A Fellow MAcc Student Shares Her Experiences– and Advice

The application process is over, and now, you’re wondering if Fisher College of Business is the right choice for you for a MAcc program. I interviewed a fellow co-worker and MAcc classmate Jiajun (Jasmine) Wei to gain valuable insights into her background and why she decided to come to Fisher.

  1. Where are you from?
    1. I originally came from Harbin, China.
  2. Where did you earn your undergraduate degree?
    1. Augustana College, Illinois. It’s a small liberal arts college located in Rock Island, Illinois.
  3. What attracted you to Ohio State and the Fisher College of Business?
    1. Well, the MAcc program at Fisher College of Business has a great reputation and an outstanding academic ranking. The curriculum is designed with 75+% electives which allow the students to customize the class schedule and explore the areas that interest them the most. Unlike some other programs, the MAcc program does not ask students to declare the specific focus at the beginning of the year. Therefore, the students have a lot of time to try different classes and find out what they are actually interested in.  In addition, since OSU is such a big university, there are a lot of resources on campus to help students succeed. For example, the Office of Career Management has a dedicated career counselor for MAcc students.
  4. What’s your favorite class in the MAcc program?
    1. I actually have two favorite classes. One of them is a core class that’s about managerial accounting and taught by Professor Arya. He is very knowledgeable and I feel like he is not only teaching the material, but also teaching us a way of thinking. His class is very interactive.
    2. Another class that I like a lot is the Fraud and Asset Misappropriation class taught by Douglas Huffner. He is also working in the Risk Management Department. His class well prepares students to face  potentially controversial situations in the workforce. The discussions are very meaningful and insightful.
  5. What’s your favorite place to be on campus?
    1. RPAC and 18th Avenue library (I like the sauna room in RPAC the best!)
  6. Any recommendation for future students?
    1. Everyone, including your classmates, is a resource for you.
    2. Make sure to utilize all the resources.
    3. Make connections with recruiters and professors.

I would like to thank Jasmine (pictured below) for volunteering her time to be interviewed. It’s been a great year to meet new people and gain friendships through class.  I can ensure all future students that the decision to join the MAcc program at Fisher is a great one!

Jiajun (Jasmine) Wei

 

A Second Chance

During my undergraduate program, I was both an accounting major and a member of a non-business honors program. As such, this made my academic life very broad. Even though I was in business courses, I also got the opportunity to take philosophy courses, women’s studies, and a plethora of others. While I did enjoy this, I felt like I was missing out on a lot of business courses. It’s hard to take business electives when you have so many humanities courses. Coming to the MAcc program was like getting a second chance to explore business courses. Specifically, some of my favorites like Financial Modeling, Financial Statement Analysis, and Fraud. Let me share my thoughts on each!

  • I’m not even sure if my undergraduate school offered a financial modeling course. This course was great because it followed Finance 1 and 2 in the first semester and really reinforced the concepts for me. We got to work pretty heavily in Excel and build valuation models based on cases. The professor had just come from almost a decade in investing, so he was able to focus the course on real-world applications.
  • Financial Statement Analysis is not an easy class. If you’ve never even heard of financial statement analysis as a concept, it’s even harder. However, I didn’t let that stop me from registering. This class was really cool because we got to dig into– surprise– financial statements! As a future auditor, I was under the impression that audited financial statements should not be changed around. Imagine my surprise when we started reformulating the financial statements and coming up with different numbers to answer different purposes. Now I have an even deeper understanding of what goes into the financial statements and how stakeholders use them.
  • Out of all the classes here that I was excited about, Fraud was at the top of my list. We got to learn about the different types of fraud, how people get away with them, and how to test for them. The professor always had great stories to illustrate his points and brought in guest speakers to help out. He did such a good job of teaching us how to commit fraud that the second half of the course – ethics – is basically a follow-up of why you shouldn’t commit fraud!

My advice to incoming MAcc students, especially if they are not from OSU, would be to use their electives to take courses they’ve never been exposed to before. A class may seem intimidating or hard, but you only have one year in the MAcc program. If you’re anything like me, this may be your last chance to take these interesting electives before you become a professional. Use your electives; don’t waste them.

