“Fall”ing In Love

Well into the autumn semester, and it finally becomes autumn weather! The brisk, cold air is comforting– as well as the joy of seeing one’s breath in the morning. Coming from Georgia, we would get this weather later in the year, and I love breaking out sweaters and jackets. That being said, one thing that warms the heart more than hot chocolate and sweaters is my partner, Meredith. I want to take a moment to share what we did, because we saw a lot of Columbus, Ohio, together!

First, she came in late Saturday night, so naturally we went to a friend’s house to watch the first half of the Wisconsin v. OSU game (we won, but sadly lost to the Nittany Lions the next week).

The fun really began on Sunday! We went downtown, because the Columbus Museum of Art has free admission on Sunday– and who doesn’t love free things to do?  We parked down towards the Capitol building, and on a whim, decided to visit the capitol building. What a beautiful, informative tour! Seeing the history and power of the State of Ohio was truly spectacular. After that, we then walked down to the art museum, and the exhibits were very beautiful, with some exciting interactive displays (mainly for children, but we’re children at heart).

On Monday, we explored the Columbus Zoo! Holy Giraffe– this was such a fun adventure, and everyone should see the zoo while here in Columbus! We spent the whole day there and got there in time to see one of the demonstrations, “Cheetah Run,” where they let the cheetah run a track for exercise. Just the pure power and speed is awe-inspiring. We then tested our speed and minds with some trivia alongside some friends. Our team (eventually) did our best and got second place!

On Tuesday, we went to German Village, where there is a quaint bookstore with a ton of books! After perusing for a while, we walked to Scioto Park, and the changing leaves made us forget we were downtown.

On Wednesday, we took it easy. I showed Meredith “The Shoe” and around Fisher College of Business. We also walked to the Library and showed her the top floor with a beautiful view of the Oval.

On Thursday it rained a bit, so we found COSI! This was our favorite time. It’s a science museum that has three levels of interactive, enjoyable science exhibits that range from the human body to space to energy. We could’ve spent several more hours (and it’s definitely on our list again).

Friday was our last day. I had to teach two classes, so she came with and saw what I do for my assistantship position. We also went to lunch with some friends at Melt, and ended the evening with some Indian cuisine.

This was a great week– and it was very exciting to share Columbus with the one I love. I have enjoyed this week, and all the other weeks where there’s been a new adventure– exploring a haunted corn maze, all the food, and other spectacular things to do in Columbus. There is plenty to do for 200 years (much less trying to see it all in two)– and experiencing everything makes me wish time wasn’t passing away as quickly as the leaves fall this month.

The World is Our Pokestop

Last Friday night was one for the books. It all started in the Ohio Union. There I was, perched unassumingly on a bar stool witnessing a gaggle of college-aged hipsters load out band gear from the stage inside Woody’s Tavern. And then, from a distance across the white terrazzo tile, I saw them barreling toward me—Ash, Charizard, Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Eevee, and everyone’s favorite, Squirtle. I thought that maybe I’d entered an alternate reality in which Pokemon Go was real life and my real life had become simply an app on an iPhone.

It turns out that this motley crew was simply six of my friends from the MHRM program, competing in the annual Fisher Scavenger Hunt & Bar Crawl. Phew! I decided to join them on their mission toward victory, mostly because they looked really silly and I knew it would be entertaining to watch them skulk down High Street in costume.

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On the rooftop at Big Bar, across the street from the Ohio Union. Aren’t they cute?

We embarked on an evening of endless successes. From Eevee petting the belly of a rabid dog (okay, it was a harmless Bernese Mountain Dog)… to Squirtle’s awkward break-dance breakdown at a remarkably empty Bullwinkle’s… to Pikachu high-fiving a policeman when he least expected it, the evening turned out to be the high point of the semester so far. We can’t forget the highlight of the night when a Cane’s employee unashamedly threw a pokeball full of free box combo certificates at the group– which happened to look a lot like a Styrofoam to-go box secured with red electrical tape. #gottacatchemall

Pikachu having a peaceful interaction with law enforcement.
Pikachu having a peaceful interaction with law enforcement.

As the evening drew to a close, the team was determined to close in on the lead. With just minutes remaining on the clock, the group wandered into World of Beer to complete a few final high-stakes objectives. The team stumbled upon the man behind the curtain—2nd year MBA Tada, sifting through mounds of incoming data from hundreds of accomplished objectives. He was obviously glad to have taken data analytics the year prior.

