MAcc BBQ & First Impressions

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!

View of the field from a suite!
View of the field from a suite!
Walking down onto the field!
Walking down onto the field
I just had to do a classic senior picture pose down on the field.
I just had to do a classic senior picture pose down on the field.

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!

Hanging out at the MAcc BBQ!
Hanging out at the MAcc BBQ!

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!

Orientation and Networking!

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.

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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?!

Orienation 3

Orientation1 Orientation2

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!

MAcc Scrapbook

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:

50 Yard Line
Standing on the football field during Orientation
Inside Arya’s Management and Control class
Corn maze
Heading into the corn maze at Circle S Farms
Picking pumpkins
Picking pumpkins!
I managed to get out and see Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and Neko Case at the Newport, a concert venue on High St. across from campus
Neko Case
Me and my boyfriend Brent all dressed up and ready to go to the Fisher Grad Student Halloween party
Fraud: never worth it
Aaron Beam talks about drugs, SEC and rock and roll during his MAcc talk
Held at the Faculty Club
The Class of 14 at the MAcc winter dinner
Christmas in bloom
A winter break girls day out to the Franklin Park Conservatory. Left to right: Liana, Lina, Dongqi, Yeajung and me
Our professor then hosted the speaker at his house
Barry Hoffman speaks to our Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions class about the Valassis-ADVO merger
Book your group ahead of time!
A bunch of hungry MAcc student getting pizza after hunting for a place to play lazer tag
The food was delicious!
I didn’t get pictures at the FISA’s Holi dinner so I snapped a selfie with my friend Ping before our Advanced Negotiations class
Tip: Place your napkin on your lap immediately when you sit down
My table at the MHRM etiquette dinner
The last ever MAcc talk, given by OSU's own Dr. Zhang on accounting research (my camera created the rainbow effect)
The last ever MAcc talk, given by OSU’s own Dr. Zhang on accounting research (my camera created the rainbow effect)
Group photo of MAcc students and alumni who participated in the spring MAcc gives back event. I helped organize the Dress for Success store in the Short North
Group photo of MAcc students and alumni who participated in the spring MAcc gives back event. I helped organize the Dress for Success store in the Short North
Also: travelling to Africa alone, working with Steve Jobs and her non-profit Free the Tampons
Nancy Kramer of Resource Marketing speaks to our Advanced Leadership class about her leadership legacy
AKA Grad School Prom
Action shot of the Fisher Formal
Me and my boyfriend Brent dressed up at the Fisher Formal
Me and my boyfriend Brent dressed up at the Fisher Formal
My friend Lina and I at the Formal
My friend Lina and I at the Formal
He plays the best music before class!
My last ever class- Dr. Mittendorf’s Non-Profit and Governmental Accounting course.

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! :))