The Final Stretch

As our final semester of the MAcc program begins, I find myself very excited for many of the classes I am taking. The spring semester allows students more flexibility for electives because there is only one core class that takes place in the spring, and the rest of your schedule is up to you.

The only core class is Accounting and Professional Research taught by the Director of the MAcc. This class involves reading research papers and in class discussions to better understand the landscape of accounting and finance research. I enjoy it so far, but it is definitely a lot of reading.

For electives this semester, I signed up for many accounting and finance courses. I am taking two fraud courses, one taught by the Chief Risk Officer at Ohio State and the other is taught by our Auditing professor from last semester. Both of these classes are very interesting and provide good insight for me as someone who is entering the audit field after graduation. I am also taking a financial modeling course that meets only once a week. I know Excel is going to be used for the rest of my life so I wanted to make sure I brush up on my skills before graduating. Next session, I will be taking Accounting for Mergers & Acquisitions, Government and Non-Profit accounting, Investments 1 and Private Equity.

No Fraud

The last class I am taking this semester is Negotiations. A classmate, Sam, recommended it to me and I absolutely love it so far. You learn the essentials to negotiating and actually practice negotiations in class. I did not do well on my first negotiation, but I am looking forward to learning a lot from this class and having a nice change of pace from my accounting and finance-heavy schedule.

I am very excited for my last semester of school. I am nervous about joining the real world, but I am set on learning as much as possible this semester and making sure I enjoy the time I have left at Ohio State.

Think Global, Buy Local: Enjoying a Drink at One Line Coffee

It’s the beginning of January; new classes have begun, and everyone here is once again studying. If you are waking up early, staying up late, or warming up from the cold winter weather, there is a good chance you are enjoying some coffee or tea. Columbus features many popular coffee shops and every area has its own local favorites; but, one local coffee shop roasts top-quality coffee and has an interesting story of engaging with their global supply chain.

Yumm!

One Line Coffee– now at two locations: in the Short North and at Capital Square– is passionate about sourcing and sustainability. One Line was started by a father and son who wanted to know where the coffee they were roasting came from. They believe, “If all parts of the supply chain aren’t beneficial to the people and land involved, then the end product is not sustainable. That’s it. Simple as that.”

But it wasn’t enough to know where the coffee was grown. One Line launched an investigative mission to find out if the farmer was paid a good price– if the pickers where treated fairly, if the mills operated enough to stay open, etc. Due to this seemingly daunting mission for a local business, the One Line owners dusted off the passports and made it their first goal to travel to the point of origin for as many aspects of the supply chain as they could visit. One Line continues to travel internationally as often as possible and now has relationships with importers who understand and support One Line’s mission.

Check out the Short North location!

This company is a prime example of two important things that Fisher students can strive to emulate: first, the environment, every step in the the supply chain, and the customer share mutual dependency; and second, that local action can successfully engage (and I dare say be a catalyst) in the global environment. The good news for us here at Fisher is that a made to order cup is right down High Street.

Dylan Goes Electric

When it comes to classroom technology, I’ve always been a bit of a traditionalist, cipherin’ with my slate and chalk.

Ok, maybe not that traditional.

For those who don't understand the reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_Dylan_controversy
The story behind the obscure pop culture reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_Dylan_controversy

I have, however, always preferred a good old-fashioned pen and notebook, foregoing the laptop system favored by many of my classmates during my undergraduate career. In my opinion, handwritten notes are considerably more effective for capturing the graphs, illustrations, and charts so common in a business curriculum, which is why all my attempts to computerize my note taking have usually been short-lived.

But as an admitted neatnik, I have always admired certain elements of a digital system, namely its ability to keep all materials in one place, eliminate stray papers which are easily misplaced, and even replace cumbersome textbooks. I recently became the owner of an Apple Pencil and decided to give the electronic world one more try—it has only been two weeks, but things are going better that I could have ever hoped.

The Apple Pencil is a simple, but very effective tool. I was very impressed by how natural and accurate it feels to write with it on my iPad.  In fact, my handwriting was not adversely impacted at all (though it admittedly was bad to begin with).

Pencil and iPad
The notebook of the 21st century?

The real power of this tablet/pencil system is the ability to replace my need for textbooks, notebooks, binders, and printing all with one 9.7 inch device. Using a note-taking app called Notability alongside GoogleDrive, the Canvas (Carmen) app, and the Harvard Publishing app, I am able to import electronic textbooks, PDF articles, PowerPoint presentations, and more into Notability, where I can organize them into folders and virtual “tabs”, and then draw notes directly on the screen (including multiple colors, highlight styles, even typed text boxes).  This system has freed me from heavy backpacks, trips to my locker, time in the computer lab printing, and the fear of being unprepared for class, since all of my materials I could ever need are with me at all times.

