Expect the Unexpected

It is hard to believe I am already three quarters of the way through my time in the MAcc program here at Fisher. While reflecting on how rewarding this experience has been, I realized how much of this experience I underestimated. Don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to this year, but little did I know what it had in store.  Here are some things I expected from this experience:

  • I knew I would be taking accounting courses to achieve the necessary 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA, and have time to study for the exams during school.
  • I knew I would be working 10 hours per week in the Graduate Programs Office as a Graduate Assistant (GA).
  • I knew I would be living with another girl in the program whom I found on the 2018/2019 MAcc class Facebook page.
  • I knew I would get to officially be a Buckeye and enjoy a fall full of Ohio State football!

More importantly, here are some of the unexpected experiences that the MAcc program provided me with:

  • Growing my network by meeting students who will be working all over the country and the world.
  • Gaining new friendships with students who have similar career paths and goals as I do.
  • Having a blast with the other GAs whom I work with, and looking forward to going to work every day.
  • Taking courses and developing friendships with students in the MBA, MHRM, and SMF programs.
  • Playing intramural volleyball on Sunday nights with my fellow GA co-workers (Go Notorious D.I.G.).
  • Having a great support network of classmates/study buddies who are also studying for the CPA.

Moral of the story: your time in the Ohio State MAcc program is short but sweet—the MAcc program has so much to offer!

Tackling the CPA Exam

Many students in the MAcc Program are currently preparing for the CPA exam. We have heard horror stories about studying for the exam, and I am here to tell you it is doable to take while in class. This was a main concern of mine coming into the program because I want to have the exam done before I start working.

For those who don’t know, the CPA exam consists of four tests (Audit, Regulation, Business Environment and Concepts, and Financial Accounting and Reporting). To become licensed, you are required to have 150 credit hours. The rules on when you can sit for the exam and what classes are needed vary by state so make sure you check the rules for your state. Once you have the requirements complete, you can sign up for your Notice to Schedule, which allows you to sit for the exam. You do not have to take the exam in the state in which you are getting licensed.

While balancing classes and studying for the exam is difficult, it can be done. Currently, I am studying for the Audit section of the exam and plan on taking it soon. My main strategy is planning ahead and giving myself more time than I thought was needed. At the beginning of the semester, I wrote down all the due dates of assignments and exams in my courses and then planned my CPA studying around that. I gave myself an extra week than was needed, and am very glad that I did, as a schedule never goes completely as planned.

While I am definitely more busy, don’t worry—the CPA does not control your life. Between working, classes, and studying for the exam I still have time to go out with friends, be on intramural teams, and have time to do things I enjoy.

GMAT Study Tips

Learn how to BEAT the test: Strategy

Once I mastered strategy, the online question bank that my materials provided helped me apply that strategy, and I saw huge improvements in my metrics.

  • Explore various preparation resources and weigh your options.
  • A source with an online question bank is a helpful study tool because you can measure your improvement and take advantage of question repetition.
  • Find a resource that will teach you strategy!

Study Plan

Everyone is different! Creating a study plan that works for you is going to take some feeling out. Utilize your network and find out what worked for your peers. For me, I felt that repetition of multiple choice questions was the best way to study. The advice that I received prior to taking the test was to study 8–10 hours per week for at least eight weeks leading up to the test.

The first GMAT exam I sat for was in November of my senior year. Personally, I studied seven hours per week for eight weeks prior to that first test. I was enrolled in 21 credit hours that semester, so I was not in the best situation to prepare for a standardized test and did not receive my desired score.

It is OKAY to take the GMAT more than once. Most people do not get their desired score the first time.

The second time I took the GMAT was after a restful winter break. With a clear head, I focused on studying my weakest area of the test: Verbal Reasoning. I was able to improve my verbal score significantly, which subsequently improved my overall score.

Also, be sure to incorporate balance into your study plan! Even though my schedule was hectic, I made sure to set aside time workout and have fun with my friends. I didn’t let the GMAT keep me from playing intramurals.

My business fraternity’s IM volleyball team!

What to expect on test day

  • There is no calculator for the Quantitative portion on the exam (so don’t study with one!)
  • A laminated sheet and a permanent marker is available to work through problems, so I recommend studying with blank paper and a permanent writing utensil to simulate test conditions
  • Be aware that once you click “submit test,” your score instantly pops up on the screen!

Good Luck!

Snow Place Like Columbus

This January has been especially snowy at The Ohio State University (and around the country), which has provided students with opportunities to have fun in the snow! Our first snowfall in January was a big one, and so my roommates and I took full advantage by going sledding around campus using cardboard and makeshift plastic for sleds.

