One great benefit of the Fisher MAcc Program is the ability to take elective courses in the business school outside of the Accounting Curriculum. This provides students the opportunity to take courses offered to Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM), as well as Specialized Master of Finance (SMF) students.
This session I am enrolled in a Master of Human Resource Management course titled International Ethics that is taught by Professor David Freel. Professor Freel has a wide set of experiences from being a trial lawyer as well as traveling to Europe to help companies and governments solve ethical disputes. Throughout his career, Professor Freel has met several influential people abroad. Because of these connections, a component of our International Ethics course includes hearing from various professionals involved in compliance related roles abroad.
This past week the class was able to have Drago Kos speak to us over skype. Drago Kos is the current Bribery Chairman for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED). In his presentation to the class, he discussed his daily responsibilities, recent projects he has been working on, as well as how we can continue to improve economic fairness through the banishment of bribes and other forms of corruption.
I am looking forward to an exciting session of classes and learning more about ethical practices overseas!
Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a great vacation. I had a truly restful vacation. My initial plans were to do some intensive reading to prepare myself for the Spring semester. Those plans quickly fell to the wayside as I spent most of my time with my family. I must have read “Cat Power” and “Madeline” at least 50 times to my son and daughter, respectively. Our family passed around a cold throughout the break, but finally recovered. Despite the illnesses, we all truly appreciated the time together and the lack of pressure from school. The break was perfect, but as the new year arrived, I started yearning to get back into the groove of the semester.
The first week did not disappoint. In the first class of the week, we learned about tunnels underneath the business school! The data analytics professor mentioned it in class and I was among others who went to explore. Our class was in Schoenbaum hall. We went to the basement to find a locked door. Luckily, a faculty member happened to come downstairs and he let us in! We curiously found our way through empty classrooms, computer labs, and hallways with exposed pipes. We ended up coming up through Fisher Hall facing the garage. Of course, I”ll be spending sometime on campus before class further exploring this new area! In addition to the data analysis class, I will also be taking Staffing and Employment Law.
Work has been going well and I have still been actively utilizing many of the skills learned in the program. I recently proposed an Office Exchange program in order to increase company client knowledge, participate in a distinctly different work culture, and to facilitate more company wide cooperation. I will be going to the East office for three days and one of their coordinators will take my place at the West office. It should be an interesting experiment!
What a whirlwind it has been the past two weeks. It’s mostly my fault for procrastinating quite a bit but I can honestly say I spent more time in our computer lab over the past two weeks then I did in my apartment. As we approached finals week, I knew that I had a lot of work to do but wasn’t entirely sure how much. Finally, I sat down to get organized and realized I had two Corporate Finance case briefs due, a paper and presentation on the Norwegian economy, a HUGE Financial Modeling project due and a test in Derivatives worth 75% of our grade. It was time to get it in gear! With the help of my team, we crushed our Corporate Finance case briefs and presented our project on Norway like we were natives! Financial Modeling on the other hand was a bit more time consuming. We were responsible for creating a model in Excel that would provide flexibility and user-friendliness for anyone who was trying to price out a business trip to Honk Kong. After a combined 100 hours between four people, we had created a model that we were incredibly proud of. I needed a little break before starting to study for Derivatives so I took the night off and watched the original three Star Wars movies to get me pumped for the newest episode! Then it was back to the grind. I believe I could have prepared a little better for what I consider the busiest two weeks of my life, but everything worked out ok!
It was time for a little fun. The other day I was asked by one of my international classmates to play some baseball. Naturally I was very interested having played ball for a majority of my life. We met at Anheuser Busch Sports Park and split into two teams consisting of two domestic and three international students each. I wont lie, I was a little over confident and was brought down a few pegs when I hit an easy pop up on my first pitch. The rest of the game was much more competitive than I thought it would be and my team ended up losing by only a few runs. Needless to say, I had an absolute blast and am excited for the next time we get out there. With this weather though…who knows when that will be.
After our game of baseball, we took an adventure to Tensuke Market! I was told this was the absolute best and most authentic place to get sushi and traditional Japanese dishes in Columbus. We walked in to the market and I was instantly overwhelmed with foreign sights, sounds and smells…I was excited. I ordered a crunchy salmon roll, a jumbo spicy tuna roll and raw conch prepared sashimi style. The conch was the most exotic thing I have tried in quite some time and I loved it. If you are ever up on Henderson Road just off 315, I highly recommend you go check out Tensuke Market, you will not be disappointed!
“Final” might be a terrifying word for students. But as usual, OSU updated my impression again.
After the international food sharing class, our final class ended with a talk with our classmates in the bar, beer provided by our professor. We reviewed our first semester and shared our new great findings about our classmates’ presentation styles and so on. It was really fun!
Another class is harder because of the strict requirement of the exams, in which we must be very accurate and clear to get a high score. We have covered a wide range of topics about organizational change and development, but the professor perfectly wrapped it up by drawing two boxes and several lines between it. And he has invited several senior students to talk about how they have applied what they learned in real work. They all looked confident and happy about what they are doing. It makes me feel excited about my own future.