Global Business Expedition (GBE) – Spring Break 2018

Everyone loves Spring Break– the perfect week to enjoy right before craziness sets in with projects, exams, and papers due before the academic year ends. Each student’s experience is different. Some students in the MBA program embark on a Global Business Expedition (GBE). GBEs are short-term, high-intensity global programs where students travel on a private tour to visit globally successful, multi-national companies, as well as the must-see historical sites of the region. This year, Singapore and Israel were on the list. I decided to interview two of my classmates, Andrew Page, and Carl Shapiro, who visited Singapore, and Israel, respectively. Continue reading to learn more about their journey and enjoy the beautiful sights!

Andrew Page
First-year Full-Time MBA student with a focus on marketing

  • Why did you choose Singapore for your GBE?

AP: I chose to go to Singapore for several reasons. First, I have never been to Asia and I felt like I would be able to get a great experience with many different cultures in a short amount of time. Secondly, this GBE was focused on experiences with doing business throughout Asia and we had opportunities to meet with companies that had operations in Singapore and throughout Asia.

  • Who else was on this trip with you?

AP: There were 25 other students and two faculty members.

  • What were some memorable experiences that you would like to share?

AP: First: the food! We tried all the great food that Singapore has to offer and although it may seem weird that this is such a memorable experience, it is such a unique part of the culture throughout all of Singapore. Everyone has food recommendations for you whether you ask for them or not.

Another memorable experience was visiting the different culturally-specific areas, for example: Little India, Chinatown, and Arab Street. It felt like we were walking into a different country when we went into these areas, but at the same time the cultures were so integrated with each other. There were Chinese jewelers selling to Indian customers in Little India and an Indian clothing shop owner selling Islamic clothing on Arab Street. It was just so unique to see these cultures intertwine.

Finally, I was able to interact with a lot of people with whom I have not had time to spend before. Out of our group, the majority were in the Working Professionals MBA program, so I was able to speak with them about their experiences and make some great network connections. I was also able to spend a lot of time with our faculty member and get to know him outside of the classroom setting.

  • Was there anything that you did not expect or would have done differently?

AP: I did not expect the opportunities that were available to us as students in that part of the world. There were many instances where we were able to make connections for future opportunities with the companies we were meeting.

  • Would you recommend others to join the GBE next year? 

AP: I would recommend GBE to every student who can do it, and I might try to do it again next year!

Carl Shapiro

First-year Full-Time MBA student with a focus on marketing and brand management

  • Why did you choose Israel for your GBE?

CS: The focus for my career is marketing and brand management which has a strong relationship with the culture in which the brand is doing business. Israel is unique in that the domestic market is too small to support a major company on its own, so as a means for survival, Israeli firms have to export and market themselves in foreign markets. To be on the ground and start to understand the strategies that these firms develop is incredibly powerful.

I also have a personal relationship with Israel, having family there. I am personally invested in the success of the country. I think the unique aspects of Israel– bringing the Hebrew language back to life, establishing the first independent Jewish state in 2000 years, and transforming a desolate environment into fertile land– show what grit and hard work can accomplish.

  • How many students/faculty were on this trip?

CS:  I went to Israel with Oded Shenkar (faculty) and there were nine students on the trip.

  • Any memorable experiences that you would like to share?

CS: Some of my most memorable moments were interacting with Israelis outside of the corporate environment to develop a deeper understanding of their culture. By spending my free time out in Tel Aviv on the beach, or in the markets of Jerusalem, I could really get a feeling of where the entrepreneurship begins and what makes the Israeli condition so relevant to the success of disrupting technology. In the corporate environment, we had the opportunity to talk to the leaders of the businesses we visited, the decision-makers at the highest levels. Because Israel’s culture is so casual, we were encouraged to ask probing questions and get very honest and valuable answers that in the United States might not be possible.

 

  • Was there anything that you did not expect or would have done differently?

CS: I would have liked to have more time for one-on-one networking with some folks from the different companies. Many of the companies we visited introduced us to several high-level managers, but we didn’t have the opportunity to hear them all speak, and it would have been helpful to break out into smaller groups or have unstructured time when we could focus more on the things that interest us with someone from the company who also shares that interest.

