Team Projects: Unveiled

One of the cooler aspects of the Specialized Master in Finance program here at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business is the Team Projects class that is taken in your last semester.

The course is designed to allow students to apply for teams on projects with real companies who submit real projects, which the teams work on through the months of March and April, culminating in a final presentation during the last week of school. The “objective of the course is to give SMF students an opportunity to practice their analytical and soft skills by working in teams on real finance related projects with clients” (syllabus).

Throughout the program, we have taken core classes in Economics, Corporate Finance, and Investments; as well as our elective classes in our chosen academic paths. We have also developed our professional skills through networking events and extracurricular club activities like the Fisher Graduate Finance Association. In addition, we have developed our teamwork skills through group projects and presentations, as well as through our core Leadership class. All of the skills and knowledge that have been developed during our seven months at Fisher are now going to be tested and applied in real world situations. It is truly an exciting class!

FGFA Logo

Last week, the Specialized Master in Finance class of 2017 got together for the grand unveiling of the companies that were participating this year. Professor Pinteris walked us through the class syllabus, as well as the expectations of each student during the time period working with these companies. The projects cover all four of the main tracks within the program: Corporate Finance, Risk, Real Estate, and Investments. Thus, there are plenty of options for each student to apply for in their desired path.

Now we have to submit our applications and will find out later this week which company’s project we have been selected for. Once we have this information and we make contact with the company, our work truly begins. I think I can speak for the entire SMF class when I say that we are excited for this amazing opportunity.

 

Ball is Life

I believe the legendary NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” How is this relevant? Well, the Specialized Master in Finance program fielded a team of Grade-A all-stars to play intramural B-league basketball every Tuesday night at 9:50pm, and the fellas are undefeated. Led by team captain Brian Perry, Big K & The Gang is already paving its path to the Finals: the internet has been blowing up with memes about how the squad is taking the Finals home in 6 games this year.

One of the internet's meme renditions of the team.
One of the internet’s meme renditions of the team.

Last Tuesday night was our opening night, in which we faced a fierce competitor; however, the SMF team ultimately pulled ahead towards the end of the game and notched our first victory of the season. Coach Terence Mordi after the game was quoted saying: “These guys started off a bit rough, shooting a dismal field percentage; however, in the second half they played as if it was their last game ever. I can’t get over how proud I am of these guys and the effort it took to pull out that W.”

Steve “Big K” Mowry was a dominate presence in the post, while Mark Venzor was an absolute weapon on the defensive end of the court. Ian Ding also provided valuable minutes at point guard, notching several assists in the process. Overall, each of the 8 team members showed strong initial performances, providing ESPN and other basketball analysts with some positive insights for what is to come throughout the rest of the season.

Rumor has it (albeit unconfirmed), this is the most wins that an SMF team has had in an intramural sport this school year. From what I have seen thus far, this team is the epitome of hard-working and blue-collar. Although the team has been surrounded by media and fans looking for comments and autographs, respectively, this group of financiers is looking to carry this momentum heading into our second game of the season this Tuesday night.

A lot of pizza and a little bit of finance

Just a quick blog post before my Thursday 8:30 AM class (BUSFIN 6221: Industry, Risk & Pricing with Prof. Brandl… I’ll probably write a post about him at some point… he’s a lot of fun in the classroom)…

Most of you may not know that I got my BS in Electrical (& Computer) Engineering from tOSU in 2002 (I put the “& Computer” in parentheses because that was a name change implemented AFTER I chose Electrical Engineering as a major… I assure you that I am not qualified to program a computer, build a computer, or fix a computer). During my time at tOSU from 1997-2002, I probably ate Adriatico’s pizza half a dozen times and never really thought it was great (though it was the favorite pizza of many of my friends at the time). Then I went about 10-12 years without having it, until last Friday, when the Fisher Graduate Finance Association (FGFA) provided Adriatico’s pizza for free at their Info Session. (Aside: If you want “college kids” to attend anything, provide food. If you feed them, they will come.) Though I love pizza, and especially free pizza, I didn’t truly appreciate Adriatico’s until recently. It was AWESOME!!!

Yesterday after class, a number of my SMF classmates and I couldn’t help but notice some tables set up out in the “quad” (I actually don’t know what the open area in the middle of all the buildings is called). There were large open boxes of pizza (again, Adriatico’s) on the tables. It was free; provided by the good folks at Ernst & Young. They also gave out free t-shirts (“I <3 EY”).