There are students studying late for their finals, but for us, we mainly got take home exams. They are not easy, but we have more flexibility in doing it. It really drives me to think about how I can turn what I have read and lectures into my tool-kit to analyze and solve problems.
Also, there were people giving out candies, good luck notes, and coffee near the Ohio Union on campus. “Good luck with your final” is just 5 simple words, but you have no idea how encouraging it can be during finals week.
I am going to be honest, I did not think that I would make it this far. Project after project, test after test…..add that a finals week and you have a recipe of no sleep, caffeine, subway (I have a subway card now!!! and I love their double chocolate chip cookies), and lots of back and forth bicycle rides from my apartment to Gerlach Hall. Riding the bicycle in the fresh cold air to clear my mind was probably the most value adding activity. It helped me strategize and put together my plan of action.
First on the list was finalizing the last project for Financial Modeling. It was challenging because my group members have different schedules, and because the project itself was open ended. We had our variables and our goal was to present both a dynamic and user friendly model for a firm to send employees overseas on business trips. Though challenging in itself with the added constraints of our schedules we accepted the task at hand and sat down, strapped in, and got to work. The feelings of relief and excitement we had after we finished and ran our model were unparalleled as we all thought “This might be the best model hands down.” We put the finishing touches on it, presented it, and walked away with our heads held high because we had done a good job.
Second and last order of the week were the Finals in Econ and Derivatives. I happen to love both those classes so the studying process was not as challenging as I thought it would be. There were times though that I thought to myself while studying especially for derivatives: “This is a lot of material to cover and my brain might not make it to see the light of day to post about this great experience on my blog.” All in all Finals were challenging. Some of the questions on both Finals were hard and a small percentage of the questions caused my mind to go blank. I thought hard and marked them and moved on to the next questions in the hopes that I would remember to come back and see if I could solve the questions. When the professor said time’s up, I was actually relieved and glad that it was all over…..for now at least. I was able to get through this which should make the next time easier as I shall be more prepared.
Just as I believe I am getting a good hold on everything and starting to catch up, the avalanche, that is the end of the semester, begins. Time just seemed particularly fast and at times almost overwhelming.
Family life was the usual, joyful craziness. It was probably due to the fact that between staying late at work and all the extra time working on school work, my kids clung to me whenever I was home. I would be looking over old articles and notes while my daughter sat in my lap drawing pictures of stick figures “going to the potty” and other miscellaneous topics. My son would alternate walking between my wife and I, practicing his new words such as, “bear”, “ball”, and “Uh oh”. My workload increased substantially because our peak season was officially upon us and the extra duties from working on the national conference that I am spearheading. Schoolwork included a group paper and two take home exams. One exam was a “timed exam”. Up to this point in my academic career, I had never done this, so I didn’t quite know how to prepare for it. Basically, you submit a file to a dropbox and it populates a folder which is timestamped. You then have to submit your exam back into the dropbox before the time limit expires (self monitored). It was an interesting experience and the 1 hour and 45 minutes seemed to disappear so quickly. I decided to take the exam at 5 am in the morning, because I am a morning person and my children were less likely to be awake!
One very odd experience was the last lecture that we attended as a group. We were standing outside Gerlach Hall saying “goodbye and happy new year” to each other, when suddenly there was a silence. I don’t know if anybody else felt this way, but I felt a moment of sadness in saying goodbye to a group of friends that I would not see for another month.
I turned in my last exam and am still getting used to not being in school. It was strange, but wonderful to drive straight from work to home (instead of to OSU). Instead of attending lectures, my family and I met up with another family at the Columbus Zoo to see the holiday lights. Near the end of the evening, we sat by the lake for the musical light show and danced through the medley of songs played. This was one of those moments which took my breath away. The smile from my daughter and son as we held hands and danced is still fresh in my mind. Yesterday, my family and I actually sat together on the couch and watched the Minion movie (well, most of the movie) together. This was the first time that we have ever done that! We are looking forward to more time together as we celebrate the holidays.
Finally, I am still stuck on my semester clock, so I am still waking up around 4 am daily. I have used this time to “clean up” my e-mail box. I noticed how many people have helped me to be where I am today and started sending holiday wishes and thank you’s to those people. In these few short months, I feel like I have lived a lifetime of experiences. It also was shocking to note that I am only about 20% through the program. I end the semester and the year, anxiously looking forward to the new year and new challenges that will be brought. Thank you to all of you for reading my posts and I look forward to keeping you up to date in the new year!. Happy holidays and Happy New Year!
One of the more common themes of recent podcasts and books I have listened to/read is how the classroom format of most educational programs favor certain types of learning, and thus favor some students over others. In a nutshell, lecture-based education is largely based on verbal and logical/mathematical learning styles, and rarely physical/kinesthetic or social formats. All styles have their own place, but one thing I did not expect and have been ecstatic to experience here at OSU is the extent to which hands-on learning is woven into the curriculum. Lecture-based classes are still the norm, as they should be, but my classes this semester in particular have featured heavily interactive components as opposed to the traditional reading-lecture-exam format I expected prior to the program.
