My New Habit

What new habit I could establish living a busy life in grad school, you might ask. Meetings! Taking four classes implies that I have four groups, one for each class, and a typical week can be like the one I just had.

Thursday evening, my first group meeting of the week as my simulation group decided to switch our regular meeting to Thursdays. We were told that the study room GE R237 was reserved for us. Our group members spent some time searching for that mystery Room 237, with R236 and R238 found but never was another room seen in between. As a result we had to compete with the P&G Case teams—they competed for the prize we competed for a room—and we managed to occupy a medium lecture room for our discussion. As the end of the simulation competition approaches, our company confronted increasing challenges. One night was not enough, and “let’s meet again on Friday morning”.

Friday, our simulation team stayed at the same spot for 6 hours until we finally felt the decision we made was reasonably reliable. We had some Chinese food together afterwards.

Saturday, meeting for the AMIS824 memo at Laura Anne’s place. Laura Anne’s cookies were great, and her hamster Beevo likes me. Working hard and being efficient, we were able enjoy the football games after our meeting.

Sunday, two in a row. Meeting my AMIS804 crew at 2pm, and we were done in half an hour, a new record! I stayed for another meeting with the FIN811 group. And there came the highlight of the week, we figured we were really ahead of time—the professor’s instruction for the case was not available yet. Meeting was canceled. Class dismissed.

Meeting with groups is no longer simply meeting for projects and homework. It has blend in with my daily life. It can be part of hanging out with friends, having dinner or sharing snacks, and even fun and games. Sometimes I even do it without a project base, like the one I mistakenly called for on Sunday. That’s why I said meeting with groups has become a habit of mine.

“The Fisher Experience”

After being a grad student for a little over a month at Fisher, I have realized that a big part of being a grad student at Fisher is the overall “experience” outside of the classroom.  I have sought every opportunity to network, get involved, and socialize over the past month that would possibly fit into my schedule.  Here is a really random list of some things I have done to enhance my experience @ Fisher:

* Play racquetball a couple times a week at the RPAC– At our initial grad student orientation (for all OSU students, not just Fisher) back in September, I met a first year nuclear engineering masters student that just moved to Columbus after 4 years in Gainesville (yes, straight from “the swamp”).  We talked about our goal of trying to stay in shape in grad school and decided that we should get on a regular workout schedule.  Over time, that has turned into extremely competitive racquetball matches that I always seem to lose, but it is a great way to stay in shape and learn about the experiences of another grad student in a different program @ OSU.

* Fisher “Event’s of the Week” (EOTW)—these are great socializing events put on by the “social chairs” at Fisher.  Last week, I attended a terrific Halloween party at “Mozaik,” a nice bar in the arena district.  There was a very large turnout and everyone seemed to have a great time!

* Events on “the hub”—the Fisher Hub is a listing of all events that Fisher grad students can participate in.  I have attended numerous events on the hub, with my two favorite being a lecture by the VP of Finance @ Google and a visit to Limited Brands (including a presentation by Les Wexner).

* Work conversions @ the Schott—this likely qualifies as the most random thing that I have done thus far.  To summarize, I have a good high school friend who is currently a senior @ OSU (I graduated from undergrad in 3 yrs., so all of my H.S. friends are now seniors) and he asked me if I wanted to work @ the Schott.  He told me that the hours were terrible (definitely true—last night I worked 11 pm to 3 am), but you are fairly compensated and the work is not bad.  Last night we converted the Schott from basketball to hockey.  It is pretty amazing how fast 30 people can completely alter the facility and have it prepared for hockey, basketball, concerts, and wrestling matches.

* And of course, last but not least, attend OSU football games.

Still Job Searching

Things have been going well. I am still in the midst of the job search, and have expanded my search to include government agencies, banks, and some other entities as well. The economy is definitely not making it easy to get things done. I feel like a couple years ago, a MAcc from OSU would be the equivalent of writing a ticket to whatever employer was wanted. With the economy the way it is, hiring is way down, and it has definitely had an effect.

This is just something I have to fight through. Like I said, I have opened my search, and I will make this happen.

Classes are going extremely well. I had a financial statements midterm on Thursday that went well, and just had my finance midterm Monday, and think I did extremely well on that. The group projects I have been working on have been fantastic. My group members continues to be amazing, and we are working together extremely well. I was taking a look at the calender yesterday, and it is ridiculous, there is only about a month left in the semester, then we get a month off!

Office Visits

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had numerous 2nd round interviews to help determine which firm/ company is the best fit for me.  These visits typically consist of a “prenight” event the night before and then a whole day of interviews/ presentations the next day for the office visit.  I enjoyed going on the first couple of office visits along with the presents they always give, the free meals, and meeting all of the current employees.  However, I have slowly grown tired of the loooong office visits that could easily be shortened to 1.5 – 2 hrs, but instead last 7 + hours.

