Archive for November, 2011



From Indian food to India land

In Sept of 2001, I left the good ol’ US of A for my junior year abroad in St Andrews, Scotland.  It was, as you can imagine, a tumultuous time.  Despite my fear of the unknown, being so far away from my family, and attempting to come to terms with the events of 9/11; it ended up being one of the greatest learning opportunities and most fun adventures I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.  It was during my time in Scotland that I tried Indian food for the first time.  Being an adventurous eater, I’m not sure why it took me so long to discover the delightful flavors of tandoori chicken and palak paneer, but alas, I’m glad I finally did.  There was a restaurant on the edge of town called The Balaka, which my friends and I frequented in between our meals of fried fish and mushy peas.

Fast forward 10 years.  This past week, I attended the first meeting for our i4 class for winter quarter.  We will be studying what management in an emerging market looks like, working on a group project for a company in Mumbai, and ultimately traveling to India to present our research.  The i4 program at Fisher gives interested students a chance to do exactly what my class will be doing in India.  Some of the other current program options include Germany/Poland, Brazil, and Ghana.  (Click here for program information).  While I was sitting with friends eating my green herb chicken and garlic naan 10 years ago, it never occurred to me that I would eventually have the opportunity to study about and travel to the country that inspired that delicious food.  Thank you, Fisher College of Business, for this incredible opportunity.


Ohio State Basketball – Definitely Not Gator Bait!

One of my favorite aspects of the full-time MBA program at Ohio State is the opportunity to be included in the sports traditions of a wider community that makes up the fan base at THE Ohio State University. I’m only half kidding when I say that for any Ohio State football game, at least half of the city of Columbus is probably sitting in the stadium, parked outside the stadium grilling burgers, or attending and alternatively hosting tailgate parties in their living rooms or garages. Veteran game go-ers know better than to show up to the stadium within 1-2 hours of game day, knowing that people traffic, not traffic traffic, will deter them. It really is incredible how many people identify as being Buckeye fans!

The view from the sky deck, also known as mezzanine student section tickets.

 Yesterday was the first game for student season ticket holders and it was a great one to be part of as #3 ranked Ohio State took on the #11 ranked University of Florida Gators. The atmosphere was terrific, the game was exciting, and all in all, I think it was a great start to kicking off what should be a pretty fun season of college basketball.

Speaking of sports, this Saturday will be our last home game of the regular season and my last football game as a student. Ohio State will play Penn State, and for all the attention that these schools have been getting in the press for the past year, I’m really hoping the attention in the media will be on the game itself and showcase the players and the fans. Of course, a big win for the Buckeyes would be nice, too. I’m definitely looking forward to it!

 

 

 

 


Dining in Style

I love to eat, and always get really excited about interview pre-nights and similar events that involve a free meal.  It’s great to get the chance to talk to your potential employer over food while letting them pick up the bill!  One thing that always made me uncomfortable though was the etiquette…I mean who really knows what fork to use when they give you three?  Is there a correct way to be holding my silverware?  Who’s bread plate is that!?

THANK GOODNESS FOR FISHER’S GRADUATE PROGRAMS!

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending an Etiquette Dinner at the Blackwell.  Not only did I get a wonderful meal, but I had all of my questions above (and many more) answered!  I’ll share some of the tips below, but I don’t want to give away everything so you’ll go next year when you’re a student here!

I had to be sneaky...its bad etiquette to take pictures at dinner!

We began with placement and rolls.  Yes, there actually is a specific way to unfold your napkin and place it on your lap.  And which roll plate is yours – left or right?  It’s the one on your left.  What about glass of water??  On the right.  Here’s a helpful trick we learned to remember this…  take your hands and hold them out in front of you.  Now touch the tip of your thumb with the tip of your pointer finger, making little “o’s”, and let your other fingers extend straight out.  Your left hand looks like a “b” doesn’t it?  That’s for bread roll!  And your right hand…seems to resemble a “d”, huh?  Yeah – that’s for drink!

We moved on to soup (tomato basil, and it was excellent).  Did you know it’s not okay to stir or blow on your soup to cool it down (at least while dining professionally)?  I had no idea!!  And yes, there is a specific way to get the soup on your spoon (tilt it towards you after filing to let the excess drip).

