“How am I going to pay for this?” Part 2

Well…with comments again this week, I will try to continue this topic to the best of my ability.  Financial assistance is a huge topic and a major consideration when furthering your education.  My summary last week was to give a brief overview without scaring off potential students.

When you have decided that you want to start any sort of degree, it’s important to first create a spreadsheet of your monthly living expenses.  List out your mortgage/rent, utilities, credit card bills, income, and other money you receive or spend throughout the month.  This can be a real eye opener for some.  Complete this spreadsheet for several months so you can get a good average of how much you are netting in profits each month.  Can you add monthly, quarterly or annual bills of tuition, books, travel costs, or parking passes?  Are there trade-offs in your costs?  If you make coffee at home each morning before work, the money you will save will pay for your books for at least a couple of quarters.

Many financial aid packages allow you to wait until you have completed your degree before you begin making payments.  Additionally, OSU does allow monthly payments through each quarter.  I would suggest each individual looking through the various financial aid options and determine what plan is best for them.   I have been very fortunate with paying for my education so far.  Post-secondary options, scholarships and wonderful parents paid for my undergraduate degree.  I work for OSU so I’m also receiving tuition assistance for this degree.

When you graduate from any graduate degree, you may not expect a pay raise right away.  Don’t assume getting an MBA will immediately gain you anything.  But if you are willing to change jobs or just job responsibilities, work harder, and have a positive attitude, you will find a career that will suit your education and goals.  Maybe not today, but down the road it will be worth the time, costs and effort you put into your education.

Fridays at Fisher

Some of you prospective MBA students may have noticed that at Fisher, we generally only have classes Monday through Thursday. That leaves Friday for something special almost every week here. I’m going to tell you about a few memorable Fridays I’ve had here this quarter.


Career Bootcamps are by far the best way to learn about a new industry you might be interested in, or to network with experts from a job function you aspire towards. I particularly enjoyed the Operations & Logistics Bootcamp, where we met with alumni and professionals from the industry. Greif’s airplane game was the most popular event, with teams of Fisher students racing the clock to be the most efficient paper airplane assembly line. It was loads of fun and amazingly insightful. My advice: attend all the bootcamps – you never know what will pique your interest.

Don't worry - they're nothing like this!

Fisher Community Service Day:

Fisher students are always looking to give back to the  Columbus community – and on this day, a whole bunch of us go out to volunteer at various locations. I spent my day packaging personal supplies for soldiers at an army base, and then inspecting and cleaning foodstuff for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. We had a great time and it felt so good to be contributing to the welfare of the Columbus family.

Mid-Ohio Food Bank


OLMA (Operations & Logistics Management Association) members had the amazing opportunity to visit the NetJets base at CMH airport. We were greeted by a Fisher alumnus who works there and were treated to an exhaustive tour of the operations. The highlight of the day was getting to walk through one of the luxurious private jets that the company has to offer.


Jeffersonville Outlet Mall:

On Veterans Day, a group of international students were treated to a day out to Jeffersonville’s outlet mall, where big brands sell their goods at ridiculously low prices. After an exhausting few hours of running around with plastic bags, we all returned with revamped wardrobes and lighter wallets!

Jeffersonville - Tanger Outlets



These are just a few of the many opportunities you will be provided with during your time at Fisher. This is apart from the hundreds of other events that the Ohio State University has to offer, so it really is up to you to make the utmost of the variety here.

As the philosopher Rebecca Black once said, “Gotta get down on Friday!”

Fun fun fun fun!

Finding “Balance” at OSU

So much to do, and so little time.  This phrase might as well be the words I wake up to everyday – especially since I’ve started grad school.  Before you get scared and decide not to read anymore, I do want to clarify that the “so much to do” is comprised of MUCH more than just school stuff!  Columbus has so much to offer and I’m trying to absorb as much as I can while I’m still a student!

One thing I realized this past weekend at a yoga class I’ve been taking is how important striking a balance is (ironically the studio is called Balanced Yoga).  To throw in another phrase you’ve heard way too many times, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’.  Yeah, we’re here to learn and develop in the classroom, but there’s so much else we can learn and develop from that you can’t spend all your time studying!

