The End is Near

It is crazy to think my time here in the MAcc program is coming to an end. Over these past couple weeks, the MAcc Council and the Fisher Social Chair has put on some great events to help us through these last few weeks of class.

MAcc students at the food bank

In the beginning of April, the MAcc class has the option to attend MAcc Give Back, which is a volunteering event. The MAcc class was dividing into two groups with half going to the Franklin Park Conservatory and the other going to the Mid-Ohio Food Pantry. I was part of the group that went over to the food bank and it was a great experience getting to help out others. This is something the MAcc program participates in every year and something I believe is very important.

The Fisher Graduate Programs also put together a Graduate Appreciation Week with fun events, free food, and many prizes to help us grind through the rest of the semester. One of the events a kickball tournament with our professors. We all got teams together and invited a professor to play with us. Our MAcc team came out on top winning the tournament and winning a free lunch. Fisher puts on a lot of events for us to keep us engaged outside the classroom as well.

Also, last weekend the Fisher Social Chair put on a formal for all Fisher Graduate Students. It was held in downtown Columbus and there was food, drinks, and dancing. It was a lot of fun to be out with all the different programs and get all dressed up. We are all appreciative of the extra mile a lot of our social chairs and program coordinators go to for us. They make sure our time here is a lot more than just earning a degree.

Fisher Graduate Student Appreciation Week

A couple of weeks ago was Fisher Graduate Student Appreciation Week. I wasn’t aware of this precious week before starting my Master’s program but it is honestly a golden opportunity for student to win free prizes and get fantastic discounts in many restaurants in town!

Throughout the week, Fisher had a random drawing every day of the week to determine the lucky winners! Some examples of things you could win included: hot/cold tumbler, free food (gift cards), free coffee and donuts, among others! One place offering a free tour was Watershed Distillery, a micro-distillery in Columbus, owned by a Fisher alum Gregory Lehman. Among others, I was happy to hear that one of my favorite restaurants, Brassica, was participating in the gift card drawing process.

In fact, I had just been in Brassica the other weekend with a couple of friends from the program, and of course, our meal was delicious.

Love at first bite!

After my meal, I definitely felt appreciated as a Fisher graduate student! 🙂

April Activities: An Update!

I recently shared a post about all of the activities this April that Fisher had to offer for the graduate students and promised that I would return with an update, so here we are! 

MAcc Gives Back

A week ago, MAcc students and faculty split off into two groups to volunteer at the Franklin Park Conservatory and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. I went with the Franklin Park Conservatory group and had a great time bonding with my fellow MAcc classmates! We were assigned to clean up the children’s garden and get it ready for Spring. After spending a few hours working among the staff, we had an opportunity to walk through the conservatory and see all of the beautiful plant habitats. We also had time to go into the butterfly conservatory! After volunteering all morning, the groups from both locations came back to Gerlach Hall for lunch together. It was a great way to spend a Friday morning! I wish that we had more organized volunteering throughout the year because it was a great way to spend time together outside the classroom!

Fisher Formal

Elise (MHRM GA); Me, Julie & Matt (MAcc GAs) at Fisher Formal

Last Friday was Fisher Formal, and it did not disappoint! Fisher Formal is put on every spring by the MBA social committee and is offered to all Fisher graduate students. Included in our ticket price was a buffet of heavy hor devours, drinks, a photo booth, and a DJ all night! I went with a group of MAcc and MHRM students and had an absolute blast. The DJ played really good music and it was really fun getting to hang out with the MHRM and MBA students that I work with every day the Graduate Programs Office. The event is definitely one of the highlights of the year for me!

Fisher Kickball Tournament Champions

On March 30th, the Fisher College of Business hosted its first annual Graduate Student Kickball Tournament! Five teams of Fisher graduate students signed up to play in this tournament hosted at the ARC. I played on a team with other Master of Accounting students.

The tournament was competitive. In our first game, we beat a team of MBAs in extra innings.  The game was tense, with our team having to hold the MBAs to one run in the bottom of the extra inning or we would lose or play another inning.  Our championship game came against students from the MHRM program, where a few home runs propelled us to victory.

The MAcc Team Winning the Kickball Tournament

The tournament was especially fun because it gave us an opportunity to come together and meet students from other Fisher graduate programs.  Professors played in the kickball tournament too.  I was happy to hit a home run off of a professor I had for an HR class.  As the winning team, we won a catered lunch of our choosing!

The kickball tournament was another example of a fun opportunity outside of the business school that Fisher offers its graduate students.  Hopefully next year’s MAcc team can retain its title!

