Favorite Breakfast Spots

I am a huge sucker for breakfast food. It’s tragic that I am someone who only eats breakfast a few times a week given it is my favorite type of food. Whether you spent all night studying or went out with some friends the night before, a nice big breakfast is definitely the best way to start off a new day.

My Top 5 Breakfast Places in Columbus:

  1. Katalina’s – though I’ve only been twice, their pancake balls are legendary. Katalina’s describes itself as a “homey spot for comfort food with a twist” and I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

    Katalina_s_Cafe_Corner-Katalina_s_Cafe_Corner-20000000001604016-500x375
    Pancake Balls (left) from Katalina’s
  2. Northstar Café – Established in Columbus, Northstar Café is a fast-casual restaurant that feels fancier than the price would indicate. I would recommend the “cloud nine pancakes” if you go.

    Cloud Nine Pancakes from Northstar Cafe
    Cloud Nine Pancakes from Northstar Cafe
  3. Hang Over Easy – Perhaps the breakfast spot I’ve been to most often, Hang Over Easy is located on South campus and has great outdoor seating for nice mornings. The staff here is also very nice and the food is tremendous.

    Hang Over Easy
    Hang Over Easy
  4. Jack and Benny’s – This café is located in the Old North Columbus area just north of campus. This is a great place to get a relatively inexpensive breakfast near campus. Classic homemade food and they usually serve you very fast.

    Jack and Benny's
    Jack and Benny’s
  5. Hadley’s– This is more of a special occasion brunch location, but with $18 bottomless mimosas, it can be a lot of fun. The MAcc program recently went to Hadley’s and more than 20 of us enjoyed brunch together.

    Bottomless Mimosas come with your own champagne bottle!
    Bottomless Mimosas come with your own champagne bottle!

As Big Sean says “last night I took an L, but tonight I bounce back.” No matter how many L’s you took the previous night, there is no better way to bounce back than with a delicious breakfast from any of these places.

CPA Exam Facts

Getting your CPA can be a very confusing and stressful process for some, but once you get all your facts aligned, it may be easier to see that end goal of CPA licensure. The Fisher College of Business hosts CPA representatives throughout the school year who provide office hours to answer exam questions. Also, during orientation, several CPA courses give a brief presentation breaking down the information in more detail. I will discuss some common information about the exam.

150-hour requirement

150 credit hours are required by the AICPA. Directly referenced from its website, students can meet the 150-credit hour requirement if they:

  • Combine an undergraduate accounting degree with a master’s degree at the same school or at a different one;
  • Combine an undergraduate degree in some other discipline with a master’s in accounting or an MBA with a concentration in accounting;
  • Enroll in an integrated five-year professional accounting school or program leading to a master’s degree in accounting.

For those of you who do not come from a traditional non-accounting background, do not fear. If you notice the second bullet point, a master’s in accounting satisfies this requirement. Therefore, the Fisher MAcc program is your way to CPA.

It is important to recognize the distinction between the licensure requirements and the exam sitting requirements. Every state requires 150 credit hours for licensure, but some states may allow you to sit for the actual exam before those 150 credit hours are earned.

  • For example, the State of Ohio has a 150-hours education requirement for licensure and 150 hours must be completed prior to sitting for the exam.
  • Other states– for instance, Florida– have 150 hours education requirement for licensure, and 120 hours must be completed to sit for the exam.

You can find all this information broken down by state here.

Sections of the Exam

There are four sections of the exam:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

Passing score

The magic number

A passing score is a 75; however, this score is not simply how many questions you get right. Similar to the GMAT, it is weighted and calculated through various methods. The AICPA has released information that is helpful to understand how your score is calculated.

Study Materials

While there are numerous study materials out there, make sure to pick the right materials for you. Know your study habits. If you love to use flashcards, make sure to pick materials with flashcards.

While going through the recruiting process, make sure to ask your employer if they can help financially with the cost of prep materials. A great thing is that most firms are willing to help.

Firm won’t help? No problem. Check out these AICPA scholarships here.  Additionally, make sure to check with your state board of accountancy as it may offer additional scholarships, too.

References

Helpful requirements by state

AICPA information

NASBA

Helpful blog forum

Good luck!

