Double the Overtime, Double the Anxiety

Experiencing my first “TTUN” week (keep reading…) was and will be one of my best memories here at The Ohio State. The *ichigan rivalry is a long-standing source of angst in college football. During the week leading up to the big game, all the “Ms” are crossed out on campus and the team is referred to as “that team up north.” Being from out-of-state, I had a decision to make: fly home for Thanksgiving and miss the game, or go to the game to cheer on my Buckeyes. I chose the latter of the two. I have a flight home in three short weeks for winter break so I decided to save the money of booking two flights and stay up here for Thanksgiving to go to one of the all-time greatest college football games I have seen.

No “M’s” allowed!
Storming the field!

It was a noon game so the MAcc program decided to put on a tailgate in the morning so we could all get together before the big game. We had it at a house close to campus (shout-out to Kaitlyn) and then for those of us whot had tickets, we walked to the game together. Once we were at the game, time flew! It was so exhilarating just to be in the stands experiencing the ups and downs of the game, but mainly the ups! I have never seen a double overtime game, but once Curtis Samuel ran it in for a touchdown, the entire student section just started running for the field. People were hopping over the railings and helping each other on to the field to celebrate a breathtaking Buckeye win! I made it onto the field and listened to the band play the fight song and cheer. A 30-27 double overtime win was an amazing way to end the last home football game during my time here as a MAcc student.

Social Events at The Fisher College of Business

Some people might say that a school like Ohio State is too big and overwhelming. In my experience, this has not been the case at all. Ohio State has almost 60,000 students! However, the MAcc program has about 80. This really gives it that small campus feel, with the resources of a major university.

Because the MAcc program is comprised of about 80 students (81 to be exact this year), we are a very close-knit group. I am in classes all day with these people, eat lunch with them, and hang out with them on the weekends. It makes Ohio State feel that much smaller.

If you are shy or nervous to meet people, there are so many great img_1779opportunities to meet people! Each program has a council (MAcc, SMF, MBA, MHRM) and each of those councils have a social chair and community service event coordinator. In addition, there is the Fisher College of Business Social Chair club that encompasses students from all of the specialized programs to put on events for everyone. One example of events we have is home football tailgates at Fisher Commons. This is put on by the Fisher Social Chairs (for all programs) and they have someone grilling… and cornhole. We also recently had our Fisher Halloween Party for all programs.

The MAcc program had its own event over the weekend, as well, where we all went to a local farm and picked apples and pumpkins. Point being, there is numerous opportunities to meet people from within your program and within the Fisher College of Business as a whole. Later this month we have a MAcc toy drive! Many more fun events to come. img_1780 img_1781

A Day in Hocking Hills

The world of finance is concentrated in cities; but, it is good for everyone to spend some time outside of the city and enjoy nature. Even though the SMF program has a busy schedule, we do find the time to stay active and be outside. This month, students from the SMF program took a study break and adventured into the great outdoors. Where did we go, you might ask? We took a day trip and went to one of Ohio’s best state parks, Hocking Hills State Park.

Ash Cave
Ash Cave

Hocking Hills State Park is divided into five separate sections of Hocking State Forest. Each site is centered on a different rock formation. There are deep gorges, high cliffs, rock shelters, and small winding waterfalls. Our SMF group spent the morning exploring the rocks and crevices of “Old Man’s Cave.” This was my favorite part of the trip because there many places to wander off the trail and climb rocks. At the end of the trail is a small pool with water falling down from the high cliffs above. Here, we took endless “selfies” and sat back and relaxed. After finishing that trail, we went to “Ash Cave” and enjoyed our lunches. Then, we when on a rim trail at “Conkel’s Hollow.” This is a 2.5-mile loop trail that is on the edge of a 200-foot gorge. This offers a unique view of the surrounding hills and is a good way to see the changing autumn leaf colors.

Conkles Hollow
The rim trail in the fall

SMF students are lifelong learners. Our curiosity had us asking questions about the rock formations, and after a bit of research, I have some answers for my classmates. Most of the cliffs and gorges occur from erosion-resistant blackhand sandstone. There are few places in Ohio that have this type of sandstone, and that is one of the things that makes the park a special place. Also, there are some places in the park where the sun never shines. This creates a bed for biodiversity and the variations of sunlight and moisture make the park home to many rare plants.

