Business School, Or Why I’m Enjoying Not Having a Minute of Free Time

Business school is filled with reading, class, club information sessions, studying and professors with fancy hair (maybe too fancy?). But that probably describes every business school in these United States. Every school has a finance association and every school has textbooks and every school has quiet rooms. But Fisher and The Ohio State University has so much more than that and as I told a second year, “I can’t handle myself right now.”

Your views are not appreciated here, Business Cat

Your views are not appreciated at Fisher, Business Cat

I could describe abstractly my schedule and everything I’ve had to do in the month plus I’ve been at Ohio State coming from New Jersey and another huge state school in Rutgers. I could just say you could get lost in everything here, but I think there’s a better way to do this: I’m going to lay out as much of my schedule on Monday September 16, 2014 as I possibly can. It may seem like a crowded day, but I promise this is pretty much what every Monday is going to be for me for the foreseeable future, so here it is COMIN’ AT YOU HARD.

8-8:30AM: Print out Econ discussion questions for that sweet participation credit.

8:30-10:00AM: Accounting class featuring Jolly Bob’s Jerk Joint and joining intramural flag football leagues. I am a good student I swear.

10:15-11:45AM: Econ class! A blur of supply and demand curves even a day later. Reminiscing about Jolly Bob’s.

12-1PM: 3M Marketing Info Session: Free lunch! It was sammiches. And free pens! Oh and learning about 3M’s marketing internships and full time opportunities.

1-2PM: I exercise/listen to the Pitch Perfect Soundtrack. Barden Bellas 4 lyfe.

2:30-3PM: The two team captains for intramural football draft our players. It can get challenging determining the net present value of Ryan McClellan vs. Adam Tedrick. I should be doing work now butttttttt….no.

3-7PM: Studying for Marketing Math Quiz tomorrow and realizing I don’t have a calculator. I buy a $3.50 one from the bookstore. It does not have exponents. Also studying marketing cases and doing finance homework. I realize (have it reinforced, more likely) that I have no idea what is going on in finance. This is important as the midterm is 3 days away. I need to pack in all this studying for tomorrow because the day’s about to go sideways.

7:30-8:45PM: Intramural Soccer. I’m also one of the captains for one of our two intramural flag football teams. While the football one entails duties like drafting people you know and pretending to be Urban Meyer, the soccer iteration involves bothering people endlessly to get them to officially sign up and telling them where the hidden field at Lincoln Tower Park is. But hey we won 7-6! Woo go Fisher Gray!

9-10PM: Go home and lay facedown drinking Gatorade. But today’s not over because I’m dumb.

10:30-12: Go play intramural Broomball with people I don’t know. I am a crazy person. It’s played with sneakers on a normal ice rink. I fell on my butt about 12 times and sent part of a broom almost into the stands that were filled with kids with nothing better to do than laugh at me fall on my face (no it was funny I don’t blame them). I did not know this sport existed before OSU and now I have a sore butt from it. Oh and we lost.

1AM: Finally eat dinner. Subway was literally the only thing open since McDonalds switched to their breakfast menu at midnight. I do not like eggs so this did not fly.

2AM: Bed.

7AM: Study for marketing math quiz.

SOOOO that was my day and a little added afterward. It may seem like I was annoyed or frustrated with the day, but there are just so many opportunities to take advantage of at Ohio State and Fisher. If I went to a smaller school or one with fewer opportunities, my day could have been over early and I could have been sleeping by 11. But why waste what’s out there? You’re not going to find stuff like this everywhere or maybe anywhere else.

 


Career Fair Preparation

This past week we had the Fisher Fall Career Fair, an event for undergrads, grad students, and anyone else who is part of the Fisher College of Business network. Of course, any student at Ohio State is also welcome to attend the fair because it is a great way to network with the employers and companies from across the region and the U.S. This experience is great for all students, whether they are looking to get some extra interview practice in, or maybe they are on the hunt for that full-time, post-grad position.

