Brett Has Left the Building

Dear Loyal Following,

Over the past nine months, we have shared so much. You have witnessed a special and intimate viewing of the journey from the beginning of the Specialized Master in Finance program to this final week. From my introductory blog to my first semester recap to this final thank-you letter.

Roughly one year ago, I submitted my deposit for the program and solidified my change from a Political Science/International Affairs undergraduate student to a Candidate for the Specialized Master in Finance program at the Fisher College of Business. Arguably one of the biggest decisions of my life, I switched from a pre-law track to a finance track. Looking back, it was the defining moment in my life.

I have been exposed to a vast array of financial instruments and models that I will use in my future career. The amazing faculty and staff here have been awesome in supporting my growth as a student of finance and a student of The Ohio State University. In addition, the friends I have made here will last a lifetime, coming from backgrounds all across the globe and from different avenues of business. One thing you may have noticed throughout my blogs was the influence of the different cultures in the restaurants we visited. That is one of the greatest attributes of our program.

With all that being said, this is my final week at Fisher and my final week serving the program as a graduate ambassador. I have never been great at goodbyes and thus will keep this soliloquy short and sweet. To everyone at The Ohio State University, it has been an amazing ride. I am excited to see what the future holds for us in our future careers.

Adiós. 再见. 안녕. Tạm biệt. αντιο σας. अलविदा. Ijeoma. ลาก่อน.               Goodbye, Blog World.

Brett Hornung                                                                                                     Specialized Master in Finance, Class of ’17                                                       The Ohio State University – Fisher College of Business

 

The Ultimate Settler

For some, holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, reminiscing on stories of old, and just having a splendid time among company you truly enjoy. While this is certainly the case for my family, we take it one step further with our competitive nature. After all the delicious food, our family takes to the dining room table and plays one of the many games in our arsenal.

The vast majority of these games are card games, including: Rummy, Shanghai, Yuker, Exploding Kittens, and Pinochle. The other games are board games: Labyrinth and Settlers of Catan. All of these games are definitely amazing and enjoyable in unique ways; however, my family’s favorite is Settlers of Catan.

Cover of box for game.

Ranked #1 board game in the world for the past several years (not 100% certain that this is true), Settlers is to board-gamers what peanut butter is to jelly, what cheese is to crackers, and what butter is to toast; it is just an absolute necessity. Now, you may be thinking no way, that can’t be true. But trust me, this game is the GOAT (greatest of all time).

Essentially, the goal is to build up your cities and settlements to obtain 10 points to win. Along the way, there are development cards that throw some twists into the game, as well as specialty point cards like Longest Road and Largest Army. There are different strategies that people argue for: some like to stretch their territory, others (like me) are fans of building a small but powerful community around numbers with the highest odds of being rolled. Either way, this game has it all and can be played in under two hours.

What the actual board looks like during a game.

Last night, after a nice day with extended family: my parents, younger brother, and I sat down at the dining room table for a game. While it didn’t look great for me early on, I pulled away on a three-point play to take the W: combining a victory point (from the development cards) with building one city and one settlement. It was an electric atmosphere after the win and I couldn’t have happier (sorry family).

All in all, go buy Settlers of Catan, teach your friends and family to play, and truly enjoy this epic board game for all that it offers. Happy Easter!

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.

The Global Food Map of Columbus

One cool aspect of the SMF program is how diverse it is. We have students from all over the globe who have their own unique cultures and culinary backgrounds. The latter is something that I have found most interesting over the past few months. Below you will find the different eateries that I have tried since we arrived back on campus from winter break:

First up: Saigon Asian Bistro out in Lewis Center, OH. We had a class dinner here, where the majority of the class showed up; even some of our professors and their families came. I ordered the Beef Pad Thai and it was pretty good. Unfortunately, God did not give my mouth the ability to handle spicy foods so I always have to order no spices. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this meal.

