Fisher campus

Meet a few of the accounting and management information systems faculty, graduates and students who successfully navigated the dynamics of the 2020-2021 academic year and find out what the past year has taught them.

Jennifer Glenn, Assistant Professor

Describe your experience as a new faculty member on the job market during the pandemic.

Jennifer GlennI interviewed at Ohio State on February 19, 2020 and received my offer about one week before the world shut down due to the pandemic, so it seems surreal now to look back and realize how fortunate I was that everything fell into place when it did. The biggest challenge and most unexpected positive I’ve experienced during this time has been learning how to mitigate the disruption in productivity caused by the pandemic.

During my PhD program, I worked almost exclusively from the office because this was where I could be most productive. However, between the lockdowns and working remotely, I have learned how important it is to also be flexible amid unexpected situations. House hunting was also challenge, as I was living in Texas at the time and couldn’t fly to Columbus due to the lockdowns. However, with the help of great friends and FaceTime, I was able to find a great house close to campus with ample space to both work and de-stress, which has come in handy this year!

How have the events of the past year shaped you as a professor? A researcher? A person?

The events of the past year have reminded me to think more about how various events happening in students’ lives may affect their performance in class. I think it’s relatively easy to get so caught up in your subject that you approach the material with blinders on; but teaching during this period has shown me the importance of taking a step back to reassess where students are and being more flexible in designing lesson plans.

The events of the past year have also reminded me of the importance of self-care (e.g., with exercise) in getting through the marathon which is tenure, and this has increased my research productivity. Finally, the events of the past year have also shaped me as a person by reminding me that there is much to be grateful for even in a global pandemic. In particular, I am tremendously grateful for a job that I love in which I can continue to teach and research despite the pandemic.

What was the best advice/guidance you received over the past year?

The best advice I received over the past was to give myself a bit more grace and be kinder to myself during this challenging time. I tend to have high expectations for my performance, so this advice has significantly helped me in dealing with the negative effects of the pandemic. 

As a new member of the Fisher community, how did you get to know your colleagues while working remotely?

I was fortunate to find a home within a mile of several colleagues at Fisher, which has been tremendously helpful in feeling connected to Fisher and transitioning to Columbus. In addition, Zoom calls with our assistant professor group within AMIS and our department as a whole have been great for getting to know my colleagues while working remotely.

Mary Cowx (PhD ’21)

Describe your experience over the past year, from wrapping up your PhD studies at Fisher, to landing a teaching appointment during COVID-19.

Mary Cowx

I remember that day last March when I decided I was going to work from home for a couple of weeks until “this COVID thing” blew over.  At that point, I didn’t expect to spend the next year working remotely, and interviewing remotely definitely wasn’t on my radar.  Now I am wrapping up my time at Fisher, preparing to defend my dissertation from the comfort of my living room. 

What was the most difficult challenge you faced as a new professor looking for an appointment in 2020?

The pandemic presented several challenges, but from my perspective the most challenging aspect of job hunting this year was the limited number of jobs coupled with the uncertainty of how this global experience will shape the future of academia.

Any unexpected positives from the experience?

For many months, the job market looked so grim that accounting students across the country, myself included, weren’t sure we’d be able to find positions. Thinking back to my headspace at that point in time, I’d say the final outcome was certainly unexpected! I am very excited to join the University of Missouri this August.

Has your experience as a PhD student, coupled with the events of the past year, informed your style of teaching/research in any way? If so, how?

The experiences of the past year, including the pandemic and social justice movements, have been eye-opening. Work/school is one small part of the pie and drawing on these experiences will help me be a more compassionate and aware human (and teacher). 

Any advice to PhD candidates facing an unfamiliar or unorthodox job market?

The job market can be pretty overwhelming at times!  One thing I found helpful was making a shortlist of accomplishable tasks each morning. I found this improved my productivity and helped minimize the amount of time spent doom scrolling. 

Parker Yeo (MAcc ’21)

Complete and expand upon this sentence: Being a MAcc student in the midst of COVID-19 meant…

Parker YeoLearning to be adaptable and flexible.

What was the most difficult challenge you faced as an MAcc student in 2020?

