My two current favorite off-campus study spots

Recently, I decided to explore some local coffee shops with a friend, Christina, in the MAcc program as I didn’t want to head for Starbucks constantly. Columbus is filled with some phenomenal coffee shops that are excellent study spots for Fisher graduate students. Below are my two of my current favorites near campus.

1. Stauf’s Coffee Roaster on Grandview

Some of Stauf’s food options

This location is pretty closed to campus, and it was very packed on the Sunday morning that we went! However, there is plenty of space inside the shop, so finding a table is pretty easy. Parking is spacious as well, and the prices are similar to those at Starbucks. There is a lot of food options too. I like to study with noise in the background, so this is a great option, and the food is there to feed us for however long we want to stay.

2. The Roosevelt Coffeehouse on Long St

I personally prefer this place more as the aesthetic is much nicer!

However, it is a bit farther away from campus as it’s in downtown, and parking can be a bit hard during peak hours. They have fewer tables compared to Stauf’s, so it may be hard to get one during busy hours. I like to come here when I need to get some serious work done, as it tends to be more quiet and calming inside, compared to the hectic atmosphere at Stauf’s.

That is my quick review of the two places. Columbus has a lot to offer Fisher graduate students, including a lot of coffee shops to choose from 🙂 I’m hoping to explore more local establishments during spring semester and to blog more about newly discovered favorites. Stay tuned!

 

 

Go Bucks! … My last home game :(

As many of you may know, Ohio State is a sports school, and we dominate in almost every division 1 sport you can think of. One in particular that brings a lot of attention to our school is… FOOTBALL. Ohio State is currently sitting as the number 1 ranked collegiate team in the nation, but this is not an unusual thing for Ohio State football. OSU is consistently a top 10 football team year in and year out in the recent past.


Ever since my freshman year of college here at Ohio State, I have gone to every single home football game to support the bucks. I love looking forward to Saturdays in the magical Shoe. The Shoe is our football stadium that seats 100,000+ fans every game. Being in the stadium is electric … every fan is decked out in red and is cheering at the top of their lungs to help root the Buckeyes to a victory.


If you attend Ohio State, you should try and go to at least one game while you are here because it is an experience like no other. I recently just attended my last home game as a student, and I can say I am still very emotional about it. On November 23rd, the Bucks played Penn State. It was supposed to be a massive game for us, but just like the rest of the teams, Penn State fell victim to an OSU win. Every fan in the stadium cheered the bucks on to a great victory, and at the end of the game, we even got to rush the field to celebrate a big win!

 

KPMG Masters of Accounting & Data Analytics

I had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Kaufman Ortiz, the campus ambassador for the KPMG Masters of Accounting and Data Analytics (MADA) program here at the Ohio State University (OSU). After his studies at the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez, he is thrilled to be here at OSU as a MADA participant. Here are a few questions I ran by him to learn more about what this program is all about.

What is MADA?

MADA helps move KPMG professionals into the data age by providing them with the tools necessary to succeed in an increasingly technology-driven world. The MADA class of 2020 has 135 students (110 in audit and 25 in tax) receive full-ride scholarships and stipends to attend one of nine participating masters programs throughout the country in exchange for a three year commitment to the firm. The number of students in the program increases every year. A few of the other schools in the program include Villanova University, University of Mississippi, Virginia Tech, and the University of Georgia.

Ohio State is one of the founders of the program, and has 25 sponsored students this year. MADA participants take a full schedule in the fall, participate in a paid busy season internship, and return to campus in the summer to wrap up their Master in Accounting.

We take many of the same classes as the other OSU Master of Accounting students. However, the MADA students focus their electives on data-driven courses.

What is the application process for this program?

The application process is rigorous and consists of several interviews and taking the GMAT. Applicants are considered holistically. Additionally, MADA students apply and must be accepted to the MAcc programs they will be placed into separately through the school’s process. The process from initial application to acceptance of the offer takes around 6 months. If you’re interested in learning more about the program and its application process, click here.

How has MADA impacted your professional development?

This program has opened my eyes to data analysis tools like R, Python, SQL, and Tableau. Firsthand experience with all of these tools in my classes is very valuable. I think the biggest thing has been learning to think about things through the context of big data. As an accounting professional in the data age, the opportunity to adopt that mindset and be able to apply it in our future audit engagements is an invaluable skill for my future career at KPMG.

Moving to the US as a Family

I have only been at The Ohio State University for about four months, but it does seem like it has been so much more. My experience here has been really intense, so many positive experiences in so many different aspects – it is already easy to call Columbus home!

One of the first things I read about grad school is that it’s not a sprint, it is a marathon and I really agree with that. My process was long, it took almost a year, but it was worth it. In the beginning the challenges were many: finding the right program, TOEFL, GRE, scholarships, leaving my job, applying for visas, doing all of this in double since my husband was going through the exact same process!

I think there were three major steps for us as a couple: Brainstorming – what did we want? What were immediate and long term goals? Researching: what programs fit our interests? Was it possible to find programs in the same university, or at least close to each other? Preparing: Getting our scores as early as possible so we had time to be competitive and have time to prepare resumes and essays.

