Brett Has Left the Building

Dear Loyal Following,

Over the past nine months, we have shared so much. You have witnessed a special and intimate viewing of the journey from the beginning of the Specialized Master in Finance program to this final week. From my introductory blog to my first semester recap to this final thank-you letter.

Roughly one year ago, I submitted my deposit for the program and solidified my change from a Political Science/International Affairs undergraduate student to a Candidate for the Specialized Master in Finance program at the Fisher College of Business. Arguably one of the biggest decisions of my life, I switched from a pre-law track to a finance track. Looking back, it was the defining moment in my life.

I have been exposed to a vast array of financial instruments and models that I will use in my future career. The amazing faculty and staff here have been awesome in supporting my growth as a student of finance and a student of The Ohio State University. In addition, the friends I have made here will last a lifetime, coming from backgrounds all across the globe and from different avenues of business. One thing you may have noticed throughout my blogs was the influence of the different cultures in the restaurants we visited. That is one of the greatest attributes of our program.

With all that being said, this is my final week at Fisher and my final week serving the program as a graduate ambassador. I have never been great at goodbyes and thus will keep this soliloquy short and sweet. To everyone at The Ohio State University, it has been an amazing ride. I am excited to see what the future holds for us in our future careers.

Adiós. 再见. 안녕. Tạm biệt. αντιο σας. अलविदा. Ijeoma. ลาก่อน.               Goodbye, Blog World.

Brett Hornung                                                                                                     Specialized Master in Finance, Class of ’17                                                       The Ohio State University – Fisher College of Business

 

Out of the Scarlet Planet

Goodbye Class of 2017: It is that time of year: graduation. Our group finished our client presentation to Vantiv (A Risk Management M&A Framework) and with that, the SMF class of 2017 is finished. Excitement, bittersweet, earnestness, calm; our class is experiencing a variety of emotions as everyone looks towards their next steps. Personally, I feel content and restful– thankful that I came to Ohio State. As I step away, I would like to take a moment to address the incoming class.

The OSU team after our presentation

Hello, Class of 2018!: Everyone will tell you that it goes fast, it will go even faster than they warned you. One of the unique beauties of our program is its diversity. You will travel from all Earth’s corners to study in Columbus. For some of you, this may be the first time in the United States. Things will be different. Before I left the U.S. to spend a summer in southeast Asia, I didn’t understand how different things could be. Sometimes, it may feel as if you are on another planet. Ohio State is a big school, we like football, etc. It’s OK to be scared, but I assure you, you will feel welcome here.

The Arrival by Shuan Tan: A imaginative novel about the struggles and awe of moving to a new country

One of my favorite authors (C.S. Lewis), tells a story about a man who goes into outer space. He first expects that space will be cold and empty, void of all his comforts. Near the end of the story, he realizes that space is not empty; the entire time it has been full of good things, the beautiful and bright creation of the galaxies. In this story, what was scary from the traveler’s perspective is actually good. It only took some time to be recognized.

If you are new to Columbus, there will be some pros and cons compared to your hometown. I encourage you to recognize and embrace the pros. Don’t hesitate, because your time here will be brief. This is my best advice for the incoming class.

To close, as we are talking about “space,” this is my final shameless plug for our campus. Check out the OSU planetarium. You will be glad you did, and I hope you will be glad you came to Ohio State.

Looking forward to meeting you.

– Ethan

A Day with Warren Buffett

About 20 Fisher graduate students traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to spend a day with Warren Buffett. The highlight of the trip was a 3.5 hour question and answer session with the Oracle himself.

Our group with Mr. Buffett

Mr. Buffett spent a large amount of time speaking about the importance of family. He said that as we grow older, our relationship with our children, (not how much money we have), will be one of, if not the main, measuring stick defining success.

Mr. Buffett supported this point by claiming, “being rich is over-rated, but if you have the chance, take it.” He explained that ease of air-travel was the only tangible “day to day” advantage he has over others.

These two concepts offered an opportunity for us to reflect on our long-term goals and decide what is truly important. Mr. Buffett serves as a reminder that choices we currently make will impact these goals, and that those of us who prioritize family will not “fail.”

I am thankful for the opportunity to meet and listen to Mr. Buffett. Traveling with our group formed a good bond as we all learned more about each other.

Our gift to Mr. Buffett – to match the Tressel ball he keeps on his desk – Go Bucks!

 

The Ultimate Settler

For some, holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, reminiscing on stories of old, and just having a splendid time among company you truly enjoy. While this is certainly the case for my family, we take it one step further with our competitive nature. After all the delicious food, our family takes to the dining room table and plays one of the many games in our arsenal.

The vast majority of these games are card games, including: Rummy, Shanghai, Yuker, Exploding Kittens, and Pinochle. The other games are board games: Labyrinth and Settlers of Catan. All of these games are definitely amazing and enjoyable in unique ways; however, my family’s favorite is Settlers of Catan.

Cover of box for game.

