Posts filed under 'Class'

Interview with Professor Arya

Professor Arya

Throughout the year-long MAcc program, students are required to complete 4 core accounting courses. One of these four courses, Management and Control,  is completed in the first session of first semester and is taught by Professor Anil Arya. Professor Arya not only teaches this course in the MAcc program but is also the Academic Director of the MAcc program. It is evident how much the students appreciate and enjoy Professor Arya. Every morning I walked into class at 8:30 AM and Professor Arya would have a different rock band blasting from his Spotify account. He also always made it clear that all of the MAcc students were welcome to come to his office at any time (even before 6:00 AM since this is when he gets to campus) to ask homework questions, express any school/career concerns, or just chat about anything that comes to mind. This week, I went to Professor Arya’s office to ask him a few questions so I could learn a little more about him and share it in this post.

Years teaching at OSU: 24 years. Professor Arya made sure to tell me that he began teaching at Ohio State back when he had “a full set of nice flowing hair” in contrast to his “less flowing hair” now.

Years teaching for the MAcc program: Since the program has started. Professor Arya has been the head of the program for the last several years. Prior to this, Professor Arya taught undergraduate accounting students for both the traditional accounting program as well as the honors accounting program.

Years teaching at other schools: Professor Arya has only taught at Ohio State. He has given about 75 lectures at other schools but has only been a professor here.

Favorite things about teaching at OSU: Professor Arya was very adamant that his favorite 3 things about the MAcc program here are 1. The students 2. His colleagues 3. The support the program receives.

  1. Regarding the students, Professor Arya commented on how much he loves being able to actually teach a course in the MAcc program where he is able to interact with the students. He said that he used to be much more focused on doing research, but he has now realized that it is much more fulfilling to do research and teach. He loves how he has the freedom to do research and then share some of his findings and new ideas with the students.
  2. In terms of his colleagues, Professor Arya explained how this program has extremely genuine and hard working professors. He thinks it is fantastic that the faculty teaching in the MAcc program come from a wide variety of backgrounds, whether that is primarily an academic background or a background of professional accounting experience. He truly believes that every faculty member would be happy to help his or her students in anyway possible.
  3. Professor Arya couldn’t say enough about how appreciative he is of the support the MAcc program receives. This spans from people such as the Dean of the business school, Anil Makhija, to the extremely dedicated staff members, such as Rob Chabot, the director of recruiting and admissions. Professor Arya raved about how much all of the faculty and staff genuinely love their jobs and how this is a huge contributing factor to the success of the MAcc program. Professor Arya also mentioned the immense support from employers recruiting MAcc students, especially the Big 4 accounting firms.

Other comments: Professor Arya told me that he often tells people when they ask him what he does for a living that he has never had a job. He often forgets what he does is technically “a job” because he enjoys what he does so much. He also said that while this program is very successful, there is always still room for improvement. It is important to contiunally to make changes such as adding new elective course options and bringing in new faculty to teach courses.  Ultimately, Professor Arya’s goal is to make the MAcc program better, focus on teaching, and for his students and himself to have a good time while doing serious things. Professor Arya believes that learning is serious, and therefore a little stress is good, but students should also have fun.

What do I do with my hands?

It seems like we are doing presentations every two weeks or so. Presenting can be stressful, but also fun!  I typically spend a lot of time in preparing for presentations and always like to sneak in subtle humor. I have a pretty dry sense of humor, but so far it seems to blend well with what we have presented so far. One professor made the comment though, that I might want to be careful about being too comfortable with the audience and losing the nature of the presentation.

Everyone has their own style of presenting, but I don’t like using note cards and prefer to improvise over an extensively rehearsed speech. It makes me feel more comfortable to present this way and allows the presentation to be a little flexible. This method does require a lot more rehearsals in preparing for it and also requires that I be over prepared. I may rehearse much more than I actually say due to the way the presentation flows. This also opens the door for more preparation for a Q and A session afterwards.

At a recent information session for a case competition, I learned that the judges are not only observing the person currently presenting, but also the other people in the presentation. It stimulated a thought of my ability to actively listen to my colleagues as they present as opposed to looking at my watch and waiting for my part. In another sense, it improves the general flow of the presentation, by connecting specific examples that a previous presenter has mentioned into your section. On a different note, my gestures are pretty minimal when I am presenting, but I started to wonder about what I am doing with my hands when I am “on stage” but not presenting. The best thing I came up with was to put my hands in my pocket and to focus all my attention on listening and following my colleagues as they talk. Not necessarily a “best solution” but I figure that it will be a good holdover until I view more presentations and get ideas from my other classmates.

First Part Complete!!!!