At this point in the process, I’m tired of telling the same story about what makes me such a great leader, crafting great reasons why I want to work for X company or X public accounting firm, and hearing how great the people are at each firm/ company.  After so many interviews, I have stopped asking the general question that many people ask the person that interviews them— “what sets your company apart/ makes it unique from your competitors?”  I have realized that the odds are about 90% that the first response will be “the people are great here.”  After going through all of these office visits, I have decided to work for a firm where I feel that I fit, where I’m doing work that interest me, and where and of course… where the people are great!

Up, Down and Touch the Ground

Don’t let your schedule fool you: If your weekend is looking promising, you’re probably forgetting a few commitments.

My husband Geoff and I have started a little tradition. I tend to stress over schoolwork, so anytime I get over a big(ish) hump (like a Pre-Macc module, or a midterm) we go out to celebrate (I love food). So far we haven’t been very adventurous, because we’ve found Mozart’s, and have had a really hard time straying away. Not only is this place convenient (next to Olentangy Village), it’s also delicious, relatively cheap (especially if you have a “buy 1, get 1 half off” coupon), and smells like pastries (yum). Breakfast items are a big comfort food for me, so I always go for the Tyrolean Special and a cup of hot tea (according to Geoff the coffee is amazing as well). In the end, it’s all about positive association: midterms are good because I get to eat.

Up-Down-Up
When I up, down, touch the ground
it puts me in the mood
Up, down, touch the ground
in the mood {smacks lips} for food

I am stout, round and I have found
speaking poundage-wise
I improve my appetite
when I exercise
(ripping sound)

Oh stuff and fluff
(ties his back together again)
That’s better
(reflection in the mirror talks back)
Thank you
Now, where was I?
(grumbling sound from stomach)

Oh, yes, I’m rumbly in my tumbly.
Time for something sweet
I am short, fat, and proud of that
and so with all my might
I up, down, up-down
to my appetite’s delight

While I up, down, touch the ground
I think of things to chew
(Mmm, like honey, milk, and chocolate)
With a hefty-happy appetite
I’m a hefty-happy Pooh.

With a hefty-happy appetite
he’s a hefty-happy Pooh.

Source: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/updown.htm

Winter Quarter Overloaded

Last Wednesday I was able to put together my class schedule for the winter quarter. Here’s what it looks like:

  1. AMIS 803 (5) – MW 830-1018
  2. AMIS 866 (1~4) – MW 1030-1218
  3. AMIS 822 (5) – MW 130-318
  4. AMIS 894.40 (2) T 1030-1218
  5. BUSFIN 849 (4) – T 130-430

At first glance I was thinking, woot no classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Then I realized if I add up the numbers in parenthesis, which represent the number of credits for the course, I’m looking at somewhere between 17 and 20 credit hours!!! Not only is this schedule suicidal, if you go to Buckeye Link and look up the professors teaching the classes, the combo of Arya + Dan-O will easily destroy me, not to mention the AMIS 211 lab that I have to lead.

So one of them has to go. I’m determined to take 803 and 849 (hmmm… didn’t I just say these two will probably make my life miserable? lol). I really do need more assurance and auditing so 822 will likely stay. Lastly, 894.40 (BPM) is sort of interesting after attending the presentation by the Google VP because I can relate my consulting days to the importance of having a COE (Center of Excellence). So my only choice is down to 866, which fortunately is also offered in spring.

So what do you guys think? Does this sound like a reasonable plan? Why is it that Fisher offers so many classes I want to take in the same quarter?  Now I’m kind of jealous at the MBAs… grrrr

One Down, A Lot More to Go

October 29th, 2009, 1:15pm, Room 355, greetings flying in the room were mostly “are you ready”. A significant number of people were holding a piece of romantic light purple paper. Purple was Dave’s daughter’s favorite color and was therefore designated the color for the pre-assigned mid-term reading.

1:30pm, the AMIS 824 mid-term started. Very intensive, as expected. I tried hard to calm myself down without slowing down on the questions. I had no clue how to finish all the sections correctly and on time, and that article on the romantic light purple paper was killing me, romantically, with something that I love, logic and numbers. I read the article carefully before the exam, trying to follow everything in the report. Almost automatically, my brain assumed that everything mentioned in it was correct and I would be tested based on the information provided in the article, because that’s what exams usually do. Half correct. We were asked to criticize the article. The requirement crashed with my brain’s pre-assumption and thus shorted the thinking. Using Dave’s word selection, that was called a “tragedy”.

I reread the article when waiting for the COTA bus (yea, COTA is always part of daily life). After being told to criticize it, the article seemed a lot more problematic to me. Very ironic. I remembered what was discussed in class, remembered the formulas, remembered the financial statement formats, but I forgot that I am in grad school! I am supposed to always examine and criticize what was told before agreeing with it.

