Planning and CFA

Hey everyone!

I am back to blogging again! I mentioned I would talk about how planning helps us in grad school. Developing time management and planning skills is particularly useful especially during the holidays. This year many of my peers traveled back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Thus many teams had to plan ahead how our schedules would look like, what times would be best to meet, before or after the holidays, dividing up the work, etc.

One thing that was particularly helpful in our planning process was the development of a project management plan. I was given the opportunity to develop a project management plan following a template that we were provided after one of our speaker’s presentations. In this project management plan, we assigned tasks to each member of our group would be responsible for and set deadlines to complete each milestone of our projects.

CFA Planning

I have been amazed by the level of effort, skills and diversity of knowledge that peers bring to class every day. I asked a couple of my peers preparing for the CFA and CFA Research Challenge to share about their experiences. This is what they said.

Joey Nguyen, Interested in Investments Track

How has your experience been getting ready for the CFA exam?

Since I’m taking it in December, while we are overloaded with a lot of projects and I also have to work on the CFA research challenge, I just think I would try my best for the exam. Everything you learn in the exam materials is what you need if you want to work as an equity analyst or break into investment management.

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

Two things I learned from the preparation for the exam: first is stick to your schedule because it’s a big commitment, and second is being patient because you might have to take one level more than one. So just do it when you are really interested in asset management. One good thing is that 70% of the materials for level one will be covered from all courses in Fisher.

How has your experience been preparing for the CFA Research Challenge?

I have applied what I learned from class to a real investments project, also to work and to think as a real analyst. Bloomberg and modeling are two big key skills you can leverage from the classes while working. You also have to read a lot and try to find the key points (conceptualize it), learn where to start while reading a 10K and spot out the company’s problems. The CFA society also asks the company selected for the challenge to give a presentation about their company to all the participant teams so we need to know which questions we should ask to make them disclose some unique information.

Rizvi Bari, Interested in Investments Track

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

I would say start as early as you can and do a lot of practice questions. I’m still trying to find more sources, but I think the professors are good resources. Working closely with the CFA institute helps a lot as well.

Jayaprabha Dhavale, Interested in Investments Track

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about taking the CFA?

Personally, as I was already working, I studied on weekends only. Many of the topics were not as hard but some topics were new. Topics covered in the Financial Analysis Valuation class are covered in the exam. Regarding planning, I’d say you have to have a time line such as finish studying equity by this date, derivatives by this date.

Thank you to my peers who collaborated on this 😊

Cheers and Go Bucks!

So thankful

With Thanksgiving last week, it was hard to think of much else besides seeing my family, food and FOOTBALL! (stay tuned for a Beat M!ch!g@n post – I cannot wait to see how campus celebrates Urban Meyer’s first OSU v Michigan game).

It has been very interesting to learn about my fellow students’ traditions and ideas for Thanksgiving. Traveling hundreds of miles away to visit family, a town over, staying in Columbus and having a “non-traditional” Thanksgiving – everyone has someone and something to be thankful for. 

It’s too easy to not see the forest through the trees. However, I am so incredible blessed and so happy that I get to go to THE Ohio State University every day and learn from the best faculty and students around.

My life is far better than I deserve  – here are my other top reasons to give thanks this season:

  • My small, but very mighty, family: I have a fantastic support system, and I don’t know what I would do without their cheers during my MBA program.

    My family last June @ my sister’s high school graduation
  • The simple fact that I wake up every morning and learn something new. I know, how incredibly cheesy is that statement?! But, it’s so true it had to be said. I am becoming a smarter business woman, but also a better person overall. No matter if I am in marketing, finance, operations or accounting – I am constantly pushing myself.
  • I am so thankful to have found such great friendships within just a few short months. And I am extremely thankful that they know how to make me laugh when I am stressing out just a bit too much.
  • The opportunities at Fisher. If I listed out every lunch, seminar, activity or special event – you would still be reading on Black Friday and missing TONS of great sales. So I’ll just say thanks for opportunities 🙂
  • I have thankful to go to school in a city with such energy and life. Really, do I need to say anything more than Beat Michigan Week?!
  • Thankful for my other support system, my boyfriend, Sam. Sometimes I feel that he should get his own diploma! I don’t know how I would have gotten through data analysis without him.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! See you next week.

To be thankful for… a break!

