April Activities: An Update!

I recently shared a post about all of the activities this April that Fisher had to offer for the graduate students and promised that I would return with an update, so here we are! 

MAcc Gives Back

A week ago, MAcc students and faculty split off into two groups to volunteer at the Franklin Park Conservatory and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. I went with the Franklin Park Conservatory group and had a great time bonding with my fellow MAcc classmates! We were assigned to clean up the children’s garden and get it ready for Spring. After spending a few hours working among the staff, we had an opportunity to walk through the conservatory and see all of the beautiful plant habitats. We also had time to go into the butterfly conservatory! After volunteering all morning, the groups from both locations came back to Gerlach Hall for lunch together. It was a great way to spend a Friday morning! I wish that we had more organized volunteering throughout the year because it was a great way to spend time together outside the classroom!

Fisher Formal

Elise (MHRM GA); Me, Julie & Matt (MAcc GAs) at Fisher Formal

Last Friday was Fisher Formal, and it did not disappoint! Fisher Formal is put on every spring by the MBA social committee and is offered to all Fisher graduate students. Included in our ticket price was a buffet of heavy hor devours, drinks, a photo booth, and a DJ all night! I went with a group of MAcc and MHRM students and had an absolute blast. The DJ played really good music and it was really fun getting to hang out with the MHRM and MBA students that I work with every day the Graduate Programs Office. The event is definitely one of the highlights of the year for me!

Fisher Kickball Tournament Champions

On March 30th, the Fisher College of Business hosted its first annual Graduate Student Kickball Tournament! Five teams of Fisher graduate students signed up to play in this tournament hosted at the ARC. I played on a team with other Master of Accounting students.

The tournament was competitive. In our first game, we beat a team of MBAs in extra innings.  The game was tense, with our team having to hold the MBAs to one run in the bottom of the extra inning or we would lose or play another inning.  Our championship game came against students from the MHRM program, where a few home runs propelled us to victory.

The MAcc Team Winning the Kickball Tournament

The tournament was especially fun because it gave us an opportunity to come together and meet students from other Fisher graduate programs.  Professors played in the kickball tournament too.  I was happy to hit a home run off of a professor I had for an HR class.  As the winning team, we won a catered lunch of our choosing!

The kickball tournament was another example of a fun opportunity outside of the business school that Fisher offers its graduate students.  Hopefully next year’s MAcc team can retain its title!

Silicon Valley Venture Capital Trek

The week after spring break, myself and a few of my MBA peers were fortunate enough to go on the Silicon Valley Venture Capital Trek in various cities – San Francisco, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and a couple others. As members of the student organization, Fisher Entrepreneurship Association (FEA), our goal is to learn about Entrepreneurship, Start-ups, Venture Capital (VC), and Investing through networking, events, and experiential opportunities. This was my first time on the trip, and it was by far one of my favorite MBA experiences so far. We met with Managing Directors, IPO Lawyers, Venture Capital Partners, and Founders & CEOs from various companies: Wilson, Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR), Google X, EY (Ernst & Young), DFJ (now Threshold Ventures), Prevedere Inc., and Aeris, and a couple others.

Listening to professionals in this space was eye-opening. There were so many questions myself and my peers had as young minds interested in learning how to get into the start-up space and understanding what type of professional experience and knowledge you need to be successful in it. Hearing success stories, failure stories, stories about the “grind” of this world, and honest perspectives about the start-up and venture capital industry gave many of us the ability to narrow in on what we would love to do professionally in this space. For me, after a few years working in tech and sports/entertainment, I would like to start my own company which will tie my passions together.

Most interesting things I heard during the trip:

  • Most of successful companies created their own market (ex: Facebook, Google, Intel, Cisco).
  • This idea of collaboration in tech is called “coopetition”.
  • Value = product-market fit / risk (execution).
  • NETWORKING is crucial!!
  • Get a mentor.
  • 3 parts to venture: 1) sourcing, 2) due diligence, 3) portfolio.
  • People who start a company aren’t always the ones to scale it.

What venture capital firms look for in entrepreneurs:

  1. How self-aware is this person?
  2. Are they able to recognize the fires and won’t ignore the problems?
  3. Do they recognize their own strengths and weaknesses?
  4. Are they persistent and do they have the mental endurance it takes to build and grow a company?