Finding that balance has really helped me out over the quarter.  Sure, I work hard when I have to and there have been times that I’ve had to pass up an opportunity to hang out with some friends.  But I make sure that I don’t pass up every opportunity.  Sometimes, even if you’ve got a test or assignment due the next day, it does a world of good to just go have some fun.

Here’s my recommendations, based on my own experiences so far…

  • If there’s something you really want to do – do it.  This is particularly important when you’ve got an assignment due the next day and are thinking about skipping out on the activity to work.  When I really want to do something but skip to do work, I find that my time is very unproductive.  I get distracted thinking about how much fun I could be having.  Instead, go do what you want to do, and just make sure that when you get back you’ll work extra hard.
  • Try not to get sucked in to time-wasters (social media – with the exception of this blog!).  If you’ve got 30 minutes to kill, resist the urge to check Facebook.  I’ve always found that there’s something I could work on for 30 minutes.  Sure it’s not a lot of time, but the three or four insignificant 30 minute blocks you have throughout the day add up to a solid two plus hours of work.
  • Try new things.  Sometimes, a new activity or hobby is exactly what you need to keep moving when the work gets tough.  I’ve really enjoyed taking classes at the yoga studio, and find myself incredibly relaxed afterwards.  I look forward to my Saturday class all week, then always treat myself to a cup of Crimson Cup coffee when I’m done.  I usually hang out at the coffee shop for an hour or two as well and do some reading or other “light” homework.
  • If you missed my earlier post about National Coffee Day, here's a visual of Crimson Cup
  • Don’t skip the basics.  After making sure that I was eating healthy, getting exercise, and attempting to get the recommended amount of sleep (I’m still short, but not too far off!), I was amazed by how much easier it was to balance everything when I was following the doctor’s orders.  I feel more energized and find it a lot easier to concentrate on getting work done!
  • Explore explore explore.  Columbus has so much to offer (Blue Jackets Hockey, the Columbus Crew, great concerts) that you’ve hardly got to try to find something that will interest you.  Go out and do something extra exciting every now and then!
  • Talk to your classmates.  They’re definitely experiencing the same balancing act as you are, and I promise you can share tips with each other.  They’ll teach you new things, you’ll teach them new things.  And, they will probably have some great suggestions on what else to do in Columbus!

The More Things Change…

The more they stay the same?  FALSE.  Everything has changed and nothing is the same as it was in my previous quarters here.

I have to say that this has been one of the toughest quarters of my academic career in the MLHR program.  Some of my colleagues feel the same, some think it has been incredibly easy!  I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation as to why except that we all have different strengths.  I like a challenge!  So I suppose I should be thankful for that at least.

One of the biggest challenges for me so far has been the shake-up in the professor roster.  It is a brand new slate of professors for us and we are not familiar with their styles, what they want from our exams, papers and projects, or what they are teaching us.

I am currently taking Strategic HR as my elective this quarter.  Professor Wilk is an incredible professor who really knows her stuff.  Her teaching style is dynamic, engaging and focuses on discussion rather than lecture.  If she does lecture from a PowerPoint, it is only to give us a jumping off point for our discussions about the cases we analyzed and the articles we read.  I am really enjoying this class, but I cannot seem to nail down what she is looking for.  I had taken an elective last spring that focused on case analyses, and did well discussing them in class as well as doing one-page summaries.  With Professor Wilk, not so much.

I didn’t do great on my first assignment, but paying attention to her feedback and comments on it has helped me better understand her expectations.  Armed with this knowledge, I am hoping to do substantially better on my second and final case analysis for her.

One of the required courses this quarter is Labor Law.  The first half focuses solely on labor laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act and mostly on the National Labor Relations Act.  Robert Weisman, Esq. is a labor lawyer who has extensive knowledge of the these acts as well as experience trying labor cases in court.  Because of this extensive knowledge and experience, he has been brought in to teach this first half of the course and did a good job trying to make this difficult material more manageable.

