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.

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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