Hello everyone, it’s time for the start of a new year and a lot of opportunities to travel! We’ve been getting quite a number of questions regarding why travel is good. Travel is more than just going on vacation or on any planned trip. Travel, in its truest sense is to go where you’ve never gone before. You don’t have to even leave your own country to travel. So today, let us lay out a few benefits of travelling that me and my team have experienced personally.

Travelling opens you up

When people are away from their usual surroundings, they tend to be a bit more aware of what’s around them. This is precisely because as the person tries to gather their bearings, they pick up nuances and information that hasn’t been processed before. Sights, smells, sounds, and feelings will feel brand new.

People who travel become more attentive to what’s around them as opposed to something they may see everyday and take for granted. People who travel get a better and stronger grasp of the state of the world and its people. For the disillusioned, seeing first hand the kindness of strangers will reawaken your love for humanity. One of the things that struck me the most as I traveled was how easy it was to make friends. People tend to be more honest when away from their structured and conditioned environment. Opening up to strangers is a lot easier because there is little fear of being judged. That authenticity and realness is like magic, really infectious magic–it passes around quite fast and inspires others to be just as real and open.

You’ll appreciate home a lot more

When I went to Hyderabad last year, I got to see such a stark contrast between my own life and the lives of those who are less fortunate than myself. Life was right before my eyes and I understood then how lucky I was–to have a home, to have the conveniences that are luxuries in other countries. I also got to see the joy others had in their homes and families. It made me really appreciate my home and my family precisely because I was without them at the time.

You’ll understand that your life is a pretty awesome gift

When you travel and experience more of the world, it’s impossible to not feel a sense of gratitude for all the unique and beautiful moments you’ve been able to enjoy and share with others. We’ve all read books and seen movies where characters are filled with regrets about how they didn’t do enough or experience more of life while they were still strong and able. So if you travel, you enrich yourself greatly and spare yourself from latter regret.

When I started travelling, I realized that I had so much going for me despite all the other times I grumbled and felt like I was headed nowhere. All the new sights and people I met added so much to my perspective and I found new and different ways of doing old things that seemed were draining. Taking part in other cultures and lifestyles helped me get a new pair of eyes for looking at my own life. Traveling helped renew my drive and priorities.

So that’s some I’ve listed off the top of my head. I’ll probably expound more on a later post–if you have any questions about travelling, feel free to hit us up via email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Today, let’s take a look at the top places to visit in the 3rd most populated city in the United States: Chicago. Founded on March 4, 1837, the city of Chicago has remained to be one of the fastest developing cities in the world. With such a distinguished claim, there’s very little doubt that this city houses some sights that must simply be visited.

Shedd Aquarium

Opened to the public on May 30 1930, this aquarium contains over 32,000 animals. It was also known to be the first inland aquarium to hold a permanent saltwater fish collection. There are several permanent attractions and exhibits for visitors to enjoy like: Waters of the World, Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef, Stingray Touch, Oceanarium, etc.

This institute not only promotes awareness on the lives and dangers faced by sea creatures, it also actively protects the animals with its various conservation efforts.

Navy Pier

This particular site is a 1,010 m pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It holds more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, restaurants, theaters, exhibition facilities, etc. It has been noted to be one of the top leisure destinations for both locals and tourists. The most iconic sight on the Navy Pier is the Ferris wheel that stands at a whopping 196 feet tall.

The earlier version of that Ferris wheel was used as a prop in the 2014 movie Divergent. It was slotted for a much needed replacement and was officially replaced May 2016.

Millennium Park

A public park located within the Loop community area of Chicago. This is merely a portion of the 319 acre Grant Park. If getting in-touch with nature and seeing artistic marvels are your things, this place is certainly a must-see for you. Millennium Park is called endearingly by locals as “the front lawn of Chicago”.  It serves as the home of four rather renowned artistic pieces: the Lurie Garden, the Crown Fountain, Cloud Gate, and the Jay Prizker Pavillon.

The park is also the home of The McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink—a multipurpose venue just along the western edge of the park.

Wrigley Field

This place is definitely a treat for the sports lover in you. Wrigley Field is a baseball park that is the home of the Chicago Cubs! Notably known for its ivy-covered brick outfield wall, it’s actually located in a primarily residential area which means living here can cost you a rather pretty penny. The seating capacity of this park is currently at 41, 268. Not only used for baseball, this field has also been used for football—being the home of the Chicago Bears at one point.

