I met with Jill Westerfeld to explore some questions regarding internships, career development strategies and baseline assessments. It was great to talk to somebody with such deep experience in the field and so willing to help. It began with a very brief overview of my background, where I am currently working, and my goals. Through the discussion we were able to identify some methods I can utilize in order to help focus my career search. One of the things that helped the most during the session was that I came ready to talk about points that were bothering me and keeping open to opportunities.
Life is full of transitions.
As a married military veteran with a family, I view transitions as endeavors to personally and professionally grow while taking advantage of new opportunities. Leaving the private sector for full-time graduate school is a long-term investment. The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University has so much to offer. I’m proud to be a Buckeye.
Dedication to lifelong learning seems to be a theme in our household. I began a graduate degree program, my wife completed hers (while working), and my daughter started Kindergarten – all in the same week! As a father and a husband, I am so proud of them both.
As the fall semester begins to pick up momentum, we must remember who we are in order to prioritize what is most important in our lives. I, like most of my classmates, am attracted to pretty much everything that the Fisher College of Business has to offer. There are so many clubs, organizations, employer info sessions, events, and activities competing over our most precious resource – time. If we view time as a resource, how do we allocate it?
One place to start is to identify who we are in relation to others (I am a father, husband, son, brother, student, uncle, employee, job-seeker, club member, mentor, mentee, veteran, coach, blogger, etc.). The list is long for many of us. Prioritizing this list can also be difficult with so many competing factors taking place simultaneously. We realize that we cannot be everything to everyone all the time, but we can deliberately plan those aspects that are most important into our lives if we choose to do so. This process becomes critically important during major transitions when we are faced with new situations, changing conditions, and increasing obligations. It can be difficult deciding what not to do, at least temporarily, during transitions. Ultimately, our decisions are about trade-offs intended to maximize value.
What we choose to do with our time is ultimately what we value most. Many of us have roles and responsibilities within our personal, professional, and even spiritual lives. Intellectual curiosity, respect for diversity of thought, and continual growth and development are important to me in a professional context. This is why I chose to invest my time at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.
Work started off rough this morning. There were a lot of things to deal with this morning and it was incredibly frustrating. I immediately thought about my children and what behavior I would demonstrate in front of them to handle the situation if they were watching me. First step was to listen and absorb. The next step was to respond. I went back to the office and typed up an e-mail to my superiors stating the issues and the steps to address it. I then followed through. To my surprise, I got no response back from anyone. I was very grateful, because it was my superior’s way of saying. Good job, I have no feedback for you! The end of the day brought resolution to the issues of the morning and actually a positive spin on things.
I got lined up with my third team (one for each class I am in). We debated how to divide up the responsibilities and some peripheral chats about scheduling. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to work as a group and also a great opportunity to quickly adjust to different people and their perspectives. I have really taken it to heart that other people have great insights into issues. The lectures definitely have a “higher level” feel to them. Most of these classes we actually are discussing points together. There of course is always the nice feeling we get when we make the big point, but there is now something deeper. Listening to others and absorbing their thoughts into yours. The focus for me is beginning to shift from the “I have a great idea” philosophy into the idea “what can I say that will help everyone think about this in a new way.”
In the three plus years of being a father, tonight was the first night that I did not get to kiss my kids goodnight. On the one hand I am deeply saddened. On the other hand, I am doing my job as a father by working hard to make our lives better. This kind of situation is awful, but I know that when I hold them next, I get to savor that moment a little bit more than usual.
My full time schedule means that I will most likely be spending my weekends reading. Today, I spent most of my day getting through the majority of the assigned readings for the upcoming week. Thank goodness for the ability of my children to interrupt me and provide me with an excuse to take a break from education! I believe that the reading went a little slow today, mainly because it is an immersion into a new culture that I am not accustomed to. Some of the terminology was unfamiliar and my laptop was crucial for looking up the definitions of the words I don’t know. There was a gulp of anxiety about halfway through a 150 page reading assignment. Again, my little girl woke me from this stupor and asked “Daddy, play you with me?” I followed the order and we played with Rainbow Dash, Shutterfly, and Rarity pony.
Despite how little I get to see my family, how busy work is, how much schoolwork there is to do, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have these burdens. I am grateful for the opportunity to develop my abilities and improve the lifestyle for my family.
Even though this is now my Fourth year as an Ohio State Student, football Saturdays in Columbus are still just as exciting as they were when I had first arrived on campus my freshman year. How could you not have a good time when The Shoe is packed with 100,000+ fellow buckeye fans!?!
This past Saturday, the #1 ranked Buckeyes played host to the Western Michigan Broncos. It was the Buckeyes final chance to get to all of the early-season kinks out prior to starting conference play.
The highlight of the game came on an interception by senior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington which was returned for a touchdown as Ohio State cruised to a convincing 38-12 victory.
Another special part about attending football games as a student at The Ohio State University is the tradition of singing Ohio State’s Alma Mater, Carmen Ohio. At the end of a game, the entire football team stands in front of the student section to sing with their fellow classmates! If you come to The Ohio State University as a Graduate Student, attending at least one football game should be at the top of your list!
