Holiday Party & Lights in the German Village

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The SMF program kicked off December with an evening together at our professor’s house enjoying a holiday party and explored the German village’s Village Lights. The highlight of the party was a “secret Santa” gift exchange where we all exchanged a gift with one of our classmates. In the giving spirit, I want to give you some of the best moments from a fun night with great people.

Enjoying the evning with SMF students & Dr. Pinteris
Enjoying the evening with SMF students & Dr. Pinteris.

Like any good party, there was good food! Sweet chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered mint Oreos, sugar cookies, and candy set the stage for savory snacks like meatballs and mushrooms.

The snack table is always a popular hang out
The snack table is always a popular hang out.

My favorite part of the party was decorating the Christmas tree together. The only rule of the party was that everyone had to put an ornament on the tree. At the end of the day, our work look great!

The finished product! Teamwork makes the dream work
The finished product. Teamwork makes the dream work, as the saying goes!

Near the end of the party, we all went outside to explore the neighborhood. The first Sunday in December, the German Village hosts “Village Lights.” Many people decorate and open their homes– and stores stay open late– as others come and visit. Check out what it looks like here in this video.

Wishing you all a safe & warm holiday season, and a healthy new year!

 

MAcc Fall Reception

As an end-of-the year celebration, the MAcc program (including faculty and students )all got together for one last hoorah. We had an evening reception with dinner and drinks the Friday before finals week began. I can’t believe we are 50% there! [editor’s note: the MAcc program duration is nine months]

The night started off with a cocktail hour followed by a dinner. A great thing about the reception was that it was a mix of faculty and students so we got to sit with our professors and interact with them on a more social level, rather than professional level. Of course, this was followed up by Professor Zach’s excellent jokes and Professor Turner’s “twas the night before finals” rendition. All in all it was a great time to get to know the professors and program director better. It was also yet another opportunity to get to know my classmates more. There was also an alumna speaker that graduated from the program two years ago. Her speech really got to me as I realized this is my last year of college, last year to enjoy not working full-time, and last year to get to know these wonderful people I just met (but feel like I have known for much longer).

Macc Reception
MAcc Reception

After the reception, a large portion of us attended the Fisher College of Business ugly sweater party downtown. With only half of the program still to complete, I couldn’t have made it this far without my fellow classmates. I didn’t know anyone before moving up here and now I am worried about how much I will miss them just over winter break. Your classmates really will be your support system as everyone is in the same boat. I’m looking forward to being done with finals, but also looking forward to another (last) semester at Fisher! Happy New Year!

It’s the Holiday Season

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, the Christmas season! With Black Friday sales just a few weeks ago, the “official” start of the holiday season has begun. Everywhere you go, people are putting up Christmas lights, decorating doors with wreaths, and playing familiar Christmas tunes. These are just a few things I love about Christmas, but for an exhaustive list, check this out.

Our Specialized Master in Finance class decided to follow this trend and get into the holiday spirit, as well, before Finals kick off here at the end of the week. The majority of the class attended a holiday celebration at Professor Fuller‘s home this past Sunday night. We are very grateful to be able to celebrate together, and enjoy the wonderful appetizers, cookies, and hot cider that Mrs. Fuller had for us.

Appetizers & Cookies
Appetizers & Cookies

In addition, the Christmas tree was left undecorated for all of us to help. For some, it was their first time putting ornaments on the tree and this was a cool experience to be a part of. Also, I had the honor of placing the angel on top of the Christmas tree (mostly because I am a tall human being); nonetheless, it was a cool thing to do.

The decorated Christmas tree from the house.
The decorated Christmas tree from the house.

During the week prior, our Specialized Master in Finance Council also had organized a Secret Santa gift swap. For those unfamiliar, basically you are assigned another person in the class and you get to give that person a gift (we had a $20 limit on gifts). At Professor Fuller’s, we all exchanged gifts with whom we were assigned. I received an exquisite box of delicious chocolate mints– thank you very much to my Secret Santa!

Finally, the neighborhood of German Village had its Village Lights Festival, in which houses and businesses in the area are decorated and all lit up, to put the neighborhood in the holiday spirit. We drove though the neighborhood instead of walking, due to the cold rain that was falling, but still were able to enjoy the Christmas spirit.