I attended the fair to start networking with companies that I’d like to do my HR summer internship with. I spoke to about eight different companies and was able to get a better sense of all the options for HR grad students. I then spent the remainder of my afternoon working at the fair with the Office of Career Management (this is the office that coordinates the entire event), checking students in and helping with last minuted questions and directions. The fair is held on three different floors of the Ohio Union, so as you can imagine, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. My advice is to make sure you review the list of companies attending and pick out a few that you’d really like to talk to, and then target those companies.

It’s also important to have an idea of what you are going to say about yourself during your introduction when you get in front of a recruiter. Make sure you leave a good first impression by being enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and be prepared to talk about your experiences listed on your resume.

I came away from this experience with some really great conversations with the recruiters. It was a chance for me to explain my background, what I’m looking for in an internship, and learn more about the interview process. If anything, it was a good warm up for the on-campus interviews that are starting this week. You will feel so much more comfortable walking into your first interview if you feel prepared and confident.


Leadership Lessons

All first year students take a leadership course during their fall semester, which is taught by Dr. Tony Rucci. In this class, each team of five students is required to do a community service project and write a reflection paper about their experience.  My team chose to participate in Meals On Wheels.  Meals On Wheels is a program where volunteers deliver food to the homes of those who cannot afford to buy food, and who are either partially or completely house-bound.

My team of five was assigned to two delivery routes and given instructions on where and how to deliver the meals.  Some deliveries required signatures, and others did not.  Hot meals and cold meals were sealed inside individual trays, and hot meals came with a slice of bread and an apple.  Drink choices were skim or 2% milk.

I was prepared for the poverty we saw – probably better prepared than my teammates.  I grew up in a town where poverty is normative, and I was a volunteer tutor in an inner-city school while I was an undergrad.  I’ve seen hunger on children’s faces – in the ways they act and react – because I’ve studied next to and taught these children.  I was also prepared for the dirt and decay we encountered in some homes because I worked for a cleaning company in the summers.

But what I was not prepared for was the complete and total isolation we encountered.  Most of the people we brought meals to were elderly, and many were handicapped.  I wondered where their children were – their grandchildren.  I wondered it for at least the first hour.  That’s how long it took me to realize that they probably didn’t have children.  Or their children were dead.  Or lived in another state and couldn’t afford to visit often or financially support their aging parents.  And if you or your children can’t afford to hire an in-home nurse or move into assisted living or a nursing home, there isn’t much choice.  You’re stuck.

I was also unprepared for how little food we actually delivered. I greatly respect what Meals On Wheels does, and I think it’s a wonderful program.  I fully realize the funding and man-power limitations they face on a daily basis.  I also understand that, as an Italian, my beliefs in portion size are dramatically skewed.  But despite all of these things, the bottom line is that we only delivered one meal to each person.  One meal per person.  One meal per day.

Think about how much you eat in one day.

 

Our route took my team two hours to complete, from start to finish.  Two hours and we got to go home to full cupboards, clean floors, and air conditioning.  Two hours and we were back to being students, with all the academic, intellectual, social, and economic privileges that students have.

After an experience like that, you have to ask yourself what you’re doing with your life.  How are you helping anyone besides yourself?  And maybe you aren’t.  Maybe you’re just trying to survive grad school.  And maybe that’s the point.

Our leadership project was a good way for us to give back, to remind us of what is important, and to remember that despite the lengthy class discussions about profit margins, supply and demand curves, and increasing shareholders equity, money isn’t everything.  It isn’t even close.

 


And so it begins.. Oh wait, it began three weeks back!

 

Belay On

Belay On

 

Before I begin telling you about my experiences in the last 1 week at Fisher, I definitely would like to share some activities( Read super cool) which we did during our Pre-term program.Yeah,you read it right. PRE-TERM. At Fisher,we believe in truly in our motto ” Go Beyond”. The pre term program exposed us to various facets of the Fisher MBA- Career Management, Core courses, Leadership development opportunities, and of course, the fun ” team” exercise at Summit Vision. This was one such experience wherein you get into it with one set of expectations and you come out with a totally different set of perspectives. It helped us get out of our comfort zone, I mean literally. If you had not earlier considered dangling from a beam 50 feet above the ground as a part of your comfort zone, you would consider reframing it now.It helped us trust our team mates who were acting as the ‘belayers’ and believe me, the word ‘trust’ was definitelyredefined in my mind.During the course of 4 hours, we learned from each other’s mistakes, put aside our individual goals and collaborated as a team to see the task through the finish line. I think we cherished the outing even more because it provided us a much needed break in our hectic schedule.On a side note, I used to think my pre MBA schedule was jam packed and hectic. I am laughing at that thought now.I will leave you at that.


