Meeting the legend Warren Buffett in Omaha

Yep– the Buffett you thought! I still cannot believe that I met the man in person!

Last Friday, 19 other Fisher grad students and I had the honor to represent Fisher and have lunch with Mr. Buffett at Anthony’s Steakhouse in Omaha.

During the Q&A session before lunch, Mr. Buffett shared his wisdom of life and investment to us. Well, it was mostly about the power of love.

Here are some key points of his speech that impressed me the most:

a) Thinking about your favorite person and the one you dislike the most, write down their characteristics. Then you will know how to be a better person.

b) Unconditional love is the most precious thing in life which cannot be bought by money. You would get it from your parents or spouse. Love others first, then you will get love from them 1000 times back. He said he would not be the same person without the unconditional love of his wife and father.

c) Being others’ spouse and parent is the most important job in life. You cannot take back your actions or words. There is no replay or delete.

During his speech, Mr. Buffett shared many interesting stories. For example, in early 1990s, Mr. Buffett and Bill Gates and other icons in business and tech sat around a table to discuss how the internet would develop in the next decade (which Buffett said they should have taped) They talked for hours, but they didn’t come up with amazing ideas such as Youtube, Linkedin, or ads in websites– though they had the best business and technology minds in the world.

The most amazing part of meeting Mr. Buffett is that he speaks in a candid manner to students. He’s not arrogant at all– just like a grandfather talking to his grandkids, or even just as one would talk to friends. Moreover, to manage a crowd over 160 people, he only brought two assistants, a secretary and a bodyguard. You would not even sense the existence of the bodyguard until he wandered in the hallway to keep an eye on Mr. Buffett during lunch time. The secretary was so easygoing and elegant. She just sat behind the table, observing the room and monitoring the process during the Q&A session, only interrupting when necessary but in a calm and warm voice. With all the student groups taking pictures, there were a little chaos, but Mr. Buffett still maintained his smile. It was a brief experience, but I am impressed by how efficient and organized his team was and how much he trusted them.

Fisher grad Students meeting with Mr. Buffett

Another treat was the delicious steak, smashed potato, and strawberry cake at the steakhouse. But photos were not allowed to be taken inside the restaurant, so here is our group photo outside. You definitely should visit the place if you ever travel to Omaha!

Anthony’s Steakhouse

After meeting Mr. Buffett, we still had 3.5 hours before our flight back to Columbus. So, three other Fisher students (Lauren, Michelle, and Zainab) joined me and Heidi from the Office of Global Business to rent a car and take a quick tour of Omaha. Thanks to Lauren for this awesome idea and to Heidi for driving us around Omaha– and even to Iowa at one point!

Nebraska Furniture Mart
OMAHA

Last but not least, big thanks and respect to our awesome and calm trip leader Matthew Nordman, who helped us to get to Omaha in time given some flight issues and helped us to transfer on an earlier flight back, so each of us on the trip could finish the journey within 24 hours. Four flights within 24 hours and a return to the same airport is a record of mine now!

Spotlight on MBA Entrepreneurship at Fisher College of Business

Today, we are sharing a guest blog post from one of our second-year MBA students (and soon-to-be graduates!) who will share his experience with entrepreneurship during his time at Fisher. As a Fisher MBA student, you can even pursue a new opportunity, starting this fall, called the MBA Specialization in Technology Entrepreneurship. If you’re interested, you can find more information about it here!

Dr. Michael Camp leads the Langdale Academy in Technology Entrepreneurship at the Fisher College of Business. The new MBA Specialization combines OSU’s ranked MBA coursework with the successful experiential programs of the Langdale Academy.

Entrepreneurship is certainly in a high-growth stage here at the Fisher College of Business. In my two years as an MBA student, I can look back on the opportunities we’ve had to network with emerging technology start-ups, bounce questions off of seasoned venture capitalists– and even launch a few business concepts of our own.

The biggest entrepreneurship event at Fisher is the annual Silicon Valley Trip, which is hosted by WSGR, TEC Institute, and Fisher Entrepreneurship Association. The Silicon Valley Trip immerses 18 Fisher graduate students in the Silicon Valley start-up ecosystem, meeting with leading venture capital firms, technology incubators, and entrepreneurs in the heart of the startup capital. We’ve had incredible opportunities to interact with individuals like Apple’s first hire, Ben Silbermann (CEO of Pinterest), John Thompson (Chairman of Microsoft), Brad Smith (CEO of Intuit), and Partners at Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and WSGR – just to name a few!