In the full time MBA program, the week leading up to Thanksgiving is a whirlwind.  Suddenly, there are final projects, final papers, final presentations, and of course, final exams, on the horizon.  It seemed as if my classmates and I were spinning like tops as we organized meetings, conducted research and attempted to accomplish as much as we could before Thanksgiving break.  One wise second year student said “If I could go back and give myself advice, I’d tell myself to calm down.  It all gets done.  It’s like magic.”

She’s right, of course.  But it’s hard to believe that when your to-do list is growing exponentially and time is flying by.  The saving grace?  A great Thanksgiving.  Even though most students (including myself) are probably using at least some of their Thanksgiving break to do work, it’s so important to take time to relax with family and friends, laugh, share stories, and eat and eat and eat (and eat).  This break is perfectly timed to rejuvenate us before our final week of classes and exams.  And my advice is to relax and enjoy it.

I sure did.  And as you can see, so did Einstein.


Too. Much. Turkey.


A Time to Be Thankful

This week I want to list a few things that I’m thankful for, since it’s close to Thanksgiving.  As this week is a short week at OSU (and even shorter for some of you in the WPMBA program with optional classes), take a little bit of time to reflect on your quarter and things that you are thankful for.

I’m thankful for:

  • Being accepted in the WPMBA at Fisher.  This program has already been beneficial and the opportunities available are endless.  The people I have met, the classes I have taken and the information I have learned have all had an impact on me.
  • A great group for MBA 812.  A great group can make a project so much easier without the worry of a member not pulling their weight or being too overbearing.
  • A supportive husband, family, friends, and coworkers (and my grandma, who is my loyal blog reader.)  When participating in this or any other graduate program, having the support of your friends and family is crucial.  My support system helps me study, or knows when to leave me alone to study, and they understand I may not be able to hang out as much as I used too.
  • A flexible work schedule.  Because I work 1.5 hours away from campus, I’m usually leaving work early to head to class.  But with flexible time and the ability to do some of my work whenever I have computer access, I am grateful to be able to participate in the program and still work without stressing too much.

These are just a few things that I am thankful for.  As the quarter is winding down and final papers and examinations are right around the corner, take a few minutes and reflect on your quarter.  Thank those who have helped you throughout the quarter, whether it be group members, your professors, or your support system.   Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s All Relative

One thing I guarantee you: it snows in Ohio.  Being from the Cleveland area, I don’t think it snows much in Columbus.  However, I forget how many people aren’t used to snow . . . and how many of my classmates have never seen snow before (much less driven in it).  This year, the weather turned colder earlier than usual and we’ve had snow accumulation for at least a week.  Right now I’d guess we have only 2-3 inches on the ground… which really translates to nothing major… especially if you’re from Minnesota (where they received a couple of feet within a single day last weekend).  My roommate is from France: according to him it was a blizzard.  What can I say?  It’s all relative.

Speaking of my roommate, he accompanied me home for Thanksgiving.  From my perspective, it was really neat to be able to extend a warm welcome to a friend that has never celebrated such a holiday.  Thanksgiving is an American custom that I’ve taken for granted all my life.  When I think of “Americans”, I don’t consider us to have a culture per se.  We all come from different backgrounds and heritages – which means many of us still practice the customs and traditions our ancestors did.  It was nice to realize that, as Americans, we share a common bond and tradition that dates back a few hundred years.  Nicer was the fact that my father decided to cook the turkey Martha Stewart-style (he covered it with cheesecloth) and it came out beautifully (my roommate took the picture to prove it).  Along with preparing a fine meal, my dad set the table and decorated the dining room with harvest-time colors and patterns.  I felt quite proud when my roommate first saw it and whispered “It reminds me of home”.  Being far away from loved ones for an extended amount of time has got to be difficult.  I’m glad I was able to share my family with him… surrogate relatives.

Final grades just finished posting = fall quarter is officially in the books.  One thing that can throw you for a bit of a loop in b-school is the way you are graded.  Grades are distributed on a forced curve with the average at B+.  Being the achievers we are, we aren’t exactly used to being average . . . much less *below* average.  Sadly, the fact of the matter is: someone has to be below average (technically, half of us).  What you’ll need to figure out, amongst many other things, is how much effort you need to spend on your academic work in order to achieve the standing you want… and then hope all of your cohort teammates share the same goal.  Grades aren’t everything but they do matter.  Realistically, your final grades should come as no major surprise… most of the time.  By the reactions I’m reading on Facebook, many of us got surprised by at least one of our grades (class varied by individual).  Inherently, your calculated percentage could normally equate to an A- but you get a B+ in the class.  Why?  Because it depends how the rest of your classmates scored.  So, as much as you want to celebrate each others’ successes, you also want to stay near the top of the pack.  Yes friends, it is all relative.

