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What is Accounting Research?

As part of the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program at Ohio State, there are four required courses. One of these courses is called Accounting Policy and Research, and it is taught by Prof. Tzachi Zach. When I first heard the name of this course, I wasn’t too surprised that our Master’s program requires that students take a research class. However, I didn’t really know what to expect. What is accounting research anyway?

Prof. Zach started off the class by explaining to us the four primary topics of accounting research: financial accounting, managerial accounting, tax, and audit. Within each of these areas of interest, academic researchers use different tools to explore their research questions, such as accounting theories, surveys, and market data. In Prof. Zach’s class, we read and discuss accounting research papers about various market phenomena and corporate management behavior.

Right now, everyone in the MAcc program is working on Prof. Zach’s group project that’s due the last week of classes. We are tasked to conduct an event study in order to see how stock prices react to a particular trigger in the business world or in our everyday lives.

For example, my team is looking to see if stock prices of S&P 500 companies that are headquartered near NFL stadiums increase after the nearby team wins the Super Bowl. We’re looking at all of the past 49 Super Bowl games, so there’s a lot of data to collect!

Do the results of Super Bowl games affect the stock market?

Do the results of Super Bowl games affect the stock market?

We’re really curious to see if there is any difference in stock prices between the companies we’re looking at and stock markets indexes in the two days following each game. I’m looking forward to hearing all of the class presentations to see what events other groups studied. Hopefully that gives a bit of insight into what accounting research is all about!


Day at K

Every week, Fisher hosts companies interested in recruiting MBA candidates for internships and full-time positions. Though attendance is never mandatory, it is not uncommon for student’s schedules to become completely filled with all the company visits and information sessions going on. And not just because of the promise of pizza or Panera (which admittedly does go a long way to attracting more attendees). It is always interesting to hear from different companies, often competitors, and learn about their unique approaches to the problems we discuss on a daily basis in our classes. But even better than attending these info sessions on campus is when we get invited to visit the companies on their own turfs.

On January 16th, Kellogg’s invited several first year MBA students interested in brand management to their headquarters in Battle Creek, MI, for their annual Day at K event. We were greeted by several current brand managers (including a recent Fisher graduate) and were led through Kellogg’s welcoming and history-filled entrance: dioramas worthy of placement in a museum; a miniature simulated grocery store displaying a current marketing campaign; artwork depicting a century’s worth of product and advertising innovation. It was truly an impressive introduction.

5:30 AM departure for a 4 hour drive. Worth it!

5:30 AM departure for a 4 hour drive. Worth it!

We were brought to a small conference room where we joined and socialized with more members of Kellogg’s marketing department, as well as several MBA students from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan (sidebar – this was 5 days after Ohio State won the national championship, so being with a bunch of Michigan students was particularly gratifying – end sidebar).  Several Kellogg’s presenters then spoke to us about marketing subjects ranging from Kellogg’s unique approach to marketing to challenges facing the company to relationships with their customers, retailers, suppliers, and agencies. A small panel of assistant brand managers allowed us to ask about working at Kellogg’s, projects they had personally completed, career trajectories, and overall satisfaction of their time with Kellogg’s. Hearing from such key personnel from a global powerhouse of a brand and getting a chance to ask them anything and everything marketing related was an incredible opportunity.

Tony the Tiger made an appearance.

Tony the Tiger made an appearance.

The Day at K was an absolutely wonderful event. It was a real treat (Rice-Krispy Treat, to be specific) to get to meet such talented brand and marketing experts and visit the headquarters of such a hallowed brand. We even got to take a tour of Kellogg’s archives and see marketing materials and advertisements across the decades.  I am very thankful for Kellogg’s invitation, and for the Fisher College of Business for providing me with such exciting opportunities like this.


Pizza, French Fries, Pizza, French Fries

I bet you thought this post was going to be about food. Well… It’s not. Although pizza and french fries do sound pretty good right about now.

 

There are two ski resorts within an hour of Columbus. How awesome is that? This is one of the reasons I love Columbus, and picked Fisher. Mad River Mountain is about 45 minutes northwest of Columbus. This is where I do most of my skiing. I have a pass that allows me to ski one day a week (all you need with classes all week), and it was only around $200. If you are a skier, you know how cheap that is. For the price, this place is pretty awesome. This coming weekend there is going to be music and an airbag to land on. If you do not know how this works, you pay $25 to land on an airbag which allows you to try all the tricks you are too scared to do on the snow.Also, Friday is college night, so with your BuckID you can ski all night for $15. They also have nice deals on pizza and drinks on Fridays, too. Last, but certainly not least, there is a snow tubing park. This place is awesome, especially for those who hate skiing/snowboarding, or just have no idea how.

