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.

The Business of College Sports

I wanted to zoom in on one of my previous blog posts, More than an HR Degree, where I discussed the variety of elective opportunities through the MHRM program. For the fall semester, I am enrolled in a three-credit elective “The Business of College Sports”. As we all know athletics is huge at Ohio State and we are lucky enough to have the course taught by non other than the athletic director of Ohio State, Gene Smith, and his wife Shelia Smith. The objective of this class is to provide a business analysis of the conduct of intercollegiate athletics, in all facets, including an in-depth look at The Ohio State University athletic program, the nation’s largest in terms of number of sports, coaches, student-athletes, and overall budget.

On the field at Ohio Stadium!

Each class features a guest speaker from a department that directly works with or supports the operation of athletics. Throughout our class sessions thus far we have been given a tour of Ohio Stadium had an insight look at Finance, Ticketing, and Affinity and Trademark Management. At the end of the course, students get to apply what they’ve learned and present a recommendation of how Ohio State can improve intercollegiate athletics.

Being in a course like this allows me to take a step out of HR, connect with students outside of my program, and gain exposure to a topic I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to.

The New Guy

My name is Mike Powers and I’m a graduate assistant for the MAcc program here at Ohio State University. I come from a small Division III school in Illinois, Augustana College, where I double-majored in accounting and business management and was captain of the varsity baseball team. Safe to say, it has been a culture shock to leave my 2,500-student undergraduate institution to attend a university with upwards of 66,000 in enrollment. In one word, everything here is just bigger. From the football stadium to the classroom, I’ve found myself in awe of the plethora of resources such a large institution can provide for its students. Anytime I’ve needed help- whether it’s registering for classes, finding a good spot to eat, getting a workout in, you name it- Ohio State has multiple resources available to help.

As a new student here at Ohio State, I found that I struggled during the first week to find elective classes that were right for me. However, with assistance from both academic counselors and classmates that attended undergrad at Ohio State, I was able to find the classes that I am passionate about. In my first class, I even got to visit the Ohio Stadium! For a sports aficionado like me, this was a dream come true. This experience would not have been possible without the genuine people I’ve met during the first few days on campus that care about my success. As my first week here comes to a close, I reflect by being thankful for the fantastic resources that Ohio State University has provided me with, and look forward to what will surely be an exciting year to be a Buckeye.

Spring Break in Washington D.C.

The group of MAcc Students in D.C.

A new opportunity here is the MAcc program is being able to spend your spring break with your classmates in Washington D.C. The MAcc program offers you an opportunity to earn class credit while getting to learn about different career paths, have great networking opportunities, and explore the city. I asked fellow MAcc student Cinara about her experience in D.C. and here is what she said:

Briefly describe what the Washington Campus opportunity is.

The Washington Campus is an opportunity for MAcc students to experience accounting topics through the lens of Washington DC. This includes learning about governmental accounting and hearing from speakers about the economic and political environment. We were also able to visit the White House, PCAOB, Capitol Hill, monuments, and museums.

What was your favorite event?

My favorite event was when we were able to visit Capitol Hill and sit on the house floor. Our tour guide was former US Representative Cliff Stearns. Many people do not have the opportunity to sit on the floor and listen to the arguments, but we were given access due to the class.

What was your favorite activity outside of the classroom?

My favorite event outside of the program was the night of the alumni event. The alumni event was a great way to network with professionals and peers in our industry over food and drinks. We were able to learn more about our future profession from people with years of experience. While there was a lot of time dedicated to learning and professional development, we were still able to enjoy the city. We also went to a karaoke bar, which allowed me to get to know my peers outside of the classroom. Overall, it was a great experience that I would recommend.

Talking to a lot of my fellow classmates, the Washington Campus trip was one of the highlights of their time here in the MAcc program. It was a great learning opportunity and a fun time to explore a different city. It was definitely something everyone in the MAcc program should take advantage of.

My Favorite Class: Strategy

As an MBA student there are number of classes we take in our first year designed to given us an understanding of a wide range of business aspects, from finance and accounting to data analytics and marketing.  As someone who came from the supply chain background I found these classes to be exceptionally in learning the about industries I had not previously had experience with.  There is one class in particular that students take in their second semester that I have found really show what the MBA is all about, that class is Strategy Formulation and Implementation.

 

In this class MBA students take all of the knowledge they gained in the previous semester and apply it to cases about real companies and the decisions they made to reach a level of success and what decisions they should make when at a strategic crossroads.  This class helps to put students in the CEO’s shoes and consider all the opportunities and risks they face when considering the decisions needed to maneuver a company through the marketplace.

 

Along with the in-depth case studies and discussion-based lectures there are computer simulations that let provide students with a company their own to run, and where they can see the outcomes of their decisions.  Something as straightforward as a manufacturers decision on its delivery schedule can have profound effects on its profitability and place in the marketplace.