Silicon Valley Venture Capital Trek

The week after spring break, myself and a few of my MBA peers were fortunate enough to go on the Silicon Valley Venture Capital Trek in various cities – San Francisco, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and a couple others. As members of the student organization, Fisher Entrepreneurship Association (FEA), our goal is to learn about Entrepreneurship, Start-ups, Venture Capital (VC), and Investing through networking, events, and experiential opportunities. This was my first time on the trip, and it was by far one of my favorite MBA experiences so far. We met with Managing Directors, IPO Lawyers, Venture Capital Partners, and Founders & CEOs from various companies: Wilson, Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR), Google X, EY (Ernst & Young), DFJ (now Threshold Ventures), Prevedere Inc., and Aeris, and a couple others.

Listening to professionals in this space was eye-opening. There were so many questions myself and my peers had as young minds interested in learning how to get into the start-up space and understanding what type of professional experience and knowledge you need to be successful in it. Hearing success stories, failure stories, stories about the “grind” of this world, and honest perspectives about the start-up and venture capital industry gave many of us the ability to narrow in on what we would love to do professionally in this space. For me, after a few years working in tech and sports/entertainment, I would like to start my own company which will tie my passions together.

Most interesting things I heard during the trip:

  • Most of successful companies created their own market (ex: Facebook, Google, Intel, Cisco).
  • This idea of collaboration in tech is called “coopetition”.
  • Value = product-market fit / risk (execution).
  • NETWORKING is crucial!!
  • Get a mentor.
  • 3 parts to venture: 1) sourcing, 2) due diligence, 3) portfolio.
  • People who start a company aren’t always the ones to scale it.

What venture capital firms look for in entrepreneurs:

  1. How self-aware is this person?
  2. Are they able to recognize the fires and won’t ignore the problems?
  3. Do they recognize their own strengths and weaknesses?
  4. Are they persistent and do they have the mental endurance it takes to build and grow a company?

If you’d like to learn more about VC, start-ups, and entrepreneurship, below is a list of books and videos that were suggested to my classmates and I during our trip:

  • “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
  • “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki
  • “The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company” by Steve Blank & Bob Dorf
  • “Straight Talk for Startups” by Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman
  • “Venture Capitalists at Work: How VCs Identify and Build Billion-Dollar Successes” by Tarnang Shah and Shital Shah
  • “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore
  • “Something Ventured” – Netflix movie
  • “Secrets of Silicon Valley” – YouTube

Below is a list of people you should be familiar with – learn their stories as they either successfully built up billion-dollar companies or founded VC firms with highly invested portfolio companies in the Silicon Valley area:

  • Larry Ellison – Oracle
  • Marc Andreesen – Netscape
  • Andy Grove – Intel
  • Alan Shugart – Seagate Technology
  • Gordon Moore – Intel
  • John Chambers – Cisco
  • Steve Jobs – Apple, Pixar
  • Scott McNealy – Sun Microsystems
  • John Doerr – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Larry Sonsini – WSGR
  • Lewis Platt – Hewlett-Packard
  • James Clark – Netscape

A big thanks to Fisher College of Business, Professor Oglevee, Mr. Terranova, Mr. Coleman, and the MBA student leadership of FEA for making this trip happen and providing a wonderful growth experience.

Managing the Uncertainties of Life After Fisher

As our time as Fisher students wraps up, our priorities shift more and more toward the next phase of life: the professional career. Be it through an entrepreneurial venture or formal employment, we each have the responsibility to secure a stable future for ourselves and loved ones. This realization, though necessary, often brings stress and anxiety due to the uncertainties of the future.

As time passes, graduation day get closer and fellow classmates secure jobs, the pressure increases causing some to even doubt or question their abilities. For international students who wish to stay in the US to get some work experience, the thought of having to go back home without realizing this goal may cause extreme sadness or even sleepless nights. So how can one effectively manage the responsibility of securing a stable future? How can one overcome the stress or anxiety that might arise as a result of delay or uncertainty?

One of the key solutions to these questions is resilience. As defined by psychologytoday.com:

Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.

What makes resilience so important is that it helps improve one’s attitude. And attitude is a big factor in achieving goals because a positive attitude usually leads to positive outcomes. Therefore, my encouragement to you current or future Fisher student is that during times when your efforts may seem unfruitful, it is imperative to demonstrate resilience and find the courage to keep on keeping on. Find the courage to continue networking with professionals in your target industries, to continue reaching out to recruiters at your target companies and to continue applying to your target jobs because if you give up, no one is going to do it for you. In other words true failure exists when you stop trying; true failure is when you give up.