  • Would you recommend others to join the GBE next year? 

CS: I absolutely recommend the trip. The reality of the closeness of the Israeli economy with the American economy means that if you work in tech, you will encounter an Israeli firm. It can be an incredible asset to understand the differences and similarities of the two cultures to get the most out of the relationship.

 

Red Carpet Reflections

Little did I expect that Red Carpet this year would be just as an amazing experience as it was last year! This time, from the perspective of a current student and point person to welcome in part of the admitted class, I realized how much fun it is to share about Columbus and the program experience so far. Also, through other current students sharing their stories, I was reminded of many opportunities to experience this amazing city!

During the welcome reception at the Ohio Stadium, we learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes to game day and were reinvigorated with excitement for next season! Student ticket info will be coming this summer, and we can’t wait to buy the Big 10 package again. One thing to look forward to for all home games are the great Fisher tailgates at Fisher Commons. Not only an apartment complex to look into, Fisher Commons is in a central location to bring many current students together.

I also helped coordinate the significant others/partners/spouses (SOPS) breakfast on Saturday morning at Red Carpet, and I learned some great tips for managing time between work/school/home! For example, many current SOPS put together shared calendars for each other to find times to spend together. My husband and I try to eat dinner together almost every evening and spend at least one day of the weekend away from work and study. On the next nice weekend day, we plan to check out the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, while doing some background research for one of the consulting projects I am working on for the Professional Development core class.

Finally, Red Carpet weekend came to a close with our women’s breakfast on Sunday morning. We have a strong group of women coming into the program, and I cannot wait to see how Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) and our Forte Foundation connections grow into next year. I had a great time connecting with classmates at the Forte conference last summer (see photo below) and hope to see many again this summer! Also, I hope to see a few admitted students at our first Fisher Women’s Conference on April 6th!

Overall, it was an amazing weekend, and I am looking forward to our incoming class next year!

Interview with SMF Student Zenan (Nanson) Wang

I thought that for this blog post, I would share a different perspective than the one I’ve been sharing all year long! Meet fellow SMF student Zenan (Nanson) Wang.  Nanson gave a lot of thoughtful answers to my questions and specifically talked about his experience as a Chinese student in the SMF program.  Enjoy!

Q:         Where are you from and what was your background before coming to Fisher?

A:         I am from Suzhou, China, and I received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Soochow University.  I also worked a six-month internship at a commercial bank in China.  In my internship, I worked in fields ranging from marketing to risk management.

Q:         Why did you choose the SMF Program?

A:         I chose the SMF program for the good reputation and rankings of Fisher, four different tracks that enabled me to choose my preference, the enthusiasm of the recruiting personnel, and finally, the scholarship offered by the program.

Q:         What have been some of the biggest adjustments for life in the U.S. and specifically, Columbus?

A:         I am the kind of person who can adjust to a new environment quite easily. However, I have to say it is not easy to live in an all-English environment since my English, especially my listening, is not quite good enough to understand everything. Thus, I sometimes felt lost when others talked to me, especially during the early months in the U.S.  I don’t want to be rude by not responding, but I really don’t know how to properly respond. Plus, in the U.S., it is very important to express my ideas, thoughts, and feelings. So, it can be tough when I find I can express those in Chinese but not in English– and my English skill becomes a limitation.

Q:         What have been your favorite and least favorite things about your time in the program?

A:         Favorite: When I get inspired from other people, including professors, classmates, and teammates. Least favorite: when I have to deal with many things due at the same time– and for some of these things, I have to wait until others complete their parts even though I have finished mine quite in advance.

Q:         What has been your favorite course and who has been your favorite professor?

A:         Favorite course: Derivatives. Both Derivatives 1 & 2. It is pretty exciting for me to learn something technical. Favorite professors – Professor Pirim because his data analysis class was really fun to me. I also like Professor Oglevee a lot, since I always get inspired from him and I learned the great importance of dealing with uncertainty from him.

Q:         Did you choose an area of specialization?  If so, what area and why?

