Maintaining Balance

It seems like “balance” is the ultimate buzzword nowadays. Nobody really knows what it is, but everyone is trying to find it. Experts cannot seem to agree on whether or not it is possible to “have it all.” Early in my college career I was introduced to the idea that there are 3 S’s: social life, sleep, and studying (good grades), and you can only excel in two of the three areas.

During the autumn semester, my primary focus was on my grades and career search. I opted to forgo a lot of social opportunities for the sake of getting a good night’s rest because I knew my academics and recruiting efforts would suffer if I was not sleeping. This certainly paid off – I was thrilled with my grades and I received the job offer I was hoping for. Looking back, however, I definitely missed out on some fun experiences. Though I was “successful,” my life was not as balanced as I wanted it to be.

This past semester, I shifted my focus in an attempt to make the most of my remaining time in the MAcc. My academics continued to be my top concern, but I also prioritized having fun. There were definitely weeks where I was not as well-rested as I would have liked, but I would not trade the memories for anything. My grades have stayed about the same but I feel much more engaged in the program, which has made an already fantastic MAcc experience that much greater.

I think there is a misconception that “balance” is this all-or-nothing thing. I have come to believe that you can have it all, just not all at once and not all the time. For example, in January and February, I was preparing to take my first section of the CPA exam – BEC. For several weeks, my focus was entirely on preparing for my test. I pretty much nixed both “social” and “sleep” from my life. While this period was not the most enjoyable, it was only temporary. After taking (and passing!) BEC, I was able to return to a more “balanced” life since I no longer felt compelled to spend every waking moment immersed in Becker. I know I will have similar phases for the rest of my life, but there will also be plenty of times where I have the flexibility to get a good night’s rest, go out with friends, or take a hike.

At the end of the day, it comes down to knowing what you need to prioritize when. Sometimes that may mean opting to stay in on a Friday night in order to catch up on schoolwork. Other times that may mean putting the textbooks away for a spontaneous weeknight dinner with friends. Though I know balance is something I will continuously have to work at, I feel like this past year has helped me figure out what I need to feel both grounded, successful, and happy.

Student Perks: D-Tix

Of the many perks available to Ohio State students, I think one of the neatest and least advertised is D-Tix (abbreviation for “discount tickets”). Through OSU’s vast network of community partnerships, the school is able to offer general discounts and discounted tickets to special events through an online lottery system. Everything from Hocking Hills zipline tours, passes to the Columbus Zoo, and gift cards to local restaurants may be available at any given time on D-Tix.

The website is set up similar to Groupon, but with a lottery component. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students can enter the lottery for any particular event they are interested in, and if selected they pay a discounted price for the tickets (anywhere from 25-50% less than face value).

Obviously, the popularity of the event determines the probability of being selected. The recent John Mayer concert at the Schottenstein Center was quite popular (by the way, Chance the Rapper will also be performing there next month), but for other lower-key entries (gift certificates to local restaurants, for one example) students have a relatively high chance of being selected. Also worth noting—for any unclaimed tickets, they are sold first-come, first-served at the Ohio Union.

One of the benefits of attending a large, public institution like Ohio State is that perks like D-Tix come at a very small cost to each student and are included in the student activity fee (hello, economies of scale!). Let us also not forget the general student discounts afforded to students at various establishments around the city by simply presenting your BuckID. I am grateful that we’re able to enjoy so much of the city, even on a student budget!

The Ultimate Settler

For some, holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, reminiscing on stories of old, and just having a splendid time among company you truly enjoy. While this is certainly the case for my family, we take it one step further with our competitive nature. After all the delicious food, our family takes to the dining room table and plays one of the many games in our arsenal.

The vast majority of these games are card games, including: Rummy, Shanghai, Yuker, Exploding Kittens, and Pinochle. The other games are board games: Labyrinth and Settlers of Catan. All of these games are definitely amazing and enjoyable in unique ways; however, my family’s favorite is Settlers of Catan.

Cover of box for game.

