Tackling Evening Classes as a MAcc Student

This semester I have one evening class, Advanced Topic in Accounting, that starts at 6:15pm and ends at 9:30pm every Wednesday. Most MAcc classes are offered during the day, with a few elective options that

Heading back to campus when most MAcc students heading out

are offered at night, so these classes are not common for MAcc students. Since I also have my required classes on the same day, which starts at 8:30am, my  Wednesdays seem to be very long. However, three weeks in and I still enjoy it a lot, especially due to the content of the class, as we’re learning about E-commerce, IT security, and some exposure to Python coding. I interviewed two of my classmates, Michael Kaufman and Shuo Li, who are also MAcc students, to get their opinions on taking evening classes and below are their responses.

  • What motivated you to select this class although the time may not be appealing?

Shuo: There are three main reasons for me, firstly, I think Python would be helpful in my future work, so I’m interested in learning about it. Second, this class meets only once a week, and I enjoy this kind of schedule. And our professor is knowledgeable and nice!

  • What is a perk of having classes in the evening?

Michael: [It would be] the flexibility of having a variety of courses offered to match my interests.

  • What are your tips on managing late night classes?

Michael:

– Eat a heavy meal. You will get hungry!
– Make sure to rest the night before you have your evening class.

  • Would you still choose evening classes next semester (as we have more evening elective options) based on your experience so far?

Shuo: Definitely yes! I have registered for two evening classes for the spring semester.

It appears that both of my classmates, and myself selected the class because we all enjoy the content and the professor, despite the late time. We also like the idea of meeting once a week as we can have more time for other tasks such as homework, group meetings, and work. Having evening classes is definitely manageable and helps you clear up your schedule during the day too, if you don’t mind getting back a bit late once or twice a week.

 

Teamwork!

The SMF program has a pre-term and seven core courses in the autumn semester. At the beginning of pre-term, we were assigned teams that we would be working with for the entire pre-term and all the core courses. We were put in teams on the basis of a variety of factors like academic background, work experience, gender, and race. My team has four students including me. One student has completed all three CFA levels and has work experience, the other two have done their undergraduate degree in finance, and I, as you know from my first post, did my undergraduate degree in math. We have different expertise and ways to contribute to the team. Sometimes, one of us will take the lead on an assignment and the other will work on citations and proofreading. We’ve been working together only for a month or so, but I’ve been able to learn so much from them in terms of academics but also in terms of soft skills.

In my opinion, the assignment that brought us together as a team, was the first assignment in our Financial Software Applications class, an industry and a company analysis. The first half of this course, is focusing on Bloomberg, while the second half will be on Excel.

The first task for this assignment was to choose an industry from the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) sectors. We then, had to research about the industry, and look at the trends, patterns, market share, etc. After that, we had to choose the company (in that industry) who we believed would be the strongest over the next twelve months, and perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Lastly, we had to compile a report with our analysis of the industry and company. There were two caveats to this assignment – we could only use Bloomberg as our source, and we were not given a page limit for the report. If we wanted to look up some information about the industry’s market share or if we wanted to look at Pepsi’s latest news, we had to use Bloomberg. What this really means is we spent hours and hours in the Bloomberg Lab in Mason Hall.

Bloomberg terminal
Bloomberg terminals

The industry we chose was Beverages in the Consumer Staples sector. We took about nine hours over three days to conduct research on this industry, look at key players in and outside of the U.S, and notice where this industry is moving towards. After that, we “discussed” which company was the strongest according to the data we had on us. We then moved on to actually writing the report that had no page limit. We took about seven hours to do so. Two members started on it during the day, and the third member and I, completed it by the early hours of the next day. And finally, we worked on the presentation we had to give in class (two teams present on every assignment and we were the “lucky ones” to present on the first). Overall, we spent about twenty hours on this assignment, no big deal.

When we were first informed that our teams were going to be the same for the whole semester, I said to myself, “we’re either going to love each other or really not like each other.” I’m glad to realize that after spending so much time with my team over the past couple of days, I’m not going to “really not like” them.

P.S. If anyone was wondering, Coca-Cola was our choice!

Registering for spring semester in the Fisher MAcc program

As the leaves begin to turn a different color here at Fisher, it’s already time for many of the MAcc students to turn their attention towards spring classes. I registered Thursday, October 29, and this process was much different than registering for classes in the fall.

During the spring semester of the MAcc program, students are not required to take any of the core classes that we’ve been taking in the fall. This allows each student to pick an individual schedule tailored to their specific interests and career path, and it’s one of the main reasons I chose Ohio State’s MAcc program over others.

