The famous OSU football coach Woody Hayes once said, “You can never pay back, but you can always pay forward.” I hope that all of us are able to continue paying it forward by serving whatever communities we’ll be a part of after graduation. I’m lucky to be joining an accounting firm that places community service among its top priorities, and I’m thankful to be part of a college that does the same!
One of the things that I worried about the most when coming to Columbus was where I was going to live. Upon submitting my intent to enroll in the SMF program, I was given a comprehensive list of nearby apartments with monthly rental rates and reviews from past student residents, which I found extremely helpful. Knowing that I was not making the drive to Columbus from San Francisco, I focused on a place within walking distance to the Fisher College of Business. I initially considered Fisher Commons, which is a relatively new complex with well appointed kitchen amenities that is a short fifteen minute walk to campus. The only drawback for me was that the apartments were not furnished. The last thing I wanted to worry about at the end of the program was how to get rid of my old mattress.
Since I probably cannot bum rides from friends all the time, I had to make sure restaurants and grocery stores were also within walking distance. After looking over the various locations, I decided on the Neil Building Graduate housing. Located at the corner of Neil Avenue and West 10th Avenue, the graduate housing is a twenty minute casual stroll to Fisher College of Business. CVS pharmacy is half a block away for the occasional allergy relief or late night munchies. A Kroger grocery store is also close by on East 7th Avenue and High Street (about a ten minute walk).
However, to add icing on the cake, the best part of the Neil Building by far is the Marketplace located on the street level. The Marketplace is an OSU dining food court that serves pizza, salad, pasta, sushi, Asian stir-fry, and my favorite, the Memphis BBQ beef brisket grilled panini. In addition, there is a VIP access door that connects the rest of the building to the Marketplace. I love how I can go downstairs to grab a quick bite without dealing with the outside elements, especially on a rainy or snowy winter day! How’s that for awesomeness?
Over the last few months, I have shared info about me and my life. I thought it would be interesting to learn about a couple of other students’ lives, their perspective on the program and their journey from undergraduate to graduate school. Fisher first year MHRM student, Yuqing Zhang, gave me some very unique answers to my interview questions. Read on to hear her perspective on the US, Ohio State and her journey from undergraduate to graduate school.
Name: Yuqing Zhang
Hometown: Guangxi, China
Undergraduate Institution: Renmin University of China
Major: Human Resource and Management
Undergraduate extracurricular activities: School’s badminton club leader, class monitor, vice president of sports unit in school’s student union
Work Experience: Several internships
What lead you to your decision to go to graduate school? I was curious what it would be like to study in the US.
Why did you ultimately choose the MHRM program at OSU? I expected a career in HR area, either in academic research or in industry. And Fisher is the best choice either way.
What is one thing that you like most about the MHRM program? That the program provides so many resources helping with both learning and career development.
What is one thing that you like least about the MHRM program? Well, I guess international students need more exposure to internship/employment opportunities.
About how many hours per week do you spend on schoolwork in and out of class? In class: 12h, out of class: 15h.
What is the most difficult aspect of being a graduate student? You really need to take more initiatives and consider more about career development.
Did anything regarding MHRM program/OSU/Columbus surprise you? That the people here are so nice and provide host and all kinds of events to engage us into the community.
Do MHRM students spend time together out of class? Yes, a lot.
Do you interact with students from different Master’s programs? Yes, my roommate is in the Fisher MBLE program, and there’s a lot of classes and events in which I can connect to MBA and MAcc students.
What are some of your hobbies and interests? Have you found a place to pursue those at OSU? Yes! I love badminton and volleyball. There’s an official badminton club and an unofficial volleyball club in which everyone could engage. I can also enjoy myself in the wonderful recreation center at OSU.
Do the students have enough time for a social life? Yes. I would say that schoolwork is important but not all for graduate students, social life may actually help more with the career development.
What do you typically do for fun? Work out and have parties.
Do you participate in any student organizations?MHRM Council. I really appreciate the so many various student organizations at Fisher and OSU, which would really provide many valuable opportunities for social and professional development.
What are your plans for the summer? Internship, though I’m still working on getting one 🙂
Similar to most business schools across the nation, Fisher frequently brings many executive speakers to campus to speak to MBAs about their experiences and knowledge of the current business environment. The speakers are frequently from various industries and their experiences and education vary dramatically. Last week, the graduate programs office at Fisher helped bring in a great speaker, Jodi Glickman.
Jodi has experience in many different industries and brought that knowledge to Fisher to help us learn how to succeed during our summer internships. Her experience ranges from the Peace Corps to Goldman Sachs and to writing her latest book, Great on the Job: What To Say, How To Say It, The Secrets Of Getting Ahead.