My roommate Nathan sledding down the sidewalk

I also was able to go skiing with friends at a resort just outside of Columbus. Ohio State offers discounted tickets to many different events and locations around Columbus, so we were able to get lift and rental tickets at a great price. Skiing as a beginner was challenging, but a ton of fun.  It’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things in order to grow! I am grateful to Ohio State and the MAcc program for providing me these kinds of opportunities to learn and have fun.

Skiing with my friends

One thing I love about the MAcc program is that all of our classes are in the same building: Gerlach Hall. This saves us from having to walk across campus to get to our next class. All MAcc students are provided a locker as well, making it easy to change out of those snowy boots into your business apparel! While the weather may be cold outside during the start of spring semester, our love of Fisher certainly is not.

My Spring Semester Classes

And just like that, we are already half way through our tenure as MAcc students here at the Max M. Fisher College of Business! After a long and relaxing winter break, I was excited to return to Columbus and reunite with my new friends and fellow classmates in the MAcc program. This semester, our schedules are completely made up of electives, and I am especially excited for three that I am enrolled in.

Visiting family in Chicago over break!

1. Fraud Examination and Misappropriation of Assets

I chose to take this elective because I knew it would relate to Audit, which is the service line I will be starting my career in. Little did I know it would already, just one week in, be my (and many of my classmates) favorite course. The course is taught by the chief risk officer for The Ohio State University who brings a unique perspective to the classroom. As part of the course, the professor brings in felons to openly discuss their past fraudulent activities.

2. Crucial Conversations

This course is one of the few electives that is a full semester (instead of a seven-week session). During this course, we have the opportunity of learning from an experienced businessman how to properly navigate crucial conversations in work and in life. This class will give us the tools necessary to successfully engage in conversations that we will encounter in our future careers.

3. Negotiations

Similar to Crucial Conversations, Negotiations is also a full semester course that teaches us tools that we will be able to utilize in all aspects of our lives. In this course, we actively engage in a negotiation once a week and learn skills that build upon themselves to strengthen our ability to successfully negotiate. I am looking forward to understanding the different components of negotiation and learning best practices through repetition.

My Winter Break

It’s hard to believe we are already back and are starting our final semester in the MAcc Program here at OSU. After finals, it was nice to go home to New Jersey and get some R&R. I spent my break relaxing and spending time with my family and friends. Most of my time was spent bingeing shows on Netflix or watching sports, like OSU winning the Rose Bowl!  

My dog decided to take a nap under the tree

I also spent my break starting to prepare for the dreaded CPA exam. I plan on taking the Audit section first sometime in February so wanted to get a head start on that. Sometime in a future blog post, I’ll talk about mine and other students experience taking the CPA exam will in classes because it is very doable!

After some much needed rest, I’m now back in Columbus and back in class. In the spring semester, all of our classes are elective-based classes so you get to choose what interests you most (and it means no Friday classes!). I am in classes like Fraud Examination and Negotiations. These classes seem like they are going to be very interesting and am excited to see how the semester goes!

Traveling Back in Time to Cuba

Fresh off the excitement of finishing my first semester of graduate school, I decided to take a break from the books, cold weather, and CPA prep courses and travel to Cuba with my brother.

Wait – that Cuba? Yes, that Cuba. Visiting Cuba has always been a dream of mine.  My grandmother immigrated to the United States from Cuba before the Castro regime took over in the early 1950s.  Due to obvious political conflicts between the U.S. and Cuba, the U.S. government restricts U.S. citizens from traveling to Cuba unless they meet one of 12 OFAC requirements.  No one in my family has ever been there, and my grandmother has not visited since she left 65+ years ago.  When the opportunity to travel to Cuba arose for my brother and me in November, we jumped right on it.

To get to Cuba, we took a small cruise ship that left from Miami.  Cuba is only about 330 miles off the coast of Miami.  Upon arrival, I felt as if I stepped back time time.  The first thing you notice is the old cars.  They are everywhere!  Due to economic sanctions, it is nearly impossible for Cubans to get new cars or new car parts.  Because of this, they make sure to keep their cars from the 1950s in top shape and even make their own parts for repairs.

Pink Car Cruising down the Street
Me in a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado

My brother and I rented a gorgeous 1955 Eldorado for three hours and drove all over Havana (we had a driver) to see the sights before deciding which ones we would explore more.  Driving around, you will not see anything that you would in America: no fast food chains, major billboards, bright lights, or department stores.  Communist propaganda is everywhere around the city.  Even the U.S. embassy was closed.  The only American reference we saw was the capital building in Havana, El Capitolio, which was modeled after the White House.

