Stamp the Last Item of Your Checklist

Once class started, time just flew by. How many items on your checklist (the one that I suggested) are accomplished? Let me check mine!

Year of school established—-checked; Buckeye T-shirt—-checked; watch a football game at the stadium—-(I see the light!) half checked; learn to sing Carmen Ohio—-I did! Checked!

So here comes the last item I left open in my previous entry, “know why our colors are Scarlet and Gray”. If you haven’t found the answer in the library, take out your stamp now, and ready? Here’s the answer:

Library
Original pieces of the Scarlet and Gray ribbons.

The colors of Scarlet and Gray were selected in 1878, before the Ohio State University’s very first commencement. According to the library’s exhibition, “In 1878, the first graduating class wanted ribbons to decorate and to tie their diplomas. A student committee visited a local store, Lazarus, compared ribbons of different colors, and selected orange and black! When the students learned those were the colors of Princeton, they returned and selected scarlet and gray instead, simply because the colors were pleasing and represented no other institution.”

A Great Start

After moving to Columbus last Sunday, my schedule has been nothing short of jam-packed!  I attended the Grad student orientation on Monday to better orient myself with campus after missing the MAcc orientation the previous week.  Several hundred first-year grad students crammed into a lecture hall in Independence Hall to listen to a variety of speakers including President Gee.  I felt that the orientation was well organized and a great learning experience.

On Tuesday morning, I attended the MAcc boot camp.  We were initially given an overview of Fisher Connect (the main job database used to sign up for on-campus interviews and a variety of other career tools) and we were then presented with several panels of speakers ranging from experienced public accountants to HR staff to accountants working outside of public accounting.  It was mainly an open forum to ask questions regarding the interview process and to get more details on what a career in public accounting is like.

Wednesday was the first day of classes and because I live a couple of miles off-campus, I decided to buy a green ‘C pass’ to be able to park on campus.  After arriving on campus, it took me roughly a half-hour to find a parking space.  I admit that I arrived on campus at a terrible time and was not very familiar with all of the lots.  Parking on campus went much smoother the rest of the week after I knew where to go and how to more efficiently look for open spots.  My classes all seemed to go smooth and my professors were very knowledgeable (more on this in a later post).

Thursday and Friday were filled with homework, getting everything set up on Fisher Connect and a mock job fair.  And of course Saturday was the Buckeyes’ game…. another shutout for the Bucks.

Why a MAcc

About 2 years ago I made one of the hardest decisions in my life. This decision has two parts to it: 1. To quit or not to quit my job; and 2. If I do quit, should I get a MBA or something else?

The first part turned out to be pretty straight forward. I was dragging my feet to work everyday and when I’m at work, my morale hit rock bottom. I was chatting online and writing emails to friends constantly asking for their opinions because a number of them ran into the same situation and ended up going back to school for their MBAs. So a decision was made: I’m quitting this job. See ya~

Before I sent in my resignation, I had to think really hard about what I want to do after grad school and hence what I need to accomplish and learn from grad school. My ill-fated start-up experience taught me a lot about running a business and brought out my hidden business side. I took on many challenges and really enjoyed the process and the sense of accomplishment. Okay, so definitely not going back for a master in engineering. Now what? Get a MBA?

I wasn’t quite sure what a MBA is for except that it spells Master of Business Administration. I knew many of my friends were pursuing one. So I began my research by going down the list of some of the most prominent business schools according to the USNEWS ranking.  Stanford, Harvard, U-Penn, Chicago, etc, all of them were very dazzling and what amazed me the most was the number of areas they cover in their programs in order to make their MBA candidates successful. I took a step back and thought, well I’m not big on management (at least not yet), I’m really not a marketing/sales person, and I’m not really interested in HR, logistics, PR, operations, etc. So what did I like the most out of my start-up experience? Yup, you guessed it, accounting & finance.

There’s so much involved to start or run a business. You are in contact with numerous entities daily. Vendors, lenders, customers, employees, partners, etc, all of which require some forms of resource going back and forth, which then can all be translated into money. Without a good information system, you go with what you know and hope for the best. However, if you know some accounting or have someone manage and design a sound accounting system for you, then you can base your decisions and strategies on information you can trust. Lastly, if anything, I used to be an engineer and still think like one so I’m very logical and good with numbers. Cliche? Ha, maybe~

So what are you trying to learn in grad school and what are your goals after you’re done?

Orientation, and finding a job

Orientation was great. I will spare the nitty gritty details, as they have been covered, but it was lot of time learning about the program and what is expected of us, as well as a lot of time spent figuring out how we are going to get jobs in this lovely economy. It really was a HUGE help, and the networking tips, as well as other career search tips have already proved invaluable.