Not only did we get some quiet time in the park, we got to spend the day building friendships among our classmates. Conversation always flows better outside. The weather is starting to cool down, but in the spring, we will have to spend a day on the Lake Erie shore to keep enjoying the outdoors.

The World is Our Pokestop

Last Friday night was one for the books. It all started in the Ohio Union. There I was, perched unassumingly on a bar stool witnessing a gaggle of college-aged hipsters load out band gear from the stage inside Woody’s Tavern. And then, from a distance across the white terrazzo tile, I saw them barreling toward me—Ash, Charizard, Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Eevee, and everyone’s favorite, Squirtle. I thought that maybe I’d entered an alternate reality in which Pokemon Go was real life and my real life had become simply an app on an iPhone.

It turns out that this motley crew was simply six of my friends from the MHRM program, competing in the annual Fisher Scavenger Hunt & Bar Crawl. Phew! I decided to join them on their mission toward victory, mostly because they looked really silly and I knew it would be entertaining to watch them skulk down High Street in costume.

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On the rooftop at Big Bar, across the street from the Ohio Union. Aren’t they cute?

We embarked on an evening of endless successes. From Eevee petting the belly of a rabid dog (okay, it was a harmless Bernese Mountain Dog)… to Squirtle’s awkward break-dance breakdown at a remarkably empty Bullwinkle’s… to Pikachu high-fiving a policeman when he least expected it, the evening turned out to be the high point of the semester so far. We can’t forget the highlight of the night when a Cane’s employee unashamedly threw a pokeball full of free box combo certificates at the group– which happened to look a lot like a Styrofoam to-go box secured with red electrical tape. #gottacatchemall

Pikachu having a peaceful interaction with law enforcement.
Pikachu having a peaceful interaction with law enforcement.

As the evening drew to a close, the team was determined to close in on the lead. With just minutes remaining on the clock, the group wandered into World of Beer to complete a few final high-stakes objectives. The team stumbled upon the man behind the curtain—2nd year MBA Tada, sifting through mounds of incoming data from hundreds of accomplished objectives. He was obviously glad to have taken data analytics the year prior.

After several grueling minutes of Tada and his team of analysts poring over their Excel spreadsheets with beads of sweat accumulating on their foreheads, the results were in. It was alleged to be a close race, but as we all could have anticipated from the beginning of this post, the Pokemon were the obvious frontrunners from the very beginning. Congratulations to the MHRMs on their well-deserved win and the trophy to prove it!

That time when you stick out like a sore thumb because you aren't dressed as a Pokemon.
That time when you stick out like a sore thumb because you aren’t dressed as a Pokemon.

Reaching Outside the Comfort Zone

First, let me share some background on myself to give you some context for this post: I am originally from Upper Arlington, Ohio—less than 5 minutes from OSU campus. I attended The Ohio State University alongside 50% of my high school graduating class. During undergrad, while most of my high school friends could pinpoint exactly where they wanted to be 5, even 10 years from then, I always felt unclear about what I wanted out of life and unsure of how to figure it out.

In my junior year of undergrad, while many of my friends were securing study abroad opportunities, I knew I wanted to do something different, something that would challenge me and hopefully reveal to what I didn’t already know about myself—strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities. I wanted to know it all! I found National Outdoor Leadership School through a friend of a friend, and I embarked on what was to become one of the most rewarding and bizarre experiences of my life…

I slept in a sleeping bag for 85 consecutive nights next to 16 strangers who would soon become my closest friends. We backpacked through remote sections of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico and the Galiuro Mountains in Arizona, carrying everything on our backs that we needed to survive for 3 weeks at a time. We climbed the incredible granite domes of Joshua Tree National Park– powered by bacon, coffee, and laughter. We navigated class-3 rapids in whitewater canoes on the Rio Grande, paddled past Mexican military clad with automatic weapons, and didn’t see another human being for 18 days. The vastness of the wilderness was exhilarating, humbling, inspiring, and terrifying all at the same time, and I came to learn more about myself than I ever expected.