Aside from possessing the technical skills necessary to succeed in the accounting field, I’ve always been interested in leadership and learning new ways to motivate and manage individuals. I’ll be able to continue to pursue this interest by taking classes like Advanced Leadership, Negotiations, and Introduction to Organizational Coaching. While I’m keeping my options open as my career path progresses, I know I want to be in a leadership role down the road. The MAcc’s flexible class registration allows me to develop the skills necessary to be a future business leader, and hopefully create a positive influence on the people I work with.

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!

A quarter of the way done…

The conclusion of fall break officially marks a quarter of the MAcc program complete. It’s crazy to think the program is already 25% done when it feels like we were just at orientation getting to know each other yesterday. A unique aspect of our MAcc program here at Ohio State is that all of the accounting core classes and electives are half-semester classes, similar to the quarter system. Half semester classes have their pros and cons, and now that I have officially completed some of my classes, I can reflect on some of these aspects.

 Pros:

  1.  Fewer classes at once than on the semester system

For undergraduate courses, I was accustomed to the semester system, and each class was about three credit hours. Thus, in undergrad, when I took 18 credit hours, I would have about six classes every week for the entire semester. Whereas in the MAcc program, I can take 17.5 total credit hours for the semester, but because they are half-semester classes (each about 1.5 or 2.5 credit hours), I have four classes in the first quarter and a different four classes the next quarter. The quarter system allows you to take more classes overall, but fewer courses at once. I have found this to be extremely convenient because now I have time to study for my classes and enjoy myself.

2. Fast-paced classes

The great part about quarter classes is there is no downtime. Professors are teaching you an entire semester worth of content in half the amount of time. Fast-paced courses are beneficial for students who are up for the challenge and love to continuously learn without wasted time.

3. The classes are only 8 weeks!

You didn’t like a class that you took that quarter, whether it was difficult or uninteresting to you, the good news is that it’s over in just eight weeks! This is great motivation to keep pushing yourself because you can do anything for eight weeks.

Con’s

1. Frequent exams

One of the biggest cons I have found with quarter classes is the number of exams in such a short period of time. Professors typically will issue a midterm and final within the quarter. Although it seems like a lot at first, it is all very manageable. Additionally, the professors in the MAcc program do their best to work with each other and make sure their exams are not all on the same day.

2. Fast-paced classes

I mentioned this as a pro above, but it is also a con at times. We are all human, and often we need a chance to recover and catch up, fast-paced classes can be hard to keep up with. But like I mentioned earlier, the good news is you are only in about 4-5 courses at a time, so it is very manageable.

Overall, I have come to enjoy quarter classes, and I am loving the MAcc program thus far!

Finals Survival Tips

 

Following our mid-semester exams last week, I thought I would share my graduate study tips. It is important to note that preparing for each exam can be different depending on the class but here is how I typically approach studying.

Fox and the Snow Cafe

Not every professor will provide a study guide for the exam so do your best to be organized throughout the entire course. This includes being prepared with the readings, cases, and discussion questions assigned for each class. I like to take notes or annotate what I am reading so that way I can highlight or expand on important information. Professors typically use PowerPoints and I like to take notes on the slides as we go over them in class. This is in addition to taking notes that are handwritten or on your laptop will make sure you will be prepared when the time comes to study for the midterm and final exam. Based on the amount of information you have to study, plan in advance how many hours a day you will have to study to be prepared.

Red Velvet Cafe

Once I have all my notes and materials organized I will use that information to fill out the study guide or create my own if one was not provided. Filling this out helps me get a comprehensive view of what I need to sharpen my knowledge on. After that, I will create a Quizlet so I can test myself on the material. I also find it beneficial to set up study sessions with other classmates. Don’t hesitate to attend office hours or reach out to the professor if you need assistance or clarification on a topic. Fisher professors are there to help you!

Another thing I want to point out is that your studying environment is important. In my own experience, I am much more productive when I am not distracted or sit in a certain type of environment with some white noise. I enjoy going to a local coffee shop and studying for a few hours each day. I don’t recommend cramming for an exam last minute or pulling an all-nighter.

At the end of the day, don’t stress out! Plan your studying accordingly, get some rest, exercise, and opt-in for a study buddy if you need some social time. I hope you find these study tips helpful. Best of luck on your next exam!

Great Day to See Ryan Day

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I’m currently enrolled in one of the MAcc‘s elective courses, Business of College Sports. I highly recommend anyone with a particular interest in athletics to take this course, as it’s been extremely enlightening to see how a college athletic department operates in terms of budgetary constraints, recruiting, donors, and projects meant to enhance the overall student-athlete experience.

