Last night in class, for the first time since I started the WPMBA Program last summer, I had that feeling I dreamt of having when I decided to pursue my MBA.  That feeling of utter excitement, engagement, and passion for what I was learning.  That’s not to say that I haven’t been impressed with the level of education I am receiving at The Fisher College of Business –believe me,  I am – after all, we are ranked #9 in part-time MBA programs!  And while I have enjoyed my classes thus far (Econ was particularly interesting), I have yet to feel giddy over a class.  That is, until last night …

So what class could make me feel this way, you ask?  Why, none other than MARKETING!  This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given that I work in marketing, and have long proclaimed my distance from my undergraduate background of Industrial Engineering.  A large part of why I chose to pursue an MBA is to gain a formal education in marketing, so that I can establish myself in the field and continue to grow in a marketing career.  But although I was really looking forward to taking marketing, I didn’t have high hopes for the class.  It’s notorious for inconsistency in professors, and as of the first class, I had yet to hear a peep from our professor.

But happily, Professor Deborah Mitchell way exceeded my expectations!  A Buckeye alumna, she is new to the Fisher teaching community – so new, that she only gained access to Carmen yesterday afternoon. (Carmen is the online class management system used by faculty and students at Ohio State.)  She is the exact opposite of the unorganized, uninspiring professor I feared.  Her first class was engaging and thought-provoking, and had me smiling with excitement the entire time!  To her, marketing is much more than the 4P’s, and rather, is the driver for growth in a firm.  I believe that I will be a better contributor to my organization after every class I attend.

I can’t wait to go back tomorrow night!

Be A Team Member!

One for all, all for one!

So soon, the class of 2012’s last and final quarter in the MAcc program is here. While some may regard this as pleasant, others may linger in the shadow of not having to see all these lovely people for years to come.

Silence is normally the most popular companion just before an exam in universities, where the moment is regarded as solemn and a bit stressful, but that was not the case just before one of our finals last (winter) quarter. It was amazing to see almost everyone chit-chat with someone just before the final exam. It was as though there was nothing to worry about. This, to me, portrays the number of friendships built over the course of just 7 months.

Reading through a passage from the Life Application study bible, I came by a profound truth which I would like to share with you. It says:

Cooperating with others has advantages. Life is designed for companionship, not isolation; for intimacy, not loneliness. Some prefer isolation, thinking they cannot trust anyone. We are not here on earth to serve ourselves, but to serve others. Do not isolate yourself and try to go it alone. Seek companionship; be a team member.

The message is clear and straight to the point. I only seek to add this – If you have not established friendship with anyone in your program yet, this is the time to do so. I personally think there are so many lovely people out there; find one and befriend one.

I pray we are all able to smile at the beautiful sunshine every morning. All the best to all who have the spring quarter as their final – finish hard!!!

The Beginning of the End

During our last blog I wrote about my love-hate relationship with Gerlach Hall–that glorious building on Fisher’s campus that houses the graduate programs. I know I don’t spend more time there than at home, but it sure feels that way some weeks.

So it was with some surprise that I felt myself nearly skipping up her stairs on Monday, feeling somehow lighter and renewed. I can only attribute it to one thing: this is my last quarter in the MLHR program. The grand finale. In so many ways it made me revisit my first-quarter self again, full of optimism and excitement for a new chapter about to begin.

This quarter I have two courses–thanks to a summer quarter elective–HRIS and training & development. An interest in training and development originally drew me to HR, so this class has been a long wait coming. HR Information Systems on the other hand is one of those courses I wouldn’t intentionally select, but I’m sure something useful will come out of it. For better or worse, it is my smallest class yet with 31 of us, all eagerly awaiting graduation.

My first week of spring quarter is over, and I’m down to single digit class weeks. I already find myself scanning my classmates, wondering where some will land, hoping they stay in touch, twinges of emotion starting to well up. Like being a senior in undergrad or high school, you know you’re going to miss these people, but you’re so exciting to move along. It’s one big ball of emotion all rolled up together.