It was a great event to kick the season off, and I am looking forward to getting back to Cleveland to celebrate even more with my family!

A Taste of America

The second term of the first semester often brings just as much stress as the first term, but it also brought me some wonderfully American experiences.

I am a huge basketball fan and the NBA can be a fabulous diversion from schoolwork. This year, during their pre-season, the Cleveland Cavaliers played a game in the Schottenstein Center. I was delighted to have the opportunity to watch the Cavs play right next to my house and having a lifelong Cavs fan with me just made it even better. The stadium atmosphere was completely amazing. The honor of watching the biggest star in the MBA, LeBron James, and his champion teammates was an exciting moment– a nice distraction from the exams and assignments of the program. They truly embody the saying, “work hard, play hard.”

cavs-2 cavs

Despite the workload, there is still time to relax with family and friends.  On this front, nothing is more traditional in the USA than Thanksgiving. So on the fourth Thursday of November, the 23rd, I spent one of the most traditional and delightful nights of the year with a friend and her family. The image of a big turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and jellied cranberry sauce is both very accurate and very delicious. I was also lucky enough to be able to try other traditional American dishes like sweet potato casserole topped with toasted marshmallows (my favorite dish) and homemade apple pie. Coming from Brazil, I wasn’t sure what to expect from an American Thanksgiving, but I was thrilled to be welcomed into the tradition and to try all the delicious food.  I hope they enjoyed the Brazilian treat that I brought for them, brigadeiros, as much as I enjoyed their cooking.

thanks

I had a great time learning more about the holiday. I also had the unique opportunity to get to know my friend’s dogs and their job in agility training.  Dog agility exists all over the world, including in Brazil, but I had never gotten up close to the canine athletes. I also got to learn about a very interesting party game called Cards Against Humanity. While not necessarily business-school appropriate, it was great for getting us all laughing at the horrible and hilarious answers.

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Had I not come to Fisher College of Business, I never would have had these experiences.  I’m thankful for meeting these great people who have welcomed me into their lives and homes.  These friends have made the exams and assignments not just easier, but also more enjoyable.  They have made the time between assignments more than I could have asked for.

Gratitude Practiced Daily Becomes Habit

With the Thanksgiving holiday recently behind us, I’m trying to make more of a conscious effort to take time each day to reflect on things in my life I’m grateful for. This is something that we did with the clients each night at the residential treatment program I previously worked at, but it’s the first time I’m taking a stab at incorporating it into my own life.

grateful

The reason, you ask? Here’s a logical one: Professor Will Shepherd recently cited a “Ted Talk” in which psychologist Shawn Achor argues that the formula most people use to govern their lives: hard work leads to success which leads to happiness, is inherently backwards. Research suggests that happier brains are more creative and productive than those individuals with negative self-talk. So, we ought to be thinking: how can we be happier and more fulfilled, leading us to achieve a higher level of success and productivity in our lives, leading to a higher level of happiness and fulfillment? And the cycle continues.

At the end of the 12-minute presentation (and I encourage you to watch the whole thing, especially if you’re a psychology nerd like me), Achor offers some suggestions for how this can feasibly be done. For 21 days in a row, consciously acknowledge and write down (that part is important) 3 events, things, or people, you interacted with or participated in that you are grateful for. How does it work? In simplest terms, given that our brains are plastic, we are able to reprogram our thinking by simply practicing thinking in certain different ways. By acknowledging gratitude, your brain actually rewires itself to scan the world for the positive.

So, here are 3 things I am thankful for today:

  • My work unit. I share an office with 4 of the kindest, wittiest, and well-informed individuals. I am constantly impressed by their positive outlook on the world and how they can take any mundane task and make it fun.
  • My job. I am biased, but I think I have one of the most rewarding graduate assistantships around. I get to talk about a program, university, and city I love every single day.
  • My friend, Tony. Tony works with me in the GPO (also a blogger here) and has become one of my closest confidants in the program. He is so open-minded and always challenges me in my thinking when I most need it. He’s always looking out for me and my best interests. Tony rocks.

This exercise is already helping me put things in perspective as classes ramp up around the end of the semester when projects are due and exams are scheduled. I encourage everyone to take time each day to be grateful. Do it for yourself!

