Posts filed under 'SMF'



Decisions, Decisions

Even though it feels like classes just started, second term is only weeks away, and it is already almost time to schedule for spring semester. That means I need to start thinking about which track I will be specializing in: corporate finance, investment management, risk management, or real estate. Right now, my SMF classmates seem pretty evenly divided between corporate finance and investment management, with a handful of others pursuing risk management and real estate. I personally am still torn between the corporate and investment tracks. Not having a finance background, I think it will take me a bit longer to determine what jobs interest me, and into what categories those jobs fall.

Luckily for me and other students in a similar position, the SMF program is designed to help you find the right path. During the second term, which runs from mid-October until Winter Break, all of the SMF students are required to take Corporate I and Investments I, along with Leadership, Derivatives I, and Data Analysis II. This allows everyone to get a taste for the two main tracks and, from what I hear, I should know pretty quickly in which direction I am leaning.

However, if I still cannot make up my mind, I am sure the SMF faculty and staff will continue to be a great source of guidance. One piece of advice I have heard from several of our professors is to read—read the textbooks, read newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, and read magazines like The Economist. Then think back on what topics, industries, and companies caught my attention, what was I naturally drawn to, even if seems like a far-fetched career path. That could help point me towards not only a track within the SMF program, but also possible employers for the future. Because, after all, shouldn’t the end goal be to get not just any job, but a job I actually love?

Check out the full list of spring semester electives here!

 


Greek Life at Ohio State

Labor Day weekend is usually a pretty big deal in Columbus. For some, the holiday marks the unofficial end of summer, the day to pack away those white jeans and seersucker shorts until next year. For others, the long weekend is a chance to spend extra time with family and friends, usually around the grill (if the weather cooperates). And this year, of course, Labor Day weekend also marked the return of the Ohio State Football Buckeyes, who started off the season with a 40-20 win over Buffalo. But for me, the best thing about last weekend, and every Labor Day weekend in my recent memory, was the Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the Short North.

 

Besides touring the beautiful cathedral, this four-day festival offers guests the opportunity to experience traditional Greek dancing and to hear Greek folk songs as performed by the Hellenic Singers. However, the highlight of the festival, by far, is the food. Whether you want gyros and souvlaki or homemade mousakka, you will find it at the festival- and it will be DELICIOUS! There is even an entire room dedicated to pastries.

 

This year, the Greek festival was especially memorable because I was able to enjoy it with some of my new SMF classmates, including one student who is actually from Athens and so was able to teach us all a lot about the Greek culture and language. While we were there, we even ran into two of our SMF faculty members and their families, which was great!

Of course, the Greek Festival is not the only festival we have in Columbus. In fact, from April to November, there seems to be at least one every weekend. Check out a list of all of the 2013 festivals here.

Καλή Όρεξη!

[Bon appetit!]


The Importance of Orientation

SMF Students at Orientation

As anyone in the business world will tell you, one of the most important factors in being successful is building relationships.  Whether with potential clients, co-workers, or in our case, fellow students, the importance does not diminish.  Getting to know your classmates and their interests will be paramount not only to building relationships with them, but also to your success.  In a program that is as team oriented as the Fisher Specialized Master in Finance, getting to know your classmates is even more important because they are also going to be your teammates.

William Oxley Statue

That being said, the SMF program does a great job of helping us to get to know our classmates through a two week orientation period.  During this time we did activities to get to know our classmates as well participate in seminars that would help us to understand the expectations we should have for ourselves.  This orientation period was a great time for us to get to know each other outside of the classroom as well since we had plenty of free time with classes not yet in session.  Our program set up a picnic at a local park where we were able to not only meet all of our other classmates, but try food from different cultures.  We also had the opportunity to take a tour of campus with pre-assigned groups which gave us the opportunity to get to know our way around campus as well getting know more of our classmates.

As we start to get into our classes and split up into groups for our many projects, the many activities we did the first few weeks are really showing their importance.  Ensuring that you are working with the best possible group of people for you is paramount to your success and we would not have been able to gain that knowledge before classes start without our efforts during orientation.  In closing, the main lesson is that even when you have downtime there are plenty of things you can do that are going to set you up for success once school really starts.