MAcc Bowling Night

The MAcc program offers many social events throughout the fall and spring semester. In the fall semester, we went to see the Columbus “Zoo Lights” as a group and tailgated together for football games. This spring, we are planning a trip to go skiing, a hockey game outing, MAcc Olympics, and bowling night! There are a variety of ways to connect with your classmates no matter what you are interested in. Not to mention, these events are events with just MAcc students. We just recently had a bowling night on Saturday evening. This was put on by our social event committee as part of our MAcc council. This council, which is generally voted on during the first week of school, also plans community service events as well as social events.

Here are some bowling highlights:

MAcc group
MAcc group

With a class of 81 students, tight-knit experiences such as these make it easy to get to know your classmates better. There are additional events that are put on fisher-wide throughout the school year.

The graduate student ambassador squad
The graduate student ambassador squad

 

Pool Shark Sam scoping out the pins
Pool Shark Sam scoping out the pins

 

 

 

 

 

Rematch to follow soon…

 

Intramural Sports at Ohio State University

One of the really enjoyable things I like to do outside of class is play intramural sports. Ohio State has a huge program in place to allow students to create teams and join leagues for all types of sports at all different competition levels. There are men’s and coed leagues for soccer, basketball and volleyball– and they also have sports such as table tennis, battleship (it’s a game that takes place in the pool; look it up because it’s awesome) and flag football. These leagues are relatively cheap to join, usually $80 for a team, and the leagues usually have a couple (3-4) regular season games, followed by a playoff to determine the intramural champions.

Here is a picture of the MAcc sand volleyball team from the Fall.
Here is a picture of the MAcc sand volleyball team from the Fall.

This year, several MAcc students have come together to make teams. In the fall, we had a sand volleyball team, and this spring we have a basketball team, a volleyball team– and we will be creating a coed indoor soccer team in a few weeks (we have several soccer players in the MAcc, so I think we have a chance to win this league).

Through intramurals, we get to compete against other Ohio State students and it is always a blast! You do not even need to be good at the sport you are playing. I have never played volleyball before and I am on the MAcc volleyball team called the “MAccletes” (play on the word “athletes”). We just finished up the regular season with a 2-1 record and we are waiting for the playoff bracket to come out. We’re surprisingly pretty good, so we’ll see if a playoff run is in our future!

It is always fun to hang out with some fellow classmates at these intramural games because we all get to know each other a little better outside of class. While sometimes it gets competitive, regardless of what my fellow blogger Brett Hornung (current SMF student) might say, it is always fun to play – win or lose.

Vroom Vroom VITA

In addition to a wide variety of social activities, MAcc students also have the opportunity to give back to the community through a number of volunteer efforts. VITA, a tax clinic for low income-taxpayers, is one of the most popular community-service options. Participants get hands-on experience with preparing tax returns while making a difference in the lives of many.

I interviewed current MAcc student and VITA volunteer Carly Jackson to get her take on why all MAccers should participate in this great cause.

What is VITA?

VITA is a program where volunteers prepare tax returns for low-income individuals and  families for free.

How can MAcc students get involved?

MAcc students can get involved by attending an interest session during fall semester and then completing the required IRS training. During tax season, volunteers are typically assigned 3-4 volunteer days.

Do you have to have experience with completing tax returns to volunteer?

No prior experience is required!  You will be thoroughly trained and will have an IRS publication with the information you need next to you, so you can use that for reference during preparation. Also, there will typically be people on-site with prior tax preparation experience to answer any questions you have and to help you through the experience.

Can I still do VITA even if I am planning on doing audit post-graduation?

Of course you can! A lot of the people that participate in VITA are planning to do audit. I personally feel that it is advantageous to everyone to learn about the basics of taxes because they’re unavoidable and the more you know, the more equipped you are to handle them. Regardless of your intended career path, learning a little bit about tax preparation and using that knowledge to help others is a great thing to do!

What has been the most valuable lesson you have learned while working the tax clinic?

Surprisingly, the biggest lesson I’ve learned while working at the VITA clinic was not tax-related. One of the clients I worked with was going through one of the toughest times I could even imagine, yet still had the most positive outlook on everything and had a genuine joy in their heart. Working with them taught me to never take anything for granted, and to always look for the good in life, because if you look hard enough, you will find it.

