Expect the Unexpected

It is hard to believe I am already three quarters of the way through my time in the MAcc program here at Fisher. While reflecting on how rewarding this experience has been, I realized how much of this experience I underestimated. Don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to this year, but little did I know what it had in store.  Here are some things I expected from this experience:

  • I knew I would be taking accounting courses to achieve the necessary 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA, and have time to study for the exams during school.
  • I knew I would be working 10 hours per week in the Graduate Programs Office as a Graduate Assistant (GA).
  • I knew I would be living with another girl in the program whom I found on the 2018/2019 MAcc class Facebook page.
  • I knew I would get to officially be a Buckeye and enjoy a fall full of Ohio State football!

More importantly, here are some of the unexpected experiences that the MAcc program provided me with:

  • Growing my network by meeting students who will be working all over the country and the world.
  • Gaining new friendships with students who have similar career paths and goals as I do.
  • Having a blast with the other GAs whom I work with, and looking forward to going to work every day.
  • Taking courses and developing friendships with students in the MBA, MHRM, and SMF programs.
  • Playing intramural volleyball on Sunday nights with my fellow GA co-workers (Go Notorious D.I.G.).
  • Having a great support network of classmates/study buddies who are also studying for the CPA.

Moral of the story: your time in the Ohio State MAcc program is short but sweet—the MAcc program has so much to offer!

Growing Professionally and Giving Back with Fisher Board Fellows

“I now call this meeting to order…”

Sitting in on your first nonprofit board meeting can be an eye-opening experience, especially if you have never worked on a board in the past. Now, heading into my eighth month as a Board Fellow for Dress for Success-Columbus, I am able to actively participate in board meeting discussions and share updates on my resource development committee projects.

Reflecting back, being a part of Fisher Board Fellows has been a wonderful opportunity to give back to my community, better understand the governance of nonprofit organizations, apply lessons from business school to a real-world setting and grow my network. In addition, committing to the mission of Dress has grown my perspective regarding our local community needs and areas of opportunity in Columbus.

Fisher Board Fellows is a student-run organization that places students on local nonprofit boards during the second year of the program, attracting candidates from the full-time MBA, MHRM and MBA for working professionals programs. Candidates go through an application process to join the organization, complete training in the second semester and join their board in the second year of the program. As Co-Vice Chair of the organization, we work hard to maintain our relationships with our nonprofit partners and will have 34 partners this coming year!

Some of our partner boards include: United Way of Central Ohio, BalletMet, A Kid Again, LifeCare Alliance, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Local Matters, and many more. Please check out our full list here. This year, we are also excited to add several new partners including: YWCA, Flying Horse Farms, Columbus Humane, MBA Research and Curriculum Center and SmallBiz Cares.

Fellows work on a wide range of strategic projects for their organizations, ranging from donor engagement research and improvement planning to marketing and communication plans and inventory management system recommendations. In addition, fellows are provided a board mentor during their time with the organization to help navigate the new experience and set them up for success in providing impact!

This organization has been, hands-down, one of the best experiential learning opportunities during my time at Fisher and I look forward to continuing my relationship with the board post-graduation this May!

“The meeting is now adjourned!”

Global Applied Projects

As a full-time MBA student at the Fisher College of Business, you will have the opportunity to take part in the Global Applied Projects (GAP) program.  On Friday, Feb 1, our class finally found out where we would be going, the projects we would be working on, and the organizations we would be working for. As potential MBA students yourselves, I want to give you some idea of what this process is and what it entails.

The GAP program is designed to allow MBA students to participate in a global consulting workshop where, rather than just classes and simulations where students are using theory and the outcomes are no more than a letter grade, this is an opportunity to work for a real company with a real problem and who are paying real money for a real solution. The fact that these problems exist in an international setting is definitely a perk. For example, projects this year are in areas as diverse as Ethiopia, France, Brazil, China, and Malaysia.

