Posts filed under 'Community Service'

Round #2: The Good, The Bad, and The Awesome

They told us second year would be easy. They told us that the workload would be lighter and the classes much less difficult. They said we would learn how to balance grad school with a social life, and they promised we would have more free time. They lied.

At this stage of the game, survival feels like winning. But I will do all the things, and I will do them to the best of my ability, even if it means I won’t be sleeping much. There may be days when I don’t eat until dinner, and days I spend twelve straight hours in Gerlach. There may be times when I clean my apartment at 9:30pm on a Sunday night, because it’s the only free time I have. But there are also days when, as a Fisher Board Fellow, I get to go to board meetings and learn about how a non-profit organization is run. Those days are my shining star of hope in the chaos that is my life.

I wrote a lot last year about my first year experiences with Fisher Board Fellows. Most of last year was spent preparing for this year, because this year, I am actually serving on the board of Catholic Social Services. And I love it. I love it even more than I thought I would. I cannot tell you how much fun I am having. Although my life is a zoo, no matter how busy I am, the board meetings I attend are always the best part of my day.

Since April, I have been to a strategic retreat, Breakfast with the Bishop fundraising event, several full board meetings, and numerous external relations committee meetings. Every meeting I go to is a new learning experience, and I even feel like I’m starting to contribute to the team. Another board member and our CEO complimented me on my marketing and advertising insights at our last meeting. I’m sure Dr. Matta would be proud of me.

Over the last several months, I have been able to learn about what it takes to run a non-profit organization. I have learned about the strategic and branding and financial concerns of Catholic Social Services, and I have learned much about leadership from the CEO, Rachel Lustig. Catholic Social Services is going through some big changes, and I have been lucky enough to be present and to learn about these strategic changes and processes over the summer. I’m actually seeing the concepts we learned in class last year be implemented in a real business situation, and the experience has been invaluable for me.

Overall, this term has been challenging and overwhelming, but it has also been weirdly wonderful. If I survive and make it to fall break, I’ll let you know how the rest of my year and experiences as a board fellow go!

Board Announcements!

Last week, the first year Fisher Board Fellows had their board training session. We learned about the fundamentals of non-profit work and serving on a board from Janie Levine Daniel, a former board fellow herself, and we also learned about non-profit accounting from Brian Mittendorf. The session, combined with the Bridges To The Boardroom luncheons over the last few terms, have helped the first year fellows become more comfortable with the board process and get a better idea of what to expect when we begin serving on our boards.

After the training was over, our board assignments for next year were finally announced. I will be serving on the board of Catholic Social Services, which I am thrilled about! They were my first choice board, and I’m already doing some pro bono marketing work with them, which will be a good way to learn more about the organization and its needs before I begin my board project.

Each of the boards is different in terms of how often they meet, and when they want their fellows to start. Some fellows begin attending board sessions over the summer, and some don’t start until the fall. Some boards meet once a month, and others only quarterly. Because of these differences, the second year FBF leadership team has organized a banquet for the first year fellows and representatives from their boards to meet before the end of the school year. This way, everyone has at least touched base with their board before leaving for summer internships.

My first meeting with the Catholic Social Services board will be next week, and I’m really excited to meet everyone on my board. This meeting will be a little different than most, as the Bishop will be inducting new members onto the board. It’s kind of a new beginning, in a way, and they felt it would be a good time for me to start, along with the new full-time members. I will also be attending a strategic planning retreat next Saturday, which will be run by Professor Rucci, who has been working with the organization and helping it come up with a new strategy over the past year. I’ve never been on any kind of professional retreat, so I’m interested to see what one is like. I can’t wait to start working with my board, and I’m very excited to see what kind of projects they need help with!




The Homestretch

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs the Fisher MAcc program is broken up into four 7 week terms.  With the first three terms already done and over with, we have reached the homestretch.  It’s hard to believe that there is already less than seven weeks left in the MAcc until we graduate.  With that being said, there is still plenty of things going on that I am looking forward to this final term:

  • MAcc Field Day: The MAcc Council and MAcc Social Chair have been working hard to plan a field day for the MAcc program.  With winter coming to an end and the weather warming up, it’ll be nice to spend an afternoon in the park doing some field day activities.  This will be a great chance to spend some more time with the other students before we all go our separate ways.
  • March MAcc-ness: It’s that time of year again and College Basketball is taking over.  Clearly at Ohio State football is king, but everyone still loves March Madness.  Everyone enjoys filling out a bracket and seeing if they can get any upsets right or pick which team will be Cinderella.  Our program has set up a bracket online to compete against each other and find out who picked the best bracket.
  • MAcc Gives Back: MAcc Gives Back happens once a semester, so you may have read a blog about this event in the Fall.  Unfortunately I was unable to participate in the Fall.  This semester I am looking forward to being able to participate in this service event the MAcc program helps with.  MAcc Gives Back has multiple locations available to volunteer and I am excited to be able to be part of this service activity.

