“The Smartest Guys in the Room”

A quick catch-up from last week’s AMIS 861 fraud class. Prof. Turner shown us a documentary movie on Enron’s collapse—“The Smartest Guys in the Room”. As a MAcc student, Enron’s name is one of the most heard words. The Enron scandal was one of the largest accounting frauds in the American History, which lead to bankruptcy of this giant company, directly caused 22 thousand people to lose their jobs, and also dragged down Arthur Andersen, one of the big 5 accounting companies back then. This case was also highly related to the creation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

No matter how familiar I was with the Enron case, nevertheless, I was shocked, touched, and lost in deep thoughts multiple times when I watched the movie. The over passionate leaders and employees that ultimately cross the line and became extremely unethical, Cliff Baxter’s suicide, ex-employees who calmly provide testimonies but with their face revealing controlled emotion, and the sad scenes of Enron people leaving their offices and farewells to their friends on the morning Enron announced bankruptcy, these are details that I’ve never imagined. A saying is probably right, that “people and passion is the hardest to predict and to manage”.

LP, Bayes’, Stat, Tax, and Fraud –Hints for Incoming MAccers

Two days into the fourth week, course subjects have already been dramatic. My feelings have also been changing dramatically, following the waves of the topic flows.

Monday morning, the topic in the Fundamentals of Accounting class was Linear Programming (LP). Great thanks to the great job of my undergraduate professors, I felt very comfortable with LP. Prof. Arya’s lecture also added some useful new stuff. By the end of the class, half a day had flown easily and there I enjoyed the feeling of certainty so much that I understood everything taught in class.

But as time approaching 1:30pm, the feeling gradually switched from comfy to nervous. The Assurance class has been applying a lot of probability and statistics which is a weak field of mine. Walking in the classroom, I tried to keep my nerve by convincing myself that I have familiarized myself with Bayes’ Theorem, an important theorem in probability, and some other stat terms over the weekend so it should be okay. Nevertheless, walking out of the door after class, I was all “wet” by splashes of stat theories and totally sunk in the sea of statistics. That felt exactly the same way that you ran toward a sea with a life ring thinking it would be safe but you still got drowned.

With the weird feeling of “stat seasick”, quickly took a review quiz in the Tax class. In contrast to statistics, tax gave a much lighter taste and fortunately turned my feeling back to an upward trend.

Tuesday, guest speakers in the Fraud class. I sat in and enjoyed the speech as usual. Great speakers, interesting topic, and a dose of humor was just right. What’s special is that one of the speakers did commit fraud before and spent a year and a day in jail for conspiracy. As he talked about his experience, my once bounced mood dropped. I became very emotional listening to his guilty feeling about harms to family and I felt scared how easily this could happen to us, accountants, even if we have no intention to commit fraud.

Then the other speaker wrapped up the lecture, while I was still in the complexity of feelings, with a question, which also wrapped up these two days, “who still wants to be an accountant? Raise your hand.” A couple hands up? Welcome aboard.

Bee Dance, Make-Buy, Test Drives and one crazy weekend.

So as Week 4 of Winter Quarter begins, several note-worthy things have happened since my last post.

Bee Dance:

Last Thursday, Professor Drobny (who teaches MHR 841 – Business Sustainability) invited the inventor of Bee Dance to speak to our class. The session was devoted to biomimcry, which is the use of nature as a design model. Bee Dance was created recently, and uses the theory of bees’ “waggle dance” to develop the business strategy and actions. The presentation was very intense, and it was very neat to hear about how the company actually received a grant for its’ use of biomimcry in the business. Check out the website for more information!

Make vs. Buy:

One of the many unique things available to Fisher students is the Center for Operational Excellence. This group held a 2 hour Supply Chain Forum last Friday. Over 25 supply chain experts from local companies joined several Fisher students in listening to Dr. John Gray (an OSU professor) explain global sourcing decisions, using a case study on Scott’s. The presentation was VERY useful; Dr. Gray gave several decision matrices, and went through a very detailed decision process for: in-house vs. outsourcing vs. off-shoring. He also explained the basics of Monte Carlo simulations, which can seem intimidating, but can really aid in decision-making.

