Hey, My Friends: You Did Great!

This is my fifth year studying in the U.S., so I am more used to living on my own than most students who are here for their first time studying abroad. As I recall my first year in the States, I think about the hardest experience and it wasn’t studying for exams; it was celebrating the holidays and festivals by myself.

In China, people use both the solar calendar, the calendar that the U.S uses, and the lunar calendar, the one that most of the Chinese festivals are based on.

The most recent festival was the Mid-Autumn Festival which was on October 4th (the solar calendar date). The Mid-Autumn Festival is very similar to the Thanksgiving Festival here in the States that all the family members are expected to attend. For this festival, we eat mooncakes and of course, share life stories.

In order to celebrate the festival here and relax from the busy school work, I drove my friends to a local Asian grocery store to buy some mooncakes. The first thing that we noticed was a well-packaged mooncake gift box. The logo name on the box was very appealing. It was named “COME BACK HOME.”

A strange mix of emotion came to us when we saw the box. It was hard to describe the feeling at that moment. On one hand, we were heavy with stress from our different course assignments, projects, and notes to get us ready for the coming exams– and submitting tons of resumes and crossing fingers to get first-round interviews. On the other hand, we saw these bright, golden characters–COME BACK HOME– that reminded us of how far away we are from our families. Just like the needle that bursts a balloon, some of my friends could not hold back their tears.

But I celebrate their journey and all the hard work they’ve done to succeed in this new country. And I want them to know: hey, my dear friends, you did great!

 

In Search of Bison

Since coming to Columbus in July, I’ve made it my mission to not be a hermit. In fact, I have an internet favorites folder entitled, “Don’t Be A Hermit.” Inside are links about volunteer opportunities, restaurants, and many of the city parks. This week was super busy, full of assignments and job interviews. In the midst of all of this, I started to really miss the hiking back home in Tennessee. So, to my trusty favorites folder I went.

Columbus has an awesome network of Metro Parks. This weekend, some friends from the MAcc program and I drove 20 minutes west of campus to check out Battelle Darby Creek. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much since everything out here is so flat. But, as we pulled into the parking lot, I was pleasantly surprised. The park is beautiful. There are ACTUAL prairies there, which is insanely cool for someone who has only seen a prairie in classic western TV shows.

Who knew prairies existed outside of the “Western Channel”?
Turtle friend

One of the reasons we chose this park is because it has a herd of bison that can be seen from various overlooks. Supposedly. We could not see them from the nature center overlook. Or the trail. Or really from anywhere. Not to be defeated, we decided to walk along the trails, take some selfies, and try not to get too sunburned.

We found a bison pasture, but where are the bison?
This trail is really nice for running and biking.
We found this little guy in the woods.

Slightly disappointed at the lack of bison, we started to drive out of the park. At the last minute, we caught a glimpse of the herd. A successful trip after all. And as an added bonus, the game was in full swing when we got back, so traffic around campus was minimal. Score!

We finally found the bison herd!

Overall, I would give the park a 9 of out 10 stars. The nature center and trails were super accessible and the hike we took was beautiful. The park also has some more difficult trails that I can’t wait to try next time. To be honest, the only reason I can’t rate it a 10/10 is because there are no mountains. Turns out my rating system is completely rigged. Sorry.

What a great way to spend the day!

In our next episode of “Don’t Be A Hermit,” perhaps there will be an art museum, brunch, or a soccer game. Who knows?

Fresh Air Therapy

I want to start with saying “hello” to everyone. My name is Rachel and I’m originally from Hayesville, North Carolina. I received my B.S. in Accounting and B.S.B.A in Finance from UNC Charlotte. I moved to Columbus, Ohio three weeks ago and have been busy ever since. I’m currently a student and student ambassador for the MAcc program.

The face behind the posts

Between my busy schedule of class, work, and studying, it’s important to find time to maintain my physical health. The Columbus summer weather has been beautiful in the low 80s to mid 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I had to take advantage of walking and running outside with such nice weather.

One Thursday afternoon, I went exploring outside to discover only three blocks from my duplex the Olentangy River Trail. This is a beautiful trail that runs alongside Olentangy River and goes to Downtown Columbus. Sadly, I’m out of shape, so I only made it from Tuttle Park area to Fifth avenue which is approximately a three-mile round trip. I hope to continue to run and walk different parts of the trail to hopefully see a large portion of the scenery while in Columbus.

View of trail near campus

On the trail, you will find people biking, running and walking. I would highly recommend visiting a portion of the trail if you need a break from the stresses of daily life and need some fresh air.

Gonna Make This Place Your Home

Despite living in Ohio my entire life, with the exception of my undergraduate years in South Carolina, I was relatively unfamiliar with Columbus prior to moving here in August. As a result, I spent my first couple of weeks (okay, months) feeling like a lost, overwhelmed tourist in my new hometown. I still have a lot of exploring left to do, but I thought I would compile a list of my current Columbus favorites to help guide future MAcc students as they acclimate to this wonderful city.

