Broadway Comes to Columbus!

I’m a huge Broadway fan, so I’m always excited to hear about a new show coming into Columbus!  These shows usually come to one of my two favorite theaters downtown – the Ohio Theatre and the Palace Theatre.  If you’re a Broadway aficionado – or if you’ve never seen a show before in your life – you should definitely check out the line-up at these theaters.  I’m sure you’ll find something of interest!

This week I went to see Million Dollar Quartet.  This musical is set on one night – December 4, 1956 – when four music legends were all together for a recording session.  These musicians were Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.  This would be the only time these artists, who all debuted with Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, were all together.  The show featured memorable songs such as “Hound Dog,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and “Walk the Line.”  The actors did a fantastic job and took the audience members back to the ’50’s for this session.

Broadway actors portray Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash
(photo courtesy of

My favorite of the artists portrayed in this musical is Johnny Cash.  My freshman year at Ohio State, I had the privilege of taking a seminar course solely focused on Johnny Cash and his songwriting.  Each class session, we would listen to a couple of his songs and discuss what we thought the lyrics meant to Johnny and what they meant to us.  Some of my favorites of Johnny’s were actually covers – not his original lyrics – and many were spirituals.  In the Sweet By and By and Hurt were two in particular that I enjoyed, although I also love his most famous original songs like Folsom Prison Blues, Walk the Line, and Ring of Fire.

The real Million Dollar Quartet: Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash
(photo courtesy of

I would highly recommend this show – or any off-Broadway shows – that stop by in Columbus for a week or two.  Ohio State’s theater department also puts on shows throughout the year, so you might check out their line-up for the spring.  Even if Broadway isn’t your thing, it’s definitely important to get away from campus for a few hours a week and do something that takes your mind off of classwork.  You have plenty of time to spend in class and working on projects, so be sure to take a break and explore Columbus!

Brucetta Williams (VP Consumer Marketing from @BET) Visits Fisher

Last week students here at Fisher had a great opportunity to gather together and learn from Brucetta Williams, VP Consumer Marketing at BET.  She was nice enough to fly in to Columbus and visit the Fisher community to discuss her career path and share advice for future business leaders.

Brucetta shared a few points of career advice that she swears by. Some of the advice she shared that jumped out at me are as follows:

Continued Learning – Being a student doesn’t end with receiving a degree. It is a life-long process. Brucetta remarked that she stays current on issues by being active in her trade associations. She participates in local meetings and networks with others in her industry to continue growing her knowledge of marketing and media.

Know Yourself – Regarding career progression, Brucetta made it clear that one of the reasons she has had success in her professional career is that she is self-aware and knows what she wants out of her career. She suggested that MBA students discover where they want to be in the future and work hard towards it.

Set Goals – Even if you may not achieve all of them, set them. Brucetta sets goals every year and makes her best effort to achieve them. If she doesn’t achieve them, she rolls them over to the next year if applicable. Continued growth and progression are the results she sees from setting goals.

Life Balance – This area of the discussion with Brucetta really jumped out at me. She emphasized to all of us that when you die, your obituary may have one line regarding a career or professional achievement. Maybe. To this point Brucetta spoke towards leading a balanced life, at work, home, and play. Have fun. Have hobbies. Life life. Great advice that resonated with me stronger than the others she shared.

Fisher MBA Internal Case Competition

Every winter, The Fisher College of Business holds an Internal Case Competition for the 1st Year MBAs. It is a typical case competition for the most part. Students form teams of four (typically between half and three-quarters of a graduating class participates, or between 60 and 100 students). Students arrive on campus early Friday morning and are given a case, or a 10 to 20 page document describing a business, its current industry conditions and a decision faced by management. Cases can either be traditional (a past business situation that has since been resolved) or live (a business situation the company is facing today). Teams have approximately 24 hours to formulate recommendations and prepare a presentation to be delivered to a panel of judges the following morning.  Judges tend to be alumni or professionals selected because they hold some expertise and/or knowledge of the case industry and its challenges. The Fisher Internal Competition is sponsored every year by Ernst & Young so many of the judges are consultants. The teams deliver a 25 minute presentation during which they are challenged by the judges with critical questions. The judging panel then decides upon a best presentation, best presenter and best Q&A award.

Last week I had the chance to be involved with the Fisher MBA Internal Case competition for the 2nd time, this year as one of the competition time keepers, which was quite a learning experience. Having competed in 3 case competitions last year (including the Internal), I wish I would have had the opportunity to be a timer before competing in any of them. Timing a room allowed me to listen to the deliberations the judging panel had after each presentation, as well as the final discussion when they selected the award winners. Many points arising in these discussions took me by surprise…

First was the discrepancy between what students believe to be important to win Case Competitions and what the judges emphasize in their evaluations. For example, in my experience during competitions, I remember being fairly worried about finishing all of our presentation within the time limit. While timing this year, only one of the four teams was able to complete their presentation, a result of the judges interrupting their progress with questions (and this team was not the final room winner). During the evaluation period, I was surprised that the judges placed little emphasis on whether or not a team finished. In fact, in one instance, they blamed themselves for a team’s inability to finish their presentation admitting that “they asked too many questions.”