When I graduated from undergrad, I knew I wanted to marry my education in psychology with my passion for the outdoors to facilitate meaningful experiences for others who might benefit. I took a job as a Field Instructor for Evoke Therapy Programs helping struggling adolescents and young adults work through depression, drug addiction, trauma, and motivational/behavioral problems. In this job, I worked a non-traditional schedule of 8 days in the field, followed by 6 days off. I saw recovering drug addicts celebrate 30 days of sobriety in the field over no-bake pies. I saw teenage boys with autism begin to challenge rigid patterns of thinking and to develop their first real friendships. And I saw adolescent girls with a history of self-harm come to believe that they mattered in the world. I count myself lucky to have been a part of the transformation process for the clients I worked with, whose stories continue to inspire me and put my own struggles into perspective.

Me and my best friend Taylor when we worked in the field. This was the equivalent "business casual" in the industry.
Me and my best friend Taylor when we worked in the field. This was the equivalent of “business casual” in the industry.

It’s clear that the program I attended and the wilderness therapy program I worked for are very different. The takeaway that I hope becomes obvious here is that there is a certain inherent healing effect of being outside. I also think there is a deeper level of learning that comes from challenging experiences with real consequences—learning what is in and out of your control and how to adapt to adversity. I believe my experiences in the outdoors have shaped me into someone who can find hope and happiness in just about any situation, and I’m grateful for that.

If there is any piece of advice I would give someone who is uncertain about their path in life (and trust me, you’re not alone), I encourage immersing yourself in an experience that you’re afraid of. I’m talking the thing that you always wished you could do but could never actually imagine yourself doing. There is deep self-discovery and self-awareness that comes from pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone.

backpacking, Ohio State, High Sierras
The OSU Outdoor Adventure Center traveled to the High Sierras last summer. Seriously awe-inspring stuff.

The great part about OSU is that we have access to so many different experiences– so many that I hear people talk about how they struggle to fit in everything they want to do. Well, here is one more for you: the OSU Outdoor Adventure Center. Of course there is the famed indoor rock climbing wall, but what a lot of people don’t know is that as students we also have access to adventure trips. From rock climbing, to sea kayaking, to dog sledding—there is really something for all seasons and to suit all tastes. The best part is that there is no experience required for most and all are welcome.

rock climbing, OSU
Indoor rock climbing wall at OSU during the Valentine’s day climbing competition. Participants were held together by a paper chain and had to complete the climb together. They also do other silly stuff, like zombie themed climbing hours for the premier of the Walking Dead.

I can’t emphasize enough the benefit of pushing yourself to challenge fears, insecurities, an preconceived notions of your own limitations. From my own trips, I’ve learned to work with diverse teams, lead others in high pressure situations, and accomplish stretch goals with limited resources. These are all skills that translate remarkably well to “real life,” and that I plan to leverage in work and life in the future. Get out there!

Building our Team!

"We're always better when we're together"
“Always better when we’re together”

It’s hard to believe it’s September. As August wrapped up, our SMF class excitedly looked toward the start of new projects and classes in our autumn term– and now, we’re in the thick of things. We spent the last month getting to know both our fellow SMF candidates and program alumni. As this team grows together, we anticipate great results both on campus and during our career search.

Getting to Know Our Classmates

The SMF class spends time getting to know each other both inside and outside the classroom. After class, we frequently play soccer (or football, as some of us call it!) and badminton. Besides playing games, a group of SMFs and I cheered on the Columbus Crew Major League Soccer Team and another group attended a concert with Kesha. There’s a lot do do here! These events, and many more throughout the year, are free to all Ohio State students. Events are fun, but often the best way to build relationships is over food. The past three weekends, about 15 to 20 of us have met for dinner each Friday evening. This has been a time for us to share favorite international dishes and explore new restaurants.

Building strong bonds among the SMF candidates will pay dividends as we finish the month of September developing a company analysis report. This week, our team finalized our collective “story” of where our company is and where we see them heading. This project is a tangible report that we can discuss with potential employers. As we begin our job search, it is important to know that not only do we work well together–we are also building our network with alumni.

Getting to know Alumni

A great part about being in the SMF program, is that the team extends beyond the walls of Fisher College of Business. About 30 alumni attended an August alumni reception. This event allowed the current class to learn about different careers in Finance and ask questions. Alumni also come back to visit during career fairs and panel discussions. I’ve talked to a number of them already. Coming to Ohio State from a smaller school, I was not used to calling people that I had not met in person; but, after many friendly phone calls, I know that there are a lot of professionals cheering us on and offering their support.

