A Day In The Life Of A Fisher MBA

I recently had a friend, from back home in Utah, give me a call to catch up and see how business school was going. We talked about the classes and the recruiting events. I spoke about my classmates and the breakdown of cohorts and first-year teams. It was fun discussing the challenges and successes of attending a top-tier business school.

After about 15 minutes of catching up and filling him in on my schooling, he asked, “so, what is business school really like? What does your daily routine and schedule look like?” I thought I had done a good job of painting the b-school picture for him, but apparently not. He wanted the gritty details of every day. So, I walked him through a day in my life. Here is what it looks like – a day in the life of a Fisher MBA:

6:00-7:15 I roll out of bed and jump in the shower, trying not to wake my wife or our 11 month-old son in the other room. I get ready for the day, pack my computer and books into my backpack, make sure my lunch is ready to go for the afternoon if I don’t have a lunch meeting scheduled at school. I eat breakfast (a must in b-school to make sure you make it through the day) and head out the door.

7:45-8:15 – I like to get to school a little earlier than most of my classmates. I will review case notes and the readings from the night before to make sure that I am ready to contribute in class.

8:30-10:00  – First class of the day. Enjoy class lectures and analyzing case studies.Depending on the day I would either be attending Strategy or Leadership Excellence.

10:00-12:00 – Study time. I normally hunker down in a study room with a few of my classmates to read cases, work on papers, finalize team projects, research companies, etc.

12:00-1:00 -I frequently eat lunch in the student lounge or I attend a Fisher sponsored event. Many of the events over the lunch hour are great learning opportunities. Fisher frequently brings in executives from around the country to speak about business and leadership. I have found these events to be very beneficial and educational! During the lunch hour is also when many of the student organizations host activities and events. These are great times to meet more students and learn more about specific industries and job functions.

1:15-2:45 -Second class of the day. Currently, it would be Market Research and Analysis or Consumer Behavior.

3:00-4:00 -I normally have team meetings, project briefings, or graduate assistant responsibilities that I attend to during this hour. Mainly use this time to make sure that everything that needs to be accomplished is headed in the right direction.

4:30-6:00 -I try to head over to the gym and get in a quick workout. This helps keep a balance in my life during the busy days and weeks at Fisher.

6:15-10:00 – Family time. This by far is the best time of the day. I normally don’t see my wife or son before I take off in the mornings so I really clear my schedule for the evenings so that I have time to devote to them. As soon as I get home, we eat dinner together and then I play with my little boy for the next hour or two. Then I feed him his last bottle, bathe him, and read his story and get him to sleep. Like I said, best time of the day. I then have about an hour of time to spend with my wife talking, reading, watching tv, playing a game, etc.

10:00-11:30 -This is when I get back to studying for the last hour or two of the day. I will finish up papers, readings cases, and assigned homework until I can’t keep my eyes open.

Wake-up the next morning. Repeat. The life of a (married) b-school student. Gotta love it!


Need a break? Take a trip to Oval Beach!

The best beach in Central Ohio

As our finals days in the Fisher SMF program approach, we have entered our fourth and final round of the presentations/finals onslaught. We have had our fair share of late nights and high pressure days over this span, and it is important to get away from it all (even if it’s only for a few minutes). Luckily for us (kind of), this final storm coincided with the arrival of spring and the end of undergraduate classes.

It is these two phenomena that have led to the annual arrival of Oval Beach. While it may not have all of the amenities of your typical beach resort, Oval Beach offers a great place for students to hang out with one another while taking in the warm spring weather. If you time your short vacation to Oval Beach right, you will see much of Buckeye nation playing sports, tanning, and just passing the time. It’s not South Beach but it’s still a great getaway destination.

Cultural Education At Fisher

Coming to business school in Columbus, OH, one would think that the opportunities to learn about global business cultures would be limited. This is what I thought last August as I prepared to begin my time here at Fisher. I was wrong.

I have been given so many opportunities to learn about various cultures and emerging markets during my first year of business school. The faculty and administration here at Fisher frequently comment on the fact that the business world is becoming more and more flat. That is, the world of business is global, not just regional or national.

