The End Is Near

I spent a part of this morning going through photos from the past year, and man, it is crazy how quickly these past eight months have gone. Reminds me of this old country song by Trace Adkins. As our email inboxes get flooded with graduation information, ways to purchase regalia, and other information regarding diplomas; graduation is starting to become a real idea indeed.

Looking back on these photos brought back great memories. For example, I remember our orientation and our Turbo Finance class, where I was planting the foundation of my current financial knowledge and getting to know my new classmates better. Another example is the numerous dinners that we went to as a class and all the great food and conversations we had.

My first team at Fisher

Fast forward to the Fisher Follies Auction event in the fall, to accepting my job, to traveling to NYC and meeting with the banks, to finishing out the first half of the program on a strong note. Christmas vacation was an awesome time to have some rest, start studying for the CFA exam, and begin to prepare for the second half of the school year.

Classmates and me in NYC in the fall.

Looking back on the past two months, I also did a lot of traveling: Denver, New York, Chicago, and Islamorada. It was awesome being able to enjoy these places with family, friends, and classmates. It was also nice to do a little traveling while I was still in school and before I started my job.

Skiing out in Denver at Keystone.

Now, we have just over one month left and I am going to cherish these moments a little bit more than the rest as I recognize that this is the end. We have a few more events planned, including the Fisher Follies Variety Show event and a few other SMF events. I am looking forward to this next month and walking across the stage with my classmates at graduation.

A new life

It seems like only yesterday that I landed in Columbus airport to begin my new journey as a Full Time MBA student at the The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business, and already an entire term has flown by! It’s unbelievable how fast time flies when there’s so much to do – course work, classes, informational sessions, case competitions, job search, career interviews , and before you know it, your term exams are right around the corner! I remember feeling blindsided somehow – “They’re already here? But I’ve only just started my program!”

But that’s just the way it is. In hindsight, having seven weeks for a term leaves you with both a feeling of “Has it only been that long?” as well as that of “But so much has happened already!!”, which is a good thing I guess. Having too many things to do is way better than having nothing to do and I am glad that my MBA program here has truly tested my time management skills. I can already say that I am more adept at managing time effectively today ( a wee little bit ) than I was at the start of my program only seven weeks ago. Another aspect that I am excited about embracing and improving is my team-building skills. Myriad opportunities here. Take for example, working with our core teams for the entire tenure of our first year, or recently, the exciting prospect of working with my new teams in Project One ( a seven-week long project, at the end of which teams pitch proposals to Huntington Bank, a major local bank in Ohio), the upcoming GE Case Competition as well as the Fisher Internal Case Competition.

Some of the cool things that happened last term –

  • Football! – As an international student, I have to say that I am mind-blown by the importance the people here give to football; simply put it is like a religion here – the sooner you absorb it, the better. Tailgates and simply sitting at home and watching the game on the big screen (when I didn’t get tickets) have all been super fun.
  • Healthy banter between Professor Campbell and Gray – This was a fun part of our Econ and Data Analysis classes. Enjoying the sarcastic comments each had to say about the other subject/prof, the back and forth ribbing and the general camaraderie shared between the two and with us. It didn’t hurt too, that they took our class out for drinks at the end of mid-term.
  • Social events –  Awesome opportunity to get to know your fellow classmates and second- years and make friends. There have been so many of these I can’t even count, and I know there will continue to be many more.
  • Info sessions – Learning about the culture and working of different companies, meeting with executives has been enriching. Not to mention all the free lunches.

All in all, it has been a packed first term and with a foot in the door on my second, I am readying myself for new developments and new challenges. I’m happy to be here. And I’m looking forward to a gorgeous two years of business school.

So here’s to new beginnings and a whole new life!

Three terms left…


  • Negotiation final – finished
  • Org. turnaround final paper – finished
  • Services Marketing final paper – finished
  • Corp. Finance 1 final brief – ….stay tuned

I cannot believe that as I am writing this, I am quickly wrapping up the first term of my final year of the MBA program. It’s unreal.

In the past two years I have studied and taken the GMAT, filled out applications for business school, interviewed, received admission letters, gone through pre-term, made it through my CORE classes (looking directly at you stats class!), interviewed for internships, accepted a wonderful internship and learned so much and am now making my way through year 2.