The Field Museum

Otherwise known as the Field Museum of Natural History, this location is one of the largest museums in the whole world. Its collections originated from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. One of its permanent exhibitions is the Grainger Hall of Gems which houses a rather large collection of diamonds and gems from several locations worldwide. It famously holds a Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass window and the collection of Chinese Jade artifacts that date up to more than 8,000 years.

Definitely one for the kids and kids at heart, visiting this location will help you catch a glimpse of the famous Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex—the most complete and best-preserved T.Rex fossil to date.

Top 5 Places To Visit In New York City

It is said that a planned visit to New York should be well thought out and planned for so as to make the most of the visit. Having a list of top 5 places to visit in New York City would be a good place to start your planning for your tour in the city of New York.

NYC is known as the big apple because of its rich cultural diversity and vibrancy. That may sound cliché, but a visit to this city will paint the actual picture, one of a city that gets all new and most repeat visitors spoilt for choice with its numerous attractions. With that said, here are the top 5 places that are a must visit when in NYC.

  1. Central Park

Central Park is one of the most iconic spots in the city. No visitor can come to NY and fail to visit this enormous space that has an array of sights and sounds. In fact, the park is so expansive that most it can take nearly a three-day visit to see and enjoy everything that the park has to offer; the issue is knowing where to start. If yours is a short stay in New York and the Central park is among your top choice places to visit, then plan early to know which are the best places to check out at the park. The Great Lawn, the Strawberry Fields, and the Loeb Central Park Boathouse are just some of the famous spots worth checking out.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the home of the fine art housing the largest fine-art collection in the work. It is a humongous museum with thousands of items and exhibitions on display. MET is yet another place that cannot be covered with only a day’s visit.  For starters, much of what is on display can only be viewed and enjoyed while visitors are on foot, so there is a lot of walking and standing involved. As such, having a nice and comfortable pair of shoes will be a great idea.

  1. Times Square

Time Squares has over the years lost its ability to impress many New Yorkers probably because of the hordes of tourists that frequent the place. But, the square still does get a significant number of locals visiting just to enjoy the various activities taking place around the square on any given day such as the Broadway Shows. If you are not to spend some time and money while at Time Square, you can just as well plan to visit the place and have a chance to mingle with the locals.

  1. Grand Central Terminal

Do not be fooled by the frantic rush of the locals as they rush in and out of the Grand Central Terminal. For the many New Yorkers, there is nothing too “Grand” about it, but the terminal has several surprises for most first time visitors thus making it an interesting place worth a visit. The Celestial mural on the terminal ceiling is an eye-catcher and this is not just a place to catch a train, it has shops and restaurants.

  1. The Statue of Liberty

She stands majestically in the middle of a mass of water and she is a symbol recognized around the world and associated with New York City, she is the Statue of Liberty. If you seek to have a panoramic view of the city and the stretching mass of water, then include a visit to Lady Liberty in your tour plans.

Project Fear and Brexit

It’s been a little over four months since the United Kingdom shocked most of the world—including most of their own population—by systematically deciding as a nation and declaring its intention to withdraw from the European Union (EU). This event, commonly known as “Brexit”, occurred June of this year and continues to affect the lives of millions.

Most people seem to think that the underlying current that led to the Brexit decision started only this year or even just within the recent decade. The truth, however, is that the motions that lay the foundation for Brexit was planted well over 40 years ago.

It was the year of 1973. Charles de Gaulle had resigned as president of France and soon after the UK had finally managed to join the European Economic Community (EEC). As early as the year after, the Labour Party under the leadership of Harold Wilson contested the October 1974 election with the aim to renegotiate the UK’s terms of membership to the EEC and hold a referendum to discuss whether or not they should remain with the EEC.

In 1975, there was a referendum held to determine if the UK was to stay with the EEC. At the time, mainstream press was very vocal about its support about the continuing membership with the EEC. Regardless of this, the ruling Labour Party had divisive opinions within its ranks that resulted in a vote of 2:1 in favor of withdrawal. The cabinet, as a whole, was split between those in favor of pro-European and anti-European ministers, Wilson decided to suspend the constitutional convention of Cabinet collective responsibility and allowed ministers to flagrantly discuss their side in public. On June of that year, a constituency was asked to vote yes or no on the issue. Only the Shetland Islands and the Outer Hebrides voted no. As such, the UK effectively stayed with the EEC.

The yearly elections saw the ebb and sway regarding the support for a pro-European sentiments and a rise in Eurosceptic views. This is primarily due to fear mongering and culling the intrinsic cultural concerns that the generations between the 80’s and latter 90’s. The platitude of targeting the fears and alarm of the constituents eventually led to the concept of “Project Fear”.