We had a boot camp, with a lot of Big 4 and regional firm employees serving as a panel to allow us to ask questions. This has been my favorite day of the program so far, I really learned a lot, and the networking/ability to speak with recruiters has been fantastic so far. I should be hearing back within the next week as to where I will be interviewing.

Classes started on Wednesday, so it was nice to get that monkey off my back,  and also nice that it was a short week, and I was done by Thursday. Sarah has been in Denver all week for training, so I have had the house to myself. She flies back into Columbus this evening at something like 11:30, which coincides with her parents arrival for the weekend to visit. It will definitely be nice to have company, and we are looking forward to taking her parents around tomorrow afternoon to show them the madness that is an Ohio State pre-game tailgate.

At some point, hopefully soon, I am thinking of letting her write a part of a few entries, so anyone with a fiance or significant other can read her comments about the experience of going to grad school as a +1.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and GO BUCKS!

Working for the weekend?

Applying for interviews takes forever!  I am pretty sure I just spent four hours filling out four applications, but I can’t really tell… because I’m not quite sure when I started, or what time of day it is… or where I am.

The Fisher Fall Career Fair Guide is 58 pages long, I wish I could get an audio version.  When I was little, I used to listen to Russian fairy tales on my grandparents’ gramophone, it was very relaxing.

Jeni’s Ice Cream is Splendid indeed.  The beer flavor is delicious, but would anyone on earth be able to resist some cold goat cheese with cherries?  Didn’t think so.

Anyway, the three-day “weekend” has commenced.  Somehow, I ended up experiencing all of my four classes in the two days allotted to the first week of school.  Not once did I fall asleep, or feel an unstoppable urge to sneak out for a bathroom break.  I even remembered to bring a water bottle.  Here’s to hoping the trend continues.

Next quarter I am definitely going after an early schedule.  Classes starting at 1:30 pm or later sounded like a good idea a few months ago, but that’s just not how I work.

The PreMAcc Seminar

Forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but I can’t remember if I mentioned my undergrad degree in my last post. So here it is again, I graduated  from the University of Texas with a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering.

So how much accounting training did I have before deciding to switch career to accounting? nada~ I took 2 intro accounting classes at a local community college and that’s it. I did take 6 calculus classes in undergrad but that probably doesn’t make too much of a difference, does it? To close up the gap and be able to catch up to the rest of my peers, fortunately there’s this summer intensive accounting bootcamp called PreMAcc and I’m here to share with you what we went through in just 6 weeks.

The seminar is divided into 3 modules: Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, and Auditing.

Financial Accounting

In a nutshell, 3 quarters worth of intermediate accounting packed into 13 days including 2 Saturdays. Sounds scary and crazy at first, but you come out of it knowing more accounting than you ever did. Some notable topics that really opened my eyes were: Revenue Recognition, Time Value of Money, Debts, Statement of Cashflow, etc. Make sure you learn these concepts well, because they will keep coming back not only in your future accounting classes, but also finance classes. Having seen these concepts once makes it so much easier to grasp the advanced topics and if you fear that you might be getting rusty, fear not, the rigorous schedule of PreMAcc have long carved the concepts in your memory. They will come back very quickly!

Cost Accounting

So you’ve been through the toughest module and everything from here on out is all downhills. You learn about different costing methods, CVP, Decision Making, Master Budget, Capital Budgeting, etc. Here you get a taste of private accounting, in other words, what managers see inside a company that enable them to make decisions and evaluate different strategies. This module was only half as long as the first one and lasted 7 days. This module is fun because you get to turn the table around and gain an understanding of why some managers do certain things.

Auditing

Before this module I had no idea what auditors do. All I know is back when I was still working in IT consulting, whenever there’s auditors on site we’d have to be really careful of what we say and sometimes we even stop our development because of Sarbane-Oxley. I’ve also heard “horror” stories from friends who are/were doing auditing in public accounting about their 60-70 hours weeks and how much they hate their “busy work”. All that’s changed after going through this module. We started by learning why there is the need of the profession “auditing” in the first place. Then we went about how an auditor should understand the risks his/her client’s particular business is exposed to, how to plan the audit to evaluate the internal controls and assess the chances that the client’s financial statements might be misstated due to error or fraud, and last but not least, the liabilities auditors are facing and proper documentations.

Having completed the PreMAcc both boosted my confidence and sharpened my accounting skills so I’m ready for the real deal. Feel free to drop me any questions if you think you’re going to take the PreMAcc. I can even give you a preview of the professors that you’re going to meet. All three of them are great, intelligent individuals who know the stuff inside out.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to my fellow PreMAccers: Chia-Lung, Ya-Ting, Bobby, Bennett, Dustin, Nadia (our fellow blogger), Yang Yang, Wei, Qi, Lisi, John, Peishan, Michael, and Stephen. Good Job Guys!!!

Why Fisher?

