Group work

We just recently finished up our first set of 7-week classes. At Fisher, most of our courses are on a 7-week schedule, which is nice because it allows us to take a variety of different classes. This is especially nice being in HR because there are so many different components of HR that we need to learn about, and this schedule gives us the opportunity to explore all of those different topics.

The classes here in the business school are much different from my classes in undergrad. I didn’t come from a business background and so I didn’t have as much group work in my experiences.  Here at Fisher, though, there is definitely a greater emphasis on group work, projects, case studies, and presentations.

Although it can be tough working in a group, the more frequently you work in groups, the better you become. In the majority of our classes our groups were assigned to us, so it was fun learning the best techniques and practices for working most effectively. I think that most of my classmates had pretty good group experiences, but we’re definitely glad to be done with all the exams, papers, and presentations. Looking forward to starting my next set of classes next week.


Teamwork

One of the things I was most nervous about when I first started business school was working on a team. I knew we would be put into teams of five at the beginning of pre-term, and that we would work together on all group projects for the entire year.  As an English major, I was used to writing papers and teaching classes by myself.  As the oldest of five children, I was good at organizing and ordering.  I had a lot of practice with being in charge, but I wasn’t sure how good I would be at NOT being in charge.  At the very least, I suspected I would have to be the group mom and make sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing and our projects were handed in on time.  I braced myself for excessive goofing off during group meetings and mentally prepared to be the fun-sucker who brings everyone back to the project and keeps them on-task.

But none of my fears were realized. Literally.  None of them.  My team is as motivated and organized and determined as I am.  It’s a little weird – okay, it’s really weird – but it’s true.  It’s easy to give my teammates control of aspects of projects because I know they will do it right – they will do it better than I ever could.  A few days ago, I had a one-on-one meeting with a professor.  “Who is on your team?” he asked.  I told him.  “Oh.  That’s a very strong team.  A VERY strong team.”  I know.

I realize that sometimes teams struggle to work together.  I know teams can have conflicting personalities or difficult schedules.  I know some teams work well together, but never see each other outside of class.  I was warned about the variety of team differences, issues, and tensions before I started this program.  But none of that describes my team.  My teammates are wonderful people – they are smart and funny and driven.  We always laugh when we’re together, but we work our butts off, too.  We sit next to or within talking-distance of each other in almost every class, and we hang out on the weekends.  When I don’t understand something that’s going on in class, my teammates are more than willing to take the time out of their own busy schedules to help me.  I genuinely love my team, and I know that when this program ends, I will leave with at least four forever friends.  And that is a pretty epic MBA (and life) win.

Abhijit and Santiago are holding the map in front.  Joe is in the grey t-shirt behind them.  I'm the one in turquoise and hot pink, and Ben is next to me in navy.

Abhijit and Santiago are holding the map in front. Joe is in the grey t-shirt behind them. I’m the one in turquoise and hot pink, and Ben is next to me in navy.


Campus Hacks – Getting Around OSU

In the fall of my senior year of undergrad, my college offered a “career planning” class to help itinerant, liberal-art students like myself launch their career search. While I was excited to take some focused steps towards my vocational search, I was immediately skeptical when the first exercise of the class was to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. The Myers-Briggs is essentially a multiple-choice test that asks test-takers questions like “Would you rather eat spaghetti with a friend or go see a horror movie alone?” I was already skeptical of personality tests, and while I was giving the Myers-Briggs an honest effort, the bizarre mix of wandering yet oddly specific questions seemed to confirm my doubts.

We received the results two weeks later. I got chills as I opened the results analysis and discovered that Myers-Briggs knew more about me than I did. The first sentence of my analysis was, “Despite the fact that you travel to the same locations on a daily basis, you take different routes and time each route to determine which is most efficient.” I was stunned – I do this constantly everywhere I go. Shocked and humbled, I changed my attitude about personality tests that day.

