The first day of school…Again!

So I just wrapped up my first day as a graduate student about an hour ago!  Today’s class was like many other classes I have had in which the first day was spent going over the syllabus and introducing ourselves to our perspective classmates.  However, the class I had today is being taught by the Director of the MLHR program, Mr. Heneman, whom I am certain I will have again for a future class or classes.

My first impressions of graduate school at Fisher is that it is very fast-paced!  For instance, classes hadn’t even started and I found myself sending out resumes to potential employers in order to be preselected for a first round interview, which I might add will take place in 1.5 weeks if chosen.  Not to mention the coursework. LOTS OF READING!!!!  However, it can all be done. The most important element that I will need in order to be successful in this program, and after this program is to have a good tight grasp on the importance of time management.  I didn’t really implement the skill too much throughout undergrad, but I like to think of graduate school as my second-coming!  The time in which I can do and achieve all the things I didn’t do while in undergraduate.

Round II tomorrow…

The PreMAcc Seminar

Forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but I can’t remember if I mentioned my undergrad degree in my last post. So here it is again, I graduated  from the University of Texas with a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering.

So how much accounting training did I have before deciding to switch career to accounting? nada~ I took 2 intro accounting classes at a local community college and that’s it. I did take 6 calculus classes in undergrad but that probably doesn’t make too much of a difference, does it? To close up the gap and be able to catch up to the rest of my peers, fortunately there’s this summer intensive accounting bootcamp called PreMAcc and I’m here to share with you what we went through in just 6 weeks.

The seminar is divided into 3 modules: Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, and Auditing.

Financial Accounting

In a nutshell, 3 quarters worth of intermediate accounting packed into 13 days including 2 Saturdays. Sounds scary and crazy at first, but you come out of it knowing more accounting than you ever did. Some notable topics that really opened my eyes were: Revenue Recognition, Time Value of Money, Debts, Statement of Cashflow, etc. Make sure you learn these concepts well, because they will keep coming back not only in your future accounting classes, but also finance classes. Having seen these concepts once makes it so much easier to grasp the advanced topics and if you fear that you might be getting rusty, fear not, the rigorous schedule of PreMAcc have long carved the concepts in your memory. They will come back very quickly!

Cost Accounting

So you’ve been through the toughest module and everything from here on out is all downhills. You learn about different costing methods, CVP, Decision Making, Master Budget, Capital Budgeting, etc. Here you get a taste of private accounting, in other words, what managers see inside a company that enable them to make decisions and evaluate different strategies. This module was only half as long as the first one and lasted 7 days. This module is fun because you get to turn the table around and gain an understanding of why some managers do certain things.

Auditing

Before this module I had no idea what auditors do. All I know is back when I was still working in IT consulting, whenever there’s auditors on site we’d have to be really careful of what we say and sometimes we even stop our development because of Sarbane-Oxley. I’ve also heard “horror” stories from friends who are/were doing auditing in public accounting about their 60-70 hours weeks and how much they hate their “busy work”. All that’s changed after going through this module. We started by learning why there is the need of the profession “auditing” in the first place. Then we went about how an auditor should understand the risks his/her client’s particular business is exposed to, how to plan the audit to evaluate the internal controls and assess the chances that the client’s financial statements might be misstated due to error or fraud, and last but not least, the liabilities auditors are facing and proper documentations.

Having completed the PreMAcc both boosted my confidence and sharpened my accounting skills so I’m ready for the real deal. Feel free to drop me any questions if you think you’re going to take the PreMAcc. I can even give you a preview of the professors that you’re going to meet. All three of them are great, intelligent individuals who know the stuff inside out.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to my fellow PreMAccers: Chia-Lung, Ya-Ting, Bobby, Bennett, Dustin, Nadia (our fellow blogger), Yang Yang, Wei, Qi, Lisi, John, Peishan, Michael, and Stephen. Good Job Guys!!!

Day one is done! ….Well, not really.

So today was my first day of grad school in the MBA program! And it was a 12 hour day and counting. I guess that means we really get our money’s worth, haha.

Anyways…it went a little something like this:

First, I came in early to print a few things off in the Gerlach computer lab and check (for the 108th time) if my financial aid issues had been cleared up. They hadn’t, which frustrated me quite a bit, but I had to put it on the backburner to focus on classes.

From 8:30a-10:30a I have Organizational Behavior and Leadership Effectiveness followed by Accounting until noonish. I have a hunch that the Org. Behavior class is going to be my favorite. Some of my classmates may not agree, but leadership (and the lack of it at times) and how a group functions fascinates me. I’m excited to delve more into the topics. Oh, and I got a headache in accounting.

