Posts filed under 'Orientation'

The Big Decision: Tax or Accounting

Most accounting students know the two major areas of public accounting: Audit and tax. They probably also know the stereotypes associated with those jobs. Generally, audit involves traveling, a lot of client interaction and being on site. Tax, on the other hand, involves corporate tax preparation, researching tax law in the audit firm and tax planning. However, there are tax people who travel widely, shy audit associates and everything in between.

MAcc students in our business casual best

So why is it important to consider the “Tax or Audit?” question? Recruiters want to know your answer, and you meet then almost as soon as you step on campus. In addition to an informational panel with recruiters during the MAcc Career Foundation Seminar, there were two mixers before the first day of class. These events are great opportunities to ask questions about what it is like in each field. It can be hard to consider whether you want to do audit or tax at the same time you are starting the MAcc program if you do not have professional experience. Start thinking about it now. Do you click on news about recent tax changes, or get immensely bored trying to figure out if your student loan qualifies for a tax credit? Do you find “The Smartest Guys In The Room” fascinating, or could you care less about GAAS? Don’t choose a career path because you think your personality “fits” into one category or another. If you want the best of both worlds there are several smaller firms that require cross training for all entry level accountants. You can also apply for both tax and audit jobs at different firms, just not both within the same firm. Each career path can be challenging in different ways, both can offer great opportunities if you do your job well, and both can be rewarding. Most importantly, try not to over think it. Pick the area you find more interesting and go with it.


To New Beginnings…

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” - Napoleon Hill

Before I begin to enlighten you about the MHRM program at The Ohio State University, you should know a little about me.

I graduated from a small private college in the foothills of the Arkansas Ozarks.  After graduating, I married and moved back to Texas to pursue a career in education.  I taught high school History and coached varsity football.  I have to admit that there is something special about coaching football on Friday nights in Texas.  Six years later, I knew that a career change would be the best move for my family.  I worked for Google as a Field Marketing Representative in Austin for about a year and then took a job as a licensed Personal Banker for JP Morgan Chase.  Last year, I decided to move my wife and son up north to one of the top ranked Human Resource Management programs in the United States. 

So why did I choose Human Resource Management as a graduate degree?  This took a lot of personal assessment and collaboration with friends and family.  Career evaluation tests suggested that my skills would be a great fit for Human Resources.  The future of the field was promising as most businesses realize the importance of human capital.  And, after speaking with other HR professionals, I understood that this would be a fulfilling career.  I became more and more confident that this would be a great field for me.

My fear when applying to this program centered around my lack of relevant education and experience.  Those fears have been completely erased.  During orientation, my cohort shared these same fears and concerns.  As I have learned from talking with some HR executives and from the second year MHRM students, the program at Ohio State prepares you to hit the ground running.  The professors offer an excellent mix of academia and work experience.  Companies that recruit the MHRM students acknowledge the elite value of the program.  Most importantly, the courses are designed to build a business savvy foundation.

I had a desire to attend a highly rated MHRM program that was based in a business school.  This narrowed my choices to a few colleges.  What set Ohio State above the rest was the quality of the professors, its well connected alumni, and the relationship with high profile companies.  So far, my expectations have been exceeded.

 


The Importance of Orientation

SMF Students at Orientation

As anyone in the business world will tell you, one of the most important factors in being successful is building relationships.  Whether with potential clients, co-workers, or in our case, fellow students, the importance does not diminish.  Getting to know your classmates and their interests will be paramount not only to building relationships with them, but also to your success.  In a program that is as team oriented as the Fisher Specialized Master in Finance, getting to know your classmates is even more important because they are also going to be your teammates.

William Oxley Statue

That being said, the SMF program does a great job of helping us to get to know our classmates through a two week orientation period.  During this time we did activities to get to know our classmates as well participate in seminars that would help us to understand the expectations we should have for ourselves.  This orientation period was a great time for us to get to know each other outside of the classroom as well since we had plenty of free time with classes not yet in session.  Our program set up a picnic at a local park where we were able to not only meet all of our other classmates, but try food from different cultures.  We also had the opportunity to take a tour of campus with pre-assigned groups which gave us the opportunity to get to know our way around campus as well getting know more of our classmates.

As we start to get into our classes and split up into groups for our many projects, the many activities we did the first few weeks are really showing their importance.  Ensuring that you are working with the best possible group of people for you is paramount to your success and we would not have been able to gain that knowledge before classes start without our efforts during orientation.  In closing, the main lesson is that even when you have downtime there are plenty of things you can do that are going to set you up for success once school really starts.


Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school…

As of last night I’ve had three classes, I’ve become friends with some of my classmates, and I’ve learned that I can make it through three hours of lecture after working all day. Most importantly, I’ve learned that my decision to become a Masters of Human Resources Management student at Fisher College of Business was most definitely a good one.

The last two weeks have been an exciting whirlwind. I decided to take the plunge as a MHRM graduate student after five years of working as an Account Executive in advertising and marketing. In May I was convinced that this was the program for me. On August 12, the day before our orientation, I had some nervous hesitations. For instance, I didn’t graduate with a business degree and it’d been a long time since I’d gone to class, had homework and studied for exams. Lastly, I knew no one in my program. However, I am so glad that I ignored these fears.

Fortunately, the first night of orientation proved that the MHRM program at Fisher College of Business is exactly what I wanted. My classmates are incredibly friendly, successful, and intelligent and even had the same insecurities as me on our first night. The first-year MHRM class is diverse in experiences but still united in our goal to become leaders in Human Resource Management. I know I will learn so much from them. The second-year class is amazing and ready to offer snippets of wisdom from everything they’ve learned and experienced in the program. The faculty at Fisher is outstanding. Class is interesting and engaging. I feel so fortunate to have such accomplished teachers.

So now after a week of class, lots of reading, learning my way around campus and even a class field trip to the Thirsty Scholar, I find myself smiling. I am so happy to be a first-year MHRM student.


Case-Based Interviewing

 I first learned about case-based interviewing in my first week at Fisher, when we participated in a mock team-based case interview during a workshop hosted by Ernst & Young.
During the first meeting of the Fisher Consulting and Strategy Club (FCSC), we got the chance to participate (as a group) in another mock case-based interview.
A few weeks ago, I attended a talk by Marc Cosentino, a leading expert in case interviewing and author of  the best-selling book “Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation“.
He gave a really great breakdown on the anatomy of the case interview, how to prepare for one, and some tips and tricks for success! We also went through a practice case interview.
As part of FCSC, the first years are grouped with a second-year mentor, and our mentor introduced us to “interviewer-led” case-based interviews.
I also attended an information session for Kalypso (a wonderful consulting company!), where we ran through another case-based interview.
Are you seeing a pattern here? I’ve heard it over and over again: if you want to succeed in a consulting-oriented interview, you need to practice case-based interviewing! And then you need to practice some more.
I was very intimidated at first – people spoke of cases with dread; a necessary evil, that had to be mastered. Very few spoke with enthusiasm and excitement, but it was these people I related to, because I have a secret: I love cases! They are challenging, but exhilarating..  intimidating and yet, intellectually stimulating!
It forces me to organize my thoughts in seconds, think on my feet, be succinct and concise and state my “conclusions” with confidence I don’t really feel ( not yet anyway.. not under that amount of stress!). I haven’t had a chance to practice much, but I can already feel myself becoming better organized in my thinking, coming up with better ideas, and definitely feeling more confident!
I will have to practice many more cases before I can confidently sail through a real (read: stressful) case-based interview, but I am very much looking forward to the practice!

Why I didn’t go to Detroit with my wife to see Louis CK last week

Subtitle: …and other dumb stuff I do

Before classes started, my wife informed me that Louis CK was touring and that, as luck would have it, he was coming to Detroit on Friday, Oct. 12th. At the time, this seemed perfect… my last final should be sometime earlier that day, I thought. We’d be able to make it up to Detroit in plenty of time for a 7:30 PM show. So we bought tickets (Louis CK subverted Ticketmaster and sold tickets to his show directly on his website… awesome business savvy on his part).

Fast forward to Day 1 of orientation for the SMF program. Each student gets a really nice Fisher folder, chock full of papers with information we’ll all need in the coming days, weeks, and months. One of the enclosed documents was a calendar. The calendar showed that Saturday, Oct. 13th was also a day on which I could have a final exam (or at least that’s how I read it). Keep in mind that I had not yet received the syllabi for all of my classes yet. Based on the calendar, I informed my wife that I would likely not be able to attend the Louis CK show and that she should find a friend to use my ticket.

Fast forward to about 10 days ago… I realize that I do not have a final on Saturday. In fact, my finals are over by 10 AM on Friday. I called my wife and informed her of my incomparable stupidity (she’s already aware of my affliction); my call is a few days too late. My wife has already asked a friend who is working up in Michigan to join her. To my dismay, this friend accepted the invitation.