Snow Trails is located about 45 minutes north of Columbus. While I have never been here, others in the office have and say very good things about this resort as well. This resort has much of the same perks as Mad River. They have deals and promotions,snow tubing, bands playing on the weekend, competitions, lessons, beginner’s area, and many other awesome things.

All in all, no matter where you go, you are still being able to enjoy a family friendly environment while kicking up powder!

Airbag Tricks

Snow Tubing Night Skiing

 

Just remember if you are learning to ski: pizza, french fries, pizza, french fries!


Q&A with MAcc Students- Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of my Q&A with MAcc students! Click here for Part 1 :).

Scott Singer ’15

scott

Where are you from?
Cleveland, Ohio

Where did you go to undergrad? What was your major and when did you graduate?
I received a BBA in Strategic Management in 2011 and BS in Sports Management in 2012 from Ohio University. I finished my JD at Cleveland State University in 2014.

Why did you decide to get a graduate degree in accounting?
I wanted to develop another hard skill that would compliment what I already have.

Why did you choose Fisher MAcc?
I liked how this is a highly regarded program and provides an opportunity to personalize my education.

What are your post-graduation summer plans?
I plan on taking the CPA Exam and going on a West Coast trip over the summer.

Do you have an interesting fact, interest, etc. that you’d like to share?
I’m an avid gamer and superhero movie lover, and I should be a
licensed NFL/NBA player agent by the end of next year.

 

Kathryn Proper ’15

kathryn

Where are you from?
Erie, Pennsylvania

Where did you go to undergrad? What was your major and when did you graduate?
I studied accounting at Penn State Erie – the Behrend College and graduated in 2009.

Why did you decide to get a graduate degree in accounting?
I was working in industry for a small manufacturer in Erie and knew what I really wanted to do was public accounting.  I also knew I wanted a Master’s degree, so going back to school for a MAcc was the perfect transition to achieve both goals and feel better prepared for the CPA Exam.  I had previously interned for a CPA firm in Erie during tax season
and knew that was exactly what I wished to return to doing.

Why did you choose Fisher MAcc?
I applied to a few other programs, but fell in love with Fisher and the program during my campus visit.  I felt it would be the best fit for me and as a bonus was a strong, nationally ranked program.  The people I met were fantastic and really sealed the deal for me to accept my offer from Ohio State.

What are your post-graduation summer plans?
I intend to sit for the CPA Exam this summer and will begin working as a Tax Associate with
McGladrey LLP in the fall at their Cleveland, Ohio office.

Do you have an interesting fact, interest, etc. that you’d like to share?
In my free time, I love feeding people!  I enjoy cooking and learning to prepare new cuisines (I am currently working on improving my Asian cooking skills) but even more so I love to bake.  I make and decorate cakes on occasion, but my favorite thing to bake is cookies!


Surviving the Ohio Winter

If you come to the program from a warm area, you will no doubt be shocked by the weather in our relatively northern state. While the weather conditions in Ohio can be very volatile, the temperatures are generally in the 10 to 30 Fahrenheit (-12 to -1 Celsius) degrees range.

OSU in Winter

OSU in Winter (Credit: The Lantern)

Thus, the single most important thing to prepare for Columbus’ winter is to make sure you have a warm coat. Additional preparations include a warm scarf, gloves, socks, and something to protect your head.

The second most important tip is to layer, as multiple layers help trap warmth and keep it close to your body. This is especially important as the average daily minimum wind speed is around 10 mph, which can make effective temperature much colder than actual temperature.

It typically snows in January about 40% of the time. This means that a sturdy pair of boots would be a wise investment. Additionally, because it rains about 20% of the time, compounded with the freezing temperatures, another wise investment would be ice cleats or spikes to attach to boots to ensure that you’re not falling all over the sidewalks. While the campus does a very good job of keeping the sidewalks iced, off campus is not always so well-tended.

As always, keep a nice pair of shoes in your locker at Fisher or carry a pair with you, just in case you need to interview or meet with someone important.


Get Flexible!