Marketing Project:

Our core Marketing class has a large project component: choosing a product and creating a detailed marketing portfolio for it. My team, (Team W.A.M.) chose the Honda Fit! This past Saturday our team split into two groups and visited two Honda dealerships to learn more about the Fit, and do test drives. We learned the aspects of the Fit that salespeople focused on, and also learned more about the demographics of the target customers. The only downside to the trip is that since I was the one who did the test drive, I am also the one getting lots of voice-mails from the salesperson!

One crazy weekend:

Although I’m one a tight budget like most other graduate students, I decided to go to ICFA “New Beginnings” Friday night – 15 live cage fights, fully sanctioned by UFC and televised from Screamin’ Willie’s on the east side of Columbus. I rationalized the cost: $30/15 fights = $2/fight OR $30/3 hours = $10/hour… Not too bad for such an unusual event!

The other fun thing I did this weekend was to go to a “Zombie” party. I got to work on my networking skills – I met about 10 really interesting people. In respect for the theme of the party, I brought some Zombie cocktails, which are made as follows:

  • 1 oz clear/light run
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • 1/2 oz creme de almond
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz sweet and sour mix
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • drizzle with 1/2 oz of Bacardi 151, pouring it over the back of a spoon

Warning: Although these are very delicious, they are also very potent!


A Zombie... with a Zombie.
A Zombie... with a Zombie.


It’s hard to believe it’s already mid-January

And the start of Week 3 of Winter Quarter!

The past week has had quite a few highlights, some school-related and some not.

1) Two very interesting Marketing lectures, with lots of eye-opening information about the anchoring effect, behavioral economics, irrational consumers, and many other concepts. Marketing is definitely one of my favorite classes this quarter.

2) A talk from an AEP representative about their ground-breaking Mountaineer, WV plant, with has the first large-scale carbon capture sequestration (CCS) operation. Our class learned a great deal about the technology behind CCS, the possible concerns, and the limitations of it.

3) AG’s apartment-warming party was a blast! There were at least 30 Fisher students, along with lots of AG’s other friends. It was nice to unwind with classmates, make some jokes, drink some tasty beverages, and get the long weekend started!

4) Reaching Expert level on several duets in “Beatles Rock Band”. What a blast!

5) (Successfully) cooking jambalaya for the first time. I was reminiscing about my trip to New Orleans over winter break, and decided that with a little luck, some sausage, rice, beans and spices, I too, could make jambalaya.

6) Getting matched with a “Little Sister” through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Nesha is awesome! She’s a freshman at a local high school, loves basketball and soccer, and has a very cool family. We had a nice lunch on Monday, and I introduced her to my guinea pigs, which she really enjoyed. I also showed her a bunch of games using the Wii Fit Balance Board – she was a natural! She did better on some of the balance games on her first try than I’ve ever done.

Well, it’s about time for my first class of the week, so I’ll sign off for now!


A case of the Mondays

Yesterday was one of the busiest days I have had so far in the program. Below is a description of how it became hectic along with how well it ended.

Sunday night

2:13 am: The Phillies have just won game 3 of the NLDS against the Rockies, a game that had me on the edge of my seat most of the time, and the rest standing with my Phillies fitted hat and Ryan Howard jersey on clapping and talking to the TV. So now that the game is over, and having no chance at falling asleep, I am able to finish the last three pages of the case study that we had to read to be prepared for our Organizational Behavior class (one of my favorite) at 8:30 am. At around 3 am I tuck myself under the sheets, leaving the blinds open so I don’t oversleep.


6:50 am: I proceed to wake up before my alarm and start to get ready for the day. I don’t plan on being back until later in the evening due to some events I am scheduled to attend so eat a hearty breakfast (raisin bran crunch), pack a snack for the time between classes, gather my books and head off to the bus at around 8.

