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MAcc Talk with Professor James Hill

Another great aspect of being part of The Ohio State Masters of Accounting (MAcc) Program is being able to take part in the EY MAcc Speaker Series. Over the course of the program, the speaker series invites roughly ten influential individuals in both academic and professional communities to come and speak to MAcc students during lunch time (another great aspect is that lunch is provided for you!)

Professor James Hill

This past week we had Professor James Hill from the Management Sciences department at the Fisher College of Business come and speak to our class about product complexity. Professor Hill specifically spoke about product complexity in the yogurt market with companies like Chobani Yogurt. He discussed the operational strains an organization like Chobani experiences when they must produce 350 variations of one product! Another main discussion was on how the increase in the number of flavors of yogurts availible on the shelfs of grocery stores is changing the risk of food related illnesses. His presentation was rounded out as he showed the students a specific production model that he was able to create through research at a local production plant that would increase efficiency of the plant.

All in all, the MAcc speaker series is designed to be a way to expose students to other areas of academia or professional enviornments that might not be directly adressed through coursework in a fun and interactive enviornment!

What do I do with my hands?

It seems like we are doing presentations every two weeks or so. Presenting can be stressful, but also fun!  I typically spend a lot of time in preparing for presentations and always like to sneak in subtle humor. I have a pretty dry sense of humor, but so far it seems to blend well with what we have presented so far. One professor made the comment though, that I might want to be careful about being too comfortable with the audience and losing the nature of the presentation.

Everyone has their own style of presenting, but I don’t like using note cards and prefer to improvise over an extensively rehearsed speech. It makes me feel more comfortable to present this way and allows the presentation to be a little flexible. This method does require a lot more rehearsals in preparing for it and also requires that I be over prepared. I may rehearse much more than I actually say due to the way the presentation flows. This also opens the door for more preparation for a Q and A session afterwards.

At a recent information session for a case competition, I learned that the judges are not only observing the person currently presenting, but also the other people in the presentation. It stimulated a thought of my ability to actively listen to my colleagues as they present as opposed to looking at my watch and waiting for my part. In another sense, it improves the general flow of the presentation, by connecting specific examples that a previous presenter has mentioned into your section. On a different note, my gestures are pretty minimal when I am presenting, but I started to wonder about what I am doing with my hands when I am “on stage” but not presenting. The best thing I came up with was to put my hands in my pocket and to focus all my attention on listening and following my colleagues as they talk. Not necessarily a “best solution” but I figure that it will be a good holdover until I view more presentations and get ideas from my other classmates.

First Part Complete!!!!


Ahh Finals Week (First Part)!!!!

We’ve all had that feeling when we think its almost impossible to lump into our brains material that we have just finished let alone when its for a cumulative exam. I spent the better part of the weekend before the exams as well as the week of the exams studying for exams, drinking coffee, drinking coffee (yes I repeated that) and listening to music. I did find time in there to breathe and tell myself that its all part of a greater goal which helped alot. I think the hardest part of studying for me is when I hit that wall that’s covered with “Why are you doing this?” The question of course is always obvious: because I want to be better, because it is inevitable, and more importantly proves that I can make the connections outside of class. The hard part of it is when I start thinking about the opportunity costs but I’ve come to know that those only come because I am most if not all the time extremely tired. It is a rewarding process though. There is nothing more that I enjoy than making that connection while I am studying.

It is the end of the first part of the program. Two months have passed, seven weeks of study compiled with projects, presentations and ….finals. Having taken the finals, I look back and try to process what I have learned. It is easy because of all the material I have just absorbed while studying for the finals. I know now that a bar chart isn’t necessarily the best chart to present ratio or quantitative data. I can now understand why the east side of columbus looks the way it does with the lack of banks allowing for the economy to grow in that area. I can also understand that companies wanting to satisfy their shareholders can raise dividends/repurchase shares and drive their stock price up. Arbitrageurs such as hedgefunds can then take advantage of that and buy stocks of those companies. A very intricate process all in all. These are all things that studying for the finals helped me process and absorb. It definitely adds value to my understanding of finance.

