Gonna Make This Place Your Home

Despite living in Ohio my entire life, with the exception of my undergraduate years in South Carolina, I was relatively unfamiliar with Columbus prior to moving here in August. As a result, I spent my first couple of weeks (okay, months) feeling like a lost, overwhelmed tourist in my new hometown. I still have a lot of exploring left to do, but I thought I would compile a list of my current Columbus favorites to help guide future MAcc students as they acclimate to this wonderful city.

If you are hungry for pizza … try Harvest Pizzeria. There are three locations – German Village, Clintonville, and Dublin. They use local, farm fresh ingredients and offer reasonable prices. Oh, and the pizza is delicious!

If you are looking for somewhere to celebrate “Taco Tuesday” … Condado Tacos is the place to go. This casual eatery lets you design your own taco creations. They also offer great Happy Hour deals if you want to treat yourself on a budget! Pro tip: Get your tortilla in the Sweet Lucy style (both soft flour and hard corn shells with queso and guac).

If you are a fan of BBQ … check out Sweet Carrot. Fresh ingredients, unique menu, and a cool atmosphere. Pro tip: get the Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Pulled Pork.

If you are in the mood for ice cream … you have two choices:

  • Jeni’s is a certified B-Corp that calls Columbus, Ohio home. The company is known for its quality ingredients and Fellowship business model. Jeni’s sets itself apart by offering unique flavors, such as Wildberry Lavender and Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet.
  • With its corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Graeter’s is a family-owned business that offers French Pot ice cream made in small batches. The company has more traditional flavors than Jeni’s and is its signature flavor is Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.

The Columbus Museum of Art is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Ohio State students can get free tickets through D-Tix. The CMA offers free admission on Sundays.

Be sure to get to the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo during the holiday season!

For all your shopping needs, Polaris Fashion Place and Easton Town Center are the places to go!

If you want to get outside, you have lots of options! Here are my top picks:

  • Hocking Hills – Located in Logan, Ohio, about an hour and a half from Columbus, Hocking Hills is worth the drive. My favorite hike goes from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls and back, via the Grandma Gatewood (Buckeye) Trail (6 miles roundtrip). You can also take the Grandma Gatewood Trail to Cedar Falls (3 miles) and return to Old Man’s Cave via the Gorge Overlook Trail (3 miles).
  • Clear Creek – If you are looking for something more challenging, Clear Creek is the place to go. I like to park in the Creekside Meadows Picnic Area and take the Cemetary Ridge Trail to the Fern Trail to the Hemlock Trail to the Creekside Meadows Trail.  
  • Battelle Darby Creek – This is a great option if you are looking to avoid the crowds but do not have the time to drive all the way to Hocking Hills or Clear Creek. I like to park in the Cedar Ridge Picnic Area and take the Cobshell Trail to the Indian Ridge Trail to the Terrace Trail Loop and back.

Other things worth mentioning:

Columbus Crew

Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Clippers

Columbus has so much to offer and while it is easy to get bogged down in schoolwork, be sure to take the time to get out and enjoy the city!

A Year in Review

Reflecting on the last nine months brings to light many memories with the Fisher MAcc program at Ohio State.

What I learned in Grad School is… What I’ve come to realize is that grad school really isn’t about technical knowledge or skills. That’s one misconception that I personally came here with. Grad classes aren’t about turning in a worksheet, doing hours of busy work each night, or cramming for that exam. In fact, grad classes are the opposite. What I once hated about undergrad classes is now what I love about my grad classes. Group projects are a blessing (that’s right, I said it). My biggest takeaway from grad school as a whole is how to better work with others. With literally almost every assignment being worked on in groups, there are many opportunities to improve your interpersonal skills.

Graduating from the MAcc program on May 5th will be a bittersweet moment for me. My college years are over as well as my time spent in Columbus. The stereotype of Midwest kindness is real; these really are the nicest people you will probably ever meet.