 

An April Full of MAcc Activities

Spring is finally here! In less than a month, I will become a proud alumna of the Ohio State MAcc program. April is the last month of classes and our program graduates May 5th with the rest of the Ohio State University. With only a few short weeks left, the MAcc program continues to host various activities for us to look forward to! Here are a few of the upcoming April activities that we have on our calendars.

Fisher Graduate Student Appreciation Week

Each spring, the Graduate Programs Office puts on a graduate student appreciation week. During the week, there are various raffles, discounts at local restaurants, giveaways, and more! This year, more than 10 restaurants and stores have donated coupons, gift cards, food, and other giveaways for the students. Each day of the week there is also an event to attend, whether it be donuts and coffee in the Graduate Student Lounge or a free Distillery tour in the evening. I will absolutely be taking advantage of the 25% off discount at local restaurants and entering into the raffles!

Graduate Student/Professor Kickball Tournament

To kick off graduate student appreciation week, my classmates and I participated in the graduate student/professor kickball tournament. We formed teams of about 10 students and each team reached out to their favorite professor to join their team. It was a great way to bond with the MAcc class and grow our faculty relationships.

MAcc Team Tournament Champs!

Fisher Formal

I definitely thought that my days of attending college formals ended when I graduated from undergrad. I was wrong! The Fisher Social Chairs club puts on a fabulous formal event in April for all the graduate programs combined. This event will be all the more fun because I have had the opportunity to make friends outside the MAcc program through my job as a graduate assistant.

MAcc Gives Back

Every year, the MAcc Council organizes an event for MAcc students, alumni, and faculty to volunteer at various local organizations. The event takes place on a Friday morning and gives the MAcc community a chance to connect with the Columbus community. I am looking forward to learning about the organization in which I will be volunteering for soon! Click here to read about a 2018 MAcc graduate’s experience!

MAcc Pre-commencement Ceremony

On the weekend of graduation, the MAcc program holds a ceremony and reception acknowledging the accomplishments of the MAcc class. This is an event that our close friends and family are encouraged to attend! Keynote speakers will be in attendance, as well as a chosen speaker from our program. It will be wonderful to have an intimate closing ceremony with the classmates I have gotten to know so well!

KPMG MADA Students Return

A perk to living in Columbus this summer while I continue to study for the CPA is the fact that the KPMG MADA students will be returning to campus. They all completed a winter internship in their respective KPMG offices and will be returning to complete their MAcc degrees during the summer semester. It will be valuable to have a support system of MAcc students to continue studying for the CPA and will be fun reuniting with the friends I made last semester!

Hopefully, I will be reporting back with memorable experiences from all the April activities that my fellow classmates and I have to look forward to!

 

2019 Women’s Leadership Conference

Last week, I attended the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference at The Ohio State University! The event was coordinated by Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB)  with the topic of cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset. FGWIB is a student organization that acts as a forum to discuss and address issues relevant to women in business and build awareness of women in leadership positions. The event was hosted in the Blackwell Hotel on campus and kicked off with a lunch and panel of women leaders.

Power Panel Speakers: 

  • Kara Trott, Founder and CEO, Quantum Health
  • Paula Bennett, Former CEO J.Jill, Inc.
  • Camille Gibson, Former VP Marketing, General Mills
  • Angel Harris, Executive Director, Dress for Success Columbus
  • Moderated by: Rhonda Talford Knight, President & Founder,
    Knight Consulting Group

Each of the speakers shared their entrepreneurial journey, what entrepreneurship means to them, how they led others, create buy-in for their visions, and gave advice for aspiring leaders. The panel was followed by networking and breakout sessions that included three learning opportunities:

Option 1: Building Your Personal Brand
Natasha Pongonis Co-Founder & CEO, OYE! Business Intelligence

Option 2: Seeking and Securing Advocates
Fran Skinner, CFA, CPAChief Administrative Officer – Investments
Diamond Hill Capital Management

Option 3: Getting Started as an Entrepreneur
Malika Jacobs, Fisher MBA,Founder, Kingmakers Board Game Parlour

Because of my interest in entrepreneurship, I listened to Fisher alumni Malika Jacobs, who shared the realistic challenges and successes of starting her own business right here in Columbus. Some of her highlights were that there is never a perfect time to start a business,  a good support system is essential, and that being an entrepreneur requires tenacity.