Nonprofit and Governmental Accounting

Our last session, Spring Session 2, is now underway, which means new classes for Fisher MAcc students! A popular elective for students this term is AMIS 7250: Nonprofit and Governmental Accounting, and it’s taught by Prof. Brian Mittendorf. So far in our accounting education, the focus has been on for-profit companies and learning about their financial reporting requirements, auditing, and taxation. Thus, many MAcc students were interested in learning about the nonprofit sector. Also, nonprofit and governmental accounting is 16-24% of the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section of the CPA Exam (it’s on the minds of most MAcc students nowadays as some have begun studying for it).

The course makes you think about accounting in a new light. Not only does the terminology change when you are talking about nonprofits, but the way in which you think about profits and expenses shifts as well. Nonprofits do, in fact, make “profits!” What differentiates them from for-profit companies is that nonprofits don’t have owners or shareholders. The “owner” of the organization is its mission, and all profits are reinvested to carry out that mission.

I really like this elective course so far and am looking forward to see what else we learn. In addition to rounding out my accounting education, I will also be able to apply what we learn in this course as soon I will be volunteering as treasurer for a 501(c)(7) nonprofit and would love to undertake other roles in the nonprofit sector in the future.

We watched the TED talk below for class, which proposes that that the way we evaluate charities (and their spending habits) is flawed. Enjoy!


Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program!

Every year a group of MAcc students participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). This program helps lower and middle income residents of Columbus correctly file their income taxes. The program is available on Fridays (5-8) and Saturdays (10-2:30) throughout January and February. I know this doesn’t sound like the most interesting or fun thing to do on your weekends but it actually is a very rewarding experience and we manage to have some fun!

I first volunteered when I was a sophomore at Ohio State through Beta Alpha Psi and now this year I am a Site Manager. Most volunteers work in pairs and one person prepares and then the other reviews it. This is what I initially did when I first volunteered and it is a great way to learn more about personal income taxes and learn a new software program (we use software from the IRS to prepare and file). Now, as a Site Manager, I am there to answer any questions that the students preparing and reviewing may have. This ranges from questions about tax issues, form abnormalities, or just general issues with the software. I have definitely become more confident in reviewing and answering questions after completing my first two VITA shifts, hopefully they continue to go well! If you are interested in learning more about the program, you can check it out here!


All the Volunteers from the first shift!

MAcc Gives Back

Twice each year, the MAcc program gets together to do a day of service in the greater Columbus community. Community service is something that had a large impact on my undergraduate experience, and so I was excited to participate in MAcc Gives Back. My group’s project site was a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which is a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center. After a brief introduction to the store and its layout, we got to work. We split up into three smaller groups, and my group worked to reorganize and price rugs that were recently donated.

It was fun to work as a team to figure out the best way to move and measure some sizable rugs. In the middle of our project, a husband and wife entered the store and asked us to help them find a rug to put in their new infant’s nursery. We helped them pick out the softest and best-sized rug for her needs. It was nice to talk to customers in the store and be able to help them find the perfect item at a great price!

After finishing organizing the rugs, we cleaned and organized kitchen appliances until it was time to leave. Then we met up with other MAcc volunteers at the Varsity Club, the sports bar across the street from Fisher. It was very nice to volunteer in the community and share a Friday afternoon with my fellow MAcc students, faculty, and staff!


Habitat Group

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Hanging out at Varsity Club


Fisher Serves Community Service Day

This morning I had the opportunity to volunteer with Fisher Serves, the graduate business school community service organization. We traveled to Clarfield Urban Farm, a non-profit organization called Urban Farms of Central Ohio, which is  dedicated to utilizing unused land and turning it into community farms. They are actually expanding to three acres of land this coming year. Pretty neat organization! We helped to pull out the leftover squash and picked and shelled pinto beans. Everyone had a great time!

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The Internship

The Internship-Vaughn and Wilson
Second year MBA students-they’re older, wiser, and more mature, right?  The first one in that list is guaranteed to happen.  The others, not necessarily, but the internship between the first and second year of the MBA program is aimed to help towards that.  This summer I interned as a Global Supply Chain Project Manager at Greif, which is a $4.5 billion industrial packaging company headquartered here in the Columbus area.

Greif Global Supply Chain
It was a great internship.  The Greif supply chain folks welcomed me as a full member of the team and never looked at me as an “intern”.  The projects I got to work on were ones that the other full time team members would have been working on if I weren’t there.  Not only that, but I also worked on a project that had an international focus and was able to travel to Amsterdam for a week during the summer to pitch the solution we had come up with to the leader of the business unit there.

I’ve found as a 2nd year MBA this year there are a lot of things I’ve been able to hit on from my internship at Greif while at career fairs and in interviews.  The things I learned while doing the internship have been beneficial in growing my experience and understanding of supply chain management, and it was largely due to the role I had there.  So, when looking for an internship it’s worthwhile to focus on what kind of internship it will be and if you’ll get a great experience out of it.  I sure had that at Greif, and was more than happy to intern there this summer.

Leadership Lessons

All first year students take a leadership course during their fall semester, which is taught by Dr. Tony Rucci. In this class, each team of five students is required to do a community service project and write a reflection paper about their experience.  My team chose to participate in Meals On Wheels.  Meals On Wheels is a program where volunteers deliver food to the homes of those who cannot afford to buy food, and who are either partially or completely house-bound.