Turkey Martha-style

the table is set for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Break and The Jump

This weekend I went home again for Thanksgiving and it was a great time. Although it’s always hectic traveling to and from Colorado in one weekend (and luckily, no, I did not have any trouble with the overly-hyped new security measures), this was definitely a perfect way to recharge my batteries before this last week of classes. I started the weekend by walking around my old college town, Fort Collins, with some good friends – and what better way to stay warm in the Colorado cold then some hot chocolate?

Friends in Fort Collins
Cocoa for the Colorado Cold

I spent the next day, Thanksgiving, with my family and one of the stories that came up was the Mirror Lake jump. Yes, I was one of the students just crazy enough to partake in this tradition this year. For anyone that has not heard about it yet, every year a ton of Ohio State students go over to Mirror Lake – basically a decent sized pond – and they simply jump in the freezing water. Apparently this ritual is supposed to “bring down the spirit of Woody Hayes” to make sure the Buckeyes beat Michigan, but all I know is that the water was freezing! I probably only stayed in about 30 seconds, but when it was all said and done (and I did not get hypothermia), I’m definitely glad I was able to take part in this crazy tradition. If anything, it was a great topic to discuss while eating some good ol’ turkey and mashed potatoes.

The rest of my Thanksgiving weekend was filled with a little homework and some more quality friend/family time. Now we just have to get through this last week of classes, then I have two finals next week, and then I’m officially done with my first entire quarter! It seems like it has completely flown by!

Until next time,


Ohio State vs. Michigan: A Time-Honored Tradition

I am proud to say that I have never been a student at OSU to witness a defeat to “that team up north.” I was a little worried this year that tradition might come to an end, but this Thanksgiving weekend the Buckeyes did not fail to produce a big W. There is so much team spirit at the game before and after that is makes for quite an experience.

There are so many incredible traditions that come with this game, that an entire week is dedicated to following these traditions exactly as they have done for over 100 years. This week was the annual Mirror Lake Jump in which thousands of students descend upon teeny, tiny mirror lake to jump in the water for what is supposed to be a good-luck charm to defeating M*ch*g*n. The weather is always below or at freezing, which makes for quite the evening. People usually start jumping in at about 9pm and people jump probably until around 2am. There are police and ambulances all over in case of an emergency as well as those who just want to watch the mayhem and not participate by jumping in the lake. It is normally on the Thursday before the game, but since this year was Thanksgiving, the jump was scheduled for Tuesday before the game. Also a tradition is the many rivalries that occur between both schools through various student organizations. Fraternities have blood drives to try to beat other fraternities from M*ch*g*n in blood giving. Finally, OUAB (the student activities board) hosts a Beat M*ch*g*n crafts night, for students to prepare items for the game.

There are some things about this game, that as an OSU student, must be observed. As seen above (in the previous paragraph), the word M*ch*g*n should be spelled in writing with stars or referred to as “that team up north” instead of using their actual name. Also, stores that carry Big Ten items with all of the schools, are supposed to place the M*ch*g*n flag upside down.

This year there were a few new traditions that were added to the continuously growing list. One of my new favorite things I saw this year for Beat M*ch*g*n week, we the “Dump the Blue” campaign at some of the local bookstores. Students had the option to get rid of any blue clothing they had in exchange for a red rally towel to be used at the game on Saturday. Another of my other favorite things about this years game was the chant at the end of the game that was, “SEVEN STRAIGHT” alluding to the fact that OSU has beaten these opponents seven times in a row.

Here’s hoping it will be eight straight next year…. Go Bucks!

The first picture is from the OSU vs. UM 2006 #1 vs #2 “game of the century” after everyone rushed the field.

Tim and Rebecca

Another from 2006….Thank you to “Block O” for creating this gem…..