Also, add in a few happy hours, some tears, lots of laughs, some stress for good measure, and a bunch of people that I now consider my close friends.

These past couple years have been incredible and pretty challenging. When people ask me about my program my favorite phrase is, “it’s an adventure”. This has been a very humbling experience, and I still have so much more to learn. I am meeting great people in the Office of Career Management (direct shout-out to Jeff!), the GPO and in the classroom. My professors are becoming mentors and my classmates are becoming those that want me to become a better, smarter business woman.

Only three terms left?! Where has the time gone?

Non-Quants Have (Almost) Nothing To Fear

Coming into Fisher, my biggest fears were circled around being a “non-quant”. With my background in law and public policy, I had never taken an accounting or finance class and I haven’t taken a math class in almost nine years! I had nightmares about being singled out for not knowing about the intricacies of pivot tables in Excel or for forgetting how to determine whether two variables are independent of each other. What I found at Fisher was a welcoming community of students and professors from all walks of life who were more than happy to help.

The most “feared” first-year class is Data Analysis, a class that covers everything from statistical analysis, probability, regression, hypothesis testing and sophisticated excel functions. For a “non-quant”, I was sure that this class would require a significant amount of my time and energy. What I didn’t realize (besides the late nights) is that it would also be the class I would learn the most from. Every career panel and professional I have spoken to has specifically pointed out the skills that we develop in this class as an essential part of their job.

Where I have struggled, my classmates have been more than willing to help me catch up and fortunately our TA, Ryan, has gone above and beyond to help us understand the concepts. These experiences, even two weeks in, exhibit the atmosphere at Fisher. Encouragement is shared freely, ideas are accepted and risk is rewarded. These two weeks have felt more like two months, but I can already tell it will pay off immensely.

Closing Time: The Last Term

How is it already the fourth term?!  The MAcc students are just seven weeks away from graduation!  With this last term comes new, exciting classes, and here they are:

AMIS 7784 – Tax Research:

That’s right – one last tax class!  This course will allow us to take all of the knowledge we’ve gained the past three terms on corporations, trusts, estates, etc., and apply it to research questions.  We’ll be developing research skills and using different tools provided by the IRS and other sources to answer realistic tax questions from all kinds of different parties.  This will certainly be applicable to many of us in the class that will be starting our careers in tax.

BUSMHR 7230 – High Performing Teams:

After having a wonderful experience in managerial negotiations with Dr. Tracy Dumas, I’m taking another one of her courses on building and leading effective teams.  Many of us MAcc students will be working in roles in public accounting, where it’s very important to be able to perform well in teams.  This class actually reminds me of some of the activities we participated in at Summit Vision all the way back at orientation.  One of the activities (pictured below), required trust, listening, creativity, and many other skills we’ve already begun to talk about in this course.  I’m excited to learn more about how I can perform effectively in a team setting and motivate others to do so as well.

My Summit Vision group working on our team-building skills. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come this year!

AMIS 7250 – Government and Non-Profit Accounting:  

I can already tell that this is going to be a great class!  We started out with an overview of non-profits and then began learning about the differences between for-profit and non-profit accounting.  We read an interesting article on Livestrong, formerly the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the conflicting public perception of the non-profit organization and actual use of donations.  It’s important for people to understand how the money that they are donating to charities and other organizations is being used, and we’re learning how accountants can help with that process.  We’ll also cover governmental accounting later on this term.

After a short first week, it’s already spring break!  I’m off to Arizona for some spring training with the Chicago Cubs and then heading back east to Chicago for the B1G Tourney.  Plenty of stories from this packed week to come!

New Classes?! Already?!

That’s right – Fall Term 1 has ended and Term 2 has begun!  Just thought I would take a few minutes to share the MAcc courses I’m taking and my first impression of the classes that will consume the next seven weeks!