The majority of what Jodi related to us was based around some of the important points of her book, as well as her experiences in the corporate world. She did a great job at helping all of us first year MBAs, understand what types of communication will succeed during a typical summer internship. Some of the main points that I took away from Jodi’s presentation are as follows:
Speak Up – Jodi related an interesting story about an MBA intern that was very well liked at Goldman Sachs during his summer. He worked hard and everyone knew his name. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive an offer. Why? Because he didn’t work on any assignments or projects that could be used for senior management and partners to measure his potential. The moral of the story was that he should have taken initiative and asked for a difficult assignment that would truly showcase his skills and talents.
Soft Skills Matter – Jodi started the session by asking the audience what it would take to receive a job offer from a summer internship. She listed a few of the remarks from the audience, and then she noted what they all had in common: communication. She followed up her point by asking about some of the worst bosses we have ever known or had. They weren’t classified as bad bosses because of technical errors or a lack of knowledge. The reasons were all centered on communication and management of people.
Get An Offer – Jodi was adamant that the most important thing that an intern do is to receive an internship offer. Even if the intern doesn’t want to work for the company they interned with, it is important for them to receive an offer. Recruiters will want to know why an intern didn’t receive an offer. That could lead to an awkward moment for the interviewee. The main key to her presentation was that interns need to do their best to get an offer.
At the end of her presentation we were awarded with copies of her book, Great on the Job. I am looking forward to reading her book and implementing her advice this summer during my internship.
A few weeks ago, I had a boutique sell side research firm randomly reach out to me requesting that I take this test called the Wall Street Assessment Test (WSAT). It is an hour to hour and a half online test where you are tested on financial and analytic abilities. Apparently I did well enough for a phone interview two weeks ago. This was my first real interview for a research position after my four trips out to NYC. While I felt comfortable going into the interview, it was my first so I was slightly nervous.
Last week, a regional bank also reached out to me regarding a research position. This was not as random of an encounter as the small shop. I applied for the position on the corporate website, or as I like to think about it a black pit. Since my attitude towards this approach is not bright to say the least, I reached out to a contact at the firm in research asking if he could do anything to help. He knew all the networking and learning I have been going through and must have felt comfortable enough to help me out.
These two opportunities are a purely due to my networking efforts. The first company that reached out to me somehow received my resume or heard about me through some contact I made and impressed enough to reach out on my behalf. The regional bank reached out to me not because I applied online, but due to a contact that I reached out to asking if he could pass my information along. Both of these are validation of effort that was put in through pounding the pavement and building relationships with people. As one of my contacts has told me, “you only need one”. Hopefully having two opportunities is better than one.
One of the greatest benefits of attending Fisher College of Business is the chance to join a culture rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit. As an entrepreneur and start-up junkie this was a critical factor in my decision to continue my education at Ohio State. Columbus and OSU offer unprecedented resources and opportunities for budding “starters” such as the business builders club, start-up weekend, TechColumbus, and the Deloitte Entrepreneurship Competition. Moreover, Fisher’s Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization course was named one of the 10 best entrepreneurship courses in the nation by Inc. magazine. The course builds business around emerging technologies developed at The Ohio State University and other research institutions that have not found commercial uses.” And so, for this blog post, I thought I would share one of my current start-up projects and how Fisher College of Business and Ohio State have helped me along the way.
It all started during my internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers this past summer in Columbus. Believe it or not, I met the lead recruiter for our region on my first day at Ohio State – a bond that ultimately led to my internship and eventual job offer in Chicago. Anyways, one of my co-interns from Indiana University participated in Project Belize, a week long experience offered by PwC to teach underprivileged children in Belize basic financial literacy skills. When he told me about the program I was impassioned and began to seek out state-side opportunities that were similar. What I found was a financial literacy education landscape dominated by conflicting programming and mediocre performance. In fact, one study by the Jump$tart Coalition suggested that current efforts had made essentially no impact in student financial literacy over the past 10 years. That was when I realized I had to do something – to use my creative nature and knowledge from business school to make an impact. The result was the founding of Centsay, a start-up non-profit focused on providing universal access to financial literacy education.
Our journey – from that first brainstorming session to implementing our business model – has been an amazing adventure (and we’re still right in the thick of it), but I can with certainty say that we couldn’t have possibly accomplished everything that we have in the past 5 months without the support network and resources available via Ohio State and Columbus. To highlight a few:
Being enrolled in a business school with integrating programming has allowed me to meet MAcc, MBA, MHR, SMF, and undergraduate students. These different student bodies offer unique perspectives and strengths and weaknesses. Being able to connect with all of them facilitated the construction of our core team and ability to quickly locate short-term specialists to help us overcome short-term obstacles.
Professors in Fisher have been an invaluable resource for vetting ideas, strategies, and plans. They have been able to provide our team with advice about areas where we lack expertise and guidance when we encounter issues that we have no experience with.
University leadership and staff have had an open door policy with regards to making our venture a success. Whether we are looking for space to work on projects or introductions to potential partners or donors Ohio State has always gone above and beyond what any of our team members expected.
Ohio State has the unique attribute of giving its students not only the skills, but also the confidence to succeed. While our venture is still in-process, we know we can count on our school for continued support!