How to not bust your entertainment budget in Columbus OH

Ever tried to find cheap movies in Columbus? I recommend two to you die-hard movie fans~

1) The first one is Cinemark Theater, which is located at a shopping mall at 2570 Bethel Road. I went there to see the extraordinary “The Smurfs.” It tells a story where the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village. Unexpectedly, they tumble from their magical world into New York City. It was really an amazing experience of watching a 3D animation picture with the special 3D glasses. And we could even bring those glasses home! The ticket is priced at around one dollar and there are usually recent released movies (but not the “most recent”). However, for the price, I think this Cinemark Theatre is definitely worth checking out.

2) Another wonderful cheap movie theater is at Easton Town Center. Though it’s not one dollar, it still cheaper than most other theaters, and it has the newest movies. I saw the film “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt in that cinema, which tells the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.

How is that? Spending one dollar on a movie!? Terrific! So, what are you waiting for? Let’s take a well deserved break from classes and see one dollar movies~

Cinemark

My Favorite Professor

I’d like to talk about my favorite professor in the SMF program this term, Professor Pinteris. I enjoy his classes so much and I think he is a really scholarly mentor as well as helpful friend. His teaching style embodies his ideology of incorporating teaching into action.

As a conscientious and dedicated teacher, Professor Pinteris has always been generous with his time and energy in exchanging ideas with students. When it comes to his office hour on Tuesday or lunch session on Thursday, there are always many students speaking with him. His patient persuasion and education are a testimony to my horizons, learning, growth, and also benefit from more accumulated financial knowledge and experience. I love the way he explains problems and all of those wonderful stories!

Professor Pinteris always has each student’s individual growth at heart. At the beginning of the term, we all feel it is quite difficult to choose his/her own major specialization from Corporate Finance, Investment Management, Real Estate and Risk management. Professor Pinteris not only clarified the basic situation of each specialization in the financial industry, but also gave his own advice for every student according to the skills and interests of each individual. I made my decision based on his advice and I think I do choose a specialization which I’m most keen on and skilled in.

Instead of simply teaching formulas and theorems, Professor Pinteris often invites experts in the financial sector to give lectures to us. We’ve learned a lot from the lectures on hedge funds, corporate finance reporting, etc.

“Career path is not linear.” That’s Professor Pinteris’s philosophy! We cannot predict the next stage in which we’ll be. So try to listen more, learn more, think deeper. It can help us adapt ourselves to the changing circumstances. Survival of the fittest always applies and especially applies to the competitive financial industry.

It’s not too late! Or too early!

The first month or so of the SMF program has brought about an interesting dynamic between the students. Many were concerned that they have too little work experience for a graduate program. Most MBA programs suggest 3-5 years of work experience for candidates, and many of our classmates are straight from undergrad. Another portion of the students (including myself) have been concerned about getting back into the swing of school after some time in working world. My time lapse is only two years, but a handful have been out of school for up to six or seven years. Regardless, the schedule, mentality, and status of your bank account are all turned upside down. However, after the initial concerns, I think everyone is settling in and realizing that the dichotomy is what makes this experience unique and worthwhile. It’s much like a “Just for Men Gel” ad – the perfect combination of experience and potential! (Let’s be honest, the best Just for Men commercial is the one with Emmitt Smith, Walt Frazier, Keith Hernandez, and the Big Unit, so here you go.)

After completing a handful of interviews, I have realized that there is a great tradeoff between the two. Some interviews focus on technical concepts that we may not have covered in class up to this point. It is difficult to reach back to my undergrad education for specific topics, especially the ones I have not used in my jobs. However, what I lack in technical analysis, I make up for in actual work experience. Many interviews discuss behavioral questions, and despite what anyone may believe, this is a huge aspect of succeeding at any occupation. I felt as though my work experience was relatively useless until I started interviewing and compiling a sizable amount of “tell me about a time when…” answers.

To summarize, wherever you fall on the spectrum from directly entering grad school to going back after working the better part of the last decade, there is a spot for you. Just at look at how welcoming Emmit, Walt, and Keith are to Randy. This could be you.