If you are hungry for pizza … try Harvest Pizzeria. There are three locations – German Village, Clintonville, and Dublin. They use local, farm fresh ingredients and offer reasonable prices. Oh, and the pizza is delicious!

If you are looking for somewhere to celebrate “Taco Tuesday” … Condado Tacos is the place to go. This casual eatery lets you design your own taco creations. They also offer great Happy Hour deals if you want to treat yourself on a budget! Pro tip: Get your tortilla in the Sweet Lucy style (both soft flour and hard corn shells with queso and guac).

If you are a fan of BBQ … check out Sweet Carrot. Fresh ingredients, unique menu, and a cool atmosphere. Pro tip: get the Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Pulled Pork.

If you are in the mood for ice cream … you have two choices:

  • Jeni’s is a certified B-Corp that calls Columbus, Ohio home. The company is known for its quality ingredients and Fellowship business model. Jeni’s sets itself apart by offering unique flavors, such as Wildberry Lavender and Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet.
  • With its corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Graeter’s is a family-owned business that offers French Pot ice cream made in small batches. The company has more traditional flavors than Jeni’s and is its signature flavor is Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.

The Columbus Museum of Art is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Ohio State students can get free tickets through D-Tix. The CMA offers free admission on Sundays.

Be sure to get to the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo during the holiday season!

For all your shopping needs, Polaris Fashion Place and Easton Town Center are the places to go!

If you want to get outside, you have lots of options! Here are my top picks:

  • Hocking Hills – Located in Logan, Ohio, about an hour and a half from Columbus, Hocking Hills is worth the drive. My favorite hike goes from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls and back, via the Grandma Gatewood (Buckeye) Trail (6 miles roundtrip). You can also take the Grandma Gatewood Trail to Cedar Falls (3 miles) and return to Old Man’s Cave via the Gorge Overlook Trail (3 miles).
  • Clear Creek – If you are looking for something more challenging, Clear Creek is the place to go. I like to park in the Creekside Meadows Picnic Area and take the Cemetary Ridge Trail to the Fern Trail to the Hemlock Trail to the Creekside Meadows Trail.  
  • Battelle Darby Creek – This is a great option if you are looking to avoid the crowds but do not have the time to drive all the way to Hocking Hills or Clear Creek. I like to park in the Cedar Ridge Picnic Area and take the Cobshell Trail to the Indian Ridge Trail to the Terrace Trail Loop and back.

Other things worth mentioning:

Columbus Crew

Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Clippers

Columbus has so much to offer and while it is easy to get bogged down in schoolwork, be sure to take the time to get out and enjoy the city!

Student Perks: D-Tix

Of the many perks available to Ohio State students, I think one of the neatest and least advertised is D-Tix (abbreviation for “discount tickets”). Through OSU’s vast network of community partnerships, the school is able to offer general discounts and discounted tickets to special events through an online lottery system. Everything from Hocking Hills zipline tours, passes to the Columbus Zoo, and gift cards to local restaurants may be available at any given time on D-Tix.

The website is set up similar to Groupon, but with a lottery component. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students can enter the lottery for any particular event they are interested in, and if selected they pay a discounted price for the tickets (anywhere from 25-50% less than face value).

Obviously, the popularity of the event determines the probability of being selected. The recent John Mayer concert at the Schottenstein Center was quite popular (by the way, Chance the Rapper will also be performing there next month), but for other lower-key entries (gift certificates to local restaurants, for one example) students have a relatively high chance of being selected. Also worth noting—for any unclaimed tickets, they are sold first-come, first-served at the Ohio Union.

One of the benefits of attending a large, public institution like Ohio State is that perks like D-Tix come at a very small cost to each student and are included in the student activity fee (hello, economies of scale!). Let us also not forget the general student discounts afforded to students at various establishments around the city by simply presenting your BuckID. I am grateful that we’re able to enjoy so much of the city, even on a student budget!

MAcc Madness

My March started out with a quick trip to Washington D.C. to see my best friend from undergrad. Though small, the Columbus airport still offers service to a number of destinations around the country. Even better, I was able to snag my round-trip tickets for an incredibly affordable price. It was a wonderful weekend getaway, full of lots of laughs, sightseeing, walking, and delicious food.

I also had the opportunity to jet out west to Salt Lake City and Park City to see family over spring break. I prefer mountains to the beach, so this was definitely my idea of a perfect vacation. In addition to simply hanging out with some of my favorite people, I got to enjoy some rock climbing and yoga while I was out there!