Ranked #1 board game in the world for the past several years (not 100% certain that this is true), Settlers is to board-gamers what peanut butter is to jelly, what cheese is to crackers, and what butter is to toast; it is just an absolute necessity. Now, you may be thinking no way, that can’t be true. But trust me, this game is the GOAT (greatest of all time).

Essentially, the goal is to build up your cities and settlements to obtain 10 points to win. Along the way, there are development cards that throw some twists into the game, as well as specialty point cards like Longest Road and Largest Army. There are different strategies that people argue for: some like to stretch their territory, others (like me) are fans of building a small but powerful community around numbers with the highest odds of being rolled. Either way, this game has it all and can be played in under two hours.

What the actual board looks like during a game.

Last night, after a nice day with extended family: my parents, younger brother, and I sat down at the dining room table for a game. While it didn’t look great for me early on, I pulled away on a three-point play to take the W: combining a victory point (from the development cards) with building one city and one settlement. It was an electric atmosphere after the win and I couldn’t have happier (sorry family).

All in all, go buy Settlers of Catan, teach your friends and family to play, and truly enjoy this epic board game for all that it offers. Happy Easter!

A Formal Affair

If you thought prom was over, you thought wrong. Prom is no longer just an event for American high school students, it is a social event for Fisher graduate students too! This event is a great stress reliever following a long week of mid-term exams. The event is technically referred to as “formal”, however, I prefer to think of it as prom.

A great thing about this event put on by the Fisher Social Chairs Committee is that it is for all graduate programs in the Fisher College of Business. This is a great way to get to mingle and interact with people outside of your specialized program. Programs in attendance were: MAcc (Accounting), SMF (Finance), MHRM, Part-time MBA, and Full-time MBA.

It is a great opportunity to hang out with your classmates outside of the classroom, on a more casual level. Having the same classes with the same 80 people throughout the school year, you get to know your peers pretty well. One of the many positive traits of the Fisher MAcc class is how close-knit of a group we are. Coming from out-of-state, I didn’t know anyone prior to the program orientation, which takes place a few days before classes start. The numerous group projects and social events, like Fisher Formal, really encourage students to get to know one another better. At this point in the year, we are nearing the end with about 3 weeks left of class. This is a great capstone to the end of an amazing school year at Ohio State.

We clean up well!
Enjoying the photo booth with fellow MAcc classmates

 

 

Current SMF student, Brett, having way too much fun with future accountants

Meeting the legend Warren Buffett in Omaha

Yep– the Buffett you thought! I still cannot believe that I met the man in person!

Last Friday, 19 other Fisher grad students and I had the honor to represent Fisher and have lunch with Mr. Buffett at Anthony’s Steakhouse in Omaha.

During the Q&A session before lunch, Mr. Buffett shared his wisdom of life and investment to us. Well, it was mostly about the power of love.

Here are some key points of his speech that impressed me the most:

a) Thinking about your favorite person and the one you dislike the most, write down their characteristics. Then you will know how to be a better person.

b) Unconditional love is the most precious thing in life which cannot be bought by money. You would get it from your parents or spouse. Love others first, then you will get love from them 1000 times back. He said he would not be the same person without the unconditional love of his wife and father.

c) Being others’ spouse and parent is the most important job in life. You cannot take back your actions or words. There is no replay or delete.

During his speech, Mr. Buffett shared many interesting stories. For example, in early 1990s, Mr. Buffett and Bill Gates and other icons in business and tech sat around a table to discuss how the internet would develop in the next decade (which Buffett said they should have taped) They talked for hours, but they didn’t come up with amazing ideas such as Youtube, Linkedin, or ads in websites– though they had the best business and technology minds in the world.