Couldn’t have made it through this year without them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what’s next for me? Following graduation, I will move back to sunny Florida. I’m excited to connect with my family and friends that I have missed over the school year. This summer, I hope to finish taking the CPA exam (currently half-way there!!) and relax before I start working at Deloitte’s Boca Raton office this fall.

As always, go Bucks!

Tailgating during the football season with MAcc classmates
O-H-I-O!!!!!!

 

My Top 5 Moments of This Year

1. #3 Ohio State vs #2 Michigan (“The Game”) – Although this year’s rivalry week did not include the Mirror Lake jump this year, this was one of the best rivalry games in OSU history. The only game vs. Michigan that may have been better was the 2006 edition of “The Game” when #1-ranked Ohio State beat #2 Michigan to secure a spot in the National Championship. This past year’s game secured us a spot in the Playoff, but we won’t talk about that. As a lifelong fan, this rivalry means so much to me and once you step foot on campus, you will understand the rivalry.

Omar, Mark and me before rushing the field after we won in OT

2. Random Social Events –This one is sort of a catch-all. One thing I am very grateful for is getting to know my classmates pretty well. I knew some of my classmates before the program, but I also met some really awesome people through the program. Throughout the year, we had many social events with everyone in the MAcc. We celebrated birthdays together, tailgated before footballs games together, and went out on the weekends together. While there are still people I wish I got to know better while I was in the program, I am glad I went to as many social events as possible this past year to get to enjoy my final year with classmates.

Celebrating Heewon’s Birthday

3. Fisher Formal – I was hesitant to buy my ticket for this event, but it was definitely worth attending. Fisher Formal is advertised as Prom for graduate students, and since we are of age this time, an open bar is included! Everyone at formal looked amazing and it was a really great time with fellow classmates. Even though I am horrible at dancing, you would have seen me dancing like nobody was watching. Fisher Formal will be one of my most memorable moments from the MAcc program.

4. MAcc Olympics – I wrote about MAcc Olympics a few weeks ago, so if you did not read that blog, check it out. This event got everyone active and playing childhood sports together. We played basketball, volleyball, kickball and dodgeball. This event was also conveniently timed to be right after our Exit Exam was due, so everyone was pumped to be done with that and we celebrated with one big “recess.”

5. Intramural Sports – I’ve blogged about this before as well, but playing intramurals is a great way to get involved and get to know fellow classmates. There are many sports in which you can play and several competitiveness levels for you to choose from. So no matter your skill level, there is an intramural league for you. If you are still not sold on playing intramurals while you’re in the MAcc, just know that if you win the league you get a free t-shirt and get to call yourself Intramural CHAMPION for the rest of your life.

MAccletes could not win it all, but we looked good doing it.

This past year has been one for the books. I have grown a lot as a person and learned more than I thought possible in just 9 months. I have made lifelong connections and feel blessed to have been apart of this class. As promised, I made the most of this year and I encourage everyone to do the same.

Maintaining Balance

It seems like “balance” is the ultimate buzzword nowadays. Nobody really knows what it is, but everyone is trying to find it. Experts cannot seem to agree on whether or not it is possible to “have it all.” Early in my college career I was introduced to the idea that there are 3 S’s: social life, sleep, and studying (good grades), and you can only excel in two of the three areas.

During the autumn semester, my primary focus was on my grades and career search. I opted to forgo a lot of social opportunities for the sake of getting a good night’s rest because I knew my academics and recruiting efforts would suffer if I was not sleeping. This certainly paid off – I was thrilled with my grades and I received the job offer I was hoping for. Looking back, however, I definitely missed out on some fun experiences. Though I was “successful,” my life was not as balanced as I wanted it to be.

This past semester, I shifted my focus in an attempt to make the most of my remaining time in the MAcc. My academics continued to be my top concern, but I also prioritized having fun. There were definitely weeks where I was not as well-rested as I would have liked, but I would not trade the memories for anything. My grades have stayed about the same but I feel much more engaged in the program, which has made an already fantastic MAcc experience that much greater.