The last few weeks, I have been able to attend student-ran lectures and activities centered around international culture in business. Two weeks ago I was able to learn more about Nigeria from two native students. They spoke of their currency, legal system, regulations, work/life balance, as well as recreational and family activities. For someone who has never been to Nigeria, it was a great learning opportunity.

Fisher College of Business MBA

Similar to the Nigerian culture snapshot, I was able to learn about Peru. Peru seemed a little more fascinating to me because I speak Spanish fluently. The presentation peaked my interest and seemed like a great opportunity for businesses looking to expand into emerging markets. I’ll admit, the idea of a siesta seemed a little inefficient, however, it does seem to unite families and communities.

The International Business Club has also held a number of Indian celebrations that I have been able to attend. Last week, Fisher hosted the annual UTSAV celebration. Fisher students, faculty, and families gathered for an Indian fashion show and dance outside of Fisher Hall.

Ohio State MBA

For more picture of Fisher’s UTSAV celebration, visit our Flickr page.

OSU Sites to See Before Graduation

It’s not too late to see some of the best spots on OSU campus!  Here are some of my favorites from undergrad and this past year in the Fisher MAcc:

Orton Hall

I love hearing the chimes of the Orton Tower bells when I’m walking along the Oval on campus.  If you’re lucky, you can hear them playing “Carmen Ohio,” our school’s alma mater.  One of my favorite memories from my time here as an undergrad was walking across the Oval back to my dorm on South Campus with my sister one winter evening.  It had just snowed, so there was a foot or two on the ground.  We proceeded to drop our backpacks and make snow angels in the fresh snow when “Carmen Ohio” started playing on the bells.  I’ll never forget times like that when I felt so happy to be a Buckeye!

For anyone interested, you can actually climb the Orton Bell Tower next Wednesday, May 1, from 6-9 PM, as part of OSU Commencement Week!

The beautiful Orton Hall (photo courtesy of Ohio State)

Ohio Stadium

I can’t think of any fall quarter or semester here at Ohio State without recalling some incredible football games in the ‘Shoe.  I walked across the field at convocation to start off my freshman year at Ohio State, and I cannot believe it’s already next Sunday when I’ll be crossing the field again, this time as a graduate.  This is definitely a must-see on any tour of campus, and I highly suggest taking photos outside the ‘Shoe on graduation day!

The ‘Shoe at night (photo courtesy of Ohio State)

Mirror Lake

This area of campus is special to me, because South Campus was my home as a freshman.  I crossed the South Oval and saw the fountains of Mirror Lake every day walking to class.  Although the most memorable time at Mirror Lake for many students is the Mirror Lake jump before the Michigan game, it’s definitely still a great place to check out on any spring day.

Thompson Library

Any tour of campus is incomplete without stopping into Thompson Library to see the giant book stacks and take a trip to the 11th floor Reading Room.  The 11th floor offers 360-degree views of campus and downtown Columbus.  But be careful – this is a quiet study room, so you might get glares from students trying to study during finals week if you’re too loud!

Thompson Library on a spring day (photo courtesy of Ohio State)

There are plenty more special spots for OSU students.  That’s one of my favorite things about being part of such a huge campus:  50,000 students all love something different about this university.  You can actually take a “Things You Never Got To See” Tour during Commencement Week as well to check out some of the more popular buildings.  For all of you graduates – don’t leave campus without at least taking a stroll through the Oval and soaking up some sun with your fellow Buckeyes before taking off and starting your new careers!

The final stretch!

Hello readers,

I know it has been quite awhile since my last post-it has been a busy last few weeks of school as we prepare for the final stretch before Spring Commencement. As the MAcc students wind down what may be our last stint of higher education, we have participated in some fun community service events, serving the city of Columbus and the local Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus. Earlier this month, our program held an entire day of service through what is known as MAcc gives back. On this day, MAcc students had the pleasure of volunteering their time and energy to various charities and local organizations around the city. Each student volunteer ranked the top three volunteer sites s/he was most interested in participating in. Such sites ranged from The Franklin Park Conservatory, United Way, and local food pantries. I had the luxury of assisting the Franklin Park Conservatory in preparing the campus community garden for the spring bloom. The conservatory is a beautiful 80+ acre site containing huge garden areas, indoor nature exhibits, and featured art work. I had no idea that such a beautiful park was nestled right in the middle of the city!