I have experience with enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act rules and regulations in just about every position I’ve had, and surprisingly mostly in my experience as a retail manager.  I have never worked with labor unions and had no intention of doing so in my career, so the NLRA is like a foreign language to me.  I use this simile loosely because I am actually quite good with foreign languages!  Instead, I’ll say that the NLRA is like gravity to me: I know it’s there, I know it’s important and I have a gist of how it works.  Ask me to delve into the specific mechanics of it and you’ll have me at a loss.

The second half of the course focuses on diversity.  So far, it is unlike what I have learned about diversity in my role as a Diversity and Inclusion intern at OCLC.  My experiences here have focused on programming, strategy, culture change and sustainability of these practices in a business-oriented manner.  This diversity that I am learning is like meeting someone from a different planet that speaks something similar to English, acts in a manner comparable to myself, but in the end, is a wholly different creature.  This will be interesting and challenging.

Finally, we are also required to take HR Negotiations this quarter.  Focusing again on labor issues, I am at a loss.  The professor who previously taught the course, Professor Marcus Sandver, unfortunately passed away the weekend before the quarter started.  His replacement, Professor Hills, is from a very different era than those of the professors that we have come to know and appreciate in the program.  I find him to be the most difficult professor to connect with this quarter and that is a very big struggle for me.

I applaud the MLHR program for their efforts to avoid “homophily” (a big word I learned in Strategic HR meaning hiring people who are all the same.  Read the full definition here), and for keeping us on our toes and challenging us.  Hopefully my colleagues in the Cohort and I will be able to applaud each other for making it through this very trying quarter alive and without being put on academic probation.

PS – as much as I would love to put a picture into this post, I do not think there is one adequate enough to capture all my thoughts, even if it was worth a thousand words or more

I Voted Today

Did you?

By the time you read this, hopefully you are saying to yourself, “Yes, I voted – a week ago”.  I will admit, I came this close to not being able to answer this question in the affirmative.  I kept “forgetting” to apply for an absentee ballot, which meant that in order to vote, I was going to have to physically be at the polling station – the horror!  In all honesty, I had some good excuses not to vote – I was working all day and had class all night, I had a stats test that night that I needed every second to study for, I needed sleep, etc. etc.

But then the motto that we were taught in high school came to mind – “Voting is not just a right, it is a responsibility.”  It hit me; it was my responsibility to make it to the polls to cast my vote.  So I skipped my usual Tuesday-morning swim, set my alarm 15 minutes earlier than a regular non-gym day, and made my way to the polls before work.  My polling location was no more than a minute walk from my apartment.  If I hadn’t forgotten proof of my residence (my license is not up-to-date) and didn’t have to run back home to grab a current bill with my address on it, I would have been in and out in 5 minutes.  Even with the extra trip home, I was in the car on my way to work 15 minutes later – and was even 2 minutes early to work.

Lots of people vote every four years, but far fewer vote in the in-between years.  If you are one of those people, I encourage you to think about your responsibility as a citizen of the United States.  It doesn’t take much effort to do some reading on the issues, talk to friends, and form an opinion.  And come on – doesn’t everyone like to sport a cool sticker on election day?

I Heart Voting

My Buddy… My Buddy…

Or should I say, My Buddies?

I decided to take part in the Fisher Connections program that was set up over the summer.  The purpose of the program is to match up incoming students who might be moving from other parts of the state, country or even world, with students who are already here.  These current students can then help with living arrangements, furniture shopping, tips on where to eat and live, etc.

My Fisher Connections buddy is Leanne Tromp, a very cool fellow blogger here.  Even though I wasn’t able to help out much with the above-mentioned, I think it still helps to have someone to connect with and I was able to tell Leanne about some of the classes she would be taking this quarter as well as the professors and where to get books and such.

I’m also a member of the GHRA and their buddy program that matches up first years with second years.  I was really lucky to get not one, but TWO GHRA buddies, both of whom are very cool.