With the help of Myers-Briggs, I have learned to embrace my subconscious need for punctuality. A logistics/efficiency junkie and advocate of alternative transportation (i.e. walking, biking, and public transit), I have spent the last few weeks testing each bike and bus route to campus from my home in German Village. To make most efficient use of time, energy, and resources, I have developed a number of “Campus Hacks” that are helpful for those who (a) hate traffic, (b) don’t want to show up to class sweaty and disheveled, and (c) prefer to do their networking on COTA (Columbus’s public bus system). For my first grad life blog, I wanted to share some of these tips to help reach and navigate campus as efficiently (and comfortably) as possible.

BIKING
• Pack strategically!

  • Pack your dress shirt separately: I roll my dress shirts (to prevent wrinkling – it’s only semi-successful) and wear a different t-shirt (polyester – performance wicking) while I ride. Once I arrive at school and stand in front of an A/C vent for long enough to cool down, I change shirts and leave the sweaty shirt on my bike outside to dry off.
  •  Invest in good Tupperware: Nothing is more disappointing than a leaky lunch. Pay the premium for good containment supplies to keep your books dry and lunch intact

• Keep a small but ample arsenal of supplies in your locker

  • Coat and tie or Business Wear
  • Fleece: I am always cold in class, and carting a sweatshirt or fleece back and forth everyday takes up unnecessary space and weight in my pack.
  • Granola bars/snacks: Something that can supplement breakfast when time is against you
  • Comb/hair stuff: I get terrible helmet-hair when I ride my bike.
  • Gym Clothes: I keep a pair of tennis shoes, shorts, t-shirt, socks, and even dress shoes in my locker. This way, if I decide to work out during lunch or after class, I don’t have to carry these. On days I ride the bus, I bring the sweaty stuff home and replenish my locker supplies.

BUSSING
• Make productive use of time on the bus: sometimes the weather throws curveballs, and the real benefit from the bus (besides the socializing, of course) is the ability to get other things done in-transit.

  • Print readings and homework out a few days in advance. This way, if you have to take the bus on short notice, you can be sure to make best use of the time.
  • News Aggregators: It’s hard, but important, to make time to read about current events, the economy, etc. I use an app called Feedly, but there are several others out there. Basically, these allow you to build your own newspaper: you choose the media sources and even the categories. The app simply filters new articles from those sources into the categories you setup.
  • Download Podcasts: Podcasts are another great platform for keeping up with current events or other topics of interest – they are free, and sometimes after a series of busy days, projects, and other work it is much more enjoyable to sit back and listen. My favorites are NPR Planet Money, On Being, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, and The Art of Manliness series. Downloading them in advance via WiFi will save you on your data plan!
  • Audio books: The Columbus Metropolitan Library is amazing. My next blog post will probably be entirely about why it is the best library chain in the world and why it is so valuable to citizens of Columbus. In the meantime, I will just mention that if you have a subscription to the library (free) you can download audiobooks to your smartphone or computer (free) through an app service called OverDrive (free). Okay, so it’s not “free” – you pay for it with your taxes – but it is an amazing, underutilized resource.

Travel well!

-Pete


Aca-mazing

Is it possible to be bored on campus? I really don’t think so, there is constantly fun to be had! Proof of this was the Pentatonix concert held at the Ohio Union! Pentatonix is an a-cappella group that won The Sing Off (Season 3) on NBC. OUAB (Ohio Union Activities Board) brought them in to perform and the concert did not disappoint.

My view of the stage!

My view of the stage!

The Serenade

The Serenade

 

The screen projecting the concert for a better visual!

The screen projecting the concert for a better visual!

During the concert they performed a wide variety of songs ranging from Macklemore to Ariana Grande and a ton more! They also took a volunteer from the crowd and serenaded her, unfortunately I was too far back in the crowd to be selected. Even though my seat was pretty far back, it didn’t hinder the show. OUAB had it displayed on multiple screens around the ballroom ensuring that you could always see and hear what was going on.

If you have some time, I would definitely watch their Evolution of Beyoncé, trust me it is just as good in person as it is in that video! Plus, they have a killer Christmas album if you are one of those people that gets into the holiday mood really early. I know that for me personally, Christmas music is fair game after Thanksgiving and I will have their holiday album on repeat!

This concert was a great to way to relax and have a good time after a long day of classes, it is always nice to have a distraction from day to day activities and this was the perfect one!