No to Michigan

Finally, we made it to AA deck!!! Picture from the 2010 game….

view from seats
OSU vs. UM 2010 view from our seats

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi guys, long time no see.  Sorry for not showing up for a period of time.  I feel that I should at least write something on such a special day.  Well~~today is November 25th, my very first Thanksgiving in America.  So happy Thanksgiving to you all!

I am glad that not only can I experience this important festival, but also I had a chance to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner today.  Although I am still not “qualified” for being involved in any processes with the turkey, at least I could work in the kitchen, helping to peel the potatoes and make them into mashed potatoes.

This is actually going to be a very short one.  Autumn Quarter for the Fisher MAcc program is going to finish within the next two weeks and I really gained a great experience in the program.  I made new friends, learned a lot of stuff and made a new life for myself.  So now at this moment I just want to give thanks for being here in the Fisher MAcc program.  I am sure that every one of you must have something to be thankful for this year, too, so just think about those good things, have a smile on your face and enjoy your Thanksgiving !

Happy Holidays! Recipes for easy house hopping

The Holiday Season is upon us and oh what a lovely time this is! However,  some are not able to spend this time with family. It is my wish that everyone has a place to spend the holidays, or that they can at least cook a nice warm meal for themselves as they enjoy football and the Andy Griffith Marathon. So I would like to share with you guys some of my favorite recipes. They are great for house hopping in the event that you get invitations to multiple homes, you don’t want to show up empty-handed. If you’d like to see all of my fun recipes for good food check out my personal blog here.

Sweet Potato Pie!
Prep Time: 1 hr 15 mins Cook Time 50-60 mins.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 -3 Sweet Potatoes. Depends on their size. But about 1 lb.
  • 1 stick room temp. Butter.
  • 3/4 C White Sugar
  • 1/2 C Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 C Milk. I usually cook with 2% but for this I use whole
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash Cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1 Capful vanilla extract
  • 1 Frozen Pie Crust (You could make your own, but really it’s not worth it)


Preheat oven to 350º after you have boiled the potatoes.

In a large pot, boil the potatoes with the skin on for about an hour. Sometimes I cut the potatoes up to quicken this process. Eventually they will soften and the skin will fall right off the potatoes.

Use a masher or a fork to break the potatoes up. I also like to run the mixer through them to pull out the stringy bits.

Next add the butter and combine with the mixer. Again pay attention to any chunks or stringy bits.

Add all of the remaining ingredients (add the eggs one at a time in another dish first to avoid shells and bad eggs) and combine with mixer thoroughly until smooth.

Roll the pie crust into a pie dish and press the edges into the ridges. You could also buy the pie crusts already in the foil pans. Pour pie mixture into the crust and bake in the oven until firm and set, about an hour. Do the pie test, insert a knife in the center and see if it comes out clean.

Top with pecans if you’re wild and crazy like that or Whipped Cream when you serve or leave it as is. I LOVE it as is and I love it even more when it’s hot!

Right before it heads into the oven

Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving 2008

My Daddy’s Peach Cobbler
Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 45 mins

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 Cup of Butter (1 stick)
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Cup Self-rising Flour. (It must be Self-rising!)
  • 1 Can of Sliced Peaches in syrup
  • 8 X 8 Square Pyrex Dish or 13 X 9 Pyrex if you’re doubling


Preheat oven at 350°.

Put the stick of butter into the pyrex dish and place in oven until the butter has melted. In the meantime, combine the flour, sugar, and milk in a bowl and whisk until moistened and there are no lumps. The batter will be like cake batter, but not as thick.

Carefully remove the Pyrex dish with the melted butter in it (remember it’s hot!) and pour the batter into it. Now you have to move a bit quickly because the pyrex dish is hot so it will start to cook the batter. You will see the butter float and envelope the batter and that’s cool. Great actually. Now take the peach slices right out of the can and place them all in the batter. I try to cover just about every inch of the batter. Then go back and pour the juice/syrup in the batter as well. Pour about half of what remains. Too much and the batter won’t bake properly.

Place dish back into the oven and bake for about 45 mins until the top is golden brown. The batter will rise up over the peaches and look beautiful! Peach Cobbler just like that!

Serve with Ice Cream and have a blast!

And don’t forget about Thanksgiving Breakfast! Before the festivities begin, wake everyone up with this delicious spice cake! Enjoy it with coffee and save some for dinner too!