If you’d like to learn more about VC, start-ups, and entrepreneurship, below is a list of books and videos that were suggested to my classmates and I during our trip:

  • “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
  • “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki
  • “The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company” by Steve Blank & Bob Dorf
  • “Straight Talk for Startups” by Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman
  • “Venture Capitalists at Work: How VCs Identify and Build Billion-Dollar Successes” by Tarnang Shah and Shital Shah
  • “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore
  • “Something Ventured” – Netflix movie
  • “Secrets of Silicon Valley” – YouTube

Below is a list of people you should be familiar with – learn their stories as they either successfully built up billion-dollar companies or founded VC firms with highly invested portfolio companies in the Silicon Valley area:

  • Larry Ellison – Oracle
  • Marc Andreesen – Netscape
  • Andy Grove – Intel
  • Alan Shugart – Seagate Technology
  • Gordon Moore – Intel
  • John Chambers – Cisco
  • Steve Jobs – Apple, Pixar
  • Scott McNealy – Sun Microsystems
  • John Doerr – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Larry Sonsini – WSGR
  • Lewis Platt – Hewlett-Packard
  • James Clark – Netscape

A big thanks to Fisher College of Business, Professor Oglevee, Mr. Terranova, Mr. Coleman, and the MBA student leadership of FEA for making this trip happen and providing a wonderful growth experience.

Filing Your Income Tax Return

In addition to the NFL play-offs in January and the college basketball play-offs in March (aka March Madness), the January to April period is also known as tax season. Tax season is the period when individuals are required to file their taxes with the government to determine whether a refund should be issued by the government (to an individual) or if an individual tax payer needs to pay more tax to the government.

In this post, I will explore a few of the many cost effective options that are available for students. A very good example is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA is a national operation, and most business schools operate a work-site every year, which offers free tax help to people who generally make $55,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Here at Fisher we do have a VITA work-site administered by the Department of Accounting and MIS. Furthermore, VITA is not only free for students to get their taxes done, it is also a volunteer opportunity for students who want to gain experience in tax preparation.

For international students, another free resource is the Glacier Nonresident Tax Compliance System. This resource allows students to prepare their federal income tax return, Form 1040 NR-EZ, and  Form 8843 for free. This is an excellent free resource because the only thing one needs to do is to print and mail the forms to the IRS.

Finally, for both domestic and international students, the state of Ohio provides  I-File, which allows individuals to file their Ohio state tax returns online in a quick and relatively easy process. In my experience so far, this is unique to Ohio so definitely make use of this platform because filing state tax returns can get a little costly.

Managing the Uncertainties of Life After Fisher

As our time as Fisher students wraps up, our priorities shift more and more toward the next phase of life: the professional career. Be it through an entrepreneurial venture or formal employment, we each have the responsibility to secure a stable future for ourselves and loved ones. This realization, though necessary, often brings stress and anxiety due to the uncertainties of the future.

As time passes, graduation day get closer and fellow classmates secure jobs, the pressure increases causing some to even doubt or question their abilities. For international students who wish to stay in the US to get some work experience, the thought of having to go back home without realizing this goal may cause extreme sadness or even sleepless nights. So how can one effectively manage the responsibility of securing a stable future? How can one overcome the stress or anxiety that might arise as a result of delay or uncertainty?

One of the key solutions to these questions is resilience. As defined by psychologytoday.com:

Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.

What makes resilience so important is that it helps improve one’s attitude. And attitude is a big factor in achieving goals because a positive attitude usually leads to positive outcomes. Therefore, my encouragement to you current or future Fisher student is that during times when your efforts may seem unfruitful, it is imperative to demonstrate resilience and find the courage to keep on keeping on. Find the courage to continue networking with professionals in your target industries, to continue reaching out to recruiters at your target companies and to continue applying to your target jobs because if you give up, no one is going to do it for you. In other words true failure exists when you stop trying; true failure is when you give up.

 

An April Full of MAcc Activities

Spring is finally here! In less than a month, I will become a proud alumna of the Ohio State MAcc program. April is the last month of classes and our program graduates May 5th with the rest of the Ohio State University. With only a few short weeks left, the MAcc program continues to host various activities for us to look forward to! Here are a few of the upcoming April activities that we have on our calendars.