After several grueling minutes of Tada and his team of analysts poring over their Excel spreadsheets with beads of sweat accumulating on their foreheads, the results were in. It was alleged to be a close race, but as we all could have anticipated from the beginning of this post, the Pokemon were the obvious frontrunners from the very beginning. Congratulations to the MHRMs on their well-deserved win and the trophy to prove it!

That time when you stick out like a sore thumb because you aren't dressed as a Pokemon.
That time when you stick out like a sore thumb because you aren’t dressed as a Pokemon.

Elective Courses in the MAcc

One of the great characteristics of the MAcc program at the Fisher College of Business is that a majority of your classes will be electives. The MAcc curriculum encourages students to explore interests and passions through courses outside of the accounting discipline. One factor that led to me deciding to pursue a MAcc at Ohio State was the opportunity to challenge myself with graduate-level courses in specific subjects interest me.

This semester, I am taking a course titled Business of College Sports. This course is taught by Ohio State’s Athletic Director, Gene Smith, and his awesome wife, Sheila. Playing and watching sports have been passions of mine ever since I started playing soccer at the age of four. I love college football and college basketball; I have followed the Buckeyes in these sports ever since I can remember. This is a very unique class because it provides insight into the business decisions that casual sports fans might not consider.

The format of the class involves guest speakers, facility tours and group presentations. One thing I love about the class is how diverse it is. Since it is classified as an HR class, there are not only MAcc students, but there are MBA’s, JD/MBA’s and Masters of Sports Management students as well (any graduate student at Fisher can take the course). The group project allows us to pick any topic relating to the college sports landscape. My group is going to be researching the economic impact of paying student athletes a wage. Paying student athletes has been in the news a lot recently, so my group thought doing research on this and presenting it to the class would help Gene Smith understand the implications a policy such as this would have on Ohio State Athletics specifically.

This is our entire class during our tour of Ohio Stadium (the Horseshoe)
This is our entire class during our tour of Ohio Stadium (the Horseshoe)

Other electives offered during the fall semester include Data Mining for Business Intelligence, Corporate Finance I & II (required in order to take finance electives in the spring), Tax planning for Managerial Decision Making, and Talent Management.  While these are just some of the electives offered in the fall through the Fisher College of Business, there are many more offered through other graduate programs that you are able to take as long as you meet the pre-requisites for the class.

In my next blog post, I will be interviewing several of my classmates to give their experiences with different elective courses.

‘How Did I Get Here?’

Those who know me well learn (sometimes to their dismay) that I have a soft spot for 80’s movies. From the classic to the cringe-worthy, I am unable to resist the nostalgic and synthesizer-tinged siren song of the MTV era. The genre has taken on new meaning to me recently, as I feel ever increasingly that I have been plucked from real life and dropped into the middle of a John Hughes montage:

Look at protagonist Michael go—he’s taking classes, doing homework, interviewing for jobs—working hard with his gang of friends towards their common goal! The days are flying off his Page-a-Day calendar as his Trapper Keeper fills with HBR articles! (Music fades as Michael’s car pulls into student parking lot).

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Time and Change: Not even Mirror Lake is immune to the fast pace of life on campus.

This morning I had such a montage moment when through my car radio, I heard David Byrne of the Talking Heads squelch “…and you may ask yourself—‘how did I get here?’” ‘Here’ in this case, meaning week eight of the semester. It was a sobering realization that my academic MBA experience at Fisher is already 1/8 of the way done. I took a moment to reflect as the chorus chanted in the background, “Letting the days go by…”

It truly feels like yesterday that I walked into orientation. Yet somehow here I am, eight weeks in and already finished with the seven-week long Economics and Marketing courses. My only explanation (aside from the possibility that we are in fact sentient beings trapped inside the b-roll of a teen movie), is that time flies when you’re having fun. And boy, have I been having fun.

The 12-, 15-, sometimes 18-hour days that I have become accustomed to as a business student fly by more quickly than eight-hour days during some of my past endeavors. There’s no time in this fast-paced program for busy work. As such, every lecture, every assignment, every group project is intensely enriching and clearly builds towards the goal of becoming an effective business leader. This makes it so easy to stay engaged and motivated. Add to this the limitless opportunities for professional development, networking, and exposure to companies and there truly is never a dull moment. The greatest challenge is forcing yourself to go home and go to bed at the end of the day. It wouldn’t be difficult to fill 24 hours a day with MBA-related activities.