Challenge by Choice

This past weekend, the MHRM Class of ’18 (alongside some amazing class of ’17 peers) went out into the wilderness for Summit Vision 2016! What an experience– and what a way to bond through sweat, tears, and laughter. The day began with several challenges that are top secret “For Your Eyes Only”-type missions. Let’s just say it involved tennis ball “values”, PVC pipe, and one very brave, nimble team member named Billy. One key statement that came about completing these first set of challenges was this idea of “Analysis Paralysis.” That’s where you spend too much time thinking strategy that you end up in a continuous loop of ideas with no action! Once we were given a time limit, we rushed to complete– and eventually won through our communication, determination, and grit.

14124348_1131314603615906_5041417143517073593_o (For Your Eyes Only!)

We split into teams and headed into the woods. Now for the true wild stuff! First, Team 3 (but really we were number one) had to complete challenges on a large bridge-type teeter-totter. Again the challenges are hush-hush; however, some very important things came about. First, in our group of fifteen there were so many great ideas, and what was even better was the fact that we listened to each other! Five challenges brought about five different leaders, and a multitude of great ideas. We constantly tried new things never fearing major consequences, because we trusted each other and knew we would just think of the next idea if the original failed.  We constantly remembered “Analysis Paralysis” and just went with it. The final challenge showed that when an idea that fourteen of the fifteen group members were highly skeptical, yet we trusted and just took a leap of faith (quite literally).

The last thing that really stuck with my from Summit Vision is this idea of challenge by choice. You always want to grow and develop, and the only way to do that is to challenge yourself to push beyond your comfort zone. I am terrified of the idea of falling from heights (thank you, genetics). One of the obstacles was a pendulum-style wire swing. You have to climb up these narrow rungs, stay at the top of a platform, and then right before you swing you have to edge your way to the millimeter edge and just go. I was so scared, and shaking through every bone, muscle, and fiber in my body. However, I heard so many words of encouragement; but, what pushed me over the edge was knowing if I can make it from Ohio to Georgia and go through grad school, then a swing was not going to hinder my learning!

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(Conquering my fear of falling and pushing myself out of my comfort zone)

At the end of the day we regrouped, reflected, and talked about our gold (what our group has value and strength in) and our goal (our group/individual potential). Today I know that our gold is certainly our support, and my personal goal is trying new things even if they scare me. It also helps that there are people surrounding me that support and help me push through. (It also helps to debrief with a nice Columbus Crew victory as well).

Always remember to avoid analysis paralysis, and sometimes if it’s scary to find you a supportive group, and just take a leap of faith. The further from your comfort zone you are, then the stronger you are going to become in the end.

14088654_340768139645586_6013831236034463872_n(Our amazing group from Summit Vision 2016)

Go Buckeyes!

Chase Lakhani

Getting Into the ‘Swing’ of Things

From navigating the city-like campus of The Ohio State University, to making new friends and participating in on and off-campus events, the past week has been full of excitement and filled with new firsts! I’d be totally fooling myself if I said that my first week of grad school hasn’t been an adventure.

To cap off an already enjoyable week, the MHRM first-years and second-years participated in Summit Vision, an indoor and outdoor education center in Westerville, Ohio. We were given the opportunity to participate in activities that truly challenged our ability to work collaboratively in a team, communicate with each other, and rely on one another -all essential skills for future HR leaders!

On an individual level, we were all challenged to step outside of our comfort zone. For some, that was an easy task. But for me, stepping outside of my comfort zone required a great deal of courageousness, self-confidence, and outward trust. This manifested itself when it was my turn to climb up a 50-foot pole and jump off of the ledge.

The entire time leading up to the jump, I was nervous. In fact, I was among the last people in my team to climb up. But as I stood, gawking up at my daring teammates taking the plunge before me, I found myself more and more inspired to accomplish the same feat. “If they can do it, why can’t I?”

Just as that thought crept in, the beginning of a mental shift took place. I reminded myself that stepping outside of my comfort zone was supposed to be uncomfortable, scary, and maybe even a bit risky.

So I did it. I climbed up the pole and took the jump -which was more like a backwards side step- and went in full swing, high among the trees, screaming at the top of my lungs with my eyes closed as tight as possible while clenching firmly onto the swinging rope.

After several oscillations, I finally opened my eyes and my screaming sharply turned into deafening laughter. I felt so happy and shocked that I had taken the jump and grateful that I had been surrounded by a team of supportive people, cheering me on as I did so.