March also marked the start of the Intramural indoor soccer season! I was incredibly nervous about being a part of the team because although soccer was a huge part of my childhood, I had not played for years. While I am certainly not as a fast or in shape as I used to be, joining the “MAccletes” is definitely one of the highlights of my MAcc experience thus far. Continuing on the soccer trend, I also went to my first Columbus Crew game this past weekend where the Crew beat the Portland Timbers 3-2.

Because of how classes are scheduled, there are no Friday classes during the second term of the spring semester. To take advantage of this free day, the MAcc Council has several events planned over the next couple of weeks. This past Friday they hosted the MAcc Olympics which was an afternoon of fun and games. We played basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and kickball. It should come as no surprise that there was definitely some friendly competition on the playing field!

I have also made it a point to take advantage of the warmer temps to get back out on the trails. I went to Clear Creek Metro Park this past Saturday and am looking forward to going back this upcoming weekend. I am also going to try to get to Hocking Hills this weekend as well, weather permitting.

Looking into April, there are plenty of other activities on the calendar. MAcc Gives Back, a day of community service, is scheduled for the morning of April 7th. That same day, we have Fisher Formal in the evening. I am really looking forward to spending some time giving back to the Columbus community and Formal is sure to be a blast – I love any excuse to get dressed up!

It is hard to believe that graduation is just a few short weeks away. While I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life, it is bittersweet to think that my time at the Fisher College of Business is quickly coming to an end. I did not know what to expect when I started my MAcc experience, but it is safe to say that the past year has been amazing and I have so many wonderful memories that I will forever cherish.

Columbus Marketing Hop

As a 2nd-year student in the MBA program, I’ve had the opportunity this year to serve as VP of Programming on the leadership team for AMP, the Association of Marketing Professionals. In the fall semester, I enjoyed coordinating the Columbus Marketing HOP, which started last year as a way to introduce Fisher students to different companies in Columbus and understand how they do marketing.

We like to do the trip in the early fall to expose the 1st-year marketing students as early as possible to different types of marketing careers. The core curriculum marketing class is a quick intro in the fall and isn’t able to deep dive into all aspects of marketing. So, for some students this might be their first introduction to what agencies do or understand how different industries do marketing very differently.

Piada’s Headquarters

This year, we started the morning at Piada, which is a new restaurant start-up founded in Columbus. They have recently expanded from Ohio to Minnesota and Texas to test different markets with their Italian street food, fast-casual concept. We got to hear from Matt Eisenacher, their director of marketing, on Piada’s marketing challenges in being a small start-up dealing with explosive growth. He also compared his experiences in the restaurant industry to his background in brand management at traditional CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies like Nestle and Abbott.

From Piada, we traveled to Perio, which is the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk shaving brands. It was really interesting to hear from Amy Litzinger and the team at Perio about their different consumer segments and how that leads them to different marketing tactics. They spoke at length about sports and entertainment sponsorships, which opportunities they choose, and why they do them,(which personally I found very interesting because I didn’t know very much about that side of marketing).

The group at Perio, home of Barbisol and PureSilk

After loading us up with gift bags of shaving cream (thank you!), we stopped for lunch at, you guessed it, Piada! We got to try some of the seasonal specials that Matt talked to us about in the morning, and it was especially interesting to hear from half of our group who had never been to one of their restaurants before!

Baesman’s welcoming moose 🙂

Our last stop of the day was Baesman, a non-traditional marketing agency located in downtown Columbus. I was very excited to showcase an agency to our group because it’s hard to understand the agency lifestyle until you get to see it for yourself. So much creativity and flexible thinking is needed in their roles and that often translates into offices that look very different from the stereotypical cubes of the large companies they typically work for.

Baesman’s focus is on data-mining and creating content based on insights that they glean from their clients’ data. It was fascinating to hear about how their business and focus has changed over the past 5 years when they realized what an opportunity data-led marketing would be.

I worked with Baesman in a couple different capacities before I came to Fisher, and even I learned a lot about their business model, and how quickly things are changing in their industry. We got to hear from their president, Jeff Sopko, about starting the business, and we also heard from Evan Maggliocca, who is in charge of their agency branding. I confess that I had never really thought about how important branding and marketing efforts are for an agency as they compete for new business. I had only viewed them from a client standpoint, and it was great to realize their challenges as a business, and how they’ve set themselves up for success under those conditions.

Even though I’ve lived in Columbus for more than 5 years, I personally benefited from visiting these companies and hearing about their very different marketing challenges and tactics. The students who went on the trip learned a lot too, and were excited about the diversity of the companies we visited. I’m happy that AMP was able to share such variety in our own backyard and get our students thinking in different ways about their marketing career possibilities while exposing them to great companies.

The End Is Near

I spent a part of this morning going through photos from the past year, and man, it is crazy how quickly these past eight months have gone. Reminds me of this old country song by Trace Adkins. As our email inboxes get flooded with graduation information, ways to purchase regalia, and other information regarding diplomas; graduation is starting to become a real idea indeed.