The most amazing part of meeting Mr. Buffett is that he speaks in a candid manner to students. He’s not arrogant at all– just like a grandfather talking to his grandkids, or even just as one would talk to friends. Moreover, to manage a crowd over 160 people, he only brought two assistants, a secretary and a bodyguard. You would not even sense the existence of the bodyguard until he wandered in the hallway to keep an eye on Mr. Buffett during lunch time. The secretary was so easygoing and elegant. She just sat behind the table, observing the room and monitoring the process during the Q&A session, only interrupting when necessary but in a calm and warm voice. With all the student groups taking pictures, there were a little chaos, but Mr. Buffett still maintained his smile. It was a brief experience, but I am impressed by how efficient and organized his team was and how much he trusted them.

Fisher grad Students meeting with Mr. Buffett

Another treat was the delicious steak, smashed potato, and strawberry cake at the steakhouse. But photos were not allowed to be taken inside the restaurant, so here is our group photo outside. You definitely should visit the place if you ever travel to Omaha!

Anthony’s Steakhouse

After meeting Mr. Buffett, we still had 3.5 hours before our flight back to Columbus. So, three other Fisher students (Lauren, Michelle, and Zainab) joined me and Heidi from the Office of Global Business to rent a car and take a quick tour of Omaha. Thanks to Lauren for this awesome idea and to Heidi for driving us around Omaha– and even to Iowa at one point!

Nebraska Furniture Mart
OMAHA

Last but not least, big thanks and respect to our awesome and calm trip leader Matthew Nordman, who helped us to get to Omaha in time given some flight issues and helped us to transfer on an earlier flight back, so each of us on the trip could finish the journey within 24 hours. Four flights within 24 hours and a return to the same airport is a record of mine now!

Spotlight on MBA Entrepreneurship at Fisher College of Business

Today, we are sharing a guest blog post from one of our second-year MBA students (and soon-to-be graduates!) who will share his experience with entrepreneurship during his time at Fisher. As a Fisher MBA student, you can even pursue a new opportunity, starting this fall, called the MBA Specialization in Technology Entrepreneurship. If you’re interested, you can find more information about it here!

Dr. Michael Camp leads the Langdale Academy in Technology Entrepreneurship at the Fisher College of Business. The new MBA Specialization combines OSU’s ranked MBA coursework with the successful experiential programs of the Langdale Academy.

Entrepreneurship is certainly in a high-growth stage here at the Fisher College of Business. In my two years as an MBA student, I can look back on the opportunities we’ve had to network with emerging technology start-ups, bounce questions off of seasoned venture capitalists– and even launch a few business concepts of our own.

The biggest entrepreneurship event at Fisher is the annual Silicon Valley Trip, which is hosted by WSGR, TEC Institute, and Fisher Entrepreneurship Association. The Silicon Valley Trip immerses 18 Fisher graduate students in the Silicon Valley start-up ecosystem, meeting with leading venture capital firms, technology incubators, and entrepreneurs in the heart of the startup capital. We’ve had incredible opportunities to interact with individuals like Apple’s first hire, Ben Silbermann (CEO of Pinterest), John Thompson (Chairman of Microsoft), Brad Smith (CEO of Intuit), and Partners at Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and WSGR – just to name a few!

2017 Silicon Valley Trip with Fisher MBA students, alumni, and executives from HP and Microsoft.

But even if you don’t join the Silicon Valley trip, it’s easy to see Columbus’ entrepreneurial energy rising: Columbus was just named the #1 City for Scaling Startups by the Kauffman Foundation. It’s a great time to be a Fisher MBA as we’ve been able to gain exposure to rapidly growing local startups like CoverMyMeds and CrossChx, as well as venture firms like Drive Capital, Rev1 Ventures, and Lumos Ventures.

Rev1 Ventures provides seed stage venture capital funding in Columbus, Ohio along with startup services, mentoring, and connections.

Within Fisher, several MBA students have actively pursued entrepreneurial ventures. In my class, currently-enrolled Fisher MBAs have founded companies commercializing new technologies. In one case, two students teamed up to commercialize a wound healing molecule. In another case, a student launched an e-commerce site for resumes, called resumates. Some of these students have had such success that they’ve been able to take their ventures on full-time after graduation – awesome!

