in Gerlach Hall to study after class together. I studied often with my friends in the MAcc program as we began our final review before taking our first exams. Regardless of your study plan, it is best to always make time for fun! Balance is the best way to get through something like studying for the CPA. For example, a group of us play trivia every Thursday night, and we are in an intramural volleyball league on Sundays. Like I mentioned in my GMAT advice post, never burn yourself out!!

GA Intramural Volleyball team!

Takeaways

The biggest piece of advice that I have taken from all of my mentors has been to FINISH THE CPA EXAM BEFORE YOU START WORK! Your year in the MAcc program is a great cushion to take the exams while in a learning environment. So many of your classmates will also be studying for the CPA which makes the processes much more enjoyable.

 

Coffee & Conversation

I recently attended “Coffee & Conversation” an event coordinated by the MHRM Council that hosted program alumni who currently work in the Columbus area. They each shared their experience with the program, how they began their HR careers, and their tips to becoming a leader in the HR industry today. This event also included a lunch and networking session after the presentations.

Tony C. – Vice President of Human Resources 

Undergraduate Degree: Psychology, Kenyon College

Year Graduated from the program: 2005

Current Role Description: Manages the entire employee life cycle with a specific interest in organizational structure and employee development.

Career Advice: Be approachable, explore new functions of the business, take feedback, and be the person that gets things done.

 

Diandra S. – Talent Acquisition Sr. Specialist 

Undergraduate Degree: Psychology, The Ohio State University

Year Graduated from the MHRM program: 2017

MHRM Activities and Societies: MHRM Student Council, Fisher Graduate Women in Business Executive Board, 2015 MHRM Internal Case Competition Winning Team, Graduate Assitant

Internship(s): Cardinal Health

Current Role Description: Consults, provides support and acts as a strategic partner to the recruiting team on pre-employment activities and employee mobility.

Career Advice: Listen to others, give credit when it is due, be positive and have a professional presence.

Shannon M.-Talent Management Specialist

Undergraduate Degree: Strategic Communications, The Ohio State University

Year Graduated from the MHRM program: 2016

Internship(s): Texas Instruments and Victoria Secret

MHRM Activities and Societies: MHRM Council, Fisher Graduate Women in Business

Current Role Description: Supports the home office and stores in talent management and sourcing.

Career Advice: Understand the business your in, utilize data to make decisions, and always find ways to make improvements in your work.

Going to these type of events are a continuous reminder of the limitless opportunities we have as students and alumni of the Masters of Human Resource Management program. I’m grateful for the alumni that continue to be a part of what we do here every day at Fisher!