El Capitolio in Havana

Day-to-day life is drastically different too.  Many Cubans do not have cell phones or internet access.  One Cuban we talked to said they got access to Google the week before we arrived (early December).  For example, Cubans have to go to the “Black Market” to watch American TV shows we see every day, such as South Park or Game of Thrones.   The vast majority of people in Cuba make $10 a month, with doctors being the highest paid at $50 a month.  Education and healthcare are free for all and you can take advantage of these services as much as you want.  A tour guide we had showed us her “Ration Book” that she has to take to get her bread and rice from the government.

My trip to Cuba was eye opening and made me feel very blessed to have been born in the United States.  Everyone we talked to was extremely friendly. I’m very grateful to be able to visit and share my experience!

Thanks for reading!

Where to Get Your Caffeine Fix

Like most grad students, something I can’t survive without is coffee. I need my two cups a day to keep myself going. One of the first things I did once school started was scope out some of the local cafes for some good coffee and study locations. I’ve put together a list of some of mine and fellow students favorites coffee shops around Columbus.

Latte form Stauf’s

If you are trying to stay on or near Fisher to get some quick coffee in between classes. there are a few options for you. Right on Fisher’s campus in Mason Hall is Rohr Cafe. It sells Starbucks coffee and pastries there. Speaking of Starbucks, there is a new one right on the corner of High and Lane just a quick walk from Fisher’s campus. There is ample seating for studying as well.

If you are trying to find some places to study farther off campus with some seriously good coffee, Columbus has many great options. One of my favorites I have been to so far is Stauf’s Coffee Roasters. They have a few locations around Columbus and all of them are a great environment to just grab a cup of coffee or get some serious studying done. They have many seasonal drinks as well as a Buckeye Latte which is a must try. If you are in the German Village shop I highly recommend taking a study break and stopping next door to the Book Loft. It has over 30 rooms filled floor to ceiling with books.

Getting reading done while at Fox in the Snow

Another favorite of many students is Fox in the Snow Cafe. They have two locations and has some amazing coffee and pastries. Fair warning this cafe does not have wifi as they want their customers to socialize with each other. It’s a great place for friends to hang out and drink some coffee or to get some reading done.

Some other locations that I recommend are The Roosevelt Coffee House, Heirloom Cafe (on OSU campus and locally owned/grown products), Mission Coffee and Red Velvet Cafe. My friends and I spend many afternoons at some of these shops getting our work done and enjoying some great coffee.

Autumn MAcc Reception

It’s crazy to think I am currently studying for finals and almost halfway done with the MAcc program. It goes by faster than you could imagine. Every year, the MAcc program hosts a reception for the students and faculty at the end of the fall semester. This past week was our reception and it was a great way to close out our semester before everything gets too hectic. Many students and professors from the MAcc program get together and enjoy dinner and drinks before Dr. Zach, our program director, and a guest speaker say a few words.

The event was held at the Faculty Club right here on campus and I have to say it was nice to be somewhere on campus that was not Gerlach Hall aka Fisher Grad student’s second home. The reception was a great opportunity to see some of my classmates and professors out of the classroom setting. Each table had a mix of students and a professor so we all got to interact a lot in a more casual environment over dinner. Dinner was a large spread of options to choose from along with an amazing dessert bar.

Later in the night, we had a guest speaker who was an OSU MAcc Alum come to talk to us about her experience in the MAcc program and her career thus far. It was great hearing from someone who has been through what we are facing right now and hear about her experiences. Overall it was a great evening. Not only did I get to be with MAcc students and professors, but also got a free dinner which is always appreciated.

The Best Holiday of the Season

2560
By Audrey Farber
‘Twas the night before game day, and all throughout campus,
Not a creature was stirring, not even Demetrius;
“Beat TTUN” banners were hung by the houses with care,
In hopes that a “W” soon would be there;
The buckeyes were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of pick-6’s danced in their heads;
And Urban in his white pullover, and I in my hat,
Had just settled down for a long November nap;
When out on the Oval there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But the crew from College GameDay, and students in gear.
Now Herbstreit! now, Fowler! now Howard and Corso!
On Haskins! on Campbell! on Dobbins and Dixon!
We sprang to the Shoe, to the teams gave a whistle,
And away we outplayed them with our might and our hustle.
I heard Urban exclaim, ere he drove out of sight –
“Happy Game Day to all, and to all a good night!”

Storming the field after beating Michigan 2018!

Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Ohio State Buckeye fans celebrate the best holiday of the year from near and far: The Ohio State vs. Michigan game day! This was the third rivalry game I have attended since my freshman year of college, and every game beats the last. Traditionally, everyone brings Thanksgiving leftovers to early morning tailgates before the noon game. It is one of my favorite days of the year, and I felt lucky to spend this one with my fellow MAcc friends! Happy Holidays and Go Bucks!