Ranked #1 board game in the world for the past several years (not 100% certain that this is true), Settlers is to board-gamers what peanut butter is to jelly, what cheese is to crackers, and what butter is to toast; it is just an absolute necessity. Now, you may be thinking no way, that can’t be true. But trust me, this game is the GOAT (greatest of all time).

Essentially, the goal is to build up your cities and settlements to obtain 10 points to win. Along the way, there are development cards that throw some twists into the game, as well as specialty point cards like Longest Road and Largest Army. There are different strategies that people argue for: some like to stretch their territory, others (like me) are fans of building a small but powerful community around numbers with the highest odds of being rolled. Either way, this game has it all and can be played in under two hours.

What the actual board looks like during a game.

Last night, after a nice day with extended family: my parents, younger brother, and I sat down at the dining room table for a game. While it didn’t look great for me early on, I pulled away on a three-point play to take the W: combining a victory point (from the development cards) with building one city and one settlement. It was an electric atmosphere after the win and I couldn’t have happier (sorry family).

All in all, go buy Settlers of Catan, teach your friends and family to play, and truly enjoy this epic board game for all that it offers. Happy Easter!

The End Is Near

I spent a part of this morning going through photos from the past year, and man, it is crazy how quickly these past eight months have gone. Reminds me of this old country song by Trace Adkins. As our email inboxes get flooded with graduation information, ways to purchase regalia, and other information regarding diplomas; graduation is starting to become a real idea indeed.

Looking back on these photos brought back great memories. For example, I remember our orientation and our Turbo Finance class, where I was planting the foundation of my current financial knowledge and getting to know my new classmates better. Another example is the numerous dinners that we went to as a class and all the great food and conversations we had.

My first team at Fisher

Fast forward to the Fisher Follies Auction event in the fall, to accepting my job, to traveling to NYC and meeting with the banks, to finishing out the first half of the program on a strong note. Christmas vacation was an awesome time to have some rest, start studying for the CFA exam, and begin to prepare for the second half of the school year.

Classmates and me in NYC in the fall.

Looking back on the past two months, I also did a lot of traveling: Denver, New York, Chicago, and Islamorada. It was awesome being able to enjoy these places with family, friends, and classmates. It was also nice to do a little traveling while I was still in school and before I started my job.

Skiing out in Denver at Keystone.

Now, we have just over one month left and I am going to cherish these moments a little bit more than the rest as I recognize that this is the end. We have a few more events planned, including the Fisher Follies Variety Show event and a few other SMF events. I am looking forward to this next month and walking across the stage with my classmates at graduation.

Opening Day: Glory to Columbus!

While other cities in the United States resisted soccer, Columbus embraced the world’s most beautiful game. Columbus stood apart from its peers by developing a professional soccer club, Columbus Crew Soccer Club. Free from the shadow of other professional sports teams, Crew SC organically grew to capture the city’s interest. Crew SC became the first professional sports team in Columbus, as well as the first club registered in the United States’ Major League Soccer. Columbus then proudly built the nation’s first “all-soccer” stadium. The country has returned Columbus the favor by hosting several U.S. National Team matches here in our city!

MAPFRE Stadium, the U.S.’s first soccer stadium, for Crew SC, the U.S.’s first club

March kicks off the soccer season with the Crew hosting the season opener. Two good friends who came into town from Toledo, my house-mates, and I attended the first game v. Chicago Fire (shout-out to the Fisher Finance Grad Association for the free tickets!). Check out the highlights from the game.

Everyone at Fisher should make sure to attend at least one Crew game. Even if you are not a sports fan, spend an evening checking out the atmosphere. The Crew has a loyal base of supporters that can always be found a few hours before a match at Fourth Street Bar and Grill. When you go to the game, walk a few blocks over to Fourth Street to see the support doused in yellow and black garb and feel the excitement in the atmosphere.

Image result for fourth street bar columbus
Its a little sleepy today, but stop by Fourth Street before a match!

One of soccer’s attractions is its attachment to a place. People feel a sense of home with their local club and celebrate their community together though its support. This is clearly evident in Europe where many clubs are close together. Here, clubs are spread out; but, as the league is young, it escapes much of the entertainment industry’s efforts to re-brand sports as an entertainment production. This may feel less exciting than the NFL or NBA, but is a refreshing approach to stay in touch with the city. Study up on the club’s songs so that you can sign along with the Hudson Street Hooligans. See you at the game!

The Global Food Map of Columbus

One cool aspect of the SMF program is how diverse it is. We have students from all over the globe who have their own unique cultures and culinary backgrounds. The latter is something that I have found most interesting over the past few months. Below you will find the different eateries that I have tried since we arrived back on campus from winter break:

First up: Saigon Asian Bistro out in Lewis Center, OH. We had a class dinner here, where the majority of the class showed up; even some of our professors and their families came. I ordered the Beef Pad Thai and it was pretty good. Unfortunately, God did not give my mouth the ability to handle spicy foods so I always have to order no spices. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this meal.

