An Evening of Folly: Fall Auction 2017

One of my favorite memories from last fall and my first semester as an MHRM student was the Fisher Follies Fall Auction. It was an opportunity to get fancy, socialize with classmates, spend time with professors outside of Gerlach Hall, and raise money for a cause I deeply care about.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Fisher Follies—a graduate student organization with a mission to raise money in support of Fisher graduate students experiencing unexpected financial hardship. Well, this year, I had an opportunity to be on the steering committee, and I’m still riding high from our first official event of the season this past Friday.

The event kicked off with a photo op on the “FCOB Red Carpet.” CELEB STATUS.

A few dapper first-year MHRMs and their dates working the camera.

Guests were then whisked into the Blackwell Inn Ballroom to bid on silent auction items containing a few serious and many, many silly items. For a few examples of Fisher students leveraging their many talents and connections for a righteous cause, check out of my favorite items and their descriptions below:

ITEM

The Most Amazing Portrait You Will Ever Have – Donated by 2nd-Year MHRMs Chris Schoo and Billy Dunn

DESCRIPTION (written by the sellers)

“WARNING: This is an essay, because Grad School. Billy and Chris, the most dynamic duo of the MHRM program, will combine their skillsets to offer you one of the most amazing opportunities of your lifetime: a portrait with your favorite pet. Yes, you will have to choose favorites, and no, it will not be a popular decision in a multi-pet household. With over 20 years of combined experience in design and higher education (and three months of practical HR), Billy and Chris will help you produce the ultimate portrait. You pick your pet, outfit and location and we’ll bring the gear, talent and charisma (some might even say it radiates).

NON-DISCRETIONARY NOTES (mostly): *You do not need a pet to bid. We are happy to take an awesome portrait of just you with our even more awesome dogs, Kobe (a French Bulldog) and Bear (a cute something-or-other). Also, you can choose to just remove yourself completely and we’ll provide a portrait of Bear and a portrait of Kobe – which your family, potential employers and Bumble prospects will like way more than a picture of you. *If you want a picture with your cat (for some reason Fisher admits a TON of crazy cat peeps), we recommend a low dose of Benadryl to keep the kitty cat peace. Trust us, we are NOT (not?) experts. *If you bring more than 2 cats (or dogs) into this mix, we reserve the right to choose which one will be the newest member of the alley cat gang. (Dogs will be forced to join a cat gang. Super embarrassing for all involved.) *Most of all, we WILL have fun. I mean, Billy and Chris will. But, hopefully you and your pet will, too!”

ITEM

Beginner Personal Finance Lesson – Donated by 1st-Year MHRM Alex Broshious

DESCRIPTION

“Have you lost control of your financial life? Do you have no idea what a 401K is? Did you put all your money in Bitcoin and hope for the best? Do you have so many student loans that they loom over you like the sky monster in Stranger Things 2? Well, never fear (well, unless you’re afraid of demogorgon), I am able to help you work on and prepare your personal finances for the years ahead. I can also bring my dog along if you’d like.”

ITEM

Columbus Zoo Behind-the-Scenes VIP Experience – Donated by 2nd -Year MBA Dan Lamone

DESCRIPTION

“Behind the scenes tour of the zoo: meeting cute baby animals, speaking with nutritionists to see how the zoo animals are cared for, talking with keepers & personnel to see how the zoo operates day to day, etc. and zoo passes for the day.”

ITEM

One Can of Mystery – Donated by 2nd-Year MBA Trent Smith

DESCRIPTION

“One unlabeled metal can – what magic does it contain? It could be your favorite soup or it could be a soup you’ve never had before waiting to be discovered. It could be full of precious metals or maybe just air. What if it contains the ingredients essential for your favorite Midwest casserole? What if the contents are actually not edible but instead they are valuable beyond belief? What if buying this one can could spark a future deep inside of you that you never knew you had? Beauty is in the eye on the beholder. This one mysterious can will go to the highest bidder with the most curiosity.”

Following the silent auction was a live auction facilitated by the one and only Joe Boreman (2nd-Year MBA). Truly a sight to see–I don’t think he took a breath for over 1.5 hours of live auction magic.

Shout-out to the auctioneer himself. (And SPECIAL shoutout to Fisher Follies’ secret weapon, Kristen Stubbs)

While we’re making shoutouts, our fearless leader, President of Fisher Follies Auggie Heschmeyer (2nd-Year MBA), is the mad scientist behind the organization. Coming from a film production background and just generally having a heart of gold, I couldn’t imagine a better person for the job.

What is he doing with his hands?

