Class Dinner Time!

One of the things I love most about the SMF program is the diversity of our students. Last Friday, the SMF Council organized a dinner to celebrate the culmination of our capstone class. During the capstone class, all the teams were able to develop an equity research report about a company of our choosing. Two Fridays ago, all teams presented their final report to a panel of professors and the entire class.

SMF Capstone Presentation

That same Friday, the Fisher Indian Association was celebrating Diwali Night. One of the SMF students, Sowmya Mikkilineni, introduced me to this beautiful dress (see picture below).

Kurti dresses!

Our initial plan was to attend the SMF dinner and then head over to Diwali night at Fisher. The SMF dinner end up taking longer than planned—it had been a long day presenting our equity research reports. However, we were able to take a group picture with everyone before they headed home!

Group Picture at Tadka

Big shoutout to Sowmya and Jayaprabha for being kind enough to introduce us to all the exotic dishes. We ordered so much food but I’m really glad we did!  The food was truly delicious.

I look forward to our next group dinner soon!

Ferny

Chicago, Snow, and Final

I’m finally back and done with my finals. Hooray!

With no intention of bothering you with grueling details of assignments, projects and exams, here are some important updates on the bright side of my life:

Snow

Columbus welcomed bona fide snow that successfully accumulated overnight at the end of November. It was something like this… isn’t it beautiful?

First decent snow

Chicago

Over Thanksgiving break, my friend Rizvi (who is also from the SMF program) and I took an awesome road trip to Chicago. We visited the famous Millenium Park, strolled alongside Lake Michigan and experienced Black Friday vibes at Macy’s.

The Bean at night
The Loop at a glance

While wind chill was real in the Windy City, we managed to stay warm by eating a lot! We slept in and gobbled down cheesy deep dish pizza in our Airbnb, enjoyed all-you-can-eat hot pot in Chinatown on Thanksgiving and wrapped up our last night in the city with some warm pho soup. Trying new food is the best part of traveling, don’t you all agree?

Giordano’s
Little Lamb Hot Pot
Pho Cafe

Oh and before we hit the road on Saturday, November 24, 2018, we witnessed Ohio State’s seventh consecutive victory over Michigan in our car. What a life!

Go Bucks!

Lessons From the Second Session

At the end of the first session, I wrote a post about two things that I learned during the first session. I shared them with you because I believe they are important for you to learn and expect if you are admitted into the program. In this post, I want to share one more important lesson from the second session.

The Importance of Teamwork

The importance of teamwork cannot be overemphasized for many reasons. One big reason being the fact that every organization relies on teams and groups of people collaborating together to accomplish goals and drive results. As a result, the SMF program is structured in a way that simulates real life experiences as most of our assignments are team-based assignments.

For this reason, it is important for current and future SMF students to develop teamwork skills. That is, the ability to effectively cooperate with others in a manner that leads to the actualization of the desired goal. There are many teamwork skills that team members can employ to be effective teammates. These include communicating well with others, contributing equally to discussions, completing agreed upon tasks e.t.c. But, there’s one skill I would like to focus on in this post: the importance of striking a healthy balance between virtual meetings and in-person meetings.

In my own experiences in this program, our team has achieved success by striking a healthy balance between meeting virtually and meeting in person. I believe as tech savvy as our generation is, we are susceptible to overly relying on virtual platforms to plan how we will conduct and finish projects.  But  we ignore the adverse effects of relying on virtual platforms, such as misunderstanding each other and failure to promote the development of deep interpersonal relationships. Therefore, my biggest encouragement to future SMF students is to strive to balance between meeting in person and meeting virtually. This will enhance team performance because it promotes clearer communication between team members and promotes the development of deep interpersonal relationships between team members.

Our team before the core capstone project presentation #greatestteammatesever

Planning and CFA

Hey everyone!

I am back to blogging again! I mentioned I would talk about how planning helps us in grad school. Developing time management and planning skills is particularly useful especially during the holidays. This year many of my peers traveled back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Thus many teams had to plan ahead how our schedules would look like, what times would be best to meet, before or after the holidays, dividing up the work, etc.