So here’s a tip for anyone beginning the MLHR fall semester: Get to know your classmates early. They will be your teachers, your confidants, your teammates and those who know exactly what you’re going through.

Welcome Back – Our Final Quarter … The Final Countdown

Hello all!  Welcome back – I hope your spring break was as fantastic as mine, and that you are well rested and ready for the LAST spring quarter at The Ohio State University!

This quarter I’ll be taking Accounting 841 – Mergers and Acquisitions, Finance 872 – Real Estate Finance, and Marketing and Logistics 880 – Logistics Management.  I welcome any questions about the courses, or why I chose to take them.

I also wanted to take a minute to remind you not to be shy about asking questions!  This is your last quarter to ask me anything and everything about Ohio State, the MAcc program, Columbus, etc etc etc.  Any question you ask will be answered in a blog post, or if nothing else, via e-mail or another comment to the post.  I’ve already gotten a question about housing for MAcc/grad students, and that post will be up soon!

Remember to stay focused this quarter…I know, it can be tough.  The weather is getting nice and we’re so close to being done…but hang in there!! It’s the final countdown …

My Spring Break

Wow!  What great weather we are having for Spring Break. As a Working Professional, “Spring Break” for most is a week when you just go to work and then come back home and not head to campus for four hours.  But, I hope you are all taking advantage of this wonderful weather after hours.  So far, I have jogged a bit outside, rode my bike a few miles, read a couple books on my front porch while listening to the birds chirp, did a little shopping (ok, so this doesn’t have anything to do with the weather, but it’s more fun to buy flip flops when it’s nice out), had the windows open most afternoons, and on Saturday, we even had a fire going outside.  We created a new twist to the traditional smore.  Since the only chocolate in the house came from a couple boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, you’ll see our concoction (not the best picture, but you get the point).  And yes, it was delicious and a little less messy than a regular smore.

Hope you are all enjoying Spring Break and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it is going by very fast!

Prospective Fisher MAcc students for AU 12: A winter quarter recap and chance to ask questions!

Can you believe it?  This is the last post you’ll read from me during Winter Quarter!  And unfortunately, that means my posting days are quickly running out too…The LAST winter quarter post will be dedicated to a brief recap of, you guessed it, winter quarter.  But first, I wanted to extend an opportunity to all of you.

By this point, many of you have been accepted to OSU and are planning on joining the Buckeye network in a few short months.  Many more of you may still be considering applying.  During my last quarter at OSU, I’d like to dedicate a bunch of my posts to the specific questions that you have!  So – leave me some comments with exactly what you want to know…which classes to take? what organizations to join? where to eat on High Street? where to live?  Anything and everything is fair game, and I’ll then dedicate a post to it!  Don’t leave me hanging here guys – ask away!

Now, on to winter quarter.

We kind of got spoiled in that it wasn’t brutally cold the entire time.  Sure, we had cold days and rainy days, but it definitely could’ve been worse.  For those of you coming to Ohio, you’ll soon find out this weather is kind of to be expected – and by this weather, I mean the kind that you wake up and have no idea what season it is.  Ohio is always unpredictable.

I took an Entrepreneurial Finance class taught by Professor Berk Sensoy (Finance 844) and really enjoyed it!  I’ll start by saying it wasn’t what I expected, in that the focus was on large companies and how they interact with angels/venture capitalists, but there were some smaller companies discussed too.  The material was interesting, and Professor Sensoy did a great job leading class discussions.  I’d recommend this class if you have any interest in entrepreneurship!

I also took a strategy course with Professor Jay Dial – I’m not sure what the graduate course number is though.  I had to take it as a capstone class for my undergraduate degree (since I’m in the BSBA/Combined MAcc program).  He does teach it at the graduate level, and told my undergraduate class that the MBA version is essentially the same.  I would definitely recommend taking this class – it expands your views and challenges your thinking process on a daily basis.

