The “Hi!” Parade

This week I have continued to experience the awesome Fisher (and, in particular, MAcc) community. I can walk around other parts of OSU’s campus and see people walking silently with their headphones in, but when I step into Gerlach Hall, there are always people working together or happily catching up with one another. After a morning that consisted of a non-Fisher class and studying at the library, it was a breath of fresh air to walk into Gerlach! I ran into one of my MAcc friends on the second floor, and we excitedly greeted each other. We then met up with another of our classmates in the hallway, found another one by the water fountain, and were joined by another one in the stairwell. Then, as we approached class, we cheerfully exclaimed “Hi!!!” to another of our classmates, did so again when we walked into the classroom, and again when we took our seats by other classmates.

I have termed this the “Hi parade,” as we kept exclaiming excited greetings as we walked through Gerlach, gathering a larger and larger group of happy students as we walked. There is nothing like this feeling of being known and welcomed by classmates, and it is amazing how excited we get even though we see each other on a regular basis 🙂

Classes So Far

So I’ve once hit that snag where “I’m so over this quarter.”  It typically happens around midterms.  I think it also does not help that next week I schedule my last two classes of graduate school, so I am THAT much closer to receiving my MLHR degree.  It also does not help that I have what seems an overwhelming amount of projects to do in a very little span of time.

I don’t know why, but winter quarters always are rough.  Always.  Normally, it is due to the weather making your classes and doing work even more horrible.  But “winter” has not even been all that bad…almost even pleasant (atmospherically).  Maybe it is due to the fact that I actually have to take 3 classes to prevent getting caught up in the whole semester switch conversion.  I don’t know.  But anyways…

Employment Law

This class speaks for itself.  It covers all of the different laws that apply to organizations.  I never knew how much the law affected business.  I see why many lawyers do not actually have to be court attorneys like on Law and Order, but are able to work in corporate America.  Both of our instructors are licensed attorneys.  The first one we had has a Juris Doctor, but was also a Human Resources Director.  So much about the law applies to human resources that you don’t even need to have a “Master’s of Labor and Human Resources” to be effective.  A lot of the information can be a little legal jargon-y, but it is a lot of information that I never thought about before.  Though future students in this program will not have this class, Employment Law is different than Labor Law.  Labor law applies more to labor unions and collective bargaining.  Employment law is what most HR professionals deal with.  A lot of actual labor law human resources issues, from personal experience, are not even handled by HR professionals but lawyers.  For example, the labor adviser for the organization that I work with is an attorney (but she also has her MBA so she works with the business aspects as well).  The instructor who is in charge of the class had a child on our first day of class, so we have had someone else teach half of the class while the main instructor has been resting.  We have a group project where we have to make a video, and I have nine other group members.  Also, the final is worth 80% of our total grade.  YOWZA.

Organizational Development and Change

We actually have not covered anything concerning organizational development.  It should probably be called Change Management in the future (maybe something else though because there is already Talent and Performance Management and that might get unoriginal).  This class has been intense.  There are cases we have to discuss every week in class.  I swear every class’s purpose is to do a 180 on what we are supposed to think.  I would say a good 60% of the material was written by the professor and his wife.  He really takes some interesting perspectives to change that I have never thought of…that can apply to your everyday life (not just grandiose company “change efforts”).  I am nervous about practically every assignment we have in this class.   All the readings of this class were condensed in the first 5 weeks.  So I’m done with reading for this class thank goodness, but trying to keep up with everything in this class has sucked so far.  I mean I’m sure it won’t be easy with the midterm, project, and presentation we will have to do.  But if I have gotten through other classes I can get through this one (hopefully).

Organizational Behavior

This is the class that I really like the most this quarter.  It is taught by Dr. Inks.  All the people who I have known to have him for class have claimed he was great.  At my past internship, one of my coworkers hated everything about HR (why he was working in that position I really don’t know), but when he took OB with Inks he actually started to like HR.  When all these people were praising him, I actually thought I wasn’t going to be impressed, but I must admit I will have to agree with everyone else.  I don’t know.  I think it is something about his teaching style that makes you want to actually participate when he’s teaching.  Not many professors can pull off being interesting and inviting at the same time.   All of the topics are really interesting and feel like “progressive human resources”.  We get a say in what we want to do for our project, too.  If I go back and get a PhD in the future then this would probably what I would consider studying.

The entire month of February is not really looking like any kind of fun.  I am determined that if I can get through at least March then I will definitely be getting my degree.

Wish me luck!



Ask and You Shall Receive…Probably!

In an earlier post, I talked about how awesome it is that being in the Fisher MAcc program allows you to take a multitude of courses, both in and out of the accounting department.  As a MAcc student, you can enroll in finance, HR, operations, and even math classes if you really wanted to!  During my last quarter, I really wanted to take advantage of this and selected an operations class to take.  However, when I attempted to enroll in it, I received the dreaded “Could Not Add Class – Prerequisites Not Met” error message…

I emailed my adviser to let her know my dilemma.  Luckily for me, she assured me this was by no means a rare occurrence, and that I should simply email the professor teaching the course and ask for permission to be enrolled.  As long as he gave me the okay, I could be added to the class!