 

 

 


Food Perks Around Fisher

One of the perks of constantly being on Fisher’s and Ohio State’s main campus is the multitude of places that deliver food. Once I find a place I love, I usually do not go anywhere or try anything new. Being a student ambassador, I am constantly looking for places to deliver while I am working. Since not many places in Arkansas delivered, I stuck with Jimmy Johns for starters. The subs are fantastic and the food is delivered in like 5 minutes. I usually get this amazing ham and turkey sandwich with bacon.  If you are looking to go outside the box a little, I would advise my new favorite place, Currito (known to me as burrito with a C). This place is FANTASTIC and also reasonably priced! For $10 I can get a burrito bowl exactly how I want and a strawberry banana smoothie! Their slogan, “Burrito without Borders” fits them perfectly. You can get anything you want on your burrito, or burrito bowl, within reason. While the delivery time is a little slower, it is DEFINITELY worth it.

Burrito...with borders in this case

Burrito…with borders in this case

By the time you finish reading this, the freaky fast delivery will be at your doorstep

By the time you finish reading this, the freaky fast delivery will be at your doorstep

Now to the splurge meal that gets its own paragraph. Adriatico’s is like a little slice of heaven…more like a big slice, actually.  During my visit last year, I experienced the perfectness that is Adriatico’s. No pizza I have ever had even comes close, and they have specials constantly for college students. For instance, on Sundays with your BuckID, everything is 20% off. On Mondays and Tuesdays, as well, large pizzas are $12.55.

Best pizza on EARTH!

Best pizza on EARTH!

 

I honestly would be able to imagine life and Fisher without these three places. When Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, just feed one,” I wonder if she knew this would be my life story, constantly feeding myself delivery at Fisher…hmm….


Reflecting on Session 1: How Grad School Differs from Undergrad

The first session of classes is concluding, and I’m left wondering where the time went! Luckily, only one more final to go!

I’ve had an increasing number of people recently ask me what the differences between undergraduate and graduate school are. My initial thought is that you need to show up. I mean REALLY show up (Yes, literally. Go to class!). Also, BE PRESENT (Be prepared and ready)!

Current mood because of my last final for session 1 tomorrow.

Current mood because of my last final for session 1 tomorrow.

Several undergraduate classes are designed as lectures. However, that’s not the case for most graduate programs, and certainly not the MHRM program. Instructors expect students to have read the assigned readings and come prepared to engage in conversation and ask questions about the readings. This may be intimidating to those who are not comfortable public-speaking, as this is something I continue to challenge myself to improve on. Nonetheless, the instructors and classmates are extremely supportive and provide continual encouragement. Plus, this provides a great opportunity to learn from peers, and practice and apply real principles and concepts that are related to the field!

Another large difference for many students is having to adjust to the 7 week session classes. So when I was asked last week what I would do differently thus far in the program, I would advise anyone to start off strong with your best foot forward. There’s no more “syllabus day.” So during the first class of each course, when the instructor explains the course project (most courses have 1-2 exams and a paper/project), there’s no waiting until later. There’s not really a “later” to rely on because the session moves pretty rapidly. Use your time wisely and plan ahead. So if the semester looks like it is going to get increasingly demanding, get the ball rolling on the project earlier in the session or semester. Trust me, you will be incredibly thankful!

Additionally, since graduate programs are typically smaller in size, I think it’s fairly natural for a stronger sense of community to be created with classmates. Fisher plays an integral part in helping to create this community through different intentional efforts, though. Between the discussion-based classes, group projects, and weekly outings, graduate school definitely creates a very strong sense of community. It’s the best of both worlds. Fisher creates a space to learn and grow, as well as laugh and play.


First Round of 7 Week Courses = DONE!

Is it just me, or is this program flying by?

We just completed our first round of 7 week courses (out of eight rounds). OSU just recently switched from quarters to semesters so there are still some courses that can be considered “quarter classes.” My undergrad was organized in typical semesters so this was a big difference for me and I was a pinch worried about it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that 7 week courses shake things up a bit and keep things interesting. The switch to the new subject matter offered by the new courses is a fun change and keeps your mind sharp.

