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
OSU vs. BGSU

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!

Introduction

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)
img_1658
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!

Welcome to the MAcc

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:

  1. 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.

    Me and some friends at last years Spring Game (I'm the one wearing the cool bucket hat and a red tank)
    Some friends and me at last year’s Spring Game (I’m the one wearing the cool bucket hat and a red tank)
  2. 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.

    Campus in the Fall
    The Oval in the Fall
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

The Benefits of Groups

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!

gerlach hall
The graduate student lounge on the second floor of Gerlach Hall is a place where you can meet with your group.

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.

Pre-MAcc Success

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.

WOW! A Fun Orientation for MAcc program

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.
32Ohio Stdium

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.