First Year MBAs Connecting with Second Years

One of the aspects of coming to the Fisher MBA program most of us were worried about to some degree was connecting with our fellow first year MBA classmates. Through almost two weeks of orientation, Summit Vision (I assume), getting together after class and even Facebook of all things, that turned out to be one of the easier parts even for us who aren’t the most naturally social people in the world. But one of the more important aspects you don’t hear about is connecting with the second years. They have experience, knowledge and, most importantly for getting a job and not ending up sleeping on the streets in gargantuan debt after graduation, connections! And it turns out, connecting with them was just as easy.

Events with second years started even before pre-term at Fisher started in August. There were Fisher Social Chair events hosted by second years during the summer including a World Cup Final watch party. I was studying for the presumably Satan inspired bar exam at the time in New Jersey, so I couldn’t attend, but heard only great things. The night before pre-term started, there was another social event to get to know second years who had participated in Pelotonia in Columbus.

Through Facebook, they also invited anybody interested in participating in pickup sports to come play basketball and soccer with them when we hadn’t even really had an opportunity to meet us. A few first years went to the ARC and played basketball, even some of us (me!) who have the athletic ability of a fence post. I may have gotten destroyed by a girl in basketball, but that’s beside the point. She was an NCAA athlete shut up. I played soccer with different second years as well and, if anything, that was an even more inclusive atmosphere. Everybody makes an effort to get to know you and remembers you later. It’s the #FisherFamily coming together, obviously.

And of course, there are the tailgates for the OSU football games even if the team completely forgets to block and loses to middling Virginia Tech teams. Yes, I’m bitter. But we tailgated all afternoon at Fisher Commons before the 8:00 game at Ohio Stadium. There were games, hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and, of course, there was walking through cornfields. That last part was just implied but I wanted to make sure you guys out there knew. Point is, the second years hosted it and made us feel like we were really part of the class.

Walking to the Stadium after tailgating at Fisher Commons!

Walking to the Stadium after tailgating at Fisher Commons!

There is also the sterling 2nd year buddy program, as Danielle Black went in depth on. My buddy couldn’t attend as he was getting married during that mixer so I guess he has his priorities straight.

The biggest event was the 6 hour, North High Street bar crawl at the end of pre-term. The Social Chair led us on a true bonding experience with second years as well as our fellow classmates that was truly memorable and ended, expectedly, in a Taco Bell. Fun times had by all. There were also smaller happy hours held by clubs and associations at Fisher. We also later went out and sang karaoke. Thankfully, me singing Ignition (Remix) by R. Kelly does not have video evidence I’m aware of.

Fisher Karaoke!

Fisher Karaoke!

You may get destroyed by a girl in basketball in front of the second years, may not remember all their names and may not feel comfortable asking them questions about Fisher any time one pops into your head, but I promise they’re all there to help you out and are happy to. It’s really one of the most welcoming atmospheres I’ve ever been in. Just put yourself out there and you’ll have one of the best times of your life. It’s only September, and I already am. Some of them are even playing on the first year intramural soccer teams!


Hit the Ground Running with Fisher’s MHRM Program

For a stay-at-home mom, the prospect of going to grad school and immediately beginning to network with established business professionals was overwhelming, to say the least. 