A snap shot of the Orchid Exhibit at the Conservatory


Me raking some leaves near the community garden


In addition to MAcc gives back, several MAcc students participated in the 10th annual Fisher 5K event. This run/walk benefits the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus, with 100% of the proceeds donated to the cause. The race consists of a course in and around Ohio State’s campus, ending with yummy snacks compliments of Panera Bread. While it was a bit colder than I would have preferred, the race was an excellent start to a Sunday morning, knowing that I was able to give back to this great city. It is hard to believe my time here at Fisher is coming to a close. It has been an excellent year and I know I will be back somehow, whether it be through a visit to the professors, speaking to the entering class, or simply getting together with other MAcc students. Until next time when I give a graduation recap!



Figlio Wood Fired Pizza–you won’t regret it!

Ready to eat!

Any time you move to a new city it is important to carve out some go-to restaurants. Well during my last semester here at Fisher in the SMF program, I discovered a new personal favorite—Figlio Wood Fired Pizza. This place is good enough that it earned a spot on the blog.

While the name makes it sound like a pizza joint, it is far more than that. In fact, I still haven’t even tried the pizza. What keeps drawing me back is the phenomenal pasta selection. Here is the menu (caution! It will make you hungry).

Another perk of this place is the price of entrees relative to the atmosphere. You will be hard pressed to find any selections of $15+ dollars, which is great for poor students. Better yet, the quaint but hip feel makes for a perfect location to impress a date or just hang with friends.

While I have only been to the Grandview location, I am sure the sister restaurants offer the same level of service. You can find a Figlios near you here. Buon appetito!


VITA 2013: Another Year of Success!

It’s hard to believe, but another year of VITA – Volunteer Income Tax Assistance – is complete!  After over 1,000 volunteer hours put in by Fisher students at both the Godman Guild and OSU Law Extension Center, 275 income tax returns were filed for residents around Columbus, Ohio.  These returns generated around $425,000 in refunds for these individuals and families, which is an average of about $1,500 per return.  VITA was a fantastic learning experience from both a tax technical skills standpoint, as well as a client relationship-building standpoint.

MAcc student Ly Pham answers a taxpayer’s questions at Godman Guild.

For many student volunteers, VITA is particularly challenging in unexpected ways.  Sure, each student completes training and learns how to navigate the tax software and recognize common tax credits and deductions for our clients.  However, it can often be difficult to explain tax concepts to our clients.  Establishing trust with a client can be difficult in any situation, but it is particularly challenging for some of our clients to put their trust in a 22 or 23-year-old student.  I was happy to see all of our student volunteers express patience and kindness with all taxpayers, making sure their questions were answered and asking site managers for help whenever needed.

MAcc and undergraduate students volunteered over a period of six weeks to assist Columbus residents in preparing their income tax returns.

For those of you who are prospective students or will be starting the MAcc program in August, I highly recommend participating in VITA.  You don’t have to be going into tax after graduation; we had plenty of future auditors and corporate accountants help us out this year.  VITA is simply a great way to get to know your classmates better and spend some time serving the greater Columbus community.

Breakfast With Dean Poon

How many full-time MBA students across the world ever have the opportunity to sit down and have breakfast with the dean of their business school? My guess is not many. Lucky for me, I was able to enjoy breakfast last week with Dean Poon and a handful of other full-time MBA students here at Fisher.

One of the benefits of attending an intimate program like Fisher is that students have great access to many faculty and school administrators.  Last week was no different. Dean Poon arranged her schedule so that she could have breakfast with 10 MBAs and talk about their lives and their experiences here at Ohio State.