8:14: The campuscabs_bus bus finally makes it. I walk out of my building about two blocks past the law school to a stop where the Campus Loop North bus picks students up about every 8 mins. Since I was the only one there, I must had gotten there right after the last bus came.

8:30: Organizational Behavior begins. I am wide awake but physically tired. I never drink coffee, and never had but I may need to if I keep this schedule up.

10:18: Class is over, we had a great discussion about financial incentives that had a lot of class participation. This is what makes it fun. I grab my snack and off to Accounting which starts at 10:30.

10:40: The lights are low. The power point is up. We are going over Cash flow statements. I feel my eyes getting heavy.

11:00: Nope I didn’t fall asleep, but I got a little energy boost from my yogurt and I am back to running on all fours. The topic isn’t the most interesting but I make sure to have the slides on my laptop along with a word doc open to take notes in. This makes the class a little more interactive to me.

12:18: Accounting class is over but I need to RUN to the Center of Real Estate for a meeting with my adviser (I work in the Center of Real Estate as a teaching assistant for an MBA level Real Estate class and also on projects that the Center is working on). I debate running to Subway first and bring a sandwich with me but I decide not to. Even though my adviser and I get along really well, I didn’t want to make him wait for me.

1:20: I leave my meeting and run to a small deli behind the architecture school across the street. I proceed to eat my chicken wrap as I walk back to Fisher. Very impressed I was able to eat it without getting anything on myself since it was a little messy.

1:30: I get to my Enhanced Professional Interchange Class. Although I am starting to get exhausted from all of the running around this class is not your typical MBA class. It is a class that teaches you presentation techniques. The teacher keeps the class very involved with people coming to the front often to work on techniques. Next thing you know the class is over

3:18: I head to the grad lounge to relax for a few mins. I had signed up for a discussion held by the MBA Finance Club that featured  William M. Issac, former chair of the FDIC which starts 4:oo.

5:00: For the last hour we had a discussion about the recent economic crisis and also a short history lesson about some of the factors that contributed to it. Mr. Issac was very interesting and I was surprised how informative the session was and how much I learned. But no stopping now. Off to my Fisher Professional Serves Conference call.

5:30: I meet with my group for ProjectOne, the initial project for a for profit student run consultancy program. We huddle around a phone for the next half hour and listen to a VP from a Fortune 500 organization explain the project and some of the uses of what we will be asked to help create a plan for. After the call my group decides to start thinking of some ideas over the next week and bounce them off each other via e-mail. Now I get to head home

6:07: Phillies Hat? Check! Phillies Jersey? Check! Sitting on the couch after a long day about to watch an amazing game 4 win over the Rockies to take us to the NLCS? Priceless!Phillies

Today Was My Busiest Day Thus Far.

So here we are, five weeks into school, and the MBA time commitment has finally hit me! When I first interviewed MBA students, I would ask them what they did in their free time. Everyone always said “What free time?”. I thought that they were kidding, because I was thinking back to my friends who did business in their undergrad… what we called “B-School Preschool”… I thought this trend would continue. Boy was I wrong! In a good way though! I really enjoy being busy and feel the most productive that I ever have in my life. But today I realized how many things I need to do with my day: Homework, class, group meetings, graduate assistantship… so much. So much that I decided to make a busy complex infographic documenting my busy complex day!

my very busy day
my very busy day

Honestly, aren’t weekends 48 hours?

So, it’s Monday morning… again. Does anyone else has this sneaking suspicion that time speeds up as soon as it’s Friday at 5PM, and doesn’t slow down till Monday at 8:30AM?

Now it seems like most of our classes are getting into a pretty good rhythm, although it is very hard to believe that we already are getting very close to MIDTERM season!

I’m pretty excited about the oil pricing simulation we’re doing in Economics tomorrow. For those of you not in the program, the class is dividing up into 5 “worlds”, with 3 “countries” per world. So there will be 15 teams total, with 5 – 6 people per team. The simulation will be at least eight rounds – in the beginning, the teams will not be able to communicate, but the rules will change throughout the game… My team spent some time yesterday strategizing, as I like to call it, so hopefully that will pay off tomorrow! The prizes are pretty good – bragging rights, and first dibs on the time slot for our team presentation.