Project Fear has been used to refer to the flagrant interjections of pessimism and appeal for a focus toward the main perceived negative outcomes of a political decision. It was also used during the Scottish National Party and supporters of Scottish Independence; those that firmly opposed the Better Together campaign of 2014. This tactic was later maintained before, during, and even after the 2016 UK referendum on European Union (EU) membership.

Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London—and a pillar of the Leave campaign, was quite rabid in his insistence that the pro-EU (otherwise known as Remain) were making use of scare tactics and falsehoods to terrify the populace into believing that staying with the EU would be in their best interest. He even began to preach that the campaign to stay in the EU itself was Project Fear.

Conversely, there are people from both sides of the camp that have dismissing the label of “Project Fear” and aim to present it as a positive reality check rather than a disrupting and negative force. All of it came to a head and now the consequences of the Leave vote have started to trickle in. Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that Article 50 will be effective by the end of March 2017.

Article 50 refers to the fiftieth article of the Treaty on European Union which sets the process for the exit of countries from the EU. Until this article is invoked, the UK continues to remain a member of the EU. Even in the interim, “Project Fear” seems to be alive and well.

This case pertained to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Collier College’s undergraduate accounting program.  Accounting is Collier’s largest major and, due to various audit engagements, membership with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is required.  Collier has just received notice that AICPA is adding an additional 30 credit hour requirement to maintain their accreditation.  The underlying problem is that, due to Collier’s small size, it is heavily dependent upon revenue generated from tuition.  With approximately 25% of their graduates being accounting majors, having to drop the AICPA accounting program would severely hurt the college’s financial position and local reputation.  The dean of Collier’s School of Business, Dr. Peter Leonard, has contemplated some solutions to the issue.  Among these solutions are waiting to see what develops, adding 30 undergraduate credits to the existing curriculum, establishing an “articulation agreement” with another local school, and packaging the students’ fifth year with a graduate degree.  He is uncertain, however, of how much support these options will have among the students, and whether or not the college has the ability or resources to successfully implement them.  Since the new AICPA requirements will go into effect in six years and will directly affect the incoming class two years from the present date, this case ultimately calls for a high-risk strategic decision.

 

Task 1:           List and explain all possible alternatives you considered

Alternatives Considered:

 

  • Lobby against the new AICPA requirement
  • Wait to see if the new AICPA requirement actually develops
  • Add a 5th year to the undergraduate accounting program
  • Form an articulation agreement with another local college
  • Package a 5th year with a graduate program (receive Bachelors and Graduate degree at end of 5th year)
  • Merge some classes together and allow them to count for more credit hours
  • Have students take an additional accounting lab each semester to cover the new requirements.

 

Top 3 Alternatives for Development / Explanation:

 

  1. Package a 5th year with a graduate program – This alternative would require all undergraduate accounting majors to complete their Bachelor’s degree in five years instead of the traditional four years. However, with this program these students would be receiving two degrees simultaneously, as they would earn a Masters of Accounting upon completion of their 5th year.  To make this alternative possible, the additional 30 undergraduate credits required by the AICPA would be met with rigorous, graduate level courses that are comparable to the curriculum of schools offering a Masters of Accounting.   Thus, the course learning objectives that pertain to the 30 extra credits would be developed to satisfy AICPA’s requirements, as well as the caliber of graduate level coursework.
  1. Form an articulation agreement with another local college – This alternative would involve setting up a transfer program with a local college that offers courses satisfying AICPA’s additional 30 credits. If this alternative was implemented, undergraduate accounting students from Collier College would have to take a 5th year of courses at the partnered institution, or would have to double up on classes and take heavy course loads at both Collier and the school with the articulation agreement.  In either case, all of the additional 30 credits for the AICPA accreditation would be taken at an institution other than Collier College.
  1. Merge some classes together and allow them to count for more credit hours – This alternative suggests that Collier College will combine the learning objectives of several courses and allow students to take a few, all-encompassing, courses. Doing so will allow a student to earn more credits by taking the same amount of classes that he/she usually takes.  By merging similar classes and awarding more credit hours, these class sessions will have to be offered for a longer period of time.  For example, these classes may have to meet 2-3 times a week for 2.5 – 3 hours at a time, rather than 2-3 times a week for 1 – 1.5 hours at a time.  In implementing this alternative, it is likely that Collier College will have to hire professors holding a PhD since most graduate level courses are taught by instructors with this level of education.

 

Task 2:           Indicate all possible consequences of each alternative

 

Alternative: Pros: Cons:
5th Year Grad Program ·       Meets the AICPA requirements

·       Students can earn a graduate degree in 1 year (their 5th year) as opposed to the traditional 2 years offered at other institutions.

