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.

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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

Wrap Up!

As the fourth session begins to wrap up, I look back on the past year in the MAcc program and think “wow, where did all of the time go?” It truly does not feel like 9 months ago I was sitting in orientation, eager to begin working towards a master’s degree. However, as I write this last blog post, I am reminding myself of all the memories that I have had in the MAcc program, all of the incredible people I have met, and all of the information and skills I have learned over the past 9 months.

Commencement at The Shoe!

The most obvious part of my MAcc experience that I can reflect on is the classes. Like any program, there were some classes that I absolutely loved, and some that were a little more challenging to get excited for. However, all classes had extraordinary professors who provided valuable learning experiences. After my first three years in Undergraduate classes at Fisher, and this past year in the Graduate classes, it is clear, the professors are the best assets that Fisher has. Regardless of class title or professor, you are going to be challenged in the way that you think, which is the best way to learn.

Another place where I spent a large portion of my time this year was working as a Graduate Assistant. As a graduate student ambassador, I was the first point of contact for many people who were interested in or being recruited by Fisher. Seeing this other side of the business school has taught me many hard skills that will make me a better business person, but has also instilled a strong sense of Fisher pride in me. Having to pitch the program and the College to people I hardly know has made me realize that I truly love the Fisher College of Business, and more importantly The Ohio State University.

It will be a very bittersweet moment when I walk across the stage for graduation in a few Sundays. Bitter because I am leaving campus, friends, and memories, yet sweet because I have so many memories to look back on as an Alumnus (wow, that sounds weird)! After graduation, I will begin studying for the CPA exam. If all goes well, I will hopefully be majorly done with the exams prior to starting at EY in Chicago come September!

Misappropriation of Assets

 

This session I am enrolled in ACCMIS 7520 Misappropriation of Assets, which is an accounting elective course. The course is taught by Douglas Huffner, who is the Chief Risk Officer for The Ohio State University.

Topics covered in the class so far have covered everything from identifying fraud to common fraud schemes. We have also discussed various misappropriations of cash, such as larceny, fraudulent disbursements, and skimming. The course also covers how companies can prevent fraud. Inherently, if you can understand how fraudulent schemes are developed, you can design a company’s internal controls in such a way to deter or completely eliminate fraudulent behavior by employees.

The class topics are all incredibly interesting, but by far, my favorite portion of the class is hearing real-life examples of fraud that Professor Huffner can cite in his past experiences. Since he is the Chief Risk Officer, he works on problem-solving the most sensitive situation on campus and in the Ohio State community (such as campus emergencies and internal fraud investigations). His experiences help to break up the materials and leads to great class discussion!

I don’t know everything!

Being one of the more life experienced individuals in my class, I still find myself keeping a child like openness to learning. Being in this program has helped to remind me of the importance of keeping my mind and approach flexible. There is so much opportunity to learn if I continue to listen. Below are a few examples of some of my experiences in learning and keeping flexible this semester.

Classes this semester seemed to be focused on minimizing the paper used. I’ve always felt comfortable printing out things, but the amount of reading that we have to do would require me to print out an excessive amount of paper. I decided to just start saving readings to my desktop and using the highlighter function to keep notes while I read. It actually turned out to be really efficient and helpful to use this option. Exciting stuff I know!

I was at the grocery store in the check out line and my daughter was sitting in the grocery cart and said ‘Totoro!’  Totoro is a character from an animated movie by Hiyao Miyazaki. I didn’t really give it much attention until she repeated ‘Totoro’ again. I said, “Where’s Totoro?” and she pointed to my left. I said, “I don’t see him here.” She kept emphatically restating “Totoro!” and I responded, “Sweetheart, I don’t see him.” No sooner did I say it then I noticed a woman with the character tattooed on her arm. I told Larissa, “I’m sorry that I didn’t notice it! Good eyes!”IMG_20160322_194320

One of my classmates broke an apple in half with her hands! She told me about a physics class that she had and the teacher told her how to do it. She taught me how to do it and after a few failed attempts, I was finally able to too!

Conference Completed!

Time has passed so strangely this semester! In addition to the extremely difficult course load, I have spent most of my “free time” developing and finishing one of the biggest projects of my professional career (to date). I just successfully spearheaded a company wide conference. In addition to running the conference, I presented on Social ‘Styles and Staffing’, ‘Communications’, and ‘Leadership and Followership’. It was an amazing experience to have the entire company learn together on some innovative concepts, talk to each other face to face and interact with the owners of the company. It was also an exercise in the effectiveness of my education. This conference was a vehicle for me to apply concepts brought up in my classes at Ohio State.  The ‘Social Styles and Staffing’ lecture integrated components from my undergraduate degree (in Psychology) along with components from the ‘Talent Management’ class that I took last semester. The ‘Communication’ presentation was a joint presentation with my boss on communication styles, based on concepts from a ‘Change Management’ class I also took last semester. Finally, the ‘Leadership and Followership’ presentation was the amalgamation of several lectures from an overview from the ‘Change Management’ course culminating in the integration of those concepts in my career development at my company. Underlying all of these presentations were the skills I developed in the ‘Excellence in Business’ lecture I also took last semester. I sent ‘Thank you’ letters to all the professors that influenced me in succeeding and feel truly grateful to be able to learn and apply my education!