Finals regardless of how many or how hard are always stressful. There is nothing like enjoying a good meal to celebrate the completion of finals. As I am undergrad alumni and soon to be grad alumni of Fisher, all my finals have been at the OSU campus. After my finals I like to go to this Korean Restaurant on High street called Diaspora and get their spicy pork bulgogi. There is no other meal like it (at least for me). It has become somewhat of a tradition of mine. If I go there, it means that I think I did fairly well and I deserve to treat myself.

Here’s to the first part of the semester being over !!!



Finishing the Term and Fall Break

What an extraordinary couple of weeks it has been… I was cruising through this year, able to balance work, school and my extracurricular activities perfectly fine until about two weeks ago. It’s crazy how things (*cough* school work *cough*) can sneak up you when you least expect it! I woke up one Sunday morning after having enjoyed a great Buckeye football game the day before to realize that I had an entire day of work ahead of me just to get caught up. There were projects to finish for my Leadership, Corporate Finance, Data Analysis and Industry, Risk & Pricing courses. Not only did I have to finish those projects and get ready to present them, but I had two exams to study for and a group case analysis to finish up. All of this within a week and a half. After what was probably the longest and most productive Sunday of my life, I was about 1/3 of the way to being done. Needless to say, the following week was a little hectic and stressful. If I might offer a piece of advice: Don’t Wait until you have a week left in the term to try and finish everything. Thank goodness all of my groups were organized and we powered through without any major hiccups!

mirror lake

But don’t worry, the program isn’t always as crazy as I just made it seem. The entire time I was grinding away I knew that Fall Break was around the corner. Ever since OSU switched to semesters my sophomore year of undergrad, I had been waiting for the University to add a fall break to our schedule. I had friends at other semester schools who had a Fall Break but we never had one! Until this year! You’d better believe I took advantage of it. Right after my last two exams on Wednesday, I hit the golf course for a nice round with some of the guys. Afterwards I took off for my home town of Centerville where I was able to spend time with my family for the first time in what seemed like ages. Fast-forward to Saturday morning and I’m back in Columbus getting ready to tailgate and cheer on the Buckeyes to victory against Penn State! All-in-all, the past few weeks have been quite a whirlwind but I wouldn’t have it any other way!golf

The People at Fisher

When starting the MBA program, I never expected the people here to be so nice. You hear the business school stereotypes about the intense competition, too many Type-A personalities vying for the same jobs, everyone stuffy and perpetually be-suited, etc. but I’ve felt something completely different here at Fisher.


I was attracted to the small class size at Fisher and liked the thought of getting to know my fellow classmates, but I had no idea how quickly and how deeply those connections would be forged.

Walking down the hallway after about a month here, I knew most of the first years by name and a surprising number of the second years too, and I’ve met even more people since then. The faculty and staff ask about how a test went and I’m halfway through my answer before I realize how extraordinary it is that they know and care about us to even keep track of something as mundane as our testing schedule.

When the administration introduced the concept of the “Fisher family,” I thought it was mostly rhetoric and didn’t take it too seriously. But then I got here and realized that the faculty, staff and my fellow students live up to that promise every day. People are beyond supportive; they cheer for you, care about you, and want the best for you.

Before our last Data Analysis test (yikes!), a lot of students met at Fisher on a Sunday night to study. There was a very collaborative atmosphere with some people who understood the material teaching the rest of us who struggled with the material a little more. I was blown away when I realized that there were a couple of students going from study room to study room offering to answer any questions and checking to make sure we were feeling alright about the test. They weren’t TAs, they didn’t need to be there, and it was 10:00 on a Sunday night! I was really touched by their genuine concern, especially after the test when they asked me how I felt about it and assured me that I did fine.