For a timeline on how the GAP program works:

  1. In the middle of the fall semester, students will be given the opportunity to apply to the GAP program. As this is a program that provides for free international travel and a stipend for living in country, it is extremely popular and thus it is very important students have their applications in on time.
  2. At the beginning of spring semester, students will be sent a list of international projects. Upon receiving the list of projects, students will then rank these in order of preference and ability. At this time, students will not know the companies or organizations they are working for or where the projects will be placed.
  3. At the beginning of February, Fisher holds an event to announce the makeup of the students groups for each project, the organizations they will be working for, and where they will be working.
  4. In the second half of spring semester, students will begin working on their projects at weekly meetings and alongside faculty advisers to come up with realistic and actionable solutions for their target companies.
  5. For most of May, students live onsite and in-country working on their projects, and preparing to present their solution to their clients. Each student is provided with a budget that covers airfare, and a stipend for room and board that they may spend however they see fit.

The GAP program provides a wonderful opportunity for Fisher MBA students to work in a true international setting and understand all of the challenges and opportunities that exist in a global business environment.  That said, free travel to new places to work on interesting projects and gain experiences outside of our comfort zones is definitely a perk.

Financial Software Training

One of the unique aspects of the SMF program is the extent we utilize various software applications to advance our professional competencies. With the rise of artificial intelligence and data analytics, being proficient  with different software applications has become a must in the corporate world.

For example, I had an interview with three different people from the same company, and each of them emphasized that their company is seeking students who have had a significant amount of exposure to software applications other than Microsoft Excel. Luckily for me, my time in the SMF had provided me enough exposure to unique software applications that I could confidently bring up in the interview.

Two of the software applications that I have enjoyed learning and using the most are Statistical Analysis System (SAS) and the Bloomberg Terminal.

The Bloomberg Terminal is used extensively in investment management firms, in sales and trading and in financial markets. It provides access to more than 15,000 indices and 100+ metrics, coverage of 45,000+ companies in 108 countries, as well as 2,800 fundamental data items and financial ratios. Bloomberg news offers more than 5,000 original news stories each day from 30,000+ aggregated news sources with coverage from 146 bureaus in 72 countries.

At Fisher, we use the Terminal throughout the duration of the program to conduct research on investment funds, stock performance, bond prices and many more.

Bloomberg-Terminal

SAS is a widely used tool for data management and business analytics, including statistical and econometric analysis, and has strong capabilities with large data sets, such as those used in quantitative investments and risk management.

This program affords students the opportunity to develop coding skills in a relatively easy to understand environment. We use SAS in our Data Analysis class offered during the autumn semester, with the opportunity to dive deeper into the program by registering for the Financial Statement Analysis course offered during the spring semester.

SAS Log & Editor windows
SAS results window

In conclusion, with the trend toward heavy use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics, the Fisher SMF curriculum offers students ample exposure to some of the leading and most widely used software platforms, which allows students to be better prepared for post graduation roles.

More than an HR Degree

Being a part of the Masters of Human Resource Management program in the Fisher College of Business isn’t only going to prepare you to succeed in the field of human capital but to develop you as a strategic leader in today’s ever-changing business environment. Each student in the MHRM program
is required to take a certain number of electives in order to complete their degree. These electives may be graduate level BUSMHR courses, independent study, or electives outside the Fisher College of Business that are related to human resources. With such variety in electives, a student truly gets to tailor their degree to what interests them most. It also provides the opportunity to interact with other students in the masters of finance, accounting, and business administration programs.

Additionally, students who have completed undergraduate coursework in human resources or business from a U.S. institution, or have worked full-time in an HR role, may petition for a waiver from certain MHRM core courses. I especially love this aspect of the program because it prevents overlap of courses and allows you to replace them with different learning opportunities.

Since my undergraduate degree was in human resources, I’ve been able to take advantage of the course waiver option and take several electives this year. Last semester, I took Crucial Conversations, which focuses on learning skills for talking when the stakes are high and creating a professional presence. At the end of the course, the entire class was certified in Crucial Conversations, a popular employee training used by many corporations. This semester, I am taking Negotiations, which focuses on learning effective negotiation strategies and how to analyze behavior within a negotiation. I am also in Mergers, Acquisitions, and Corporate Development, which teaches students how to analyze the mechanisms underlying the creation and destruction of value in mergers and acquisitions from a strategic perspective.