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A sample time warp agenda

Sure, there is plenty to be stressed about in business school, but there’s always equally as much to be excited about. Ultimately, I think that is what separates my MBA experience thus far from my previous academic endeavors. I walk into Gerlach Hall each day excited, knowing that new lessons, new skills, and new challenges await me. I am never bored, I am never sitting still, and I am constantly challenged– and as such, the weeks quickly wash over me in a wave of intense activity. I have lots to learn and I’m far from mastering the many facets of graduate school, but I look forward to the new challenges ahead.

And so a new montage begins. Will protagonist Michael get a summer internship? Will the football team win the big game against their rivals? What misadventures and mischief await our lovable band of buddies? Cue the music—let’s find out.

 

A busy Session for MAcc Students

Time is flying! I can’t believe that half of a semester is already over. There were so many things that happened during September and the first half of October.

We finally had our Summit Vision during September. It was a half-day activity and was lots of fun. We were split into several groups and each group had one mentor. For our group, because of the time limitation, we only tried four games. However, each game was interesting and needed a lot of collaboration. More importantly, I got to know more about my fellows in MAcc program.Summit Vision

When it comes to the curriculum, it’s different from most of the classes from undergraduate; MAcc classes are all session-based. That means we have to do all the group projects, presentations and finals in seven weeks! How stressful that is! At first, I did feel huge pressure because of all the schoolwork. However, as time went by, I could work with the schedule and eventually, I found out that my efficiency was improved. Another big difference between the undergraduate classes and graduate classes is that we have more group work to do. Almost every class has to form a group and do assignments together. It’s not a bad idea because in the real world, we do have a lot of teamwork to do.

The biggest thing during September was the kick-off of recruiting season. We had several career fairs during the month. After the career fairs, interviews were scheduled (and everyone was so busy during that time).Career Fair

So, at first it was really hard to balance work and play, but I finally conquered all the difficulties. For people who want to attend the program, I just want to say it is really a perfect place for you to study, improve yourself and have fun! Now, back to my study time…

 

Cleveland Baseball Playoffs & “Work-Life Balance”

In the United States, the month of October brings baseball playoffs. This year, the baseball team in Cleveland, Ohio, has an exciting playoff run. Catch a glimpse of how we have been beating up Toronto. What does this have to do with graduate school at Fisher, you might ask? Well, this is my first challenge with the all-important work-life balance. As a lifelong supporter of Cleveland baseball, this is a big moment.

The Jake: If you need to find me, this is the best place to look
The Jake: If you need to find me, this is the best place to look

First we need to set the stage. Even though Cleveland is not considered one of the best teams consistently, the team has made the playoffs over 50% of my life and historically are in the top third of all teams based on playoff appearances. From this spot, the pressure builds, because they have not been to the league championship in 9 years– and have not been to the World Series championship since losing in both 1995 and 1997. The last time they won the World Series was 1948; the second longest drought in baseball. This is a franchise with a history of great teams that didn’t win the title.

This year is the year they will win! In the league championship series, they have the better record, offensive production, and pitching. This week, they continue play and games in the best of seven series will be almost every night. These games occur at the same time that I usually prepare for class, work on projects, or pursue my job search. What do I do? I have supported the baseball team my entire life. As a kid, I played baseball dreaming of the MLB and plastered my bedroom walls with posters, banners, and cards of the players. Also, I have waited nine years to watch the team play at this level. I can neither abandon my program nor my team.

Cleveland Rocks!
Eight more wins, boys– eight more wins!

Here is advice for the work-life-balance sweet spot.

  1. Balance: No one can do everything, and there is nothing wrong with that. My Dad and I went to the playoff game last weekend and saw Corey Kluber pitch a stunning 7-inning shutout of Boston. My first instinct was to get back at the ballpark this week, but during a busy exam time I need to balance priorities. Everything is best in moderation.
  2. Rest: The playoffs are exciting, but make sure to get enough sleep on those late west coast games. Don’t wear yourself out going to too many games. If you are too tired, your professional performance will drop and you will even stop enjoying the games. Rest up!
  3. Prioritize: Realize that at some point during the day, you will have to do school and watch baseball. What time of the day do you work best? What is your tolerance for watching the recording over the weekend? Know thyself and do value added work at the right time.
    Corey Kluber
    Going for another Cy Young award per usual

    Tribetober is exciting, school is important – enjoy the best of both!

My Summer Internship!

The first session (7 weeks) of my 2nd year of MHRM program has flown by almost as quickly as my summer internship at Huntington Bank HQ in downtown Columbus! The summer was a unique opportunity to not only apply the first year of the program to a more tactical learning endeavor, but also to gain new experiences to then bring back to the 2nd year of the program and share with classmates. Below is a quick recap of my summer internship and unique projects I got to be a part of! I apologize for the delay/lack of blogging; it may or may not have taken me the first 7 weeks to get back into the swing of things!