2017 Silicon Valley Trip with Fisher MBA students, alumni, and executives from HP and Microsoft.

But even if you don’t join the Silicon Valley trip, it’s easy to see Columbus’ entrepreneurial energy rising: Columbus was just named the #1 City for Scaling Startups by the Kauffman Foundation. It’s a great time to be a Fisher MBA as we’ve been able to gain exposure to rapidly growing local startups like CoverMyMeds and CrossChx, as well as venture firms like Drive Capital, Rev1 Ventures, and Lumos Ventures.

Rev1 Ventures provides seed stage venture capital funding in Columbus, Ohio along with startup services, mentoring, and connections.

Within Fisher, several MBA students have actively pursued entrepreneurial ventures. In my class, currently-enrolled Fisher MBAs have founded companies commercializing new technologies. In one case, two students teamed up to commercialize a wound healing molecule. In another case, a student launched an e-commerce site for resumes, called resumates. Some of these students have had such success that they’ve been able to take their ventures on full-time after graduation – awesome!

Each year, it feels like the opportunity to engage in the entrepreneurial experience grows as more and more students pursue innovative ideas and business concepts. I look back fondly on so many of these experiences, but also can’t wait to hear some of the new business concepts that emerge from upcoming MBAs.

MAcc Attack!

Some of you may have read my previous blog about the MAcc Olympics. Since many faculty were unable to attend our MAcc Olympics, we decided to have a separate event where you can try to beat Professor Arya and Rob Chabot in table tennis or racquetball, appropriately named “MAcc Attack.” Rob works out of the Graduate Programs Office (the “GPO”) and is the Director of Recruiting & Admissions for the Specialized Masters Programs. He is an absolute beast at racquetball.  Professor Arya teaches one of the core courses and used to be the Director of the MAcc program. He is not only really good at racquetball, but he is also great at table tennis.

We rented out racquetball courts at the RPAC and invited the whole program to attend. I was optimistic that one of the current students would be able to compete with the faculty in racquetball, but I was very wrong. One student was able to beat Arya in table tennis several times (shout-out to Rui), but none of us was able to compete with the two faculty in racquetball. So if you’ve ever played racquetball before, practice throughout the year so you can humble Rob and Arya when you get your chance to play them. It is very rare for a student to beat them, so start preparing now!

MAcc Attack!

Other than getting our butts kicked by the faculty in racquetball, it was a lot of fun to play other students in the MAcc program. These games were actually competitive and we all had a blast. We also played doubles in table tennis, which was new to me, but surprisingly fun. This event, similar to the MAcc Olympics, provided everyone with an opportunity to spend time on the weekends together in a fun memorable way.

As the year starts to wind down, I am starting to look back on my favorite moments of the program, so my next blog is going to be a ranking of those moments.

Glory to Columbus!

As a Columbus native, I celebrate just about everything unique to this fine city. However, one aspect I feel I’ve neglected during my 26 years of life and love for Columbus is the Crew team. Columbus has an MLS soccer (or football, for the purists) team smack dab it its own backyard–literally a 20-minute walk from campus.

This past Saturday I attended my first game in 6 years, and man how I’d missed it. We played the Portland Timbers (I lived in Oregon the last two years, so this was an uncomfortable limbo for me to exist in. But come on, we all know where my loyalty lies.) As is typical in soccer, we were tied up for most of the match. But as expected, the Crew scored in the final few minutes to pull out the win.

“All we do is win.”

The Crew team has some of the most fiercely loyal fans in the entire MLS, I’m convinced. Led by fearless leader (and brand ambassador, and retired Crew player) Frankie Hejduk, they have conceived a parody of nearly every popular and unpopular song, eloquently replacing the words with some crew-related lingo (hint: “you” and “Crew” rhyme, so that really opens up a lot of possibilities). You’ll find the lyrics to a few of my favorites below:

Frankie Hejduk has not missed an entire Crew game since he retired. I cannot confirm this is true, but it is how I feel based purely on his team spirit. Just look at him.