I’m only 9 weeks in, but I can tell you that there’s definitely a feeling of “we’re all in this together,” and I think that’s what sets Fisher apart during the program and as alumni.


Experiencing culinary delights in Columbus

“Free” Education

Information sessions are presented by various companies on campus to talk about human resources in their respective industries.  These sessions are typically presented by previous students from the MHRM program and how they have excelled in their careers.

I have attended quite a few sessions and believe that there are many benefits to attend.  Gaining knowledge about the company, learning more about the respective industry, interacting with MHRM professionals, understanding more about the perspective of HR through different lenses, and developing your ability to talk with recruiters. A lot of the info sessions also provide a free dinner!

One time, I was sitting in the grad lounge studying when a couple of my classmates invited me to go up to an information session that wasn’t advertised.  I did and got some experience analyzing a case.

Most recently, I attended an information session with Pepsi and managed to squeeze into the last interview spot that they had.  The following day, I went in for my interview, and they called me that same afternoon to offer me an internship!  I was shocked, but extremely excited for the opportunity.  Over the next week or two, my wife and I talked about it constantly and accepted the internship.  We knew that it was going to be different, but a crucial step in my professional development.

Information sessions are a great way of gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the business culture and learning the language to become a better professional.

Exams. Exams? Exams!

It has been 2 months since our program started. Since I have gone through several different exams, I think it is interesting to talk about them.

My roommate is a PhD of geophysics, and when he received his exam paper, which just included 12 multi-choice questions, via email, I complained to him about my exams as his seemed so easy. He argued,” You do have multi-choose, you can choose two from three essay questions.” He was right. The exam of MHRM 7301: Foundations of Labor and Human Resource is an essay-questions exam. We can choose to complete 2 from 3 essay questions and each accounts for 50 points. When I got the answer sheet I was shocked: it was a booklet! The questions were not easy, either. In order to solve these questions, I had to use my logical thinking and refer to the theories learned in class and from textbooks (Yes, textbooks because we must finish reading three textbooks for this course.)

The exam of MHRM 7302: Markets Organizations and Human Resource Management was even harder, even though it was a virtual exam, which means we can refer to our textbook and notes and complete it at home. The professor said there would be 12 questions and we could choose 10 of them to complete. He also said the exam would be finished within 3 hours. However, when my classmates and I received the exam e-mail, we found it actually contained 10 questions and each of them had 2 sub-questions! As a result, I spent 2 days completing a 10-page-essay-question exam.

Exams for MHRM 7321: Business Excellence 2 are more fun because we have no exams! But we are asked to complete 2 papers: one is an individual paper and another is group work. The paper is limited to 2 pages, but we should first read a case that is provided by our professor and then use our analytic thinking to find out situations and solutions of the company discussed in the case. We should also base our thinking on what we had learned in the classes. As what the professor said, he did not want a summary but his students to push themselves a little bit and show off what they have learned.


When it comes to the topic of exams, students always have a lot to talk about. But my opinion is although exams in our program are pushy, by taking them seriously and preparing well we will receive good marks. Any way, good luck with mid-terms and go buckeyes!


A Hard Day’s Grind!


As a grad student, I have had to relearn how to get into the grind. It seems most of my time is spent reading textbooks, keeping up with my to-do list (life saver), exploring job opportunities, and more than anything…drinking coffee from the best grinds (personally prefer Hazelnut & Columbian). Though the picture above seems to sum it all up, it is not so. As it happens sitting in Professor Pinteris’s class and learning about how analysts value corporations is of great interest to me. From using Multiples to discounting Cash Flows, we are exposed to how most firms are valued. The To-do list in the picture is the full picture in terms: Though it looks cluttered, there is a method to its madness. On there I have important class dates, meeting dates, corrections to previous notes, homework assignments due, and notes to remember to watch a financial segment on TV. The pamphlet from Fifth Third is one of the driving goals of my education. I want to use the material learned in class to make a difference one day with a big firm …But the grind does not necessarily just reflect nights reading as we see below…