That is why tonight I sit at home in Dayton alone with my dog (is “alone with my dog” an oxymoron? if so I’m going to use it as the title for my first book) while my wife is probably laughing her pretty butt off to the comedy stylings of Louis CK (seriously, if you haven’t seen “Louie” on FX, check it out… it’s an odd combination of funny and sad that you won’t find anywhere else on TV… Louis CK has a rare talent for making fun of his own life in a way that induces both pity and laughter simultaneously).

The answer to the “why” in the title of this post is: because I’m dumb.

As promised, here’s some other dumb stuff I’ve done:

1) I ran myself over with my own car (it was a Ford E-150 van, actually).

2) I once asked my wife if she needed anymore “Versus cotton panties,” to which she replied, “Do you mean ‘VICTORIA’S SECRET cotton panties’?” Watch enough sports and your brain automatically turns “VS” into “Versus,” not “Victoria’s Secret.” My bad, Mr. Wexner.

3) While driving down the freeway, with the radio already turned off, I’ve reached for the radio’s volume knob because I was having a hard time conversing with my wife over the road noise. My wife noticed this and asked, “Did you just try to turn down the road noise?” Yes. Yes I did.

Enjoy the Buckeye game Saturday night. I’ve been to a game at Indiana’s stadium (yeah, just one). They call it “The Rock” (must be one of those ironic names). Not a great college football town (basketball’s a different story), but the stadium should be filled with Ohio State fans. I love it when Buckeye fans can do the O-H-I-O chant around an opposing team’s stadium. GO BUCKS!

 


Heed the Warnings!

During the Pre-Term MBA program, we were exposed to all that Fisher has to offer but we were also inundated with warnings:

 Don’t overextend yourself!

Your schedule will get packed very quickly – be careful!

Your classes are intense – don’t let yourself fall behind or you won’t be able to catch up!

Don’t get excited and join too many organizations – you won’t have time!

Don’t forget to sleep!*

(*Okay, that one was from me, but still equally true).

Fisher has so much to offer, so it is too easy to get excited and want to sign up for everything. All events are in one centralized website, the Leadership & Professional Development Events Hub, also known as “The Hub”. (By the way, kudos to the brilliant designers behind the creation of The Hub and associated functionality – you simply log in, scroll through ALL events available and sign up for the ones you’re interested in. You will then receive an email with a calendar file attached for each event – two clicks, and all event details are imported into your calendar!). But those Pre-Term warnings were not exaggerated – you will NOT be able to attend every event you are interested in, simply because there is so much offered (and unfortunately, you only have 24 hours in one day)!

The classes I have this semester are all very interesting and, more importantly, relevant. Everything we learn is applied to real-world cases and situations, and the classes are very interactive – sometimes, it seems like the class is one long conversation with the professor and my classmates! Yes, there is a lot of work involved with class preparation and such, but it is enjoyable (for the most part that is :) – it didn’t seem so fun when I put in my first all-nighter last week!)

I’m also excited about the student organizations I joined. I was interested in so many of them, but I had to force myself to narrow it down to only four: Fisher Professional Services, Innovation Fisher, Fisher Consulting and Strategy Club and Fisher Entrepreneurship Association.

There will be lots more to come on these groups and all the exciting events involved (but in the meantime, check out this great blog post about Fisher Professional Services written by a fellow classmate).

In addition to all the classes and organizations, there are constant networking opportunities and career events (we’ve already had two career fairs!), so my schedule is definitely packed. There is much to take advantage of, but there are only so many hours in the day (and the night!). I have to be careful, or I may have to start scheduling “sleep” into my calendar (that is, if I can still find some empty blocks of time! :))

 


Team Building Lessons

The thought of meeting so many new people was both daunting and exciting. Hundreds of questions ran through my mind. Did I make the right decision? Have I prepared myself well enough for what’s ahead? How in the world am I going to master 50+ Excel models in just seven weeks??? I am pretty sure I was not the only one feeling this way. As a part of our orientation, we went to Summit Vision out in Westerville, Ohio. There, we participated in various team building activities like the pamper pole and the ropes course.

Some of the lessons I took away from Summit Vision are:

-Take the leap of faith.  Whether it’s in the classroom or in the real world, we will never exactly know what lies ahead. We must take the risk in order to reach our full potential.

-Voice your opinions and listen to others. We have all traveled a different path to get to this point and have gained unique experiences along the way. Collaborating with teammates will lead to better, more efficient solutions.