500 Miles (The Proclaimers)

I would walk 500 Miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the fan who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at Crew’s door
Call: COLUMBUS
Response: COLUMBUS
Call: COLUMBUS
Response: COLUMBUS
Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)

Yellow Soccer Team (Yellow Submarine – The Beatles)

We all Cheer for the Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
We all Cheer for the Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team

(repeat, forever)

You Got What I Need (Just a Friend – Biz Markie)

Oh baby Crew
You got what I need
And it’s never going to end
And it’s never going to end

All in all, I feel lucky to be a part of a city with a variety of activities to do on the weekends. I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard sports fan, but it is fun to always have the option to go to a Columbus Clippers (baseball), Blue Jackets (hockey), or Crew game when the mood strikes. And, I feel fortunate to have a MHRM “Crew” of my own to accompany me.

“Go Sports!” -the MHRMs

MAcc Olympics

One of our more unique social events this semester was the “MAcc Olympics.” More than 40 MAcc students came out to participate. Since the spring semester is comprised of mostly electives, you will see some of your classmates less often than you do in the Fall. The MAcc Olympics gave everyone an opportunity to catch up with classmates, and blow off some steam after a long week. We focused the event around four games, basketball, volleyball, kickball and dodgeball.

Hailey, Sam, Kate, Susan and Melissa waiting for their turn in kickball

The first hour, we split everyone into two groups, one group got to play volleyball to start and the other played “knockout.” Knockout is a basketball game where everyone lines up behind the free throw line and the first two in line have a basketball. The first person shoots the ball, and as soon as the first person shoots, the second person shoots as well. The goal of the game is to make your shot or rebound and layup your ball before the person before you scores in order to knock them out, but if the person after you scores before you do, you are knocked out. In the end, only one winner still stands.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Next we went over to the turf field to play kickball. Kickball is essentially baseball, but the pitcher rolls the ball to the “batter” who kicks the ball. The only other difference is in kickball, you can throw the ball at the runner to get them out. This was a lot of fun, and it was a game that was new to several students in the MAcc.

Lastly, we played a classic sport, dodgeball. If you don’t know what dodgeball is, watch the movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.” It is about a local Las Vegas gym and its employees who enter into a dodgeball tournament to save their gym from going out of business. It’s hilarious, and you’ll become a dodgeball pro in no time.

Grady in action

I lastly wanted to mention was how much the international students loved the event. Since some of the games were new to many of those that did not grow up in the states, it was a great experience to learn new games and play around with classmates. One of our best students, Tahmina Ahmed, had this to say after the MAcc Olympics:

“Today was one of the best days that I have had during my stay in the States. I’m gonna take some awesome memories with me. Thank you so much guys. You guys are the best 😍😍😍”.

MAcc Olympics was a great even for everyone in the program to get active after a long week, and I am excited for what the last several weeks of the MAcc program are going to bring.

MAcc Madness

My March started out with a quick trip to Washington D.C. to see my best friend from undergrad. Though small, the Columbus airport still offers service to a number of destinations around the country. Even better, I was able to snag my round-trip tickets for an incredibly affordable price. It was a wonderful weekend getaway, full of lots of laughs, sightseeing, walking, and delicious food.

I also had the opportunity to jet out west to Salt Lake City and Park City to see family over spring break. I prefer mountains to the beach, so this was definitely my idea of a perfect vacation. In addition to simply hanging out with some of my favorite people, I got to enjoy some rock climbing and yoga while I was out there!

March also marked the start of the Intramural indoor soccer season! I was incredibly nervous about being a part of the team because although soccer was a huge part of my childhood, I had not played for years. While I am certainly not as a fast or in shape as I used to be, joining the “MAccletes” is definitely one of the highlights of my MAcc experience thus far. Continuing on the soccer trend, I also went to my first Columbus Crew game this past weekend where the Crew beat the Portland Timbers 3-2.

Because of how classes are scheduled, there are no Friday classes during the second term of the spring semester. To take advantage of this free day, the MAcc Council has several events planned over the next couple of weeks. This past Friday they hosted the MAcc Olympics which was an afternoon of fun and games. We played basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and kickball. It should come as no surprise that there was definitely some friendly competition on the playing field!

I have also made it a point to take advantage of the warmer temps to get back out on the trails. I went to Clear Creek Metro Park this past Saturday and am looking forward to going back this upcoming weekend. I am also going to try to get to Hocking Hills this weekend as well, weather permitting.

