Why I Enjoy What I Do

This year, I have had the unique opportunity to be a graduate administrative assistant (GAA) and act as a student ambassador for the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program at Ohio State. My role as a student ambassador is simple; I assist with prospective student visits, answer questions about the MAcc program, and assist the graduate programs office in any way needed. All right, it is a bit more complicated than that, but you get the point.

When I was offered this position a year ago, everyone told me how awesome it was– especially since there is a lot of free food (which sold me on the role instantaneously). However, after one semester, I realized something: all the stuff that I listed above is great and fun, but that is not truly why I enjoy this role.

I love my job not because of the work I do, but because of the people I meet. Students come to me on a daily basis asking for advice on a variety of topics: about keys to doing well in undergrad to get into the MAcc program, how to get a job/internship, and just life in general.  This is what professionals call “mentoring.” I love to mentor others! The best part about mentoring is not giving the advice, but it is when students come back to me a few months later and tell me they got that job they were working hard towards or they got into the MAcc program. When people share their success with me, that is what makes me happy and gets me juiced up in the morning. That is the best part of mentoring. Seeing the smile on someone’s face and knowing that you played some role in that.

If you told me a few years ago that I would enjoy mentoring others, I probably would have laughed it off. However, this role as a GAA opened my eyes to the impact I can have on others. Upon graduation and entering the workforce, I will continue to mentor others and form connections. I want to have an impact on the world beyond myself. So next time when you go to someone for advice on getting that job, let him or her know how it worked out because that truly will make their day ten times better.

New Beginning With a New Hope

It’s been just past 100 days since I have left my home as I’m writing this blog. I guess I’ve gone through the cultural shock and have emerged out quite successfully I would say. I could finally go and visit a place which goes by the name of the Hocking Hills. Time has flown past pretty quickly since I have landed in this beautiful city. Though it’s hard to recollect exactly on how I have spent these 100 days, I have a lot of good memories to carry over from here.

It’s a given from the moment you see the curriculum that life here would be hectic. You need to be quick and I personally feel that’s a good thing as it will show a preview of the working style out in the real world. The subjects are interesting and professors are great. There is a significant difference between the education system here and my country. I assume that everyone outside the country will initially struggle but I can promise that everyone will cope up eventually. I have taken a sweet amount of time to get adjusted and I can now confidently say that I’m done with the incubation stage.

Diversity is one more aspect that I love over here. Professors here are a combination of people who have excelled academically and professionally. That is of significant importance if you are studying in a business school. I have worked in the same industry for a significant amount of time before enrolling in this course, yet there is a lot of concepts to learn. I have learned that there is no “one way” of doing things which did shake my beliefs about always having one solution to a problem. I can confidently say I would be a coming out of the MBLE program with better knowledge and thinking than what I had imagined when I joined the college.

NYC Trip

Finals are over and just like that, I am halfway through the SMF program.  It’s crazy how quickly pre-term and the first semester went by.  Since Columbus is a lot closer to New York than Oklahoma, my mom and I decided to go on a trip to New York right after finals were over.  I took a bunch of pictures and wanted to include as many as possible.  Here are some of my favorite sights from the trip:

The Statue of Liberty
My mom and I enjoying some New York style pizza
Me with the famous Charging Bull in the Financial District
Downtown Manhattan at sunset from the Empire State Building

Proximity to New York is one of the many perks about being in school at Ohio State.  I know that many of my classmates recently attended an investments conference in New York and it provided them the opportunity to listen to some very knowledgable individuals from the industry and to also network with SMF alumni in the city.  My trip to New York was a blast and I can’t wait to go back!

Surviving Winter in Columbus

Every year, around mid-October, the anxiety starts growing among my MHRM comrades. I get it—the Midwest can be an intimidating place during the winter, especially if you’re from more temperate environments like some of my more southern classmates. After all, we are just a 6-hour drive from Chicago, or as we fondly refer to it here in the Midwest, “Chiberia.”

All joking aside, winter in Columbus is really not that bad. From December to February, typical lows are in the high teens and highs are in the mid-40s (Fahrenheit). It does get windy, and we experience a fair amount of precipitation in the form of snow. It actually can be quite beautiful on sunny days.

This is an old picture of Mirror Lake in the winter. It’s currently under construction. When done, the site will look more like it did when it was built in 1870.  

I’m personally grateful to experience all four seasons. When I lived in Oregon, we had a long summer and a long winter, and almost no shoulder seasons on either end. And I really didn’t realize how much I loved fall and spring.