The MHRM and Fisher latest

Wow, I haven’t blogged in awhile and I’m so sorry. Classes and life in general have been an absolute whirlwind! I want to provide some Fisher and MHRM updates, as well as personal updates since last semester. Let’s start with Christmas break!

1: MHRM goes to Columbus Zoolights!

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2: Student Experience provides Destress with Doggie Day. 

Everyone knows this was my favorite event because I desperately want a pug of my own!

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3: MHRM External Case Competition Sponsored by PepsiCo.

Our team won 2nd place competing against Cornell, Rutgers, Illinois, and Minnesota! We brought home the hardware for Professor Ankerman and Dean Makhija

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4: OSU Spring Break.

A great chance to escape from the chilly weather and head down South for some vitamin D (yes, I actually went here – Cabbage Key! 🙂 )

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5: Fisher Celebrates 100 years!

Fisher College of Business is officially 100 years old this year and there’s lots of celebration. Check out what the past century has looked like here.

Fisher 100th Birthday Celebration Blackwell - Ballroom Mar-07-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete
©2016 Jay LaPrete

 

6: MHRM Council Elections.

I’m very excited to serve on the MHRM Council for the 2016-2017 school year, and I can’t wait to meet the incoming 1st years!

With these past couple months means new classes for students. This semester I’m taking Staffing Organizations, Data Analytics & Decision Making for HRM, Labor Relations, Understanding Teams & Leadership for HR Managers, and I finished up one elective – Leadership Legacy with Dr. Rucci. Dr. Rucci’s class has been one of my favorite and I highly recommend it! Wondering about these classes and what the syllabus might look like? All of the course descriptions and some syllabi are available here.

My last piece of exciting news is that I’m starting my internship early at Huntington Bank HQ in downtown Columbus! I’m super excited for what’s to come and to get started on my summer projects. I chose to start a little early (April 11th instead of May 16th) so I could hit the ground running by the summer! More MHRM updates and details to come on what it’s like to balance two jobs and a full time curriculum!

Just Keep Swimming

A lot of people return from spring break feeling like they got a little taste of freedom and now are ready for summer. So here are a few tips to help finish the school year strong!

finding-nemo-dory-just-keep-swimming

Set goals for yourself: Setting personal, professional and academic goals for yourself can help you stay on track. Once they are made, make sure to continually assess the progress of them. Consider telling someone you know (friend, colleague, peer, etc.) about the goal so you build in an accountability system. It works!

Stay organized: When you’re tired and feeling like you are running on empty it becomes that much more important to prioritize. Once you set your goals and create your to-do-list then figure out the priority ranking of each item.

Don’t delay – Start right away: A lot of people make the following comment, “I do better under pressure.” I’m not sure I quite buy into that though because had you given yourself proper time to brainstorm and edit, think about what you could have accomplished! Delaying the inevitable often results in added stress, so starting sooner rather than later may assist with the creative flow and process, as well as alleviate additional stress toward the end. If it’s a big assignment, paper or project then break it down into smaller chunks so you do not become overwhelmed, and create milestones to hit along the way.

Find a support network: Family, friends, mentors and peers are all great networks to tap into for support. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you for guidance, development, motivation, a listening ear or sounding board.

Take care of yourself: You know yourself better than anyone, so make sure you are taking time to remain healthy in all aspects of your life, including spiritual, physical, personal, financial, social, and more. “We’re adults,” but don’t forget to rest and get sleep because it will help you remain focused and productive. Also, know when to say no! Make sure to take time to have fun and reward yourself for a job well done!

Focus on the end in sight: Remind yourself of all the time and effort you have put in thus far, and the impact your current work can have on that. Stay motivated and push through whatever you are working on to run through the tape as you finish the race. As Dory said, “Just Keep Swimming!”

Rounding Third

It’s hard to believe that we only have five weeks left of our time at Fisher, which is both exciting and sad. This is my second graduate degree, so I knew it would be fast, but somehow, I’m still surprised to find myself this close to graduation. So here is my advice to the current first year class and the incoming class of Fisher MBA’s, as the Class of 2016 rounds third base and heads towards home:

1) Do you. I said this in a post I wrote last year, and I stand by it. You will be in class with people who are brilliant, people who already have established careers, people who have started successful businesses, and people who already have graduate degrees. There won’t be anyone who is exactly like you or who wants the same things, and if you find that you’re on a more non-traditional career-path like I was (non-profits) that’s perfectly okay. Don’t compare yourself to others. Twirl down your own road. There are opportunities at Fisher and ways you can network to get yourself where you want to go. I joined Fisher Board Fellows simply because it was something I loved, and that’s how I got my job.

