Making New Friends in the U.S.

Hello, people!

Where did the first two months of the school year go?! Fall break is over and the second quarter of fall semester is just starting. I thought that it would be a good time to talk to you about the advantages of being an international student at OSU!

I have to admit that when I first arrived at Ohio State, I was not sure that this year would be a year full of new encounters outside of Fisher. I knew that the program was going to be very demanding in terms of time and effort, and I remember questioning myself about how my life outside the classroom would look.

After spending more than four years in the U.S., I can definitely say that the best part of having this international student status is the friendship that you create with people coming from all around the world. Admittedly, grad school is hard and it should be your priority. But you also have to keep in mind that it only lasts for one or two years. Time flies and I honestly would see my experience at such a big and diverse university as a failure if I didn’t meet new people.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am from Belgium and my native language is French. I was told that French-speaking people represent a tiny portion of the student body at OSU, but that person was wrong to some extent. I was lucky to meet a student coming from Montreal about a month ago. The good part about speaking an additional language is that whenever you meet people speaking your native language in a different country, that common factor brings you closer to that individual and it is much easier to build a friendship out of it.

I look forward to sharing more stories soon about my new social life in the U.S.!

Group Projects (and Pushing Yourself) in the Fisher SMF Program

Since the first quarter has come and gone, I want to share one of my “finals week” experiences– and show you how great my classmates in Fisher are. Students here all care about the quality of our work. We are here for a reason and we expect a lot from ourselves. During finals week, there was a take-home case project assigned in one of our classes. My group decided to get together at my apartment and dedicate an evening towards the completion of this assignment.

Projects like this can be stressful due to the large impact on your overall grade, so I wanted to put forth good effort to show my progress thus far. And that’s how everyone is. At Fisher, all students put forth exceptional work. We feed off of each other and our hard work pushes us to continually improve each week. This makes working in groups a much more pleasant experience than at the undergraduate level. Each member brings something to the project. To be able to use everyone’s strengths to improve the overall outcome of the project is something that has real-world applications. Having teammates use their strengths to “fill in the gaps” of the team really improves knowledge obtained from the classrooms.

Our specific project was to analyze a company’s situation that has arisen from economic pressures. The goal was to look over financial reports to make a valuation of the company and provide recommendations for senior management. Having such great classmates makes tasks like these more enjoyable than solo projects. You learn a lot from others… and hopefully, I taught some lessons along the way to my teammates!


Fall Break Reflection

Fall Break marks the halfway point of the first semester, and fall is definitely in the air in Columbus.  I went home to Oklahoma for the break to find 90-degree temperatures and a sunburn waiting for me, but when I stepped off the plane after returning to Columbus I needed to fish my coat out of my backpack to keep from shivering.  The stark change in temperature shocked me into realizing just how much time has gone by since I arrived here in August.  We learned the importance of self-reflection in our leadership class and I will likely use various markers and milestones in the program as opportunities to look back on my coursework– which is why I am here after all.

Professor Pinteris, the SMF program director, always refers to the program as a transformation and it really is true.  It’s easy to see the changes in my classmates from our first day of pre-term until now.  The most noticeable thing for me is how much more comfortable all of my classmates have gotten with speaking the “language” of finance.  I think that this is one of the really big benefits of using the case method in classes.  I personally have benefitted from this method a lot because I actually came into the program after going through an entire undergraduate program speaking rarely in very select courses.  Getting pushed out of one’s comfort zone is never easy, but participating in case discussions (which initially took a lot of willpower to do) became second nature for me by the end of the first round of classes.

Since most of the classes in the SMF Program are offered on a quarterly basis rather than a semester basis, I took finals in all but one of my classes right before fall break.  My return from break brings a new wave of classes, and I am very excited as I will begin coursework in our investments and derivatives classes.  Also, my team will begin work on the core capstone project which allows us to put much of what we learned in the first quarter to work in a relatively unstructured class.  I’m looking forward to the exciting new classwork ahead of me and already reaping the rewards from all that I learned in my previous classes!

My First Ohio State Football Game

I recently attended my very first Ohio State football game.  I have been a fan of college football for a very long time, and attending a game at Ohio Stadium has always been on my bucket list.  Because of this, when I enrolled in the SMF program, I knew I had to get season tickets.  In addition to my love for college football, I was really excited to be exposed to some of the traditions and pageantry associated with my new school, especially since football is so heavily ingrained in the culture of the university.

As a loyal Oklahoma State alum, I was extremely excited to watch Ohio State play the University of Oklahoma in football.  Rooting against my old school’s arch-rival was the perfect transition into Ohio State fandom, and I was extremely confident that I would finally get to watch “OSU” beat Oklahoma.  Unfortunately, anyone familiar with the Bedlam football series knows that Oklahoma is very accustomed to beating up on schools that go by the acronym OSU.  I’m sad to say that it was business as usual for Oklahoma, but while the game didn’t turn out how the home fans wanted, it was still a great all-around experience.

I had to wash my hands after touching the OU shirts.