When we arrived to the Dean’s conference room in Fisher Hall there was a nice breakfast put together for the students. I grabbed a bagel and some juice and started chatting with a few of my classmates as we awaited the arrival of Dean Poon. We were all excited to speak with her in a close setting and provide feedback and thoughts regarding our time in and out of the classrooms.

When Dean Poon arrived (right on time) she immediately radiated a kind and friendly personality. She grabbed a cup of coffee and sat at the table while she was still asking each student what they did for Spring Break. She then asked about summer plans and internships and offered her advice regarding those important summer months. I was very pleased and grateful for her kindness and sincerity. She really did care about the students in the room at that time and made it very apparent that she was invested in our future and the future of the Fisher College of Business.

Not only did Dean Poon provide us with advice and insight as to how we should navigate our time as interns, but she also petitioned us for feedback regarding the program. We were able to talk with her about orientation, international learning opportunities, career management, course structure, and any other topic of school that came to mind. She genuinely listened to our feedback and engaged with all of us in that room regarding possible changes.

I walked away from that hour meeting with Dean Poon feeling encouraged and grateful for the chance to be a Buckeye. Most deans at business schools would not see meeting with students as one of their top priorities, however, I feel that Dean Poon is different. She cares about the student experience and the value that Fisher provides to all students, regardless of program. My breakfast meeting with her is just another reason that I am loving my time here at the Fisher College of Business.



Selecting MBA Electives at Fisher

During the second semester of your Fisher MBA program, you get to explore elective courses. These elective courses, unlike the core classes, are designed to give you an in-depth look and a chance to explore possible career options. Here are short descriptions of the electives I signed up for.

Managerial and Advanced Negotiations: Professor Dumas teaches practical ways to polish your negotiation skills.  Each lesson is largely centered on in-class exercises. Because we practice negotiation skills in a variety of settings, we know how to efficiently handle conflicts. Not only they are immensely useful in job interviews, these skills will help you manage your teams better. I would recommend both classes to everyone!

Professor Tracy Dumas
Professor Tracy Dumas in Managerial Negotiations

Corporate DiversificationThis course focuses on the strategic management of multi-market firms. Ever wonder why some companies are better at diversification than the others? Professor Hawk goes over competing on resources, different modes of diversification, when to ally and when to acquire. Just like the core strategy class, you will apply knowledge from all other classes -finance, marketing, operations, etc. – and apply them to case studies. If you are interested in corporate strategy, this is a great class.

Global Marketing & SustainabilityProfessor Griffin, Chief Sustainability Officer at Greif, teaches how multi-national firms respond to sustainability. Due to increased public awareness about environmental problems, there are challenges and opportunities for these companies. Through case studies, we analyze diverse ways to shape marketing strategy in the face of the such challenges. Also, we learn how to harness sustainability to drive innovation and profit. Interested in sustainability? You can’t ask for a better class!

My Interview with Amanda Rose

Over the last few months, I have shared many blogs about me and my life.  I thought it would be interesting to learn about a couple of other students’ lives, their perspectives on the program and their journeys from undergraduate to graduate school. I interviewed Amanda Rose, a first year MHRM student.

Name: Amanda Rose

Hometown: Green, OH

Undergraduate Institution: University of Mount Union

Major: Business Administration

Undergraduate extracurricular activities: Basketball, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Student Athletic Advisory Committee

Work Experience: HR Intern-Fannie May Confections, HR Intern-University of Mount Union, University Relations Intern-The Timken Company, Graduate Assistant – Office of Career Management Fisher College of Business

What lead you to your decision to go to graduate school? I didn’t want to attend graduate school directly after undergrad because I had a great internship that could lead to a full time job and was really excited to begin my career. I knew eventually I would want to go back to school so I started doing some research and planning to take the GMAT. While doing that, I learned about the MHRM program at Ohio State and couldn’t wait to find out more. Once I visited Fisher, learned about the types of courses offered in this program and the career opportunities I could pursue because of it, I knew this would be great for me both personally and professionally. I was also lucky enough to be offered a Graduate Assistantship that would allow me to work part-time while financing my tuition. After that, my choice was very easy and I know that I made the right decision.