Next up, a few of my classmates and I headed to Taco Loco in nearby Dublin, Ohio, for a friend’s birthday celebration. One thing about this place is the guacamole. Man, oh man, they have some of the best guac in the state of Ohio. In addition to filling up on guac, I also indulged with one of their burritos, which was also very tasty. All in all, a solid little spot.

SMF Group at Taco Loco

Third, headed to New Taj Mahal on High Street near campus for some Indian food. This was my first attempt at Indian food since the summer of 2014. As mentioned above, I was not blessed with taste buds that are cool with spicy foods, so I was a bit scared. However, I ordered the shrimp biryani and really enjoyed it. Also, the buttered naan that we ordered for the table was delicious.

Fourth and final destination: a few weeks back a group of us headed out to Drelyse African Restaurant in Columbus, OH. This place specializes in West African cuisine and it was my first ever try at this style of food, so I was pumped up. I ordered the jollof chicken, which is pictured below. It was AMAZING. Also, my friend ordered the fried plantains and those were a nice little side dish. Would recommend this place to anyone who is interested in trying West African food.

Jollof Chicken at Drelyse

Four great experiences so far this semeste– really looking forward to continuing to explore the different cultures that we have here in Columbus and expanding my food palette over our final few months in school!

In the Presence of Dinosaurs: Studying at Orton Hall

Hello, finance world. As our industry becomes increasingly defined by technology, students are spending more time learning a variety of Financial software. Fisher offers state of the art financial software (such as Capital IQ, Crystal Ball, Rotman Trader and @ Risk), as well as statistical packages (such as SAS), and of course, Bloomberg terminals. These tools offer us an edge with real-world coursework and better prepare us for the job market; but today’s post is a friendly reminder that sometimes it is a good idea to get out of the computer labs and spend some time with Dinosaurs.

A T-Rex skull in the Museum at Orton Hall

Orton Hall has a Geology Museum (free and open to the public), that makes for a nice study break. Check out the variety of fossils and rocks.

The entry-way greeting to the Museum in Orton Hall

The Orton Hall Library is two stories of quiet study tables. This is the oldest library on campus.

The two story library at Orton

Technology offers an ocean of information, but we must take a step back to study the fundamentals. Mastering foundational concepts will ensure that you do not make elementary mistakes, and then allows you to properly use technology. The best way to do this is in the library with a book. Practicing takes discipline and it is easier to be disciplined far away from comfy chairs and Starbucks. The Orton Hall Library has a sense of place and purpose– and it invites you to visit with one.

Taking a break from technology is one of the reasons you should study at Orton. There are many more, but Orton is one of those places best discovered for yourself.

 

Team Projects: Unveiled

One of the cooler aspects of the Specialized Master in Finance program here at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business is the Team Projects class that is taken in your last semester.

The course is designed to allow students to apply for teams on projects with real companies who submit real projects, which the teams work on through the months of March and April, culminating in a final presentation during the last week of school. The “objective of the course is to give SMF students an opportunity to practice their analytical and soft skills by working in teams on real finance related projects with clients” (syllabus).

Throughout the program, we have taken core classes in Economics, Corporate Finance, and Investments; as well as our elective classes in our chosen academic paths. We have also developed our professional skills through networking events and extracurricular club activities like the Fisher Graduate Finance Association. In addition, we have developed our teamwork skills through group projects and presentations, as well as through our core Leadership class. All of the skills and knowledge that have been developed during our seven months at Fisher are now going to be tested and applied in real world situations. It is truly an exciting class!

FGFA Logo

Last week, the Specialized Master in Finance class of 2017 got together for the grand unveiling of the companies that were participating this year. Professor Pinteris walked us through the class syllabus, as well as the expectations of each student during the time period working with these companies. The projects cover all four of the main tracks within the program: Corporate Finance, Risk, Real Estate, and Investments. Thus, there are plenty of options for each student to apply for in their desired path.

Now we have to submit our applications and will find out later this week which company’s project we have been selected for. Once we have this information and we make contact with the company, our work truly begins. I think I can speak for the entire SMF class when I say that we are excited for this amazing opportunity.

 

Happy Chinese New Year

It’s the year of the Rooster! And here at the Fisher SMF program we could not think of a better way to start off the new year than a delicious meal at one of our new favorite restaurants. Recently opened, HY Asian Cuisine offers authentic Chinese and Japanese food– at least as claimed by several students as their favorite restaurant here in Columbus.

Good friends, good food

The above picture shows jut one of our two roundtables. Professors, alumni, students, and friends all joined together. All together, our group was about 40 people.

We had many excellent dishes. My personal favorites were the crab, spicy pepper chicken, and mushrooms. There were many good vegetable dishes and good rice.

The works

The rooster is independent, quick minded, capable, and warm towards others, so lore says. The same attributes can be said of our 2017 SMF class. It was wonderful to celebrate the new year with such good people and I’m looking forward to our next dinner.