Next up, a few of my classmates and I headed to Taco Loco in nearby Dublin, Ohio, for a friend’s birthday celebration. One thing about this place is the guacamole. Man, oh man, they have some of the best guac in the state of Ohio. In addition to filling up on guac, I also indulged with one of their burritos, which was also very tasty. All in all, a solid little spot.

SMF Group at Taco Loco

Third, headed to New Taj Mahal on High Street near campus for some Indian food. This was my first attempt at Indian food since the summer of 2014. As mentioned above, I was not blessed with taste buds that are cool with spicy foods, so I was a bit scared. However, I ordered the shrimp biryani and really enjoyed it. Also, the buttered naan that we ordered for the table was delicious.

Fourth and final destination: a few weeks back a group of us headed out to Drelyse African Restaurant in Columbus, OH. This place specializes in West African cuisine and it was my first ever try at this style of food, so I was pumped up. I ordered the jollof chicken, which is pictured below. It was AMAZING. Also, my friend ordered the fried plantains and those were a nice little side dish. Would recommend this place to anyone who is interested in trying West African food.

Jollof Chicken at Drelyse

Four great experiences so far this semeste– really looking forward to continuing to explore the different cultures that we have here in Columbus and expanding my food palette over our final few months in school!

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.

It’s the Holiday Season

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, the Christmas season! With Black Friday sales just a few weeks ago, the “official” start of the holiday season has begun. Everywhere you go, people are putting up Christmas lights, decorating doors with wreaths, and playing familiar Christmas tunes. These are just a few things I love about Christmas, but for an exhaustive list, check this out.

Our Specialized Master in Finance class decided to follow this trend and get into the holiday spirit, as well, before Finals kick off here at the end of the week. The majority of the class attended a holiday celebration at Professor Fuller‘s home this past Sunday night. We are very grateful to be able to celebrate together, and enjoy the wonderful appetizers, cookies, and hot cider that Mrs. Fuller had for us.

Appetizers & Cookies
Appetizers & Cookies

In addition, the Christmas tree was left undecorated for all of us to help. For some, it was their first time putting ornaments on the tree and this was a cool experience to be a part of. Also, I had the honor of placing the angel on top of the Christmas tree (mostly because I am a tall human being); nonetheless, it was a cool thing to do.

The decorated Christmas tree from the house.
The decorated Christmas tree from the house.

During the week prior, our Specialized Master in Finance Council also had organized a Secret Santa gift swap. For those unfamiliar, basically you are assigned another person in the class and you get to give that person a gift (we had a $20 limit on gifts). At Professor Fuller’s, we all exchanged gifts with whom we were assigned. I received an exquisite box of delicious chocolate mints– thank you very much to my Secret Santa!

Finally, the neighborhood of German Village had its Village Lights Festival, in which houses and businesses in the area are decorated and all lit up, to put the neighborhood in the holiday spirit. We drove though the neighborhood instead of walking, due to the cold rain that was falling, but still were able to enjoy the Christmas spirit.

It was a great event to kick the season off, and I am looking forward to getting back to Cleveland to celebrate even more with my family!

The Concrete Jungle

Before you go on reading this post, I want you to open this music video in another tab and allow the song to play while you continue reading….

Now that the mood has been set, here we go. This past weekend, from the evening of Wednesday the 21st to Sunday the 25th, I took a trip to the land of Sinatra, Bobby Flay, and Tupac. A little place called New York City.

As I was flying in, listening to the song you are hopefully listening to right now, it was around 8:30pm on Wednesday night. If you fly into LaGuardia and are lucky enough to get a seat on the left-side of the aircraft, you will have that 1-million dollar view of NYC lit up like a Christmas tree. That sight always seems to give me the chills, and I was left in awe and ready to take on “the City” the next day.

Now you may be wondering: Brett, what were you doing in NYC?Good question. I ventured on the trip with three of my fellow SMF classmates and an undergraduate group targeting the investment banks in NYC. Between Thursday and Friday, we visited banks like Goldman Sachs in the Financial District and J.P. Morgan in Midtown. With my intended career path of Investment Banking, it was an awesome look into the workings of “Wall Street” and the current state of Investment Banks.