  • AMIS 6201 – Professional Research in Accounting – this class is all about researching the FASB codification.  We’re given real-life scenarios and questions that clients could ask us in our future jobs, and we research the code to find the correct answer and explain it to our client.  This class is likely to be one of the most practical.  Professor Turner has had many students come back to visit who tell him that they use the research tools from this class on a daily basis!
  • AMIS 7410 – Tax II – this class is focused on corporate income taxes.  Even for students who aren’t going into a career in tax, it’s really beneficial to know the tax planning goals of corporations.  Professor Raabe has a great deal of experience in tax and makes the key takeaways extremely clear for each class.
  • AMIS 7420 – Tax III – that’s right – another tax class!  We’re covering all sorts of different topics like exempt entities, gift and estate taxation, and how to reconcile taxes on financial statements.  Professor Raabe teaches this course as well, and again brings a great deal of experience and real-world examples for these relevant topics.
  • AMIS 7510 – Assurance Services and Information Quality – this course is focused on developing an understanding of the value added by assurance services, which include audit.  Professor Spires simulated a stock market for our first class on Tuesday to get us thinking about how markets benefit from quality information.  I thought this interactive activity was a fun way to kick off the term!
  • BUSFIN 6212 – Finance II – this is a continuation of Finance I, which I completed last term.  This is going to be more conceptual, as we’ve started by learning about efficient versus inefficient markets.  Professor Ben-David brings a lot of research experience to this course, and I’m looking forward to the next six weeks of the course.

It’s been a great first week with these new courses, and I’m excited to see what this term will offer!

Finals week – survival tips

This one goes out to all of my MAcc classmates…

First of all, let me say that I CANNOT believe this is the last week of classes for the first term of the MAcc program.  The past seven weeks have flown by, and now it’s time for finals.  So for now, here are some tips to succeed this week:

1.  Remain calm – you will study much more efficiently if you’re not thinking about every class, scheduling for next term, when you’re going to sleep, etc.  I find it best to list out what I need to study or practice for each course and then create a schedule I can follow easily.

2.  Get comfortable – but not too comfortable!  Set up some place where you won’t be distracted and you can sit undisturbed for a generous length of time.  That being said, I would not suggest bundling up in bed and attempting to read anything on a Sunday afternoon.  That only resulted in a wasteful, albeit enjoyable, nap.

3.  Review, don’t re-do.  Theoretically, it should be easier to go through notes and examples now that we’ve been over them once in class.  For example, don’t spend hours recalculating every number from every case in Financial Reporting, one of the autumn term 1 core courses.  Review each of the topics and focus on the ones you don’t understand.

4.  Ask for help!  It’s not too late to reach out to your professors or classmates.  Each one of the MAcc faculty members is very understanding and will make themselves available to help you.  Study groups are also a great way to prepare for finals.  Chances are you’re not the only student who needs help with a problem and studying in a group also makes it more likely that someone else will know the answer.  It’s not a bad idea to reserve a room in Gerlach or Mason for some group study time.

At this point, we’ve all been through this before as undergrads.  Finals aren’t anything new, but we seem to be stressed out each time finals week rolls around.  So for now, don’t stress, study for a few days, and before you know it we’ll all be celebrating the completion of our first term as MAcc students!


Since the United States Post office doesn’t know where I live, and I just got my Research Methods book (that I had to pick up from the post office the other day because I didn’t know that the delivery driver couldn’t find my address until a few days ago), I am ahead in reading for my other class with Dr. Heneman.

I am currently on HR Competencies (which is lot more interesting than the first book which is coincidentally what our entire group project/paper is about for the quarter) and one of the chapters in the book really intrigued me. Chapter 3 is about one of the first and most important competencies and HR professional needs to have, and that is to be a “Credible Activist”.  One of the most important aspects of being a Credible Activist is for an HR professional is to do “HR with attitude”.

Now when I first read that I thought “Man this career is OBVIOUSLY perfect for me,” but it wasn’t the type of attitude I was thinking (and sometimes exhibit with some of my classmates who think they are really funny like Shawn).  HR with attitude means having confidence in your HR skills and how you add value to a business, and speaking up and giving your HR opinion even if it is not warranted or asked for.  Basically, if HR people want to have a seat at the management table they have to act like it (I call it putting a little “oomph” into it).

Reading books, making observations as a graduate student, and talking to my boss who has his bachelor degree in HR from Fisher have convinced me that many HR professionals in the past have not really put the “oomph” that they need to as HR people to gain the respect needed to sit at the management table.  One of the reasons I believe this to be is because some HR people may have a hard time of doing one of the second most important aspects of being a Credible Activists….building relationships.