A:         Yes, I picked half investment management and half risk management. First of all, I am very interested in investing, and I have tried investing in China during my undergraduate studies. Thus, I wish to learn more about this area. Plus, the financial market changes every second, so it is always exciting to face different challenges for every moment. Then, for risk management: since the financial crisis, risk management has always been a hot topic and it seems everyone has known the significance of it. Thus, it is very important to learn at least some of this area. Also, I feel this field is quite exciting. It is a field that requires one to know the financial markets, the law and regulation, the operation in many markets, and people. It can be really interesting to step into this integrated field.

Q:         How has your career search been going? Also, what are your post-graduation plans?

A:         Not quite good so far I have to say. Though some connections have been built, I have not secured a job yet. From what I have experienced, I have to say it is not easy for us international students to gain employment in the U.S. However, I am still trying and I believe I will not regret if I tried my best. Thus, I still plan to work in the U.S. for 3-5 years, and then go back to China, probably Shanghai or Suzhou.

Q:         Could you talk about your experience as part of the SMF Council?

A:         I am in charge of the social events in SMF council. From my experience, it can be quite difficult when all things are accidentally against you. When I reserve for a large group, the answer from the restaurant is almost always negative. When I make an announcement about a new event, sometimes the participation rate is not as good as I imagine. These are things I can’t control. So, I have learned to always try my best to do the things I can control, but be comfortable when I am not able to control something.

Q:         Are you glad that you are a member of the council and would you recommend it to other students?

A:         I have to say: yes. Though some time has been spent on the council work and meetings, it is always worth it when I can see how others handle their work in a different way. It is good to get inspired from others’ words and practice.

Q:         What advice would you give to all future students, and also more specifically to future Chinese students?

A:         Always get ready for the challenge, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’d like to also share especially for future Chinese students: after I came to the U.S., it was my very first time to actively participate in class. During my undergraduate studies, with all my Chinese classmates, I didn’t have to raise my hand since all other classmates didn’t do so. However, in the U.S., you have to show yourself in a proper way, and you will benefit a lot from this. In the beginning, you may feel uncomfortable with doing this, but as Professor Oglevee has said, it is important to get used to it, and become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

 

Grad School Hacks

As a GA Ambassador for the Master of Human Resource Management program, one of the questions I always ask prospective students when I connect with them over the phone or in person is,

“what is your biggest worry about grad school?”

Of course, the choice to return to school for graduate study is not insignificant. For some, the decision means putting off full-time work for another year or two as you transition directly from undergrad to grad school. For others, it means leaving a job to return to academia after many years away. And for many, it means moving your life from home to an unfamiliar city to pursue a degree you hope will position you better for your career aspirations. Every person’s circumstances are different, but most experience the full gamut of worry, excitement, and anxiety as they begin to prepare for this major life transition.

Over my time as an ambassador, I’ve collected and compiled a few of the most common concerns from prospective students. And, as a current student who went through this same process just a year and a half ago, my intention is to provide some additional perspective on these points to hopefully alleviate some anxiety. This is supposed to be exciting, after all!

5. Getting a Job: It is no secret that the reason most of us have decided to pursue grad school is because we want to position ourselves more competitively for the types of jobs we want. This is not to say that everyone has or should have it all figured out. We all have the raw materials for success in the HR field–ambition, passion, and grit–but many of us are still exploring where our specific interests land. Organizational Development? Performance Management? Training & Development? The beauty of the MHRM program is that is exposes us to all of these areas so that we can begin to dial in where we may want to end up in our careers.

Life-Hack

Jazz up your Linked-in profile and practice using the platform. You’d be surprised how helpful it can be with forging connections along the way as you meet people throughout your time in the program. The Fisher Office of Career Management is integral to this piece of the process. Use their resources too! (Oh, and don’t worry, Fisher provides professional head shots at the career fair Late August!)

4. Workload: Many prospective students I talk with express worry about being able to “keep up” in class. I will say that the time spent outside of class is similar to undergrad, but the nature of class work in grad school is different than what many will have experienced. There is more reading outside of class (textbooks, Harvard Business Review cases) and classes are discussion-based. Without homework assignments, there are few “checkpoints” along the way, and professors expect you to have read before class. In other words, it requires discipline.