And last, but not least, our fifth team member Tyler Maddox: unfortunately, Tyler wasn’t able to be with us for the event because he also coaches a high school football team (yes, he has a heart of gold, as well). Here’s a picture of Tyler in his own high school football uniform:

Never before seen: rare capture of Tyler’s senior photo.

Overall, the event was a a smashing success (British accent), raising nearly $16,000 dollars for the Fisher Follies Fund. Each year, the Auction gives us a chance to come together as a Fisher community with our friends and family, and show our support for one another and future Fisher students. And there ain’t nothing better than that.

Hopping around Columbus

I love to be involved. By the end of my undergraduate career at Cornell University, I was an active member of five different student organizations. So, when choosing an MBA program, I had to be sure that there were ample opportunities for involvement. When I arrived at Fisher, I quickly realized that there are more student organizations than I could ever hope to join… and that’s a good thing! I’m currently a first-year leader for Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) and the Association for Marketing Professionals (AMP), as well as a member of the Fisher Sports Business Association. I also joined the Ohio State Hunt Seat Equestrian Team, a club sports team. Am I really busy? Definitely, but I love every minute of it!

My AMP membership has been particularly rewarding. It’s incredibly valuable to me as a marketing student, as the second-year leadership team has gone out of its way to help everyone looking for marketing internships (myself included), from recommending companies to resume reviews and internship workshops. The club also organizes annual visits to companies in Columbus and nearby Chicago called a “Marketing Hop.” I was fortunate to participate in the Columbus Marketing Hop over fall break, and it got me very excited for what’s to come in Chicago in December. We visited three companies – The Oneida Group, Homage and Alliance Data – with a lunch stop at Easton and a happy hour at Land-Grant. Here’s a rundown of our action-packed day:

The Oneida Group

As a young, single student who has yet to “settle down” and with a limited budget, my current sets of dishes consist of a random mix of boring white plates, some very basic silverware, and a collection of glasses from my parents’ attic in New York. My cooking skills are less than stellar, and my tiny kitchen barely has enough storage space for both me and my roommate. Needless to say, cutlery and cookware aren’t things I spend much time with. But as soon as I walked through the door of The Oneida Group’s new office in downtown Columbus, I felt inspired to become the next Martha Stewart. CMO Jeff Jarrett and Director of Retail Marketing & Innovation Sean Gibson gave us a sneak peek at Oneida’s upcoming marketing campaigns, and we all took home an Anchor Hocking LifeProof water bottle.

Homage

Next stop was Homage, a clothing company that specializes in retro t-shirts. It also makes a lot of clothing for sports fans and being a Columbus-based company, that includes apparel for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, and of course, the Ohio State Buckeyes. We took a tour of the company’s warehouse and office space – complete with a wall of the employee’s favorite t-shirts – and talked to the marketing staff about their strategies. On our lunch break in Easton, we were able to check out one of Homage’s stores and get some swag.

Alliance Data

Our final, official stop of the day was Alliance Data, specifically the card services division. Alliance Data is responsible for numerous loyalty programs and collects data to help a wide variety of companies in their marketing campaigns. We were first brought into the Innovation Lab where we got a first hand look at some prototypes Alliance Data was testing for clients. While I am unable to disclose exactly what we saw, I can say it was almost like getting a glimpse into the future. We wrapped up our visit with a presentation from Tim Sweeney, Sr. Director of Marketing Analytics, on what Alliance is working on as well as a panel and Q&A with Fisher alumni. While our Data Analysis class is not exactly my strong suit this semester, I found myself fascinated by everything Alliance is able to accomplish through data and walked out feeling like we, as future marketers, truly have the power to affect change.

Land-Grant

Sad at the thought of the hop coming to a close, I made my way to Land-Grant along with some fellow AMP members for an optional happy hour and tour of the facilities. While I’m not normally a beer drinker, I’ve started to explore the craft brewery scene in Columbus thanks to the Columbus Ale Trail. Creative Director Walt Keys treated us to some of the most delicious beer I have ever had (still kicking myself for forgetting what it was called) and showed us the brewing facilities that are conveniently attached to its taproom in Franklinton. We also learned about Land-Grant’s start through a successful Kickstarter Campaign and subsequent partnerships with the Columbus Crew and the Columbus Bluejackets. It was amazing to hear how supportive the Columbus community was of this growing business and to see how a grassroots marketing campaign turned into a thriving craft brewery whose beers I recently spotted on the shelves at Kroger.

The Columbus Marketing Hop was a fantastic kickoff to what was, for me, an action-packed fall break. I’m so grateful to be part of an organization that can offer me hands-on opportunities to explore my chosen career path. I’ll be counting the days until the Chicago Marketing Hop in December!