Believe it or not, though, people do live in Columbus year round. And they do so successfully with a curated wardrobe of very warm and sensible items. Here are my winter non-negotiables:

It’s pretty much a wearable sleeping bag.
  1. Long, down parka. This is the coat I wear all winter long. It even functions as a blanket in my house when I’m trying to warm up quickly. Down is one of the best natural insulators, and it cuts wind like no other. Wool is also a good option.


No furry animals were killed in the making of this hat.

2. This hat. It covers your ears and is as soft as fake fur on the inside. It is also filled with down so you don’t have to worry about your noggin getting cold–all of your knowledge will be warm and protected.

Bonus: you might be confused for a fisherman while wearing these puppies.

3. You’ll see a lot of these around campus. They’re waterproof, and if you want the upgraded version, you can get them with faux fur on the inside (pictured above, highly recommend). I wear boots like these walking across campus, and change into my work shoes when I get to Gerlach Hall. There’s really no substitute for a sensible winter boot.

Investing in high-quality, durable outdoor clothing is completely worth it. The last thing I want to worry about in the midst of school and work is my comfort. And I promise–it is possible to stay warm all winter with a little time and preparation on the front end.

Zoo Lights

Columbus has many unique features and things to do such as the Columbus Zoo. The Columbus Zoo is rated the third-best zoo in the United States, and definitely worth a visit while in Ohio! During the winter months close to the holiday season, the zoo gets transformed and decorated with millions of beautiful Christmas lights; it’s called “Wildlights.” The MAcc Council decided to plan a trip on the last day of classes. Pictured below is a group photo outside of the zoo of all the MAcc students who went.

MAcc students at the Zoo

The zoo is separated by areas and locations the animals would be found, such as the Artic Zone. It’s a large area and I would have gotten lost without a wonderful tour guide and fellow classmate who knew her way around the zoo. If you want to see the animals in addition to the lights, I would recommend going early afternoon. Once it gets dark outside, many animals are hard to see and are also sleeping. There are various food carts and stops throughout the zoo, so you can get a cup of hot chocolate or a snack while looking at the attractions. The center of the zoo is a pond that plays a light show choreographed to holiday music every half-hour.

If you love taking photos or just want to get into the holiday spirit, I would highly recommend checking out Wildlights! Everywhere you look and go is lit (as seen above on a bridge inside the zoo). With the semester coming to a close, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays!

See You Next Semester

Time flies.

I doesn’t feel like my first day at Fisher was a long time ago, but we’ve actually gone through half of the MAcc program already. From the first day of orientation, August 14th, to the last day of class in the autumn semester, December 6th, we’ve all done some incredible work.

I still remember all the projects that we had done (and sometimes, all the frustrations they brought us). Nevertheless, all of us finished the projects well and we all learned something.

Now that I’ve been here for awhile, I can tell you that being a graduate student is a lot different from being an undergrad student. Everyone in the program is very self-motivated. We work a lot more efficiently as a group. Since the program is heavily case-based and group-based, having good interpersonal skill is very important. But it’s fun! From what I can see, everyone in the program is enjoying themselves and our groups; most of us met new people and got to know a lot of new friends.

The spring semester will start on January 8th. But when we come back to campus, we will not see the KPMG students anymore. I was talking to some KPMG students the other day and he said he met (and befriended) more non-KPMG program students than he originally expected. I was glad to hear that, but also realized that– unlike me– he would be leaving soon and coming back for the summer term to finish up his degree. It’s a unique program.

Time for me to relax over break. See you in January!

MAcc Fall Reception

As a way to wrap up the first semester of the MAcc program, all MAcc students, faculty, and staff came together this past Friday night to celebrate one last time before winter break. The evening consisted of a cocktail hour, dinner, and reception.

The cocktail hour was by far one of my favorite portions of the evening. Not because of the cocktails, but rather, the casual aspect of the cocktail hour. I was able to jump around from classmate to classmate and reconnect with them. I was even able to reconnect with some of my undergraduate professors (who also teach in the MAcc program) and update them about my life– and thank them for all that they have done for me. Once the cocktail hour ended, we sat down and had a delicious dinner. Following dinner, Professor Zach had the opportunity to give a speech. He had the whole room laughing and reminding us of all the good times we had this past semester. Additionally, a guest speaker came in who was also a part of the MAcc program a few years ago herself.

Trying to be cool at the MAcc receptionAfter the MAcc reception ended, a number of us enjoyed the nightlife Columbus offers. It’s crazy to think that we are halfway done with our MAcc (and some of us are 87.5% done with our college career). I will miss some of my peers who will go off and do an internship this spring semester through the KPMG program. However, I will continue to work hard and to make those lifelong connections!