A look inside the Notability app.
A look inside the Notability app.

It is still quite early in the semester to declare full victory, but I am cautiously optimistic that this new system is here to say. I think this implementation of technology will also help me as a professional, where I will be expected to be prepared, agile, and up-to-date with technology.  I am getting good practice now in integrating technology into my life, so I will be better prepared as I head off to my summer internship and beyond.

 

Third Semester: Time to Narrow Your Path

Back to school, back to school…

The Specialized Master in Finance program’s third session of the year started this week and it’s good to be back on campus. It has been almost a month since we have all seen each other and it’s nice to catch up with the friends I made in the first semester. It seems like everyone enjoyed their breaks: a few even did some traveling to cities like Miami, Chicago, and New York City. For me, I traveled to Denver and did some sightseeing and skiing– check out the cool picture of me below at Keystone!

Skiing out in Denver at Keystone
Skiing out in Denver at Keystone

While that was fun and enjoyable, it’s back to focusing on school and my classes for this semester. A cool part about the SMF program is in the third session when you narrow in on which “path” you want to take between the four: Corporate Finance, Investments, Risk, or Real Estate. While you do not have to pick only one path, it is recommended that you focus on one area of study to master it. For me, I have chosen the Corporate Finance path and am excited to take the elective classes that most interest me.

On my schedule this session are: Corporate Financial Reporting, Financial Statement Analysis I, Corporate M&A, and Corporate Financial Management III. The first two are accounting courses that will help me better understand the financial statements and how the line items are connected. The third class is more of strategy behind M&A decisions and what the inputs and factors are that go into these choices. The fourth class covers distressed and declining companies, including the valuation of these companies.

corporate-finance

Overall, I am extremely excited about my schedule. One cool thing about the third and fourth sessions is the overlap with other programs. Now we get to interact with Masters of Accounting, MBA, and MHRM students in our classes. In addition, there are several SMF students also on the Corporate Finance track going through these courses with me. While this session will be challenging, it will definitely be rewarding and I am looking forward to the next six weeks with my classmates.

So You’re Stuck in Columbus Over Winter Break?

Well, get excited.

As many of my MHRM classmates wrap up finals and find their way back home via some combination of planes, trains, and/or automobiles, I am proud to say I’ll be staying in Columbus for the duration of winter break. Having lived in Oregon the past two years, most of my vacation time off work was spent traveling back home to Columbus (it took no fewer than 3 planes and a full day of travel each way). So, suffice to say I am happy to be able to hunker down and enjoy the next few weeks of break enjoying the holidays in this wonderful city. Here are a few of my favorite things to do during the holiday season (and colder months in general):

  1. Dollar Grilled Cheese Night at Bodega: That’s right. A hip little bar nestled in the Short North Arts District offers $1 Grilled Cheese on Mondays ALL NIGHT LONG. Come on. Who doesn’t love to warm up with a grilled cheese and bowl of tomato soup on a cold Monday night?
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nom nom nom

2. Wildlights at Columbus Zoo & Aquarium: The Columbus Zoo is already remarked as one of the best in the country. What makes it better? Gazillions of twinkling lights. My favorite moment this year was seeing a tiger family all cuddled up together in a big ball of fur to keep warm. If it weren’t for the signs (nevermind the obvious fear for my life), I would have climbed right in there with them.

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3. Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival: This was a first for me this year. Hundreds of elaborate lanterns handmade by Chinese artisans in Zigong, China are on display the entire month of December at the Ohio fairgrounds. There’s also a variety show at peak times, including mask-changing, bowl-flipping, jar-balancing, and acrobatic martial arts. The music in the background was an eclectic mix of electronic and jazz, and it was truly spectacular.

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This was my favorite display. Look how happy those little bees are.

4. Christmas Lights at Collin’s House: This is a funny story. As a kid growing up in Upper Arlington (just 5 minutes from OSU campus) my parents always drove my sister and me around in our pajamas to see the Christmas lights at least once a season (more if we begged, which we did). There was one house that always stood out among the rest, and the cars literally lined up in front of it every night so whiny kids like me could see the ridiculously elaborate display of Christmas lights. Fast forward 20.5 years to last August: on one of my first days in the MHRM program, I met someone named Collin who was also from UA. I asked him where, exactly, he grew up, and he said “I live in the house with the ridiculously elaborate display of Christmas lights.” My jaw dropped, and it was at that exact moment I knew we were destined to be friends.

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A snapchat from Collin himself. Like I said, cars literally line up in front of his house. He’s pretty much a celebrity.

5. The Nutcracker Ballet: At the Ohio Theater each year, Ballet Met puts on a spectacular performance of the Nutcracker. I missed it the last two years while living away, and I am really excited for it this year. For some reason, it just makes the holiday season feel complete.