SMF Class Dinner

Just a few weeks ago, we had our first SMF class dinner.  The SMF Council, one of the student organizations available to SMF students, organized a dinner for our whole class at a local restaurant, Hong Kong House.  The Council chose this location because there are many Chinese students in the program and Hong Kong House serves authentic Chinese food (apparently orange chicken from Panda Express doesn’t count).

Fellow SMF students at dinner

More than 40 students showed up for dinner, and I had a great time getting to chat with some classmates outside of Gerlach Hall.  I realized during dinner that I had been failing to take advantage of a great learning opportunity; being exposed to such a culturally diverse group of people brought up some fascinating conversations and exposed me to some new perspectives.  We ordered what seemed like endless plates of food to try, and I can honestly say that I liked every single dish that I tried… 

Look at all of the different dishes that we tried!

… although I found out part of the way through our meal that Cathy, one of my classmates, had asked to make the food much less spicy than it really should be.  She had noticed me chugging water during the first dish and kindly asked them to cool it down for my wimpy taste buds.

All in all, it was a really fun night and I’m really looking forward to our next class dinner!

Fall Break Adventures

MAcc students happily celebrated OSU’s fall break (which was also the end of the first session) in various ways. Break took place from Thursday to Sunday. Some classmates traverse the country, but a few fellow MAcc students and I stayed in Columbus during the break and enjoyed activities both on-campus and off. We were able to try new foods and explore the area. Then, we worked the calories off at the Recreational and Physical Activity Center (RPAC). This gym has everything you could imagine and just outside the gym, there are sand volleyball courts and soccer fields. It’s even better with nice, crisp fall weather.

Two classmates and I traveled to Cedar Point. Cedar Point fans describe it as the roller coaster capital of the world. What makes the park even neater is that much of it is surrounded by water from Lake Erie. At the top of many roller coasters, if you look down or out into the horizon, you will just see continuous water. During October, Cedar Point also has many Halloween decorations and haunted houses that you can visit in addition to the roller coasters. It’s approximately a two-hour drive from Ohio State University to Cedar Point, but during the drive you’re able to see some beauty of Ohio terrain. Overall, it was a great fall break that allowed me to relax and also get some adrenaline pumping for the next session.

Pictured: Rachel, Mike and Liam All MAcc students

Making New Friends in the U.S.

Hello, people!

Where did the first two months of the school year go?! Fall break is over and the second quarter of fall semester is just starting. I thought that it would be a good time to talk to you about the advantages of being an international student at OSU!

I have to admit that when I first arrived at Ohio State, I was not sure that this year would be a year full of new encounters outside of Fisher. I knew that the program was going to be very demanding in terms of time and effort, and I remember questioning myself about how my life outside the classroom would look.

After spending more than four years in the U.S., I can definitely say that the best part of having this international student status is the friendship that you create with people coming from all around the world. Admittedly, grad school is hard and it should be your priority. But you also have to keep in mind that it only lasts for one or two years. Time flies and I honestly would see my experience at such a big and diverse university as a failure if I didn’t meet new people.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am from Belgium and my native language is French. I was told that French-speaking people represent a tiny portion of the student body at OSU, but that person was wrong to some extent. I was lucky to meet a student coming from Montreal about a month ago. The good part about speaking an additional language is that whenever you meet people speaking your native language in a different country, that common factor brings you closer to that individual and it is much easier to build a friendship out of it.

I look forward to sharing more stories soon about my new social life in the U.S.!

Group Projects (and Pushing Yourself) in the Fisher SMF Program

Since the first quarter has come and gone, I want to share one of my “finals week” experiences– and show you how great my classmates in Fisher are. Students here all care about the quality of our work. We are here for a reason and we expect a lot from ourselves. During finals week, there was a take-home case project assigned in one of our classes. My group decided to get together at my apartment and dedicate an evening towards the completion of this assignment.

Projects like this can be stressful due to the large impact on your overall grade, so I wanted to put forth good effort to show my progress thus far. And that’s how everyone is. At Fisher, all students put forth exceptional work. We feed off of each other and our hard work pushes us to continually improve each week. This makes working in groups a much more pleasant experience than at the undergraduate level. Each member brings something to the project. To be able to use everyone’s strengths to improve the overall outcome of the project is something that has real-world applications. Having teammates use their strengths to “fill in the gaps” of the team really improves knowledge obtained from the classrooms.