Life-Hack

Look at the readings due for the following week on Friday and plan out when you’re going to accomplish each. Writing down my assignments allows me to stop thinking about them incessantly.

3. Night Classes: To be honest, this was a huge concern of mine. Something I love to do is see live music, and so I like to keep my evenings free. I was afraid I would miss out on opportunities to do what I love. I found out quickly though that three evenings a week is very manageable, and I really haven’t missed out on anything. What’s more–I love having my days free to sleep in a bit, work out when I want, and get outside.

Life-Hack

It’s all about reframing. I assumed that because I had been living according a certain schedule that I would be unhappy otherwise. I didn’t consider that I might actually enjoy having my days free more. One of my classmates Vinessa wisely said that this is our last chance to enjoy our daylight hours before entering the full-time workforce, and I’ve come to appreciate that.

2. Making Friends: MHRMs are a friendly folk. Even after the first day of orientation I felt connected to my classmates, and some of my closest friends I’ve met through the program. You’ll find that because a lot of MHRMs are transplants to Columbus, everyone is looking for a community.

A couple of MHRMs at the Fisher Follies Fall Auction.

Life-Hack

Say yes. Take advantage of opportunities to be social with your classmates–and there are plenty. We tailgate together, go bowling together, see movies together, and even decompress on Thursdays after class at Varsity Club together. Position yourself in a living situation where you have easy access to activities and people you want to be around. This makes it much more convenient to say yes.

1. Housing: Although the first four are in no particular order, concerns about housing are perhaps the most common I hear about. Fortunately, we have a handy-dandy housing packet that is helpful in identifying different neighborhoods that Fisher graduate students are attracted to.

Life-Hack

2018 Columbus Housing Packet

I hope these hacks are helpful in relieving some of the nervousness and uncertainty that comes with such a significant life transition. At the end of the day, I hope excitement prevails as you embark on a journey that will pay dividends for your future career success and happiness.

Becoming a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant

Each year, the Master of Accounting Program organizes the Volunteer Income Assistant (VITA) program to help local individuals file their Federal and state income taxes. We, as volunteers, go to a site twice a week to help individuals who have made appointments.

Most of the tax preparers are either enrolled in the MAcc program or undergraduate accounting students. In order to be certified to help file taxes, we need to pass at least four different exams.

The VITA program not only helps the public to file their taxes for free but also helps our students to apply  in-class knowledge to the real world. It prepares our MAcc students to be more comfortable communicating with the clients and to improve various “soft skills” which are necessary when we start our professional job.

It is definitely rewarding to see what you prepared then get approved– and, in some cases, result in tax refunds deposited to the clients’ accounts. It was a little more difficult when clients would have tax due, meaning that they didn’t have enough tax withheld during the year and they needed to pay the IRS out of pocket. We needED to be very careful about how to deliver the message.

Besides the VITA program, the MAcc Council also organizes other community service events to do our best helping the local organizations and to take part in fun activitiesin and around Columbus.

Power to my core team!

At Fisher, incoming MBA students are assigned to a core team that will tackle projects together. As the year comes to a close, this is a huge shout-out to my amazing core team a.k.a. Team 9! Neethi, Adam, Sangyoun (Shin) and Andrew have made the core team adventure a valuable experience from the start!

Beginning with team announcements during pre-term and into our first team-building exercises, we took time to get to know each other and have fun. During pre-term, before classes began for the semester, we had the chance to compete in a mini-case competition and take on a ropes course! Not only did we win the case across the teams presenting in our room– we also won the photo contest from the ropes course (see one of the winners below)! We spent these challenges taking time to get to know each other’s backgrounds and not taking things too seriously, resulting in effective teamwork and great times!

Throughout the year, we have worked hard to keep each other in mind outside of class projects… from having birthday celebrations to venting about the internship search to sharing favorite snacks. Most importantly, we are all very lucky to have Neethi who brings delicious snacks for our group meetings and Shin who brings some of his favorite snacks from Korea (see below).