I emailed the professor, explaining the situation and asking for permission to enroll in the course.  I included some background information in the email as well, which I would recommend doing if you find yourself in this situation.  What kind of background information did I include?

  1. Why you are interested in the course – Thoroughly read the course description, then explain exactly why you want to take the course.  Maybe its directly related to the field in which you hope to work, or maybe its a topic you know you’ll never get to experience in the real world but find incredibly fascinating.  Be honest!
  2. Look at the prerequisites in detail – Once I realized I hadn’t taken MBA 850, the prerequisite for this course, the first thing I did was go look at the course description for MBA 850.  As I read, I realized it sounded fairly similar to a course I had taken in my undergraduate days.  When I emailed the professor, I told him about the course I had taken in undergrad, so he could use that to evaluate whether or not I would be prepared for his course.

I was extremely excited when I got an email back from the professor, letting me know he’d be glad to give me permission to enter his class.

SO – as a MAcc student, you truly do have every opportunity to take the courses you really want to take.  Sometimes, you have to work a little bit harder to get into those classes, but that makes it more fun.  This really is a case of ask and you shall receive!

Making That Hard Decision

If the current first years are anything like my MLHR Cohort when we were first years, some people are making hard decisions right now.

Those months in the beginning where you were getting antsy because some of your colleagues were picking up offers left and right are suddenly a thing of the past.  You’ve realized now that a lot of great companies come to Fisher in Winter and Spring because that’s when their fiscal years allow them to commit to a budget for interns.  And now, you’re feeling antsy for an entirely different reason.

When it rains, it pours.  And you don’t know if you should run into the closest building for shelter or wait for the storm to clear so you can clearly see the horizon.  This metaphor, of course, refers to taking the first offer you get or waiting to see if those other interviews and second rounds pan out.  No one blames you of course for feeling anxious about what’s on the other side.  The grass honestly could be greener.  This internship will be a big part of your resume when you graduate and the experience will help you determine your specialty.  It is not a decision to be made lightly.

I had one of my first year buddies message me on Facebook the other night.  She was in this exact situation:  she had a great offer from a company.  They are not as well-known and do not carry the “big name” prestige that future employers might look for.  On the other hand, she would be on the ground floor of a major change effort and reorganization, would be working directly under the VP and felt like it was a very good managerial and organization fit.

On the other hand, yes that makes three hands, she has interviews lined up with some bigger names and doesn’t know too much about what the opportunities would be like.  The offer has an expiration date and she doesn’t know if they will let her wait until she has had the opportunity to interview with the other companies and get offers.

I was in this exact same situation.  I went with OCLC, a name that is VERY big in the industry we are in, library sciences technology.  On the other hand, there were concerns that future employers wouldn’t recognize the name and downplay my experience because they don’t know the organization.

On the third hand, I have had an amazing experience with OCLC, a lot of latitude, incredible breadth and depth of experience, and made connections and networked with people that will help me open up my future as an HR professional.

My buddy wanted guidance.  All I could offer was my point of view, and that is all.  Everyone’s experience and needs and luck are different.  I have colleagues who went with the “big names” and have been afforded wonderful opportunities.  They also have not put down any roots and are younger and more open to opportunities, wherever they might take them.  I have roots in DC, a family and relationship that are waiting for me, and am not as open to these options.  I want to be in DC and must tailor my search to there and there only.

My only advice to anyone reading this is: Go with your gut.  If your gut says that a “big name” like Exxon, Cardinal Health, Anheuser-Busch, etc., are the best choice for you, go with your gut!  If you go on an interview with a lesser-known company, but it feels like the right fit, do that.  I went with my gut and have not looked back at all and have not regretted it for a minute.

Life After the WPMBA Program

Wait, is there life after the WPMBA program?!  Right now, with just two quarters under my belt, it’s easy to feel like post-graduation is far off.  But it’s important to remember that I will eventually graduate one day.  And while I really like my job, I don’t know if it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.  So that’s why, when Fisher Career Services scheduled a career session specifically for WPMBA students, I immediately signed up.

The session, held this past Sunday afternoon, focused on helping us think through what our values, talents, and likes/dislikes are, and then use those to create a “Career Marketing Plan”.  Personally, I found the values exercise to be the easiest – out of a list of about 30 values, check the eight that matter most to you.  Things like health, friendship, challenge, and variety were at the top of mine.  From there, we went to the likes/dislikes exercise, in which we listed out things that we both liked and disliked about our past three positions.  In doing this exercise, I realized how much of what I currently do at work I really like, and forced me to articulate what I don’t like as much.  The talents exercise was more of a challenge – it instructed you to recall times in which you felt certain emotions, like “proud” or “fulfilled”.

These three exercises were meant to give us a foundation for building our “Career Marketing Plan”.  By knowing what is important to us and what we like to do, we can lay out a description of who we are and what we want out of our careers.   This helps us focus our job search on positions that will actually fit our needs, rather than approach the process with a more open and generally haphazard approach.

Overall, I was very pleased with the WPMBA Career Session and appreciative that it was offered.  I hope to attend more events like this in the future that will better prepare me for life after the WPMBA Program!