Ahh Finals Week (First Part)!!!!

We’ve all had that feeling when we think its almost impossible to lump into our brains material that we have just finished let alone when its for a cumulative exam. I spent the better part of the weekend before the exams as well as the week of the exams studying for exams, drinking coffee, drinking coffee (yes I repeated that) and listening to music. I did find time in there to breathe and tell myself that its all part of a greater goal which helped alot. I think the hardest part of studying for me is when I hit that wall that’s covered with “Why are you doing this?” The question of course is always obvious: because I want to be better, because it is inevitable, and more importantly proves that I can make the connections outside of class. The hard part of it is when I start thinking about the opportunity costs but I’ve come to know that those only come because I am most if not all the time extremely tired. It is a rewarding process though. There is nothing more that I enjoy than making that connection while I am studying.

It is the end of the first part of the program. Two months have passed, seven weeks of study compiled with projects, presentations and ….finals. Having taken the finals, I look back and try to process what I have learned. It is easy because of all the material I have just absorbed while studying for the finals. I know now that a bar chart isn’t necessarily the best chart to present ratio or quantitative data. I can now understand why the east side of columbus looks the way it does with the lack of banks allowing for the economy to grow in that area. I can also understand that companies wanting to satisfy their shareholders can raise dividends/repurchase shares and drive their stock price up. Arbitrageurs such as hedgefunds can then take advantage of that and buy stocks of those companies. A very intricate process all in all. These are all things that studying for the finals helped me process and absorb. It definitely adds value to my understanding of finance.

Finals regardless of how many or how hard are always stressful. There is nothing like enjoying a good meal to celebrate the completion of finals. As I am undergrad alumni and soon to be grad alumni of Fisher, all my finals have been at the OSU campus. After my finals I like to go to this Korean Restaurant on High street called Diaspora and get their spicy pork bulgogi. There is no other meal like it (at least for me). It has become somewhat of a tradition of mine. If I go there, it means that I think I did fairly well and I deserve to treat myself.

Here’s to the first part of the semester being over !!!



Finishing the Term and Fall Break

What an extraordinary couple of weeks it has been… I was cruising through this year, able to balance work, school and my extracurricular activities perfectly fine until about two weeks ago. It’s crazy how things (*cough* school work *cough*) can sneak up you when you least expect it! I woke up one Sunday morning after having enjoyed a great Buckeye football game the day before to realize that I had an entire day of work ahead of me just to get caught up. There were projects to finish for my Leadership, Corporate Finance, Data Analysis and Industry, Risk & Pricing courses. Not only did I have to finish those projects and get ready to present them, but I had two exams to study for and a group case analysis to finish up. All of this within a week and a half. After what was probably the longest and most productive Sunday of my life, I was about 1/3 of the way to being done. Needless to say, the following week was a little hectic and stressful. If I might offer a piece of advice: Don’t Wait until you have a week left in the term to try and finish everything. Thank goodness all of my groups were organized and we powered through without any major hiccups!

mirror lake

But don’t worry, the program isn’t always as crazy as I just made it seem. The entire time I was grinding away I knew that Fall Break was around the corner. Ever since OSU switched to semesters my sophomore year of undergrad, I had been waiting for the University to add a fall break to our schedule. I had friends at other semester schools who had a Fall Break but we never had one! Until this year! You’d better believe I took advantage of it. Right after my last two exams on Wednesday, I hit the golf course for a nice round with some of the guys. Afterwards I took off for my home town of Centerville where I was able to spend time with my family for the first time in what seemed like ages. Fast-forward to Saturday morning and I’m back in Columbus getting ready to tailgate and cheer on the Buckeyes to victory against Penn State! All-in-all, the past few weeks have been quite a whirlwind but I wouldn’t have it any other way!golf

Exams. Exams? Exams!

It has been 2 months since our program started. Since I have gone through several different exams, I think it is interesting to talk about them.

My roommate is a PhD of geophysics, and when he received his exam paper, which just included 12 multi-choice questions, via email, I complained to him about my exams as his seemed so easy. He argued,” You do have multi-choose, you can choose two from three essay questions.” He was right. The exam of MHRM 7301: Foundations of Labor and Human Resource is an essay-questions exam. We can choose to complete 2 from 3 essay questions and each accounts for 50 points. When I got the answer sheet I was shocked: it was a booklet! The questions were not easy, either. In order to solve these questions, I had to use my logical thinking and refer to the theories learned in class and from textbooks (Yes, textbooks because we must finish reading three textbooks for this course.)