I had a lot of fun doing two indoor triathlons at the RPAC.  One of these was put on by the OSU Triathlon club, and they do this every year.  If you’re a triathlete or even just curious about the sport, definitely check this out!  It’s all time based, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to finish.  The second triathlon was the John Glenn Friendship 7 Indoor Tri, put on to honor John Glenn’s trip to the moon.  It was also a ton of fun, but I don’t think they’ll be hosting that particular tri again.  Rec Sports at OSU always does such a good job of putting on events though, so you’ll definitely be able to find something fun next winter!

Well, I have two finals today that I’m going to get back to studying for.  Hard to believe that I’ve only got one quarter left in the MAcc program.  You’ll quickly find that time flies in the program – enjoy it while you’ve got it!  And remember…comment with questions that you have or with posts that you want to read about!  I want my spring quarter posts to be exactly what you want and need to get ready for an excellent year at Fisher and Ohio State.

Fisher SMF Students Partner with Prominent Companies in Spring Projects

One of the many benefits of the SMF program is the Spring Quarter project we all get to work on with various Finance-related firms. The nature and scope vary to fit the interests and focus of everyone in the program. For those not familiar, we rank our preferences of which projects we would like to participate in, then we are assigned to teams (typically three students) and will work with these companies on a specific project for most of Spring Quarter.

Some of the companies involved are nationally renown – JP Morgan (2 projects), Wells Fargo (2 projects), and Nationwide. Others are major employers within the state of Ohio – Worthington Industries, STRS (State Teachers Retirement System), and of course, Ohio State. We actually have five projects tied to the university – two with the office of the CFO, two with the Wexner Medical Center, and one with OSU Technology & Commercialization. There are also projects from Lazear Capital Partners, Alpha Squared Capital Management, Diamond Hill Capital Management, and Perfect Practice (a medical start-up).

Generally, the projects focus on a number of the main topics we study in the program – trading, corporate finance, and investments. More specifically, we will be involved in real-world issues such as assessing M&A targets internationally, researching and acting on historical market trends, and helping to get a start-up firm off of the ground to name a few. With opportunities from asset management firms, securities research firms, pension funds, boutique investment banks, manufacturing firms, higher education, medical-related enterprises, and even start-ups, we are incredibly fortunate to have such a broad array of possibilities. Most of us are looking to get in to one of these specific fields, and partnering with a group of established professionals will prove to be invaluable experience to jump-start our careers.

Although the specifics of each project are confidential for now, I will continue to post about our experiences with this project throughout Spring Quarter.


Planning Inspiration

As you may have read, we just put the wraps on another quarter at Fisher.  Personally, I find it very hard to believe that I only have one more quarter left before graduation.  The cliche is true: time flies when you’re having fun.

Another thing that boggles the mind is how the second year of the program can feel busier than the first year.  I assure you, whatever program you choose, you will find that you learn a *ridiculous* amount of information during your first year.  Experiencing the nuances of the program the first time around prepares you for your second year… now YOU have to step up and plan activities and events for classmates.  Mind you: It’s harder than it looks.

What’s really hard is to not take things personally.  After spending weeks of time, a good deal of money, and much effort planning and preparing the event, the big day comes and many people who signed up to come don’t show up.  Or they’re late.  Or worse… they leave early.  Worse still… they help themselves to free food and proceed to open their laptops and do other work during your speaker’s presentation.  It’s enough to make your blood boil.  We learn not to take it personally (yet make mental notes of the offenders).

Integrity is important.  Don’t be “that guy”.  Do what you say you’ll do… and learn to say no.  Show up on time.  If you come for the free food, at least pay attention and participate.  Little things make up your character.  Your character is your destiny.

Sometimes it takes a good amount of effort to create something inspiring.  Other times inspiration just seems to find you in the everyday.  That’s one of the things I love most about Fisher.  We are a small community and it is easy to find inspiration – you just have to look up from time to time to see it.

It’s been a long while since my last post.  I’ll do my best to give you a quick glimpse of winter quarter.

The Fisher Graduate Women in Business were the first student group summit of the 2011-2012 school year.  It was a fantastic event thanks in great part to our outstanding speakers.  Inspiration was easy to come by when listening to: Dr. Sharon Alvarez, Liz Lessner, Christina Getachew, Melinda Swan, and Nancy Jane Smith.  You can read a bit more about it in Sarah Chait’s post in February.