Our specific project was to analyze a company’s situation that has arisen from economic pressures. The goal was to look over financial reports to make a valuation of the company and provide recommendations for senior management. Having such great classmates makes tasks like these more enjoyable than solo projects. You learn a lot from others… and hopefully, I taught some lessons along the way to my teammates!


Fall Break Reflection

Fall Break marks the halfway point of the first semester, and fall is definitely in the air in Columbus.  I went home to Oklahoma for the break to find 90-degree temperatures and a sunburn waiting for me, but when I stepped off the plane after returning to Columbus I needed to fish my coat out of my backpack to keep from shivering.  The stark change in temperature shocked me into realizing just how much time has gone by since I arrived here in August.  We learned the importance of self-reflection in our leadership class and I will likely use various markers and milestones in the program as opportunities to look back on my coursework– which is why I am here after all.

Professor Pinteris, the SMF program director, always refers to the program as a transformation and it really is true.  It’s easy to see the changes in my classmates from our first day of pre-term until now.  The most noticeable thing for me is how much more comfortable all of my classmates have gotten with speaking the “language” of finance.  I think that this is one of the really big benefits of using the case method in classes.  I personally have benefitted from this method a lot because I actually came into the program after going through an entire undergraduate program speaking rarely in very select courses.  Getting pushed out of one’s comfort zone is never easy, but participating in case discussions (which initially took a lot of willpower to do) became second nature for me by the end of the first round of classes.

Since most of the classes in the SMF Program are offered on a quarterly basis rather than a semester basis, I took finals in all but one of my classes right before fall break.  My return from break brings a new wave of classes, and I am very excited as I will begin coursework in our investments and derivatives classes.  Also, my team will begin work on the core capstone project which allows us to put much of what we learned in the first quarter to work in a relatively unstructured class.  I’m looking forward to the exciting new classwork ahead of me and already reaping the rewards from all that I learned in my previous classes!

Fisher Follies = GOAT (Greatest Organization of All Time)

Confession: I didn’t join any clubs in undergrad.

I recall, as a bright-eyed high school senior on my OSU campus tour, two distinct things about my tour guide:

  1. His advice to “get involved in extracurricular activities!”
  2. His incredible skill at walking backward.

Hearing his advice, I made a commitment to do something productive with all this free time I was sure to have as a college freshman. And then it never happened. Partly because I didn’t know what organizations existed, and partly because my priorities were work, studying, and self-care (a.k.a. watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns in bed).

How does anyone find the time???

This is something I regret from the five years I spent in undergrad—not serving the Ohio State community in some larger way.

Fortunately, grad school gave me a second chance to fulfill this dream. I have many passions—this is typically the problem—and so I sometimes struggle with where to channel all this energy. And admittedly, the result of this is often indecisiveness. But I was determined to find an organization that gave me a sense of purpose and of which I genuinely enjoy being a part.

Well, call it a happy accident or call it destiny: I ended up in Fisher Follies with the goofiest group of dudes around.

At its core, Fisher Follies is a charitable student organization. The mission of the organization is ultimately to support Fisher graduate students in unexpected times of financial crisis. Through a variety of different events, Fisher Follies raises money for the Fisher Follies Fund. When Fisher students are in need (of a plane ticket home to visit a sick relative, help making a car repair payment, an unexpected medical bill– as a few examples), they can apply for funds to help defer some or all of the cost.

 

Well, where does the money come from?

– you ask

 

I guess we clean up pretty nice.

Every fall, Fisher Follies hosts an auction where Fisher graduate students and faculty get all gussied up and head over to the Blackwell Hotel to bid on some silly and some serious items. Each year there are some hot-ticket items like MBA Program Director Shashi Matta’s “California Dreamin’” networking trip to Silicon Valley and some smaller (but dare I say priceless?) items that students donate like shotgun-shooting lessons, a double date with Fisher’s most popular couple, the opportunity to “pie” a Michigan fan in the face, or the power to control one unnamed Fisher student’s Tinder account for an entire day. It’s an event where Fisher faculty, staff, and students donate and bid on each other’s items in the name of raising money to support the Fisher community.

Fisher Follies resident auctioneer Joe Boreman driving up bids and pointing dramatically into the crowd.
Silent Auction bidding wars are not for the faint of heart.

Other events throughout the year include the Fisher Variety Show in the spring, where Fisher students dream up skits and videos to poke fun at each other and business school. My personal favorites include The Art of the Handraise (linked below) and an artful Beatles parody Shashi Matta’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Fisher Follies is also putting on a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater this year (OoooOOOoohhh)– more to come on that later.