Laura just moved back from DC, my hometown, and so were able to immediately bond over that.  Laura also worked in the hotel industry, which I always thought sounded fun.

I also got matched up with Anja, an international student from China.  I had the chance to hang out with Anja at the GHRA mixer and also at the GHRA Buddy Dinner.  (See Amber Stephen’s blog post about the event here.)  It’s always fun and interesting to meet someone from your own culture and talk about the similarities and differences based on where our families are from and where we grew up.  I even got over my shyness of speaking Chinese to native speakers because of their tendency to make fun of my Taiwanese pronunciations and my American accent.  Thankfully, Anja kept the fun-poking to a minimum!

Over the course of the next few weeks as the quarter comes to an end, I plan on having lunch with each of them just to catch up and see how their first quarters went.  I remember what a whirlwind my first full quarter here was and having a little reinforcement and debriefing would have been a big help to me.

I’ve already scheduled a lunch with Laura, and don’t worry Anja and Leanne, your invites are coming soon!

You can see Leanne and Laura in the photo below.  Not sure where Anja was, but I was behind the camera!

GHRA Buddy Dinner at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill

O-H-I-O forever!


I love looking at O-H-I-O pictures of people in various places around the world. The diversity of the Buckeye network is astounding, and its spirit is so widespread! This week, I again witnessed how this spirit carries beyond just one’s time at OSU.

On Friday I went to a business-of-healthcare seminar through another program at Ohio State, and alumni from as far back as 1971 overflowed with Buckeye pride. President Gee and two-time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin, both significant figures for the university, spoke to the students and alumni. At the end of the evening, in traditional arms-around-each-other’s-shoulders fashion, I sang Carmen Ohio with people I had met only a few hours before.

I met other alumni when I volunteered to help at the Fisher tailgate before Saturday’s football game. The joy that alumni have in coming back to OSU/Fisher shows how much of an impact these places have had on their lives. After the tailgate and another great Buckeye football victory, I again sang Carmen Ohio. This time I was with wonderful friends I made all the way back in freshman year.  Ohio State creates lasting friendships, and I believe the MAcc program specifically will do so. It’s amazing how  much time I enjoy spending with MAcc friends I did not even know two months ago! We are brought together by Ohio State and will carry this shared experience with us. I am excited about the awesome network created by Ohio State and Fisher and am honored to be a part of it!

MAcc friends after two games of bowling!

Is it time for the perfect cheer??

This past week, during a brain break from studying, I was watching old Saturday Night Live clips.  I came across one of my favorites – the Spartan Cheerleaders at the Chess tournament.  I decided that there are some lessons to be learned from Craig and Ariana, and they are even applicable to B school.

1) No matter what you choose to do, you might as well do it like it’s the most important thing in the world.

2) Just because you’re not invited doesn’t mean you can’t make an appearance. (Although the Chess team might ask you to leave)

3) Sometimes the best opportunities are found in unexpected places.

4) A best friend that’s ‘got your back’ is a great person to have around.

5) When life’s got you down, the “perfect cheer” will fix it every time. (Like after an accounting midterm).

And maybe the most important thing that I took away from my brain break was the importance of laughter.  When you start to feel bogged down or overwhelmed, pull up some old SNL skits (or whatever you find funny) and just laugh.  There’s a whole science that studies the effects of laughter on the body, called gelotology. And that fact, in and of itself, might just be enough to get you laughing.


Spartan Cheerleaders!



“How am I going to pay for this?”

Last week I had a comment on my post about financing your education.  That comment really deserves its own post.  When deciding any Master’s program, it is very important to factor in the big question of “How am I going to pay for this?”

Not all graduate programs are created equal in the costs.  And to my initial surprise, many online programs are just as, if not more expensive than tradition programs.  One of the online programs I had researched was $89,000 in tuition.  http://onlinemba.unc.edu.  Several of the factors include the length, location, and prestige of  the program.