One of the best things about the MAcc program is the flexibility students have when completing the program requirements.  The program only has four core courses all students must take, accounting for 10 of the 31 required credit hours.  Outside of these required core courses, students have the ability to take MAcc, Finance, Human Resources, and MBA courses.  While students don’t specify a “concentration” or “specialization”, students can gear their class schedules to topics of interest.  Another way the program is flexible is by breaking semesters into two terms.  This makes classes only 7 weeks and allows students to take more courses over a variety of different disciplines.  Here are a couple elective courses I am currently in, and some I am looking forward to taking next term:

Fraudulent Financial Reporting – This course focuses on developing techniques for detecting fraudulent reporting in financial statements and accounts.  The course is case-based, and we focus on detection techniques, which in turn shows us how the fraud was perpetrated.  Every class is very interesting and it forces you to think outside the box and get creative when trying to detect fraud.  I can imagine this course coming in handy when I least expect it as I continue with my professional career.

Negotiations –  Obviously we are all familiar with negotiating, even if we have very little professional experience.  This course provides us with the theory and processes of negotiating as it occurs in different situations.  The course is structured around practice negotiations to help students gain a little bit of experience and confidence when they start to negotiate professionally.  Whether it is negotiating a job offer or negotiating a contract between a buyer and seller, I would strongly recommend this course.

Developing High Performance Teams – I am really looking forward to taking this course.  Working in groups and teams are becoming more and more commonplace in the business world.  While I won’t start off my career managing a team, I imagine in the future I will be in a position where this course will provide me with knowledge to lead and work effectively in a variety of different team settings.

Fraudulent Examination: Asset Misappropriation - Clearly you can tell fraud interests me.  While the first fraud course focuses on financial reporting which is more often perpetrated by management, this course focuses on asset misappropriation which is more often perpetrated by employees.  This course will emphasize motives and factors that play into employees committing fraud, as well as prevention and detection methods.


Switching Roles – Career Fair Style

For the past couple of years, I have always attended the career fair looking for positions and opportunities. Lately, my role has switched. After accepting a full time role with EY, I now attend career fairs and events as a Student Ambassador. This role requires me to talk with students and answer any questions they may have about an accounting career or about completing an internship.

I most recently attended a Mock Career Fair where I was the one interacting and speaking with students. Attending a career fair from the employer’s perspective is a completely different scenario. Instead of being nervous and anxious about talking with a prospective employer, you know you have to prepare yourself to evaluate students and prepare yourself to answer any questions they may have.

I imagine for most EY employees, attending a career fair or an event is no big deal. For me, I was still a little nervous and anxious as if I was actually attending a career fair looking for a job. I was nervous because I had never had this responsibility before. Collecting resumes, evaluating potential, answering questions — this seemed like a lot to handle! I was really nervous for no reason — talking to prospective students is actually a lot of fun and it is really interesting to talk to students who are genuinely excited about their future career in accounting.

After experiencing career fairs from both sides, I have a couple pieces of advice to give regarding attending career fairs and interacting with employers:

1) Know where you want to go – when you arrive at the career fair, it can be quite intimidating. Huge ballrooms filled with companies waiting for you to talk to them. It’s best to have a few companies in mind who you really want to talk to, that allows you to target a specific table or area.

2) Have a practice round – my advice is to not make your “number-one choice” the first company whose table you visit. Instead, pick another company as a warm up. This will allow you to get some nerves out and not risk messing up your chances with a company you really like.

3) Pay attention – make sure you keep up with conversation and remember what the representative’s background is. If they are in tax – don’t start asking them about audit. In this case, keep your questions more general and save the specifics for someone who can answer them better.

4) Know when to move on – career fairs are crazy busy, especially for top companies. If you have been talking to someone for awhile, make sure to leave in a timely manner. There are many other students in line and you don’t want to be known as someone who kept lingering and wasting time.

5) Follow up – if you really enjoyed the company, make sure to get contact information! This way you can email your thanks and keep up to date with opportunities when they become available.

Hopefully these help in the future job hunt! Whether you are talking to many employers or representing one company, career fairs can be very useful and interesting to attend!

 


There’s No “Typical” Week

People always ask what a “typical” week of an MHRM student looks like, and I find myself stumped every time. The truth is, it varies greatly depending on the individual and their other commitments and priorities. The MHRM program has such a diverse student population that people are all over the map (or in this case, book) with what page they’re on in life and what their other commitments are. Some students juggle a full-time job and school, while others juggle a part-time job and school or are solely a student. In addition to this, we have students with varying marital and parental statuses. Plus, let’s not forget the pet owners (that’s me!) because having to run home to a dog or another pet can certainly change priorities and what a “typical” schedule looks like.