·       Collier College will experience an increase in expenses with the hiring of professors holding PhDs.

·       With more classes being taught, capacity and scheduling become problems (may need more classrooms and more time slots for classes to be offered).

·       In order to be competitive and offer a valid Masters’ Degree, Collier may have to obtain accreditation for their graduate program.

·       Student housing may pose a problem for 5th year students.

Articulation Agreement ·       Meets requirements of the AICPA

·       Don’t need to hire more professors

·       Partnering with another college may result in more opportunities or more awareness for Collier

·       Don’t need to increase class room capacity or change class scheduling for the additional 30 credits

·       Students may not want to go to another college

·       If Collier can’t offer the new courses at their campus, some students may apply elsewhere for undergrad too.

·       Collier’s reputation may decline

 

Merging Classes ·       Meets requirements for the AICPA

·       No 5th year is needed

·       Classes are weighted heavier for your degree, so if you get a bad grade it has a lot of impact on your GPA.

·       Tuition will increase to cover the addition of new material and learning

·       May have to hire professors that can teach the new requirements for AICPA

·       May have conflict with room scheduling

·       Class time would have to be longer for the merged courses

 

Task 3:           Indicate why you selected to pursue your chosen alternative

 

We have chosen to pursue the alternative of packaging a 5th year with a graduate program.  We selected this option for a few different reasons.  Primarily, we feel that this choice is the most appealing and beneficial to the students.  Collier students are unlikely to favor a five year Bachelor’s program because they may feel as though they are falling behind of other students who are receiving a graduate degree by that point.  Furthermore, students who are at Collier and really love the college may not want to take courses at another institution, or transfer out.  Although these students will have to pay tuition for a 5th year, it is probable that the cost for the extra year will not amount to the expense these students would incur if they received their Masters of Accounting in two years at another institution.  The option we chose is also one of the most feasible for Collier College.  Prospective accounting students looking at Collier may decide not to apply if they can earn a Bachelor’s degree in four years at another institution.  Although packaging a 5th year with a Masters of Accounting may be expensive for Collier (increase in faculty, classroom capacity, accreditation expense, etc), it will help to draw in more students.  With accounting being the largest major at Collier, the college cannot afford to lose out on this pool of applicants and the revenue from their tuition.  Being able to earn two degrees in just five years will increase the competitiveness of Collier College, and give it an advantage over other institutions that offer a Masters of Accounting in two years instead of one.  Thus, it is likely that adding a 5th year graduate program in accounting will bring more prestige and recognition to Collier College.

 

Task 4:           Explain the steps you will take to develop the selected alternative

 

  1. Increase Collier’s faculty by hiring teachers with a PhD that can teach graduate level accounting courses.
  2. Add the new courses required by AICPA and ensure that their learning objectives are rigorous enough to equate the class to an introductory graduate level course.
  3. Increase accounting students’ 5th year of tuition to account for increase in expenses and graduate degree. Contact alumni and look for more scholarships or grants to offer students with their financial aid packages.
  4. Research accreditations for graduate colleges offering a Masters of Accounting. Apply for prestigious accreditations if Collier’s curriculum meets the requirements.
  5. Meet with staff and faculty representing all of Collier’s majors to organize an evening schedule that can accommodate the new accounting courses.
  6. Accept outside applicants to the new graduate program if their undergraduate curriculum has been deemed comparable to Collier College’s, their overall GPA for accounting courses has been a 3.2 or better, and they performed acceptably on any graduate school entrance exams (i.e. CPA exam, GRE, GMAT, etc).
  7. Allow Collier’s current undergraduate accounting students into this new program if their overall GPA for accounting courses is a 3.2 or better, and their all-encompassing GPA is a 3.0 or better.

 

Task 5:           Forecast what you expect the selected alternative to accomplish in five years

Although five years is a short period of time, with successful implementation we expect the new program to:

  1. Have provided at least one graduating class holding both a Bachelors of Accounting and a Masters of Accounting.
  2. Have provided Collier College with an increase in enrollment and tuition dollars.
  3. Encourage prospective accounting students to look closer at applying to Collier due to the time efficiency and benefits offered by the 5th year graduate program.
  4. Have increased the number of faculty at Collier that hold doctorate degrees.
  5. Offer more scheduling flexibility for students taking the new courses. This is likely to result from an increase in faculty applying for positions at Collier, and from the working out of initial program kinks.
  6. Have built up the college’s reputation and prestige to the point where more guest speakers are asking to visit the campus, and more organizations are offering Collier’s accounting students internships / positions.

 

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