Another Year Begins

Even though it still feels like summer outside, the long lines at Starbucks, empty shelves at Target, and packed parking lots mean school at The Ohio State University is officially back in session. However, while I may be new to the Fisher College of Business and the Specialized Master of Business-Finance (SMF) program, I am not new to life as a graduate student at OSU. This past May I graduated with an MS in Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. I decided to come back to Ohio State and pursue a second Master’s degree, not because I never want to work, but because I knew that the practical skills and experience using programs like Excel, Bloomberg, and Capital IQ that I will gain from the SMF program, when coupled with my background in applied economics, will be immensely helpful for me during the competitive job search process. One of the benefits of having been through a graduate program already, besides not having to stand in line to get a new BuckID and already generally knowing my way around campus (though I still get lost sometimes), is that I have learned a few things that should make this upcoming year a little bit easier, so I thought I would share some of these lessons with you.
1. Be organized– between classes, team meetings, career management events, social outings, and all of the little things that will inevitably come up every day, you are probably going to be busier than you have ever been before. As such, it is essential to be organized. Write down all of your meetings and deadlines in a planner and check your email often for any changes in locations or times. For class, print out lecture slides ahead of time so you can focus on the professor instead of frantically trying to write down every word, and try to get your backpack together the night before so you do not accidentally leave your homework on the kitchen counter!
2. Manage your time– every new school year I say I am going to keep up with the reading and get that term paper done way ahead of time, but, regardless of my good intentions, within a few weeks the work begins to pile up, and so does the stress. Luckily (or unluckily), the SMF program, with its seven-week terms, is going to be so fast-paced that I will not have time to procrastinate. I just try to remember that other students have survived this program so the workload is doable, but the marathon TV-watching sessions may have to wait until next summer. My weakness: 30 Rock reruns on Netflix. One episode just flows right into the next!
3. Find balance– being in graduate school, especially in a program as intense as the SMF, it would be easy to spend all day every day reading text books and editing your resume, but it is important, for your health and your sanity, to do something you enjoy every day. It is going to be a long year and you do not want to burn out before fall semester is even over. For me, my stress relief comes from going to the gym or running outside if the weather is nice. Kickboxing is particularly therapeutic. The RPAC has a great group fitness schedule with classes pretty much all day, even on the weekends.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff– from my experience, graduate school, more so than undergrad, is about the bigger picture. And while getting good grades is definitely still important, it is less important to memorize a hundred definitions and get the exact right answer on every test question than it is to really understand the material you are learning, to understand the logic and assumptions that went into getting to that right answer. It is also more important now to take advantage of the learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Talk to your classmates and professors, do a practice interview in the career management office, and stay in touch with what is going on in the world. Your classes will teach you the technical skills that you need to succeed, but these extra lessons could be essential to landing that dream job and being successful in the long-term.

Need a break? Take a trip to Oval Beach!

The best beach in Central Ohio

As our finals days in the Fisher SMF program approach, we have entered our fourth and final round of the presentations/finals onslaught. We have had our fair share of late nights and high pressure days over this span, and it is important to get away from it all (even if it’s only for a few minutes). Luckily for us (kind of), this final storm coincided with the arrival of spring and the end of undergraduate classes.

It is these two phenomena that have led to the annual arrival of Oval Beach. While it may not have all of the amenities of your typical beach resort, Oval Beach offers a great place for students to hang out with one another while taking in the warm spring weather. If you time your short vacation to Oval Beach right, you will see much of Buckeye nation playing sports, tanning, and just passing the time. It’s not South Beach but it’s still a great getaway destination.


Figlio Wood Fired Pizza–you won’t regret it!

Ready to eat!

Any time you move to a new city it is important to carve out some go-to restaurants. Well during my last semester here at Fisher in the SMF program, I discovered a new personal favorite—Figlio Wood Fired Pizza. This place is good enough that it earned a spot on the blog.

While the name makes it sound like a pizza joint, it is far more than that. In fact, I still haven’t even tried the pizza. What keeps drawing me back is the phenomenal pasta selection. Here is the menu (caution! It will make you hungry).

Another perk of this place is the price of entrees relative to the atmosphere. You will be hard pressed to find any selections of $15+ dollars, which is great for poor students. Better yet, the quaint but hip feel makes for a perfect location to impress a date or just hang with friends.

While I have only been to the Grandview location, I am sure the sister restaurants offer the same level of service. You can find a Figlios near you here. Buon appetito!

 


Neil Building Graduate Housing at Ohio State

One of the things that I worried about the most when coming to Columbus was where I was going to live. Upon submitting my intent to enroll in the SMF program, I was given a comprehensive list of nearby apartments with monthly rental rates and reviews from past student residents, which I found extremely helpful. Knowing that I was not making the drive to Columbus from San Francisco, I focused on a place within walking distance to the Fisher College of Business. I initially considered Fisher Commons, which is a relatively new complex with well appointed kitchen amenities that is a short fifteen minute walk to campus. The only drawback for me was that the apartments were not furnished. The last thing I wanted to worry about at the end of the program was how to get rid of my old mattress.