Each year, it feels like the opportunity to engage in the entrepreneurial experience grows as more and more students pursue innovative ideas and business concepts. I look back fondly on so many of these experiences, but also can’t wait to hear some of the new business concepts that emerge from upcoming MBAs.

MAcc Attack!

Some of you may have read my previous blog about the MAcc Olympics. Since many faculty were unable to attend our MAcc Olympics, we decided to have a separate event where you can try to beat Professor Arya and Rob Chabot in table tennis or racquetball, appropriately named “MAcc Attack.” Rob works out of the Graduate Programs Office (the “GPO”) and is the Director of Recruiting & Admissions for the Specialized Masters Programs. He is an absolute beast at racquetball.  Professor Arya teaches one of the core courses and used to be the Director of the MAcc program. He is not only really good at racquetball, but he is also great at table tennis.

We rented out racquetball courts at the RPAC and invited the whole program to attend. I was optimistic that one of the current students would be able to compete with the faculty in racquetball, but I was very wrong. One student was able to beat Arya in table tennis several times (shout-out to Rui), but none of us was able to compete with the two faculty in racquetball. So if you’ve ever played racquetball before, practice throughout the year so you can humble Rob and Arya when you get your chance to play them. It is very rare for a student to beat them, so start preparing now!

MAcc Attack!

Other than getting our butts kicked by the faculty in racquetball, it was a lot of fun to play other students in the MAcc program. These games were actually competitive and we all had a blast. We also played doubles in table tennis, which was new to me, but surprisingly fun. This event, similar to the MAcc Olympics, provided everyone with an opportunity to spend time on the weekends together in a fun memorable way.

As the year starts to wind down, I am starting to look back on my favorite moments of the program, so my next blog is going to be a ranking of those moments.

Glory to Columbus!

As a Columbus native, I celebrate just about everything unique to this fine city. However, one aspect I feel I’ve neglected during my 26 years of life and love for Columbus is the Crew team. Columbus has an MLS soccer (or football, for the purists) team smack dab it its own backyard–literally a 20-minute walk from campus.

This past Saturday I attended my first game in 6 years, and man how I’d missed it. We played the Portland Timbers (I lived in Oregon the last two years, so this was an uncomfortable limbo for me to exist in. But come on, we all know where my loyalty lies.) As is typical in soccer, we were tied up for most of the match. But as expected, the Crew scored in the final few minutes to pull out the win.

“All we do is win.”

The Crew team has some of the most fiercely loyal fans in the entire MLS, I’m convinced. Led by fearless leader (and brand ambassador, and retired Crew player) Frankie Hejduk, they have conceived a parody of nearly every popular and unpopular song, eloquently replacing the words with some crew-related lingo (hint: “you” and “Crew” rhyme, so that really opens up a lot of possibilities). You’ll find the lyrics to a few of my favorites below:

Frankie Hejduk has not missed an entire Crew game since he retired. I cannot confirm this is true, but it is how I feel based purely on his team spirit. Just look at him.

500 Miles (The Proclaimers)

I would walk 500 Miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the fan who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at Crew’s door
Call: COLUMBUS
Response: COLUMBUS
Call: COLUMBUS
Response: COLUMBUS
Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)

Yellow Soccer Team (Yellow Submarine – The Beatles)

We all Cheer for the Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
We all Cheer for the Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team

(repeat, forever)

You Got What I Need (Just a Friend – Biz Markie)

Oh baby Crew
You got what I need
And it’s never going to end
And it’s never going to end

All in all, I feel lucky to be a part of a city with a variety of activities to do on the weekends. I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard sports fan, but it is fun to always have the option to go to a Columbus Clippers (baseball), Blue Jackets (hockey), or Crew game when the mood strikes. And, I feel fortunate to have a MHRM “Crew” of my own to accompany me.

“Go Sports!” -the MHRMs

MAcc Olympics

One of our more unique social events this semester was the “MAcc Olympics.” More than 40 MAcc students came out to participate. Since the spring semester is comprised of mostly electives, you will see some of your classmates less often than you do in the Fall. The MAcc Olympics gave everyone an opportunity to catch up with classmates, and blow off some steam after a long week. We focused the event around four games, basketball, volleyball, kickball and dodgeball.