As I reflect on the underlying meaning of this activity and the implications it has for me as I navigate grad school, my career, and the rest of my life, I am reminded of a speech that Steve Harvey gave on an episode of Family Feud.

In his speech, Harvey states that the one thing every successful person has done at some point is jump. He goes on to say, “You cannot just exist in this life. You have got to try to live. If you are waking up thinking there has got to be more to your life than there is, man believe that there is. But to get to that life, you’re gonna have to jump.” Harvey then goes on to say that it is our gifts, our unique skills and talents, that act as a parachute to break the fall once we take the jump.

Now that I’ve physically taken the jump, throughout the next phase of my life, starting with my time here at Fisher, I want to take the jump academically, professionally, and socially. I want to get even more comfortable with being uncomfortable; for I now know that it is only when I am outside of my comfort zone that I am able to soar higher than I’ve ever imagined, utilize my gifts to their fullest potential, and truly understand what it means to be successful.

So here’s to taking a step away from the mundane and leaping into the exciting, frightening, and unknown reality that lies ahead of me. I think I can get into the swing of that! 😉

The Big Spring Concert at OSU

BSC

Every year, the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) puts on what they call the “Big Spring Concert”. They bring in a popular artist or
group and have a free concert for all Ohio State students as they near the end of their academic year. In the past, they have brought in groups like OAR, Passion Pit, The Chainsmokers and Weezer plus artists like Skrillex, Juicy J and Childish Gambino. Needless to say, the OUAB does a good job of bringing in a wide range of music genres. This year is no different as they lined up Marshmelllo, Vic Mensa and headliner Martin Garrix. Garrix and Marshmello are both EDM artists with Garrix being one of the most popular in the current EDM scene.

trucks

garrixIn years past, they have held the concert on The South Oval, just across the street from The Ohio Union, and students would just walk in. This year, they held it at Columbus Commons (a very popular outdoor venue in downtown Columbus). My favorite event that I’ve attended at Columbus Commons was by far the Food Truck Festival where they brought in around 100 different trucks with foods ranging from pizza and sandwiches to cupcakes, churros and other sweet treats. To get in to the event this year, students were required to pick up a wristband from the Ohio Union. I’m not sure why exactly the university moved the concert from The South Oval to Columbus Commons but I thought it was a huge hit!

Sadly, I did not attend the Big Spring Concert this year. My sister surprised me about a month earlier with tickets to see Panama Wedding, Magic Man and The Griswolds at Newport (America’s longest continuously runningmagic man concert hall). These artists are more indie and electronic rock bands than EDM. I enjoy listening to almost every genre of music (especially live) and I have already seen Garrix and Marshmello live so it was time to mix it up a little. The indie/electronic rock bwristbandands were certainly way more relaxed than the EDM artists. Moral of the story, Columbus has many options for lovers of all types of music.

Wrap Up of the Year!

Wow, it’s hard to believe the MAcc Program is coming to an end! It feels like we just started, but then again, we did only start about 8 months ago. Even though the year is almost over, there are still more events to look forward to. One event is Fisher Formal. This is a formal end of the year celebration at a Cathedral in which all graduate students at Fisher are invited. We are allowed to bring guests to this event as well. Another event is an end of the year celebration for the VITA program at Dave and Busters with all of the VITA volunteers.

Final exams are coming up in the last week of April and then graduation takes place on May 8th. There is a Pre-Commencement ceremony taking place 2 days before graduation to recognize MAcc students and professors specifically. There is certainly a lot to look forward to the rest of the school year and the weekend of graduation!

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This summer I will be staying in Columbus and studying for, taking, and hopefully passing the 4 sections of the CPA exam. I will be starting my full time position in federal tax at KPMG in Columbus this upcoming October.

Overall, this has been a fantastic year. I have met so many new friends, some of which are staying in Columbus, and some that are moving to other places. I hope to stay in contact with the people I have met in the program. I have also really enjoyed all of the cool classes I have gotten to take this year, both accounting and non-accounting courses. Finally, I enjoyed all of the events I was able to attend as a student here such as football games, basketball games, volleyball games, and volunteering. This is definitely a year I will never forget, and I am so grateful that I had the wonderful opportunity to attend such a great program and university!