Neil Graduate Housing

Since I probably cannot bum rides from friends all the time, I had to make sure restaurants and grocery stores were also within walking distance. After looking over the various locations, I decided on the Neil Building Graduate housing. Located at the corner of Neil Avenue and West 10th Avenue, the graduate housing is a twenty minute casual stroll to Fisher College of Business. CVS pharmacy is half a block away for the occasional allergy relief or late night munchies. A Kroger grocery store is also close by on East 7th Avenue and High Street (about a ten minute walk).

However, to add icing on the cake, the best part of the Neil Building by far is the Marketplace located on the street level. The Marketplace is an OSU dining food court that serves pizza, salad, pasta, sushi, Asian stir-fry, and my favorite, the Memphis BBQ beef brisket grilled panini. In addition, there is a VIP access door that connects the rest of the building to the Marketplace. I love how I can go downstairs to grab a quick bite without dealing with the outside elements, especially on a rainy or snowy winter day! How’s that for awesomeness?

BBQ brisket panini hot off the grill!


Job Hunt: The Break

A few weeks ago, I had a boutique sell side research firm randomly reach out to me requesting that I take this test called the Wall Street Assessment Test (WSAT). It is an hour to hour and a half online test where you are tested on financial and analytic abilities. Apparently I did well enough for a phone interview two weeks ago. This was my first real interview for a research position after my four trips out to NYC. While I felt comfortable going into the interview, it was my first so I was slightly nervous.

Last week, a regional bank also reached out to me regarding a research position. This was not as random of an encounter as the small shop. I applied for the position on the corporate website, or as I like to think about it a black pit. Since my attitude towards this approach is not bright to say the least, I reached out to a contact at the firm in research asking if he could do anything to help. He knew all the networking and learning I have been going through and must have felt comfortable enough to help me out.

These two opportunities are a purely due to my networking efforts. The first company that reached out to me somehow received my resume or heard about me through some contact I made and impressed enough to reach out on my behalf. The regional bank reached out to me not because I applied online, but due to a contact that I reached out to asking if he could pass my information along. Both of these are validation of effort that was put in through pounding the pavement and building relationships with people. As one of my contacts has told me, “you only need one”. Hopefully having two opportunities is better than one.


More On Thompson: The Library That Keeps On Giving

As promised in my previous post, I wanted to discuss some of the interesting details and perks of Thompson library. So, here it goes.

The aesthetics: As was previously mentioned, the library was recently renovated. It is apparent the modern, sleek, yet comfortable vibe the designers intended. A good study atmosphere is essential.

 

Entering Thompson

The café: Thompson Library boasts its own eatery, The Berry Café. This amenity is particularly convenient when an all-nighter keeps you in the library for extended periods, whether you are looking for a caffeine burst or a healthy snack.

 

Snack Shack

The top floor: If you have ever toured The Ohio State campus, you have probably already seen the views from this study getaway. Overlooking the entire campus, this room has a rustic feel that draws students in.

 

Top Floor View

Some good luck: Finally, every student needs a little bit of luck when it comes to exams. Legend has it that rubbing the head of President William Oxley Thompson’s bust gives students that extra push they need to ace even the most daunting exams. The back of poor William’s head is showing the wear and tear of these loving head rubs.

The Prez


Thompson Library – A Nice Getaway

Occasionally when you’re having one of “those weeks” (the type when you have a seemingly endless amount of work assigned) you need to shake things up and get out of your usual study area. Fortunately, Fisher students have a good number of study locations to choose between. One that I have found to be a particularly nice getaway is Thompson Library (actually it’s William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library, but that’s a mouthful).

Thompson Library is a hop, skip, and a jump from the business campus and offers several nice perks. Personally, my favorite part of the library is the energetic atmosphere that accompanies the hustling and bustling undergraduates that populate much of the area. It adds an interesting dynamic to any evening spent with your nose buried in a risk management book or trading & markets case.

Thompson Library was recently renovated, re-opening its doors in 2009. The library is the largest gathering of volumes in The Ohio State University’s network of 55 libraries that lays claim to around 5.8 million volumes. It also offers over 230 computers for student use. Located on the West end of the famous “Oval” (the traditional center of Ohio State’s campus), the library is centrally-located and near several OSU landmarks, such as Mirror Lake and the RPAC.

This is only a brief introduction to one of the 30 largest libraries in the United States. My following post will shed light on some of the interesting details related to Thompson Library. Stay tuned!


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