Finally, we heard from the keynote speaker, Natalie Keller Pariano, Chief Sprinkler of Positivity Confetti of NatterDoodle in Columbus, who talked about facing adversity on the entrepreneur’s journey. There was also an appearance by the Dean of the College of Business, Anil Makhija!

Overall, it was a wonderful event and I’m glad I had the opportunity to listen to many accomplished, talented women speak about their experiences.

Here are my top takeaways from the day: be curious, empower others, don’t underestimate your value, nothing is going to be handed to you, love what you do.

 

External Case Competition

Disclaimer: If you haven’t checked out my previous blog post about the Fisher College of Business MHRM Internal Case Competition, it provides further detail about the format of the case competitions which I refer to in this post.

As a quick overview, the MHRM program hosts an internal and external case competition each year. For each of the competitions, students form teams to compete against one another to solve an HR-related business problem presented by a sponsoring organization.

The internal competition involves teams of first- and second-year MHRM students and the winners from this event are selected to participate in the external competition. The external competition is hosted by The Ohio State University and invites universities who also have well-recognized HR graduate programs to participate in this event on a larger scale.

The weekend began at the Blackwell Hotel where all the teams were introduced to one another and enjoyed a dinner sponsored by Marathon. The universities in attendance included the University of South Carolina, Texas A&M, University of Illinois, Cornell, Minnesota, Rutgers, and West Virginia University. After dinner, we continued to mingle with the other teams at the Varsity Club, a well-known bar near the university.

The following morning was the start of the competition and when we were given the case. This year’s business problem was presented by Eaton Corporation, a multinational power management company. Essentially, they were in search of a solution that would improve coaching within their organization of 98,000 employees.

This solution also needed to touch on functions such as recruitment, engagement, and retention. The case was definitely challenging due to the large scope of the issue and it needed to be applicable to all generations, skill sets, and demographics of employees.

In order to be prepared for the next day’s presentations, we created a timeline and checklist of items to be completed. We started with a silent 15-minute brainstorming session that allowed us to each come with ideas on our own before we discussed them as a team. From there, we wrote down our concerns and potential solutions on the whiteboard.

As we began to discuss solutions, we realized we could implement strategies from various classes we have taken such as talent management, leadership, and staffing.

Once our solution was narrowed down, we assigned specific parts of the solution to each team member and organized our presentation from there. It’s a long day and it can be easy to get caught up in the overload of work, so it’s important to schedule breaks to eat, stretch, and clear your mind along the way.

Early the next morning, the teams returned to present their solutions in front of a panel of Eaton and industry professionals. Each team had 20 minutes to explain their solution and answer questions. Many unique ideas were brought to the table but ultimately the University of South Carolina was recognized as having the best solution. After the competition, we celebrated our hard work over lunch and were able to have feedback sessions with the judges.

I was able to take what I learned from the first experience and apply new strategies this competition.

Having been part of the internal and external case competitions, I was able to take what I learned from the first experience and apply new strategies this competition, which reinforces the practical experience component that I believe is crucial within this program. Additionally, not only did I get to become further acquainted with my own classmates but  I also mad connections with students from other programs and HR professionals across many different industries. This has continued to be an important opportunity to me because the individuals I am networking with today are going to be the future HR business leaders of tomorrow.

Tips for Virtual Interviews

Part of the application process for the Master of Finance, Master of Accounting, and Master of Human Resource Management programs involves completing an online video interview.  Here are some of my tips to help you ace our virtual interviews.

  • Look into the camera.  If you were in an in-person interview, you would look the person you are speaking with in the eye, right? Why not do the same for a virtual interview?
  • Pick the perfect spot.  Try to find a place that is clean, quiet, and comfortable.  We do not want to be distracted by people walking by you in the background or background noises.
  • Don’t drag it out.  If your response is shorter than the amount of time allocated for it, there is nothing wrong with ending the video! Don’t throw yourself off track by making the story longer than it needs to be.
  • Dress for success.  Dress as if you were going to an in-person interview.  Looking your best conveys the message that you are interested and prepared.
  • Test your technology beforehand.  Make sure that your browser is compatible with the interview platform.  Check to see that your voice is not too loud or too quiet.
  • Practice – Before you start the interview, make sure you have different ideas of talking points you would like to bring up to generic interview questions you may get.  Get the nerves out early!
  • BE HONEST & YOURSELF – This could be our only chance to get to know you before making a decision on whether or not to admit you into our program.  Be honest and genuine with your answers.  Let us know what you are passionate about and what makes you unique!

Best of luck with your application to Ohio State!

*Disclaimer : This is my personal advice to you and may not reflect the opinions of The Ohio State University as a whole.