The day started, as usual, around 4:40 am in the morning. I played a kung fu form, watched a little bit of the news as I grabbed a quick bite to eat. I had prepared my lunch and dinner to be ready to go. By 5:10 am I was on my way to work with my mug full of coffee. I read over the articles that we were going to discuss in class before I prepared to do a check in for work. The client that I manage has appreciated the time that I have spent on site at their company and increased their order from our company. My boss was pretty happy, but I confess it was a little overwhelming, because it also means my responsibilities were growing. Just in time for the beginning of classes! The day quickly flew by staying consistently busy and my break around 2 pm was a welcome relief. I sat at my desk eating my lunch and my thoughts drifted to how my kids and wife were. I knew it was nap time, so I didn’t want to wake them up. The rest of the day flew by and I barely had time to finish my work.
I traveled to OSU and as I was parking the car, I got a call from our client and we had an informal chat about the ongoing partnership. I met up with some friends from class and had a nice time listening to their perspectives on careers and more background. The professor for the class tonight had a much different style and seemed to be able to engage everyone in the room without much effort.
The professor ended class early so that we could go to a networking event with Marathon Oil company. I spoke to some folks from the MHRM council and learned a couple of things about the case competition that we will be participating in. The next group that I floated to included Jill Westerfeld (career development) and an HR representative from Marathon. I asked questions about his experiences and enjoyed hearing not only about his experiences, but the fact I was asking the questions in front of Jill. I have a meeting planned with her next week, so it will be interesting to hear her impressions about the type of questions I asked and the manner with which I asked them. I spent about an hour at the event and said goodbye to a couple of classmates as I left.
I drove home, hoping that I would get the chance to see my kids before they went to sleep. Luckily, I got to hug my little girl. My little boy was a little tired, but I got to see him too. I finished off the night typing up this blog and then preparing for tomorrow.
Another busy day of work today, filled with the normal challenges that helped propel the day forward. Our boss offered to treat everybody to drinks and food, but I had to say, “no” because I had to teach a guitar lesson and it would be the first time all week that I could sit with both my kids at the same time. Before I was able to go home though, Jill Westerfeld had arranged for a photographer to come to OSU and took free professional headshots for all the Fisher Grad Students. My current LinkedIn profile is a picture of me and my daughter playing guitar. Prior to the MHRM program, I was teaching guitar full time and so it was a more appropriate photo. Now that recruiters might peek at my profile, I took advantage of the opportunity to put something more professional up.
After smiling awkwardly for the camera, I had to buy two more books for class. Since I was already on campus, I stopped by the bookstore. I have two bachelors degrees and a music minor and yet I still keep forgetting how expensive books can be. On top of that, it would seem that being in a graduate program also means that the price of books are “graduated” to a higher price tag. Despite the higher price tag, I am excited to be back on campus and look forward to getting into the material.
I got home and my wife had a nice meal for us all to enjoy together. To be honest, just holding my boy in my lap, talking to my little girl, and being with my wife was what I was really hungry for. It was like the best kind of reward for a busy week. All of us are getting used to the new schedule. We definitely haven’t worked it all out, but I believe it will come soon enough.
I attended a Career Fair on September 8th. It was my first time to get involved in a career fair. At first I was so nervous: I didn’t know what would happen in my first career fair. Luckily, the Fisher Career Management Office held a round table meeting for international students in which we spent one hour talking about how to prepare for a career fair. I learned that I should target companies, search their websites, look for job descriptions, and prepare my questions before a career fair. Then I felt better and believed that the upcoming career fair is not a “terrible” event for me any more.
However, although I prepared carefully, my first career fair is not so successful. As suggested in round table meeting, I first walked toward a company to get some practice.When I was just about to introduce myself, the recruiter started the conversation first. Suddenly, I lost my mind and did not remember what to say. But the recruiter was nice and patient, so our conversation went on but just for 2 minutes. Then I tried several companies, things got better but not as good as I expected. After the Career Fair, I was tired and upset. I thought I was not supposed to be at the career fair. I also heard that it was difficult for an international student to find an internship. I even thought “It was a waste of time since I have no chance to get an internship.”
The next day, we had another career fair in the Ohio Union. I did not want to go but I told myself I must not be afraid of a career fair. This time I realized that a conversation with a recruiter is not reciting a self- introduction but an interaction with them. With well-preparation and a confident smile, I talked to a recruiter of my target company. It was more successful: I linked my questions with my strengths and experience. I felt the recruiter was interested in me as she asked me to apply for their position online. I felt a sense of accomplishment afterwards. I know I was on the right track and my practice is making things better.
After the career fair, I sent a follow-up email to the recruiter. I did not know my e-mail was appropriate as I am not used with follow-up activities. But I am not afraid of failure any more because I know that if I keep trying and practicing, one day it will paid off.
Classes are soon starting and I feel like I did when I was a kid going to the first day of school. There is a definite uncertainty of the future twisted with the excitement of the beginning of a new adventure. Being an untraditional graduate student, I had anticipated a certain type of distancing that would occur because of my unique background. My theory was completely demolished by the welcome provided at orientation. Professors and advisors all made me feel welcome and that I both belonged and deserved to be there. Even though orientation was only a day and a half, by the end of it, I already felt like I have known some of my classmates for a long time!
I sat there in class and connected with a few people that I had met with during orientation. We chatted about various things as we waited for the professor to come in. He introduced himself and very thoroughly went through his syllabus, clearly outlining his intentions for us to learn. He also sincerely professed his desire to help us along the way. We then had a brief lecture introducing us to the fundamentals of HR. I was really grateful to have my computer, because he spoke with such detail, that I would have had a hard time writing everything down by hand.
After the lecture there was a short break. The class seemed to re-energize a little as we broke into small group discussions about the topics we discussed. The class concluded with two of my classmates debating the issue in front of the class.