I think there is a misconception that “balance” is this all-or-nothing thing. I have come to believe that you can have it all, just not all at once and not all the time. For example, in January and February, I was preparing to take my first section of the CPA exam – BEC. For several weeks, my focus was entirely on preparing for my test. I pretty much nixed both “social” and “sleep” from my life. While this period was not the most enjoyable, it was only temporary. After taking (and passing!) BEC, I was able to return to a more “balanced” life since I no longer felt compelled to spend every waking moment immersed in Becker. I know I will have similar phases for the rest of my life, but there will also be plenty of times where I have the flexibility to get a good night’s rest, go out with friends, or take a hike.

At the end of the day, it comes down to knowing what you need to prioritize when. Sometimes that may mean opting to stay in on a Friday night in order to catch up on schoolwork. Other times that may mean putting the textbooks away for a spontaneous weeknight dinner with friends. Though I know balance is something I will continuously have to work at, I feel like this past year has helped me figure out what I need to feel both grounded, successful, and happy.

A Formal Affair

If you thought prom was over, you thought wrong. Prom is no longer just an event for American high school students, it is a social event for Fisher graduate students too! This event is a great stress reliever following a long week of mid-term exams. The event is technically referred to as “formal”, however, I prefer to think of it as prom.

A great thing about this event put on by the Fisher Social Chairs Committee is that it is for all graduate programs in the Fisher College of Business. This is a great way to get to mingle and interact with people outside of your specialized program. Programs in attendance were: MAcc (Accounting), SMF (Finance), MHRM, Part-time MBA, and Full-time MBA.

It is a great opportunity to hang out with your classmates outside of the classroom, on a more casual level. Having the same classes with the same 80 people throughout the school year, you get to know your peers pretty well. One of the many positive traits of the Fisher MAcc class is how close-knit of a group we are. Coming from out-of-state, I didn’t know anyone prior to the program orientation, which takes place a few days before classes start. The numerous group projects and social events, like Fisher Formal, really encourage students to get to know one another better. At this point in the year, we are nearing the end with about 3 weeks left of class. This is a great capstone to the end of an amazing school year at Ohio State.

We clean up well!
Enjoying the photo booth with fellow MAcc classmates

 

 

Current SMF student, Brett, having way too much fun with future accountants

MAcc Attack!

Some of you may have read my previous blog about the MAcc Olympics. Since many faculty were unable to attend our MAcc Olympics, we decided to have a separate event where you can try to beat Professor Arya and Rob Chabot in table tennis or racquetball, appropriately named “MAcc Attack.” Rob works out of the Graduate Programs Office (the “GPO”) and is the Director of Recruiting & Admissions for the Specialized Masters Programs. He is an absolute beast at racquetball.  Professor Arya teaches one of the core courses and used to be the Director of the MAcc program. He is not only really good at racquetball, but he is also great at table tennis.

We rented out racquetball courts at the RPAC and invited the whole program to attend. I was optimistic that one of the current students would be able to compete with the faculty in racquetball, but I was very wrong. One student was able to beat Arya in table tennis several times (shout-out to Rui), but none of us was able to compete with the two faculty in racquetball. So if you’ve ever played racquetball before, practice throughout the year so you can humble Rob and Arya when you get your chance to play them. It is very rare for a student to beat them, so start preparing now!

MAcc Attack!

Other than getting our butts kicked by the faculty in racquetball, it was a lot of fun to play other students in the MAcc program. These games were actually competitive and we all had a blast. We also played doubles in table tennis, which was new to me, but surprisingly fun. This event, similar to the MAcc Olympics, provided everyone with an opportunity to spend time on the weekends together in a fun memorable way.

As the year starts to wind down, I am starting to look back on my favorite moments of the program, so my next blog is going to be a ranking of those moments.

MAcc Olympics

One of our more unique social events this semester was the “MAcc Olympics.” More than 40 MAcc students came out to participate. Since the spring semester is comprised of mostly electives, you will see some of your classmates less often than you do in the Fall. The MAcc Olympics gave everyone an opportunity to catch up with classmates, and blow off some steam after a long week. We focused the event around four games, basketball, volleyball, kickball and dodgeball.