Ice Cream Lover? Go to Jeni’s

When I came to Columbus for the first time, lots of people recommended me this brand of ice cream. Jeni’s, which is a local brand in Columbus, is an awesome place to enjoy ice cream and hang out with friends. I want to recommend it to you.
Jeni’s

There are 3 Jeni’s shops in Columbus, and the one that is closest to OSU is at 714 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43215. You cannot miss it because there is a reproduction of a distinguished printing, American Gothic by Grant Wood, on the wall outside.

 

 

Are you excited about the ice cream? If so, then you won’t be disappointed. There are numerous sorts of hand-made ice creams with different flavors. The most popular one, which is also my favorite, is salty caramel. It gives a mouth-watering salty sweet balance. It seems that every customer who comes to this shop will have a different preference. And there are many other splendid flavors, such as, beet cake with black walnuts, brown butter almond brittle, cherry lambic sorbet, gravel road, lemon & blueberry frozen yogurt, the buckeye state, etc. Are you still undecided? Can you decide which one to have? The shop assistant will give you little spoons of every flavor you want to try.

menu

 

If you are starving, there are ice cream sandwiches as well for you to consume. The sandwiches are all in the most popular flavors with delicious cookies outside.

ice cream sandwich

The popular Jeni’s shop is often crowed with her fans. On weekends’ nights, especially, there is always a long queue, and people even line up outside Jeni’s shop. So it is better to come here on weekdays or early on weekends.

Comments on the Rationality of Human, and their Behavior in Finance

I’ve heard way more things about the behavior economics recently in class, on TV(CNBC), during lunch at Fisher, and even in a conversation in my dream (just kidding).  Economists, Psychologists, and Financial managers spend years and years trying to figure out their own behaviors-“why are we humans making so many irrational decisions which deviate so much from what they expect them to be, or what they could benefit from?” They want to find some sorts of laws, rules, or some patterns that could explain such phenomenon well.

Scholars make this even more complicated. So far, they could only say “some” of those activities and decisions are just irrational. I’m not going to explain what the behavioral finance is since you can Google it, right? All I want to say from my observation on behavior rationality is that: that people are irrational or making irrational decisions is because there are three things happening that distract them from realizing their target or goals. These things are:

  • Concerns over what other people do in a similar situation
  • Events that are in favor by the people but twist the outcome
  • Incorrect interpretations of problems

“Concerns over what other people do in a similar situation” refers to that people would chose the solutions that are not optimal or even are opposite when taking other people’s solutions into account.  For example, when you wanted to buy Apple’s shares but you found out that everybody else bought Google’s shares, so you bought Google’s share instead even though your 10-hour homework made you believe that Apple is going to blow out after tomorrow’s earning report.

“Events that are in favor by the people but twist the outcome” refers to that things that are happening within the processes of achieving goals are what you preferred but change your optimal solutions.  For example, you had a car accident because you saw an attractive person walking down the street which distracted you. In this situation, looking at the attractive person is what you preferred. But it increases the risk of car accident, twisting your optimal solution which is to drive safely to your destination.

“Incorrect interpretations of problems” leads to wrong decisions that what you know already.

If you are interested in behavior finance and want to discuss it, contact me.

Taking a Spin Around Columbus

Map of Existing and Proposed Bicycle Trails in Columbus

 

As I packed my truck prior to leaving for Columbus, I faced the harsh reality that I would not be able to bring everything.  After fitting in a bed, dresser, furniture, and clothes, I had to decide which items would get to spend the year in Ohio and which items would stay in Kansas.

Included in the junk that did not make the cut was my road bike. Over the past few years, I have developed a very amateur passion for cycling. One day, while watching the Tour de France on TV, I decided to order a road bike online.  It opened up a whole new world, where I could ride far enough to explore new places but slow enough to take in all of the scenery.  As an added bonus, cycling offers a great endurance workout.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Columbus cycling community.  There are a series of paved bike paths that wind through nearly every part of town.  The streets are also very bike friendly, and drivers seem to be cautious around cyclists.  Even at football games, there is a free bicycle valet called Pedal Instead that allows Buckeye fans to bike to the stadium.  Three weeks into the quarter, I realized that I needed to invest in a new bike.

