Hello! My name is Caleb Gruenbaum and I am a Student Ambassador for the Masters of Accounting (MAcc) program here at the Fisher College of Business. I am currently taking advantage of a combined program that allows me to combine my fourth year of studies into a BSBA/MAcc dual program, where in four years, I will have completed my Bachelors in Accounting as well as my Masters. With many states requiring 150 hours in order to sit for the CPA (Ohio included), this provides me a great way to reach the 150 without taking “cupcake classes” all ‘senior’ year.
I spent my summer interning at Deloitte & Touche LLP in their external audit practice. This was a great experience and I am fortunate enough to be able to join them full-time in the Fall of 2017.
Being back on campus is definitely bittersweet. On one hand, I am ecstatic to see all of my friends from school and for classes to be back in session, but I also have to come to the realization that I am done with school after this year. I am on the final stretch towards graduation, and I’m not sure quite how I feel about this.
But I’m going to take advantage of many of my favorite things about attending The Ohio State University:
Ohio State Football– I have been a lifelong, die-hard Ohio State football fan and being able to go to games for $35 each will definitely be missed. I also got a free student ticket through the school for the National Championship vs. Oregon.
The Beautiful Campus– Ohio state’s campus is absolutely beautiful this time of the year. Watching the leaves change color every fall is a sight to behold.
Accounting Faculty– Coming from an Ohio State Accounting undergrad, I was blessed with constant interaction with some of the MAcc professors– some of whom are leading researchers in accounting, and others of whom are world-class professors that make the student’s growth their number one priority. I am excited to keep learning from such bright minds in the coming year.
Being a Buckeye– This one has me reminiscing on what has already been the best three years of my life, and focusing on having the best year possible this upcoming year. While being enrolled in classes may last a limited time, I will proudly be able to say I’m a Buckeye for life. With over 500,000 alumni worldwide, you’d be amazed how global of a brand Ohio State is– and how much the school means to those who have attended.
Although this is my final year, I am determined to make the most of it, and I am excited to bring you readers along for the ride.
One of the biggest concerns I had about the MAcc program was the emphasis on group work. Like most people, I’ve dealt with more than my fair share of poor academic groups. I’m in five classes this seven-week period, and each class has a group. Even though it’s early in the year, my groups are already meeting often. It’s not avoidable; you’ll work in groups.
The difference from undergrad is that I enjoy these groups. Yes, really!
In graduate school, throw away your preconceived notions about teams. Working with others is a great experience.
Here are a few things that make group work great in the MAcc:
Motivated students: There are no slackers here. Everyone made the choice to attend graduate school (no one is here “just to be here”) and is intelligent. People want to excel. In my groups, everyone pulls his or her weight, and we produce better results because of that.
Real world prep: Unlike many of my classmates, I had a year of work experience before entering the MAcc. I can attest: the professional world involves group work everyday. Working with teams in graduate school is a great way to prepare for the rest of your career.
Different perspectives: My groups are a mixture of students from different universities, countries and undergraduate degrees. This means for every case or project we discuss, a variety of viewpoints are presented. How I look at a case won’t be the same as how someone with an economics degree analyzes it. A variety of backgrounds also allows us to maximize each member’s strengths. As a journalism undergrad, I take the lead when it comes to producing written work, while some of my teammates who are stronger with raw calculations help me with the numbers. Working with students from different backgrounds also exposes me to different personalities and cultures; it’s important to learn how to get along and respect as many people as possible to prepare for career success, where more than a grade depends on successful team projects.
Get to know classmates: If you can believe it, not every second spent in a team room is spent working on the case at hand. There’s idle chatter and off-topic conversation–and I get to know my classmates as people. I look forward to working with my groups because they aren’t a forced administrative burden; they’re groups filled with people I know and respect.
I’ve enjoyed my experiences working in groups thus far in the MAcc and look forward to more successful meetings, case studies and projects over the next eight months.
As a non-accounting undergrad, I had to enroll in the Pre-MAcc program before officially entering the MAcc. It’s one of the most rigorous academic experiences you’ll ever have–approximately equivalent to completing 2 intermediate accounting classes in about 2 weeks!–but it’s set me up for success in the academic year and, more importantly, my career.
I recommend the following to maximize your chances for success in the Pre-MAcc.
Ask Questions: As my classmates would attest, I never stopped asking questions. If something is the slightest bit unclear, ask. Accounting builds upon concepts. If you miss Step A, you’re going to be lost on every subsequent step. It’s graduate school. Everyone is motivated to succeed. There’s no “stigma” against asking questions like you might’ve encountered in undergrad. And there are no dumb questions.
Learning > Memorization: Think about the swath of material you’ll be covering. It’s impossible to memorize most processes and methods in the Pre-MAcc and succeed. But if you understand the “how” and “why” to what you’re doing, you’ll do well. The exams are often structured in a way that requires you to understand concepts. Don’t expect to be asked a basic question. Expect to use multiple pieces of concepts and problem solving to find solutions. Journal entries will only get you so far.