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How to have a Stress-Free Winter Break

After a fun, though stressful semester, everyone needs a break from school– and winter break is the perfect time to relax and take your mind off school for a while.

1. Pass your finals – This one may be the most important. Not that anyone needs to be concerned about this, but ensuring you put your all into each class will leave you with no regrets once break starts.

2. Spend time with family – I love spending time with my family. They are one of the best stress relievers because they are always by my side supporting me through my education. No matter what, I know they’ll be there for me.

3. Spend as much time as possible around dogs (or any pet)  – I LOVE dogs. I have been so lucky in the last year that so many dogs have come into my life. I have found dogs are the ultimate stress reliever. Last year, my parents got a puppy. Then, three months ago, my brother and his wife got twin puppies. And my cousin just got a puppy last month. These dogs always put a smile on my face, and often times get my mind off of some of the things that might cause stress. I will put some pictures of the lovely dogs in my life in this blog.

This is Izzy and Remy, my brother's twin puppies. They dressed up this year for Halloween!
This is Izzy and Remy, my brother’s twin puppies. They dressed up this year for Halloween!
This is my cousins wiener dog, his name is Dash. He is sitting in my cousins hoodie.
This is my cousin’s wiener dog. His name is Dash. (He’s sitting in my cousin’s hoodie.)

4. Reconnect with old friends – Everyone has someone who they wish they would reconnect with over break. DO IT! This is the perfect time to meet up with friends you may not have seen since college started. Make sure you hang out with your good friends, but do not be afraid to reconnect with someone you may not have talked to recently.

5. Watch Netflix – Catch up on all the shows you’ve been missing out while studying all semester!

Winter break is meant to be a relaxing time where you can catch up with family and friends and celebrate the holiday season. I wish everyone happy holidays, and I will see you in the New Year!

First Semester Favorites

It is surreal to think that my first semester of graduate school has come and gone. It seems like just yesterday I was beginning my first day of orientation, yet here I am, half a “Master.” As I reminisce on the past 15 weeks, I thought I would highlight my five favorites of the semester.

  1. Ohio State Athletics. It goes without saying that The Ohio State University is a football school, through and through. I had season tickets, which meant I spent many Saturdays at the Horseshoe. Not only did the Buckeyes have a great season– Mother Nature did her part, giving us beautiful weather (with the exception of a rainy Tulsa game).
Ohio State vs. Northwestern {10/29/16}
Ohio State vs. Northwestern {10/29/16}

As part of my Business of College Sports class, I also had the opportunity to attend a basketball game. Athletic Director Gene Smith and his wife Sheila hosted us in their suite for the men’s game against Providence. The Buckeyes pulled off a “W,” and it was so nice to relax with classmates after a particularly stressful week. This was my first Ohio State basketball game but it will not be my last!

Living the "Suite Life" with Gene Smith
Living the “Suite Life” with Gene Smith

I also went to my first hockey games this fall! One of the major components of my Sports Marketing class was doing the promotion activities for both a men’s and women’s ice hockey game. In addition to marketing the games beforehand, we were also responsible for running in-game promotions. I had no idea what to expect, and ended up having a great time. I am definitely going to make a point to get to more games during the second semester. Not only does the sport’s fast pace make it a lot of fun to watch, admission to the games is free with a valid BuckID.

Ohio State Men's Ice Hockey vs. Bowling Green State University {10/22/16}
Ohio State Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Bowling Green State University {10/22/16}
  1. MAcc Activities. Each MAcc class has a MAcc Council, tasked with providing various social opportunities for students enrolled in the program. Some events are geared toward only MAcc students, while others are hosted in conjunction with the other Fisher graduate programs. These activities included a scavenger hunt, a Halloween party, tailgates for every home football game, a white elephant gift exchange, and the Lights at the Columbus Zoo. It is so nice to have the chance to spend time with classmates outside of the classroom and I appreciate that so much effort goes into planning these happenings.
MAcc at the Lights at the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo
MAcc at the Lights at the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo
  1. Classes. While the Business of College Sports was definitely one of my favorite classes, another favorite was Professional Research. The course was designed to teach us how to use the FASB Accounting Standards Codification online database and how to apply the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to various cases. The professor was outstanding and while the assignments were incredibly challenging, I really liked learning the “real world” application of GAAP.
  1. Group Work. Never in a million years did I imagine this would be the highlight of my semester, but I have truly come to love working in a group. This is partially attributable to my teammates. Everyone I have worked with has been so much fun, which makes for really enjoyable meetings. I have also come to appreciate how much easier it is to do things with the help of others. Everyone brings a different set of skills and a new perspective, which means the final product is that much stronger.
  1. Being a Buckeye. I can honestly say that I love coming to campus every single day. I love my classes, the people I am surrounded by, and my job in the Graduate Programs Office. It is so fulfilling to be a part of a university where there is so much pride for the institution. While it will be refreshing to have a break to get some much needed rest, I am already looking forward to the second semester! Columbus definitely feels like home.