One thing that was particularly helpful in our planning process was the development of a project management plan. I was given the opportunity to develop a project management plan following a template that we were provided after one of our speaker’s presentations. In this project management plan, we assigned tasks to each member of our group would be responsible for and set deadlines to complete each milestone of our projects.

CFA Planning

I have been amazed by the level of effort, skills and diversity of knowledge that peers bring to class every day. I asked a couple of my peers preparing for the CFA and CFA Research Challenge to share about their experiences. This is what they said.


Joey Nguyen, Interested in Investments Track

How has your experience been getting ready for the CFA exam?

Since I’m taking it in December, while we are overloaded with a lot of projects and I also have to work on the CFA research challenge, I just think I would try my best for the exam. Everything you learn in the exam materials is what you need if you want to work as an equity analyst or break into investment management.

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

Two things I learned from the preparation for the exam: first is stick to your schedule because it’s a big commitment, and second is being patient because you might have to take one level more than one. So just do it when you are really interested in asset management. One good thing is that 70% of the materials for level one will be covered from all courses in Fisher.

How has your experience been preparing for the CFA Research Challenge?

I have applied what I learned from class to a real investments project, also to work and to think as a real analyst. Bloomberg and modeling are two big key skills you can leverage from the classes while working. You also have to read a lot and try to find the key points (conceptualize it), learn where to start while reading a 10K and spot out the company’s problems. The CFA society also asks the company selected for the challenge to give a presentation about their company to all the participant teams so we need to know which questions we should ask to make them disclose some unique information.


Rizvi Bari, Interested in Investments Track

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

I would say start as early as you can and do a lot of practice questions. I’m still trying to find more sources, but I think the professors are good resources. Working closely with the CFA institute helps a lot as well.


Jayaprabha Dhavale, Interested in Investments Track

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about taking the CFA?

Personally, as I was already working, I studied on weekends only. Many of the topics were not as hard but some topics were new. Topics covered in the Financial Analysis Valuation class are covered in the exam. Regarding planning, I’d say you have to have a time line such as finish studying equity by this date, derivatives by this date.


Thank you to my peers who collaborated on this 😊

Cheers and Go Bucks!

What is Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP)

The Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) is one of the largest graduate student organizations at the Fisher College of Business. While we hold events and activities primarily geared toward those focused in marketing, we have had opportunities to network with non-marketing professionals. Below are some highlights of our annual traditions, as well as new events that we as a leadership committee have implemented. I would say that we have been pretty successful so far! I am proud to be the Director of Professional Development of such a wonderful organization.

Annual events

Columbus Hop – Takes place every fall break. This year’s companies included IBM iX, Root Insurance, Orange Barrel Media, and Watershed Distillery. It gives students an opportunity to network and go behind the scenes to see how each company works.

Fisher MBA students at the Watershed Distillery as part of Columbus Hop

Chicago Hop (upcoming) – We celebrate the end of the fall semester and final exams by hopping on a bus to Chicago! This year’s companies include PepsiCo, BlueCross BlueShield, Tyson Foods, and Ogilvy. If you are not yet an AMP member, you should become one just to be a part of this awesome event!

Attendees at Chicago Hop last year

Marketing For A Better World (upcoming) – Our theme this year is Marketing Ethical & Sustainable Consumer Goods. Agenda includes keynote presentations by Levi Strauss & Co., and Fairtrade America, and a marketing panel moderated by ethics professor David Freel. We are still accepting registrations, and we are raffling off some autographed Columbus Blue Jacket items! You can’t miss this event!

Columbus Advertising & Marketing Practicum, CAMP (upcoming) – This will be our 10th annual CAMP! More details to come, but we will bring students, business professionals, and faculty together to discuss pertinent marketing topics.

CAMP last year

New events this year

Nail the Interview series – a two-part session where different marketing frameworks were introduced that helped with interview questions. We listened to feedback from the first-year FTMBA students and provided them with resources that they needed.

