Posts filed under 'SMF'

Fisher Wall Street Trip

One of the great opportunities that we have here at Fisher for those interested in a Career on Wall Street is the Fisher Wall Street Trip.  During this trip we had the opportunity to meet with alumni and friends of Fisher at most all the major Wall Street Banks.  We had the chance to meet with individuals from the following firms:

Morgan Stanley
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
KeyBanc Capital Markets
Bloomberg
UBS
Goldman Sachs
Barclays
Vertical Research Partners
Waverly Advisors

During these office visits we had the opportunity to talk with a wide variety of people from the analyst level, up to managing director.  This was a great opportunity to ask questions regarding the firms and investment banking in general and was very informative to those who did not know as much about the field.  In addition to the office visits, the office of career management also set up two dinners that gave us the opportunity to network and interact with alumni of Fisher in a more informal environment.  This was a great opportunity to speak with alumni in the industry about their experiences and journey from Ohio to New York City.   Overall, this was a great opportunity that I would highly recommend to any future SMF student interested in a career on Wall Street.

SMF Students in Times Square


Fisher Attracts Top Speakers

In my opinion, one of the biggest perks of enrolling in the SMF program has been the access it provides to Fisher’s impressive list of guest speakers. I am only a few months into the semester and already I have had the chance to hear from equity analysts, investment bankers, and even several CFO’s from big name corporations.

Just a few weeks ago, Robert Green, the CFO of GE Capital (a $46 billion company), came to Fisher. He was in town for the 2013 National Middle Market Summit, which was co-hosted by GE Capital, the National Center for the Middle Market, and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. Mr. Green spoke about his strategy and goals as a CFO, as well as offered some advice to the students in attendance. Namely, he recommended that students really connect to their studies, that they stay informed about world news, and that they see the interview process as a two-way street, i.e. try to find a company that reflects your values and meets your specifications rather than just taking any job that comes along.

The SMF program has also hosted several exclusive events. For example, earlier in the year, the SMF students were able to speak with Larry Hilsheimer, the CFO of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, which is headquartered in Marysville, Ohio, and coming up in the next few weeks, we will hear from Andy Rose, the Vice President and CFO of Worthington Industries, Inc., a leader in the diversified metal processing industry.

These speakers are such an invaluable resource. I can’t wait to see who will be here in the Spring!


Staying in Shape at Fisher

Here at Fisher there are plenty of opportunities to get out and do things other than schoolwork and studying.  I am a very active person and as such have taken advantage of the many physical activity programs that are available at Ohio State.

  • Intramural Football – Fisher put together a co-ed flag football team that was comprised of people from a variety of programs.  It allowed me and a few of the other SMFs to meet some of the individuals in the other Fisher programs.  Football was a good chance to get out on the weekends and get some physical activity while in a fun, competitive environment.
  • Club Swimming – I was an NCAA Swimmer in undergrad at the University of South Carolina so I am always looking for ways to continue to stay in shape and Club Swimming is one of the best opportunities that I have found.  We practice a few times a week and then swim a few meets a semester against other colleges in the area and it is a great chance to not only do a little training but also get up and race every few weeks.
  • Recreation Facilities – Ohio State offers some of the best on-campus recreation facilities in the country with the RPAC, Jesse Owens North, and Jesse Owens South all within a few minute walk of Fisher.  The RPAC is the flagship of the rec department and is one of the largest collegiate rec centers in the country.  They offer over a dozen basketball courts, a massive weight room, hundreds of pieces of cardio equipment, an indoor track, as well as one of the nicest aquatic facilities in the country.  It is very convenient to Fisher and is just a 5 minute walk into campus and is a great place to grab a quick workout in between classes or to break up a long study period.

RPAC exterior


What’s Your Type?

As part of our Leadership class today, we were asked to take a short-form version of the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test identifies your preferences between eight personality characteristics, which have been divided into four pairs of opposites: Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I), Intuition (N) and Sensing (S), Thinking (T) and Feeling (F), and Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). After answering questions like “When making a decision, the most important considerations are: a. rational thoughts, ideas, and data or b. people’s feelings and values,” you are left with four letters that are meant to encompass the major components of your personality.

I had taken similar tests before, so I was not necessarily surprised by my results (ISTJ), but I had never thought of how differences in personality play out in the workplace. For example, Dr. Rodgers presented evidence from a sample of US companies that showed that a full 70% of Junior Managers fall into the Extrovert category, while about 55% of Senior Managers are introverts. Similarly, about 80% of Junior Managers were categorized as Sensing, compared to just 40% of Senior Managers. Now, obviously this does not mean that I, as an ISTJ, am destined to be a Senior Manager, but it was interesting to see how certain personality traits align with different jobs within a company. What I really took away from the lecture, though, was that, by understanding how other personality types think and make decisions, you can greatly improve your ability to communicate and work efficiently in a team setting, not to mention understand your spouse better! For a free personality profile and to see how your four letters may play into your career path, click here.