Breakfast Spice Cake:
Prep Time 10 mins. Bake Time: 45 mins.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 box Spice Cake
  • 1 package Vanilla Pudding mix
  • 1 Cup Light Sour Cream
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 C Vegetable Oil
  • Glaze (recipe to follow)
  • Bundt cooking pan


Preheat oven to 350º.

Spray Bundt cake pan with cooking spray evenly.

In a large mixing bowl combine the Spice Cake mix, Pudding mix, and Sour Cream. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then add those as well along with the oil. Use a mixer and beat until batter is moist. If you don’t have a mixer use a wire whisk.

Pour batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 45 mins. Check the cake around 40 mins by inserting a knife and seeing if it comes out clean. You don’t want to dry the cake out by over-baking it.

Allow to cool about 10-15 mins and then turn the cake out of the pan. The easy way to do this is by placing a plate on top of the pan and then flipping it over. Gently ease the pan off of the cake.

Now drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.


  • 1/2 Cream Cheese Icing
  • 2 Tbs Brown Sugar
  • 1 Dash of Cinnamon

Place the above ingredients in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds allowing the icing to melt. Stir until smooth, drizzle while hot.

You can add nuts to the batter if you like, it’s up to you!

Enjoy! Remember, it doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving or any holiday to have a good meal. Use these recipes any time!

Happy Holidays!


Travel Like A Pro

As I try to psych myself up for traveling on the busiest travel day of the year tomorrow, I am reminding myself of some traveling best practices, so I can make my own life, as well as the lives of the people around me, easier as we try to make our ways home.

I won’t belittle your travel expertise, so I’ll instead make a list of things I wish OTHER people, not you, would do when traveling:

1) Stick all of your loose items like wallet, change, etc. into your carry-on bag instead of a big bin or little bin.  You can then leave the security area and put everything back at your own leisure, rather than having another traveler breathing down your neck.

2) Grab a bin as soon as possible.  In this bin should go your shoes, belt, and cell phone, liquids and your coat.  But not your boarding pass. For the love of Jake, hold on to it or put it somewhere you can very easily access it.

3) If you have a laptop, take it out of the case, put the laptop bag on top of it and then put the laptop bag onto the conveyor belt separately when it is your turn.  This way you’re only carrying two bins and a carry on.  Very manageable, and less awkward than juggling two bags and three bins.  No one likes being behind the stumbling camel in line for security.

4) Don’t be one of those people who is going to protest the scanners.  It’s Thanksgiving.  Take a stand on your own time instead of burdening everyone around you with your peaceful protest.  I’d rather have a little radiation than get screamed at by TSA and other travelers.  I’d rather have a little radiation than have a bomb on my plane.  Let’s not forget the Underwear Bomber and what could have happened.

5) Don’t be one of those people who is going to protest the scanners.  It bore repeating.  I’d rather have a little radiation than being very intimately frisked by someone who is not my physician or boyfriend.

6) I’m not a big guy.  Average height, lean toward the slim side in terms of girth.  I don’t care how big or small you are, random, large or tiny and inconsiderate random traveler that I inevitably have to sit next to on every flight.  Your knees are supposed to fit within the borders of the armrests, not halfway into my leg room.  And being that I’m flying United this trip, (if my flights take off at all), it’s not much leg room at all.  And I will tell on you to a flight attendant.

7) You also get one armrest, guaranteed.  The one in the middle is a little touchy.  It depends on who sat down first and claimed it.  I’ll give you that.  You, however, do not get the middle armrest for your arm and half of my personal space for your elbow.  I will push back.  Please don’t make me be mean.

8 ) If I am reading a book or have headphones in, I do not want to talk to you. If I have not made eye contact with you since we were thrown together in this world, I do not want to talk to you.  If I am monosyllabic in my responses to your invasive questions, I do not want to talk to you.  If I look you straight in the face when you try to talk to me and I turn away, I do not want to talk to you.

9) If you have one of those roller luggage bags, put the wheels in first.  It’s the only way it’ll fit.  Don’t pull a Gaylord Focker.  And don’t say bomb on a plane.

10) Don’t be one of those people who is going to protest the scanners.  Seriously.  Don’t.

Follow these tips and you will be an expert traveler and be spared being yelled at by me or other travelers or the TSA.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

PS – This is what happens when you protest the scanners.  No one wins.