The only con I can find regarding these quick courses is that the subject matter of the course may require more time. Other than that, I genuinely appreciate the change and have found that it makes the semester fly by. The end of the 7 week courses marks the middle of the semester and I can’t believe that much time has already passed.

The completion of these courses comes with final tests, projects, and papers. While that may seem overwhelming on top of your other 14 week courses, it was incredibly doable (even with a two year old) AND I’ve still been able to watch The Walking Dead.

The next thing to tackle is the Case Competition.

(To be continued…)

 


Ge Case competition- importance of core classes

When you sign up for the core classes for the first semester, little do you realize the importance of the first semester. Economics, Finance, Marketing, Leadership and yeah, Accounting. They all look as stand alone concentration areas to me. However, if you try to dive into the analysis of a case, you will realize that you couldnt have been more wrong about them. I had my first official case presentation today for GE. The case was based on technology deployment in the energy sector. Very quickly, my team figured out that the best way to attack would be to analyze the scenario through all these different lens. I was amazed to find out that all these seemingly different concentration areas beautifully complement each other. Having decided on this framework, we woved our story by connecting all the dots. The learning from this case competition is that all areas are equally important no matter what you choose to specialize in at a later stage. My personal takeaway is to make sure that I develop my personal brand and have an open mind in analyzing the venues where I can leverage my strengths to maximize my utility and returns out of any decision( WOW! I did it!). Hope that fits into the happy ending note for a friday evening category. Wait a minute, is that a forceful fit?


The End of Fall Semester, Session 1

It is amazing how quickly this first term has flown by; it is already our last week of the first session for Fall semester.  Here are some of my quick observations from the first session:

  • The Courses: Most courses for the program are only 7 weeks long.  Because of this, material is covered fairly quickly and a topic is usually not discussed for longer than one class period.  Since the courses are fast paced, it is important to stay organized and stay ahead of the material, otherwise it will be easy to fall behind and stay behind.  Overall, the courses have all been interesting and it was wonderful to see how approachable and helpful the professors have been.  It is crazy to think that we have finals this week and are starting all new courses next week.
  • The Class: Coming to Ohio State not knowing anyone was a little frightening, but from the first day of orientation it was easy to see that the MAcc Class of 2015 would get along well.  Whether it is eating lunch every day together in the student lounge, studying after classes together, going to trivia every Wednesday night, or hitting the bars on the weekends the MAcc kids are always together.
  • The Culture: The environment surrounding the MAcc program is unique.  Everyone has different backgrounds and different experiences that have brought them to Fisher.  Because of this, it is nice that the program involves so many group projects.  For example, one of my groups had three international students from China, a student that worked professionally for a couple years and is coming back to school for his Masters, and another student from Texas.  Combined we all brought different knowledge and skills to the table and worked well as a team.  The culture of the program may be hard to describe in words but it is something I am happy to be a part of.

Columbus Fun Facts

Since Ohio State has a widespread presence in the U.S. and beyond, it can be easy to equate Columbus with the University. While OSU is a major component of the Columbus scene, there is a lot more to the city to discover!

I’m from Ohio (Toledo, specifically) and have spent a good deal of time in Columbus before attending the MAcc program. I’ve found that Columbus newcomers are often surprised at how vibrant and welcoming our state capital truly is. Here are some tidbits about the city that may help you to understand why so many Buckeyes never leave it.

Cbus Fun Facts:

  1. 15th largest city in the U.S.
  2. Business is booming! Greater Columbus is home to the headquarters of Nationwide Insurance, AEP, Wendy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, L Brands (think Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works), Big Lots, White Castle, Cardinal Health, and more!
  3. Home of the Columbus Clippers (Triple A baseball; affiliate of the Cleveland Indians), the Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer), and the Columbus Blue Jackets (National Hockey League). And, of course, we can’t forget about our Ohio State Buckeyes!
  4. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is world renowned and its director emeritus is “Jungle Jack” Hanna
  5. The annual Ohio State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the U.S.

Check out this link to learn more about things to do Columbus: http://www.columbusalive.com/content/stories/2014/08/14/back-to-school-100-things-to-do-before-you-graduate.html

 

Columbus Skyline

Columbus Skyline

 


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