Elective Courses in the MAcc

One of the great characteristics of the MAcc program at the Fisher College of Business is that a majority of your classes will be electives. The MAcc curriculum encourages students to explore interests and passions through courses outside of the accounting discipline. One factor that led to me deciding to pursue a MAcc at Ohio State was the opportunity to challenge myself with graduate-level courses in specific subjects interest me.

This semester, I am taking a course titled Business of College Sports. This course is taught by Ohio State’s Athletic Director, Gene Smith, and his awesome wife, Sheila. Playing and watching sports have been passions of mine ever since I started playing soccer at the age of four. I love college football and college basketball; I have followed the Buckeyes in these sports ever since I can remember. This is a very unique class because it provides insight into the business decisions that casual sports fans might not consider.

The format of the class involves guest speakers, facility tours and group presentations. One thing I love about the class is how diverse it is. Since it is classified as an HR class, there are not only MAcc students, but there are MBA’s, JD/MBA’s and Masters of Sports Management students as well (any graduate student at Fisher can take the course). The group project allows us to pick any topic relating to the college sports landscape. My group is going to be researching the economic impact of paying student athletes a wage. Paying student athletes has been in the news a lot recently, so my group thought doing research on this and presenting it to the class would help Gene Smith understand the implications a policy such as this would have on Ohio State Athletics specifically.

This is our entire class during our tour of Ohio Stadium (the Horseshoe)
This is our entire class during our tour of Ohio Stadium (the Horseshoe)

Other electives offered during the fall semester include Data Mining for Business Intelligence, Corporate Finance I & II (required in order to take finance electives in the spring), Tax planning for Managerial Decision Making, and Talent Management.  While these are just some of the electives offered in the fall through the Fisher College of Business, there are many more offered through other graduate programs that you are able to take as long as you meet the pre-requisites for the class.

In my next blog post, I will be interviewing several of my classmates to give their experiences with different elective courses.

A busy Session for MAcc Students

Time is flying! I can’t believe that half of a semester is already over. There were so many things that happened during September and the first half of October.

We finally had our Summit Vision during September. It was a half-day activity and was lots of fun. We were split into several groups and each group had one mentor. For our group, because of the time limitation, we only tried four games. However, each game was interesting and needed a lot of collaboration. More importantly, I got to know more about my fellows in MAcc program.Summit Vision

When it comes to the curriculum, it’s different from most of the classes from undergraduate; MAcc classes are all session-based. That means we have to do all the group projects, presentations and finals in seven weeks! How stressful that is! At first, I did feel huge pressure because of all the schoolwork. However, as time went by, I could work with the schedule and eventually, I found out that my efficiency was improved. Another big difference between the undergraduate classes and graduate classes is that we have more group work to do. Almost every class has to form a group and do assignments together. It’s not a bad idea because in the real world, we do have a lot of teamwork to do.

The biggest thing during September was the kick-off of recruiting season. We had several career fairs during the month. After the career fairs, interviews were scheduled (and everyone was so busy during that time).Career Fair

So, at first it was really hard to balance work and play, but I finally conquered all the difficulties. For people who want to attend the program, I just want to say it is really a perfect place for you to study, improve yourself and have fun! Now, back to my study time…


Undergrad Classes vs. Grad Classes

When I was applying to grad school, I was so focused on where I was going, rather than what exactly I would be doing or what would be expected of me. In this blog, I will share my personal experience as our first session comes to an end in three short days.

In undergrad, I would study for weeks for an accounting test and constantly felt like I was reading textbooks. My hands would even get sore from re-writing problems. However, that’s not what grad school is about. The classes as of first session have been much more of an overview. My advice: keep your intermediate textbooks and notes! You will want to reference them. The learning curve is high, but we are all here because we want to challenge ourselves. It’s nice to focus on the big picture and try to remember the fundamentals of why we are studying this, rather than specific details.

Some major differences that stick out to me:

  • Less homework!!!
    • No busy work is a major pro for me.
  • Group Work
    • Expect a LOT of group work. I was always the type of person that despised group projects and would prefer to do the assignments by myself. Grad school has changed my opinion on this completely. Everyone in your classes is here because they want to be here. With that being said, everyone cares! For every one of my classes I have had at least one group assignment due, but I don’t let it intimidate me. The great thing about Fisher is there is so many people from different backgrounds and majors, there is always someone else with a different perspective that I may not have originally thought of.
  • Amount of time spent on campus
    • Undergrad: I would go to my one or two classes a day and then leave campus as soon as I could. Grad classes: your classes are a bit longer and you want to stay on campus to use Fisher’s resources. As a Fisher student, you have 24-hour access to Gerlach Hall (the graduate business building). You have a lounge where you can eat lunch with colleagues and just take a study break if needed. You can reserve study rooms also, which is especially helpful for group project meetings.
  • Expectations as a student
    • Undergrad was more grade-focused. This program really is about learning. As long as you are alert and paying attention in your classes, you will have no problem completing the assignments.
  • Session vs. Semester classes
    • This was one of my hardest adjustments. My undergrad institution was on a semester basis, meaning classes were 14 weeks. They were a slower pace but went over lots of little details. Grad classes in the MAcc program at Ohio State are session-based. This means that your courses are 7 weeks. 7 weeks is not a lot of time, so your classes are fast-paced. We have finals this week and it is only mid-October.
    • On the plus side, our program is only 9 months! Professors also understand that classes are 7 weeks in length. They do not expect to cram 14 weeks into 7 weeks. Rather, your classes focus on a narrower topic. For instance, Audit 2 builds upon Audit 1.

Finals are this week, so more to come on that. I have a couple of room reservations to meet with my study group. One of my study groups is also having a Jimmy John’s party (you have to make accounting fun). Fisher also brought in therapy dogs and the café is stocked with all our coffee needs. I’m ready to finish off the first semester strong and then I will be ¼ of the way there!

Undergraduate vs. Graduate

In a lot of ways, the Master of Accounting program functions like a fifth-year of undergrad. The majority of the students earn their undergraduate degree mere months before starting the program and therefore have less than a year of work experience. Because of this, I did not anticipate any challenges in adjusting to graduate school. As the end of my first term nears, I feel qualified to say that my expectations were very wrong.

So how is the MAcc different from my undergraduate accounting experience?

1. GROUP WORK. I am part of a group in every class. During high school and college, I did everything in my power to avoid working in a group setting, preferring to complete projects on my own. At Fisher, that is not an option– and I could not be more grateful! I am currently enrolled in four courses, and each one has some kind of group component. I think what sets these groups apart from those I have been a part of in the past is the fact that everybody cares about the outcome and our objectives all align.

2. THE CURRICULUM. Because I did not declare my accounting major until the beginning of my junior year, I experienced a bit of a time crunch in satisfying all of the course requirements. As a result, I was unable to take as many electives as I would have liked. Within the MAcc program, there are only 4 required courses that make up 10 of the 31 required hours; I have the flexibility to fill the rest of my schedule with classes that really interest me. Having so many different options is intimidating, but I am so thankful for the opportunity.

3. THE MATERIAL. It makes sense that the concepts we are covering in class are more advanced than those I learned during undergrad. The work is far less mechanical in nature and requires more critical reasoning skills. One of the core courses is Financial Reporting, which builds upon the concepts taught in Intermediate Accounting. Unlike Intermediate, where the bulk of the workload was comprised of practice problems, Financial Reporting involves actually applying the principles to various cases. There are definitely days when I miss the simplicity of the practice exercises, journal entries, and comprehensive problems, but there is also something incredibly rewarding about applying my knowledge to real-life financial statements.

It is crazy to think that I am about a quarter of the way through my MAcc journey. It has been overwhelming at times, but that is all part of the experience!

Is it Possible to Study for the CPA Exam while a Student in the MAcc Program?

Everyone will tell you something different, so here is my own take on my experience with juggling the MAcc program, CPA exam prep, and a part-time job. For reference, I am taking 8 credits this quarter (or 15 for the semester), work 10 hours a week, and study about 20-25 hours a week for the CPA. I am here to tell you, you can do it! It may take an extra cup of coffee in the morning but it is completely doable.

Hogwarts or Ohio State library?
Studying isn’t so bad when the Thompson Library reading room is this beautiful

They will tell you the program is not geared towards the CPA exam and it is not. However, you can make it align a little better for yourself. For instance, one of our first required courses is Financial Reporting. I knew this when registering for the exam and chose to study for the FAR section first. While the financial reporting class is not adding much benefit to my FAR CPA study prep, on the flip side, by studying for FAR CPA it has made my financial reporting class much clearer. We just took our first midterm and because I have been studying FASB rules and very detailed transactions for my CPA class, I had the background knowledge already drilled into my brain. This helped me so much on the midterm because if I ever got stuck I could always remember the basics, think back to my CPA class, and really think about why that transaction happened the way it did. So yes, the program is not geared towards the CPA exam, however, the material coincides pretty well.