Brand Management series (ongoing) – Over lunch, students get to learn more about brand management from different companies. We have had former Fisher alumni from T.Marzetti (Lucy Liu) and Wendy’s (Emily Jacobson), and we hope to bring in a few more in the spring.

Other events

Happy hours & Panels

2nd-year FTMBA students sharing their marketing internship experiences

Tips On the Video Interview

As an applicant to the Fisher College of Business, the final piece you will submit is the video interview. To complete the interview, the platform will require you to submit three or four video responses and one written response. Also, the platform affords students the opportunity to respond to some practice questions before starting the recorded interview.

The best way to approach the video interview is to view it as an excellent opportunity for you to add character to your application. By this, I mean try your best not to be nervous or feel overwhelmed by this process because this is an area were you can really shine and create a lasting impression. Two tips for you to remember as you tackle this task are to practice and to express yourself with confidence.

Practicing allows you to familiarize yourself with the types of questions you will encounter in the actual interview. As you practice, assess your rate of speech. You want to make sure you can get your main point across within the allotted time, while avoiding the pitfall of speaking too fast so that you only use, for example, 10 seconds out of the 45 seconds available for you. Also, check were you look as the video is being recorded. This is important because you don’t want to appear as someone who is reading a response. Rather, you want to appear engaged and interested in the task at hand.

Another element that will help you excel in this interview is confidence. When it comes to confidence, I encourage you to imagine yourself as the reviewer of your interview. Would you trust or believe a candidate who is shy and seems unsure about the responses the candidate is giving? The answer is probably “No.” So it’s important to be confident and passionate about your responses. The response you are giving is yours so express yourself in a way that causes the reviewer to experience the emotions you feel about the subject in question.

Good luck as you complete your applications! And remember, practice before your interviews and deliver your responses with confidence. You’ll do great!

How to Become a Time Management Ninja

Happy Fall, everyone! The temperature is dropping here in Columbus but some beautiful fall colors were seen these past few weeks!

Fall at Ohio State campus

I was recently advised to blog about how my experience as a student-athlete has helped me as a finance graduate student. That gave me the idea to write a post on what skills will help you be successful in grad school and detail along some specific examples where these skills are put into play in the SMF program. So here it goes!

In my first post, I mentioned used to be part of the Ohio State University tennis team when I was an undergraduate. During my time as a student-athlete, I found myself juggling school, academics and life in general. Life as a student-athlete is very busy, especially during the season when you are playing two matches per week, sometimes even either at home or away, or when there is a tournament happening out of town and you have to miss class for a whole week. Also, the more your team wins, the more days you will need to take off school to play matches if you are playing a tournament. Therefore, you learn to use every minute of your time productively.

I was thankfully able to begin to develop my time management skills back when I was younger, as I used to juggle tennis, school and life since I was 11 years old when I started traveling for tennis tournaments and would come back home to catch up with school.

Time management skills developed in my earlier years are definitely helping me with my responsibilities between school and being a graduate assistant. I would share to anyone applying to graduate school that time management is something you will need to master during your years as a graduate student.

In graduate school, you are taking around fifteen credit hours per semester but most of your time will be spent working on group projects outside the classroom. For example, I am currently part of two teams for three different classes. One of my teams is working on an R (coding) project, my other team is working on our core capstone equity research project and several Excel presentations. I would say at least five hours each week are out put into group work, and that is keeping it short. Another SMF team was meeting for six hours straight one of these days. Kudos to them, seriously!

Either you run the day or the day runs you. — Jim Rohn

I was not familiar with Jim Rohn’s background as a motivational speaker but found this quote on the Internet and decided to include it in this post because it could not be more true.

Either you start working on that long assignment today or the length of the assignment will seem more daunting tomorrow. Either you read that one more chapter of the book today or are lost in class and have to read two more chapters tomorrow. Time is so valuable in the life of a business student and professional in general, that either you control it or it starts controlling you.