After having our goals clear, we spent some months researching and then decided to visit some universities during our vacations. We were leaving full time jobs behind to find something that fit our goals, so we really wanted to make the right choice. My visit to Fisher made me certain this was the right choice for me.

The reason I was looking for a Master’s degree at this point in my career was that I wanted a program that would really give me deep foundations of HR. I already had an MBA, but since it wasn’t completely focused in HR, I wanted a program that would be highly specialized and help me to grow as an HR professional. Visiting Campus, talking to the recruiter, to current students, spending time clarifying all my doubts about the curriculum and the logistics, were really helpful in my decision. At the same time, my husband was visiting campus and other universities, and we decided we would focus on being in Ohio and we went back home with that decision in mind.

We studied for the exams together, and we decided to focus on one at a time. We studied for the TOEFL for a few weeks and once we were done we focused on the GRE. This was what worked best for me, it made it less confusing than focusing on two at once. I gave myself a few weeks as well to prepare my essays and my resume.

Since we applied early, our results came early as well! We were both accepted with scholarships! Knowing that with 6 months in advance helped us to have enough time to apply for our visas, raise money for extra costs, prepare our cats (leaving the country with 2 cats was also a challenge!) and still take some weeks off before we came here.

I am really enjoying the program, the professors and classes, and have been able to be very engaged with it. I have been involved with the Fisher Graduate Latino Associations, and have now been accepted as a Member of the Fisher Board Fellows. I have also been awarded with a Minority Award offered by ExxonMobil, have won second place in our internal case competition and have just been offered last week an internship at Microsoft! I am also a Graduate Assistant at the Graduate Programs Office in which I support the recruiting and admissions of MBA candidates. There are so many resources on campus that are helping me have a successful experience: my colleagues at the GPO, my classmates, professors, advisors and the Office of Career Management. It was a long process until I got here but I really think it was worth the effort.

Here are some pictures of the many experiences I have lived here:

Holding the ExxonMobil Minority Award at the Courtyard of the Fisher College of Business
My husband and I saying goodbye to our family at the airport

During the final round interviews at Microsoft

Travelling Across Campus and Around Columbus

Most people use COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) to get around the city. For Ohio State students, the bus service is almost free (we pay a small fee at the beginning of each semester). We just swipe our BuckID as the fare when we get onto the bus.

*https://seattletransitblog.com/2018/12/08/transit-report-card-columbus/

I live about twenty minutes away from Fisher. So, on lazy (and/or cold) days, there are a couple of buses that can get me to college – route 1, 2 or 8. These buses come every fifteen or so minutes. Fisher is just a one-minute walk from the bus stop that most of us use (W Lane Ave and Neil Ave).

COTA takes you places other than just Fisher like the zoo, good restaurants, shopping centers, etc. Most of my SMF friends live in University Village. So, by now, I know the last bus from their place to mine, and vice versa (I also know the first bus because we usually miss the last bus :)).

Ohio State students use Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) to travel across campus. There are ten routes that encompasses the whole campus. These buses come every five-ten minutes, and you can look at the bus arrival times via the Ohio State app.

Ohio State App showing Campus Loop North and South routes

When I want to walk a bit (instead of taking the COTA bus), I walk to Ohio Union, and take a CABS bus from there to Fisher. The Campus Loop South bus drops us right outside Mason Hall.

*https://ttm.osu.edu/cabs

If you want to go somewhere across campus or around Columbus, one of these two bus services will get you there!

 

MHRM Friendsgiving, 2019 edition

A few weeks ago, the MHRM program held its very own Friendsgiving! It was graciously hosted by one of our working professional MHRM students, Scott Bassett, and the evening was filled with tons of food, drinks, and laughter. These events are especially important as we head into finals in the upcoming weeks. It really is a time to sit back, relax, and enjoy each others company.

In our class, there are a number of students representing different backgrounds and cultures so our meal consisted of traditional American food to dishes represented from China and Brazil.

Traditional Brazilian Brigadeiros

As the semester begins to come to a close I want to take this opportunity to say how grateful I am to be apart of the MHRM program as well as for the professional and personal relationships it has enabled me to develop with my fellow classmates! Although this was my last Friendsgiving as an MHRM student I know that that the friendships will extend far beyond my time in the program.

Let’s have a little tour!

I decided to switch things around for the blog this time and give you guys a little sneak peek of some of the places that I regularly visit in Gerlach Hall.

As one of the Graduate Ambassadors for the Specialized Master in Finance program, I spend a lot of my weekly hours in the Graduate Programs Office (GPO). My daily tasks would include going over inquiries emails, reaching out and planning visits for prospective students. Over the semester, I have grown to enjoy working in the office and with the students alongside GAs from other programs (MAcc, MHRM, and MBA).

Graduate Programs Office

Another place that I often spend my hours studying at is the computer lab on the second floor in Gerlach Hall. It’s a great quiet study area where you can get stuff done pretty efficiently if you tend to get distracted quickly like I do. In the lab, you can utilize a lot of different software that you might not be able to run on your PC such as SAS or applications that you don’t normally have access to such as Capital IQ.