After classes, I ate my packed lunch and did the readings for tomorrow’s Managerial Economics class. When I met with my group later, I discovered that I had read the wrong Chapter 11 in the textbook. Yes, there were apparently two Chapter 11’s. And they’re both kind of long, but, hey, at least now I have more understanding about game theory, no?

So now it’s about 8pm and I’m getting a little sleepy, but I still have to finish reading the other Chapter 11 and re-read the accompanying articles to get a better feel for the material.  I also need to organize my new life! I’m kind of anal about scheduling and time management so I bought one of the planners that divides your day into 15 minute increments. I bought some colored pens and highlighters so I’m actually looking forward to it. It’ll look like an art project when I’m done. 🙂 AND, I can sleep easy because as of 8:14p my financial aid is in the clear. All in a day’s work.

$291.81 + tax – The cost of getting a bit smarter…

Classes start in a few days…

This upcoming Thursday (9/24) will be the beginning of my two-year journey towards  an MBA degree while working fulll-time in the American corporate world.

While I spent my first weekend catching up on pre-class assignments and readings, I couldn’t help but add up the initial investment towards this graduate-level education.  So far I have no complaints on this investment, but for those of you who still haven’t purchased the textbooks, here is a sneak peek on what to expect if you are purchasing new editions:WPMBABooks

MBA 812:
1) “The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else” – $13.56
2) MBA 12 Custom Book – $91.45
3) MBA 812 Uniprint Course Packet – $51.42

MBA 870:
1) “Super Crunchers” – $14.00
2) “Data Analysis and Decision Making with Microsoft Excel” – $121.38

Yes…the total just for the face value of these textbooks is nothing less than $291.81!
However, as one of the professors offered during the orientation session, it may be wise to see if you can borrow or buy a last year edition from a second-year WPMBA student, the text will be identical.

Author disclaimer: prices were quoted from Barnes and Noble online and may vary depending on the bookstore.

at the Ohio State University…RPAC

One of the biggest advantages of the Fisher MBA program is that it is a small sized program within a large university. Literally the Ohio State University is the largest university in the US.

The university campus is simply huge. To give you a glimpse of the campus, over the quarter, I will cover significant parts of the campus in a series of posts under the title ‘at the Ohio State University’, consider it a virtual tour ;). The RPAC or the Recreation and Physical Activity Center  is our first stop. It is located just south of ‘the shoe’ (I will cover that in a subsequent post).  RPAC is a wonderful facility which includes the following:

  • Fitness floor, approximately 27,500 square feet in size.
  • Basketball, badminton, racquetball, squash and volleyball courts
  • Jogging/walking track
  • Swimming pools, diving well and dive spa
  • Massage therapy center
  • Wellness center
  • Table tennis and pool tables
  • Sports shop
  • Golf stations
  • even a crèche.

It is an experience to just go around it once, it will take a really long time I bet. Amazingly whenever I go there I find so many people there. It starts like at 5:45 a.m. and closes at mid-night, but it is always packed with people. One tip I can give you is about lockers, they are limited and hence if you are planning to be regular, it would be good to apply for the lockers early in the quarter. There is a lottery system so even if you apply you are not guaranteed. But I was told if you don’t get it in a particular quarter and if you are still interested then you are given preference in the next quarter. You’ll have to use the day locker till then. I still don’t know if I managed to get one this quarter ;-).

It is a place full of energy and it gets you pumping. So those of you who never been to the RPAC before, I suggest you go and check it out.

Hunt for the Great White Internship

Part of the First Year MLHR experience is the internship hunt.  For those first years out there, let me pass down a little bit of advice.  From what I have heard, a lot of you are pretty stressed out.

So you know there is this perfect internship out there for you with the perfect company.  You don’t know exactly what it looks like or where it is going to be.

Excuse the deep sea fishing analogies, but it is kind of like traveling into unknown waters and going after something that is somewhat elusive and even a bit scary.

Here is the good news.  When you go deep sea fishing, the biggest part of the voyage is being prepared.  Having the right tools, a steady vessel, and a good crew makes the journey so much more fun. (Well that and a cooler full of beer).

The tools you need for your internship hunt are a polished resume, a practice run (mock interview), a nice suit, and well developed responses.  These are all things that you can do to prepare.

The vessel to get you there should be your individual characteristics, why companies want you over the 20 other people applying, the experiences in your life that make it a good fit.  These are things that you should be very familiar with, after all, you know yourself better than anyone.

