As part of our orientation for the Fisher MAcc program we spent half a day at a place called Summit Vision. Summit Vision is a high ropes course, outdoor activity center located about 30 minutes from OSU. We got there in time for lunch and spent awhile eating and hanging out, playing games like knockout and Frisbee. After lunch, we were randomly split up into teams and completed five team-building activities. For the most part, these activities were puzzles where we had to work together to complete. Being put into random teams was a great way to meet people that I hadn’t met yet and step outside my comfort zone a little bit.
Our first activity was to replicate a picture of wooden sticks arranged to make numerous squares. The sticks all varied in length and had notches located in various places. Only one stick fit in the correct place, making it difficult to figure out which stick belonged where. After discussing possible ways to approach this, we finally determined a strategy and completed the puzzle, getting faster with each attempt. Another activity involved us using wooden blocks to get our whole team from one point to another without touching the ground. Everyone was given a block and the block had to be touched at all times. If a block wasn’t being touched we’d lose the block and make the puzzle harder one ourselves. This was kind of like a team-building, grown up version of “the floor is lava”. Without a doubt, my favorite activity was when we went to the zip line. This wasn’t as much of a puzzle solving station, but still required support and encouragement from team members.
Overall, Summit Vision was a really great way for us to get to know some fellow MAcc students and have fun learning about some characteristics associated with teamwork. Already, it is clear that teamwork is a big part of the MAcc program, as the majority of classes I am in have at least one group project assigned. It is very easy to tell that the qualities and characteristics of teamwork that were associated with Summit Vision are already translating into practical use inside and outside of the classroom.
It was a warm morning. Not too uncomfortable, although it left little doubt that the afternoon would be quite hot. As if I didn’t have enough on my mind already while making my way across the Fisher campus, I now had to brood over the efficiency of the off-brand antiperspirant I was wearing. Coming up to Schoenbaum Hall, I took one last glance at the Pre-Term schedule I had printed out the night before to make sure I was in the right place, heaved one last heavy breath, and entered the building.
The door opened into a small corridor brimming with well-dressed men and women, acquainting and socializing, demonstrating their varied levels of networking competence. Striding across the corridor, from handshake to handshake, I felt as if my mind was hosting a potluck attended by two dozen different versions of myself, each bringing a different emotion. I was excited; I was nervous. I was confident; I was diffident. I was calm; I was frantic.
An administrator directed us through two sets of doors leading into a large lecture hall with stadium seating. I found a seat and continued to converse with my neighbors, trying desperately to remember their names without looking at their name tags. The murmuring in the halls quieted down as the administrator stepped forth once again and, to a roaring applause, officially welcomed the Fisher MBA Class of 2016 to the Pre-Term Orientation.
What transpired over the following week and a half of orientation is far too much to detail in just one blog post, but in summary, it was truly an uplifting and apprehension-slaying event. It was an exciting blend of macro and micro insights into the adventure my class and I are about to begin. Between meeting my classmates, getting assigned my cohort (shout out to Team 11!), learning about all the student groups and opportunities, lectures from such distinguished guests as the CEO of Sherwin-Williams, Christopher Connor, and activities such as team-building exercises at Summit Vision – which was far more enjoyable and of practical use than my skeptical mind expected – orientation provided an excellent introduction to this new chapter in my life.
I’ve come a long way to get here (more on that in another post). As bumpy as the road was at times, I’m sure ahead it will be even more long and winding. Great changes come prepackaged with great uncertainty. I might not be venturing into the last frontier, but I am running full-speed into my own unknown with nothing but drive and optimism providing bright but limited lighting. But as far as I can tell, I couldn’t ask for better resources to help guide me along the way than those which I have found at the Fisher College of Business at THE Ohio State University.
It’s weird to think that this exciting new journey as a first year MHRM student has finally begun. Oh, the places WE’LL go!
From the moment I stepped foot on campus, both the faculty and staff have done a phenomenal job at extending a warm welcome and offering a helping hand to get students acclimated. It has been intentional acts of kindness such as this that has helped me quickly connect with the OSU campus, resources and community. I cannot stress how critical and helpful orientation was for me a couple weeks ago. I will be the first to admit that I was a little nervous going in to orientation. I didn’t really know anyone in the program, and I had no idea what orientation would entail. Nonetheless, it was a great opportunity to mix and mingle with faculty, staff and peers in a casual environment. Faculty and staff provided invaluable information about resources available on campus, as well as information about how to get involved in order to make the most of graduate school. In addition, we had an entire day designated towards Career Management where we learned the ins and outs of professional networking, utilizing the career management websites and tools, and conducting a successful internship search. This also provided us the unique opportunity to meet and network with knowledgeable HR professionals from different organizations, such as P&G, Rolls-Royce, PepsiCo, and Eaton.