Go Team W.A.M.!

As an aside, I learned that I am NOT the only person at OSU that lives on the east side of Columbus! I was beginning to worry there for a while, haha. While doing my grocery shopping at my local Meijer (love that store), I saw Sarah Hughes, the wonderful lady who interviewed me! Now I know I’m not the only that struggles with all the traffic on Broad Street every morning. *sigh*

Well, it’s time to read for my “Enhancing Professional Interchange” class, so I will be back later this week!


Thoughts on the past 2 weeks

So it’s the middle of the second full week of classes… Here are some musings:

  • Can you get carpal tunnel from turning 100+ pages in an Economics text book? (I certainly hope not!)
  • Will I ever get a full (I use this term loosely) night’s sleep again? (Does it count if I dream about getting one?)
  • Have I ever been in a classroom with so many intelligent, engaged people? (Nope, but it’s great!)

I have to say, it’s definitely been a huge breath of fresh air to get to know so many interesting, smart, funny people, who are all driven to succeed.

I’m hopeful that I’ll get into a good routine in terms of my schedule – I think it’s going to be critical  to do some school work every day, especially as we begin the team projects in several classes.

However, I know it’s going to be important to carve out some time to really get to know my team members and classmates better – we’re in this together for the next 21 months – might as well be friendly 🙂

Good luck to everyone!


Syllabus Reviews and Laptop troubles: The First Week of Class

The first week is actually more exciting then my title claims but when you get down to it that’s what usually ends up happening, reviewing the syllabus for an hour and then trying to figure out why your laptop won’t work. Needless to say everything worked out but that’s the first week for you.

My first day consisted of two classes, Organizational Behavior and Financial Accounting. All first quarter classes are part of the core requirements for first year MBA students so your classes are filled with familiar faces along with professors I had met during orientation (I wont write about orientation because plenty of other bloggers have and I agree with everything they have mentioned). The one thing that made these classes more interesting then their topics of discussion are the professors. The first class, Organizational Behavior is co-taught by two professors that are not only academics but have also worked in the industry that they teach. They bring anecdotes from their experiences as well as their knowledge making the class seem like a discussion rather then a lecture. Also our accounting class is taught by a professor that had recently came from Booth (University of Chicago) so to all those MBA students at University of Chicago, well I won’t say it but you can catch my get my jist.

Our second day consisted of two other classes, Managerial Economics and Data Analysis. Our economics professor was great at setting the mood for the class and we were able to move through the syllabus quickly and on to a discussion about a case we had to read for class. It was really fun to be able to throw ideas across a room of 75 of your peers and brainstorm out loud while learning about the economics of management structure. The Data Analysis class (a yawn from some) looks like it is going to start out slow but I am actually interested in the class and learning how to play around with excel a little more.

Outside of class there have been a billion things going on. Having worked for a few years (I’ll get into my background in a future post and why I chose fisher) it is a nice change of pace to be back in school but also different in that each day needs to be structured more on your own that by a typical boss at work. Finding time to study hasn’t been hard but as events continue to come up such as EOTWs (Event Of The Week, offered by the B-school on Thursdays after class at a local bar), company meet and greets and club meetings, I am sure finding time to get all my reading in will be much harder but for now it has been OK.

As for social activities there is no lack whatsoever. As I mentioned to a classmate/friend (no longer are we classmates, I think most of us are now friends) of mine the other night, “I think my Drinking Program has an MBA problem.” I kid but there have been more then plenty of times when us first year students have ventured to a local bar to not only explore the area but also get to know each other, over many CHEAP beers. This continues tonight as we have an 80’s themed night where we are all going to head out to the bars dressed as, well 80’s people.

So for now I gotta run and get my elastic banded whitewash jeans with zip pockets and some Reebok pumps. For the next blog post, a review of what’s on High Street.