Fisher Graduate Student Appreciation Week

Each spring, the Graduate Programs Office puts on a graduate student appreciation week. During the week, there are various raffles, discounts at local restaurants, giveaways, and more! This year, more than 10 restaurants and stores have donated coupons, gift cards, food, and other giveaways for the students. Each day of the week there is also an event to attend, whether it be donuts and coffee in the Graduate Student Lounge or a free Distillery tour in the evening. I will absolutely be taking advantage of the 25% off discount at local restaurants and entering into the raffles!

Graduate Student/Professor Kickball Tournament

To kick off graduate student appreciation week, my classmates and I participated in the graduate student/professor kickball tournament. We formed teams of about 10 students and each team reached out to their favorite professor to join their team. It was a great way to bond with the MAcc class and grow our faculty relationships.

MAcc Team Tournament Champs!

Fisher Formal

I definitely thought that my days of attending college formals ended when I graduated from undergrad. I was wrong! The Fisher Social Chairs club puts on a fabulous formal event in April for all the graduate programs combined. This event will be all the more fun because I have had the opportunity to make friends outside the MAcc program through my job as a graduate assistant.

MAcc Gives Back

Every year, the MAcc Council organizes an event for MAcc students, alumni, and faculty to volunteer at various local organizations. The event takes place on a Friday morning and gives the MAcc community a chance to connect with the Columbus community. I am looking forward to learning about the organization in which I will be volunteering for soon! Click here to read about a 2018 MAcc graduate’s experience!

MAcc Pre-commencement Ceremony

On the weekend of graduation, the MAcc program holds a ceremony and reception acknowledging the accomplishments of the MAcc class. This is an event that our close friends and family are encouraged to attend! Keynote speakers will be in attendance, as well as a chosen speaker from our program. It will be wonderful to have an intimate closing ceremony with the classmates I have gotten to know so well!

KPMG MADA Students Return

A perk to living in Columbus this summer while I continue to study for the CPA is the fact that the KPMG MADA students will be returning to campus. They all completed a winter internship in their respective KPMG offices and will be returning to complete their MAcc degrees during the summer semester. It will be valuable to have a support system of MAcc students to continue studying for the CPA and will be fun reuniting with the friends I made last semester!

Hopefully, I will be reporting back with memorable experiences from all the April activities that my fellow classmates and I have to look forward to!

 

Spring Break in Washington D.C.

The group of MAcc Students in D.C.

A new opportunity here is the MAcc program is being able to spend your spring break with your classmates in Washington D.C. The MAcc program offers you an opportunity to earn class credit while getting to learn about different career paths, have great networking opportunities, and explore the city. I asked fellow MAcc student Cinara about her experience in D.C. and here is what she said:

Briefly describe what the Washington Campus opportunity is.

The Washington Campus is an opportunity for MAcc students to experience accounting topics through the lens of Washington DC. This includes learning about governmental accounting and hearing from speakers about the economic and political environment. We were also able to visit the White House, PCAOB, Capitol Hill, monuments, and museums.

What was your favorite event?

My favorite event was when we were able to visit Capitol Hill and sit on the house floor. Our tour guide was former US Representative Cliff Stearns. Many people do not have the opportunity to sit on the floor and listen to the arguments, but we were given access due to the class.

What was your favorite activity outside of the classroom?

My favorite event outside of the program was the night of the alumni event. The alumni event was a great way to network with professionals and peers in our industry over food and drinks. We were able to learn more about our future profession from people with years of experience. While there was a lot of time dedicated to learning and professional development, we were still able to enjoy the city. We also went to a karaoke bar, which allowed me to get to know my peers outside of the classroom. Overall, it was a great experience that I would recommend.

Talking to a lot of my fellow classmates, the Washington Campus trip was one of the highlights of their time here in the MAcc program. It was a great learning opportunity and a fun time to explore a different city. It was definitely something everyone in the MAcc program should take advantage of.

2019 Women’s Leadership Conference

Last week, I attended the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference at The Ohio State University! The event was coordinated by Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB)  with the topic of cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset. FGWIB is a student organization that acts as a forum to discuss and address issues relevant to women in business and build awareness of women in leadership positions. The event was hosted in the Blackwell Hotel on campus and kicked off with a lunch and panel of women leaders.