Some of my friends from Oklahoma made the drive up for the game and stayed with me for the weekend.  We all did our best to get the full game-day experience at our first Ohio State football game.  Before game time, we stopped in at Varsity Club which was bursting at the seams with people.  After making our way out of the hubbub at Varsity Club and before heading to the stadium, we made sure to go take in a very unique tradition, “Skull Session.”   Skull Session was really cool and probably my favorite new tradition that I observed during the course of the day.  Overall, the atmosphere at the game was electric and it’s pretty tough to beat taking in a game with 109,000 other people.  I highly recommend an Ohio State football game to anyone who hasn’t been, and here’s hoping the Buckeyes get back on track in the weeks to come.

Hello, Buckeyes!

Hello, my name is Garrett Koutsopoulos and it’s an honor to share my OSU experience with you all. I am a current SMF student along with some of the other bloggers on this site. Seeing that this is my first post, I would like to share my background so you can learn a little about me before we get underway.

I am from Vermilion, Ohio. It’s a little town in northern Ohio that sits right on Lake Erie. I grew up a Cleveland sports fan so anything Indians-, Cavaliers-, or Browns-related I enjoy talking about. I’m especially interested in baseball, but I enjoy many other sports. Growing up near a lake has given me great chances to enjoy the outdoors and water. Just this past summer, I had a job instructing people how to kayak and paddle board on the Vermilion River. Vermilion is a great place to grow up. I can look out my back windows and see farm fields– and then drive uptown to enjoy the city. It’s a great combination of rural and suburban life.

This is me at work this past summer on the Vermilion River in Vermilion, Ohio.

I completed my undergraduate degree from Tiffin University which is located in northwest Ohio. While there, I played baseball, obtained a BBA, and worked part-time for the university’s weight room. My experience there was amazing and I met people who impacted my life in the most positive of ways. My head baseball coach, Joe Wilkins, also went to The Ohio State University. He was a four-year catcher for the baseball team while here.

This is the Heminger Field at Tiffin University.

I have always rooted for the Buckeyes growing up, but now, I can officially call myself a Buckeye. I have been in Columbus for over a month now and it has not disappointed. I look forward to sharing my experiences throughout the school year to give you an inside look at what class and social life looks like while being a Buckeye.

 

 

 

Let me introduce myself …

Hello Everybody,

My name is Benjamin Pastur and I am a student in the Specialized Master in Finance at Fisher, with a focus on Investment. I am also one of the student ambassadors this year for the Fisher SMF program and will share with you some of my adventures throughout the year via this blog.

Here I am!

I was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium. Yes, the capital of Europe! But you probably have heard about this tiny European country only because of its waffles, chocolates, and beers! Yes, it is always about food over there.As you can see on the picture above, Belgium shares borders with France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. There are roughly 11.25 million inhabitants in Belgium and the country is separated into distinct regions including Dutch-speaking Flanders (North part), French-speaking Wallonia (south part)– and there is also a German-speaking community living in the east part of the country.

Five years ago, I decided to leave Belgium to study in the United States. I was offered a scholarship to play soccer at Davis and Elkins College. Looking back at my four years as a student-athlete, I can definitely say that I would do it all over again.

Here is a picture of two of my teammates and me when I scored against our rivals!

During my four years as an athlete, my team won two regular season championships and reached twice the GMAC conference final.

A couple of other facts about me:

  • I am interested in a career in Equity Research.
  • I speak French and a tiny bit of Flemish.
  • My favorite soccer team is Manchester United.
  • My favorite meal is a good steak and French fries.

It has now been more than a month since I arrived at OSU. So far, I’m pleased with what this beautiful city of Columbus offers me. Stay tuned for more about me and my Buckeye experience in the following weeks!

From OSU to tOSU

Hello World,

Blogging is a new experience for me and I thought that I would kick off this journey (both through the SMF program and learning how to blog) by introducing myself to anyone who will be following along over the next nine months.

My name is Nicholas Denker and I am a student in the SMF program at Ohio State also serving as an ambassador for the program.  In May, I graduated from Oklahoma State University with degrees in finance and accounting.

Me and Brutus on my visit to Ohio State

I am an Oklahoma native and in just a few days’ time, I will have lived in Ohio for all of one month.  While this might sound like the beginning of a bad movie, I grew up on a small family farm in Northwest Oklahoma.  The population of the largest town I had lived in before moving to Columbus was around 50,000 people.  Living in Columbus has been a big change, but so far I have loved everything about living in a “big city.”

Coming from Oklahoma to Ohio State might not sound like the most intuitive decision, but it ended up being a very easy one for me.  Grad school was something that I had thought about for a long time throughout my undergraduate studies, but I really made the decision to pursue a Master of Finance at the beginning of my senior year.  I was initially attracted to Fisher for its impressive ranking, but my visit to the awesome campus here is what sealed the deal.  All the people I interacted with were very welcoming– and taking a tour in the shadow of “the Shoe” was pretty awe-inspiring.

In typical millennial fashion, my main interests are sports, food, and music (I’m a walking stereotype, I know), and as I get the chance to explore my new city, you can expect blog posts on all of those topics and much more over the coming months.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds and I will keep you all informed every step of the way!

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!