Overall, when you get a Master’s degree in Human Resources at The Ohio State University you get so much more than HR functional knowledge. This setup creates a unique and diverse learning environment, allows you to expand your network and to see business issues from different perspectives.

Participating in the ACG Case Competition

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the ACG Case Competition. ACG is the global community for middle market M&A as well as broader corporate finance dealmakers and business leaders. The organization represents a variety of financial sectors including private equity, investment banking, family wealth management, lending institutions, accounting, among others. The Association for Corporate Growth hosted around 10 teams in this annual investment banking and private equity competition.

The ACG Cup provides a unique opportunity for MBA and graduate students in the finance field to get real-world experience while interacting and networking with leading financial professionals and companies. My team was tasked with solving an M&A case that involved valuation of an LBO, M&A synergies and valuation of a stand-alone company through different valuation techniques. The event is a highly valuable experience for those interested in pursuing a career in investment banking/private equity/wealth & asset management.

For those of you interested in participating in a case competition, ACG is a great opportunity to get involved in a competition related to the finance field. Besides the opportunity to develop your own valuation model with your team and practice presenting in front of an audience of final professionals, there is also opportunity to network after the competition. I found this opportunity extremely valuable if you are looking for a job or looking to join a professional organization. Regardless of the outcome, ACG members which ranged from managing directors, associates, and analysts were very welcoming and willing to connect you with other professionals in the field that you were interested.


Details

  • Valuation techniques involved: LBOs, Exit Multiples, Precedent, Comparables, DCF, Synergies valuation
  • Location: Cleveland, OH
  • First, second and third place receive cash prize and the first-place team was invited to join InterGrowth – ACG’s yearly conference for private capital professionals in the middle-market – this year taking place in Orlando, Florida.

GMAT Study Tips

Learn how to BEAT the test: Strategy

Once I mastered strategy, the online question bank that my materials provided helped me apply that strategy, and I saw huge improvements in my metrics.

  • Explore various preparation resources and weigh your options.
  • A source with an online question bank is a helpful study tool because you can measure your improvement and take advantage of question repetition.
  • Find a resource that will teach you strategy!

Study Plan

Everyone is different! Creating a study plan that works for you is going to take some feeling out. Utilize your network and find out what worked for your peers. For me, I felt that repetition of multiple choice questions was the best way to study. The advice that I received prior to taking the test was to study 8–10 hours per week for at least eight weeks leading up to the test.

The first GMAT exam I sat for was in November of my senior year. Personally, I studied seven hours per week for eight weeks prior to that first test. I was enrolled in 21 credit hours that semester, so I was not in the best situation to prepare for a standardized test and did not receive my desired score.

It is OKAY to take the GMAT more than once. Most people do not get their desired score the first time.

The second time I took the GMAT was after a restful winter break. With a clear head, I focused on studying my weakest area of the test: Verbal Reasoning. I was able to improve my verbal score significantly, which subsequently improved my overall score.

Also, be sure to incorporate balance into your study plan! Even though my schedule was hectic, I made sure to set aside time workout and have fun with my friends. I didn’t let the GMAT keep me from playing intramurals.

My business fraternity’s IM volleyball team!

What to expect on test day

  • There is no calculator for the Quantitative portion on the exam (so don’t study with one!)
  • A laminated sheet and a permanent marker is available to work through problems, so I recommend studying with blank paper and a permanent writing utensil to simulate test conditions
  • Be aware that once you click “submit test,” your score instantly pops up on the screen!

Good Luck!

Snow Place Like Columbus

This January has been especially snowy at The Ohio State University (and around the country), which has provided students with opportunities to have fun in the snow! Our first snowfall in January was a big one, and so my roommates and I took full advantage by going sledding around campus using cardboard and makeshift plastic for sleds.