I think it comes down to what a person’s commitments and priorities are in life. MHRM classes are at least 3 nights a week from 6-9:15pm so making use of weekends is a must because “doing it after class” is simply not going to happen! When possible, and time permitting with your schedule, take advantage of the OSU and Fisher campus and amenities. There are several hot spots on campus you can go to get work done in between work, meetings, classes (electives), and more!

KReeves

 

Gerlach Hall and Mason Hall on Fisher’s campus have plenty of breakout rooms that can be reserved for studying or group projects. Gerlach Hall also has the computer lab at your disposal for computer use and printing, and Mason Hall has Rohr Cafe for those much needed coffee breaks. Also, Subway and Panera are just across the street from Fisher so you have somewhere to go for those quick bites to eat or another place to get your work done.

When exploring OSU’s campus beyond Fisher, you can explore one of the gyms on campus: Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC), Adventure Recreation Center (ARC), Jesse Owens North (JON), Jesse Owens South (JOS), or the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC). You can also check out Thompson Library and find somewhere within the 11 story building to kickback and enjoy a good book or get work done. And, if you’re wanting more food (who doesn’t like food) just walk around the corner to High Street and enjoy one of the many options available to you!

One of the best things about Fisher is that if you want the feel of a Big 10 institution then you can certainly get that experience, but if you want the feel of a smaller community, you can certainly get that too! There are so many options available to you; you decide what your schedule looks like, how much time you spend on campus, and how you utilize all that is available to you through Fisher and OSU.


Escaping the Cold in Columbus

When my wife and I moved to Columbus two years ago, we were excited to be back in the Midwest, to be close to family again, and to reconnect with friends. Moving back in May, we were also excited to be approaching festival season in Columbus, which basically runs from May to mid-October and features a variety of outdoor festivals with excellent food (my personal favorites are the Jazz and Ribs Festival in the Arena District in July and the Greek Festival downtown on Labor Day weekend). In fact, there were only two things we weren’t excited about on our return to Columbus: January and February. For all of the amazing things that can be said about Columbus, our weather isn’t winning us any awards or attracting any new visitors.

water garden

There are few ways to escape the snow and ice, but one excellent way to get some fresh air is to visit the Franklin Park Conservatory (http://www.fpconservatory.org/). Located just east of downtown, the conservatory and adjoining botanical gardens are situated in the middle of Franklin Park. The conservatory offers visitors a collection of tropical and desert biomes from across the globe, such as the Pacific Island water garden (my favorite), Himalayan highlands, and American desert. Each of the rooms is held at about 70 degrees and is full of plants from the respective biomes. The building’s walls and ceilings are made of plexi-glass, so you get the full effect of being outside (fresh air and vitamin-D), plus the much needed warmth of being indoors. Throughout the winter I stop by at least once a week, and frequently I bring a book or class readings and work there in lieu of a coffee shop. With annual student passes for $30, it is a small price to pay for a weekly getaway.


Shape your degree

One of the best things about getting a Master in Finance degree at The Ohio State University is the ability to shape your degree in any way you want. Aside from being in your available electives for your specialization, such as, Corporate Finance 3 & 4, Financial Statement Analysis, Enterprise Risk Management 1 & 2, etc, there are many other classes you can take to further your knowledge in specific area. For instance, I am taking Managerial Accounting for Decision Making. I plan on pursuing a career in Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis when I graduate. Because of Fisher’s ability to let you branch out, you can take classes in many other areas such as strategy, accounting, operations, and many others. If you feel it will benefit you and your career search, Fisher can probably make it happen.

With these classes, I was able to mold my degree into exactly what I want. I am taking a few accounting classes (Financial Statement Analysis 1 & 2 and Managerial Accounting for Decision Making) to further my knowledge in accounting to become a better analyst. By being able to read financial statements, understand managerial accounting (contribution margin, pricing, budgeting) and understanding the past performance of the company, I can better understand what has and hasn’t worked and more accurately project the future and improvements. I am also taking negotiations with Prof. Lewicki. Negotiations, while it may not benefit me much now other than negotiating my salary and benefits when accepting a job (which is reason enough), will allow me to become a better CFO or manager when I take part in acquisitions or anything else that requires me to negotiate a price with a seller, supplier or whoever it may be.
In the end, being able to mold your degree will help you to mold your career…….which is why we are here, isnt it?!


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