In light of all the free-food opportunities at tOSU, my classmates and I have decided to found the Fisher Finance Food Association. Do you like Finance? Yes. Do you like Food? Yes. Welcome!!!

On to class… Prof. Brandl doesn’t like technology out while he lectures. Computers and phones in their cases, or incur his wrath.

You saw Captain at 1 year. Here he is at about 9 weeks.

My Chicago SIM Trip

I just got back from an amazing trip to the Windy City (Chicago). Believe it or not, I actually went to Chicago for a class trip on behalf of one of my finance courses, BUSFIN 824 – The Stock Market. It is also known as the Student Investment Management (SIM) course, and it is one of the few classes in the country that puts millions of (real) dollars in the hands of student investment managers. As a class, we are responsible for managing about $22 million, currently, of the Ohio State Endowment Fund that has been allocated to the class specific SIM Portfolio. Each student in the course is responsible for monitoring one stock in the portfolio over the duration of the quarter, and at the end of the quarter, we must decide as a class on whether to buy, sell, or hold our positions in these various stocks. For example, I have been closely monitoring our position in MasterCard (MA) over this quarter and am currently in the process of writing my final report and making a final recommendation on how to change our position in MA.

These final reports are another interesting opportunity of this course in that all of the students’ reports are considered for the “Rosenfield Family Prize” at the end of the quarter. The student with the best report is awarded $2,000 and there is a $500 runner-up award to the next best report in the class. Like any good Fisher MAcc student, I enjoy submitting a good quality report just for the sake of trying my best… but $2,000 is not a bad additional motivator.

The Cloud Gate
The Cloud Gate

Now back to this class trip. The SIM class actually pays for the flight to Chicago (or New York, depending on the quarter). Our trip consisted of several meetings with some higher-up individuals in various finance-focused organizations throughout Chicago, including: GEM Realty Capital, Mesirow Financial, Oak Ridge Investments, and Goldman Sachs. We met with either former OSU alumni or people with ties to Ohio at each of these firms, and they shared their varying experiences and advice. We also had the great opportunity of visiting the famous Chicago Board Options Exchange, and we even had a chance to see the trading floor.

CBOE
CBOE Trading Floor

Overall it was a great and unforgettable trip to Chicago, and I just want to say thank you to all the individuals who took the time to meet with us. For any soon-to-be MAcc students reading this, I would highly recommend taking the SIM class. Keep in mind that it is a Finance MBA course, but even for those students with just an overall curiosity about the world of finance, this has been a great course. (Successful completion of the course counts as a non accounting elective toward the MAcc degree.) For more information, check out the course website here.

Spring Break – Cincinnati

The second quarter is officially complete… unfortunately, so is Spring Break.  Despite only having one week off (and the fact that it snowed), my spring break was a much needed escape from the hectic life of an MBA student.   During my vacation, I was able to schedule two interviews; one with Cardinal Health and the other with Battelle Memorial Institute.  I was also able to return home to Cincinnati for several days to spend some time with my family.

Overall, I really enjoyed my second quarter at Fisher.  I actually thought the second quarter was easier to manage than the first quarter (probably because I’m use to student life).  Hopefully this positive trend continues since I am planning to take some challenging courses this upcoming quarter.  Those courses are International Business, Strategy, Services Marketing, and Corporate Finance.

A new chapter – Q2

Tomorrow is the first day of the second quarter. Christmas break was great, but I’m glad that it is over. Three weeks is a long time off and towards the end I started to feel restless.

This quarter I am taking five classes. Four are mandatory: Cost Accounting, Finance, Operations Management and Marketing. The elective that I’ll be taking is Negotiations. Even before taking a single class, I think I can say that I’ll prefer the second quarter over the first quarter classes. Marketing and Operations are two areas that I am considering as majors.

I wish I had better news to report. I am writing this blog as I watch my beloved Cincinnati Bengals get crushed by the NY Jets. Fortunately the Bengals are in the playoffs and it just so happens that they’ll be playing the Jets in Cincinnati next weekend in the first round of the playoffs. I’ll need to make sure to get all my reading done during the week so that I can return home this weekend to attend the game.  Who Dey!

– Joe