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.

Holiday Party & Lights in the German Village

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The SMF program kicked off December with an evening together at our professor’s house enjoying a holiday party and explored the German village’s Village Lights. The highlight of the party was a “secret Santa” gift exchange where we all exchanged a gift with one of our classmates. In the giving spirit, I want to give you some of the best moments from a fun night with great people.

Enjoying the evning with SMF students & Dr. Pinteris
Enjoying the evening with SMF students & Dr. Pinteris.

Like any good party, there was good food! Sweet chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered mint Oreos, sugar cookies, and candy set the stage for savory snacks like meatballs and mushrooms.

The snack table is always a popular hang out
The snack table is always a popular hang out.

My favorite part of the party was decorating the Christmas tree together. The only rule of the party was that everyone had to put an ornament on the tree. At the end of the day, our work look great!

The finished product! Teamwork makes the dream work
The finished product. Teamwork makes the dream work, as the saying goes!

Near the end of the party, we all went outside to explore the neighborhood. The first Sunday in December, the German Village hosts “Village Lights.” Many people decorate and open their homes– and stores stay open late– as others come and visit. Check out what it looks like here in this video.

Wishing you all a safe & warm holiday season, and a healthy new year!

 

It’s the Holiday Season

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, the Christmas season! With Black Friday sales just a few weeks ago, the “official” start of the holiday season has begun. Everywhere you go, people are putting up Christmas lights, decorating doors with wreaths, and playing familiar Christmas tunes. These are just a few things I love about Christmas, but for an exhaustive list, check this out.

Our Specialized Master in Finance class decided to follow this trend and get into the holiday spirit, as well, before Finals kick off here at the end of the week. The majority of the class attended a holiday celebration at Professor Fuller‘s home this past Sunday night. We are very grateful to be able to celebrate together, and enjoy the wonderful appetizers, cookies, and hot cider that Mrs. Fuller had for us.

Appetizers & Cookies
Appetizers & Cookies

In addition, the Christmas tree was left undecorated for all of us to help. For some, it was their first time putting ornaments on the tree and this was a cool experience to be a part of. Also, I had the honor of placing the angel on top of the Christmas tree (mostly because I am a tall human being); nonetheless, it was a cool thing to do.

The decorated Christmas tree from the house.
The decorated Christmas tree from the house.

During the week prior, our Specialized Master in Finance Council also had organized a Secret Santa gift swap. For those unfamiliar, basically you are assigned another person in the class and you get to give that person a gift (we had a $20 limit on gifts). At Professor Fuller’s, we all exchanged gifts with whom we were assigned. I received an exquisite box of delicious chocolate mints– thank you very much to my Secret Santa!

Finally, the neighborhood of German Village had its Village Lights Festival, in which houses and businesses in the area are decorated and all lit up, to put the neighborhood in the holiday spirit. We drove though the neighborhood instead of walking, due to the cold rain that was falling, but still were able to enjoy the Christmas spirit.

It was a great event to kick the season off, and I am looking forward to getting back to Cleveland to celebrate even more with my family!

The Final Countdown

The first 7-week session came and went, then Fall Break was a treat. Halloween was a blast and the month of November has went by so fast. Now, with Thanksgiving and a HUGE victory over The University of Michigan in the rear view mirror, we are heading into The Final Countdown. Throughout this blog post, I am going to share a few of my memories from this semester in chronological order by using a series of pictures.

First, this is a picture of my group and me in August– we go by the title of Team 6. Over the past few months, we have spent countless hours together working on projects like an Equity Research Report, Corporate Finance Team Cases, and an Economics Presentation.

Team 6
Team 6

Second, this is a picture of some classmates of mine, enjoying lunch outside while the weather was still warm in early September. However, “Winter is Coming.”

Some of the Fellas
Some of the Fellas

Third, a throwback to the New York City trip a few of us in the SMF program went on towards the end of September. It was awesome seeing the big banks and doing some of the touristy stuff.

Raging Bull
Raging Bull

Next up, the SMF class takes a class picture after delivering our Equity Research Report presentations in early October.

SMF Class of 2016-2017
SMF Class of 2016-2017

Throughout the month of October and early November, I drove back and forth from Columbus and Cleveland to watch the Cleveland Indians play in the playoffs of the World Series. Unfortunately, we lost, but I have some great memories with my family and friends.

World Series Games
World Series Games

Next up was the Fisher Follies (a charitable graduate organization that helps students in need). It was a formal auction event that was a great time with other graduate school programs during the month of November.

SMF Classmates at Fisher Follies
SMF Classmates at Fisher Follies

Finally, here is a picture of my friend and SMF classmate, Hector. He drove up to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family this past Thursday, and it was a nice little break to rejuvenate before finals.

Thanksgiving in Cleveland
Thanksgiving in Cleveland

These are just a few of the great memories that I have made as a Specialized Master in Finance student here at the Fisher College of Business. I am looking to finishing up the semester strong as we head into our final presentations, reports, and exams and looking forward to more memories after the Christmas break!

The Game

A brilliant 10-year anniversary of “the game of the century”

Every last Saturday in November, the greatest rivalry in Unites States sports takes place. It’s Ohio State versus Michigan, in the border battle football game. This year, the teams entered the game ranked number two and number three in the country (respectively) with each team fighting for one of the four spots in the college football playoff. The stage was set for an instant classic, and like so many installments before, both teams delivered a hard-fought game of unimaginable toughness and passion. We don’t claim that this was the greatest match, because that disrespects the teams of the past; but, undoubtedly, this game rises up and joins the legendary games in the rivalry.

This game holds a special place in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Toledo sits on the border between Ohio and Michigan. In 1835, both states nearly came to war over each’s claim on Toledo’s strategic port. Thankfully, President Andrew Jackson stepped in to prevent war and also make the Toledo strip undoubtedly part of Ohio; but, the city’s split identity still prevails. Today, many Toledoians attended both schools and work in both states. The city’s strong industrial core draws it closely to Detroit auto manufacturing, while others honor the state boarder and unwavering support all things Ohio.

Both states claimed the territory in red, thus fueled the rivalry

Moving from this divided community to Columbus was a transition (spoiler alert: there are no Michigan supporters in Columbus!). During rivalry week, it was odd to see houses and cars decorated only in Scarlet & Grey. Cheering with my roommates in the sixth row of the south end zone student section, there was one lone Michigan fan directly behind me. He has seen Ohio State dominate the rivalry over the past decade, came to a hostile home crowd, and still represented his school well. He was a good reminder that there are much, much more, important things in life than any football game. We are rivals, but are more alike than different. Ohio State and Michigan love each other more than anyone will admit, and it is great to be a part of it – Go Bucks!

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Video footage of my roommates and I storming the field to celebrate our win! (Mazin is jumping in the bottom left, Drew is above him jumping over the rail, and I am next in the grey hat.) – Memorable last home game! O-H-I-O!

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!