Why 24-Hour Access Matters

At the Fisher College of Business, all buildings close at 10 pm and reopen at 7am. This can be problematic for some when they need to get into a building, whether it’s to meet with a group or to access their locker (yep, most Fisher grad students get a locker). One of the cool perks that Fisher MAcc students have is 24-access to our home-base, Gerlach Hall. Every student that goes here for school receives a Buck ID, and this Buck ID can be used to pay for things, to get into the recreational centers on campus– and, for grad students, to get into Gerlach Hall.

Here is my Buck ID (ignore my fake smile)
Here is my Buck ID (ignore my fake smile)

Since the libraries at Ohio State get really busy during midterms and finals, if you need a place to study late at night, you can swipe linto Gerlach Hall. You will be able to find a quiet place to study, or a great room where you can work on a group assignment in Gerlach hall, 24/7. One time, I was studying for a final with a few classmates and we were occupying a classroom in Gerlach hall until about 4am when we finally called it a night. I was surprised, but glad, we were able to stay in the building that late. With how often you work in groups in the MAcc, this is going to be very useful if your group has to meet outside of normal building hours.

There is one of these outside both of the main entrances to Gerlach Hall.
There is one of these outside both of the main entrances to Gerlach Hall.

It is so convenient to know that if you ever have to meet with a group, no matter how early or how late at night, you will be able to meet in Gerlach Hall.

The Final Countdown

The first 7-week session came and went, then Fall Break was a treat. Halloween was a blast and the month of November has went by so fast. Now, with Thanksgiving and a HUGE victory over The University of Michigan in the rear view mirror, we are heading into The Final Countdown. Throughout this blog post, I am going to share a few of my memories from this semester in chronological order by using a series of pictures.

First, this is a picture of my group and me in August– we go by the title of Team 6. Over the past few months, we have spent countless hours together working on projects like an Equity Research Report, Corporate Finance Team Cases, and an Economics Presentation.

Team 6
Team 6

Second, this is a picture of some classmates of mine, enjoying lunch outside while the weather was still warm in early September. However, “Winter is Coming.”

Some of the Fellas
Some of the Fellas

Third, a throwback to the New York City trip a few of us in the SMF program went on towards the end of September. It was awesome seeing the big banks and doing some of the touristy stuff.

Raging Bull
Raging Bull

Next up, the SMF class takes a class picture after delivering our Equity Research Report presentations in early October.

SMF Class of 2016-2017
SMF Class of 2016-2017

Throughout the month of October and early November, I drove back and forth from Columbus and Cleveland to watch the Cleveland Indians play in the playoffs of the World Series. Unfortunately, we lost, but I have some great memories with my family and friends.

World Series Games
World Series Games

Next up was the Fisher Follies (a charitable graduate organization that helps students in need). It was a formal auction event that was a great time with other graduate school programs during the month of November.

SMF Classmates at Fisher Follies
SMF Classmates at Fisher Follies

Finally, here is a picture of my friend and SMF classmate, Hector. He drove up to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family this past Thursday, and it was a nice little break to rejuvenate before finals.

Thanksgiving in Cleveland
Thanksgiving in Cleveland

These are just a few of the great memories that I have made as a Specialized Master in Finance student here at the Fisher College of Business. I am looking to finishing up the semester strong as we head into our final presentations, reports, and exams and looking forward to more memories after the Christmas break!

Fun in the MAcc

One of my favorite things about the MAcc program here at Ohio state is how social and friendly everyone is. While we see our classmates every day in class, it is great to get to know each other outside of class. Our MAcc Council has done a great job coordinating social events for us to go to so we can get to know our classmates better. Some of my favorite MAcc social events have been the Fisher scavenger hunt, the Fisher Graduate Programs Halloween party, and tailgating for the Michigan game.

A few weeks ago, the Fisher graduate programs put on a scavenger hunt to help students learn more about Ohio State and get to know the campus a little better. Items on the scavenger hunt ranged from finding a buckeye on the ground (A “buckeye” is a plant!), to jumping into Mirror Lake. My team was made up of several people I was already close with, but I also had a few people on my team who I was very lucky to get to know during this event and who are friends now. During the scavenger hunt, we visited places that in my four years at Ohio State I had never seen before. While the Fisher College of Business is self-sustaining and you are not required to leave this part of campus, there is much more to explore, and this scavenger hunt gave everyone the opportunity to explore campus more.