Next up was the salad.  A few highlights here: when there are large pieces of lettuce, don’t try to fold them over onto the fork.  Use your salad knife to cut them into manageable pieces.  We also talked about how to handle olive pits and other inedible foods that may be in a salad…it is equally appropriate to discreetly spit them into your napkin or to spit them back onto the fork.  Needless to say, I think spitting back on the fork is incredibly difficult, and I failed miserably when I tried…

On to the main course – grilled chicken with peas and fettuccine.  First of all, yum.  But I know, I know…we’re talking about etiquette here…  There are two distinct and equally appropriate ways to hold your silverware:  Continental (European) and American.  I was inclined to the American style, where you cut with the right hand then transfer your fork to your right hand to eat.  In the Continental style, you hold your fork in your left hand and knife in the right the entire time, but must transfer the food to your mouth with the fork tines down!  We also discussed the best way to twirl noodles on to your fork without getting those pesky danglers.

The dessert was a chocolate mousse parfait.  Needless to say, it was also incredible.  This was probably the easiest course from an etiquette perspective.  Bite-sized pieces was the key takeaway, but we also learned that in between bites you should leave the spoon in the cup, not on the table or plate!

These were just the highlights of course.  We learned much much more (how to place your silverware to signal you are done, how to engage in conversation, etc) and I think everyone had a great tine!  (And yes, that pun was intended.)


MBA Career Switchers

Hi everyone! My name is Nadine and I am a second year MBA student working in the Office of Admissions as a student ambassador. This week I’ll be serving as a guest blogger to share some of my experiences with you this year. I know I have interacted with many of you either in-person during Fisher Premiere weekend or at various other information sessions, or by e-mail through our ambassador inbox. I’m excited to write a few posts so I may share with you more about my background, the reasons I came to business school and why Fisher has been a good fit for me so far.
Before coming to business school, I worked at Ernst and Young in Cleveland and decided that although public accounting was a great start to my career, I wanted to move away from manufacturing and focus on retail and consumer goods. This past summer I worked at Limited Brands as a senior financial analyst, and although LB was a great introduction to retail, I learned that focusing on marketing and strategy, in particular brand management, is the right role I want to pursue after graduation.
A lot of people wonder if business school is the right opportunity to make career changes, and I absolutely think that if you are passionate about what kinds of roles you are interested in from the start of your MBA program, Fisher’s customized elective structures make it possible for you to do so. Some of my friends have interests in subject areas that are outside of business school such as digital media or health care, and have been able to take electives in those areas. “Action-based learning” initiatives are also a plus. There are plenty of student organizations available with connections to companies interested in potentially recruiting Fisher students, as I am an active member of Fisher AMP (Association of Marketing Professionals) and Innovation Fisher (IF). As you’ll see later this week, there are plenty of opportunities to dive into an area that you’re passionate about and build experiences that matter.
Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you have any questions about career goals, majors, or anything you’d like to know more about the program, at grad_mba_ambassadors@fisher.osu.edu. Hope to learn more about all of you soon!

A Simple Swing

I love the cartoon depicted below:

If you chuckled, then read on!

First off, let me say that this cartoon has been with me throughout my academic, co-op and professional career and it is currently posted on my whiteboard at Emerson where I am a Product Development Engineer. It will never go down and since the time I first saw it, countless people have asked for copies and it constantly reminds me on the importance of communication.

I love the bottom middle frame where the service engineers installed the swing by cutting the tree at the base and placing stilts to prop it up! Unnecessary? Yeah, I would think so as well. In fact, in my line of work, I have seen things like this take place where the most obvious and simple solution to a task or problem get lost in a maze of unneeded complexity.

What does this cartoon mean and why is it so important to me? Simple. It basically reminds me that multiple functions come together to effectively deliver something to a customer whether it is a product or a service. We all play a part in each function but we sometimes lose focus on exactly what it is we are doing and why. If we know these things in detail and see the “big picture” it improves the chances of a successful delivery of either the product or service.

We have all seen and/or worked with that “one function” where it only cares about what it does and couldn’t care less why it is doing it and what the end result should be. What does this lead to? Frustration! Because that function perceives the end product or service to be totally different than what was actually requested. This is because there are no working links in the relationship between the functions delivering and receiving the deliverable.

By the way, the basis of this cartoon along with working links are all studied carefully and analyzed through numerous case studies in an excellent course called Organizational Behavior (MBA 870) taught in the summer. In fact, this course has been the most valuable for me thus far because it made me realize that we can all be technical professionals and know our “stuff” inside and out but if we can’t communicate and get things done our talent for knowing our “stuff” means nothing.

So the next time you wonder about all the hoops you unnecessarily had to jump through for a customer, maybe it was because you didn’t have to because the customer only wanted a simple swing!


Volunteer!