A good crew on a deep sea hunt is vital.  Career services is that crew.  Make sure you keep them up to date, ask them questions, make networking connections, really take advantage of everything they offer.

If you really give it your all, the big fish will start coming to you.  Good luck to all of you first years out there!

Rather be Fishing,

Lauren

Universal Studios Orlando Florida Jaws*Jaws @ Universal Studios

Real World MHR 843

I signed up for an elective MHR 843 with Professor Rodek.  Going into it, I had heard good things about the professor and needed to take an elective and it happened to fit my schedule.  Did I have a genuine interest about Org. Change and Turnaround?  Probably not.

We had our first class today and TaDa.  Boom.  It hit me!

I am going to love this class.  First, we have a tremendous amount of knowledge and background diversity which is more reflective of the Real World than any class I have previously taken at Fisher in the MLHR program.

Second, Professor Rodek has Real World experience in the subject he is teaching.  Not discounting and of the other wonderful professors I have had.  It is just very refreshing to take a class where the professor can provide insights and stories and analogies to actual experiences and not just teach us directly from a text.

Finally,  in today’s economy of bankruptcy, mergers, restructures, and reorganizations, this class is going to prepare me for when it happens to me in … The Real World.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to this class.  I will keep you posted on how it is going, but at this point I recommend it to any MLHR student needing an elective because we are going to be facing these types of challenges in future careers!

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You!

If there is one thing I learned in my first year of the MLHR program, is the importance of building relationships.  Throughout our careers, we are going to be subject to hundreds of networking events.  Some good, some not so good.  In my personal experience, however, the relationships you build here at Fisher are going to last a lifetime.

Grad school is an influential part of our lives and can in some way even define who we are.  That first day of classes, when we go around the room and do introductions, you may find people you have things in common with, and you may find people who have life experiences very foreign to your own.

My advice to incoming first years, don’t dismiss this.  Take a valid interest in getting to know each and every one of your classmates.  Everyone has something to offer.  Part of this will come with time through the countless group projects.  Others will be social contacts.

My point is, give it some heart.  Genuinely care about what people have to say and don’t dismiss new thoughts and ideas.  Yes in grad school we are learning course material, but more so, we are learning how to be high performance individuals.

Don’t forget:  second year students, professors, and other faculty and staff are invaluable resources.  For first years, when you are hunting for internships, and for alumni when you are looking for new positions, the people you get to know at Fisher will always be there.

Get to know them!

If only I could be in two (or more) places at once!

While at the Fisher Student Organizations Fair this Monday, I concluded that there are enough student activities that I could literally spend 24/7/365 doing things related to Fisher!

I am definitely interested in several of the organizations, especially the Fisher Board Fellows, which places about 16 MBA candidates on boards of local non-profit organizations. What a wonderful way to give back to the community while growing your business skills! I’m also considering the Center for Operational Excellence, because of all the interesting work involving Six Sigma and Lean. While interviewing, I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Ward, the director of the Center, and was really intrigued by all the projects being pursued. I noticed the sign-up sheets for most of the organizations were getting pretty full, so it seems like the class of 2011 is definitely ready to get involved!

I’m looking forward to the Fisher experience over the next 21 months – not just the coursework, but the chance to really explore new ventures and meet motivated, engaged students and faculty.

Have a great first week of classes!

Stacey

Int’l students, get your calculators ready…

65 mph.

I immediately regretted not reviewing my “conversion of measurement units” skills. Although that road sign was a clear signal that I was in fact in the US.

Miles and not kilometers; Fahrenheit not Celsius; US dollars not Philippine pesos – I had a lot of converting to do. And besides the currency, I only dealt with these units in some mathematics classes.

One mile is around 1.6 kilometers. Walking this distance takes about 15 minutes. I would know. I am staying in the South Campus (Neil Building) while the Fisher campus is on the North. It isn’t so bad (in my opinion). The air is starting to become chilly so you would not be drenched in sweat.

Temperature is still a bit tricky for me, just because the formula is a bit more complicated to do in your head.

0F = ((9/5)* 0C) +32

As a general guide though (i.e. deciding what to wear), 800 is a warm day. 600 is a bit chilly. And 320 is the freezing point of water, so beware. I have not actually experienced freezing conditions yet – the leaves are just starting to change colors. I am just looking forward to seeing snow. I’ll worry with the cold later.

With currency, my advice – stop converting, especially if everything turns out to be expensive. Accept that you are receiving dollars so you do need to spend in dollars and not, in my case, pesos. Only then would you not feel guilty of spending $12 dollars, plus tips on a haircut when you need to spend just about a dollar back home. :p