During the first stint of my summer at Huntington, I tried to quickly apply a book from Business Excellence II – The First 90 Days. The book highlights the importance of the first 90 days of any new job and new transition, and how it is important to make a good impression quickly. Really, a summer internship is just around that time frame, so the book was an easy application for tackling my projects.

Overall, I would say the first year of my MHRM curriculum trained my brain to think a certain way: what is the situation, the outcomes desired, impressions and experiences we want to provide? I loved that through the first year of my program, I had a network of resources to bounce my thoughts off of: both classmates and professors. To kick off one of my first projects at Huntington, I tried to get an understanding of the current state of the business and how I was being asked to make an impact, and then called one of our professors, Dr. Inks for his expertise and experience. There wasn’t a shiny bauble that came from the conversation, but instead a frame of mind that helped guide my project throughout the summer.

I loved my projects, team, and work environment over the summer. One of my favorite experiences from the summer was Huntington’s all-intern project. The entire class of about 60 interns was divided into groups of five cross-functional teams. I loved that I had the opportunity to work with students from different departments: IT infrastructure, Commercial Risk, Capital Markets, and Data Analytics– all extremely different departments that possessed a different perspective. The task was to pick an opportunity for improvement at Huntington and confront the problem: what is the problem, why is it a problem, and what is our solution for the problem identified? What prepared me for this project was the MHRM Case Competitions – hosted by Fisher. The problem we identified was one that most companies are facing today: how do we retain millennial talent? I had seen this trend before in the MHRM Internal Case Competition with PepsiCo. Therefore, I had a framework and mindset to build on that rallied our team behind how Huntington can improve to retain the very people giving the presentation: millennials.

My intern buddy over the summer and fellow Buckeye, Leah, after our team presented to the Huntington Executive Team!
My intern buddy over the summer and fellow Buckeye, Leah, after our team presented to the Huntington Executive Team!

I’m so excited to be returning to Huntington after graduation from the MHRM program and to be part of the talent acquisition team! I can also say that I’m excited to finish up the last 1.5 semesters in the MHRM program at Fisher, and gain further background and experience that will ultimately prepare me for taking on an HR Specialist role. Plus, I still want to live out the last of my college breaks that I might never see again 😉 Until next time. Go, Bucks!

Buckeyes that intern together, stay together
Buckeyes that intern together, stay together

Election Season: Vote No on Packed Lunches

I am going to throw it out there: I am against packed lunches. Why? Let me run you though this:

I am against packed lunches.

I vote “no” on packed lunches.

First, you have to buy the right food at the grocery store well ahead of the night before/morning of when you prepare your lunch for the next day. Next, you have to go through the process of preparing the food, only to store it away to be eaten later. While delayed gratification might be a positive for some, I am more of one who cooks something up and needs to have it instantly. Finally, you have to pack it up and carry it to campus in a lunch box/plastic bag (depending on your fashion style). Talk about a hassle.

Due to this, for the first month or so of the year, I lived at Panera, Bibibop, and other OSU campus restaurants between the hours of 12 and 1. You were not going to catch me packing a lunch and bringing a lunch box/plastic bag to campus. No way.

Now, as it turns out, eating-out at restaurants is incredibly expensive if you turn it into a daily habit, sometimes twice daily. My checking account took a Ray Lewis (professional American football player) kind of hit. Check out the link if you are trying to understand what I mean by that.

So, what happens when you are a broke college student and can’t afford to live that luxurious lunch lifestyle? You resort to, yes you guessed it, packed lunches. But remember, this is not something that comes naturally to me, so I look for help. From where? None other than “How to Pack a Lunch Box” by Wiki.

Over the past month, I have been slowly growing into what some might call a packed-lunch connoisseur. I started with peanut butter sandwiches and like pretzels or chips. Moved on to menu items such as chicken and rice & meatballs with pasta. Recently, I have had beef rigatoni, hummus and vegetables, and even a steak balsamic vinaigrette kale salad. What I have come to realize is that I have begun to save more money, eat healthier, and have been able to save some time during the day by packing a lunch.

The future certainly looks bright for what I can manage to fit into that 4×6 Tupperware container. However, with that said, I still am not sold due to the process of creating a packed lunch and will continue to miss those days of old.