FEA members visit Kleiner PerkinsLater in February, I got to see how the other half lives by visiting Silicon Valley with the Fisher Entrepreneurship Association (FEA).  A group of us were able to visit with several venture capital companies (Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers; 5am Ventures; Lightspeed Venture Partners; Labrador Venture Partners), a legal firm that supports many entrepreneurial ventures (Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rossati), an incubator (Plug and Play Technology Center), as well as a startup (Push Pins) that was co-founded by an OSU alum.  The event capping off the second day was an entrepreneur panel discussion.  As you may have guessed, we had a most wonderful host – also a proud OSU alumnus!  I loved the trip and was completely inspired by the energy, passion, and the overall vibe within the cities of Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and San Francisco.  You can like FEA on Facebook to see more pictures from the trip and learn more about the student organization.

“Yes, and” seems to be a common and recurring theme all quarter.  Opportunity knocks when you say yes.  “Yes and” is the key phrase used in any improvisational comedy/theater and to conduct a positive and productive brainstorming session.  “Yes but” shuts others down.  “Yes and” will get them to open up.  We discussed the team at IDEO in a Developing High Performance Teams class session.  Here’s another article by the NYTimes on the same topic.

Last but not least, we recently held our Association of Marketing Professionals annual summit event “Future CAMP”.  I had a big dose of inspiration the entire week… which also happened to be the final week of classes in the quarter.  Our speakers were again, AMAZING.  I’m so inspired by one that I think it will lead to a separate blog post.  It was a great day of programming.  Although I am slightly biased, I can produce evidence to support my opinion.  One of our speakers, Danny Brown, wrote a quick recap in his blog.  Needless to say, it was a great day.

Finals are through, grades are posted, and my roommate and I are heading south to spend a few days in New Orleans.  I’ll be sure to blog again as inspiration strikes.  Until then, think about what inspires you.  And for those of you considering b-school, seek to be inspired!  Before you know it, you’ll be three months away from graduation too.

Another quarter to check off!

We have made it through another quarter!  I have been a blog slacker for the past couple of weeks because of being (like everyone else) completely swamped with final presentations, group projects, and final exams.  I also had a big conference for work the Friday and Saturday before finals that took up most of my time for the past month.

Here’s a few reflections I have on Winter Quarter:

  • I’m very thankful for the weather cooperating.  With my drive, I was dreading bad weather but luckily I only had two nights with a tiny bit of snow.
  • The theme of the quarter was group projects.  Having a group project in three classes makes for some creative scheduling and a some outside of class prep time.
  • Group projects led to meeting more people and interacting more with my classmates which is great!
  • Winter Quarter seemed to go by a lot faster than Autumn Quarter.
  • Spring Break is far too short.

Enjoy Spring Break and this beautiful weather!

Great food (Ethiopian and Greek in the same week) and meeting the dean

This past week has been full of fun times with fantastic people and food! On Tuesday evening, I ventured to Easton Town Center for dinner with my sister. We had a delicious meal at Max and Erma’s, a restaurant that has Columbus roots but which is now around the Midwest. On Wednesday, a group of us MAcc students was randomly chosen to have breakfast with Fisher’s Dean Poon. What a wonderful opportunity! We talked to her about why we chose Fisher, what we liked most about the MAcc program, and how we struggled to come up with anything we would change. I have always appreciated how much Dean Poon cares about students and our experiences, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

On Friday, the last day of the quarter, some MAcc friends and I went to the Blue Nile Ethiopian restaurant and had the delicious lunch buffet. The restaurant owner was so friendly, and I loved the authentic food. For another cultural experience, on Saturday I met friends at the Greek Corner. There seem to be quite a few Greek restaurants in the area, and I love this one for its convenience, menu, and beautiful décor. Of course this week I also patronized the Panera on Lane Avenue (an extremely convenient hang-out and study spot for business students). However, if you have more time, I recommend trying some other close-by, more local restaurants while you’re here!

If you're near Ohio State's campus, you need to try the Blue Nile for some excellent Ethiopian food