Lessons From the Second Session

At the end of the first session, I wrote a post about two things that I learned during the first session. I shared them with you because I believe they are important for you to learn and expect if you are admitted into the program. In this post, I want to share one more important lesson from the second session.

The Importance of Teamwork

The importance of teamwork cannot be overemphasized for many reasons. One big reason being the fact that every organization relies on teams and groups of people collaborating together to accomplish goals and drive results. As a result, the SMF program is structured in a way that simulates real life experiences as most of our assignments are team-based assignments.

For this reason, it is important for current and future SMF students to develop teamwork skills. That is, the ability to effectively cooperate with others in a manner that leads to the actualization of the desired goal. There are many teamwork skills that team members can employ to be effective teammates. These include communicating well with others, contributing equally to discussions, completing agreed upon tasks e.t.c. But, there’s one skill I would like to focus on in this post: the importance of striking a healthy balance between virtual meetings and in-person meetings.

In my own experiences in this program, our team has achieved success by striking a healthy balance between meeting virtually and meeting in person. I believe as tech savvy as our generation is, we are susceptible to overly relying on virtual platforms to plan how we will conduct and finish projects.  But  we ignore the adverse effects of relying on virtual platforms, such as misunderstanding each other and failure to promote the development of deep interpersonal relationships. Therefore, my biggest encouragement to future SMF students is to strive to balance between meeting in person and meeting virtually. This will enhance team performance because it promotes clearer communication between team members and promotes the development of deep interpersonal relationships between team members.

Our team before the core capstone project presentation #greatestteammatesever

Planning and CFA

Hey everyone!

I am back to blogging again! I mentioned I would talk about how planning helps us in grad school. Developing time management and planning skills is particularly useful especially during the holidays. This year many of my peers traveled back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Thus many teams had to plan ahead how our schedules would look like, what times would be best to meet, before or after the holidays, dividing up the work, etc.

One thing that was particularly helpful in our planning process was the development of a project management plan. I was given the opportunity to develop a project management plan following a template that we were provided after one of our speaker’s presentations. In this project management plan, we assigned tasks to each member of our group would be responsible for and set deadlines to complete each milestone of our projects.

CFA Planning

I have been amazed by the level of effort, skills and diversity of knowledge that peers bring to class every day. I asked a couple of my peers preparing for the CFA and CFA Research Challenge to share about their experiences. This is what they said.


Joey Nguyen, Interested in Investments Track

How has your experience been getting ready for the CFA exam?

Since I’m taking it in December, while we are overloaded with a lot of projects and I also have to work on the CFA research challenge, I just think I would try my best for the exam. Everything you learn in the exam materials is what you need if you want to work as an equity analyst or break into investment management.

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

Two things I learned from the preparation for the exam: first is stick to your schedule because it’s a big commitment, and second is being patient because you might have to take one level more than one. So just do it when you are really interested in asset management. One good thing is that 70% of the materials for level one will be covered from all courses in Fisher.

How has your experience been preparing for the CFA Research Challenge?

I have applied what I learned from class to a real investments project, also to work and to think as a real analyst. Bloomberg and modeling are two big key skills you can leverage from the classes while working. You also have to read a lot and try to find the key points (conceptualize it), learn where to start while reading a 10K and spot out the company’s problems. The CFA society also asks the company selected for the challenge to give a presentation about their company to all the participant teams so we need to know which questions we should ask to make them disclose some unique information.


Rizvi Bari, Interested in Investments Track

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

I would say start as early as you can and do a lot of practice questions. I’m still trying to find more sources, but I think the professors are good resources. Working closely with the CFA institute helps a lot as well.


Jayaprabha Dhavale, Interested in Investments Track

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about taking the CFA?

Personally, as I was already working, I studied on weekends only. Many of the topics were not as hard but some topics were new. Topics covered in the Financial Analysis Valuation class are covered in the exam. Regarding planning, I’d say you have to have a time line such as finish studying equity by this date, derivatives by this date.


Thank you to my peers who collaborated on this 😊

Cheers and Go Bucks!

Where to Get Your Caffeine Fix

Like most grad students, something I can’t survive without is coffee. I need my two cups a day to keep myself going. One of the first things I did once school started was scope out some of the local cafes for some good coffee and study locations. I’ve put together a list of some of mine and fellow students favorites coffee shops around Columbus.