Let’s not forget one of my favorite parts of orientation…meeting my peers! Graduate school emphasizes teamwork and group work, so it was really nice being able to meet my classmates before the academic school year began. It didn’t take long before making plans to hangout with my new MHRM friends outside of the classroom. It’s comforting knowing that we all are in this together, and that we can support one another through this new adventure! Together…we got this!
I cannot believe that we have been in classes for almost two weeks! Time is already starting to fly. So far, everything has been absolutely great! One of the very first that things that helped start the program on a great note was the MAcc Reception at the Horseshoe. This was an event where all MAcc students were invited to attend and network with alumni, faculty, and recruiters. Not only were there all of these great opportunities to meet people and network, we also got to hang out in the Stadium University Suite in the football stadium and go on a behind the scenes tour of the facilities. I’ve attended a ton of football games at the stadium but this was the first time I’ve been able to see all the inner-workings of the field and it was a really unique experience. The last time I was down on the field was at my graduation from undergrad and it was kind of surreal to be back again as a graduate student!
After this great event, classes officially began! Once you are in classes, your calendar really starts to fill up but of course we had to make room for a little fun. After our second week of classes one of the other students decided to throw a MAcc BBQ. He boldly invited the entire MAcc class to his house (imagine 80 kids being invited to your house…wow, intimidating) and we all brought over some dishes to supplement his grilling out. There was a ton of food and games and a lot of students came out to enjoy the night! It is always nice to get to know your peers outside of the classroom and take some time to relax after attending classes and group meetings. This event also allowed everyone to go outside of their comfort zones, it is really easy to stick to the friends you have met in your classes or knew before the program but everyone mixed and mingled at the BBQ and I talked to a lot of people I had never had the chance to yet. Overall, a great weekend event for the MAcc!
This week is our first full week of classes (we started on a Wednesday and had Labor Day off), so hopefully everything continues to go well!
Networking, Networking, Networking! Many students will tell you that the objective of any college degree is to help you obtain your dream job. This can only come through hard work and networking. This is exactly what orientation will help you to do and one of the first things you will do at Fisher is orientation. While it is geared towards meeting your professors, career adviser and students in the program, you can rest assured knowing that at the heart of it all, you are networking.
You will get to meet many, if not all, of the professors that you will be spending the next 9 months of your life with in the Fisher Specialized Master of Finance program. These professors are your greatest assets in the program. They have far more connections than you can fathom and chances are at least one of the professors has a contact at the company you are interested in, or in the position you want. They come from all walks of life and between their many years of teaching and spending time in the financial workplace, they have an arsenal of knowledge that far surpasses anything I have seen. I mean, where else can you meet a professor with a PhD in Nuclear Physics that teaches Data Analysis in a way that is very easy to understand and can apply it to current applications to businesses here in Columbus?!
At orientation you will also have a great chance to work with your fellow classmates in some fun activities provided by the GPO. As most of you know, the foundation of strong career search is networking and at the center of that is building relationships. Building relationships is an essential skill no matter if you are in school, starting your career, or are a veteran in the work force with 30 years of experience. Orientation is a great opportunity to start building relationships with your fellow classmates. There are plenty of opportunities to talk to your fellow classmates and professors during orientation. Two weeks into the program and I felt like I had known my classmates my whole life. I can already tell, this year will be a blast!
How the time has flown! I have gone from being a prospective MAcc student reading the My Fisher Grad Life Blog and wondering why some authors didn’t post more, to being a soon-to-be graduate who is impressed they posted so much! The past nine months have been the most intense period of self-growth and change I have ever experienced in my life. I met so many amazing people and was exposed to different perspectives on life and business. I know I will walk into my first full time job as a finance auditor at the Auditor of State’s office better prepared to be a successful professional thanks to my time at Fisher.
Here is a small sample of some of the things I was doing over the past year while I was too busy to blog:
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.