Looking back on these photos brought back great memories. For example, I remember our orientation and our Turbo Finance class, where I was planting the foundation of my current financial knowledge and getting to know my new classmates better. Another example is the numerous dinners that we went to as a class and all the great food and conversations we had.

My first team at Fisher

Fast forward to the Fisher Follies Auction event in the fall, to accepting my job, to traveling to NYC and meeting with the banks, to finishing out the first half of the program on a strong note. Christmas vacation was an awesome time to have some rest, start studying for the CFA exam, and begin to prepare for the second half of the school year.

Classmates and me in NYC in the fall.

Looking back on the past two months, I also did a lot of traveling: Denver, New York, Chicago, and Islamorada. It was awesome being able to enjoy these places with family, friends, and classmates. It was also nice to do a little traveling while I was still in school and before I started my job.

Skiing out in Denver at Keystone.

Now, we have just over one month left and I am going to cherish these moments a little bit more than the rest as I recognize that this is the end. We have a few more events planned, including the Fisher Follies Variety Show event and a few other SMF events. I am looking forward to this next month and walking across the stage with my classmates at graduation.

Opening Day: Glory to Columbus!

While other cities in the United States resisted soccer, Columbus embraced the world’s most beautiful game. Columbus stood apart from its peers by developing a professional soccer club, Columbus Crew Soccer Club. Free from the shadow of other professional sports teams, Crew SC organically grew to capture the city’s interest. Crew SC became the first professional sports team in Columbus, as well as the first club registered in the United States’ Major League Soccer. Columbus then proudly built the nation’s first “all-soccer” stadium. The country has returned Columbus the favor by hosting several U.S. National Team matches here in our city!

MAPFRE Stadium, the U.S.’s first soccer stadium, for Crew SC, the U.S.’s first club

March kicks off the soccer season with the Crew hosting the season opener. Two good friends who came into town from Toledo, my house-mates, and I attended the first game v. Chicago Fire (shout-out to the Fisher Finance Grad Association for the free tickets!). Check out the highlights from the game.

Everyone at Fisher should make sure to attend at least one Crew game. Even if you are not a sports fan, spend an evening checking out the atmosphere. The Crew has a loyal base of supporters that can always be found a few hours before a match at Fourth Street Bar and Grill. When you go to the game, walk a few blocks over to Fourth Street to see the support doused in yellow and black garb and feel the excitement in the atmosphere.

Image result for fourth street bar columbus
Its a little sleepy today, but stop by Fourth Street before a match!

One of soccer’s attractions is its attachment to a place. People feel a sense of home with their local club and celebrate their community together though its support. This is clearly evident in Europe where many clubs are close together. Here, clubs are spread out; but, as the league is young, it escapes much of the entertainment industry’s efforts to re-brand sports as an entertainment production. This may feel less exciting than the NFL or NBA, but is a refreshing approach to stay in touch with the city. Study up on the club’s songs so that you can sign along with the Hudson Street Hooligans. See you at the game!

Spring Break: From Germany to German Village

Last week’s Spring Break saw members of our graduate programs spread out across all corners of the world; visiting family, soaking up the sun, and exploring exotic places. I spent my break right here, in the snowy Columbus corner of the world—and I regret nothing.

One group of students spent their week in Germany as part of our Global Business Expeditions program. During the trip—led by MBA Program Director Shashi Matta—the travelers visited famous German companies such as Audi, while also enjoying the culture and scenery.  I was with them in spirit as I made a day trip to German Village.

German Village is a historic neighborhood just south of downtown Columbus, and a true gem of the city. It was settled in the mid-1800s by German immigrants and today is nationally recognized for its historical preservation efforts—in fact, the entire neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.  The area is instantly recognizable by its brick streets, quaint and meticulously-maintained brick homes, beautiful Schiller Park, and German dining options.

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus and Restaurant is a neighborhood institution that has been serving up traditional favorites in the same location since 1886. The spicy Bahama Mamma is my go-to.  Served on a platter with sauerkraut, German potato salad, and house-made applesauce it truly makes you feel like you are far away from Columbus.  Be sure to save a little room for dessert, because Schmidt’s legendary cream puffs (about the size of a softball) are not to be forgotten!

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus and Restaurant; Image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/70650287877835756/

The Book Loft is another German Village favorite. One of the nation’s largest independent book stores, this quirky labyrinth of literature features 32 themed rooms throughout its winding hallways, connecting what were once three separate properties.  The experience of wandering around is in and of itself an Alice in Wonderland style adventure.

The Book Loft, German Village; Image: http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/the-book-loft-jack-schultz.jpg

German Village is just one of many unique neighborhoods that comprise the vibrant city of Columbus. We are very fortunate as Fisher students to have opportunities to explore the world directly through study-abroad programs, and indirectly in our own backyard—no matter your choice, adventure awaits!