As part of our class, we were able to tour the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, which is home to many sports teams on campus and also serves as the football team’s practice facility. After walking around and getting to see the state-of-the-art practice fields, underwater treadmills for rehabilitation, and other elite athletic amenities, our class sat and listened to Ohio State’s head football coach talk about his program. It was unbelievable to witness the level of detail that the team deploys from their dietary plans to the way they organize their rigid schedules. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to brush up with the athletic director and head football coach at a place like Ohio State, but in the Fisher MAcc program, it can be a reality.

Surviving the Pre-MAcc Seminar

Certificate of completion for the Pre-MAcc Seminar
Look Mom, I made it!

One unique experience I had as a part of my Ohio State MAcc is participating in the Pre-MAcc seminar. This is a two-week crash course in more advanced accounting concepts for incoming students who didn’t take Intermediate Accounting I and II in their undergrad career. Either taking these classes in undergrad or participating in this seminar are prerequisites for the MAcc.  This option lets students who didn’t study accounting extensively thrive in the MAcc at Fisher.

The program runs roughly from the beginning of August to just before the MAcc orientation in mid August. The Pre-Macc meets from roughly 9 am to 5 pm everyday for those two weeks, including Saturdays. It’s quite the grind with lectures in the morning and practice problems all afternoon, but you seriously learn the material when you’re so immersed.

The program typically is also relatively small, around 10 students or so each year, so the learning is very personalized. Everyone in the program was totally free to ask for material to be covered more or voice their opinion to move on once they were comfortable with concepts.

The material in the seminar is specifically catered to the classes students will take in the MAcc program, so the time is used very efficiently. The experience isn’t pulled out of a box, but rather preps you with the specific info you need later on.  Even though I hadn’t seen this material in my undergrad career, I haven’t felt like I was at a disadvantage in my classes. Overall, because of the Pre-MAcc, I’ve been able to perform well in the MAcc program, despite having a non-accounting undergrad education.

An inside look at the case studies in my electives

For the first term of autumn, I currently have two required classes and two electives in the MAcc program. Little did I know how many cases I have to deal with every week when selecting my electives for this term. However, I’m very happy I chose these classes and want to give you a brief overview of what are entailed in them.

Professional Research in Accounting

If you asked me to talk about this class a month ago, I would show my lack of enthusiasm and blame the Texas CPA Board for making me taking this class. I’m not a big fan of doing research so this class immediately sounded boring to me. To my surprise, it turns out to be my favorite class this term! We have to solve one case, in a group of 3 or 4 students, every week, so it is an intensive class. Solving these cases involves getting lost in understanding the issues to be solved, getting swamped in finding the appropriate FASB Codifications to explain the company’s accounting methods, and getting exhausted after finishing our write-ups. But there is a huge sense of accomplishment when I finally understand the problems thoroughly, mostly after discussing with my group, and together arrive at the solutions.

My favorite birthday gift from a friend and the logo I got which features Tesla Roadster as the dummy in SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy flight

My favorite case, because it involves one of my favorite companies, is Tesla! The case involves deciphering their accounting method for their leasing program with leasing partners where Tesla offers a resale value guarantee paid to their partners at the end of the lease term. Never did I hate the company that much while I had to go through the codes to prove what they did and reported in their financial statements. It was our hardest case, in my opinion, but I still managed to have some “fun” with it, especially when we had to come up with their journal entries. Yet I’m still obsessed with the company, their mission, and their unconventional leadership.

Finance I

I took only one finance course during my undergraduate years, so I was new to most of the concepts coming in. However, because of my lack of knowledge, my learning curve for this class is huge. We discussed one case each week, similar to my other elective class. The cases mostly focus on project valuation, debt versus equity financing,

A corner of the Target store on High St, 5 minutes away from Fisher, as an example of the company’s small-format store

initial public offering (IPO) valuation, and corporate strategy regarding financial investments. Some of the prominent cases include Nike’s capital structure, JetBlue’s IPO, and Target’s food business strategy. Target is the one we’re discussing right now, and we’re looking at how Target used small-format stores, those that are of smaller scales built in urban and college town areas, to help with their declining sales after Amazon acquired Whole Foods and transitioned it to be one of Target’s competitors. Our final case is a group project about New Balance’s product initiatives, which looks challenging and time consuming, but I’m excited to work with my group on applying the concepts we’ve been learning this term to wrap up the class in the best way.

All of this is to say that the cases I’m learning in my classes are not at all “make-up” cases about ABC or XYZ companies. They are all about actual companies that I see or use their products everyday. This is the aspect of the curriculum that I enjoy the most. Not only is it practical, but it also allows me to learn more about the accounting practices at these companies, and see how the general accounting concepts can be applied differently at different companies. I would highly recommend taking courses that focus heavily on cases, and although they may be more challenging, your learning curve will definitely be much higher.

 

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.