Sunday Night Lights

The Specialized Master in Finance (SMF) program draws students in from all over the globe. Our class is roughly 70% international, with students coming from many different cultures and backgrounds. Just this year alone, we have students from Thailand, Nigeria, and El Salvador. It certainly allows each and every one of us to better understand the truly international world we live in.

While there are some cultural differences between each and every one of us, there are more similarities among us. For instance, some of the men played on intramural soccer and flag (American) football teams. Some of the women in the class even cheered them on. Also, we have had numerous dinners together where we try different types of food: Chinese, Indian, Mexican, American, etc. In addition, we have had get-togethers on the weekends– and a few of us went to the football game the other weekend.

As you can see, there is plenty that we have done so far. One specific gathering I want to write about today, though, has to do with the past few Sunday nights. Basketball, or 篮球 for my Chinese speakers, is a very international sport, one that a good number of us in the program enjoy playing. This past Sunday night, we all met up at the Adventure Recreation Center on West campus (this has a rock-climbing wall) around 7:00pm. Over the next two hours or so, we played several games of 5-on-5 hoops.

Rock Climbing Wall at the ARC
Rock Climbing Wall at the ARC

Several players really stood out. Havish, an Indian classmate of mine, was arguably one of the best players on the court that night. He was quoted after the game saying “My jump-shot was firing on all cylinders tonight. They could not stop me out there.” Meanwhile, Brian Perry (SMF President-Elect) spoke about the play of Chad Dixon in the post, “He was all over the glass tonight, and once he got going on offense, it was game over.” There has been a lot of chatter in anticipation for the upcoming weekend’s game, so it should a fun time!

Since this went so well, we have planned to make it our new Sunday night activity, where we can come together and enjoy some exercise before the academic week begins again. At the end of the day, it’s great to get out there with the fellas and “ball out” for a few hours. I have had some unforgettable experiences with my classmates so far, whether that be in class, at dinners, or on the court; I am looking forward to the next 6 months that we all have left at Ohio State.

The Story of & a Night Out at Ohio Theater

This blog post uncovers one of the beautiful buildings here in Columbus. Ohio Theater opened its doors 1928 and is still a cultural center to this day. The theater houses many events and is the permanent home of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. I recently visited the theater for the Columbus Symphony’s Beethoven Marathon.

The view from the top of the balcony

The theater originally opened as an elegant movie theater. The designer aimed to separate guests from their daily lives by making a luxurious and fantastical environment. The design of the walls points attention to the ceiling. Here, the intricate patterns in the ceiling change from section to section and invite the guest’s attention.

The theater successfully ran until it closed in 1969. A development company planned to tear the building down and build a more profitable office complex. Community leaders responded by working together to save the theater. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra made the theater its official home and national musicians such as Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper, and The Grateful Dead came for fundraising performances to keep it open. During the next decade, the theater was fully restored to its original design.

The view from stage left

 

Now, the theater is again the home of movies, music, dance, and theater performances. Many of these events offer discounted tickets through the university’s DTIX Program open to all students.

The main chandelier

The story of Ohio Theater is a testament to traits that all Fisher graduates should emulate. First, Fisher Grad students are being trained to be self-motivated leaders effective in both local and global teamwork environments. Saving and preserving the building was a local effort that required a strong team environment to be successful. Second, Fisher students are ethically sound by being committed to excellence in all aspects of life. Architecture and art often go unprotected. Business analysis showed that the land had more economic utility as an office space. Even so, people stepped in to say that more needed to be considered than just numerical analysis. Preserving the theater shows how supporting excellence in all aspects provides a better outcome for our communities. Not only does the theater provide an example for Fisher students, a visit provides a wonderful start to your evening. Make sure to stop by!

A Day in Hocking Hills

The world of finance is concentrated in cities; but, it is good for everyone to spend some time outside of the city and enjoy nature. Even though the SMF program has a busy schedule, we do find the time to stay active and be outside. This month, students from the SMF program took a study break and adventured into the great outdoors. Where did we go, you might ask? We took a day trip and went to one of Ohio’s best state parks, Hocking Hills State Park.

Ash Cave
Ash Cave

Hocking Hills State Park is divided into five separate sections of Hocking State Forest. Each site is centered on a different rock formation. There are deep gorges, high cliffs, rock shelters, and small winding waterfalls. Our SMF group spent the morning exploring the rocks and crevices of “Old Man’s Cave.” This was my favorite part of the trip because there many places to wander off the trail and climb rocks. At the end of the trail is a small pool with water falling down from the high cliffs above. Here, we took endless “selfies” and sat back and relaxed. After finishing that trail, we went to “Ash Cave” and enjoyed our lunches. Then, we when on a rim trail at “Conkel’s Hollow.” This is a 2.5-mile loop trail that is on the edge of a 200-foot gorge. This offers a unique view of the surrounding hills and is a good way to see the changing autumn leaf colors.