 

Counting My Blessings

I’ve been just awful about updating this blog, but I have an excuse: I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been before in my life. It probably was not wise to start my return to college (16 years after earning my undergrad degree) by enrolling in five graduate-level courses, working as a graduate administrative assistant, and interviewing with recruiters for internships (I do have one offer so far!). In the last seven weeks, I’ve spent large chunks of every day (including weekends) studying, writing, and going to class– along with my other duties. It’s just been cray-cray. I am SO relieved to be down to three classes starting next week.

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BUT one of my mother’s many sayings that she ingrained into my mind as a child is, “Count your blessings.” And I am. Since beginning my time at THE Ohio State University, I’ve met so many kind-hearted, smart, open-minded people; fellow students, staff, and faculty who are good people happy to be here– and intent on bettering the world in some way. It’s an intangible spirit that you can feel on campus and it’s very inspiring. The sky is truly the limit.

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This is Kristina Toliver and me in the Graduate Programs Office. She works at Fisher AND is getting her degree in psychology. She’s one of the MANY nice people at OSU– and I admire her dedication to her studies and appreciate her positive energy!

I also am really enjoying the relationships that are developing in my MHRM cohort. It’s a small group of 48 (I believe), so we already kind of feel like brothers and sisters! For me, getting to know them has rejuvenated my outlook; most of them radiate with the same energy I had in my early 20s.

My new pal, Vinessa, and me.

And they’ve been very kind to me– making sure I don’t feel completely out of place! (although I admit that I sometimes do) Most recently, we went to a … corn maze/haunted house thing (I don’t know what to call it!) and I took part in the fun! 

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Me. Apologies for the fake, cheesy smile!

Next up: the continuation of our Business Excellence class, Talent Management (this is taught by a very well-respected professor and is obviously a critical course) and Organizational Development & Change (also critical and very topical, given the importance of change management today). And registration for spring semester starts on October 28th! I can’t wait!

Undergrad Classes vs. Grad Classes

When I was applying to grad school, I was so focused on where I was going, rather than what exactly I would be doing or what would be expected of me. In this blog, I will share my personal experience as our first session comes to an end in three short days.

In undergrad, I would study for weeks for an accounting test and constantly felt like I was reading textbooks. My hands would even get sore from re-writing problems. However, that’s not what grad school is about. The classes as of first session have been much more of an overview. My advice: keep your intermediate textbooks and notes! You will want to reference them. The learning curve is high, but we are all here because we want to challenge ourselves. It’s nice to focus on the big picture and try to remember the fundamentals of why we are studying this, rather than specific details.

Some major differences that stick out to me:

  • Less homework!!!
    • No busy work is a major pro for me.
  • Group Work
    • Expect a LOT of group work. I was always the type of person that despised group projects and would prefer to do the assignments by myself. Grad school has changed my opinion on this completely. Everyone in your classes is here because they want to be here. With that being said, everyone cares! For every one of my classes I have had at least one group assignment due, but I don’t let it intimidate me. The great thing about Fisher is there is so many people from different backgrounds and majors, there is always someone else with a different perspective that I may not have originally thought of.
  • Amount of time spent on campus
    • Undergrad: I would go to my one or two classes a day and then leave campus as soon as I could. Grad classes: your classes are a bit longer and you want to stay on campus to use Fisher’s resources. As a Fisher student, you have 24-hour access to Gerlach Hall (the graduate business building). You have a lounge where you can eat lunch with colleagues and just take a study break if needed. You can reserve study rooms also, which is especially helpful for group project meetings.
  • Expectations as a student
    • Undergrad was more grade-focused. This program really is about learning. As long as you are alert and paying attention in your classes, you will have no problem completing the assignments.
  • Session vs. Semester classes
    • This was one of my hardest adjustments. My undergrad institution was on a semester basis, meaning classes were 14 weeks. They were a slower pace but went over lots of little details. Grad classes in the MAcc program at Ohio State are session-based. This means that your courses are 7 weeks. 7 weeks is not a lot of time, so your classes are fast-paced. We have finals this week and it is only mid-October.
    • On the plus side, our program is only 9 months! Professors also understand that classes are 7 weeks in length. They do not expect to cram 14 weeks into 7 weeks. Rather, your classes focus on a narrower topic. For instance, Audit 2 builds upon Audit 1.

Finals are this week, so more to come on that. I have a couple of room reservations to meet with my study group. One of my study groups is also having a Jimmy John’s party (you have to make accounting fun). Fisher also brought in therapy dogs and the café is stocked with all our coffee needs. I’m ready to finish off the first semester strong and then I will be ¼ of the way there!