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Holiday Party & Lights in the German Village

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The SMF program kicked off December with an evening together at our professor’s house enjoying a holiday party and explored the German village’s Village Lights. The highlight of the party was a “secret Santa” gift exchange where we all exchanged a gift with one of our classmates. In the giving spirit, I want to give you some of the best moments from a fun night with great people.

Enjoying the evning with SMF students & Dr. Pinteris
Enjoying the evening with SMF students & Dr. Pinteris.

Like any good party, there was good food! Sweet chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered mint Oreos, sugar cookies, and candy set the stage for savory snacks like meatballs and mushrooms.

The snack table is always a popular hang out
The snack table is always a popular hang out.

My favorite part of the party was decorating the Christmas tree together. The only rule of the party was that everyone had to put an ornament on the tree. At the end of the day, our work look great!

The finished product! Teamwork makes the dream work
The finished product. Teamwork makes the dream work, as the saying goes!

Near the end of the party, we all went outside to explore the neighborhood. The first Sunday in December, the German Village hosts “Village Lights.” Many people decorate and open their homes– and stores stay open late– as others come and visit. Check out what it looks like here in this video.

Wishing you all a safe & warm holiday season, and a healthy new year!

 

MAcc Fall Reception

As an end-of-the year celebration, the MAcc program (including faculty and students )all got together for one last hoorah. We had an evening reception with dinner and drinks the Friday before finals week began. I can’t believe we are 50% there! [editor’s note: the MAcc program duration is nine months]

The night started off with a cocktail hour followed by a dinner. A great thing about the reception was that it was a mix of faculty and students so we got to sit with our professors and interact with them on a more social level, rather than professional level. Of course, this was followed up by Professor Zach’s excellent jokes and Professor Turner’s “twas the night before finals” rendition. All in all it was a great time to get to know the professors and program director better. It was also yet another opportunity to get to know my classmates more. There was also an alumna speaker that graduated from the program two years ago. Her speech really got to me as I realized this is my last year of college, last year to enjoy not working full-time, and last year to get to know these wonderful people I just met (but feel like I have known for much longer).

Macc Reception
MAcc Reception

After the reception, a large portion of us attended the Fisher College of Business ugly sweater party downtown. With only half of the program still to complete, I couldn’t have made it this far without my fellow classmates. I didn’t know anyone before moving up here and now I am worried about how much I will miss them just over winter break. Your classmates really will be your support system as everyone is in the same boat. I’m looking forward to being done with finals, but also looking forward to another (last) semester at Fisher! Happy New Year!

A Taste of America

The second term of the first semester often brings just as much stress as the first term, but it also brought me some wonderfully American experiences.

I am a huge basketball fan and the NBA can be a fabulous diversion from schoolwork. This year, during their pre-season, the Cleveland Cavaliers played a game in the Schottenstein Center. I was delighted to have the opportunity to watch the Cavs play right next to my house and having a lifelong Cavs fan with me just made it even better. The stadium atmosphere was completely amazing. The honor of watching the biggest star in the MBA, LeBron James, and his champion teammates was an exciting moment– a nice distraction from the exams and assignments of the program. They truly embody the saying, “work hard, play hard.”

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Despite the workload, there is still time to relax with family and friends.  On this front, nothing is more traditional in the USA than Thanksgiving. So on the fourth Thursday of November, the 23rd, I spent one of the most traditional and delightful nights of the year with a friend and her family. The image of a big turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and jellied cranberry sauce is both very accurate and very delicious. I was also lucky enough to be able to try other traditional American dishes like sweet potato casserole topped with toasted marshmallows (my favorite dish) and homemade apple pie. Coming from Brazil, I wasn’t sure what to expect from an American Thanksgiving, but I was thrilled to be welcomed into the tradition and to try all the delicious food.  I hope they enjoyed the Brazilian treat that I brought for them, brigadeiros, as much as I enjoyed their cooking.

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I had a great time learning more about the holiday. I also had the unique opportunity to get to know my friend’s dogs and their job in agility training.  Dog agility exists all over the world, including in Brazil, but I had never gotten up close to the canine athletes. I also got to learn about a very interesting party game called Cards Against Humanity. While not necessarily business-school appropriate, it was great for getting us all laughing at the horrible and hilarious answers.

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Had I not come to Fisher College of Business, I never would have had these experiences.  I’m thankful for meeting these great people who have welcomed me into their lives and homes.  These friends have made the exams and assignments not just easier, but also more enjoyable.  They have made the time between assignments more than I could have asked for.