My roommate Nathan sledding down the sidewalk

I also was able to go skiing with friends at a resort just outside of Columbus. Ohio State offers discounted tickets to many different events and locations around Columbus, so we were able to get lift and rental tickets at a great price. Skiing as a beginner was challenging, but a ton of fun.  It’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things in order to grow! I am grateful to Ohio State and the MAcc program for providing me these kinds of opportunities to learn and have fun.

Skiing with my friends

One thing I love about the MAcc program is that all of our classes are in the same building: Gerlach Hall. This saves us from having to walk across campus to get to our next class. All MAcc students are provided a locker as well, making it easy to change out of those snowy boots into your business apparel! While the weather may be cold outside during the start of spring semester, our love of Fisher certainly is not.

Red Carpet Weekend 2019

In just a few weeks (March 1–3), we will be welcoming Full-Time MBA admitted students to Red Carpet Weekend 2019! This gives them the chance to visit Columbus and the Fisher College of Business, meet some of their future classmates, as well as learn about the opportunities available at Fisher.

To me, this was a very special and significant experience, as I knew that Fisher was the right place to earn my MBA. As a current student ambassador, I look forward to this event since I get to share the Fisher spirit and show others who we really are. If you are still considering whether to apply to Fisher, I encourage you to apply and be eligible to attend Red Carpet Weekend! Here are some upcoming events that one can experience at this VIP event:

Columbus Bus Tour

Last year, I hosted this tour where we got to visit several popular neighborhoods in Columbus! The Short North, Victorian village, German village…etc. Just to name a few. If you are able to make it to this tour, which happens before the welcome reception, you should definitely check it out!

Welcome Reception and Tour at Ohio Stadium

I was most excited for this portion of the weekend as I got to meet faculty, other admitted students, and their significant others. You also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ohio Stadium!

Welcome to Fisher Faculty Lunch at Faculty Club

These are two important sessions where you get to know more about our newly redesigned MBA curriculum, as well as learn more about our global programs.

Breakfast for Significant Others

My husband, who attended Red Carpet 2017 with me, met others who were going through the same feelings and experiences as he was. Going to business school affects not just you, but the people who dearly support and love you as you go through this important change in your life.

Social Event at Du Amici

What a great way to end a Saturday night! My husband and I continued the evening by ourselves where we managed to catch the last part of the Arnold Sports Festival.

Women’s Breakfast (Optional)

Since I am on the leadership team for the Fisher Graduate Women In Business, I highly encourage all women to attend this breakfast. I will see you there!  🙂

First Semester Takeaways

Happy New Year, everyone! The spring semester is in full swing and it is great to be back on campus at Ohio State University. Over the winter break, I traveled to cities such as Denver and Chicago, hung out with friends and family, and relaxed with a good book in my spare time. With a whole semester to reflect back on, I thought it may be helpful to share some of my first-semester takeaways.

Create Goals

Before each semester, I recommend writing down goals you want to accomplish over the course of the semester. These goals can be academic, personal, professional, or developmental. No matter how big or small, highlight specific actions you can take in order to make them happen and surround yourself with others who have similar goals. Then you can hold each other accountable for them and work toward them together. If you enjoy being creative, make a vision board for a physical representation of what you want to achieve.

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” —Dennis DeYoung

Get Involved

Getting involved outside of the classroom is a great example of what an achievable goal could be. It may be joining a student organization, volunteering in the community, playing an intramural sport, or attending campus events. Doing any of these activities is a great way to de-stress, make friends, and gain experience in an area you may be interested in. Some of these activities may also bonus as a resume builder.

Be Organized

I cannot stress this enough. Trying to balance work, school, and other activities along with multiple deadlines occurring throughout the year can be difficult. Be prepared and keep a physical planner or online calendar. There are plenty of free apps and websites that can be used if you want to take your calendar on the go. Another tactic I like to use is setting reminders for myself on my phone or online calendar. Whether it is to pay a bill, check my email, or to turn in an assignment, these reminders keep me from forgetting or procrastinating if something is important. Start creating good habits now and find a routine that works well for you.

Have a Good Time

Last but not least, you need to have fun! Having a support system and outlets to de-stress are both extremely important. Graduate school can be mentally as well as physically exhausting at times so be sure to always take care of yourself first.