The exam of MHRM 7302: Markets Organizations and Human Resource Management was even harder, even though it was a virtual exam, which means we can refer to our textbook and notes and complete it at home. The professor said there would be 12 questions and we could choose 10 of them to complete. He also said the exam would be finished within 3 hours. However, when my classmates and I received the exam e-mail, we found it actually contained 10 questions and each of them had 2 sub-questions! As a result, I spent 2 days completing a 10-page-essay-question exam.

Exams for MHRM 7321: Business Excellence 2 are more fun because we have no exams! But we are asked to complete 2 papers: one is an individual paper and another is group work. The paper is limited to 2 pages, but we should first read a case that is provided by our professor and then use our analytic thinking to find out situations and solutions of the company discussed in the case. We should also base our thinking on what we had learned in the classes. As what the professor said, he did not want a summary but his students to push themselves a little bit and show off what they have learned.


When it comes to the topic of exams, students always have a lot to talk about. But my opinion is although exams in our program are pushy, by taking them seriously and preparing well we will receive good marks. Any way, good luck with mid-terms and go buckeyes!


A Hard Day’s Grind!


As a grad student, I have had to relearn how to get into the grind. It seems most of my time is spent reading textbooks, keeping up with my to-do list (life saver), exploring job opportunities, and more than anything…drinking coffee from the best grinds (personally prefer Hazelnut & Columbian). Though the picture above seems to sum it all up, it is not so. As it happens sitting in Professor Pinteris’s class and learning about how analysts value corporations is of great interest to me. From using Multiples to discounting Cash Flows, we are exposed to how most firms are valued. The To-do list in the picture is the full picture in terms: Though it looks cluttered, there is a method to its madness. On there I have important class dates, meeting dates, corrections to previous notes, homework assignments due, and notes to remember to watch a financial segment on TV. The pamphlet from Fifth Third is one of the driving goals of my education. I want to use the material learned in class to make a difference one day with a big firm …But the grind does not necessarily just reflect nights reading as we see below…

As I walk from class in Gerlach Hall to the south side of campus towards Thompson I am reflecting about the grind that I went through the night before completing assignments, applying to Fifth and Third, running to Krogers to pick up a fresh bag of ground Columbian coffee beans to make my vietnamese coffee. I am thinking about how I am starting to get used to and like this grind. This grind although it takes up a large amount of my time is well worth it. And so as the gears in my head are turning …..grinding rather.. I am thinking about my next move. Do I walk faster so that I can get that magical fourth floor spot at Thompson? No its Wednesday and the seats are probably full. Should I reach out to an other alumni through linkedin or finish my leadership paper that is due next week? I pull out my To Do notebook and notice that I have annotated both “To Dos” in my notebook. I then stop and realize why it is that I strolled across campus in the first-place knowing that I would not get a spot at Thompson this early ……….

Every chance that I get while the weather is still nice, any couple of  minutes that I am able to steal from my studies and assignments or career search on beautiful days such as this Wednesday, I try to sneak in a pass by Mirror Lake. It has this calming presence about it. It is almost a poster like entity that makes The Campus so much more meaningful and motivating. I stand there and snap a couple of pictures and passerbyers whether students, faculty, staff or regular visitors smile and walk by. Some are engrossed in their phones, some in the conversations they’re having with their peers and some others I notice are just like me; they’re enjoying that moment of quiet and peace that Mirror Lake offers before getting back to the grind. I put my phone back in my pocket and remember that by now the fourth floor has started to clear up and that there is much more to do, a lot more to read, a lot more to learn, a lot more coffee beans to be ground. Back to this grind that I’ve come to respect.


My First Presentation at Fisher

Last Wednesday, I made my first presentation for the course: Foundation of Labor and Human Resource. Actually, because of my undergraduate background (I did my undergraduate in business school), I often made presentations in classes. But it was my first time to make a presentation in English and in front of my American classmates! What is more, the presentation was too long- 15 minutes! Just imagine if you were asked to do a presentation in Chinese for 15 minutes and you will understand my feeling.

This presentation was a part of our group project. In the project, we had to choose an organization, evaluate whether it is a high performance organization, and then give our suggestions. Luckily, I was on a “high performance team”: we were efficient and everything went smoothly. However, because one of my group members had a business trip on presentation day, the other member and I had to do the presentation. I felt a little bit stressed as I was afraid the presentation would suffer from my not-so fluently spoken English. So I spent a majority of my time practicing my presentation, which made me less nervous.


But the nervousness just came back to me on my presentation day. When the previous group were making their presentation, I could feel my hands were cold, my heart started to beat fast and I kept thinking “Come on, just make everything finish as soon as possible.”