Jill Westerfeld of the Office of Career Management made the transition from stay-at-home mom to graduate student incredibly smooth. She is available to help you perfect your resume, elevator pitch, and will even hold mock interviews with you.
While the balance of home and school life on top of attending networking events seemed ominous at first, the best approach is to take it one day at a time. I personally invested in a planner so I could write things down. Logging events into my phone has proven to be an unsuccessful approach for me but works great for others. Look through your planner or phone calendar every night and plan out what you need to do. Set aside time to study and network while still balancing your home and/or social life. For me, being able to see what I needed to do on paper was significantly less overwhelming than letting things just float around in my brain. This allowed me to adequately plan to get a babysitter for networking events while still having plenty of time to play with my son during the day and get some studying done at night.
The Fisher College of Business and the Office of Career Management do a great job making you feel relaxed about the tasks at hand while still maintaining a sense of urgency about getting an internship. As a very new student, I have found everything to be incredibly doable and your classmates and the second year students are available to help as well.
I have found my connection with recent graduates from the program and second year students to be invaluable. Not only can they offer pep-talks when you feel overwhelmed, their advice about the program paired with Jill Westerfeld’s efforts have made it so I’ve hit the ground running in this program. I can’t wait to see what more this program has to offer.

Game Days in Buckeye Nation

This weekend I went to the first Ohio State home football game. What a treat! I came from a small liberal arts school in Virginia where football was a thing we did on Saturdays if there was nothing else going on…totally different from how it is here in Columbus, where football is the priority and you pretty much plan every fall Saturday around it.

A view from my seats at the game. Pretty awesome view!

A view from my seats at the game. Pretty awesome view!

This game was especially fun because it was a night game, so I had all day to experience all the different kinds of tailgates and events around campus. I ended up meeting up with a group from my MHRM program and we walked around and explored before heading over to the game. You can really feel the excitement walking up and down High Street through the sea of scarlet and gray. Even if you aren’t able to get a ticket to a game, just head to any of the restaurants or bars and you’ll be able to partake in the game day festivities. It’s an amazing experience. I actually read somewhere that this first home game set a new attendance record at Ohio Stadium. Pretty cool! I am so glad to be a part of buckeye nation! Looking forward to the rest of the season. Go bucks!

At the first home football game against Virginia Tech

At the first home football game against Virginia Tech with two other MHRM first years.

Me with Brutus in the Ohio Union

Me with Brutus (our mascot) in the Ohio Union.


Shredded Wheat

Shredded Wheat

An eleven year-old beta model of my current form once walked into a Barnes & Noble on a mission.  The chameleon currently known as Diddy (I think) had just released his “No Way Out” CD and I was absolutely going to have it.  For the week since its release I had developed this quixotic vision of myself walking into my suburban swim club with swagger on a trillion.  I would pull up right next to the 6th grade girls with their newly minted braces and high pitched screams.  With confidence and poise, I’d pop that bad boy into my no-skip Sony Discman and elevate my game from “guy whose only other CD is Meredith Brooks” to “can I have your AIM handle?” Away Message: BOSS.

A few case facts:
I’m 11.
The FCC frowns on selling foul language and Biggie Smalls dirge tracks to minors.
My parents might as well have worked for the FCC.

So here you go, fellow classmates.  I give to you a microcosm of what we’re all coming up against, wrapped nicely in a format that we are quickly becoming versed in.  What does Elliott do to rise to the occasion? It’s a comedy that reflects a scenario that we will find ourselves in quite a bit over the next two years at Fisher.  As we begin to consider summer internship opportunities, we’re stomaching the self-help books, empowerment seminars, and hole-punching resume one-on-ones in order to compose the most compelling pictures of ourselves.  It’s a rough process and, much like a baby-faced Elliott in pursuit of a CD eulogizing hard knocks, we too face some serious challenges. So let’s get to work.

Step one – Identify the target.

At the time there appeared to be two types of B&N employees, the ex-librarians and the college kids.  You’d think I’d have scoped the college kid, but not that time.  That trip called for knitted-cat-sweater lady.

Step two – Stack the deck.

For those of you who remember, that particular Diddy CD was famous for the “I’ll Be Missing You” track featuring Sting. (I could devote an entire blog on how this man refuses to age)  It just so happens that Sting collections were widely available and devoid of any inappropriate labeling.  I grabbed two random Sting CDs in addition to my Diddy purchase.

Step three – Sell it like it’s on fire.