2) Find kindred spirits. They will advocate for you harder than anyone else. I doubt I would have made it through my program without Dr. Shashi Matta, Michelle Petrel, and Professor John Barker. They are wonderful human beings and I am so grateful for them. If you aren’t finding help through what seems like the more traditional pathways, start knocking on office doors and see who will sit down and talk with you.

3) Never stop asking for help. Ask for help from your teammates, from your friends, from professors, from staff, and from alumni. People are much more willing to help than you think they are, because everyone had someone to help them (or several someones). So ask. And make sure to follow through with a thank you and maybe some chocolate. Everyone likes chocolate.

4) Learn how to be a team player. Work hard to learn how to work with other people. This doesn’t mean be a pushover or a people-pleaser, it means learn how to work together to accomplish a goal. Be a leader when you need to be, but know that the best leaders know how to step back and let others lead, too.

5) Network. Look at everything as a networking opportunity, and a way you can meet new people. Don’t think of it as work. Don’t think of it as asking someone for a job. Think of it as making friends. And you can never have enough friends.

6) Take a leadership position in a student organization. My time on a leadership team pushed me in ways I didn’t expect it to, and it taught me how to adapt to the very different needs of the people on my team. I learned the most about leadership by being on that team, and I’ve seen the most growth in myself because of it.

7) And last, but not least, try not to stress out too much. Two years goes fast, folks. So go to follies, go to girls’ night, and hit all the happy hours. Because the work will be there, whether or not you panic. So try not to panic, and enjoy the time you have at Fisher.

It’s about life not money

When talking about business schools, it seems people automatically link it with making money. But here, I learn to be yourself and money will follow.

“Leadership” is the buzz word in business school. The course Advance Leadership is recommended by a lot of students. I do not consider myself a leader type of person, but after taking this class, I now feel every one is obligated to take the lead. Not everyone can become a CEO, but every one of us is the leader of our own life. I wrote my assignment not for the score, but how I can be an authentic leader, who I am and want to be, and how I want to be remembered after I die. In class, we listened to stories of CEOs, for example, one who gave every employee a milkshake because he didn’t get one when he started to work at a restaurant and another who committed himself to people’s dignity because he was looked down upon by a rich teenager when working at a car wash. We also heard stories from our classmates, such as one who is determined to be a successful woman in business despite disdain from a Catholic family and one who always gives credit to other people’s devotion because of his own bad experiences.

Any business or profession is just part of our life. What really matters is to live our life, have a positive impact on others, and make a difference.

CEO Milkshake

Favorite Class This Half Semester – Negotiations

Negotiations

After I finished my first semester of the SMF program, I thought to myself, I am going to take all classes that I can classify into a favorites pool. I signed up for classes from simulation and risk, entrepreneurial finance, fixed income, Negotiations, and a couple of more. I thought to myself, these are all electives, so I should elect to take the classes that I feel will get me where I need to get. I was surprised when after a couple of classes of all the aforementioned, a clear winner began to emerge. Negotiations, a clear underdog in the beginning won the upper hand. While most of my other classes are technical in nature and help me master my analytical skills, Negotiations stands on the other end of the spectrum where I have to understand where I stand as an individual. Most classes are spent with the students negotiating between themselves and seeing if they can achieve their personal and group goals. It is the most interesting class I have ever taken. I have had to think more in this class than I have in other classes because of the construct of the class.

Every day in class is setup with a goal to achieve by the end of class. One has to decide if they are going to negotiate or if they are going to step away from the table. One has to decide if they are going to share personal information with the counter-party and reach an integrative decision or if they are going to keep information hidden so as to win the negotiation and have a distributive decision. It just shows a lot about how the classmates think and who, I personally think, they are on a personal level. Are they a person who is willing to share information and win with you or a person who is willing to take advantage of the situation to win as much as possible. That might be an extreme example but it does count for something. It does open eyes to what the business atmosphere is like. It prepares us for the extreme sides as well as the non extreme sides of personalities.

The other great thing I like about the class is that there is a group negotiation component where groups get to negotiate together. I think it trains the mind to be able to accept ideas from other people and try to arrive at Pareto principled decision rather than one that is divisive. Professor Dumas as well is a great Professor who guides the class really well. She is very knowledgeable about the subject and is able to reference to the smallest details that we might miss and help us adjust accordingly.

I would definitely recommend this class to those who want to learn how to interact with people, may they be family or colleagues.