Core Team: An Integral Component of the Fisher MBA

As I reflect through the past five months of my Fisher MBA experience, one thing that kept me going through this rigorous and fast-paced program was my core team. Yes, you heard that right – ­my core team! Go, Team #3!

Fisher heavily emphasizes the concept of team. Just before you officially start your MBA, you go through a three-week pre-MBA term. At the end, you find out who’s on your core team, the team you will be working with throughout the first year of your program. Just to offer a glimpse of how a pre-MBA term looks, this is where you get to know about the program structure, professors, resources at Fisher and Ohio State. At the same time, you get to attend executive lunches, seminars, career roundtables, and speaker series.

The whole entering class is divided into teams of four to five, with people not only coming from different backgrounds but also from different parts of the world. The diverse nature and vivid experiences that every individual brings to a team make you appreciate the power of such a setting. We, as a core team, faced our first challenge on the very first day we got introduced to each other. As a part of Fisher Challenge, we had to present a case analysis on one of the budding organizations in Columbus and propose an innovative way to help increase the firm’s profits. This was the first group exercise with my team and to date, we’ve delivered on many such assignments. We ended our pre-MBA term with an experiential learning program with all core teams at a location little outside of Columbus (called “Summit Vision”). This was absolutely one of the experiences that I’ll add to my special memories from Fisher for the rest of my life.

A pic from Summit Vision (I am on the extreme left, along with rest of my team)

Over time, as I’ve progressed through the MBA program, these are the people who’ve become a big part of my Fisher family. It’s not just the assignments inside class, but the other experiences. Recently, we all planned a day out at the Columbus Zoo. It was definitely a stress-reliever after the end of our first term and simultaneously gave us the time to know each other better in a setting outside of the class.

A pic from the Columbus Zoo

Overall, working in a team setting has not only helped me in learning the art of coming together as a team to solve a problem but to also appreciate different leadership styles operating within the same team. It, in a true sense, gives you the flavor of how your post-MBA corporate life would be.

MAcc end of autumn semester reception

Can’t believe that we are already halfway through our MAcc program! Last Friday, the MAcc program hosted a dinner reception and invited all MAcc students, their spouses and children, as well as MAcc faculty and staff. Some of the MAcc students are involved in a unique partnership between Fisher and KPMG where they won’t return for spring semester but will be back in summer to finish the rest of their program. I was surprised by how sad I was when I realized that there were only about 10 days left with them.

A photo with our program director, Professor Zach.
MAcc students
Dzung Vu and me

One of my favorite memories with them centers around our Financial Reporting class, one of the core classes of the MAcc program. Just like the other classes, we self-selected our case group and came up with a name for it–“My Favorite Group.” Whenever the professor called on us, he would always say “Let’s go to ‘My Favorite Group’.” Some of the students didn’t realize that it was our group name until they confirmed with us. Here’s the group:

“My Favorite Group” — Financial Reporting Class

I, as well as other students, will miss them a lot. So, guys, come back for a visit soon!

An SMF Social Tradition Lives On

The SMF Class of 2018 has been trying to keep a tradition alive: the SMF class dinners. Over the past semester, the SMF Council, led by the one and only Nenson Wang (best event organizer at Fisher), organized two wonderful dinners for the entire class.

The council decided back in mid-October to organize the first SMF dinner of this academic year at a Chinese restaurant called Hong Kong House. Regardless of location, the goal of these dinners is to get us off campus and to really enjoy our limited time together. In this case, it was a great opportunity for domestic students and students coming from other countries to have a taste of authentic Chinese food.

Dinner at the Hong Kong House!

More than 40 students and Professor Pinteris (SMF program  director) attended the dinner and we can definitely say that it was a success. I had the opportunity to try multiple authentic Chinese dishes such as Mapo Tofu or Dumplings and was really pleased with it, as were my fellow classmates. For my part, I have to admit that prior to that dinner, the only Chinese restaurants that I had been to was Chinese buffets not representative of typical Chinese dishes. When not munching on the food, we talked about a lot things– classes, the finance world, and our own personal experiences from across the globe.

Our second SMF dinner took place about a month later at Melt Bar and Grill in Short North. Attendance for this dinner was slightly lower but we had the chance to share the meal with two additional guests: Professor Pirim, who taught us statistics in the first quarter of the program, and Professor Schneider, who is currently teaching us Investments. The food was more traditional American food and the atmosphere was great! It was also really nice to see the faculty in a different setting than a lecture hall!

Dinner at the Melt Bar and Grill
With professor Pirim!

I definitely look forward to the next one!

Stay tuned!