Why did you ultimately choose the MHRM program at OSU? This was the only program I applied to, but I was drawn to it because the HR program was housed in the business school, which isn’t always typical for every HR master’s program – not to mention it is such a highly ranked HR program and business school.

What is one thing that you like most about the MHRM program? I like how much of an interest all of my classmates take in each other. All the students in my program were top students in their undergraduate institutions and everyone wants to be just as successful here. We also have many employers coming to recruit us so we are all interviewing for the same positions at the same time. This type of environment could foster a lot of competition among us, but instead everyone really wants to see each other succeed. We are all more than willing to help out if someone is having trouble in a class and we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders when it comes to interviewing and receiving job offers. (The biggest competition in our program has been filling out the NCAA bracket!)

What is one thing that you like least about the MHRM program? Taking night classes. I never had to take night classes in undergrad and it has really been an adjustment for me. By the end of the day, it is sometimes hard to get motivated for a 3 hour class 3 nights a week.

What is the most difficult aspect of being a graduate student? The most difficult aspect of being a graduate student was learning when to relax a little bit and allowing myself to take a break from school and work.  There is always going to be reading to get done and projects to be completed but it is important to remember you need to take time for yourself – and that’s OK! I had to learn that I would get all of my work done and still do well in class even when I allowed myself to take a break sometimes.

What is something that you wish you were told when they had visited/started grad school at OSU? It is great to get to know and become friends with your program but also take time to get to know other graduate students outside of it too. Many students in my cohort are very similar so it is nice to branch out and always fun to meet more people with different interests.

Do MHRM students spend time together out of class?  Yes, many of us spend a lot time together outside of class going to lunch/dinners, movies, concerts, and even to Skyzone (an indoor trampoline park)!  Two of my closest friends are girls I’ve met since starting this program and we are always together. We just went to California together for spring break! Its great spend time with each other to have fun and learn more about each other outside of a professional/classroom setting. It makes spending 3 hours together every night in class much more enjoyable.

What are some of your hobbies and interests? Have you found a place to pursue those at OSU? I really love sports and obviously at Ohio State there are many opportunities to pursue that interest. I went to many football games and pre-game tailgates with Fisher friends, have had many “watch parties” for basketball games, attended my first ever hockey game and even played intramural flag football and basketball with other Fisher grad students.

Do the students have enough time for a social life? Students definitely have enough time for a social life. It is an adjustment from undergrad and it is important to prioritize your schoolwork but if you use time-management skills you can always make time for friends and fun. My friends and I have a tradition of heading over to The Thirsty Scholar after Thursday night classes as a way to unwind from the busy week.

What do you typically do for fun? I really just enjoy spending time with my friends so anything we do together is fun for me! We like to do many different things and always try to plan at least one fun activity for the weekend that’s different and can get our minds away from school and work. During the fall, we spent a lot of time experiencing Ohio State by going to happy hours, different local restaurants, and of course as many football games as possible. We celebrate each other’s birthday’s together and even have theme parties together too. But I also just enjoy “girls’ nights in” attempting to bake cookies, watching movies, and talking about anything and everything!

Do graduate students have access to athletic and other university facilities and events? Graduate students  have access to athletic facilities, libraries, and on campus computer labs. Here at Fisher, graduate students have their own computer lab, study lounge, and break out rooms that are great for study groups and projects. I am able to use any athletic facility on campus and participate in any intramural sport too.

Do you participate in any student organizations? I am currently in the MHRM Council and will be the MHRM program delegate in the Council of Graduate Students (graduate student government) next year.

What are your plans for the summer? This summer I will be interning with Shell Oil Company in Houston Texas in the HR department.

What do you hope to do after you complete your MHRM degree? I am excited for all of the opportunities available to me by graduating with my MHRM degree from Ohio State and don’t have a specific route in HR I want to take yet. I hope to learn more about what interests me this summer and during next year but I am very open to all the possibilities I can have in a career after graduating from Fisher.