Conkles Hollow
The rim trail in the fall

SMF students are lifelong learners. Our curiosity had us asking questions about the rock formations, and after a bit of research, I have some answers for my classmates. Most of the cliffs and gorges occur from erosion-resistant blackhand sandstone. There are few places in Ohio that have this type of sandstone, and that is one of the things that makes the park a special place. Also, there are some places in the park where the sun never shines. This creates a bed for biodiversity and the variations of sunlight and moisture make the park home to many rare plants.

Not only did we get some quiet time in the park, we got to spend the day building friendships among our classmates. Conversation always flows better outside. The weather is starting to cool down, but in the spring, we will have to spend a day on the Lake Erie shore to keep enjoying the outdoors.

Rohr Cafe: “Coffee is King”

I believe The Beatles (a British rock band), in their hit song Come Together, may have once sang “Come together, right now, over coffee.”

Whether they sang this or not, that is not the point. Rather, I really think The Beatles were on to something about the togetherness of coffee. Think about your local coffeehouse: people are getting their morning coffee together, catching up with old friends, and networking with future employers. It truly is amazing– the power of coffee in Western society, and I am not just speaking about the caffeine.

Now you may be wondering, Brett, “what does this have to do with the Specialized Master in Finance program here at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business”? Well, if you are to attend this fine institution, you too will soon come to learn about our own Rohr Cafe. Rohr is a coffee shop located on Fisher’s campus, inside Mason Hall, and serves none other than Starbucks coffee.

Rohr Cafe
Rohr Cafe

From early morning cups of coffee to casual cups between class to coffee chats with other graduate students or potential employers, Rohr Cafe is there for Fisher students and faculty who need their daily dose of caffeine. Just yesterday, I went twice: once for a coffee and once for a shot of espresso. One could argue that Rohr Cafe is the gas that fuels the Fisher engine!

Now I have to throw this in here, as my level of “coffee connoisseur” has certainly increased this year: what you order is important. Some people are traditional and will stick to coffee. Others like it quick and easy and stick to espresso. Finally, some like to test the waters and have been known to order iced coffees, vanilla lattes, and even pumpkin-spiced lattes. However, I have recently come across the greatest creation since sliced bread: The Salted Caramel Mocha (with White Mocha).

Salted Caramel Mocha with White Mocha
Salted Caramel Mocha with White Mocha

As a coffee drinker at Fisher, you will come to see the importance of Rohr Cafe on our campus. Whether you use it for meetings with other students, faculty, graduate associations, or just to get that much needed caffeine, it is awesome to have a place so close to Gerlach Hall.

 

SMF Class Dinner after Intensive Finals week

Hey there! Long time no see, my dear readers!!!

Where have I been???

Well, we SMF candidates have had a lot on our plate in the past few weeks: mid-term exams, group projects, and FINALS, of course.  I was often at Gerlach Student Lounge late at night with my friends to study. Sometimes I also caught up at the 18th Avenue Library. And my group spent dozens of hours together for group assignments in the study rooms at Gerlach Hall, including two days during “autumn break” to work on our final group case for Corporate Finance. Weekends in the past few weeks were just days without classes for me.

View @ 18th Avenue Library
@ 18th Avenue Library

Also, in the 7th week of the first session, our SMF class presented company research reports for the Turbo Finance course, which we had been working on from the very beginning of everything. (For more information about our pre-term, please refer to my previous blog.) Each group delivered awesome presentations on their company. And we got snacks from two groups whose companies are a food company and food packaging company, respectively. My group didn’t bring any treats for our class since we cannot distribute semi-conductors!

TADA!!! Here is our awesome class! Everyone looks sharp. And I was struggling to show my face among 6-foot tall Americans when we were taking the photo…

SMF Class of 2017 Presentation
SMF Class of 2017

After wrapping up the first session, two of our classmates, Agrja and Mia planned and organized our SMF class dinner before we got too busy for the new session. It was a lot of work– including writing invitation to the whole class and professors, confirming attendees and booking the restaurant for the large group.

But it was also a lot of fun that night. Professor Fuller shared his business-trip memories. He told our table about the special shrimp with unique cooking techniques that he tried in an Asian restaurant. Professor Pinteris and his family shared their stories and discussed Chinese dishes with their table. (Professor Pinteris’ daughter is so cute!!! She told us stories about her friends and family. And she took a “selfie” with everyone with her sweet smile!) The last-but-not-least table was “Chinese with Hector” he can speak fake Mandarin! I laugh out loud every time when he mimics us talking.