Challenge: your team must climb a tree
Challenge: your team must climb a tree

For Halloween, the Fisher Graduate Programs decided to have a Halloween party for all of the graduate students. The VIP space of Big Bar was rented out and we had about 100 graduate students at this event, including many MAcc students, SMF students, MBA students, and MHRM students.  This was a great event that allowed us to mingle with the other programs as well as getting to know our own classmates better. It was also fun to see all of the creative costumes people thought of, such as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume, and several Bananas.

This past weekend, when our football team faced off with the University of Michigan (ew), one of our classmates hosted an early morning tailgate. Since the game started at noon, we began tailgating before 9 am. We had breakfast for everyone to enjoy, and drinks for those getting ready to go to the game. This event allowed some of the students who did not fully understand the rivalry with Michigan to get a feel for how important it is to most students who study here.

Some of my classmates at the Tailgate before
Some of my classmates at the Tailgate before

While classes are important and we are here most importantly for school, it is awesome that our MAcc program has gotten so close in just one semester. I’ve made more friends in this program than I ever thought I would, and the social events that the people within the MAcc are able to put on helps contribute to the closeness of the program.

Grad School – Expectations vs. Reality

Though I consider myself a relatively rational person, there are still times where I let my imagination get the best of me. Before beginning the MAcc program, I had plenty of preconceived notions about what the next year was going to look like. Now that I am about halfway through, I can safely say that things have not played out exactly how I thought they would…

Expectation: I will finally learn how to cook. Healthy, home-cooked meals will become a part of my everyday routine.

Reality: Despite having a plethora of recipes saved on Pinterest, most nights I settle on grilled cheese, pizza, or scrambled eggs for dinner.

Expectation: I will make it to the RPAC to workout at least 5 days a week. Who wouldn’t want to work out at such a nice facility?

Reality: No comment.

Expectation: I will take advantage of living in a new city. Columbus has a ton to offer (restaurants, events, etc.) and I want to explore it all.

img_2045-minReality: I have been to a few new restaurants and a couple different Metro Parks but have not done nearly as much as I planned or hoped I would. Most of my weekends involve lots of sleeping and studying.

Expectation: I will be challenged on a daily basis, learn a lot, and make new friends.

Reality: I have been challenged on a daily basis, learned a lot, and made new friends.

Though I am looking forward to having some time to rest and recharge over the Holiday Break, I am equally excited for all the adventures second semester is sure to bring!

The Game

A brilliant 10-year anniversary of “the game of the century”

Every last Saturday in November, the greatest rivalry in Unites States sports takes place. It’s Ohio State versus Michigan, in the border battle football game. This year, the teams entered the game ranked number two and number three in the country (respectively) with each team fighting for one of the four spots in the college football playoff. The stage was set for an instant classic, and like so many installments before, both teams delivered a hard-fought game of unimaginable toughness and passion. We don’t claim that this was the greatest match, because that disrespects the teams of the past; but, undoubtedly, this game rises up and joins the legendary games in the rivalry.

This game holds a special place in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Toledo sits on the border between Ohio and Michigan. In 1835, both states nearly came to war over each’s claim on Toledo’s strategic port. Thankfully, President Andrew Jackson stepped in to prevent war and also make the Toledo strip undoubtedly part of Ohio; but, the city’s split identity still prevails. Today, many Toledoians attended both schools and work in both states. The city’s strong industrial core draws it closely to Detroit auto manufacturing, while others honor the state boarder and unwavering support all things Ohio.

Both states claimed the territory in red, thus fueled the rivalry

Moving from this divided community to Columbus was a transition (spoiler alert: there are no Michigan supporters in Columbus!). During rivalry week, it was odd to see houses and cars decorated only in Scarlet & Grey. Cheering with my roommates in the sixth row of the south end zone student section, there was one lone Michigan fan directly behind me. He has seen Ohio State dominate the rivalry over the past decade, came to a hostile home crowd, and still represented his school well. He was a good reminder that there are much, much more, important things in life than any football game. We are rivals, but are more alike than different. Ohio State and Michigan love each other more than anyone will admit, and it is great to be a part of it – Go Bucks!

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Video footage of my roommates and I storming the field to celebrate our win! (Mazin is jumping in the bottom left, Drew is above him jumping over the rail, and I am next in the grey hat.) – Memorable last home game! O-H-I-O!