What’s your type?


Class is in Session

As we begin to wrap up the first of our seven week sessions, our first set of SMF classes is coming to a close.  These classes are imperative to success in the program as they provide the foundation for many of the other classes that we will take.  For those students without a finance background they also give them the opportunity to learn many of the basic financial concepts and theories.  During the first 7 weeks all members of the program have taken the same four classes: Turbo Finance, Financial Modeling, Industry Risk and Pricing, and Data Analysis.

  • Turbo Finance:  This class is taught by the SMF program director, Dr. George Pinteris, and as its name suggests, provides a full overview of the many financial theories and concepts that are necessary for success in a rigorous program such as the SMF.  This course covers a set of fundamental techniques for financial analysis.  In this class we have examines the investment decision in detail looking at both the NPV and IRR of projects to determine their viability. We have also spent a third of the class on valuation analysis looking at both the multiples and DCF methods.  The third key focus of this course is financial statement analysis and we will focus on using a set of tools and methods to analyze companies and sectors.  This class also involves a company report where we will apply all of the techniques that we have learned in the class to analyze a particular company.  In my case we are working on an analysis of FedEx.
  • Financial Modeling:  This class is taught by Professor Daniel Oglevee, a former Wall Street Professional with a great deal of experience in financial modeling from his time in the private sector.  In this class we have constructed dozens of models that could be applied in our future jobs from NPV analysis to forecasting financial statements.  This class serves as one of the foundations for the program because the skills learned will be used in every other class we take.  In addition, in almost any job in the business world, knowledge of Microsoft Excel and financial modeling are extremely important and employers actively seek candidates with these skills.
  • Industry Risk and Pricing:  This class is taught by Dr. Michael Brandl, and provides an overview of applied microeconomics.  What sets this class apart from many other economic courses I have taken is not only Professor Brandl’s enthusiasm for the subject, but also the application of economic theory to real-world financial situations.  He stresses for each of us to think as an analyst and in order to fully understand the influences and forces on a company or sector, you must understand the economics behind the growth or decline.
  • Data Analysis: This class is taught by Dr. Daniel Magestro, explores some the most common techniques used in financial and investment analysis.  One of the main focuses of the class, as evident by the title, is data analysis which is the application of quantitative methods to characterize financial datasets, including which to use in different situations.  In this class we also create analyst reports on various topics that allow for students to apply many of the techniques we have learned in a real world application.

My First OSU Football Game

As things are heating up on the academic front with finals rapidly approaching, it was fantastic to momentarily escape the stress this Saturday night at the Ohio State Buckeyes football game.

Braxton Miller overpowering the Badgers Defense

 

Having earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, I am no stranger to Big 10 sporting events.  During my four years in Champaign-Urbana, I attended numerous Illini football and basketball games.  In January 2008, I traveled to Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl game between The University of Illinois and The University of Southern California.  All of my experiences at Illini sporting events wrapped into one cannot compete with my first Buckeye football game.

 

The fans, the band, the stadium, everything surpassed my high expectations.  Not a single student in my row sat down from the opening kickoff until the fourth quarter.  It was truly fascinating to witness the passion in which Buckeye fans cheer on their squad.

 

Although the football team played great, the Ohio State Marching Band might have been one step better.  A flawless performance highlighted by the designed formation of a cowboy tipping his hat as members of the band scurried back and forth in perfect unison.

 

Coming into the Wisconsin game unbeaten in 16 straight, the highly touted Buckeyes rode the Horseshoe’s electric atmosphere to their 17th victory in a row.  Wisconsin was no slouch, but the Buckeyes looked the superior team throughout.

 

Before Saturday’s game, I strongly considered selling some of my tickets.  There is absolutely no chance of that happening now.  For now, I will have to patiently wait for my next chance to see the Buckeyes.  October 19th could not arrive soon enough!


Decisions, Decisions

Even though it feels like classes just started, second term is only weeks away, and it is already almost time to schedule for spring semester. That means I need to start thinking about which track I will be specializing in: corporate finance, investment management, risk management, or real estate. Right now, my SMF classmates seem pretty evenly divided between corporate finance and investment management, with a handful of others pursuing risk management and real estate. I personally am still torn between the corporate and investment tracks. Not having a finance background, I think it will take me a bit longer to determine what jobs interest me, and into what categories those jobs fall.

Luckily for me and other students in a similar position, the SMF program is designed to help you find the right path. During the second term, which runs from mid-October until Winter Break, all of the SMF students are required to take Corporate I and Investments I, along with Leadership, Derivatives I, and Data Analysis II. This allows everyone to get a taste for the two main tracks and, from what I hear, I should know pretty quickly in which direction I am leaning.