I approached the counter with the two Sting CDs sandwiching Diddy.  I then starting talking my pre-pubescent head off about how much my mom loved Sting and how she could not wait for me to bring home these collections.  When the associate saw the Diddy CD, she paused and I that’s when I laid on the charm.  “Track 16 is the latest collaboration with Sting.  You’ve probably heard it on the radio? My mom loves it. I’m not sure why it’s labeled this way as it’s an acappella group.  Not like anybody singing with Sting would be terrible, right?”

Step four – Reflect.

Of course this lady does not sell me a CD called “Puff Daddy and the Family – No Way Out”.   You’d be taking a Zamboni machine to all nine circles of Dante’s Hell before Denim Dress McGee sells songs titled “Young G’s” and “All About the Benjamins” to an 11 year-old.

The point is this, my friends: Fisher will not be easy.  Even the best laid plans will fail at times.  We are all going to get chewed up because we are wheat: full of potential, well matured, and raw.  Hopefully we’ll look back and consider our previous ignorance with a higher perspective.  I would also submit that if we don’t get our collective egos rocked a few times by this program, then we might as well get our money back and spend it on late fees at the public library.  Fisher is a top-tier program because they do what others can’t.  They make successful people more successful.  I look forward to the process, and the late nights, and the morass of classes, interviews, failures, and victories.  I expect Fisher to give me the tools to evolve into something greater than the sum of my parts.  I also expect to pick up a few bad habits along the way.  Most of all I look forward to working with each of you.

I’ll end my first post in the fashion which I will end every post; with a request.

Be kind to somebody today.  It makes a difference.

E


New environment, new challenge

It has been two weeks since I started my new journey. I am here to pursue my master degree, business logistics engineering. Fisher is a  totally environment for my classmates and me. We have a relatively busy schedule, which is at least two courses a day, various seminar and info session to attend. What is more important, everyone has to face the stress from both homework and job hunting.

Strategy Logistics Management impresses me most. We just have attended the class twice. We are lucky enough to have two guest speakers, one from Verizon and another from Walmart. Most of my classmate are Chinese student just graduating from university without working experiences, so the first people cannot be engaged. Fortunately, this week we had a presentation from International Logistics Department of Walmart. We all know Walmart more or less, so the atmosphere is amazing, most of my classmate put forward their questions, ranging from corporation strategy to shopping experiences. Both the guest speaker and we enjoyed a lot. One more thing, to our great surprise, we had to take a quiz at the time we just attended the class only one time. We are still not used to this kind of rhythm, which forces us to read the textbook and supplemental materials.


The MAcc Goes to Summit Vision

As part of our orientation for the Fisher MAcc program we spent half a day at a place called Summit Vision.  Summit Vision is a high ropes course, outdoor activity center located about 30 minutes from OSU.  We got there in time for lunch and spent awhile eating and hanging out, playing games like knockout and Frisbee.  After lunch, we were randomly split up into teams and completed five team-building activities.  For the most part, these activities were puzzles where we had to work together to complete.  Being put into random teams was a great way to meet people that I hadn’t met yet and step outside my comfort zone a little bit.

Our first activity was to replicate a picture of wooden sticks arranged to make numerous squares.  The sticks all varied in length and had notches located in various places.  Only one stick fit in the correct place, making it difficult to figure out which stick belonged where.  Summit VisionAfter discussing possible ways to approach this, we finally determined a strategy and completed the puzzle, getting faster with each attempt.  Another activity involved us using wooden blocks to get our whole team from one point to another without touching the ground.  Everyone was given a block and the block had to be touched at all times.  If a block wasn’t being touched we’d lose the block and make the puzzle harder one ourselves.  This was kind of like a team-building, grown up version of “the floor is lava”.  Without a doubt, my favorite activity was when we went to the zip line.  This wasn’t as much of a puzzle solving station, but still required support and encouragement from team members.

Overall, Summit Vision was a really great way for us to get to know some fellow MAcc students and have fun learning about some characteristics associated with teamwork.  Already, it is clear that teamwork is a big part of the MAcc program, as the majority of classes I am in have at least one group project assigned.  It is very easy to tell that the qualities and characteristics of teamwork that were associated with Summit Vision are already translating into practical use inside and outside of the classroom.

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Summit Vision1


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