Having not attended Ohio State for my undergrad experience, it was difficult at first to create connections that went beyond the classroom. In addition, the lack of physical presence made focusing on classes hard at times. However, throughout the year I was able to find some great friendships along the way and learned to practice discipline in my learning activities. 

Any unexpected or fun positives from the experience?

A positive from the MAcc program I had not expected was that I enjoyed the flexibility I had in making lifestyle choices. I had more time to cook, clean and take care of my living space, which I enjoyed. In addition, most professors would record lectures, so if I had to miss a lecture due to any number of reasons, I would be able to go back and listen to it, which was something that was previously uncommon. Overall, I felt that I had more control over my schedule than I had ever been before. 

What was the best advice/guidance you received over the past year?

Parker Yeo and his friends
Parker Yeo (MAcc '21) and friends pose for a photo prior to 2020.

The best advice I received over the past year was to reflect and evaluate my goals for the future. Before, there were lots of external motivators that drove me forward. With the pandemic, I found myself easily distracted and procrastinated more often than not. While this advice is relevant in any day and age, I found it to be especially pertinent for today’s world in the context of a pandemic. I’ve had more time to reflect on my current motivations and future goals, and it’s allowed me to become more determined and disciplined than before had I not gone through this time.

Has COVID-19 led you to think any differently about the role that AMIS has in today’s professional world? If so, how?

The role of technology continues to evolve from being a supporting role to becoming a strategic driver. While I don’t think the accounting profession will disappear, the technical proficiency required of accountants will continue to increase.  Not surprisingly, the MAcc curriculum at Fisher places a heavy emphasis on understanding and parsing data and selecting the right tools to analyze information. Moving forward, I expect accountants will have to possess skills of a data scientist in addition to understanding finance and accounting.

What are your professional, post-graduate plans or aspirations?

I will be moving to Chicago in July for a staff accountant position at EY in its financial services office’s tax division. I hope to earn my CPA license and spend some time in public accounting.

Selena Alvarado, Undergraduate Student

Being an undergraduate student in the midst of COVID-19 meant…

Selena AlvaradoBeing flexible and resilient and remembering that COVID won’t last forever. For me, this was a time of finding myself and continuously trying to hold dearly onto who I am. It has been difficult and rewarding all at once.

What was the most difficult challenge you faced as an AMIS student in 2020?

The most difficult challenge I faced was simply not knowing. In March 2020, we all had absolutely no idea what the next year would look like, and at every moment, it felt like there was just no solid answer, especially from Ohio State. Going into classes, you never knew what type of learning experience you would have because everything was so brand-new. It was difficult because I truly craved stability or consistency in a world full of unknowns.

Any unexpected or fun positives from the experience?

Since I’ve been staying home quite a bit, I have become quite an avid baker! I have started baking at least once a week and I absolutely love it. Also, in the beginning of the pandemic, I realized how beautiful clouds are and started an iCloud (haha!) album of just cloud pictures. I now have almost 600 photos in the album!

What was the best advice/guidance you received over the past year?

The best advice I was given this past year was definitely “Just try.” One of my mentors said this to me after we were having some trouble with engagement in our program, and it has become my mantra. Things may not always be how I thought they would, or how I want them to be, but I will most definitely at least try and give my best.

Has COVID-19 led you to think any differently about the role that AMIS has in today’s professional world? If so, how?

Selena Alvarado and a friend
Accounting student Selena Alvarado said the best advice she received this past year was "Just try."

COVID-19 has definitely let me to think differently about AMIS! In my cost accounting course Dr.  Turner has shown us over and over how we must think like an accountant before making any big decisions like shutting down a department in a company or stopping production of a certain product. We also talked a lot about how companies are currently shifting to make masks or other PPE to aid in the pandemic because the accounting simply makes sense. For me, COVID-19 has shown me how truly important AMIS is, especially in difficult times.

What are your professional, post-graduate plans or aspirations?

My post-graduate plans are to hopefully work at PwC in the organization and workforce transformation area of its Chicago office. I interned with the company last summer and will be interning again this summer. I really admire the company culture and commitment to giving back to the community, and I would love to make a point of volunteering and giving back in my professional career.