However, if I still cannot make up my mind, I am sure the SMF faculty and staff will continue to be a great source of guidance. One piece of advice I have heard from several of our professors is to read—read the textbooks, read newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, and read magazines like The Economist. Then think back on what topics, industries, and companies caught my attention, what was I naturally drawn to, even if seems like a far-fetched career path. That could help point me towards not only a track within the SMF program, but also possible employers for the future. Because, after all, shouldn’t the end goal be to get not just any job, but a job I actually love?

Check out the full list of spring semester electives here!

 


Greek Life at Ohio State

Labor Day weekend is usually a pretty big deal in Columbus. For some, the holiday marks the unofficial end of summer, the day to pack away those white jeans and seersucker shorts until next year. For others, the long weekend is a chance to spend extra time with family and friends, usually around the grill (if the weather cooperates). And this year, of course, Labor Day weekend also marked the return of the Ohio State Football Buckeyes, who started off the season with a 40-20 win over Buffalo. But for me, the best thing about last weekend, and every Labor Day weekend in my recent memory, was the Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the Short North.

 

Besides touring the beautiful cathedral, this four-day festival offers guests the opportunity to experience traditional Greek dancing and to hear Greek folk songs as performed by the Hellenic Singers. However, the highlight of the festival, by far, is the food. Whether you want gyros and souvlaki or homemade mousakka, you will find it at the festival- and it will be DELICIOUS! There is even an entire room dedicated to pastries.

 

This year, the Greek festival was especially memorable because I was able to enjoy it with some of my new SMF classmates, including one student who is actually from Athens and so was able to teach us all a lot about the Greek culture and language. While we were there, we even ran into two of our SMF faculty members and their families, which was great!

Of course, the Greek Festival is not the only festival we have in Columbus. In fact, from April to November, there seems to be at least one every weekend. Check out a list of all of the 2013 festivals here.

Καλή Όρεξη!

[Bon appetit!]


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.


Another Year Begins

Even though it still feels like summer outside, the long lines at Starbucks, empty shelves at Target, and packed parking lots mean school at The Ohio State University is officially back in session. However, while I may be new to the Fisher College of Business and the Specialized Master of Business-Finance (SMF) program, I am not new to life as a graduate student at OSU. This past May I graduated with an MS in Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. I decided to come back to Ohio State and pursue a second Master’s degree, not because I never want to work, but because I knew that the practical skills and experience using programs like Excel, Bloomberg, and Capital IQ that I will gain from the SMF program, when coupled with my background in applied economics, will be immensely helpful for me during the competitive job search process. One of the benefits of having been through a graduate program already, besides not having to stand in line to get a new BuckID and already generally knowing my way around campus (though I still get lost sometimes), is that I have learned a few things that should make this upcoming year a little bit easier, so I thought I would share some of these lessons with you.
1. Be organized- between classes, team meetings, career management events, social outings, and all of the little things that will inevitably come up every day, you are probably going to be busier than you have ever been before. As such, it is essential to be organized. Write down all of your meetings and deadlines in a planner and check your email often for any changes in locations or times. For class, print out lecture slides ahead of time so you can focus on the professor instead of frantically trying to write down every word, and try to get your backpack together the night before so you do not accidentally leave your homework on the kitchen counter!
2. Manage your time- every new school year I say I am going to keep up with the reading and get that term paper done way ahead of time, but, regardless of my good intentions, within a few weeks the work begins to pile up, and so does the stress. Luckily (or unluckily), the SMF program, with its seven-week terms, is going to be so fast-paced that I will not have time to procrastinate. I just try to remember that other students have survived this program so the workload is doable, but the marathon TV-watching sessions may have to wait until next summer. My weakness: 30 Rock reruns on Netflix. One episode just flows right into the next!
3. Find balance- being in graduate school, especially in a program as intense as the SMF, it would be easy to spend all day every day reading text books and editing your resume, but it is important, for your health and your sanity, to do something you enjoy every day. It is going to be a long year and you do not want to burn out before fall semester is even over. For me, my stress relief comes from going to the gym or running outside if the weather is nice. Kickboxing is particularly therapeutic. The RPAC has a great group fitness schedule with classes pretty much all day, even on the weekends.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff- from my experience, graduate school, more so than undergrad, is about the bigger picture. And while getting good grades is definitely still important, it is less important to memorize a hundred definitions and get the exact right answer on every test question than it is to really understand the material you are learning, to understand the logic and assumptions that went into getting to that right answer. It is also more important now to take advantage of the learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Talk to your classmates and professors, do a practice interview in the career management office, and stay in touch with what is going on in the world. Your classes will teach you the technical skills that you need to succeed, but these extra lessons could be essential to landing that dream job and being successful in the long-term.

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