Leap of faith

Everyone who makes the commitment to pursue an MBA has made left something behind. It’s a huge sacrifice. I left a job and the income/security that came along with it. For me, that meant adjusting to a standard of living that I wasn’t necessarily accustomed to. I lived in the greater Columbus area prior to coming to The Fisher College of Business, so I knew a little more about Columbus than some. However, I didn’t attend Ohio State for undergrad, so I was worried about getting lost in/on a large college campus.

The first few days on campus for pre-term were intimidating – there’s no doubt about it. But it didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable. One of the things that I noticed immediately was how friendly and outgoing people are. Change isn’t always easy, but the people at Fisher have made all the difference. I mean that both in terms of peers, but also the outstanding staff and faculty.

Even this early in the program, I’m beginning to see how much I can learn from my peers.  I’m consistently impressed with how serious everyone is about their education. Not everyone in undergrad had that attitude and it’s refreshing to have that kind of synergy. The learning environment, with that support, feels very different than what I was used to. It’s been an extremely positive experience so far and I know it’s only going to get better.

My first two weeks at Ohio State

This is the very first time I’ve left my country and to begin an entirely new adventure in a totally different place as a new graduate student in the Fisher MLHR program. I’ve been here for more than two weeks and I enjoy everything here in Ohio State. Personally, I couldn’t figure out a better way to present my new life in Columbus than using pictures. I’ll show you several photos and tell you my Ohio State “newcomer” story.
The Oval   If you let me pick a place to be my favourite in Ohio State, I would definitely choose the Oval. Several days ago, I took my first campus walk from Fisher to the Ohio Union on a sunny afternoon and took this photo. When I walked on the Oval, I was immediately attracted to the beautiful green grassland and the pure blue sky. Many new OSU students with red t-shirts played teamwork games on the Oval. Laughter could be heard everywhere. Green, blue and smiling faces, how peaceful is this picture. Suddenly I realized why almost all the people who lived in Columbus or Ohio love OSU THIS much, not only for football, but also for this campus, this amazing campus.

UV   The next thing I want to talk about is my new apartment in UV. UV stands for University Village, which is a student community near campus. An interesting fact is that many of the Chinese students in Fisher master programs live in UV. During my first two weeks in UV, I was busy handling my furnitures and appliances. Everytime we saw our American neighbour move those things from home to their apartment with family’s help, we really admire that while what we can only do is to go to Walmart by bus and carry things as much as we can do. Prices of goods are also relatively high here when compared to China, and we still multiply the price by six subconsciously. However, we need to get used to it and make every effort to start a brand new life here. I look at the blue sky in Columbus, and I know everything will be fine in future.

Food   Food here is totally different. My host family took me to have some traditional American food and Mexican food. I could still remember my first meal was breakfast at McDonald’s, then lunch at Skyline Chili, and a dinner of homemade hotdogs. Then the second day were Chipotle and BBQ. Almost all of these are meat-and-bread-based, unlike vegetable-based in China. So I’m so amazed at most Americans are still in good shape though foods here are high in calories. If it was me, I may already be thousands of pounds! 🙂 Anyway, I prepare to cook for myself in consideration of both cost and calories. I bought rice and some vegetables at Kroger (local grocery store) and got some Chinese style ingredient in Walmart. This picture is my first Chinese meal I cooked for myself: rice and fried chicken with potatoes. They are really delicious!



IFI Welcom Party   America is famous for its culture of party and social gatherings. Fortunately, I have a great chance to be part of it. IFI, International Friendship Inc, is a really nice organization who provided airport pick-up and temporary housing services for us international students. By IFI, I meet John and Cyndi, who picked me up at the airport and let me stay with them before I move in UV. They treated me like family and we shared a really unforgettable happy memory. So, on Saturday we had an Thank-you party in Union. I met John and Cyndi again, together with other 5 international students they were hosting. We danced together and chatted a lot. This party is so enjoyable to me that I may have missed another welcome activity at Fisher! (oops) This is my first American party, with my favourite American people. I’ll never forget it!