Additionally, students tend to think that having four strong presenters is necessary to win a competition. However, it was evident during the presentations in my room, and during the judge’s deliberations, that the teams that worked collaboratively gave stronger presentations. And the teams that appeared to work the best had complimentary skill sets. There might be one or two very strong presenters on these teams, but there was also at least one team member who had very strong quantitative and analytical skills. That team member may not have even had a specific role in the presentation but might have stepped up to answer some of the more technical or numerically oriented questions.

Lastly, I was very intrigued when observing the judges deliberate over who would be the overall room winner. A handful of judges gravitated immediately to the team with the strongest presenters, or those members with the most poise, clarity, eye contact, etc.  However after 10 minutes of discussion, the judges shifted their focus to the specific recommendations or strategy presented by each group. They discussed the feasibility of each presentation and which strategy they agreed with. At one point, one of the judges said “if I were the CEO of this company, which of these teams would I want to hire to address this decision?” This question eventually swayed the other judges to vote for a team that did not deliver the best presentation, but had the soundest strategy.

In conclusion, if I were to compete in another case competition, I would have spent more time researching the backgrounds of the judges to better predict what they would emphasize in their evaluations!

Fisher AMP Chicago HOP 2012

A yearly tradition at Fisher has once again proved to be a highlight of our year as marketing students.  Each year a group of approximately 20 Marketing students travel to the Windy City to learn from leading marketing companies about cutting edge marketing concepts.  As the president of Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP), it was up to me to create a fun and educational experience for our members.

Luckily this year was once again a great success (whew!).  We had the extreme honor to visit Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, Jack Morton, a brand experience agency, Wrigley’s, focusing on brand management of their gum brands, and finally a stop at Navigate Research, a sports market research and sponsorship valuation firm.

Another highlight of the trip was an Alumni networking night sponsored by an alumnus at the Hilton Chicago.  What a great venue to chat with 30 local Chicago Fisher alums!

Thanks to all of our sponsors and hosts.  We all had a fabulous time and learned a little along the way too 😉

Got Cabin Fever? Hit the Gym!

We’re just four weeks into the first term of spring semester, and I’m already longing for spring break!  Midterms are coming up next week, and I’m itching to do something other than sit in class or study at home.  I’ve found a great way to escape this cold weather by hitting the RPAC!  Here are some of the great amenities this workout facility has to offer:

  • Cardio Canyon – a ton of treadmills, ellypticals, and bikes
  • Countless basketball courts (they’re literally stacked on top of each other)
    • also used for volleyball, badminton, and cardio classes
  • 10 racquetball courts
  • 4 squash courts
  • Four-lane jogging/walking track
  • Weights, weights, and more weights (I avoid these areas, but I assume they have anything and everything)
  • Lap pools
A beautiful shot of the RPAC at nighttime!

This is by far one of my favorite buildings on campus, but there are plenty of other workout facilities across campus.  JO North and the ARC are a couple of popular spots for Fisher grad students.  The ARC even has climbing walls, which I intend to check out later this semester!  We’re not going to be lucky enough to have access to such great workout spaces when we leave Fisher, so I recommend checking some of these out this winter.

Now, back to studying for these midterms.  Just three more weeks and I’ll be onto my last term in the Fisher MAcc!  Could time slow down, please?!

Your Car Needs a Bath

On top of all the craziness of being in grad school, along with the daily living responsibilities you will encounter, it’s at these busiest times that one may forget to do other “required” things.   One of them could/may be car maintenance. While most people are good about getting oil changes, inflating their tires and preparing the car for winter, one major activity needs to be done for keeping the body of your car beautiful. Yes, it is washing your car.  The simple expense of a car wash in the winter could save years of value in your car.

Since Columbus recently has seen snow (as have many other Eastern and Midwest states), the slushy mix up and melting snow on the roads usually splatters onto cars.   This mess includes the salt used by road crews to better maintain clean streets and avoid ice build up. Sources such as the AAA and auto repair blog sites do in fact recommend getting your car washed through out the winter. Once temperatures rise above freezing, removing the salt from your car should be done. This helps to avoid rust and corrosion not only on the body of your car, but also the undercarriage which basically is the support of your car.