Commit To Success: Part of what makes the Pre-MAcc challenging is the time required. Class could run from 9 until 5 (ok, they let us take a lunch break) and on weekends. It’s easy to fall into the trap of going home after class, too exhausted to keep studying. But you must persevere. Hit the books until you feel comfortable with the material. Study nightly rather than cram for the exams.
Accept The Learning Curve: Nothing frustrates me more than not understanding something after seeing it once; the Pre-MAcc frustrated me many times. It’s intermediate accounting. It’s not as easy as recording sales revenue. It’s fine if you don’t understand how and why a concept is the way it is the first time. Or the second time. Or the sixteenth time. Keep at it and you’ll have an Aha! moment where everything makes sense. Don’t get discouraged.
Study Smart: Flashcards were effective for me. A lot of flashcards. (My classmates didn’t share my love for those glorious 3 by 5 index cards.) Know how you learn best and focus your studying around what works.
If you’re concerned you’ll struggle because your undergrad education is so far removed from accounting, don’t worry. I majored in broadcast journalism (a running joke amongst my undergraduate classmates was communications majors couldn’t do math–yikes) and received an A for the course. Accounting is an interesting discipline that blends rules, logic, reasoning and (often) basic arithmetic. My opinion is your undergraduate major doesn’t matter for success in the Pre-MAcc. What matters is your willingness to work hard and challenge yourself. If you identify with that, you’re on the right path for Pre-MAcc success.
Hello, everyone! I am so excited since this is the first blog I am going to post. So I am just going to introduce myself a little bit. My name is Ning Tang. I am currently in the MAcc program. I am an international student from China and I went to undergraduate school in Fisher.
Although MAcc is just a one-year program, faculty members really want us to learn a lot, enjoy our lives and find a job after graduation. The week before beginning of the new semester, MAcc already organized so many activities and networking events. We started the week by chatting with our classmates. Then, Deans, professors and advisors gave us welcome speeches and introduced the MAcc program. On day two and day three of the orientation, the program invited alumni, recruiters and even people from CPA review course to class and gave us speeches. We also had the Mix and Mingle during the orientation. Recruiters from the Big Four, local public accounting firms and other big firms came. We could ask any questions we had. So this event gave us a great opportunity to find out which job we really want to apply. Besides networking with recruiters, the tour to the Ohio Stadium was another exciting part of the event. Although I have been at OSU for four years. This was only the second time I had a tour in the stadium. The picture below really shows how great of a stadium it was. Stadium is full of people every football game. If you come to OSU, watching a football game should definitely on your to-do list and you won’t be disappointment after watching the game. The only imperfect thing we had during the orientation was because of weather, the activity in Summit Vision was cancelled.
As an international student, I had an extra event called “Career Foundation Seminar for International Students” to attend. The event was really useful for international students. It introduced the difficulties we would meet and invited international students who were in our shoes but now find a job to give us speeches. Through this event, I can see Fisher really cares about the international students.
This past Friday many of the MAcc students joined together to donate their time to various local charitable organizations. The day started, as most days should, with coffee and bagels with the class. After breakfast had finished, each of the groups dispatched to their respective service locations. Some of the locations that were available to volunteer at were: The Boys and Girls Club, The Capital Area Humane Society, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Rabbit House, and several other locations.
My group, which consisted of students, working professionals from Columbus, and two Ohio State faculty members, were assigned to COSI, which is a science museum and research center located in downtown Columbus. Unfortunately, we were not there to explore the museum and see what research is being done (which is must-do if you end up coming to Ohio State.). Our group’s task was to help the landscaping team finish mulching different flower and tree beds that surround the property. For the two hours we were at COSI, we were able to mulch several beds, which was able to save the landscaping team at least a full day of work!
After we finished at COSI, all of the groups met back at the Varsity Club, which is a staple restaurant across the street from the Fisher College of Business. Everyone had lunch together, discussed their volunteer project, and caught up.
Overall, through MAcc gives back, our class was able to donate over 100 service hours to the community of Columbus. Aside from donating time, it was also a terrific opportunity to interact with your fellow classmates, Fisher Faculty, and working professionals.
Wow, it’s hard to believe the MAcc Program is coming to an end! It feels like we just started, but then again, we did only start about 8 months ago. Even though the year is almost over, there are still more events to look forward to. One event is Fisher Formal. This is a formal end of the year celebration at a Cathedral in which all graduate students at Fisher are invited. We are allowed to bring guests to this event as well. Another event is an end of the year celebration for the VITA program at Dave and Busters with all of the VITA volunteers.
Final exams are coming up in the last week of April and then graduation takes place on May 8th. There is a Pre-Commencement ceremony taking place 2 days before graduation to recognize MAcc students and professors specifically. There is certainly a lot to look forward to the rest of the school year and the weekend of graduation!
This summer I will be staying in Columbus and studying for, taking, and hopefully passing the 4 sections of the CPA exam. I will be starting my full time position in federal tax at KPMG in Columbus this upcoming October.
Overall, this has been a fantastic year. I have met so many new friends, some of which are staying in Columbus, and some that are moving to other places. I hope to stay in contact with the people I have met in the program. I have also really enjoyed all of the cool classes I have gotten to take this year, both accounting and non-accounting courses. Finally, I enjoyed all of the events I was able to attend as a student here such as football games, basketball games, volleyball games, and volunteering. This is definitely a year I will never forget, and I am so grateful that I had the wonderful opportunity to attend such a great program and university!