Hailey, Sam, Kate, Susan and Melissa waiting for their turn in kickball

The first hour, we split everyone into two groups, one group got to play volleyball to start and the other played “knockout.” Knockout is a basketball game where everyone lines up behind the free throw line and the first two in line have a basketball. The first person shoots the ball, and as soon as the first person shoots, the second person shoots as well. The goal of the game is to make your shot or rebound and layup your ball before the person before you scores in order to knock them out, but if the person after you scores before you do, you are knocked out. In the end, only one winner still stands.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Next we went over to the turf field to play kickball. Kickball is essentially baseball, but the pitcher rolls the ball to the “batter” who kicks the ball. The only other difference is in kickball, you can throw the ball at the runner to get them out. This was a lot of fun, and it was a game that was new to several students in the MAcc.

Lastly, we played a classic sport, dodgeball. If you don’t know what dodgeball is, watch the movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.” It is about a local Las Vegas gym and its employees who enter into a dodgeball tournament to save their gym from going out of business. It’s hilarious, and you’ll become a dodgeball pro in no time.

Grady in action

I lastly wanted to mention was how much the international students loved the event. Since some of the games were new to many of those that did not grow up in the states, it was a great experience to learn new games and play around with classmates. One of our best students, Tahmina Ahmed, had this to say after the MAcc Olympics:

“Today was one of the best days that I have had during my stay in the States. I’m gonna take some awesome memories with me. Thank you so much guys. You guys are the best 😍😍😍”.

MAcc Olympics was a great even for everyone in the program to get active after a long week, and I am excited for what the last several weeks of the MAcc program are going to bring.

MAcc Madness

My March started out with a quick trip to Washington D.C. to see my best friend from undergrad. Though small, the Columbus airport still offers service to a number of destinations around the country. Even better, I was able to snag my round-trip tickets for an incredibly affordable price. It was a wonderful weekend getaway, full of lots of laughs, sightseeing, walking, and delicious food.

I also had the opportunity to jet out west to Salt Lake City and Park City to see family over spring break. I prefer mountains to the beach, so this was definitely my idea of a perfect vacation. In addition to simply hanging out with some of my favorite people, I got to enjoy some rock climbing and yoga while I was out there!

March also marked the start of the Intramural indoor soccer season! I was incredibly nervous about being a part of the team because although soccer was a huge part of my childhood, I had not played for years. While I am certainly not as a fast or in shape as I used to be, joining the “MAccletes” is definitely one of the highlights of my MAcc experience thus far. Continuing on the soccer trend, I also went to my first Columbus Crew game this past weekend where the Crew beat the Portland Timbers 3-2.

Because of how classes are scheduled, there are no Friday classes during the second term of the spring semester. To take advantage of this free day, the MAcc Council has several events planned over the next couple of weeks. This past Friday they hosted the MAcc Olympics which was an afternoon of fun and games. We played basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and kickball. It should come as no surprise that there was definitely some friendly competition on the playing field!

I have also made it a point to take advantage of the warmer temps to get back out on the trails. I went to Clear Creek Metro Park this past Saturday and am looking forward to going back this upcoming weekend. I am also going to try to get to Hocking Hills this weekend as well, weather permitting.

Looking into April, there are plenty of other activities on the calendar. MAcc Gives Back, a day of community service, is scheduled for the morning of April 7th. That same day, we have Fisher Formal in the evening. I am really looking forward to spending some time giving back to the Columbus community and Formal is sure to be a blast – I love any excuse to get dressed up!

It is hard to believe that graduation is just a few short weeks away. While I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life, it is bittersweet to think that my time at the Fisher College of Business is quickly coming to an end. I did not know what to expect when I started my MAcc experience, but it is safe to say that the past year has been amazing and I have so many wonderful memories that I will forever cherish.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The end of the school year is near, with spring break still fresh in our minds. While I went to Florida and spent time with family and friends at the beach, here are some testimonials of what a few other MAcc students did during their well-deserved break.