Looking into April, there are plenty of other activities on the calendar. MAcc Gives Back, a day of community service, is scheduled for the morning of April 7th. That same day, we have Fisher Formal in the evening. I am really looking forward to spending some time giving back to the Columbus community and Formal is sure to be a blast – I love any excuse to get dressed up!

It is hard to believe that graduation is just a few short weeks away. While I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life, it is bittersweet to think that my time at the Fisher College of Business is quickly coming to an end. I did not know what to expect when I started my MAcc experience, but it is safe to say that the past year has been amazing and I have so many wonderful memories that I will forever cherish.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The end of the school year is near, with spring break still fresh in our minds. While I went to Florida and spent time with family and friends at the beach, here are some testimonials of what a few other MAcc students did during their well-deserved break.

Haoyuan (Eva) Li – Road Trip

“During the spring break, we went on a road trip. The experience was awesome since we drove through seven states and visited five cities.  Each city is different and has its own special thing. As I have never been to any of those cities, I got to experience different culture and try all kinds of delicious food.

One of the most impressive experiences during the trip was to see colonial Williamsburg. The buildings are classic and historic. You can see people dress up in different roles from the 18th century. They are from a variety of backgrounds, and under the tour guidance, you get to learn how their choices impacted their families and community.

Colonial Williamsburg

Another highlight is that we visited several well-known universities during the trip. We spent a lot of time in their business schools and libraries. Each school has its own unique qualities; some have great facilities, some have great architecture design, and some have a really good vibe. We did the “O-H-I-O” gesture in front of each business school as the proof of our ‘conquering’ of the area. The whole trip was fascinating and was a great travel experience with other MAcc people!”

Showing school spirit across the country
Nick Sampsel – Washington D.C.

“Over Spring Break, I took a few days to go to Washington D.C. As I was notifying a few of my classmates that my hotel had CCTV, I discovered that there were others going to D.C. as well! We visited a bunch of the different Smithsonian museums, like the Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History, and saw all of the different monuments. As MAcc students, it was absolutely necessary to get our picture taken in front of the IRS as well! Overall, it was a nice getaway and a pleasant surprise to see a few of my friends on vacation.”

Is it tax season yet?
Yajie (RJ) Liu – Global Business Expedition to Israel

Global Business Expeditions (GBEs) are short-term, high-intensity global programs offered during Spring Semester. Each program is designed by our Fisher College of Business faculty to integrate industry expertise with a global context. For full cultural and business immersion, students travel during 2017 Spring Break on a private tour of globally successful, multi-national companies and the must-see historical sites of the region.”

MAcc and MBA students pose for a picture at the Western Wall

Students have the option of attending a week long program in Germany, Spain, or Israel. Israel focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship, giving students viable insight into multinational business dealings. These programs are not only limited to MAcc students, but also open to all graduate business students. Prior to traveling, students participate in a 7-week multinational business course. While in Israel, students partake in cultural tours and business meetings with several multinational entities. Program brochure can be found here.

Buckeyes at The Dead Sea

The Most Difficult Assignment of Grad School…

Last month, I completed the most difficult (and fulfilling) assignment of the MBA thus far.  It didn’t involve an extensive group strategy session, or a Sunday afternoon in R studio learning to better work with data, or even a 40-page case read with analysis…. It was even more difficult than those other assignments.

This assignment involved digging deep to develop my personal legacy statement.  What do I want my friends and family to say about me when I retire?  What do I want the overall impact of my professional life to be?

The premise is that nobody makes it to their deathbed and says “gee, I wish I’d spent more time at the office grinding in Excel.”  How much more effective (and challenging) is it to consider your life impact on the front end of your career than the back end?

Our Leadership Legacy class had to not only flesh out our legacy into a paper, but also to present our statements in the form of 5 minutes speeches to the class.  It was a beautiful experience to learn how my classmates have overcome crucible moments and how they plan to make a meaningful impact in their careers.

In the end, I’m so grateful that Fisher is not just training me to be a sharp analyst and a strategic thinker, but also to be an effective, authentic, ethical leader who very carefully and intentionally considers my impact on the world.

Image result for leadership legacy fisher tony rucci

(here is a shot of our professor, Tony Rucci)

Columbus Marketing Hop

As a 2nd-year student in the MBA program, I’ve had the opportunity this year to serve as VP of Programming on the leadership team for AMP, the Association of Marketing Professionals. In the fall semester, I enjoyed coordinating the Columbus Marketing HOP, which started last year as a way to introduce Fisher students to different companies in Columbus and understand how they do marketing.