But what is the best way to control time, you may ask? Some might have different answers for this one but this leads me to another topic for my next blog: planning! No pun intended, but I’m planning to ask some SMF students who are currently preparing for the CFA about their experiences studying for the exam and how they are dealing with time management. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

What is the GRE?

The GRE is one of the two possible qualifying exams prospective MBA students will be looking to take as they prepare to apply to the Fisher College of Business, the with the GMAT as the other possible exam.  The main difference between the GRE and GMAT is that while the GRE is used as part of admissions for a wide variety of graduate programs, such as business school, law school, or other specialized master’s programs, the GMAT is primarily only accepted by business schools. For the purpose of Fisher, either exam is acceptable.

How the GRE Works

The GRE is broken into three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing, with each section receiving its own score. While the Analytical Writing section does help schools understand a prospective candidates writing abilities and logical thinking, it is the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections that will generally receive the most attention. The Quantitative and Verbal reasoning sections are scored out of a total of 180 points each, with many schools making their composite average score available for prospective candidates to view. For example, the Fisher incoming Full-Time MBA class of 2018, the average composite score was a 312.

How to Study for the GRE

The best advice I can give when preparing to take the GRE is to use books or online resources to practice the types of questions they give in the GRE, and understand what it is the questions are asking. One of the most important skills the GRE tests is the ability to read through entire questions and passages and understand what answer is being sought. There are a number of online resources you can use to find free practice tests and the general questions you can expect to see come test day.

One Last Thing

As you start studying for the GRE, remember that while a high score can definitely help a candidate, business schools will be looking at many aspects of a candidate including work experience and cultural fit. This means a lower-than-expected score does not necessarily place someone out of the running. And if you do receive a score not as high as you wanted, one of the best parts of the GRE is that it can be taken multiple times.

The Tail of Autumn… and a Husky

Me and Coke

To enjoy the good weather while it lasts, my friend Ben and I visited the village Yellow Springs last weekend. We first went to Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, where pets were not allowed, and then turned to John Bryan State Park to make it up to Coke the Husky.

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve was located in a quiet small town with little sign of human habitation. The pity was that almost all trees there had already shed their leaves (if only we had come earlier!). Nonetheless, I enjoyed the serenity there.

Naked for winter
Into the woods

John Bryan State Park warmly welcomed Coke with a red-and-yellow carpet of autumn leaves. I want to say that we took Coke for a nice stroll, but it was actually the other way around since he was super excited about nature and kept pulling on the leash, so we were basically dragged in whichever direction he decided to take. But it was OK because he’s cute!

Along the way, Ben picked Coke up in his arms so I could take a close-up. Coke, who is two years old, apparently thought he was already too old for this and gave us an awkward look (OK we get it, you’re a big boy now), which was still SO CUTE in my eyes LOL.

“Dad NO it’s embarrassing REALLY”

After our trip, we treated ourselves to some hot food at Jiu Thai Asian Cafe. Yummy! : )

Northwest Chinese food

At last, just a photo of banana, nuts and Greek yogurt I recently made slipped in (Ohh and it might snow next week. Literally can’t wait).

Pistachios & Greek yogurt

The Black Avengers

The day finally came…my first football game!

The Shoe

Although I knew nothing about football, my friend Ben did not give up on me and he was kind enough to invite me to a revenge game this past Saturday, where-SPOILER ALERT-Buckeyes returned home and fended off the Nebraska Cornhuskers!

My ticket!
The game is on!

The game was really tight the whole time, giving everyone in the audience a hard time. Fortunately, it was a happy ending!

With Ben’s detailed explanation during the game, my understanding of football grew from 0% to at least 60%-enough to pass a test if given one.(Thank you, Ben!)

OSU beanies & red-and-black dress code

What I enjoyed most in the game was the incredibly contagious Buckeye spirit! It was like we were all in this together… you just have to be there to feel it. Oh, how adorable Buckeyes are!

Me at halftime

I’m really, really glad The Ohio State Buckeyes won their game. This may sound cliche but, I am so proud to be a Buckeye. : )

(Hope we beat Michigan during Thanksgiving!)