Latte form Stauf’s

If you are trying to stay on or near Fisher to get some quick coffee in between classes. there are a few options for you. Right on Fisher’s campus in Mason Hall is Rohr Cafe. They sell Starbucks coffee and pastries there. Speaking of Starbucks, there is a new one right on the corner of High and Lane just a quick walk from Fisher’s campus. There is ample seating for studying as well.

If you are trying to find some places to study farther off campus with some seriously good coffee, Columbus has many great options. One of my favorites I have been to so far is Stauf’s Coffee Roasters. They have a few locations around Columbus and all of them are a great environment to just grab a cup of coffee or get some serious studying done. They have many seasonal drinks as well as a Buckeye Latte which is a must try. If you are in the German Village shop I highly recommend taking a study break and stopping next door to the Book Loft. It has over 30 rooms filled floor to ceiling with books.

Getting reading done while at Fox in the Snow

Another favorite of many students is Fox in the Snow Cafe. They have two locations and has some amazing coffee and pastries. Fair warning this cafe does not have wifi as they want their customers to socialize with each other. It’s a great place for friends to hang out and drink some coffee or to get some reading done.

Some other locations that I recommend are The Roosevelt Coffee House, Heirloom Cafe (on OSU campus and locally owned/grown products), Mission Coffee and Red Velvet Cafe. My friends and I spend many afternoons at some of these shops getting our work done and enjoying some great coffee.

Autumn MAcc Reception

It’s crazy to think I am currently studying for finals and almost halfway done with the MAcc program. It goes by faster than you could imagine. Every year, the MAcc program hosts a reception for the students and faculty at the end of the fall semester. This past week was our reception and it was a great way to close out our semester before everything gets too hectic. Many students and professors from the MAcc program get together and enjoy dinner and drinks before Dr. Zach, our program director, and a guest speaker say a few words.

The event was held at the Faculty Club right here on campus and I have to say it was nice to be somewhere on campus that was not Gerlach Hall aka Fisher Grad student’s second home. The reception was a great opportunity to see some of my classmates and professors out of the classroom setting. Each table had a mix of students and a professor so we all got to interact a lot in a more casual environment over dinner. Dinner was a large spread of options to choose from along with an amazing dessert bar.

Later in the night, we had a guest speaker who was an OSU MAcc Alum come to talk to us about her experience in the MAcc program and her career thus far. It was great hearing from someone who has been through what we are facing right now and hear about her experiences. Overall it was a great evening. Not only did I get to be with MAcc students and professors, but also got a free dinner which is always appreciated.

Thanksgiving Break Activities

Thanksgiving break allows Ohio State University students to take a break from the stresses of college life and enjoy time with friends and family.  At Ohio State, we get the Wednesday through Friday of Thanksgiving week off.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to go back to my hometown of Buffalo, New York for break.

Thanksgiving Hockey

After saying hi my family, I hit the ice! Hockey has always been a huge part of my life, and so having the opportunity to skate around for a couple hours and play the sport I love felt great.  Hockey is a very popular sport in Buffalo, while it is just starting to grow in popularity in Columbus.  I participate in intramural hockey at Ohio State, which I find to be a great way to exercise after classes.

My view for the Sabres game

After playing hockey, I decided to go watch an NHL game! My hometown team is the Buffalo Sabres, and they won their seventh straight game when I was there! Columbus has an NHL team called the Blue Jackets, which is popular around campus.  The Blue Jackets offer discounted tickets to students, and I go to their games occasionally too!

Catching up with long time friends

I caught up with some friends from Buffalo, ate a massive Thanksgiving dinner, and then went back to Columbus for “The Game,”  which refers to the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game, which happens every year on the day after Thanksgiving.  Our two schools are well known to be the biggest rivals in all of sports.  This game was especially important because the loser would essentially be knocked out of the college football playoff race.  Ohio State won 62- 39 and everyone stormed the field to celebrate during the final seconds.

Beating Michigan!

As I have said before, school spirit runs high at Ohio State.  Students here are proud to be Buckeyes both inside and outside of the classroom!  Thanks for reading and as always, please let me know if you have any questions!