It’s not you … it’s me

Well, I should re-phrase that.  It’s not just you, it’s me too.  You may have heard this line before, typically associated with a breakup.  That’s not what I’m referring to here though.  No what I’d like to tell you is that when I first got a hold of the syllabi for my first term classes of my first year of my Fisher MBA, I immediately felt overwhelmed.  Even before our first day of classes, we were assigned several cases, textbook chapters and articles to read.  And after only two days of classes, the work has continued to pile on.  And I can’t imagine how I’m going to include all of the career searching, club joining, and personal-life living that I was hoping to do.

It was immediately evident upon walking out of only our second day of classes, most people were thinking the same thing as I was.  And that’s when a few of my fellow bewildered comrades and I got together and admitted to each other… it’s not just you, it’s me too.  We all felt the same way and were wondering what we got ourselves into!

What I’m trying to convey is that the workload at Fisher may seem a bit overwhelming upon first arrival.  But I’ve spoken with 2nd year MBA’s and alumni and they all persevered through these same feelings.  The MBA experience is not about just learning in the classroom, or joining as many clubs as you can fit on your resume. What I’ve quickly learned is that it’s also about learning how to manage all of the things you want to do with your limited resources (time, energy, passion, etc.) that you have.  I would like to leave you with a link to a very corny, yet inspirational video that was sent to me recently.  I think the message can be applied to anyone at any time in his/her life, but it’s especially pertinent to us first years who are trying to figure out how we’re going to juggle all that we need to over the next 20 months.

My Fisher Pre-Term MBA Highlights

Okay, so I’ll start off by saying that they first day of the full-time MBA pre-term program is fairly similar to the first day of kindergarten. You may know a few of your classmates before starting the program, but for the most part, you are starting fresh. New friendships. New professors. New daily routine. The list goes on and on. Nobody fully knows what to expect, however, everyone is eager to jump in and meet new people and get their feet more than wet in the MBA program. We were introduced to case study methods, student associations at Fisher Fair, leadership and international opportunities, etc. I had an awesome experience with the MBA pre-term program and wanted to share a few of my highlights:

Keynote Speakers– We were privileged to have the opportunity to hear from two great business minds of our time: Sharen Jester Turney, CEO of Victoria’s Secret and Mitch Feierstein, CEO of the Glacier Environmental Fund Limited. Both speakers shared their vast knowledge of business and management with the class. Each of the speakers related their history and how they got to where they are today. The time they spent instructing and speaking to us was very beneficial. It was neat to see into the minds of some of the world’s finest business executives.

Mitch Feierstein

Summit Vision – Summit Vision is a high-adventure ropes course and team building facility. The day that we spent there was great for meeting new class mates and building team unity. The best part of the day was watching and encouraging fellow students as they attempted to tackle the pamper pole. I have no clue why the activity is named the pamper pole, but I have a pretty good guess. Individual climb to the top of a 30 foot telephone pole, are then required to stand on the top, and then jump about 9 feet to a trapeze. Needless to say, it was a fun activity for everyone and a good opportunity to help encourage others to get over their fears.

Meeting My Team – This was the big moment that everyone was waiting for on the second day – meeting your team that you will be working with for your entire first year as a Fisher MBA. I have to say that I couldn’t be happier with the team I was placed in. We have a nice balance of talents, experience, cultural diversity, etc. All I can do is restate that I couldn’t be happier with the team I have been placed in. Getting to know them throughout the year will be a life changing experience, as I am sure our friendships will last a lifetime.

I could go on and on about the MBA pre-term but we would be here for days, because that is how long it lasted. I will end with stating simply, it was a lot of fun!

The Search for the Perfect Breakfast in Columbus: Jack & Benny’s

Specialized Master in Breakfast
My friends had been telling me about this local watering hole since freshman year of undergrad. Delicious food, great prices, and a chill atmosphere camouflaged behind a rustic blue awning, layers of worn bricks, and retro white shutters in an aged building off High Street in the Old North. This past Saturday conditions were perfect for the long-awaited trip, so I grabbed a few friends, hopped into my car, and began what was sure to be a mouthwatering adventure for my taste buds.
The View From High Street

After parking (and determining whether my parking spot was legitimate or a ticket-waiting-to-happen) I caught my first glance of Jack & Benny’s. It reminded me of the Mom and Pop restaurants I had come to love during my childhood. Visions of Corned Beef Hash, Juevos Rancheros, and Gut-Busting Omlettes raced through my head. This was going to be delicious. My stomach growled in anticipation.