 

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The Final Countdown

It is surreal to think that my final semester of school is well underway! We are already wrapping up our third week of classes and I have a midterm in just a few days. In order to make the most of the time I have left, I compiled a list of things I am hoping to accomplish before graduation in May:

  • Take a trip to Chicago. One of my cousins lives in Chicago, so I really want to spend a weekend visiting her. Southwest has super cheap flights out of the Dayton airport, so this could be a relatively easy and affordable getaway. [editor’s note: Southwest also offers several daily flights out of Columbus]
  • Explore German Village. Although I have been living in Columbus since August, I have yet to take advantage of all that the city has to offer. German Village is located just south of downtown and is a fun neighborhood with lots of different restaurants and shops.
  • Go to Hocking Hills. This one will have to wait until it warms up a bit, but I am eager to go hiking in Hocking Hills. It is a bit of a drive, a little over an hour from my apartment, but I hear the scenery is well worth the trek.
  • Going off #3, I would also like to get back to Clear Creek Metro Park. I was able to go once during the autumn and it was phenomenal. It is about an hour drive and there are several trails to explore.
  • Cheer on the Columbus Clippers (minor league baseball), Columbus Crew (soccer), or Columbus Blue Jackets (hockey). Though often overshadowed by The Ohio State University Buckeyes, Columbus is home to several professional teams. I have yet to go to any of their games, but I would love to get to at least one before the semester is over.

These next couple months are sure to fly by, and I am eager to make the most of the time I have left!

Best Places to Workout

My New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to workout 5 days a week. The awesome thing about going to a school such as Ohio State is that we have so many Recreational Facilities available for use.  I am going to rank my top 4 places to work out on campus and provide some of my favorite things about them.

1. RPAC – The RPAC is out largest gym on campus. Located right next to the Horseshoe (our football stadium), this facility has it all. It has a pool, sauna, more than 10 basketball courts, 8 racquetball courts, table tennis, and much more. There are also group fitness classes offered that are free to attend such as cycling and yoga.

RPAC: You can see the Scarlet Skyway, which is one of the entrances into the RPAC.

    RPAC: You can see the Scarlet Skyway, which is one of the two entrances into the RPAC.

2. North Recreation Center – The “North Rec” is a brand-new gym built at the beginning of the school year. Located just a few minutes from Gerlach Hall, it is the perfect place to go for a quick workout in between classes. Just like at the RPAC, there are group fitness classes offered throughout the week. There are also four outdoor basketball courts at the North Rec.

This facility was completed in Fall of 2016.
This facility was completed in Fall of 2016.

3. Adventure Recreation Center (ARC) – This facility is somewhat of an unknown around campus because it is located on West Campus. The unique part about the ARC is that they have indoor soccer fields as well as a rock climbing wall. I grew up playing soccer my entire life and it is always fun to go to the ARC and play a game of pickup soccer.

ARC
The ARC at night

4. Jesse Owens North (JON)– JO North is the closest gym to Gerlach Hall. It is literally across the street from the classroom building you will spend most of your time at. While this building is a little old, it is conveniently located and has all of the equipment you can imagine. It also has one basketball court. JO North is a great backup place to work out in case the North Rec is too busy.

JON is located across the street from Gerlach Hall.
JON is located across the street from Gerlach Hall.

Sticking to my New Year’s resolution is no doubt going to be difficult. Since there are so many options for working out, it makes it difficult to come up with excuses to not work out. Hopefully, this blog helps you get a better understanding of some of the recreational facilities offered at Ohio State. Click here if you want to learn more about these and others.

My First Winter

For those of you that are used to warmer temperatures like myself, going to school in the Midwest or anywhere up North may seem a bit taboo. This year was my first winter experience. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Stock up on winter gear over spring or summer

This may seem crazy to some, but prior to moving to Ohio for the Fisher MAcc program I owned ZERO coats. I had some light jackets, but I was not prepared at all for weather less than 50 degrees. My advice: get your winter gear in spring or summer! Most retail stores have a great clearance selection and you can find gloves, heavy coats, scarves, and boots for a great price.Duck Boots

  1. Buy an Ice Scraper!

These things cost about $10 and are a must-have for early mornings. Also, allow yourself an extra five minutes in the morning to defrost and de-ice your car.

Ice Scraper

  1. Scarlet and Grey Skies

During the winter months, the sun is not out nearly as much. This does not mean you will never see sun, but it’s just something to get used to. What I learned is not to let the weather dictate your mood or your day. We are all here to learn– don’t let some clouds put a damper on your day.Picture from fall, right before a football game!