Two of my classmates and I in Times Square.
Two of my classmates and me in Times Square.

Also, I used this trip as a means to network. From our trips to the banks, we were able to speak and network with Ohio State alumni working there, as well as at a reception on Thursday night. In addition, we had free time in which we could network with other working professionals and alumni in the City– and I feel that I established some awesome new connections.

Finally, despite having been to New York City before, I let the inner tourist in me come out a bit and I stopped by some of the most famous spots like: Wall Street, Times Square, the Raging Bull, the Rockefeller Center, and Broadway. Final takeaways? I really do love NYC and can’t wait for my next trip back!

 

A classmate and I at the Raging Bull near Wall Street.
A classmate and I at the Raging Bull near Wall Street.

 

 

 

What’s Up, World?

Hello there,

My name is Brett Hornung and I am a Specialized Master in Finance Candidate at Fisher, with a focus on Corporate Finance. I am one of the Graduate Ambassadors this year for the SMF program and will be blogging throughout the year to give you all some insight into what goes on in the world of an SMF student. In the meantime, here is my story.

A picture of me as part of an introduction to who I am.
This is me, the man behind the blog posts.

A couple of random fun facts to start it off:

  • My career goal is to be an Investment Banker.
  • Go Browns, Go Tribe, Go Cavs. Go anything Cleveland really.
  • My favorite type of food is steak.
  • I speak Mandarin at an intermediate level and have been to over 10 cities within China.
  • I enjoy outdoor concerts, (of most genres) with my favorite being EDM, and my favorite artist being Flume.

Born and raised on the West side of Cleveland, OH in the beautiful town of Westlake. Ended up attending St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and ultimately choosing Marquette for my undergraduate studies. At Marquette, I double-majored in International Affairs & Political Science, and double-minored in Economics & Asian Studies. In addition, I also played NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse for the inaugural team, and last year we won the Big East Championship, so, as you could imagine that was a great way to cap off my undergraduate career.

This is me with the trophy after we won the Big East.
This is me with the trophy after we won the Big East.

 

When I realized I was interested in graduate school, specifically programs revolving around finance, Ohio State was a natural choice. My older brother was a 5-year student of Fisher, my best friends all went to Fisher, and I had only heard great things about the place. In addition, I had probably visited a million times at this point and knew the campus as well as I had known Marquette’s. So, when I received the offer to come and enroll as a member of the class of 2017, I knew it was the place for me to be.

Since our program starts in the first week of August, I have been on campus for about a month now and have been loving every aspect of it. Classes and professors are interesting, the weather on campus is beautiful, and the people I have met so far have been awesome. Really am looking forward to the next 8 months as a Buckeye, especially with the start of football season upon us. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more posts of mine throughout the year. Take it easy.

First month at Fisher SMF!

I have realized two most important things in my first month at Fisher SMF program. One, the breadth of resources and two, to succeed here you need to prioritize!

Once you are admitted to Fisher SMF, even before the program begins, the Fisher Career Management Office (CMO) starts communicating with you to offer you personalized career search services. From how to network in US (especially for international students) to how to dress formally (important for all the female students) and how it is different from business casual to how to brand yourself, everything is personalized. In my previous academic life (trust me, it’s a long one) I have never come across such a depth and breadth of services/ resources offered.

And CMO is just one office there are many such offices and organizations here which offer ample professional and social development opportunities. When there are so many opportunities around its very important for us, as students as to how to allocate our time. For example as an international student I had to take English as a Second Language (ESL) test and it had some conflicts with my finance classes. After discussing this issue with SMF program director Professor Pinteris and advisor Jennifer Bennett, they helped me reschedule it for the next semester, which was such a relief for me. I would have missed a very interesting class. So in a nutshell, if you know what you want, Fisher SMF gives you ample opportunities to explore your path!