We like to do the trip in the early fall to expose the 1st-year marketing students as early as possible to different types of marketing careers. The core curriculum marketing class is a quick intro in the fall and isn’t able to deep dive into all aspects of marketing. So, for some students this might be their first introduction to what agencies do or understand how different industries do marketing very differently.

Piada’s Headquarters

This year, we started the morning at Piada, which is a new restaurant start-up founded in Columbus. They have recently expanded from Ohio to Minnesota and Texas to test different markets with their Italian street food, fast-casual concept. We got to hear from Matt Eisenacher, their director of marketing, on Piada’s marketing challenges in being a small start-up dealing with explosive growth. He also compared his experiences in the restaurant industry to his background in brand management at traditional CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies like Nestle and Abbott.

From Piada, we traveled to Perio, which is the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk shaving brands. It was really interesting to hear from Amy Litzinger and the team at Perio about their different consumer segments and how that leads them to different marketing tactics. They spoke at length about sports and entertainment sponsorships, which opportunities they choose, and why they do them,(which personally I found very interesting because I didn’t know very much about that side of marketing).

The group at Perio, home of Barbisol and PureSilk

After loading us up with gift bags of shaving cream (thank you!), we stopped for lunch at, you guessed it, Piada! We got to try some of the seasonal specials that Matt talked to us about in the morning, and it was especially interesting to hear from half of our group who had never been to one of their restaurants before!

Baesman’s welcoming moose 🙂

Our last stop of the day was Baesman, a non-traditional marketing agency located in downtown Columbus. I was very excited to showcase an agency to our group because it’s hard to understand the agency lifestyle until you get to see it for yourself. So much creativity and flexible thinking is needed in their roles and that often translates into offices that look very different from the stereotypical cubes of the large companies they typically work for.

Baesman’s focus is on data-mining and creating content based on insights that they glean from their clients’ data. It was fascinating to hear about how their business and focus has changed over the past 5 years when they realized what an opportunity data-led marketing would be.

I worked with Baesman in a couple different capacities before I came to Fisher, and even I learned a lot about their business model, and how quickly things are changing in their industry. We got to hear from their president, Jeff Sopko, about starting the business, and we also heard from Evan Maggliocca, who is in charge of their agency branding. I confess that I had never really thought about how important branding and marketing efforts are for an agency as they compete for new business. I had only viewed them from a client standpoint, and it was great to realize their challenges as a business, and how they’ve set themselves up for success under those conditions.

Even though I’ve lived in Columbus for more than 5 years, I personally benefited from visiting these companies and hearing about their very different marketing challenges and tactics. The students who went on the trip learned a lot too, and were excited about the diversity of the companies we visited. I’m happy that AMP was able to share such variety in our own backyard and get our students thinking in different ways about their marketing career possibilities while exposing them to great companies.

The End Is Near

I spent a part of this morning going through photos from the past year, and man, it is crazy how quickly these past eight months have gone. Reminds me of this old country song by Trace Adkins. As our email inboxes get flooded with graduation information, ways to purchase regalia, and other information regarding diplomas; graduation is starting to become a real idea indeed.

Looking back on these photos brought back great memories. For example, I remember our orientation and our Turbo Finance class, where I was planting the foundation of my current financial knowledge and getting to know my new classmates better. Another example is the numerous dinners that we went to as a class and all the great food and conversations we had.

My first team at Fisher

Fast forward to the Fisher Follies Auction event in the fall, to accepting my job, to traveling to NYC and meeting with the banks, to finishing out the first half of the program on a strong note. Christmas vacation was an awesome time to have some rest, start studying for the CFA exam, and begin to prepare for the second half of the school year.

Classmates and me in NYC in the fall.

Looking back on the past two months, I also did a lot of traveling: Denver, New York, Chicago, and Islamorada. It was awesome being able to enjoy these places with family, friends, and classmates. It was also nice to do a little traveling while I was still in school and before I started my job.

Skiing out in Denver at Keystone.

Now, we have just over one month left and I am going to cherish these moments a little bit more than the rest as I recognize that this is the end. We have a few more events planned, including the Fisher Follies Variety Show event and a few other SMF events. I am looking forward to this next month and walking across the stage with my classmates at graduation.