  1. Thank You, Fisher Tunnels

I’m not sure who thought of this ingenious idea, but I’d personally like to say “thank you.” In classrooms, there are hooks where you can hang your coat. If you want to run out and grab a cup of coffee from the café in the next building over, you can leave your coat hanging and take the tunnels to four of the buildings on the Fisher College of Business campus. The tunnels are useful not only in cold weather when you don’t feel like putting on your coat, but also just to avoid the rain and stay dry.

Winter officially began December 21st and ends March 20th. With that being said, there is still plenty of time for winter weather as it is only mid-January. So far, it has been very mild (knock on wood). To put it in perspective, it has only snowed three times to date. As a reference, here is a helpful link to look at weather averages for Columbus, OH.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from pursuing your dreams of attending the Fisher College of Business. The winter season isn’t so bad!

Surviving Syllabus Week

I thrive on routine; while it was nice to have a few weeks off during the Holiday Season, I was more than ready to get back to school for the second semester. That said, no matter how excited I am about classes starting again, it is always a bit of an adjustment to go from having plenty of relaxation time to an abundance of responsibilities.

During undergrad, especially freshman and sophomore year, professors tended to ease us back into the swing of things. We fondly called this adjustment period “Syllabus Week,” because at least the first day of class simply involved going over the syllabus, defining the expectations for the course, and answering any questions. Things are not quite that laidback at the graduate level. Professors still tend to briefly outline the syllabus, but then are quick to get into the material. Because of this, it is important to come into Day 1 prepared to start the semester on as strong a note as possible.

Here are some of my tips for making the most of “Syllabus Week”:

  • Review the syllabus prior to the first day of class. Most professors in the Fisher College of Business utilize “Carmen” (also known as “Canvas”) to house their course materials. This means that students generally have access to at least the syllabus, if not some of the readings. Take advantage of this! If you are familiar with the syllabus, you’ll be better prepared to get questions answered.
  • Research what books you will need. I know a lot of people are adamant that you should not purchase anything until the first day of classes in case a professor has a book listed that you won’t actually use. I, on the other hand, prefer to have all my books ahead of time. Not only does this afford me the opportunity to shop around to get the best deals, I am prepared to dive into the readings and don’t have to waste time trying to locate a copy of the text. At the very least, even if you don’t buy any of your books, take some time to figure out what books are required and where you can get the best price.
  • Make time for fun! Do not overlook how important this is! It can be easy to get overwhelmed but it is critical to keep everything in perspective. I definitely made the mistake first semester of not allowing myself to do more enjoyable things. For example, this past week, I went to see “La La Land” with two friends from the program. Obviously the academics are incredibly important, but the MAcc program is about the entire experience, not just what happens in the classroom.

The Final Stretch

As our final semester of the MAcc program begins, I find myself very excited for many of the classes I am taking. The spring semester allows students more flexibility for electives because there is only one core class that takes place in the spring, and the rest of your schedule is up to you.

The only core class is Accounting and Professional Research taught by the Director of the MAcc. This class involves reading research papers and in class discussions to better understand the landscape of accounting and finance research. I enjoy it so far, but it is definitely a lot of reading.

For electives this semester, I signed up for many accounting and finance courses. I am taking two fraud courses, one taught by the Chief Risk Officer at Ohio State and the other is taught by our Auditing professor from last semester. Both of these classes are very interesting and provide good insight for me as someone who is entering the audit field after graduation. I am also taking a financial modeling course that meets only once a week. I know Excel is going to be used for the rest of my life so I wanted to make sure I brush up on my skills before graduating. Next session, I will be taking Accounting for Mergers & Acquisitions, Government and Non-Profit accounting, Investments 1 and Private Equity.

No Fraud

The last class I am taking this semester is Negotiations. A classmate, Sam, recommended it to me and I absolutely love it so far. You learn the essentials to negotiating and actually practice negotiations in class. I did not do well on my first negotiation, but I am looking forward to learning a lot from this class and having a nice change of pace from my accounting and finance-heavy schedule.

I am very excited for my last semester of school. I am nervous about joining the real world, but I am set on learning as much as possible this semester and making sure I enjoy the time I have left at Ohio State.