As the fourth session begins to wrap up, I look back on the past year in the MAcc program and think “wow, where did all of the time go?” It truly does not feel like 9 months ago I was sitting in orientation, eager to begin working towards a master’s degree. However, as I write this last blog post, I am reminding myself of all the memories that I have had in the MAcc program, all of the incredible people I have met, and all of the information and skills I have learned over the past 9 months.
Commencement at The Shoe!
The most obvious part of my MAcc experience that I can reflect on is the classes. Like any program, there were some classes that I absolutely loved, and some that were a little more challenging to get excited for. However, all classes had extraordinary professors who provided valuable learning experiences. After my first three years in Undergraduate classes at Fisher, and this past year in the Graduate classes, it is clear, the professors are the best assets that Fisher has. Regardless of class title or professor, you are going to be challenged in the way that you think, which is the best way to learn.
Another place where I spent a large portion of my time this year was working as a Graduate Assistant. As a graduate student ambassador, I was the first point of contact for many people who were interested in or being recruited by Fisher. Seeing this other side of the business school has taught me many hard skills that will make me a better business person, but has also instilled a strong sense of Fisher pride in me. Having to pitch the program and the College to people I hardly know has made me realize that I truly love the Fisher College of Business, and more importantly The Ohio State University.
It will be a very bittersweet moment when I walk across the stage for graduation in a few Sundays. Bitter because I am leaving campus, friends, and memories, yet sweet because I have so many memories to look back on as an Alumnus (wow, that sounds weird)! After graduation, I will begin studying for the CPA exam. If all goes well, I will hopefully be majorly done with the exams prior to starting at EY in Chicago come September!
Every year, the students in the MAcc program participate in something called “MAcc Gives Back.” This event takes place on a Friday in the spring when MAcc students don’t have class. This year, students were split into 8 groups, and each group was assigned a specific volunteer site to perform volunteer work at for the afternoon. In addition to students from the MAcc program, various faculty and staff in Fisher performed volunteer work with us. Each group also had one or two professional members from accounting firms in Columbus assist with volunteering. All the volunteers met at Fisher prior to volunteering to eat breakfast and socialize and then everyone went their separate ways to their specific volunteer sites.
My group went to COSI, the science museum in downtown Columbus. Our group helped the grounds crew at the museum by mulching several locations in front of the building. Although it was only about 40 degrees and windy, I still had a blast spending time with the other people at my volunteer site. I thought it was really great that Professor Arya, the director of the MAcc program, and Rebecca Zurek, one of the admission directors for the MAcc program, volunteered at COSI with us. We also had two accounting professionals in our group so it was nice getting to chat with them about their careers. I think MAcc Gives Back is a great example of the rewarding and fun opportunities in which students in the MAcc Program are able to participate.
For our most recent lunch talk, our MAcc council had a speaker come in and talk to the class about financial planning and health. Greg Zunkiewicz is a financial adviser for Edward Jones. He is also a 2012 graduate of the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program here at Fisher!
The first topic that Greg discussed was budgeting. He said that whether you make $25,000 a year, or $250,000 a year, it is important to keep track of your money. By setting a detailed budget, you will know where your money is being spent month-to-month, and how much money you can save, all while maintaining your lifestyle goals. By determining how much you can save, you can then begin to look into various advantageous investment vehicles, such as a Roth IRA. Greg also discussed, at length, the benefit of compounding interest and having “interest work for you.” By investing early, young investors can assume more risk and substantially increase the wealth in their portfolio, all without having to pay taxes later.
Another topic that Greg discussed was regarding investment strategy. Since he provides investment guidance and manages his client’s portfolios, he is very knowledgeable in matching individuals’ risk preferences with a particular portfolio type or strategy. In his opinion, younger investors should be more willing to take on riskier investments, as they have a longer investment horizon. However, there is no one strategy for every individual, it must be tailored to the specific financial plan of the investor.
This was yet another enjoyable and valuable speaker to come and speak to the class. Greg was incredibly knowledgeable, personable, and open with the class!
Now that the weather is (kind of) starting to get warmer, I think it is appropriate to start talking about golf. One fantastic bonus of being a student at Ohio State that I really love is having access to the two golf courses, Scarlet and Gray, at the Ohio State University Golf Club. As someone who has golfed their whole life and was a former collegiate golfer, the chance to play at one of the best golf courses in the area is a pretty amazing perk. Normally to play at these courses, a person has to be a member of the OSU Golf Club. Ohio State students, though, are also allowed to play these courses up to 6 times per season (March 1-October 31). Students are allowed to bring up to 1 guest for a tee time at the Scarlet Course and up to 3 guests for a tee time at the Gray Course.
Personally, I played the Scarlet Course twice in the fall and plan to play a couple more times while I’m still a student here. The course is very challenging, but it is beautiful. I would definitely recommend that any student who enjoys golf take advantage of this great opportunity Ohio State students have to play at either of these great courses!