Haoyuan (Eva) Li – Road Trip

“During the spring break, we went on a road trip. The experience was awesome since we drove through seven states and visited five cities.  Each city is different and has its own special thing. As I have never been to any of those cities, I got to experience different culture and try all kinds of delicious food.

One of the most impressive experiences during the trip was to see colonial Williamsburg. The buildings are classic and historic. You can see people dress up in different roles from the 18th century. They are from a variety of backgrounds, and under the tour guidance, you get to learn how their choices impacted their families and community.

Colonial Williamsburg

Another highlight is that we visited several well-known universities during the trip. We spent a lot of time in their business schools and libraries. Each school has its own unique qualities; some have great facilities, some have great architecture design, and some have a really good vibe. We did the “O-H-I-O” gesture in front of each business school as the proof of our ‘conquering’ of the area. The whole trip was fascinating and was a great travel experience with other MAcc people!”

Showing school spirit across the country
Nick Sampsel – Washington D.C.

“Over Spring Break, I took a few days to go to Washington D.C. As I was notifying a few of my classmates that my hotel had CCTV, I discovered that there were others going to D.C. as well! We visited a bunch of the different Smithsonian museums, like the Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History, and saw all of the different monuments. As MAcc students, it was absolutely necessary to get our picture taken in front of the IRS as well! Overall, it was a nice getaway and a pleasant surprise to see a few of my friends on vacation.”

Is it tax season yet?
Yajie (RJ) Liu – Global Business Expedition to Israel

Global Business Expeditions (GBEs) are short-term, high-intensity global programs offered during Spring Semester. Each program is designed by our Fisher College of Business faculty to integrate industry expertise with a global context. For full cultural and business immersion, students travel during 2017 Spring Break on a private tour of globally successful, multi-national companies and the must-see historical sites of the region.”

MAcc and MBA students pose for a picture at the Western Wall

Students have the option of attending a week long program in Germany, Spain, or Israel. Israel focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship, giving students viable insight into multinational business dealings. These programs are not only limited to MAcc students, but also open to all graduate business students. Prior to traveling, students participate in a 7-week multinational business course. While in Israel, students partake in cultural tours and business meetings with several multinational entities. Program brochure can be found here.

Buckeyes at The Dead Sea

Defining My Legacy

One of the things I love the most about The Ohio State University’s Master of Accounting (MAcc) program is the fact that the curriculum is primarily electives. While I certainly enjoy my accounting courses, I think there is tremendous value in having a well-rounded education in which you have the opportunity to explore interests outside of your chosen career path. During the first term of the spring semester, one of my classes was “Building Your Leadership Legacy,” and it was absolutely transformational.

The course is taught by Tony Rucci, whose resume is impressive to say the least. Over the course of his 28-year career, he had the opportunity to work for three different Fortune 100 companies, serving in various executive capacities. Despite this professional success, he is one of the most down-to-earth individuals I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

We primarily used the book  Discover Your True North by Bill George, which walks through the steps to authentic leadership.  The text was supplemented by various articles. In addition, we had the opportunity to hear from several guest speakers throughout the 7-week term. I find learning people’s life stories to absolutely fascinating, so this aspect of the course was especially valuable.

The end goal was to successfully define my leadership legacy in fewer than 20 words, a seemingly simple task that proved to be far more challenging than I anticipated. The purpose of this legacy statement is to provide direction to my life – it contains key themes that embody the kind of person I want to be remembered as. During the last three class sessions, all students had the opportunity to share their desired legacies and how they chose it. It should be noted that in a class of 50 graduate professional students, the common themes among these statements had nothing to do with business and everything to do with compassion, kindness, serving others, etc.
I can say with absolute certainty that this has been one of the most influential classes I have ever taken. The power of introspection is often overlooked, but awareness of self is critical to effective leadership. I may not have all the answers as to what I want the rest of my life to look like, but I now have a clearer idea of what direction I need to take to live out my legacy.