Surviving the Winter Season: Tips from a Michigan Native

It is the end of November and we all know what that means…

It wouldn’t be the holiday season in the Midwest without the expectation of a snowy, winter wonderland. Having lived in Michigan my entire life, I’ve had my fair share of cold, unpredictable weather. Since the Fisher College of Business has a diverse body of students from all regions of domestic and international areas, I thought I would share my tips for conquering the winter season.

Outerwear: My go-to outdoor ensemble consists of a parka (long winter down coat with hood), snow boots paired with fuzzy socks, and gloves. Additional options include a scarf and hat for added warmth or upgrading to a pair of texting gloves which offer the convenience of texting on your phone screen without having to take the gloves off in the cold.

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Layers, layers, layers: Nothing is more uncomfortable than walking into a building with a bundle of clothing on and immediately feeling overheated as you walk up the stairs. I encourage wearing layers to easily be able to adjust to any temperature inside or out.

Hydrate & Moisturize: The cold weather can have adverse effects on the body and skin so it is important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids to avoid getting sick. Keep your favorite drink hot or cold throughout the day with an insulated travel mug. Other items to keep handy that will help you stay moisturized include chapstick and hand lotion.

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Plan Ahead: To avoid being late to class or work, check the weather the night before so you’ll know what to expect the following morning. Don’t get stuck brushing snow or scraping ice off our vehicle with your sleeve and make sure have an ice scraper/snow brush handy.

Enjoy it!: Last but not least, embrace the outdoor activities that come with the snowfall. Go sledding, build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or ice skate with your family and friends!

Whether you love or hate the winter weather I hope these tips prepare you for the upcoming season!

MAcc Takes Tax Knowledge to Philanthropy

In the MAcc program, our semesters are split into two 7-week sessions. This session, I am really enjoying my Tax Planning for Managerial Accounting class. This is the second tax class I have taken, the first being in undergrad, and I am scheduled to take two more tax electives in the Spring.

What I love about this tax class is that I am learning tools that are current, relevant, and applicable to my personal and work life. My professor, Kathy Wantuch, has a very interesting background in tax law, which has provided me with the opportunity to learn about tax from a completely different perspective. Tax laws change frequently, so no matter how recently you studied corporate or income tax, chances are you’re going to learn something new!

In the MAcc program, we all have the opportunity to take our interest in tax and apply it philanthropically. Each year, students in the MAcc program have the opportunity to participate in VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) which is held in a partnership of the MAcc council and Beta Alpha Psi with the United Way of Central Ohio. The program offers free tax preparation to lower income households and is a great way for MAcc students to spend time with peers while giving back to the community. The Ohio State University’s Office of Outreach and Engagement honored the program with the 2017 Distinguished Service-Learning award after tax season last year.

All students are eligible to participate, and the process of joining the program begins around November of each year. I talked with my classmate, Tyler Stacks, about his involvement with VITA this year.

As the VP of Community Service for the MAcc council, I am in charge of recruiting MAcc and Beta Alpha Psi students to volunteer for the VITA program. This has provided the opportunity to work alongside Stephanie Lewis, the head of the program here at OSU. Come tax season, I will be helping prepare tax returns while also being a site manager. This will be my first year working with VITA, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m drawn to the program for the opportunity to use the skills we have been learning to help those in need. 

What is Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP)

The Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) is one of the largest graduate student organizations at the Fisher College of Business. While we hold events and activities primarily geared toward those focused in marketing, we have had opportunities to network with non-marketing professionals. Below are some highlights of our annual traditions, as well as new events that we as a leadership committee have implemented. I would say that we have been pretty successful so far! I am proud to be the Director of Professional Development of such a wonderful organization.

Annual events

Columbus Hop – Takes place every fall break. This year’s companies included IBM iX, Root Insurance, Orange Barrel Media, and Watershed Distillery. It gives students an opportunity to network and go behind the scenes to see how each company works.

Fisher MBA students at the Watershed Distillery as part of Columbus Hop

Chicago Hop (upcoming) – We celebrate the end of the fall semester and final exams by hopping on a bus to Chicago! This year’s companies include PepsiCo, BlueCross BlueShield, Tyson Foods, and Ogilvy. If you are not yet an AMP member, you should become one just to be a part of this awesome event!