Paradise Found
We sat down in a booth near the back of the diner. My eyes wandered between a myriad of hanging pictures and decorations, an inadvertant time capsule of long-forgotten heroes and modern-day legends. An electric clock sitting on a shelf beside the stove buzzed from years of ware, the sound of sizzling sausage and bacon and clinking glassware and hushed conversation set the scene. Our waitress poured coffee and took our orders behind the remnants of a Spanish accent.
So Delicious…

At last a server appeared with a smorgusbord of plates, overflowing with hashbrowns, buttered toast, and freshly scrambled eggs covered in swiss and cheddar and salsa. For several moments our conversation stood still – savoring a meal that was truly delicious.  Soon my Chorizo Scramble had evaporated from its plate and our waitress appeared with the check. To my surprise, the cost of such indulgence was less than the overwhelming majority of campus fare – roughly five dollars for my massive plating. Needless to say, I am definitely becoming a regular.


My Orientation Week with the Fisher MAcc Program

As an international student who spent her undergraduate years at Ohio State, I think of Columbus as my second home and it was so exciting to come back to Columbus last week in my new role – a graduate student of one of the leading Master of Accounting program in the nation.

On the first day of the MAcc orientation, we finally got the chance to meet Samantha, the academic advisor from Graduate Programs Office, and Kaylin, the program coordinator, who constantly followed up with us during the summer to ensure we were well prepared on our transition to be MAcc students.  They will also continue assisting us on academic issues, such as course planning, and other upcoming Fisher events. In addition, we interacted with faculty members and received advises from them in terms of how to achieve success during this nine-month program. Professor Eric Spires’s Three Things Not to Do If I am a MAcc student provided us thorough opinions on how to take advantage of the MAcc program to benefit our long-term career goals.

Bonding with our new classmates was another objective of the orientation. By participating in the team-building workshop, I was pleased to know that I will spend most of my time with my fellow students from culturally and academically diverse backgrounds this year. The graduate program office also offers a number of opportunities for us to network with our new classmates and help us to know each other better. The Summit Vision sponsored by Ernst & Young was one great example, which all of us are invited on the second day of orientation to challenge physically ourselves together. This event not only increased our confidence on dealing with unexpected situations but also taught and helped develop our communication skills and mutual support among our partners are extremely imperative to achieve outstanding performances in a team.

I can’t wait to see my classmates more on campus!!!!!

Why Ohio State?

Ohio State University /Fisher College of Business was my last choice. I was applying to four different universities, and Ohio State was one of them because it is a top MLHR/MHRM program, I wanted an HR program that was part of the chosen university’s college of business, and I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket by only applying to one school.

I was planning on going to the wonderful university where I completed my undergrad, Utah State. I had loved my time there. They have a great HR program and my husband and I currently were employed and living in Logan, UT. How convenient!

Dan and I
Dan and me


I began the application process for the four schools, and within a week I had received a call from Ohio State just letting me know they were there if I had any questions, or needed anything. I was impressed, but still sticking to my original plan. With every piece of the application that was sent in there was another call or email from OSU. Not one of the other schools had reached out to me, and in these few months of communication with Ohio State they had somehow made their way from last choice to a top contender. What they were showing me was that even though it is a HUGE school, I was still important to them. I knew that I would be getting the individual attention and help that I wanted out of my graduate program.

My puppy
This is Chaz Lopez-Hilker. Dan, this little cutie, and I make up"Our Family."


By the time I received my acceptance to OSU I wanted to go there, but moving across country didn’t seem to fit what our family needed. I reached out to Ohio State about this, and I cannot put into words how helpful they were in making it possible. I was able to get a position at the University that would make it the convenient and right choice for my family. I love Ohio State, and am so happy to be here, and know that while I am one of tens of thousands of students that I am important to the program and the University.


Brutus Buckeye
Brutus and me