From a buyer’s perspective, the great thing about a bike-friendly town is that there are numerous new and used bicycle shops.  There are at least seven stores on High Street alone.  I spent one Saturday morning visiting many of these stores, and I found almost every store to have great service and a high level of expertise.  I ended up returning to a store called Handy Bikes, where I found a hybrid bike for $160 (I later discovered the same model used bike was selling online for around $300).  The advantage of the hybrid is that it offers the strong frame needed to bike on city streets, but it is light enough to take for a long road ride.

Although Columbus has one of the best systems of bike paths in the region, it is only going to get better.  There is a project right now, called the Ohio to Erie Trail, that aims allow cyclists to ride from Cincinnati to Cleveland (through Columbus).  When this project is complete, we will have a “Tour” of our own right here in Ohio.

Can the football team affect your grad school experience?

Grown men crying
Buckeyes football - Bringing grown men to tears since 1890.

Ok, let me get this out of the way, I promise this is not a “The Buckeyes lost two games in a row, the Mayans were right, the world is ending soon” post. And I am not suggesting that the SMF program or Fisher in general is an expansion of the football team. However, the SMF program provides the unique experience to spend only one year (read: one football season) in Columbus. For the regular Buckeye fans (ok, I may be a bit past regular), this is just a sad season, and everyone will deal with it using their own levels of mourning, denial, and anger. I am talking about the out-of-towners, whether they are from Boston, Beijing, or Bombay.

There is an undeniable connection between Columbus and the Ohio State football team. This is sewn into the fabric of the city. So what if that huge chunk of the experience is missing for a season (like so many of our players are “missing”). Saturday, October 8, was one of the strangest “Football Saturday’s” I have experienced in my seven years in Columbus. Regardless if the game is home or away, campus is flooded with fans ages 8-80 decked out in their scarlet and gray, with as many Buckeye necklaces as you can find. Even on Fridays, all around Columbus and in the surrounding suburbs, businessmen and women don their Ohio State attire to show support and excitement for the upcoming game. After the game, it is commonplace to wear your attire out the local watering holes where throngs of your counterparts are either celebrating or drowning their sorrows along with you.

This was not the case a couple of weekends ago. This year – no national title talks, no College GameDay invading campus at least once, no January bowl trips giving us a great reason to extend our winter break just a few days longer. Maybe it is because I live off campus now, but I lived off campus last season and I did not seem to notice a big difference. It is certainly not depressing around campus this year, just different. I was out before and after the game. Jerseys were scarce. Buckeye beads were nowhere to be found. It might as well have been April. Maybe with only one year here, outsiders would never know what they are missing. Or maybe they don’t care. But part of the fun of a new country, city, or school is the local nuances.

So explore the arts district in the Short North. Gorge yourself with a Thurman’s Burger or a Dagwood from Ohio Deli. Watch out for the basketball team to make a Final Four run. And certainly do not lose sight of the top notch academics offered at Fisher. Those will always be here. I’m just saying, if you are on the fence about coming to OSU, ask any of the 105,000 people below. I can safely say that most of us (yes, I am in there somewhere) will never forget this day or this season. I hope our visitors will be able to say the same.

 

Fans rush the field after "The Game" in 2006

Columbus Day in Columbus: Discovering the New World

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

Christopher Columbus Reaches the New World

On September 5, I set sail from Wichita, Kansas, in a black Ford pickup truck named Bullet — a little bit more comfortable than the Santa Maria. Instead of sailing west for a few months, my voyage took me east and lasted 14 hours.  I did learn, however, that the world is round and that it does not fall off after the Kansas-Missouri border.  Although my travels along I-70 will not lead to the naming of a city or holiday after me, the experience of discovering a “New World” justifies a blog post honoring Columbus in Columbus on Columbus Day.

I had the opportunity to visit Columbus for a campus visit in early January 2011.  The visit was a fantastic experience, and I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested in the Fisher College of Business to visit and experience the campus.  Although I had enjoyed my time in Columbus during my brief January visit, was a bit nervous as I approached the end of the summer.  I could find Columbus and the important parts of the OSU campus on a map, but I did not know the people, the places around town, or the things to do for fun.

It has now been a month since I have been a Columbus resident.  Just as it took some time for news of Christopher Columbus’ discovery to reach home, it has taken me a while to write about my experience on the Grad Life Blog.  But here I am, excited to share with the world that Columbus, Ohio, is a world-class city.

