Undergraduate vs Graduate Accounting Recruitment and Tips

Fall break marks the end of our first session of Fall semester, as well as the end of recruitment season for many MAcc students who are very excited to be done with the process. Though I didn’t go through the process as I did it during my undergraduate program, I recognized some differences between the two experience when talking to my friends so I wanted to outline them below, as well as offer some tips on how to tackle recruitment season when starting the Fisher MAcc program.

1. The process is so much shorter!

This is the clearest difference between the two processes. While undergraduate recruiting season often lasts for almost the

entire semester with many different networking and social events organized by the firms, my graduate classmates started their job searching process around the end of August when classes started, and had most of their interviews done at the beginning of October. So the time pressure was intense. I highly advise you to prepare well during the summer by polishing your resume and practicing your interviewing skills and be ready to jump right into the process when the program starts, or you’ll be very overwhelmed with events and homework.

2. Full-time vs internship.

Most students applied for internships in junior year and completed them in senior year of undergraduate. However, once you’re a graduate student, often you would apply for full-time positions. Since internship is like another round of interview where firms can take another look at your ability before offering you a full-time position, the competition is a bit more lax and firms often hire more interns to cut some out later. Full-time positions can be more challenging to get, especially when firms already retain a decent number of interns, and they often expect more of you to adapt quickly with the way of working as you did not go through the internship with them.

3. Location preferences.

Many of my classmates, including myself, did our undergraduate studies out of state, so attending OSU allows us to apply for firms and offices in Ohio, nearby Midwest states, and other states farther away since OSU is a huge university with a very recognizable brand name and an extensive alumni network. It was more restrictive for me when I applied for internship at my previous college since it is a small liberal arts school so most students went to companies/offices within the same state. However, many of my classmates can apply to positions in cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. That’s why I often recommend my friends, especially those who did not do an accounting internship, to complete their Master’s at a big university like OSU to expand their opportunities.

Those are all the tips I have to prepare you for a successful recruitment season in graduate school. The main restraint is definitely time, as the program lasts for only nine months and you would want to secure a job before graduation as soon as possible. However, if you come prepared from the beginning, you should feel much less stressful about the entire process. Good luck!

 

Finals Survival Tips

 

Following our mid-semester exams last week, I thought I would share my graduate study tips. It is important to note that preparing for each exam can be different depending on the class but here is how I typically approach studying.

Fox and the Snow Cafe

Not every professor will provide a study guide for the exam so do your best to be organized throughout the entire course. This includes being prepared with the readings, cases, and discussion questions assigned for each class. I like to take notes or annotate what I am reading so that way I can highlight or expand on important information. Professors typically use PowerPoints and I like to take notes on the slides as we go over them in class. This is in addition to taking notes that are handwritten or on your laptop will make sure you will be prepared when the time comes to study for the midterm and final exam. Based on the amount of information you have to study, plan in advance how many hours a day you will have to study to be prepared.

Red Velvet Cafe

Once I have all my notes and materials organized I will use that information to fill out the study guide or create my own if one was not provided. Filling this out helps me get a comprehensive view of what I need to sharpen my knowledge on. After that, I will create a Quizlet so I can test myself on the material. I also find it beneficial to set up study sessions with other classmates. Don’t hesitate to attend office hours or reach out to the professor if you need assistance or clarification on a topic. Fisher professors are there to help you!

Another thing I want to point out is that your studying environment is important. In my own experience, I am much more productive when I am not distracted or sit in a certain type of environment with some white noise. I enjoy going to a local coffee shop and studying for a few hours each day. I don’t recommend cramming for an exam last minute or pulling an all-nighter.

At the end of the day, don’t stress out! Plan your studying accordingly, get some rest, exercise, and opt-in for a study buddy if you need some social time. I hope you find these study tips helpful. Best of luck on your next exam!

Great Day to See Ryan Day

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I’m currently enrolled in one of the MAcc‘s elective courses, Business of College Sports. I highly recommend anyone with a particular interest in athletics to take this course, as it’s been extremely enlightening to see how a college athletic department operates in terms of budgetary constraints, recruiting, donors, and projects meant to enhance the overall student-athlete experience.

As part of our class, we were able to tour the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, which is home to many sports teams on campus and also serves as the football team’s practice facility. After walking around and getting to see the state-of-the-art practice fields, underwater treadmills for rehabilitation, and other elite athletic amenities, our class sat and listened to Ohio State’s head football coach talk about his program. It was unbelievable to witness the level of detail that the team deploys from their dietary plans to the way they organize their rigid schedules. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to brush up with the athletic director and head football coach at a place like Ohio State, but in the Fisher MAcc program, it can be a reality.

Making the most of your days as a grad student

From my previous blog post, I made it seem that the life of an SMF student is just hours and hours of studying and group projects in the Bloomberg Lab. Fortunately, there are many events around Columbus that give us the opportunities to “break free” and enjoy our days to the fullest.