My team of five was assigned to two delivery routes and given instructions on where and how to deliver the meals.  Some deliveries required signatures, and others did not.  Hot meals and cold meals were sealed inside individual trays, and hot meals came with a slice of bread and an apple.  Drink choices were skim or 2% milk.

I was prepared for the poverty we saw – probably better prepared than my teammates.  I grew up in a town where poverty is normative, and I was a volunteer tutor in an inner-city school while I was an undergrad.  I’ve seen hunger on children’s faces – in the ways they act and react – because I’ve studied next to and taught these children.  I was also prepared for the dirt and decay we encountered in some homes because I worked for a cleaning company in the summers.

But what I was not prepared for was the complete and total isolation we encountered.  Most of the people we brought meals to were elderly, and many were handicapped.  I wondered where their children were – their grandchildren.  I wondered it for at least the first hour.  That’s how long it took me to realize that they probably didn’t have children.  Or their children were dead.  Or lived in another state and couldn’t afford to visit often or financially support their aging parents.  And if you or your children can’t afford to hire an in-home nurse or move into assisted living or a nursing home, there isn’t much choice.  You’re stuck.

I was also unprepared for how little food we actually delivered. I greatly respect what Meals On Wheels does, and I think it’s a wonderful program.  I fully realize the funding and man-power limitations they face on a daily basis.  I also understand that, as an Italian, my beliefs in portion size are dramatically skewed.  But despite all of these things, the bottom line is that we only delivered one meal to each person.  One meal per person.  One meal per day.

Think about how much you eat in one day.


Our route took my team two hours to complete, from start to finish.  Two hours and we got to go home to full cupboards, clean floors, and air conditioning.  Two hours and we were back to being students, with all the academic, intellectual, social, and economic privileges that students have.

After an experience like that, you have to ask yourself what you’re doing with your life.  How are you helping anyone besides yourself?  And maybe you aren’t.  Maybe you’re just trying to survive grad school.  And maybe that’s the point.

Our leadership project was a good way for us to give back, to remind us of what is important, and to remember that despite the lengthy class discussions about profit margins, supply and demand curves, and increasing shareholders equity, money isn’t everything.  It isn’t even close.


MAcc Scrapbook

How the time has flown! I have gone from being a prospective MAcc student reading the My Fisher Grad Life Blog and wondering why some authors didn’t post more, to being a soon-to-be graduate who is impressed they posted so much! The past nine months have been the most intense period of self-growth and change I have ever experienced in my life. I met so many amazing people and was exposed to different perspectives on life and business. I know I will walk into my first full time job as a finance auditor at the Auditor of State’s office better prepared to be a successful professional thanks to my time at Fisher.

Here is a small sample of some of the things I was doing over the past year while I was too busy to blog:

50 Yard Line

Standing on the football field during Orientation


Inside Arya’s Management and Control class

Corn maze

Heading into the corn maze at Circle S Farms

Picking pumpkins

Picking pumpkins!


I managed to get out and see Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and Neko Case at the Newport, a concert venue on High St. across from campus


Neko Case


Me and my boyfriend Brent all dressed up and ready to go to the Fisher Grad Student Halloween party

Fraud: never worth it

Aaron Beam talks about drugs, SEC and rock and roll during his MAcc talk

Held at the Faculty Club

The Class of 14 at the MAcc winter dinner

Christmas in bloom

A winter break girls day out to the Franklin Park Conservatory. Left to right: Liana, Lina, Dongqi, Yeajung and me

Our professor then hosted the speaker at his house

Barry Hoffman speaks to our Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions class about the Valassis-ADVO merger

Book your group ahead of time!

A bunch of hungry MAcc student getting pizza after hunting for a place to play lazer tag

The food was delicious!

I didn’t get pictures at the FISA’s Holi dinner so I snapped a selfie with my friend Ping before our Advanced Negotiations class

Tip: Place your napkin on your lap immediately when you sit down

My table at the MHRM etiquette dinner

The last ever MAcc talk, given by OSU's own Dr. Zhang on accounting research (my camera created the rainbow effect)

The last ever MAcc talk, given by OSU’s own Dr. Zhang on accounting research (my camera created the rainbow effect)

Group photo of MAcc students and alumni who participated in the spring MAcc gives back event. I helped organize the Dress for Success store in the Short North

Group photo of MAcc students and alumni who participated in the spring MAcc gives back event. I helped organize the Dress for Success store in the Short North

Also: travelling to Africa alone, working with Steve Jobs and her non-profit Free the Tampons

Nancy Kramer of Resource Marketing speaks to our Advanced Leadership class about her leadership legacy

AKA Grad School Prom

Action shot of the Fisher Formal

Me and my boyfriend Brent dressed up at the Fisher Formal

Me and my boyfriend Brent dressed up at the Fisher Formal

My friend Lina and I at the Formal

My friend Lina and I at the Formal

He plays the best music before class!

My last ever class- Dr. Mittendorf’s Non-Profit and Governmental Accounting course.

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