Community Service Day

This week was a good week for community service here at the Fisher College of Business. Not only did we have the FETCH! Program, which Michael Barbosa already discussed on this blog, but we also had an aptly named “community service day” on Friday. Although it was mainly for first year MBA students, this event was open to all Fisher grad students and gave us an opportunity to volunteer for various causes around the Columbus area.

Since we did not have classes on Thursday this week, a few of the MAcc students decided to use the extra long weekend to help out with this great cause. As a group, we were assigned to volunteer at the LifeCare Alliance. I believe other places for volunteers included an animal shelter, the Ronald McDonald house, etc. The LifeCare Alliance’s website explains that the

LifeCare Alliance provides services to assist older adults or chronically ill residents in Franklin and Madison Counties. These services include, home meal delivery, homemaker and home health aides, and health services from RNs at our Wellness Centers. The primary goal of each of our services is help seniors remain in the comfort of their own homes with dignity, which is where 100% of them want to be. For each older adult or chronically ill person LifeCare Alliance keeps in their own homes, it saves Ohio taxpayers over $40,000 per year.

Along with these great services, they basically have a miniature grocery store within their facility where people can come and shop for the essential things anyone would need at an affordable price suited for the clientele of the LifeCare Alliance. This is where the MAcc group spent our day volunteering. We helped do a lot throughout the day, but mainly we assisted in cleaning up one of their storage rooms as well as helping to sort some donated food products. Not only was this a great chance to give back to the Columbus community, but it was also a great opportunity to spend some quality time with some quality people. Here’s a picture of the happy group at the end of the not-so-labor-intensive day (unfortunately there were no “Team MAcc” shirts, but now we all have a great disguise if we ever need to blend in among the MBAs):

Community Service Day
From left to right: Paige, Michael, Dave, me (Tyler), Tao

The next MAcc-related community service event will be the VITA program, which I’m sure will be featured on here by at least one of us MAcc students, so stay tuned.


FETCH! :: MAcc students and community service

FETCH! is the game named after the same acronym that stands for financial education teaches children healthy habits. This game was created by members of the Ohio Society of CPAs to help teach elementary aged children the basics of accounting. This game is taken into the classroom by volunteers from the society and from various graduate accounting programs in Ohio (such as Fisher’s). You may or may not recall from an earlier blog that I was anxiously awaiting this program. I have always found teaching a rewarding experience and today was no exception because today I was able to visit Wickliffe Progressive, an elementary school in Upper Arlington, OH.

Let me start off by letting you know the kids were amazing! They were very well behaved and seemed to really enjoy their time with their teacher Molly Hinkle. I was very impressed by their composure and their good manners. Before the game started, we were asked to conduct a quick 15 minute discussion about accounting and CPAs. I was pleased to know that they knew much more about accounting than I did when I was their age. Starting off the game, a lot of the kids immediately formulated strategies they hoped would help them win. As the game was played, they found many obstacles and stumbling blocks that forced them to reformulate their strategies. After the game clock ran out and a team was awarded the coveted bone-pencil prize, we had another discussion. When asked how auditor Michael (me) was helpful in the game, the kids were extremely insightful. They mentioned that they were glad I was there because it forced them to double check their numbers before they recorded a transaction. They also said my presence would be helpful because I could catch mistakes on their balance sheet and prevent those mistakes from perpetuating throughout the game. Finally, they also said it helped them trust the balances of other teams. Wow! I wish I had FETCH! when I was in elementary school.

It was fun to volunteer for something like this. I hope the MAcc program will continue to provide me with these opportunities and I already know of at least one coming down the pipeline. I’m speaking of the VITA clinic offered through the Fisher School of Business. No matter how it is that I’m giving back, I find it extremely rewarding and can’t wait until the next time!

Get out there!

As I bench pressed myself out of bed one recent Sunday morning, I was not looking forward to my planned, late-afternoon event. A lot of my new friends here in Columbus had convinced me to go volunteer at a local retirement home. I had done it several times throughout my four years of undergraduate school. Salty memories of college folk attempting to converse with the greatest American generation were still fresh in my mind. I especially felt guilty for unintentionally invoking one particular gentleman to cry as he spoke to me about his life in the 1940s. Thinking I was in for another teeth-gritting experience, I eventually made my way over to the retirement home.

I was in for a little bit of a shock when I walked in because the receptionist looked especially glad to see another volunteer. Making my way over to one of the multipurpose rooms, I was also surprised at what I witnessed: young adults and retirement residents all having fun! Curious as to the success of these semimonthly visits, I observed that the key with that great generation wasn’t highlighting the differences in between our lives, but rather was highlighting our commonalities. I sat around the poker table and gambled away a quarter (I’m a horrible bluffer). The table next to mine was playing Uno.

Helping the residents shuffle and deal, it was easy to see that they enjoy much of the same things we enjoy such as good company and fun activities. Afterward, a few of the volunteers made their way over to a grand piano and played both old and new show tunes. The main lobby was filled with residents, visiting relatives, and employees. They clearly enjoyed the spectacular effort demonstrated. That being said, I feel as though I (and the other volunteers) came away with the greatest benefit.

You may be wondering why I share this tale. Attending a high ranking program such as Fisher and learning alongside some of the greatest talent in the world can lead to a very subtle trap. At least from my personal experience, I can say it is easy to forget the real reason I do what I do. Yes, the higher standard of living will be great, the challenge of my future career will surely thrill, and I will definitely enjoy finding solutions to complex problems. But the reason I do all of that is to be happy and hopefully help others be the same. Sometimes, getting “caught up” in the necessities of a demanding program can entrench our behaviors to the point where we may wonder if we aren’t being selfish. The irony of it all is that doing so can ultimately limit your potential for success.

“As I told our new students at Monday’s Convocation, you will only
triumph if you try. Reach out to your faculty. Stretch yourselves. Get
involved. Volunteer. Sign up and see where life takes you. That advice
applies equally to all students — new and returning, undergraduate and
graduate.”  –E. Gordon Gee, President of The Ohio State University

As our fearless leader points out, reaching out and getting involved will do nothing but help you triumph. And there are tons of opportunities to do that! The Ohio Society of CPAs came in yesterday to present us with opportunities to go to the classroom and help educate elementary students. This year they are initiating a program called FETCH.

I think it’ll be fun to help children learn sound financial practices that will help them in life. Make sure to check back mid-November for my impressions (I hope I don’t unintentionally invoke a child to cry!).

Whether it is joining a volunteering organization such as FisherServes, helping out the future generation through programs like FETCH, or simply lending a helping hand through your church, getting involved will help us remember that work is a means to an end and life is to be enjoyed. Ultimately, you get so much more than you give when you do.