Finally, it was my turn. I even could not remember how I got to the stage. I just remembered some of my classmates gave me encouraging smiles. I felt better. I found my classmates were nice and patient, which made me feel comfortable. After the presentation, I felt a sense of achievement: I made it. I knew there were still some opportunities for me to improve my presentation skills: for example, because I was so nervous, I spoke too fast. But with this successful experience, I knew I would do better and better.


One Term Down, Seven To Go

Although the Full-Time MBA program technically includes four semesters and one summer internship, those semesters are truthfully split into two terms each. Eight fast-paced, blurred seven week terms that take novice economists, marketers and businesspeople and fill them with enough information to make the most brilliant minds ache. (Full disclosure, some of our core courses do cover the full 14 week period, but not all.) I have no doubt that Term 1 is the tip of the educational iceberg here at Fisher. The mere fact that some courses are called “Marketing Management 1” and “Operations Management 1” plainly shows us that we’re nowhere near finished. Not yet.

As I mentioned, we’re 1/8 done (not that I’m counting). I couldn’t tell you what we covered in each class period or which exams were what week. All I know is that I’ve learned more in seven/eight weeks than ever before. Completely foreign concepts like analyzing accounting statements and corporate finance (or, let’s be honest, finance in general) are now familiar tools I use each week. Maybe I don’t use these tools perfectly, but still.

Before the program started, I had serious reservations about my ability to pick up the business concepts I knew we’d cover in our core courses. I majored in the humanities in college and graduate school, worked in PR and corporate communications and hadn’t touched math since 2009. Luckily for me, the courses are structured in a way that allows non-business background students to keep up and even flourish. That’s not to say that someone with a weak finance background won’t have to work harder than a former financial analyst in our corporate finance course, but the opportunity to do well is there. As Dr. Gray (data analysis guru) loves to tell us, you need to do the problems and practice outside of class. With my more than seven weeks of expertise in the field, I can tell you he’s right. Do the problems. All the problems.

I’m excited to see where these next 49 weeks of class take me. I don’t know where I’ll end up but I do know that I’ll be ten times as prepared as I was before entering Gerlach Hall for that first day of school.


MId-Terms Round 1

It has been many years since I was sitting in a classroom as an undergrad student taking mid-terms. That changed last week as the first wave of Mid-Terms were here. Five over the course of two weeks to be exact. The majority of the first year MBA students were nervous about our first mid-terms, myself included. First was Marketing, then Finance, and economics followed by Accounting and Data Analysis.

As I walked through Fisher this past week, I have seen nothing but groups of my fellow students helping one another out with mid-term prep. Students who were strong in one subject were helping other students who were not as strong. Then the next day the same students that were doing the helping were now being helped by others. It was amazing to see the help and support that was offered by my fellow classmates. I can personally speak to the group of 7-8 individuals I have been studying with. Each one of us leading a different study session that we were particularly strong in.

As test day arrived we were anxious to take our first mid-term and get it over with. After the test there were multiple opinions on how we did ranging from: great to horrible. Once we got our mid-terms back, many people did better than they thought and non-to our surprise our study groups paid off.

Everyone you talk to says the culture in the Fisher MBA program is like no other. Mid-term week proved that to be accurate. Although we are competing for the highest grade and some of the same jobs, everyone wants to see everyone else be successful.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) Equity Research Report

So far, my blogs have only been about social events (football) and the joy of returning to Columbus. I figured it was time to write about something academic so here’s a little bit about the project I’ve been working on for the past 3 weeks…Chipotle!


Who doesn’t love a good burrito!

The SMF program is broken down into one 3-week, pre-term, “turbo” course and then two 15-week semesters that contain two terms each. In the “turbo” course, we revisit some basic corporate finance fundamentals like time value of money, the capital asset pricing model, weighted average cost of capital and different valuation methods (Discounted Cash Flow and Dividend Discount Model). During the first real term, we take a number of classes including Corporate Finance I which delve deeper into valuation and different capital structures.

The largest grade in Corporate I is an equity research report based on a company of our choosing. My group and I spent a fair amount of time scouring the S&P 500 for a company we liked that wouldn’t be overly challenging and guess what company came up??..Everyone’s favorite fast-casual Mexican restaurant, Chipotle!

chipotle 2

Why is Chipotle always so busy?? Ask me and I could ramble on for a while..

The report requires us to dive deep into the company culture, financials, operations, labor force and management to be able to make assumptions about these factors going forward so we can make a forecast of revenues, costs, expenditures and cash flows. More than anything else, the project is supposed to help those of us who want to work as analysts practice our ability to make assumptions and take a view on a company then be able to back up this view with solid projections.

All-in-all, it has been a great experience and I can’t wait to present my report to our class..I wonder if I can get extra credit for having Chipotle cater our lunch…

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