Overall, we stay motivated, but have fun while we’re working on assignments together! This semester, we’ve discovered the power of communication and working as a virtual team. With interviews ramping up, along with group projects, we have realized the power of working together remotely.

After things die down in a few weeks, we’re looking forward to a celebration together over Korean BBQ! From case analyses to marketing plans, we have found ourselves frustrated, giggling, sweating from spicy ramen snacks, and in deep concentration to meet deadlines among all of the other activities going on at school. It’s been a challenging and rewarding experience, and I wouldn’t trade my core team for another!

Semester Number “Fore”

Seeing as it is the last semester of my MBA experience, I have taken it upon myself to ensure I am squeezing very penny’s worth out of my tuition.  In this particular case, this means branching outside of Fisher to take a class that will help me develop some important life skills not covered by the MBA curriculum.  Which class, you ask? Golf I, offered through the College of Physical Activity and Educational Services (PAES).

Individual “hitting cages” for practicing full swings.

Golf class quickly became a highlight of this semester.  We meet twice a week for a 55-minute session, led by a PGA-certified golf pro, who teaches at a golf course in Columbus during the summer.  The class runs for the full 14 weeks of the semester and there are about 15 students in each section.  Classes are conveniently held at the Recreation and Physical Activities Center (RPAC), just a few short blocks from Fisher.  This facility has an indoor putting/chipping area and a series of indoor driving “cages” where we work on full strokes.  The curriculum also covers essential rules and etiquette, and all clubs and materials are provided.

I coordinated with Fisher classmates to sign up for the same class section– and that’s made golf not only informative and relaxing, but also a fun social activity.  As the snow melts, we look forward to testing our skills on Ohio State’s two golf courses: Scarlet and Gray.

Left: interior of a hitting cage; Above: putting/chipping area–difficult to tell from the photo, but it features a variety of holes and terrain to simulate both the green and fringe

 

 

 

 

 

 

My experience with golf is emblematic of a larger theme as an Ohio State Student: you can do everything here.  Speaking just within the confines of PAES electives, this means similar courses in boxing, dance, fencing, tennis, rock climbing, and much more.  The RPAC also offers free group fitness classes daily, across disciplines such as yoga, Zumba, spinning, Pilates.  Then consider 36 varsity sports to watch, free events through the Ohio Union Activities Board, and over 1,300 Ohio State student organizations doing, well…more than 1,000 different things… and needless to say, there is a limitless amount to do here.  And nearly all of it is free after you’ve paid tuition.

The Fisher MBA experience can be anything you want it to be—and this is a major strength of the program.  It is entirely possible to spend two years just here in Gerlach Hall and have a rewarding experience.  However, as a “double Buckeye” (having attended OSU as an undergrad), I like to encourage my classmates and future students to branch out and take advantage of the entire campus at our disposal.  This can be easier said than done when the rigors of the program kick in, but when you make time for such activities, it is a rewarding way to feel that you are making the most of the “student lifestyle.”

 

After Submitting the Deposit, What’s Next?

Happy late Valentine’s Day & Happy Lunar New Year!

This is the time of year when many incoming MAcc students have received their acceptance letters and paid the deposit to the MAcc program— and are now wondering what should be done next.

My suggestion is to focus first on finding housing: a good apartment and roommates, if applicable. The good news is that Columbus and surrounding cities have a lot of housing options– and many options are low cost.

After you’ve paid your deposit, you’ll soon receive emails regarding housing information. You may choose either on-campus housing or off-campus housing. OSU’s on-campus housing options are all fully furnished, but limited in availability. Therefore, apply as early as possible if you’re interested.

The price range of an off-campus one-bedroom apartment varies, but I think it’s about from $650-$850, depending on the location of the apartment, whether or not it is fully furnished, and the surrounding community. OSU has put together a very helpful webpage with a list of off-campus options.

Along with the housing email, you should expect to receive several other emails regarding how to purchase Buckeye football tickets (a must-do activity at least one time while you’re here), class registration, and orientation details. You’ll be kept in the loop all spring and summer so that you can start on a high note when you begin the program.

For now, relax and take pride in your admission. See you in the fall!