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.

Ball is Life

I believe the legendary NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” How is this relevant? Well, the Specialized Master in Finance program fielded a team of Grade-A all-stars to play intramural B-league basketball every Tuesday night at 9:50pm, and the fellas are undefeated. Led by team captain Brian Perry, Big K & The Gang is already paving its path to the Finals: the internet has been blowing up with memes about how the squad is taking the Finals home in 6 games this year.

One of the internet's meme renditions of the team.
One of the internet’s meme renditions of the team.

Last Tuesday night was our opening night, in which we faced a fierce competitor; however, the SMF team ultimately pulled ahead towards the end of the game and notched our first victory of the season. Coach Terence Mordi after the game was quoted saying: “These guys started off a bit rough, shooting a dismal field percentage; however, in the second half they played as if it was their last game ever. I can’t get over how proud I am of these guys and the effort it took to pull out that W.”

Steve “Big K” Mowry was a dominate presence in the post, while Mark Venzor was an absolute weapon on the defensive end of the court. Ian Ding also provided valuable minutes at point guard, notching several assists in the process. Overall, each of the 8 team members showed strong initial performances, providing ESPN and other basketball analysts with some positive insights for what is to come throughout the rest of the season.

Rumor has it (albeit unconfirmed), this is the most wins that an SMF team has had in an intramural sport this school year. From what I have seen thus far, this team is the epitome of hard-working and blue-collar. Although the team has been surrounded by media and fans looking for comments and autographs, respectively, this group of financiers is looking to carry this momentum heading into our second game of the season this Tuesday night.

The Beautiful Game: Morning Brunch with the SMFs

(For the best experience, listen to this song while reading.)

On Sunday January 15th, there was a major sporting event that captivated the attention of several SMF students. No, there was not a big Ohio State game that day. Neither did we focus on OSU alumni Ezekiel Elliot playing in the National Football League (NFL) playoffs. Our attention was not actually on the NFL playoffs at all. We instead woke up early to tune into a different type of football. We cheered for our sides in the English Premier League (EPL).

The EPL is not as popular here as Ohio State athletics, or even a U.S. professional league; still, you do not have to look far to see signs of “real football” supporters. Spilling over from across the pond, EPL rivalries are heating up within our SMF class as the competition thickens. One advantage, in my opinion, of our class is that there are no Chelsea fans – on the downside, there is one Manchester United supporter (I kid, I kid). All joking aside, it is a real good time to kick back over the weekend and catch a match together!

Both squads about to take the pitch!

Sunday’s match featured a contested match-up between Manchester United and Liverpool (yes, you caught me – I’m a Reds supporter!). I hosted a game time brunch in my home, and along with several SMF candidates and my roommates we had a full house. We joked around about Pogba being out of position most of the game (too bad he wasn’t out of position when he scored the tying goal), and whenever a Liverpool player slipped like Gerrard (jeering goes both ways mate).

Finishing the game tied ensured that no one was too down to prevent them from enjoying the excellent food. If you are not a soccer fan, don’t worry, the food is almost as important – and a big match deserves a big brunch. Sunday’s match featured breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, boiled potatoes, fried onions & peppers, and shredded cheese with a dabble of hummus or guacamole. We also had yogurt with fresh mixed berries and granola. After the main course, like any good college student, we snacked on pizza.

All in all, this is just another example of Fisher students building community outside the classroom. Always remember – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Image result for you'll never walk alone scarf

 

Think Global, Buy Local: Enjoying a Drink at One Line Coffee

It’s the beginning of January; new classes have begun, and everyone here is once again studying. If you are waking up early, staying up late, or warming up from the cold winter weather, there is a good chance you are enjoying some coffee or tea. Columbus features many popular coffee shops and every area has its own local favorites; but, one local coffee shop roasts top-quality coffee and has an interesting story of engaging with their global supply chain.

Yumm!

One Line Coffee– now at two locations: in the Short North and at Capital Square– is passionate about sourcing and sustainability. One Line was started by a father and son who wanted to know where the coffee they were roasting came from. They believe, “If all parts of the supply chain aren’t beneficial to the people and land involved, then the end product is not sustainable. That’s it. Simple as that.”

But it wasn’t enough to know where the coffee was grown. One Line launched an investigative mission to find out if the farmer was paid a good price– if the pickers where treated fairly, if the mills operated enough to stay open, etc. Due to this seemingly daunting mission for a local business, the One Line owners dusted off the passports and made it their first goal to travel to the point of origin for as many aspects of the supply chain as they could visit. One Line continues to travel internationally as often as possible and now has relationships with importers who understand and support One Line’s mission.

Check out the Short North location!

This company is a prime example of two important things that Fisher students can strive to emulate: first, the environment, every step in the the supply chain, and the customer share mutual dependency; and second, that local action can successfully engage (and I dare say be a catalyst) in the global environment. The good news for us here at Fisher is that a made to order cup is right down High Street.

Third Semester: Time to Narrow Your Path

Back to school, back to school…

The Specialized Master in Finance program’s third session of the year started this week and it’s good to be back on campus. It has been almost a month since we have all seen each other and it’s nice to catch up with the friends I made in the first semester. It seems like everyone enjoyed their breaks: a few even did some traveling to cities like Miami, Chicago, and New York City. For me, I traveled to Denver and did some sightseeing and skiing– check out the cool picture of me below at Keystone!

Skiing out in Denver at Keystone
Skiing out in Denver at Keystone

While that was fun and enjoyable, it’s back to focusing on school and my classes for this semester. A cool part about the SMF program is in the third session when you narrow in on which “path” you want to take between the four: Corporate Finance, Investments, Risk, or Real Estate. While you do not have to pick only one path, it is recommended that you focus on one area of study to master it. For me, I have chosen the Corporate Finance path and am excited to take the elective classes that most interest me.

On my schedule this session are: Corporate Financial Reporting, Financial Statement Analysis I, Corporate M&A, and Corporate Financial Management III. The first two are accounting courses that will help me better understand the financial statements and how the line items are connected. The third class is more of strategy behind M&A decisions and what the inputs and factors are that go into these choices. The fourth class covers distressed and declining companies, including the valuation of these companies.

corporate-finance

Overall, I am extremely excited about my schedule. One cool thing about the third and fourth sessions is the overlap with other programs. Now we get to interact with Masters of Accounting, MBA, and MHRM students in our classes. In addition, there are several SMF students also on the Corporate Finance track going through these courses with me. While this session will be challenging, it will definitely be rewarding and I am looking forward to the next six weeks with my classmates.