My MBA classmates told me it is going to be okay. They took another course with Dave last quarter and the final was even more “painful” than this one (oh, well). I am not going to examine these statements because they are friends’ comforting words. Is it going to be okay? I don’t know. The only thing I know is—one mid-term down, a lot more to go, more than just exams, way more.

The Art of Negotiating

MLHR802: Managerial Negotiations, taught by Professor Dumas has provided me with a wealth of negotiating knowledge.  A majority of the class is taught through simulations of negotiations.  We started with very simple distributive negotiations with only one issue and have since advanced onto very complex integrative negotiations with multiple parties.

A distributive negotiation is known as a win/ lose scenario in which there is a fixed amount of value and when one side gains, the other side loses.  An integrative negotiation is one in which more value can be created in the negotiation through a variety of techniques.

Last night was our midterm exam, which included everything we have learned so far.  One of the key points was the importance of planning for a negotiation.  This includes setting a target point (the point at which you would prefer to conclude negotiations), a resistance point (the lowest you will accept as a seller and the highest you will pay as a buyer), determining an opening strategy, determining what your BATNA is (Best alternative to a negotiated agreement… essentially your back-up plan), determining your opponent’s BATNA, and what your sources of power are (what leverage you have in the negotiations).

Thus far I have really enjoyed the class and am looking forward to acquiring more negotiating skills in the 2nd half of the quarter.

Tay the Pennant!

It’s finally here! The stress and lack of sleep have finally built up enough momentum to force me into spoonerisms.

Anyway, this past Tuesday I received a license for Rosetta Stone. In order to keep it, I need to complete about five hours of work by October 31st, so I’m happy I went with the beginner-level software. The few things I retained from high school French class have been more than enough, and it’s nice to have a refresher course, but I can’t wait to see what “advanced” looks like. I know I won’t be able to get away with going through each lesson only once, like I have been doing, so it’s probably going to turn into 100’s of hours of work.

Speaking of doing lots of work for free, Shalabh Gupta has volunteered to be my guest this week, so without further ado:

ShalabhCherish the Mix of the Community

I am from the beautiful country of India and came to US for school three years ago. It was a big move for me and I faced an extended struggle to adjust to the new environment and culture. But I made a lot of quality friends quickly who helped me in my transition. I am very grateful to them for their time and efforts and making me a part of their life (I am not naming anyone here since they would come back to kick me for being grateful and everything despite the lifelong friendship we have developed).

Fisher is essentially a global community, as is the so called ‘real-world’ or the ‘world out there.’ You encounter people from all over the world, which provides a tremendous opportunity to learn about different cultures. People from different backgrounds bring different perspectives, and everybody stands to gain from that. It can only happen if you appreciate the diversity in the community and give everyone a chance. People not from US stay within their own ethnic group a lot of time. I have also felt that Americans do not mingle with students from abroad as much as they could (no fingers pointed at anyone, it can be hard for anyone), though it is not the case in Fisher (I am referring to my non-Fisher experiences here). If you restrict yourself in this aspect, you are missing out big time.

My experiences at Fisher in this context, so far, have been amazing to say the least. Everyone is more than willing to lend a helping hand at the slightest indication. My friends have been taking me around and telling me a lot of things they believe might be new to me. I also have been trying to spread around the Indian culture to the best of my abilities. I have committed to my friends towards a home-cooked Indian dinner (just haven’t been able to find the time that works for the whole group due to our different schedules) and I have also taken a couple of them to an Indian festival celebration in Dublin.

I am trying to ensure that I learn as much as I can about the American culture since that was a major reason why I came to the US and also spread the Indian culture in US beyond what people encountered in Slumdog Millionaire. ‘GO BUCKS’ and ‘JAI HO’, living the best of both worlds.

Working Hard, and staying busy

This past weekend was busy to say the least. I met with my AMIS 804 (accounting research) group at 10am on Friday, then headed home to catch up on reading. I then spent ~4 hours reading about finance and financial reporting, and then decided to take the dog for a walk. We wound up going a few miles, and it was definitely nice being outside.

Friday night, Sarah and I decided to head to The Ugly Tuna Saloona, a local bar/restaurant. We had a gift card, purchased from Restaurant.com for 25$. We got the gift card on sale, so it only cost us $3 dollars. The only condition to the gift cards is you have to spend $35, and you have to tip 18% and pay tax on the full amount. We got to the Ugly Tuna, and wound up ordering three appetizers, and a few drinks. After finishing, we had to order a dessert to get us up to the $35 mark. We got our bill, and the total, for three appetizers, drinks, and dessert, was $17.70, tax and tip included. Quite the deal for a night out. Ugly Tuna was awesome, with a great atmosphere, and reasonable prices, I highly recommend checking it out.
Restaurant.com currently has another promotion available, knocking 80% off the price of gift cards, so a $25 dollar gift card is $2 dollars. I have already bought a few more, definitely a great way to have a nice cheap night out!