After graduating this past spring from The University of Findlay (small private university in Northwest Ohio), I had a very difficult decision to make about where I wanted my career path to go.  To complicate things, I accepted an offer to work full-time as a cost accountant at Guardian Automotive Industries well before considering the MAcc program which made choosing between the opportunities I was later presented with all that much harder to choose between.

After randomly deciding to take the GMAT based on a recommendation from a friend; I decided to apply to the MAcc programs at Ohio State and that school up north after it was recommended by a professor at UF (as a die-hard Buckeye fan who has never lived outside of Ohio, I’m still shocked that I considered attending that school up north so heavily).  After being accepted at each institution, I visited each school and felt much more comfortable with the environment, weather, people, parking situation, location… and of course the sports teams at Ohio State.  The administration at Fisher showed me that they were genuinely concerned about every student and I felt very comfortable with the atmosphere.

After graduation, I knew that I would have a difficult decision between staying at Guardian and going back to school.  During my short time at Guardian, I was exposed to a wide variety of accounting tasks and learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful cost account.  After a great deal of deliberation, I ultimately chose to go back to school based on the countless opportunities and resources that I will have access to at Fisher.

I’m looking forward to a great year in the MAcc program!

The soundtrack to my life contains…

In my undergrad days my mind would invariably play “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen as a tribute to every classmate who announced an upcoming departure from the architecture program, or simply stopped showing up for class. It seemed sad at first, but then I too became a “drop-out” (though I did actually graduate with a BSArch), and now I’m feeling pretty good about my decision.

My path to where I am today isn’t exactly something I’d describe as straight and simple: I was born in the Republic of Moldova back when it had a slightly different name and was still part of the USSR, moved to the suburbs of Pittsburgh when I was eleven, moved again to study architecture at the University of Cincinnati, got married, interned at two local architecture firms while working on my degree, took a year off after graduation, reassessed my situation, and, finally, dragged my husband with me to Columbus after I found out about my acceptance to Fisher.

Since the move I have been busy preparing for the first day of classes. I participated in the six-week Pre-MAcc program to complete some pre-requisite work which would have taken much more time and money to fulfill through quarter-long courses at UC. I also finally learned how to ride a bicycle, because the Olentangy River Trail runs right past my apartment, and provides a very fun and convenient way for getting to campus (it’s going to be even more fun once my knee heals, and the memories of washing skid marks off my teeth and picking gravel from under my skin go away). Tomorrow I’ll be attending the MAcc Bootcamp event, and the day after that school is finally back in session. Yay?!

Moving to Columbus

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Kyle Ward-Dahl. I decided back in January that I would be attending the Fisher College of Business to earn my Masters of Accounting. Since then, the time has seemingly flown by. I graduated from Christopher Newport University (a small liberal arts school in the Virginia Beach area) and then lived and worked (mostly worked it seemed) in Northern Virginia/DC all summer.

My fiancee Sarah and I moved to the Columbus area Friday the 11th. Sarah will be joining me on this adventure. She found a great job in HR with Dish Network. For those of you with significant others, even though the Ohio job market is tough, it CAN be done. Hopefully her working can help pay for pizzas on those late nights studying 🙂

Sarah and I decided we wanted to go to the USC game, so we bought tickets from a scalper (not the cheapest way to do it) and headed to the game. There is just something special about big-time college football. OSU fans set a new Ohio Stadium attendance record that night, and boy was it loud. That game was awesome, even though the ending wasn’t what we were hoping for.

We moved into our duplex just north of campus, and spent literally the entire weekend finding furniture for our place.  Kitchen table/chairs, mattress, dressers etc. Most of the stuff we found either on Craigslist, or got really good deals on, which we were both excited about. I am currently searching for a bike, as campus is a little far to walk. Orientation started early Tuesday the 14th, and a wrap up of that will follow in my next post.

Cheers

Back to School

This title can mean 2 things:

1) Our break will end officially in two days.  I am eager to take on my classes, at the same time, I am also anxious about the career fair the following Tuesday and all the interviews thereafter (fingers crossed, pick me pick me).

2) I finished my undergraduate five years ago and worked in the IT consulting industry for about four years. Toward the end of that career I was dragging my feet to work every morning and thus began searching for a new direction. After a series of events, I decided that I need more formal education, particularly in accounting, in order to succeed in the business world. Therefore, I’m going “back to school”.

At the beginning of the application process I was confronted by a hard decision: MBA or MAcc? I ended up picking MAcc (for reasons that I’ll save for another topic) and I applied to a number of schools, namely Texas, USC, Vanderbilt, Indiana, and of course, Ohio State. I received admissions from several of them, but this time it was a rather easy decision. OSU’s innovative MAcc program itself and the people I was in contact with totally won me over. I expect many of you prospective students be in touch with Rob, and you’ll see what I mean.