What about finding the time to study? First of all, you should be aware that Ohio has a 150-credit hour rule to sit. This means that students hoping to sit for the Ohio CPA exam will most likely not be able to start taking the exam until they have completed the MAcc program. I am an out-of-state student, so I am able to sit at 120 hours. Each state is different. This is important to note for study groups! Because I am only able to study with a select amount of people who are also in the same boat as me, a lot of my study has to be self-disciplined. I aim to study 3-4 hours a day and if we have a football game I’ll give up my Friday nights to make up for those extra hours lost spent tailgating on Saturday. I sit for my first section of the exam in November. More to come on my study experiences as the date gets closer. Go, Buckeyes!


Succeeding Without an Accounting Degree

Part of my decision to apply to the MAcc was to challenge myself academically. I studied broadcast journalism at a school known for a demanding and cutthroat culture, but I never felt challenged the way I do daily at Fisher–perhaps because journalism is an inherently easier subject than accounting.

The MAcc attracts many students with non-accounting backgrounds and places them into successful accounting careers after just 9 months of coursework. How? Magic. No, not quite. Make no mistake– there are situations where I can tell an accounting degree would be helpful, but it’s more than possible to do well in this program without one.

My non-accounting undergrad means there are many concepts I’ve never been exposed to being taught to me at the graduate level. Intimidating? It can be! (I will admit: the day that Professor Arya started talking about derivatives, I felt a chill go down my spine.) The key is to put forth a strong effort and take the right steps to ensure success:

  • Meet with professors: All the professors in the MAcc program are more than willing to meet with their students. Many have flexible office hours. It’s better to seek additional help than to drown in new material. Make sure to have made an effort with the concept or problem before the meeting; this will help maximize the time spent.
  • Form groups with students with accounting degrees: I’ve made sure my groups have at least one person who studied accounting at the undergraduate level. Sometimes, a classmate can help clear up a concept or explain a different way to solve a problem.
  • Don’t get frustrated with the learning curve: There are some topics in accounting that won’t make sense at first, or even after several days. As a perfectionist, it’s easy for me to get frustrated when something doesn’t click right away. But I know that I should eventually understand the concepts, even if it takes a few extra hours.
  • Embrace the challenge: It would be a stretch, if not downright inaccurate, to say the MAcc is a cakewalk even for the strongest accounting undergraduate; I know because I’ve asked classmates who were strong accounting undergrads if they feel challenged. Students here want to be challenged. And you should, too. I’d much rather work hard than breeze through life.

There are about 2 weeks left in this 7-week session of classes. Though this is the hardest I’ve ever had to work in school, I’m enjoying the process, and look forward to performing well on finals.



Summit Vision

As an extension to our MAcc Orientation, all MAcc students got the opportunity to attend Summit Vision. Summit Vision is an outdoor experience where you work on team building exercises, solve complex problems and bond with your classmates. Last Saturday, we went to summit vision and came away with many memories, and having learned how to be a part of a high performing team.

I was on team six. Our team started out with an activity where you have to balance a seesaw with all 10 of us, which required a lot of strategy and communication. Our team learned the importance of listening to what others were saying, as listening is a crucial part of communication. Trey, our guide for the day, kept giving us more complex problems to solve and our team kept succeeding at them.

After that, we got to go zip lining! Many of the students on my team had never gone zip lining before so this was an awesome experience! We even had a GoPro to catch all of the action. Since the process of getting people up to the 50 foot zip line was lengthy, I got to learn more about my fellow students, including several international students that I previously had not talked to very much.

After the zip lining, we did a couple more team building exercises and our team was very successful at these. Before we wrapped up the trip, each team had to say what they were good at, and what they might not have been good at but with some improvement can become a strength. Our team recognized the success we had in communicating a strategy and successfully implementing it, but also realized that we weren’t perfect at getting feedback from everyone and brainstorming before we came up with plans.

Summit Vision
Team 6 at Summit Vision

This trip will help us in the classroom as well. Not only did we learn how to work together as a team, we learned how to solve complex issues and how to consider who is good for what role within the team. Summit Vision was a great learning experience and I am glad I got to spend my Saturday morning with my awesome classmates.

Fall at Fisher

Fall—the season for football, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes.

Script Ohio
September 3rd, 2016

For Master of Accounting candidates at the Fisher College of Business, fall also means recruiting. Although many students enter the program with full-time job offers, a number are still looking for post-grad employment. I did not complete an internship this past summer, and, as a result, was eager to begin my job search once I got to Fisher. The Office of Career Management does a fantastic job of facilitating this process for its students by providing ample resources and programming for those still seeking placement.