Power Panel Speakers: 

  • Kara Trott, Founder and CEO, Quantum Health
  • Paula Bennett, Former CEO J.Jill, Inc.
  • Camille Gibson, Former VP Marketing, General Mills
  • Angel Harris, Executive Director, Dress for Success Columbus
  • Moderated by: Rhonda Talford Knight, President & Founder,
    Knight Consulting Group

Each of the speakers shared their entrepreneurial journey, what entrepreneurship means to them, how they led others, create buy-in for their visions, and gave advice for aspiring leaders. The panel was followed by networking and breakout sessions that included three learning opportunities:

Option 1: Building Your Personal Brand
Natasha Pongonis Co-Founder & CEO, OYE! Business Intelligence

Option 2: Seeking and Securing Advocates
Fran Skinner, CFA, CPAChief Administrative Officer – Investments
Diamond Hill Capital Management

Option 3: Getting Started as an Entrepreneur
Malika Jacobs, Fisher MBA,Founder, Kingmakers Board Game Parlour

Because of my interest in entrepreneurship, I listened to Fisher alumni Malika Jacobs, who shared the realistic challenges and successes of starting her own business right here in Columbus. Some of her highlights were that there is never a perfect time to start a business,  a good support system is essential, and that being an entrepreneur requires tenacity.

Finally, we heard from the keynote speaker, Natalie Keller Pariano, Chief Sprinkler of Positivity Confetti of NatterDoodle in Columbus, who talked about facing adversity on the entrepreneur’s journey. There was also an appearance by the Dean of the College of Business, Anil Makhija!

Overall, it was a wonderful event and I’m glad I had the opportunity to listen to many accomplished, talented women speak about their experiences.

Here are my top takeaways from the day: be curious, empower others, don’t underestimate your value, nothing is going to be handed to you, love what you do.

 

March Madness

While Ohio State football is the main priority (at least for sports fandom) on campus, everyone becomes a basketball fan once March rolls around.  This year, the Buckeyes made the tournament as an 11-seed and upset a strong Iowa State team in the first round.  I watched the game with my friends at a campus bar and everybody was very excited.  Unfortunately, we lost our second game to a very good U of Houston team.

My favorite part of March Madness is the bracket.  This year, a bunch of MAcc students joined together to form a bracket pool.  I am currently in first place in the pool (humble brag), as I had a perfect “Sweet-16.”  If Gonzaga wins the tournament, I should be set to win bragging rights over my MAcc peers for eternity.

Watching sports often builds relationships.  The other night, the MAcc students headed to a local restaurant to watch the games and get some tasty appetizers.  This event us just one of many unofficial events that our program has hosted this  year.  We have also done a bar crawl, scooter tour, and had parties for various holidays, such as Halloween and Chinese New Year.

While academics are definitely the main focus of our program, it is important to be involved socially so that you can build friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime!

Buckeye Basketball

Over the past couple of months, the blog posts I wrote have centered around class, class activities, and life in the SMF program from an academic point of view. As a result, for those who’ve been reading or following my posts, it may  seem as if I don’t do anything much outside homework, projects, assignments and attend class- which is somewhat true but not entirely.

Aerial view of the basketball arena

One of my hobbies is basketball, both playing and watching it. And if you are wondering, my favorite players are Lebron James (hopefully I don’t lose any readers) and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

 

What I love about basketball is the intensity of the gram. For 40-48 minutes, pretty much every ounce of muscle in the human body is tested. And on top of that, players need the mental resilience to ignore the body’s plea to give up before the game is over.

About a month, ago I got the opportunity to see our men’s basketball team

Getting some love from Brutus

in action vs. Rutgers. Certainly, the intensity which I love to see in a basketball game did not lack as both teams were hungry to get that W. Despite Rutgers’ sincere attempt to overthrow the Buckeyes in the second half, our boys proved equal to the challenge and managed to maintain the lead and win the game.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience at the Schottenstein Center, especially because this was my first men’s basketball game. I totally recommend this as a leisure activity, but before you leave the arena, be sure to get some love from our mascot, Brutus the Buckeye.