SMF Class Dinner
SMF Class Dinner

Thank you, Mia & Agrja, for your time and efforts to make all of this happen! I look forward to our next SMF dinner!

Cleveland Baseball Playoffs & “Work-Life Balance”

In the United States, the month of October brings baseball playoffs. This year, the baseball team in Cleveland, Ohio, has an exciting playoff run. Catch a glimpse of how we have been beating up Toronto. What does this have to do with graduate school at Fisher, you might ask? Well, this is my first challenge with the all-important work-life balance. As a lifelong supporter of Cleveland baseball, this is a big moment.

The Jake: If you need to find me, this is the best place to look
The Jake: If you need to find me, this is the best place to look

First we need to set the stage. Even though Cleveland is not considered one of the best teams consistently, the team has made the playoffs over 50% of my life and historically are in the top third of all teams based on playoff appearances. From this spot, the pressure builds, because they have not been to the league championship in 9 years– and have not been to the World Series championship since losing in both 1995 and 1997. The last time they won the World Series was 1948; the second longest drought in baseball. This is a franchise with a history of great teams that didn’t win the title.

This year is the year they will win! In the league championship series, they have the better record, offensive production, and pitching. This week, they continue play and games in the best of seven series will be almost every night. These games occur at the same time that I usually prepare for class, work on projects, or pursue my job search. What do I do? I have supported the baseball team my entire life. As a kid, I played baseball dreaming of the MLB and plastered my bedroom walls with posters, banners, and cards of the players. Also, I have waited nine years to watch the team play at this level. I can neither abandon my program nor my team.

Cleveland Rocks!
Eight more wins, boys– eight more wins!

Here is advice for the work-life-balance sweet spot.

  1. Balance: No one can do everything, and there is nothing wrong with that. My Dad and I went to the playoff game last weekend and saw Corey Kluber pitch a stunning 7-inning shutout of Boston. My first instinct was to get back at the ballpark this week, but during a busy exam time I need to balance priorities. Everything is best in moderation.
  2. Rest: The playoffs are exciting, but make sure to get enough sleep on those late west coast games. Don’t wear yourself out going to too many games. If you are too tired, your professional performance will drop and you will even stop enjoying the games. Rest up!
  3. Prioritize: Realize that at some point during the day, you will have to do school and watch baseball. What time of the day do you work best? What is your tolerance for watching the recording over the weekend? Know thyself and do value added work at the right time.
    Corey Kluber
    Going for another Cy Young award per usual

    Tribetober is exciting, school is important – enjoy the best of both!

Election Season: Vote No on Packed Lunches

I am going to throw it out there: I am against packed lunches. Why? Let me run you though this:

I am against packed lunches.

I vote “no” on packed lunches.

First, you have to buy the right food at the grocery store well ahead of the night before/morning of when you prepare your lunch for the next day. Next, you have to go through the process of preparing the food, only to store it away to be eaten later. While delayed gratification might be a positive for some, I am more of one who cooks something up and needs to have it instantly. Finally, you have to pack it up and carry it to campus in a lunch box/plastic bag (depending on your fashion style). Talk about a hassle.

Due to this, for the first month or so of the year, I lived at Panera, Bibibop, and other OSU campus restaurants between the hours of 12 and 1. You were not going to catch me packing a lunch and bringing a lunch box/plastic bag to campus. No way.

Now, as it turns out, eating-out at restaurants is incredibly expensive if you turn it into a daily habit, sometimes twice daily. My checking account took a Ray Lewis (professional American football player) kind of hit. Check out the link if you are trying to understand what I mean by that.

So, what happens when you are a broke college student and can’t afford to live that luxurious lunch lifestyle? You resort to, yes you guessed it, packed lunches. But remember, this is not something that comes naturally to me, so I look for help. From where? None other than “How to Pack a Lunch Box” by Wiki.

Over the past month, I have been slowly growing into what some might call a packed-lunch connoisseur. I started with peanut butter sandwiches and like pretzels or chips. Moved on to menu items such as chicken and rice & meatballs with pasta. Recently, I have had beef rigatoni, hummus and vegetables, and even a steak balsamic vinaigrette kale salad. What I have come to realize is that I have begun to save more money, eat healthier, and have been able to save some time during the day by packing a lunch.

The future certainly looks bright for what I can manage to fit into that 4×6 Tupperware container. However, with that said, I still am not sold due to the process of creating a packed lunch and will continue to miss those days of old.

 

Homecoming Weekend

Tradition is in the Air

An exciting part of the graduate life at Fisher is becoming a part of campus traditions. Recently, we celebrated Homecoming Weekend and campus began to stir well in advance of the big events! The two main events were a parade on Friday and the football game on Saturday, but there were lots of events all across campus. Here’s a highlight of what we experienced.