Every day over the past month, I have discovered something new and unique in this “New World.”  Over the next nine months, I look forward to sharing the people, places, and exciting opportunities I encounter in Columbus with the SMF Grad Life Blog.

Happy Columbus Day from Columbus!

Guest Speaker at Ohio State: Bob McDonald, Proctor & Gamble CEO

Last Friday, Ohio State was honored to have Bob McDonald, CEO of Proctor & Gamble, stop by to talk to us about his vision for the company & for Ohio State. President Gordon Gee introduced him to the audience, after having given McDonald and several others a tour around the OSU campus.  President Gee discussed the various ways that P&G and OSU could work together to accomplish shared goals, which were built around the P&G motto of “Touching Lives, Improving Life.” Some of the quoted common goals included an increased focus on sustainability and constantly innovating through research and development.

I figured (correctly) that Bob McDonald would use many inspirational quotes during his speech.  I wrote down the best of the inspirational quotes so that people who didn’t make it to the event could still soak in some of that CEO wisdom. Also I took a picture.

1. “Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” – line from the Cadet Prayer. Bob McDonald attended college at the U.S. Military Academy at Westpoint.

2. “Sustainability is not just a responsibility but an opportunity.” – Bob McDonald on how P&G can make a profit from going green.

3. “One must do well to do good, & must do good to do well.” – Bob McDonald on purpose leading to profit.

4. “Give me a lever large enough & I will move the world.” – Archimedes.  Not really sure what this was in reference to, but it sounded good and I assume it fit in the context of what Bob was talking about at the time.

5. “Always limit blog lists to five items or less.” – Me on how itemized lists get increasingly boring the longer they go.

Bob McDonald, P&G CEO
If you come to Ohio State, you'll get to meet interesting people like CEO Bob McDonald.

Taking time for a quick road trip

Last weekend, I went to Chicago with several friends. Yes, we just started our new quarter (academic term) on September, 21. However, I believe we will get busier and busier as time goes by. So, better to seize the chance early in the quarter! We have two cases to do this week. One is the Corporate Finance’s case brief, and the other is the Quantitative Method’s sector analysis. They will be due next week, so our team spent a great amount of time working together on Bloomberg and discussing the case to find a solution. Though I always came back home late due to the team discussion, I felt it was time very well spent. We’ve done an awesome job and I learned a lot from preparing for the the case by ourselves before the professor gives the lecture. Anyway, it now appears that it was a wise decision to go to Chicago last weekend early in the quarter before we all got too busy.

It is a great way to experience life and widen your horizon by traveling, especially planning a DIY trip by yourself. “Traveling DIY” makes me feel much more free and comfortable with no travel agency or time constraints. In China, it’s common to plan trips via a travel agency – how boring it is to go into a souvenir shop arranged by the travel agency! By the trip myself, I can design the way we go, the places to see, the food to enjoy, etc. And I can also visit my friends, and make new friends during the trip. Of course, there are a lot of preparations to do before going out. (Sometimes, you will get “unexpected fun” from the improvisational trip. But as this is my first DIY trip in United States, I want it to be safe and interesting :-)) I looked up the information about the transportation, accommodations, the travel reviews written by other visitors and the articles related to the places I was looking into visiting. Actually, the process of preparing to travel is sort of of fun, not to mention the trip itself.

To save time, we left Columbus for Chicago on Thursday night. And we arrived in Chicago early Friday morning, when it was rather quiet on the streets of downtown. By arriving early, it’s a good way to experience a city in peace and quiet. After a while, we saw people bustling through the street to go to work.

Time was short there. We had just two days in Chicago and came back to Columbus Saturday night. So we went to the most famous places in Chicago, to name a few: Millennium Park, Navy Pier, John Hancock Center, China Town, Michigan Ave., State Ave., the Magnificent Mile, etc. And I also met an ex-classmate who I hadn’t been seen for a long time and we had lunch at Lao Sichuan, an authentic Chinese food restaurant.

It’s prety easy to get to Chicago from Columbus – about 5 hours if you drive, about 7 hours if you take a bus, and about an hour (at most) if you fly. (Several airlines have regular non-stop fligths between Columbus and Chicago.) I really had a great time there. I will go back someday.

Navy Pier