When factoring in the costs and fees associated with starting a graduate program; don’t forget about the $250 fee of taking the GMAT (and the possible fees associated with purchasing study material for the GMAT), application fees, the fees associated with requesting transcripts for your applications, acceptance fees, travel costs, tuition and fees, parking passes, and of course, books and course material.

When searching for schools, speak with your employer (if you are employed) and see if there is any assistance available.  Some employers will pay for some or all of the fees associated with continuing your education.  That being said, there may be some stipulations to their assistance, such as only attending certain schools, or only taking classes online or on weekends.  This may narrow your search.  I am very fortunate to work for Ohio State which offers some tuition assistance.

If this is not an option, review your financial position and determine your next steps.  Financial aid is available as well as some programs do offer scholarships or loans.  Don’t let the costs and fees associated with furthering your education get you down, the benefits of your investment will outweigh the costs.

The Fall “Top 10” List

So I really like fall.  It’s definitely my favorite season, and Ohio State has a huge influence on why this is.  I decided this post would share a little bit about why I love fall, especially in Columbus.  And in honor of our awesome University President, Dr. Gee, I decided to do a Top 10 list (Dr. Gee loves Top 10’s).

  1. Fall means Buckeye Football – specifically Big 10 conference games.  OSU games are so much fun to be at, but they’re fun to watch on TV too!  There are always  a few games that take place in late summer, but fall brings in the Big 10 and you get to see some incredible football.  If you saw or heard about the Wisconsin game last weekend, you get my point.
  2. Fall weather – This year is a bit of an exception, since the weather has been literally all over the place.  Typically, fall in Columbus brings 50-60 degree weather, which is perfect for everything.  As an avid cyclist, I can hit the trails and ride for hours.  You can wear literally any article of clothing you want and be relatively comfortable (jeans, t-shirts, flip flops, etc), and it’s not too hot to just hang out outside.
  3. Pumpkin – I love pumpkin.  Fall means the return of pumpkin spice lattes (Crimson Cup makes an INCREDIBLE white chocolate/pumpkin drink called the Frosted Pumpkin…go check it out), pumpkin pies, pumpkin breads, pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin beers.  I try to load up on as much pumpkin as I can during the few months its available.
  4. Cinnamon Ice Cream at Graeter’s – Okay so Graeter’s ice cream isn’t truly a Columbus thing.  It began in Cincinnati, but Columbus has given it a warm welcome.  I think its better than Jeni’s, and probably would consider it my all time favorite.  During the fall months, Graeter’s makes an incredible cinnamon ice cream.  I was skeptical at first, but it really is “wow”.  I highly recommend checking it out.  A scope of cinnamon with a scope of their pumpkin pie ice cream is outstanding.
  5. Leaves – campus is a beautiful place to be during any season, but there’s something extra special about being on campus in the fall.  All the trees on campus really do make walking to class a very enjoyable experience.  There are so many colors during the fall months that your eyes will never get bored.
  6. TV Shows – Fall always marks the beginning of my favorite tv series.  Once September and October roll around, I know a couple of my evenings are going to be occupied by Modern Family and Dexter.
  7. Classes Start!  Yeah, we start classes three times a year (soon to be two), but there’s something different about Autumn Quarter.  Everything feels extra fresh and exciting.  I love jumping back into class during the fall.
  8. Halloween and Thanksgiving – I look forward to these holidays so much every year.  Also, there’s always something fun going on on campus to help celebrate.  This year for Halloween, the RPAC (rec sports) put on an entire evening’s worth of events.  They kicked off with a Halloween fun run and ended with a night time showing of Jaws in the pool.  How awesome is that?
  9. Basketball season is close – So Buckeye football is great, but I love Buckeye basketball is too.  This year we should have an incredible team too, so I’m incredibly excited for them to start playing.
  10. Simply being back on campus – So many friends leave for the summer, off to study abroad and internships.  Fall marks the reunion, where everyone comes back to campus.  Sure we all have to start classes again, but its great to see the friends you haven’t seen for a few months and exchange stories about your summer experiences.
So – what are you favorite seasons?  And why are they your favorites?