Gandhi  said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This week, between classes and group work, I have really enjoyed finding opportunities and time to volunteer! Ohio State and Columbus have opportunities for basically any interest. Aligning with my healthcare administration goals, I volunteered at a free medical clinic, passed out magazines to patients at the James Cancer Center, and donated blood. (The blood drive is a competition against Michigan, in case saving lives and getting a snack are not motivation enough.) I love food, so I also enjoyed my time distributing meals through Meals on Wheels.

In this blog post, though,I really want to focus on the FETCH program, for which several MAcc students volunteered on Wednesday.  We went to local schools and taught 5th graders about accounting by playing a game with them. Teams had to manage revenues and expenses associated with owning a (pretend/imaginary) pet dog.  I was impressed with the kids’ strategies, business ideas, and understanding of basic financial concepts. We all had so much fun, and hopefully we helped create some future accountants!

Learning outside the classroom is a key component of a well-rounded education, and serving others helps you forget about your own stress. Having a positive attitude and willingness to help can take you to a wide variety of places. Enjoy the experiences!


The Power of Teams

It’s happened multiple times already this quarter:  I sit at home struggling through a chapter of new material, referencing slides from class, the book, my notes, or even an occasional Google search in the hopes that someone out there has created a website that simplifies the concepts.  I trudge through the questions and come up with answers that are headed in the right direction, but may or may not be accurate.

Then I meet with a group of fellow students (sometimes my core team, sometimes other classmates).  Each of us comes to the meeting thinking we don’t know what we’re doing.  It’s amazing to me what the power of a team can do when united.  We may each come with absolutely no idea of how to solve a specific problem, but amazingly, as a group, we are able to solve the problem and understand the material.

This behavior reinforces the power of teams.  And business school is all about teaching you how to work in teams; from creating those teams for you and expecting you to perform together, to using tools to analyze your effectiveness as a part of a team and as a group unit.  This makes sense – the business world is filled with necessary teamwork.  And for the most part, it produces better results.  To quote our econ professor “5+ smart people working together will turn in good work.”

Since b-school is heavily focused on teamwork and producing work with team members, this is a very compelling reason to visit schools, sit in on classes, and talk to students!  Develop an idea of the kind of people that you will be working with during school – because those people are going to become a big part of your life and your academic career.

Fisher, in my opinion, happens to be home to some great people to have on your team.

Studying for our accounting midterm!

 


Like a Vacation with Strangers

One of the perks that attracted me to the Fisher College of Business was the college’s Career Services office. As someone changing careers mid-stream, I was grateful to see an active career services office that would not only be able to help me polish the resume, but also help me land that critical internship or first job.

About a month ago I signed up for an on-campus interview with a large international company with locations throughout the Great Lakes region. I’ve been enjoying a successful co-op, but what the heck, I thought, it doesn’t hurt to test the waters out a bit before graduation and see what other organizations have to offer. I suited up, prepped for the interview in Gerlach Hall, and received a call back for round two. This time, the interview would be held outside of Chicago. Here was my first chance to take that coveted corporate-sponsored interview trip.

I knew other classmates had also been asked to second rounds. What I didn’t anticipate was other students–undergraduates–getting invitations. So, when I found the threesome at the airport who would be making the trip with me to Chicago, I was a little disheartened. They were all about 15 years younger than me. Would they really want to hang out with a grad-school mom?

I’m sure they had reservations about me as well, but by dinner that night we claimed to be a family of strangers on an even stranger vacation that saw us dining late night at the local Lone Star steakhouse that made us think we’d suddenly landed in Oklahoma instead of Illinois.

The next morning we put on our game faces, put our professional feet forward, and interviewed our hearts out. After an on-site lunch and tour of the facilities, we were back on our way to the airport where we would reside for the next four hours. As we recalled the highlights of our little adventure, including “Dale” the sometimes touchy tour-bus driver, “Scott-ch” the homecoming reveler coming off an intoxicating business trip in the back of the plane, and a mysterious doorbell to Alex’s room, we laughed until our stomachs hurt. Maybe it was the release of too-much tension or the laughter of a group of overly tired job seekers, but it turned into one happy adventure.

Back on the ground at C-bus, the undergrads made their plans for a Friday night out, and I made an appointment for sleep as soon as possible. We hugged good-bye, amazed that we had only known each other a few hours.

Even if I don’t get a job offer, the experience was well worth the challenges of rearranging my schedule to spend time away from home and studies. We came together as strangers, but left as a little Fisher family on a most unusual vacation. Good luck Alex, Ali and Dani!