One such class is Professor Camp’s Technology, Commercialization, Entrepreneurship class. While a Fisher class, a good portion of the students are PhD or masters students in engineering, biomedical sciences, or other related fields. In the class, we have been split into groups and paired with technologies and patents developed here at Ohio State. We have spent the semester tasked with exploring, studying, and validating markets for these technologies. The class typically opens with a lecture where we learn the next step in the framework for bringing new technologies to market, and the rest of class is spent in groups with our technology inventors putting together strategies and actually reaching out to potential customers.
Another heavily interactive class is Professor Lount’s Negotiations course. For those at Fisher, I highly recommend taking the full 14-week course. Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Vernon Law once said, “Experience is a hard teacher – she gives the test first, and the lesson after.” In this course, we spend about half of our class sessions in pairs or groups conducting simulated negotiations, all of which feature their own host of challenges and complexities. Only after the negotiations do we learn the underlying sources of conflict as well as the strategies to use going forward. While it may seem counter-intuitive, it has been an extremely effective way to experience and learn both these concepts and related strategies.
To students and professors alike, I would highly encourage more opportunities to complement lectures and concepts with simulations, projects, and other opportunities for hands-on learning.
It’s hard to believe, but my first semester of the MAcc program here at Fisher is winding down. Unfortunately there is one thing in the way before everyone can go home for break and enjoy time with friends and family – final exams. I thought it would be helpful to give a brief overview of what types of final assignments/tests I have so those interested in the MAcc program can get a better idea of what to expect when finals come around.
- Professional Research in Accounting: This is one of the four required accounting courses. Throughout this class we have been learning how to do accounting research using several different sources and then had to use this research to complete group research papers. For our final assignment, each student was presented with several paragraphs of information about a company and we have to use accounting research tools to answer several accounting-related questions about the company. This assignment is to be completed outside of class and individually.
- Tax Accounting 2: This is an elective accounting course. During this class we have learned about the federal income tax treatment of business corporations and partnerships. Throughout the class, most of our assignments have involved reading the textbook and completing practice problems to obtain a better understanding of the material. We have an in-class final exam that covers all of the material we have learned throughout the 7 week course.
- Assurance Services and Information Quality: This is an elective accounting course. In this class, we have been focusing on the role of assurance services in enhancing the quality of information for financial decision making. We have completed numerous group case assignments throughout the 7 week course. A portion of the final exam is an individual take-home assignment, and the other portion is an in-class final exam.
- The Business of College Sports: This is an elective non-accounting course. Throughout this class we have learned about the OSU athletic program from a wide variety of speakers as well as taking tours of several athletic facilities. A couple of weeks ago we took an individual final exam in class that covered all of the material from throughout the semester. In addition to the final exam, the class is split into teams, and each team is required to do a 20-30 minute presentation on a topic of their choosing related to college sports.
- Negotiations: This is an elective non-accounting course. During the semester, we have developed our skills to become more effective negotiators. Much of the class has been spent getting to actually negotiate with our classmates. Most of our assignments have involved preparing for in-class negotiations and completing assigned readings. For our final exam, we have an in-class exam covering the topics we have learned throughout the semester. We also have a group paper due that we must complete with our teammates from a negotiation that took place over 3 different class days.
The Ohio State MAcc program is unique in the fact that the university operates on a semester schedule, yet the MAcc program offers half-semester 7-week session classes. This means that when students enroll in classes, they will enroll in the next two 7-week session’s courses! While this quick rotation through classes keeps MAcc students refreshed on course topics, it can complicate how students schedule for their final semester schedule.
Your first half year in the Ohio State MAcc program is fairly structured as each student is required to 3 of the 4 required core course in the first two sessions. This simplicity, combined with terrific guidance from the MAcc advising staff, makes scheduling for the first two sessions a breeze (even though students are not even on campus yet).
It is the second half-year scheduling where things become a little more complicated. Normally, second semester scheduling windows open sometime before Halloween; this means that students have had roughly 10 weeks to get acclimated to the MAcc program and its courses prior to having to select your courses for your final semester!
While this might seem stressful, it is actually a very exciting time. Since there are so many elective course offerings, the Graduate Programs Office hosts a lunch where professors of second semester courses come and talk about their course topics and expectations. The purpose of the lunch is to help students choose which classes would be best for them. Aside from attending this lunch, there are other keys to take away the stress of scheduling that I have learned by finalizing my schedule.
The keys to take away the stress of scheduling are:
- Make sure you have met all of the program requirements
- Talk to professors to gain more information about their classes
- Make a primary and a backup schedule
- As soon as your scheduling window opens, SCHEDULE! Classes are assigned on a first come-first serve basis based on when your scheduling window opens.
While you will have a lot of decisions to make regarding which courses to enroll in, take comfort in the fact that all the professors in the MAcc program are the very best that the Fisher College of Business has to offer. Any class you choose to take while in the MAcc program will be interesting, engaging, and fulfilling!