In my opinion, I feel like Fisher graduate students generally need to branch outside the walls of Gerlach Hall – which I hope to do next year by connecting Fisher more through the Council of Graduate Students–the student government for graduate students.  On a related note, I believe that MLHRs need to branch out and make relationships with other Fisher graduate students.  Rebecca posted a blog a few weeks ago about wanting to go to more EOTWs (“Events Of The Week” put on by the Fisher Graduate Student Association) but, like her, many in our program do not seem interested in going.  Some of the first and second years (who all say that the MBA students are fun) went out on Saturday, and it was really fun.  I think many MLHRs have a stigma against MBA students (mainly because of our reading) that they don’t respect us.  I thought that for a while, too, but then realized it’s not disrespect … they just don’t know who we are.  I think MLHRs (and the HR profession in general) will become more respected by businesses and business leaders once we show them our attitude.

Just to demonstrate, a classmate and I saw one of the recruiters that came to Gerlach Hall during fall quarter at Char Bar downtown, and she recognized us.  I believe she was a graduate of the MLHR program, and clearly she is doing well in her career, etc., so I find that proof that is okay to work and play with the business world.

As the Rebeccas have vowed to try to go to more EOTWs, I will do so also (as long as they’re not on a Thursday) AND go to more non-MLHR related events on the HUB as well.

The MLHRs in my classes I believe have PLENTY of attitude … now we just need to show everyone else at Fisher!

Me, Rebeccas, and Cassie (GHRA Social Chairs on the right)

Cassie, me, some guy not in Fisher, Katie, and Rebecca

Back to Reality

After my completing my first FULL week of Winter quarter classes, its time to update the world on my thoughts and expectations for Winter Quarter 2011.  Even though I had to drink the reality kool-aid like every other returning student, I still think there are parts of me that are on winter break.

This quarter, I was fortunate to get a few of my required core classes waived.  Because of this, I have been able to take a couple of classes that suit what I like in class material.  One of the classes I am taking is BUS 846 Talent Management.  I am really excited to be in this class because I wanted to learn more about the important of managing and retaining your organization’s talent.  This is an area that I’ve found that I have become more passionate about the last couple of years and, as of now, I am very impressed with the course content and our classroom discussions.  I recommend taking this class if it fits in your schedule.  It is definitely worth it.

I am finding that I will be doing a lot more reading and group projects than I did last quarter.  Crazy enough, I do enjoy reading.  I have found that the majority of my books are intriguing reads and keep me captivated which is a good thing.  Hopefully, I can keep up with the reading material because it sure can seem overwhelming at times.  For group projects, I am excited to work with different students from other programs being offered at Fisher.  It will be great to branch out and meet other fellow grad students.

After the completion of my  first quarter with the MLHR program, I can say that my expectations have been more than met and exceeded.  I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my instructors and have learned a great deal from each of them.  As far as Winter quarter is concerned, I hoping for that same type of experience.  I realize that my experience depends a lot on my own participation and engagement and I am glad I made the most of that opportunity.

Lets make 2011 a great year!  Time to Read!

Supplying Time for Demanding Exams

Countdown: 2 days until our first economics exam. I can’t believe we are over half way through the quarter! For all my classmates that could use an extra econ “lesson” check out this video.

Tonight was the review night for our first exam and here are my top three takeaways:

1. I have some more studying to do.

2. Our professors are really accessible. It struck me as I walked in to our review that Professor Campbell had been there since 4:00 PM for back-to-back sessions. This meant that he volunteered to be in Gerlach from 4:00 PM to about 9:00 PM on a Sunday, answering student questions and preparing us for Tuesday’s test. I’m not sure how many school’s have professors this dedicated to the success of their students or this willing to give up their personal free time to help. The accessibility of professors is just another advantage to the Fisher experience!

3. My classmates are ready and willing to learn. I am incredibly impressed with how much effort everyone puts into their own success. We had one of the largest classrooms reserved for an optional review session on a Sunday evening, and we easily filled the room! For those considering Fisher for their MBA experience, should you choose to attend, you will be studying among the best! Not only are classmates ready to learn, they support their peers and are committed to the collective success of our class as a whole.

Well, time to get back to studying. Good luck to my classmates on the midterm week ahead!