Gerlach Lab

The student lounge is probably one of the busiest areas in Gerlach Hall. It is located on the second floor and is a huge open space where students come to have their meals and enjoy their breaks. I spend a lot of my times here chatting with friends and catching up on things during the breaks.

Gerlach Lounge (Another Perspective)

That’s all I have for today’s blog. I will cook up more exciting things to discuss as the break is just around the corner.

Doubling Up: Becoming a Double Buckeye!

I didn’t know what being a Double Buckeye meant until I truly started to embrace the meaning of one earlier this year! You see, returning to Ohio State to pursue an MBA on Fisher’s renowned campus was a journey home for me. I grew up an hour west of Ohio State and later graduated from here with a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering in 2012, so I was already familiar with Ohio State’s highly ranked football team, the vast resources accessible to OSU students, and the surrounding city of Columbus.  What more was there for me to experience here, I thought?  But that question disappeared as quickly as it came and I soon discovered that coming back to Fisher for my MBA was an entirely new and exciting experience.

In March 2019, I got a chance to experience Fisher’s culture firsthand by meeting with my new classmates and friends while dining over the football stadium. Through the Red Carpet Weekend Experience, Fisher’s Graduate Programs Office confirmed for me the main reasons I came back to Ohio State: the people and the culture. The culture at Fisher is both collaborative and diverse while maintaining a spark of competitiveness, which speaks to the high level of intelligence that I am surrounded with every single day!

The first four months have been life-changing as I have explored areas through this program and within myself that I never would have dreamed. I am using this journey to create, lead, and inspire others, which is what I have always wanted to do. I do this every day in my classes, but also through the passion projects that I work on outside of the classroom.  In August, I got to soar high at Summit Vision to face my fear of heights, and trust in my classmates to get me through.  I have toiled through my core courses together with classmates during long nights of studying for exams that felt like they would never end at times.  Sometimes this results in a euphoric breakthrough.  Other times it means being encouraged by a classmate to persevere when I want to quit.  In either case, this is our collaborative Fisher spirit shining bright.  We celebrate each other’s victories and we fight for each other in the face of challenges.

Most importantly, to me, is that the journey to finding out the type of leader I am is ever more lucid. Every single experience that I have with my colleagues, and now friends, is shaping me into the person I want to be every minute of every hour of every day.

The biggest thing I have discovered in returning to OSU is that this is not simply a walk down memory lane or a homecoming.  No, this is a continuation of my journey filled with unique adventures serving as the gateway to my future.  While I don’t know where the journey will end, I do know where it begins – and that’s with me! I am flying first class into the future.  Why?  Because a Double Buckeye would do it no other way!

Networking for Students

Network, Network, Network…as students we hear this all the time from our bosses, our professors, and our parents. What is Networking anyways? Merriam Webster defines networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions” specifically for “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business”. Expanding on this definition, I consider networking not only for employment purposes but as a channel for learning and development. Many individuals network to establish a mentor or to expand their skill set. Here is a list of ways to start networking as a student.

  1. Get to know your classmates. The classmates you sit next to every day are going to be in the workforce one day are going to achieve a multitude of different things. The individuals you associate yourself with now maybe your colleagues in the future.
  2. Connect with alumni. Similar to connecting with current classmates, former students of your university are able to relate to your experience and are likely to be interested in giving back and offer support to their alma mater.
  3. Meet with the Career Office. Each university has resources dedicated to assisting students with their career development. This office typically assists with resume reviews, mock interviews, and career guidance such as job opportunities, career exploration, and may be able to connect you with employers or alumni.
  4. Attend networking events. There is no better place to network than at professional development event such as a seminar, conference, or career fair. By joining a student organization or society can meet others who have similar interests to you.
  5. Lastly, consider each day a networking opportunity with the people around you. You never know who you may connect with or establish a relationship in your everyday life!

Additional Tip: Use social media such as LinkedIn as a way to display your professional brand and stay in touch with the people in your network.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive of all the ways that you can network but as the wise Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

 

 

Learning from the Best – MAcc Talks

One of the most exciting parts of my experience at Ohio State so far has been attending MAcc talks. These events bring in exciting speakers from a variety of backgrounds to discuss their experiences and how it can pertain to our future careers as accountants. (We also receive a free lunch from Panera for each session, so I’ve also learned to always go for the Bacon Turkey Bravo.) The speakers come in through professors directly reaching out and I am always amazed at the connections Fisher professors can have.

Some of the guest speakers so far this semester have been the CEO of Pelotonia, a transparency reporter for DowJones MarketWatch, a Stanford tax researcher, an OSU law professor, and the Ohio Auditor of State. Their areas of expertise are incredibly broad and lead to thought-provoking discussions with my classmates. The talks are often a lot less technical than a lecture and encourage thinking about accounting issues in terms far more broad than simple debits and credits.

A recent speaker was Weston Smith, the former CFO of HealthSouth. He walked us through the fraud that occurred within the corporation. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which of course we all had learned about in depth in accounting courses, played a key part in the unraveling of  inflated earnings reports for HealthSouth. It was pretty satisfying to see how technical topics like SOX play out in real world scenarios.