My Best Friend (aka My Laptop)
Hard for anyone to believe: my best friend, it turns out, is an inanimate object. It's true! Sure, *technically* you don't have to have a laptop to get through Fisher . . . but I highly recommend it. Having a computer at your disposal makes a world of difference throughout the day. OSU's campus is wireless and Fisher has its own wireless network. There's even free wireless at the new Panera that opened last week across the street. Countless knowledge is at your fingertips (as is constant distraction if you're not disciplined).
Why get a laptop? There are a few major reasons:
1. CARMEN: Most courses offer online course packs. Long gone are the days when you had to order printed copies of articles or a myriad of books. All course content at OSU is administered online via a system thoughtfully named Carmen. The system tracks your current courses and within each is content that is posted by your professor (or their assistant). Carmen is where you find a copy of your syllabus, lecture notes, articles, class presentations, test review materials, homework assignments, and links to custom course packs of articles available on XanEdu or Harvard Business Publishing. Using these electronic resources allows you to access content as needed and without killing trees. If you're old school and need the hard copy, you can go to the printing lab on the second floor and print the information you need. You'll be using paper but at least you'll be printing two-sided copies. Each student receives a printing allowance for the quarter (i.e. for the semester beginning next year). The allowance is plenty; it's unlikely you'll run out.
2. THOMPSON: Besides online course content, the other most valuable asset, in my opinion, is OSU's Thompson Library. Not only is it a beautiful newly-renovated building . . . it gets better: all students have the ability to access online content remotely on AND off campus. If you are on campus, the library can tell you are on the OSU wireless network and you have instant access to countless information: articles, magazines, journals, databases . . . you name it. Ever find yourself frustrated because you click on an article that only allows you to read the first few paragraphs unless you're a subscriber? Frustration ceases with the library! You name it, they've got it. All you have to do is log in if you're off campus - and it's yours! Researching companies and industries becomes immensely easier to the point it's almost a breeze. You can choose to search by data source or you can hit them all up at once to see what is available by subject. If you get stuck, there is a librarian that is dedicated to supporting the business materials. She can help you navigate through the search and find exactly what you need. Worse case: you have the material sent to OSU on inter-library loan. It truly is amazing.
3. THE HUB: Fisher has an events hub that lists all the various happenings in the graduate programs at Fisher. Student organizations as well as Career Management, External Relations, the Graduate Programs Office, the Alumni Office, the Leadership & Professional Development Office, and the various Centers at Fisher list events and allow students to register to attend. Generally, events are free and sometimes include lunch or dinner. Details are provided regarding the event (time, place, location), the required attire, and the recommended audience. If you are ever unsure of where you're headed, you can quickly sign into the HUB and reference the event you're attending to find out where (building and room) it is scheduled to happen.
If you don't have a laptop, you will survive. Hopefully you've at least got an iPad or a smart phone . . . the technology is well worth the investment when you're in b-school. I'm so accustomed to being on a free wireless network wherever I go, I know I'll have major withdrawals as soon as I graduate. I will continue to relish the availability of information while I've got it. I just wish I had more spare time for self-directed reading.