Fisher College of Business has a variety of student groups, clubs, and organizations to join to suit nearly every passion. They also give us the opportunity to stretch our leadership muscles by serving on the committees of these organizations throughout our time here. I feel personally connected to the mission of Fisher Follies and love that it pairs such a meaningful cause with the lightness of fun and funny events to keep spirits high here on campus. It reminds us that in spite of the stress of school, exams, job searching, and other commitments, we’re all here to support each other, and that’s what matters most.

First Quarter Comes to a Close

The first seven weeks have flown by in the MAcc program, and finals are now upon us! For those who don’t know the structure of the MAcc program curriculum, this blog will hopefully help you understand it more. The program is broken up into four seven-week quarters (two quarters per semester). During the first two quarters, you will take your 10 credit-hour core classes that are required. However, the remaining 21 credits required to graduate are all electives (five credit hours must be accounting electives and three credit hours must be non-accounting). This structure gives you, the student, the ability to take classes that interest you! You have access to almost any course you can imagine.

When I first realized four quarters meant four sets of finals, I may have freaked out a little bit, but now that I have gone through the process of taking finals, I can assure you there is no need to stress. One benefit of having finals after only seven weeks of class is that all of the material is still very fresh and new in your memory. The professors prepare you and really want to see you succeed in the program. Throughout the year, if you struggle or have any questions, the professors are always available in their offices to help you. I’m happy so say I’ve completed 25% of the MAcc program at this point!

A Balancing Act

This week will mark the end of first-quarter classes. It is hard to believe that I’m already 25% done with the MAcc program. With only three exams standing between me and a long-awaited trip home, I admit that I am exhausted. I can’t wait to see my family and my pets.

My favorite stress-reliever, Daisy. I can’t believe I live six hours away from her!

Graduate school is no joke. Between classes and job-hunting, it’s been the craziest seven weeks of my life. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to stay sane at times. So, for your enjoyment, here are my top five strategies for surviving the stress of graduate school:

  1. Yoga and Meditation – There are tons of opportunities around Columbus to do yoga. The RPAC offers free classes to students, and there are studios all over the city. I’ve even seen some in the metro parks. I personally like to pull up a 10-minute yoga video in my apartment when I get too deep into a finance case and need to take a breath. It helps me recharge, and I’m much more productive after the short break.
  2. Exercise – While I haven’t been exercising as much as I should, it is a favorite stress reducer among my class. People play basketball, go to spin class, and are even starting intramural teams. An hour spent exercising is much better than an hour spent stressing. Let’s face it: most of us would probably use that time to watch TV anyway, so it’s not like we’re losing valuable study time. If you don’t feel like you have time to walk to the RPAC, there is a smaller gym near Fisher called NorthRec.
  3. Cooking – One of my favorite stress-reducing activities is cooking. Every Sunday, I cook several large dishes to eat throughout the week. Just last week I tried a new turkey and sweet potato skillet recipe. (My fire alarm and I got to have some bonding time when I didn’t keep a close enough eye on the sweet potatoes.) The graduate student lounge has a fridge and several microwaves, so it’s easy to save some money and pack my lunch. Knowing I have lunch and dinner made for the week and won’t have to go through a drive-thru helps me feel more in control. The one week I forgot to meal prep, I got so sick of fast food– which only added to my stress.
  4. Treat Yourself – Like most college students, I am on a limited budget. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself occasionally. When I was grocery shopping this weekend, I bought the prettiest (cheap) bouquet of sunflowers. Now, when I sit in my living room studying for exams, I can look up and see my favorite flowers. For some people, treating yourself can mean taking a day off from studying. I have an early Sunday morning hike planned in a few weeks to do just that. For others, it might be buying a pint of ice cream. Just keep in mind, the point here is to reduce stress. Overspending will not aid in that endeavor.

    Sunflowers: $3.99
    Smiling every time I see them: Priceless
  5. Turn off the Screens – Finally, I’ve found that turning off my TV, closing my computer, and leaving my phone in another room helps tremendously. I try to turn off all of my screens a few times a week and pick up whatever book I’m reading for pleasure. This helps me take a step back from whatever is stressful (emails, homework, etc) and exist in my own space for an hour.

The MAcc program goes by quickly. There’s always something you need to be working on, and it’s easy to forget that you need to come out on the other side with your sanity intact. In order to manage my stress this semester, I’ve had to reframe that time as a necessary part of my schedule. Graduate school is meant to help you grow as a professional AND an individual. All of the case studies don’t mean anything if you’re having a nervous breakdown every week. Especially if you’re going into public accounting with the dreaded busy seasons, the stress management techniques you develop now will follow you into your career. You might as well figure out what works for you now when the stakes are relatively low.