The Game

All Ohio State students get the opportunity to purchase game tickets at face-value and many of our SMF classmates took that opportunity. We met before the game to tailgate and then enjoyed the game together (there are many tailgating areas near the stadium). My favorite part is when the band marches into the stadium from St. John’s Arena before the game. Having family and friends who marched at Ohio State, it is always special see and hear the precision of their practice. The band also puts on an excellent halftime show. There are usually about 100,000 people at the game and everyone is excited to watch the band perform during at half-time. Of course, the football team is the main event, and they are looking good so far this year!

A view of Ohio Stadium!
A view of Ohio Stadium

Family Visit

Homecoming is also a great weekend to host friends and family, and lucky for me, my family made a trip to Columbus! It was nice to show them around campus and share my favorite spots. It was their first time they all got to attend an Ohio State football game. I am excited to share this tradition with them. Even though I am new to Columbus, it already feels like home. Hopefully, this is the first of many excellent homecoming weekends to come here at Ohio State.

The Best Band in the Land
The Best Band in the Land

The Concrete Jungle

Before you go on reading this post, I want you to open this music video in another tab and allow the song to play while you continue reading….

Now that the mood has been set, here we go. This past weekend, from the evening of Wednesday the 21st to Sunday the 25th, I took a trip to the land of Sinatra, Bobby Flay, and Tupac. A little place called New York City.

As I was flying in, listening to the song you are hopefully listening to right now, it was around 8:30pm on Wednesday night. If you fly into LaGuardia and are lucky enough to get a seat on the left-side of the aircraft, you will have that 1-million dollar view of NYC lit up like a Christmas tree. That sight always seems to give me the chills, and I was left in awe and ready to take on “the City” the next day.

Now you may be wondering: Brett, what were you doing in NYC?Good question. I ventured on the trip with three of my fellow SMF classmates and an undergraduate group targeting the investment banks in NYC. Between Thursday and Friday, we visited banks like Goldman Sachs in the Financial District and J.P. Morgan in Midtown. With my intended career path of Investment Banking, it was an awesome look into the workings of “Wall Street” and the current state of Investment Banks.

Two of my classmates and I in Times Square.
Two of my classmates and me in Times Square.

Also, I used this trip as a means to network. From our trips to the banks, we were able to speak and network with Ohio State alumni working there, as well as at a reception on Thursday night. In addition, we had free time in which we could network with other working professionals and alumni in the City– and I feel that I established some awesome new connections.

Finally, despite having been to New York City before, I let the inner tourist in me come out a bit and I stopped by some of the most famous spots like: Wall Street, Times Square, the Raging Bull, the Rockefeller Center, and Broadway. Final takeaways? I really do love NYC and can’t wait for my next trip back!

 

A classmate and I at the Raging Bull near Wall Street.
A classmate and I at the Raging Bull near Wall Street.

 

 

 

Building our Team!

"We're always better when we're together"
“Always better when we’re together”

It’s hard to believe it’s September. As August wrapped up, our SMF class excitedly looked toward the start of new projects and classes in our autumn term– and now, we’re in the thick of things. We spent the last month getting to know both our fellow SMF candidates and program alumni. As this team grows together, we anticipate great results both on campus and during our career search.

Getting to Know Our Classmates

The SMF class spends time getting to know each other both inside and outside the classroom. After class, we frequently play soccer (or football, as some of us call it!) and badminton. Besides playing games, a group of SMFs and I cheered on the Columbus Crew Major League Soccer Team and another group attended a concert with Kesha. There’s a lot do do here! These events, and many more throughout the year, are free to all Ohio State students. Events are fun, but often the best way to build relationships is over food. The past three weekends, about 15 to 20 of us have met for dinner each Friday evening. This has been a time for us to share favorite international dishes and explore new restaurants.

Building strong bonds among the SMF candidates will pay dividends as we finish the month of September developing a company analysis report. This week, our team finalized our collective “story” of where our company is and where we see them heading. This project is a tangible report that we can discuss with potential employers. As we begin our job search, it is important to know that not only do we work well together–we are also building our network with alumni.

Getting to know Alumni

A great part about being in the SMF program, is that the team extends beyond the walls of Fisher College of Business. About 30 alumni attended an August alumni reception. This event allowed the current class to learn about different careers in Finance and ask questions. Alumni also come back to visit during career fairs and panel discussions. I’ve talked to a number of them already. Coming to Ohio State from a smaller school, I was not used to calling people that I had not met in person; but, after many friendly phone calls, I know that there are a lot of professionals cheering us on and offering their support.