For those who aren’t familiar with how the accounting hiring cycle works, here’s a brief breakdown:

  1. Over the summer, incoming MAcc students complete a series of “Career Modules” to begin preparing for the fall semester. Additionally, students submit an updated resume to the Office of Career Management to receive feedback prior to actually applying to jobs. This is also the time to identify service line and location preferences.
  2. A half-day of orientation is devoted to a Career Foundation Seminar. As part of this event, we had the opportunity to hear from a panel of recruiters which was incredibly informative!
  3. Networking kicks off with the “MAcc Mix & Mingle,” an event at Ohio Stadium hosted by the Office of Career Management during orientation.
  4. Classes start and firms begin to regularly visit campus, hosting a number of events and informational sessions during the first several weeks of school. This is a great time for students to learn more about all their potential employers. The Fisher Career Fair takes place at the beginning of September and is a great way to connect with companies that don’t necessarily have the same presence as some of the larger firms.
  5. Application deadlines vary, but most are due within a week or so of the Career Fair.
  6. First-round interviews are held on campus toward the end of September.
  7. Second-round interviews occur in October and include an office visit. Even within the same city, company cultures may vary drastically, so this visit can be incredibly important when determining a “best fit.”
  8. Most offer letters are out by the end of October, at which point it’s time to make a decision!

At this point, my applications are completed and I have started scheduling on-campus interviews. I will be sure to update you once I have come through on the other side!


Throughout the course of this school year, I will be one of the many authors on this blog and wanted to introduce myself. My name is Hailey Nicholas and I am one of the Graduate Student Ambassadors that work in the Graduate Programs Office. I am in the MAcc  (Master of Accounting) program here at Ohio State. I am originally from South Florida and did my undergrad at Florida State University (and received my bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting). Moving out of state and starting a new program has definitely been a big adjustment, but it has been a very smooth transition since we began the program about four weeks ago.

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Deloitte in their audit practice in the Boca Raton office. I recently accepted a full-time offer with them! I know the MAcc will provide me with even more experiences that will help me grow as a professional.

While I have only been in the program just short of four weeks, some of my favorite things so far are:

  1. Attending football games at the Shoe
  2. Lunch breaks with my classmates
  3. Walking around Ohio State’s beautiful campus

Something unique about Ohio State compared to my undergrad classes is that there is a lunch break built in to your day. From 11:45-1:00 there are no classes scheduled. So rather than having an awkward break in your schedule and pretending to stare at your phone, every day I eat lunch with my classmates. There is a graduate student lounge on the 2nd floor of Gerlach Hall (where all our classes are held) and there is a refrigerator, microwave, couches, tables, coffee machine, and even a café in the building next door. It sounds miniscule, but having this lunch break has helped me make new connections with my classmates. On the first day of classes, a group of about six of us walked to Panera across the street and all got to know each other. Little things like this make the MAcc program feel like a small piece of home.

Grad Student Lounge
Grad Student Lounge (it looks very different when it’s full of students)
A microwave is a college student’s best friend, right?

The Start of Something New

My name is Kate Sabin and I’m from Perrysburg, Ohio. I attended Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where I earned my B.A. in Accounting. Though I enjoyed my undergraduate experience, I knew that I wanted to return to the Midwest for graduate school.

So, why the Fisher College of Business?

  • The curriculum. While ultimately my goal is to became a CPA, I love that the MAcc program is not geared specifically toward exam preparation. Instead, the curriculum is elective-based, with a wide array of classes to choose from. There are four core courses that all students are required to take, but the rest of my hours can be geared toward my own personal career goals and interests.
  • The people. Everyone I have come into contact with at Fisher has been incredibly kind and supportive. All my professors are passionate about their work and are willing to go above and beyond to help their students be successful. I can tell that I am more than a number—the people here genuinely care about my well-being.
  • The size. The MAcc program itself is small. Fisher works to keep the total class size between 75 and 85 students, meaning it is hard to get lost in the shuffle. Not only is this size conducive to a more interactive classroom experience– it means that the students in the program are able to get to know one another relatively quickly, which is important considering it is only a 9-month program! On the flip side, the Fisher College of Business is part of The Ohio State University, MAcc students have access to many of the resources that can only be made available at such a large university. I truly have the best of both worlds.

It feels like just yesterday that I submitted my application, yet here I am already settling into life at The Ohio State University. These first couple of weeks have been busy, but in the best way possible. Stay tuned for future blog posts about recruiting, classes, and life in Columbus.

I look forward to sharing my MAcc experience with you!