On October 13, my friends managed to drag me out of my apartment after finishing the finals to go to the Chainsmokers with 5 Seconds of Summer and Lennon Stella Concert at the Schottenstein Center.  To be honest, I had one of the most exciting nights in my life watching them performing live. To make it better, I got to spend some quality time with my classmates whom I had only been able to talk with briefly in our core courses together.

My friends and me at the concert

This upcoming Sunday, October 20th, one of my all-time idols, Celine Dion is coming to perform at the Schottenstein Center. If you are in the area and you love her as much as I do, you might want to check out her concert.

At times, life can get so crazy and busy at times that you might forget to live it. It is during those times that you might want to stop, take a deep breath, and enjoy yourself. It doesn’t have to be a concert or a fancy night out. Sometimes, just a night for yourself is all you need. After all, it’s the memories of these nights that you look back on down the road.

Much Needed Break

Session 1 of Autumn semester is over! I can’t believe it’s been over 2 months since the first day of our SMF pre-term.

We finished our finals last on Oct 9 and then got the rest of the week off as fall break. This was our first “actual” break since the start of the program, so as you can imagine, we were very excited.

My housemates and I walk by this pizza place, Adriatico’s everyday on our way home, and always say we should go there. So, that’s what we did Thursday night.

Pepperoni Pizza and Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks

Next evening, a couple of my friends and I went to a Bollywood movie, The Sky is Pink starring Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar. To no one’s surprise, it was just us in the theater.

The scene when I realized I should click a picture for my blog

Saturday evening, I celebrated my mum’s 50th birthday (from 8067 miles away) by attending mass at a beautiful church and getting game day mini cupcakes!

Happy Birthday Ma!

Finally, Sunday evening, a couple of us went to a South Indian restaurant, Gokul Cafe, and enjoyed pav bhaji. South Indian food is definitely something I miss about being away from home.

Pav (bread) Bhaji (mashed vegetables)

Something that has stuck with me through this short break, is a dialogue from the movie we watched. In a scene, the son gets yelled at by his teacher for coloring the sky pink instead of blue. When he narrates this incident to his mum, she says, “your sky can be any color you want it to be. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise” (loosely translated, sorry).

And, that’s what I’ll end with – your sky can be any color you want it to be.

Surviving the Pre-MAcc Seminar

Certificate of completion for the Pre-MAcc Seminar
Look Mom, I made it!

One unique experience I had as a part of my Ohio State MAcc is participating in the Pre-MAcc seminar. This is a two-week crash course in more advanced accounting concepts for incoming students who didn’t take Intermediate Accounting I and II in their undergrad career. Either taking these classes in undergrad or participating in this seminar are prerequisites for the MAcc.  This option lets students who didn’t study accounting extensively thrive in the MAcc at Fisher.

The program runs roughly from the beginning of August to just before the MAcc orientation in mid August. The Pre-Macc meets from roughly 9 am to 5 pm everyday for those two weeks, including Saturdays. It’s quite the grind with lectures in the morning and practice problems all afternoon, but you seriously learn the material when you’re so immersed.

The program typically is also relatively small, around 10 students or so each year, so the learning is very personalized. Everyone in the program was totally free to ask for material to be covered more or voice their opinion to move on once they were comfortable with concepts.

The material in the seminar is specifically catered to the classes students will take in the MAcc program, so the time is used very efficiently. The experience isn’t pulled out of a box, but rather preps you with the specific info you need later on.  Even though I hadn’t seen this material in my undergrad career, I haven’t felt like I was at a disadvantage in my classes. Overall, because of the Pre-MAcc, I’ve been able to perform well in the MAcc program, despite having a non-accounting undergrad education.

An inside look at the case studies in my electives

For the first term of autumn, I currently have two required classes and two electives in the MAcc program. Little did I know how many cases I have to deal with every week when selecting my electives for this term. However, I’m very happy I chose these classes and want to give you a brief overview of what are entailed in them.

Professional Research in Accounting

If you asked me to talk about this class a month ago, I would show my lack of enthusiasm and blame the Texas CPA Board for making me taking this class. I’m not a big fan of doing research so this class immediately sounded boring to me. To my surprise, it turns out to be my favorite class this term! We have to solve one case, in a group of 3 or 4 students, every week, so it is an intensive class. Solving these cases involves getting lost in understanding the issues to be solved, getting swamped in finding the appropriate FASB Codifications to explain the company’s accounting methods, and getting exhausted after finishing our write-ups. But there is a huge sense of accomplishment when I finally understand the problems thoroughly, mostly after discussing with my group, and together arrive at the solutions.

My favorite birthday gift from a friend and the logo I got which features Tesla Roadster as the dummy in SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy flight

My favorite case, because it involves one of my favorite companies, is Tesla! The case involves deciphering their accounting method for their leasing program with leasing partners where Tesla offers a resale value guarantee paid to their partners at the end of the lease term. Never did I hate the company that much while I had to go through the codes to prove what they did and reported in their financial statements. It was our hardest case, in my opinion, but I still managed to have some “fun” with it, especially when we had to come up with their journal entries. Yet I’m still obsessed with the company, their mission, and their unconventional leadership.