-A little support goes a long way. We may feel discouraged from time to time. Whether it’s the fear of jumping off a perch thirty feet in the air, or publicly speaking in front of class, knowing that our teammates are rooting for us will give us the extra boost in our confidence level needed to attain our goals.

And the most important lesson of all is to remember to have fun along the way! This is a new and thrilling journey for all and we have world class professors with many years of academic and industry experience to help us become successful. I am ecstatic to be a part of the Fisher Specialized Master in Finance program and look forward to the challenges in the coming year!

 

Taking deep breaths helps with the shaking atop a 22′ perch.

Exploring Ohio Stadium

MAcc students enjoying a tour of the stadium and the brand new HD scoreboard

I cannot imagine a better introduction to the Fisher College of Business MAcc program than the one we experienced during our first day of orientation.  At the end of our first day, we made the short walk over to Ohio Stadium (popularly known as “The Horseshoe”) where we were given the opportunity to network with classmates, professors, and recruiters, as well as tour the stadium.

As a lifelong Buckeye fan, I have long adored The Horseshoe and have considered it one of the most fascinating places to visit.  Interestingly enough, this visit to Ohio Stadium was much different than my prior experiences at the stadium.  During my prior visits inside the historic Ohio Stadium, I was watching an Ohio State football game on a Saturday afternoon with 105,000 other screaming fans.  In fact, the boisterous crowd that fills Ohio Stadium during every home football game is a major reason why Yahoo! Sports recently named Ohio Stadium Number 1 on its list of “College Football’s Top 25 Toughest Places to Play”.

The closed end of The Horseshoe

However, the electric atmosphere I grew accustomed to was missing as I saw the suddenly peaceful stadium empty for the first time during our orientation event.  I felt privileged to be one of only 100 people in the stadium at the time, taking in the magnificent views of the bare stadium from field level as well as the press box.   During our tour, we learned a lot about the history and evolution of Ohio Stadium, which was built in 1922.  It is nicknamed “The Horseshoe” because of its once-open south end.  The stadium is now only partially open as permanent seating has been added to the south end over the years.  An interesting fact about The Horseshoe is that it actually provided living quarters for students beginning in 1933.  In fact, the University’s dean at the time noticed that there were many Ohio high school students that could not afford to go to college and, thus, he provided them with affordable housing through the stadium dormitory.  The students’ rent was a meager $1 a month, but in return, they were responsible for completing all the chores throughout the dorm while taking classes at The Ohio State University.

Our tour concluded with a trip to the Press Box

My appreciation for the stadium was greatly enhanced during orientation as I learned more about its history and saw it from a completely new perspective.  With that being said, nothing compares to being in the stadium with 105,000 rowdy fans as the Buckeyes kick off on Saturdays.  I cannot wait to be in the stands with my fellow MAcc students for the first game of the year as the Buckeyes take on Miami University.  After the orientation event, I have a feeling it is going to be a great year, not only for the Buckeyes, but for all of us in the MAcc program.  Go Bucks!

Not Your Average Ice-breaker

Taking a leap of faith on the Summit Vision Zipline

The Fisher Specialized Master’s program kicked off the semester with a bang. After an exciting first day of orientation, the second Fisher SMF class headed to the Summit Vision ropes course for a fun-filled day in the sky (and on the ground). Summit Vision lays claim to a multitude of team building activities that focus on fostering communication, trust, problem-solving skills, and leadership among other values. It was the ideal setting for this green group of young professionals to mesh and form bonds that will continue to grow throughout our ten months together (and long into the future).

The fun-loving and competitive spirit of our SMF program was on showcase throughout the experience. Activities such as the 50 foot zip-line and the “Pamper Pole” allowed students to get in touch with their daring side and take a “leap of faith” if you will. Some of the yips and yells that resounded through the area were priceless. On the other hand, several ground activities encouraged teamwork and innovation. The competition to record the best times in these ground initiatives got intense and led to some good-natured banter among teams.

As much as we learned as a group, I think the greatest takeaway from the Summit Vision experience was the groundwork that was laid for this recently introduced group to transform into one big family. As the professors have already made evident, this year is definitely not going to be a “walk in the park.” It is important that we have fellow students to lean on when the “going gets tough.” After our orientation and morning at Summit Vision, I can confidently say we have a group of students that will get through the toughest of times together.

Side Note:

After seeing several of our SMF students in action, I have a feeling the university’s intramural leagues better be prepared for a serious contender coming out of the Fisher School of Business this year!


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