As I walk from class in Gerlach Hall to the south side of campus towards Thompson I am reflecting about the grind that I went through the night before completing assignments, applying to Fifth and Third, running to Krogers to pick up a fresh bag of ground Columbian coffee beans to make my vietnamese coffee. I am thinking about how I am starting to get used to and like this grind. This grind although it takes up a large amount of my time is well worth it. And so as the gears in my head are turning …..grinding rather.. I am thinking about my next move. Do I walk faster so that I can get that magical fourth floor spot at Thompson? No its Wednesday and the seats are probably full. Should I reach out to an other alumni through linkedin or finish my leadership paper that is due next week? I pull out my To Do notebook and notice that I have annotated both “To Dos” in my notebook. I then stop and realize why it is that I strolled across campus in the first-place knowing that I would not get a spot at Thompson this early ……….

Every chance that I get while the weather is still nice, any couple of  minutes that I am able to steal from my studies and assignments or career search on beautiful days such as this Wednesday, I try to sneak in a pass by Mirror Lake. It has this calming presence about it. It is almost a poster like entity that makes The Campus so much more meaningful and motivating. I stand there and snap a couple of pictures and passerbyers whether students, faculty, staff or regular visitors smile and walk by. Some are engrossed in their phones, some in the conversations they’re having with their peers and some others I notice are just like me; they’re enjoying that moment of quiet and peace that Mirror Lake offers before getting back to the grind. I put my phone back in my pocket and remember that by now the fourth floor has started to clear up and that there is much more to do, a lot more to read, a lot more to learn, a lot more coffee beans to be ground. Back to this grind that I’ve come to respect.


What did you do on Friday night?

I pulled up and parked on the street across from my house (as I usually do), got out of my car and looked up at the window. My daughter was saying “Daddy!” and my boy was making excited sounds with a smile stretching across his face. After two really busy weeks of exams for first term classes, presentations, and work being persistently busy, this was an incredible moment for me. They both tackled me coming into the door and I was almost in tears to spend some time with them so my wife would have a little time to herself.

Later on that evening, my daughter (three years old) was watching Pokemon, while my son (1 year old) and I were playing together. He wanted to lay down on the floor and he started staring at the ceiling.  He kept saying “Bah”, “Bah”, “Bah”  I looked up and he was pointing to the balloons that were left over from his first birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Him and I just talked for a few minutes about balloons.

I cannot imagine a more enjoyable way to spend my Friday night.

My First Presentation at Fisher

Last Wednesday, I made my first presentation for the course: Foundation of Labor and Human Resource. Actually, because of my undergraduate background (I did my undergraduate in business school), I often made presentations in classes. But it was my first time to make a presentation in English and in front of my American classmates! What is more, the presentation was too long- 15 minutes! Just imagine if you were asked to do a presentation in Chinese for 15 minutes and you will understand my feeling.

This presentation was a part of our group project. In the project, we had to choose an organization, evaluate whether it is a high performance organization, and then give our suggestions. Luckily, I was on a “high performance team”: we were efficient and everything went smoothly. However, because one of my group members had a business trip on presentation day, the other member and I had to do the presentation. I felt a little bit stressed as I was afraid the presentation would suffer from my not-so fluently spoken English. So I spent a majority of my time practicing my presentation, which made me less nervous.


But the nervousness just came back to me on my presentation day. When the previous group were making their presentation, I could feel my hands were cold, my heart started to beat fast and I kept thinking “Come on, just make everything finish as soon as possible.”


Finally, it was my turn. I even could not remember how I got to the stage. I just remembered some of my classmates gave me encouraging smiles. I felt better. I found my classmates were nice and patient, which made me feel comfortable. After the presentation, I felt a sense of achievement: I made it. I knew there were still some opportunities for me to improve my presentation skills: for example, because I was so nervous, I spoke too fast. But with this successful experience, I knew I would do better and better.


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