Attendees at Chicago Hop last year

Marketing For A Better World (upcoming) – Our theme this year is Marketing Ethical & Sustainable Consumer Goods. Agenda includes keynote presentations by Levi Strauss & Co., and Fairtrade America, and a marketing panel moderated by ethics professor David Freel. We are still accepting registrations, and we are raffling off some autographed Columbus Blue Jacket items! You can’t miss this event!

Columbus Advertising & Marketing Practicum, CAMP (upcoming) – This will be our 10th annual CAMP! More details to come, but we will bring students, business professionals, and faculty together to discuss pertinent marketing topics.

CAMP last year

New events this year

Nail the Interview series – a two-part session where different marketing frameworks were introduced that helped with interview questions. We listened to feedback from the first-year FTMBA students and provided them with resources that they needed.

Brand Management series (ongoing) – Over lunch, students get to learn more about brand management from different companies. We have had former Fisher alumni from T.Marzetti (Lucy Liu) and Wendy’s (Emily Jacobson), and we hope to bring in a few more in the spring.

Other events

Happy hours & Panels

2nd-year FTMBA students sharing their marketing internship experiences

Tips On the Video Interview

As an applicant to the Fisher College of Business, the final piece you will submit is the video interview. To complete the interview, the platform will require you to submit three or four video responses and one written response. Also, the platform affords students the opportunity to respond to some practice questions before starting the recorded interview.

The best way to approach the video interview is to view it as an excellent opportunity for you to add character to your application. By this, I mean try your best not to be nervous or feel overwhelmed by this process because this is an area were you can really shine and create a lasting impression. Two tips for you to remember as you tackle this task are to practice and to express yourself with confidence.

Practicing allows you to familiarize yourself with the types of questions you will encounter in the actual interview. As you practice, assess your rate of speech. You want to make sure you can get your main point across within the allotted time, while avoiding the pitfall of speaking too fast so that you only use, for example, 10 seconds out of the 45 seconds available for you. Also, check were you look as the video is being recorded. This is important because you don’t want to appear as someone who is reading a response. Rather, you want to appear engaged and interested in the task at hand.

Another element that will help you excel in this interview is confidence. When it comes to confidence, I encourage you to imagine yourself as the reviewer of your interview. Would you trust or believe a candidate who is shy and seems unsure about the responses the candidate is giving? The answer is probably “No.” So it’s important to be confident and passionate about your responses. The response you are giving is yours so express yourself in a way that causes the reviewer to experience the emotions you feel about the subject in question.

Good luck as you complete your applications! And remember, practice before your interviews and deliver your responses with confidence. You’ll do great!

The Fisher Coaching Experience

Some of my favorite aspects of the Fisher MBA program are the experiential learning opportunities we have available, like GAP and consulting projects with local companies. However, with new additional program advancements, we have recently had the chance to pilot a personalized coaching experience as well. This is a part of the program I was not expecting to be offered, but has been an amazing opportunity for both personal and professional growth.

Through the pilot, current second-year MBA students were able to sign up for a personalized coaching program based on our goals for professional development. For example, students are focusing on presence, career search, leadership skills, self-confidence, etc. Coaches consist of alumni who went through the Fisher Coaching courses, along with professional coaches who are connected to the Fisher community. We were able to choose our top three coach preferences based on their profiles and are now participating in five personalized coaching sessions.

I have had three sessions with my coach so far, and the experience has been both impactful and engaging! As a part of the process, we leveraged the BUILD assessment, a leadership model developed by the Fisher Leadership Initiative to determine our leadership competency level from both our perspective and the perspective of others across: Stewardship, Relational Skills and Self-Leadership. With this feedback and the ability to talk through with a coach, I have been able to focus on key areas where I hope to improve. My coach has built safety around our conversations and enabled me to feel comfortable in discussing difficult challenges.

In the future, this personalized coaching opportunity will be incorporated in the student experience from the start of the program.

For those interested, students are able to learn more about coaching from Professor John Schaffner through electives in the program as well. I took the Introduction to Organizational Business Coaching earlier this semester, and look forward to taking the Advanced Coaching class next semester. Through this course, we are able to put coaching skills into practice and learn how to improve our listening, presence, business acumen and powerful questioning.

Coaching practice with a classmate