Finance I

I took only one finance course during my undergraduate years, so I was new to most of the concepts coming in. However, because of my lack of knowledge, my learning curve for this class is huge. We discussed one case each week, similar to my other elective class. The cases mostly focus on project valuation, debt versus equity financing,

A corner of the Target store on High St, 5 minutes away from Fisher, as an example of the company’s small-format store

initial public offering (IPO) valuation, and corporate strategy regarding financial investments. Some of the prominent cases include Nike’s capital structure, JetBlue’s IPO, and Target’s food business strategy. Target is the one we’re discussing right now, and we’re looking at how Target used small-format stores, those that are of smaller scales built in urban and college town areas, to help with their declining sales after Amazon acquired Whole Foods and transitioned it to be one of Target’s competitors. Our final case is a group project about New Balance’s product initiatives, which looks challenging and time consuming, but I’m excited to work with my group on applying the concepts we’ve been learning this term to wrap up the class in the best way.

All of this is to say that the cases I’m learning in my classes are not at all “make-up” cases about ABC or XYZ companies. They are all about actual companies that I see or use their products everyday. This is the aspect of the curriculum that I enjoy the most. Not only is it practical, but it also allows me to learn more about the accounting practices at these companies, and see how the general accounting concepts can be applied differently at different companies. I would highly recommend taking courses that focus heavily on cases, and although they may be more challenging, your learning curve will definitely be much higher.

 

The life of an SMF Graduate student

After finishing my undergraduate studies, I was very excited to see how drastically my life would change going through the Specialized Master in Finance program (SMF). Today, I can confidently tell you this: there’s not a day goes by where you don’t have something to work on.

During our first session of the Autumn Semester, we are going through the core required courses within our program structure to ease us into customizing our career tracks. Personally, for someone with little work experience, I am very much grateful for these courses as they are providing me with some basic exposure to different fields in the industry, which is helping me in my decision-making process of what to do in the future.

Our beloved Bloomberg Lab

Throughout the program, SMF students get the chance to get acquaintance with different financial software applications through both the core and elective coursework. Learning how to use the Bloomberg terminal was one of the things I was so excited about before coming to the Ohio State University. My first time looking at Bloomberg terminal was like looking at an alien software with so many numbers and so much information that I had trouble analyzing all the data. After spending dozens of hours in the lab and receiving guidance from my peers, I must say that I have gotten quite used to it, but I still have so much more to learn.

Group meeting has become a daily routine

In all of our core courses, we are selected to be in a preassigned team throughout the academic year. Due to the amount of coursework and assignments we have to work on, it is almost impossible to go on a week without meeting up with our respective groups. Through trials and errors, my group became more efficient in delegating duties to best divide the workload while engaging all the members in the process. Because of the diverse backgrounds of the members in the cultures and work experience aspects, I always manage to learn something new every time we meet up.

Up to this point, I can proudly say that I am enjoying every day of the program, and I am always looking forward to what is coming next.

Lighting up the Scioto River at the Water Lantern Festival

A big perk of going to Ohio State is its location – for those of you that don’t know OSU is located in the heart of Columbus. With that being said, there is always an event in the area, whether it is some sort of cultural or food festival or a concert. This past weekend I attended the water lantern festival with several of my friends from the Fisher MAcc and MHRM programs.

The water lantern festival is a unique cultural event. It brings people together with friends and family to celebrate life together as you watch the lanterns you all created drift off in the night. This festival focuses on experiencing happiness, discovering love, bringing healing to your soul, enjoying peace and unity, increasing hope and faith, and connecting with one another.

 

The festival took place in downtown along the Scioto Mile. When we arrived, there were food trucks, a live singer and a very calming and relaxing atmosphere. After getting some food from the food trucks, we found a patch of grass among the river and began to decorate our lanterns. We each reflected upon our hopes and dreams and what we were thankful for and decorated our lanterns accordingly. It was a great time to step back from the hustle and bustle of campus life and reflect. After we finished decorating our lanterns, we relaxed and listened to calming music. When it finally got dark, we all went down to the river to release our lanterns. It was a beautiful sight to see, as hundreds of lanterns filled with hopes and dreams drifted through the night. I had an amazing and refreshing time taking advantage at one of the festivals Columbus had to offer.

The lanterns we created released in the river

My First Game in The Shoe

A few weekends ago, I experienced my first-ever Ohio State Buckeye home game in the Horseshoe. Ohio State squared off against Miami University (OH), and after a close first quarter, it was a constant celebration all afternoon as Ohio State won by a score of 76-5. Together with my parents, my little brother, and some family friends, it was a perfect afternoon to celebrate a Buckeye victory and show my family my new “home” that I’ve been living in for the last month.

As the school year begins to pick up at a rapid pace with finals just around the corner, it was nice to see my family after over a month of being apart. My family is my biggest support system – it was great seeing them and  spending time with the people I love most!

From right to left: my dad, me, my dad’s best friend, and my little brother at the Shoe