Bible Study—A Good Way for Me to Gain Inner Peace

From last week, I began my soul’s journey at the Faith, Hope and Love Church. Actually, right now, I still do not know much about Christianity. I just learned some Bible stories during my undergraduate years and heard about the beliefs of Christians from my grandparents. But I am really interested in this religion and want to learn it and find a place for myself in it.

People in the church are all very nice. There I got the warmest welcome since I came to Columbus. And the good thing is that there are some young people who are of a similar age with me in the church, including some American young adults. We got together to talk about the Gospel of Mark (Chapter 3) together. I even didn’t know how to find the right chapter in the Bible. As I said above, the people are very nice. They helped me turn to the right page. Religion books and doctrines are relatively abstract and hard to understand, even in one person’s mother language, let alone in a second language. This is the reason why I feel kind of lost when following the discussion. Even in Chinese I could not understand what the chapter talks about. I just try my best to understand the parts which I could and discussed my feeling together with my friends. Mark Chapter 3 mentions about mother and brother. For me, the ones who have the same belief to life, same attitude toward difficulties and same values with me can all be regarded as the family members from the big family given by God and I can gain support and power from them. The young group of the church and the whole church are just like this certain family for me right now.

Besides the study of Bible itself, the saint (or hymnal) songs also made me feel more peaceful in my inner heart. Whenever I listened to the music and song there, I felt that I was in another world from what I am really living in. At that time, I can calm down and think deeply about things and peoples around me. And I decided to learn these songs and keep singing to myself.

Keeping touch with a religion/inner spirituality is a serious and marvelous choice. I believe I will learn more and understand more about Bible and get much closer to God can lead me a way to the inner peace. I will not hesitate to find a home for my soul.


Interestingly Different

You must be kidding me! My brain has thought more of these words than any other word since I arrived in the United States.  Sure you would say the same by the time you read through this blog. There are some really amazing differences between the American and Ghanaian culture which I would like to share with you. Enjoy!

  Wait a minute! Is this for lunch? With the Ghanaian mentality of lunch being more of rice dishes, I had a rude awaking when I decided to go to a function where lunch was to be provided on an empty stomach.  To my utter surprise, I had a “snack” for lunch! Most Ghanaians eat pizza as a snack but never as a meal. Surprising isn’t it? This is variety # 1.

Where can i have goat meat in the US? In fact, where are all the goats? Every restaurant or food vendor in GH is sure to serve “goat meat” (as it is affectionately called in Ghana). It is a delicacy in most homes. Goats are even reared by some individuals in their homes and seen all most everywhere in the country. See how beautifully someone dressed his/her goat in the colors of the national flag! Coming over to the states, I had and still have one question: Where is the “goat meat”.

Also, I have been thinking. Do I have to pay for every single space my car occupies? I can’t remember ever paying for parking anywhere on campus or at most banks, shops and restaurants, etc. Almost all commercial establishments have free parking available for customers.  However, the sight of the parking meters and the sound of coins being dropped into them lets me know without doubt that I am in the United States.

It’s wonderful biking to class here but try riding a bicycle on a Ghanaian university campus. Every eye would stare at you as if you’ve committed the greatest crime ever. Legs are preferred to the two wheeled machine; no kidding! You have 4 options:  Walk, Run, Drive, or use the University Shuttle Service. We will end it here with difference # 4.

Now! To honor the rich diversity at Fisher, I will be glad to share a bar of premium Ghanaian Chocolate with anymore who is able to answer all the questions that follow accurately before viewing the answers. Here we go!!! (Try it under a minute)

  1. If an electric train travels from East to West, in which direction will the smoke travel?
  2. How long have you been walking under the sun?
  3. A little boy was rushed to the hospital after being involved in an accident. At the hospital, the doctor shouted; “Oh my son!” The doctor was not the father of the boy. How would you explain it?
  4. When a cock lays an egg between the US and Canada, which country will own the egg?
  5. Two fathers and two sons went out for dinner. They were served three pieces of pizza. Each had one. Explain.

We all got a lot to learn from each other as we prepare for the global world. Diversity as encouraged by the College affords us the opportunity to be present on each continent whiles in the US.  My free advice: Take very good advantage of it.

 “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” –  Malcom X

Answers

  1. Electric trains don’t produce smoke.
  2. It simply means. What’s your age?
  3. Doctor was the mother.
  4. Cocks don’t lay eggs
  5. It was a Grandfather, father and a son (grandfather is the FATHER of the father thus the father being the SON; then the last two -FATHER and the SON)


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