Sax Car Wash: They even promise to remove the french fries left in your seat

However how does one spot a good deal on car washes?   Yes, gas stations usually offer a car wash at a cheap price (usually $5-9) after filling up, however most of these washes do not include undercarriage washing.   As many readers of this blog know, I like to promote local establishments that in my opinion offer great value for your dollar.    Today I present Sax Car Wash on 5th Avenue (1319 W 5th Ave, Columbus, OH 43212).  The place not only cleans your car, but offers great affordable packages to detail, wax, and even freshen up the scent of your car.   Not only does it come with great customer service, but, after the car is washed, you also get the door jars cleaned, a simple vacuuming, and even the dashboard gets wiped down of dust, etc..  For the “works” package, which is priced under $20, you receive the car wash, undercarriage wash, wax, vacuum, and a choice of over 8 different air fresheners that are pumped directly into the fan of your climate control.

Regardless of where you go to get it done, I recommend all drivers and students (and students to be) in Columbus during the winter to take extra good care of your car.   You will be glad you did when the resale value and appearance show.


With winter comes tax season!

The winter months at the Fisher College of Business bring the 2012 tax filing season and volunteer opportunities with VITA! The VITA program (volunteer income tax associate) is a chapter of the IRS’ community service initiatives that provides free tax preparation services to low income neighborhoods in the Columbus area. Fisher accounting undergraduate students and MAcc students have the opportunity to volunteer their services to assist the program from late January to early March. Fisher provides two site locations to individuals seeking free tax services. It is a great way to give back to the community, while also learning more about the tax system. The program was founded in 2003 by the MAcc program’s very own, Professor Raabe, and has provided over $4 million in tax refunds and services valued $1.2 million since the formation.

In order to participate in the VITA program, students must go through basic and intermediate training through the IRS. Training consists of realistic tax scenarios and applying the IRS tax code. Then, tax software training is required using “tax wise” systems. Simulations were created for software training to allow students to file a “fake” return using typical tax information a client may provide. The training provides an excellent opportunity to understand the structure of the tax code, learn the basics of individual tax returns, and ultimately take this knowledge with us to our career.

This past Friday marked the opening session of VITA and I had the opportunity of participating. For some, if not most, of our clients, this will provide the biggest pay day of the year. It was amazing to instill such extreme happiness in the VITA clients upon hearing the news of their tax refunds and I cannot wait to continue this throughout the rest of my time with VITA this season. Check out this video to learn more about VITA.

My weekend trip to Music City U.S.A.

As Fisher MHRM students, we spend most of our time studying, meeting for group projects and going to class, but weekends give us an opportunity to get away and explore new places. Lucky for us, Columbus is close to many big cities and tourist attractions so traveling is pretty easy.

Ashley and I decided to make use of our long weekend for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and take an impromptu trip to Nashville, TN. My family is originally from Tennessee, so I have visited too many times to count. Ashley, on the other hand, had never visited. Ashley loves country music, southern cooking, and cowboy boots, so I knew she’d fit right in! My cousin, Matthew, was the only brave soul willing to join us on our last minute getaway.

Long weekend trips are a great way to explore the world around you while in grad school

We left Columbus at 5am Saturday morning. Six hours later we arrived at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I have been to the museum before, but the exhibits change on a regular basis. Although some of the articles and stories were familiar, I was able to see new pieces added to the collection in the last year. We also took a tour of RCA Studio B where legends, like Elvis Presley, and today’s artists, like Carrie Underwood, have recorded more than 1,000 American hits.

Ashley, me and Matthew sitting at Elvis’ piano in RCA Studio B

Saturday night we went downtown to experience all that Nashville has to offer. Broadway is the main street that features restaurants, shopping, bars and entertainment venues. We also went down Printers Alley, a famous alley that has been home to nightclubs since the 1940’s. The live music was incredible! Even the artists busking on the streets deserve to be recognized. We heard everything from country to blues to pop and even gospel.

Ashley and me on Printers Alley

Sunday we hoped to get a seat at The Bluebird Café where singers like Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks were discovered. We wanted to catch the unique performances for Writer’s Night. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize how many other people had the same idea. The Bluebird was at maximum capacity and there was still a line of about 60 people curving around the side of the shopping center. Next time, we will have to go on a night when they take reservations!

We decided on dinner at Merchant’s on Broadway. This restaurant had a very different atmosphere from the usual “country” scene. Everything was in black and white. The service was quick, the food was delicious, and the hipster ambiance was executed perfectly in every detail. Of course, since we were already on Broadway we couldn’t help but check out the local bands again.

Me and Ashley in front of the band

Sadly, we had to head back home on Monday. We stopped for one last meal at The Pancake Pantry. We waited an hour and a half for our table, and it was well worth the wait (and the calories!). I had their specialty, sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon cream syrup. Perfection.

I was very impressed by everything we did in Nashville, but there are still so many sights and sounds I want to share with Ashley and Matthew. We will just have to add it to our list of places to visit: Chicago, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Indianapolis …