Hailey, Sam, Kate, Susan and Melissa waiting for their turn in kickball

The first hour, we split everyone into two groups, one group got to play volleyball to start and the other played “knockout.” Knockout is a basketball game where everyone lines up behind the free throw line and the first two in line have a basketball. The first person shoots the ball, and as soon as the first person shoots, the second person shoots as well. The goal of the game is to make your shot or rebound and layup your ball before the person before you scores in order to knock them out, but if the person after you scores before you do, you are knocked out. In the end, only one winner still stands.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Next we went over to the turf field to play kickball. Kickball is essentially baseball, but the pitcher rolls the ball to the “batter” who kicks the ball. The only other difference is in kickball, you can throw the ball at the runner to get them out. This was a lot of fun, and it was a game that was new to several students in the MAcc.

Lastly, we played a classic sport, dodgeball. If you don’t know what dodgeball is, watch the movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.” It is about a local Las Vegas gym and its employees who enter into a dodgeball tournament to save their gym from going out of business. It’s hilarious, and you’ll become a dodgeball pro in no time.

Grady in action

I lastly wanted to mention was how much the international students loved the event. Since some of the games were new to many of those that did not grow up in the states, it was a great experience to learn new games and play around with classmates. One of our best students, Tahmina Ahmed, had this to say after the MAcc Olympics:

“Today was one of the best days that I have had during my stay in the States. I’m gonna take some awesome memories with me. Thank you so much guys. You guys are the best 😍😍😍”.

MAcc Olympics was a great even for everyone in the program to get active after a long week, and I am excited for what the last several weeks of the MAcc program are going to bring.

MAcc Madness

My March started out with a quick trip to Washington D.C. to see my best friend from undergrad. Though small, the Columbus airport still offers service to a number of destinations around the country. Even better, I was able to snag my round-trip tickets for an incredibly affordable price. It was a wonderful weekend getaway, full of lots of laughs, sightseeing, walking, and delicious food.

I also had the opportunity to jet out west to Salt Lake City and Park City to see family over spring break. I prefer mountains to the beach, so this was definitely my idea of a perfect vacation. In addition to simply hanging out with some of my favorite people, I got to enjoy some rock climbing and yoga while I was out there!

March also marked the start of the Intramural indoor soccer season! I was incredibly nervous about being a part of the team because although soccer was a huge part of my childhood, I had not played for years. While I am certainly not as a fast or in shape as I used to be, joining the “MAccletes” is definitely one of the highlights of my MAcc experience thus far. Continuing on the soccer trend, I also went to my first Columbus Crew game this past weekend where the Crew beat the Portland Timbers 3-2.

Because of how classes are scheduled, there are no Friday classes during the second term of the spring semester. To take advantage of this free day, the MAcc Council has several events planned over the next couple of weeks. This past Friday they hosted the MAcc Olympics which was an afternoon of fun and games. We played basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and kickball. It should come as no surprise that there was definitely some friendly competition on the playing field!

I have also made it a point to take advantage of the warmer temps to get back out on the trails. I went to Clear Creek Metro Park this past Saturday and am looking forward to going back this upcoming weekend. I am also going to try to get to Hocking Hills this weekend as well, weather permitting.

Looking into April, there are plenty of other activities on the calendar. MAcc Gives Back, a day of community service, is scheduled for the morning of April 7th. That same day, we have Fisher Formal in the evening. I am really looking forward to spending some time giving back to the Columbus community and Formal is sure to be a blast – I love any excuse to get dressed up!

It is hard to believe that graduation is just a few short weeks away. While I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life, it is bittersweet to think that my time at the Fisher College of Business is quickly coming to an end. I did not know what to expect when I started my MAcc experience, but it is safe to say that the past year has been amazing and I have so many wonderful memories that I will forever cherish.