Archive for September, 2013



It’s Good To Be Back

As the title of my post relates, it is good to be back.

As my wife and I were making the drive back to Columbus from Minneapolis she asked me if I was ready to start my second year of business school. I hadn’t really thought if I was ready or not but I did know that I was excited to return. Some people may think that is crazy, but let me explain what I mean when I say that it is good to be back at Fisher.

Here is what I am looking forward to at Fisher this year:

  • Camaraderie – Oddly enough this reminds me of my days playing sports. When you are on a team, or in business school, you develop very close relationships with others. Why? Because you are all going through the same trials and challenges and celebrating similar successes and accomplishments. Business school is a mentally and emotionally grueling time of life and great friendships are established that will last a lifetime. To put it simply, I’m excited to see all of my friends from b-school that were off in different parts of the country (and world) completing their internships.
  • Education – I like to learn. If you are in business school and you don’t like to learn, you may as well drop out. School isn’t the only place where education and learning take place. They continue on into the workplace. If you don’t like to learn new things and stretch yourself, you probably shouldn’t be in b-school. I love the challenge and love to learn from others experience and knowledge. This year will be even more exciting as I focus my classes on my majors of strategy and marketing.
  • Buckeye Football – I have to be honest, right? I love sports and I love football. Put me in a school with one of the best teams and storied programs in the country and it makes for some excitement. Not only is it fun to gather weekly with classmates, but it is fun to feel the buzz in the air surrounding football season here in Columbus. You may not show up to Fisher as a Buckeye fan, but I can guarantee you will leave as one. It’s inevitable.
  • Exposure – Being a students here at Fisher comes hand in hand with loads of exposure to recruiters, top faculty, and great alumni. During my first year I was able to meet with numerous recruiters that were very interested in Fisher students. They have had great success with Fisher students in the past and they enjoy recruiting here and meeting more potential candidates. The faculty and alumni are beyond generous and have been a great asset to me as a student. It has been fun to see a few of them and fill them in on my experience with 3M this summer.

Like I said, it is good to be back. Good to see friends, talk with faculty, and enjoy the community feeling of Ohio State. Hopefully this year won’t fly by too quickly!

 


Brand Management: A Newcomer’s View from the Inside

When I began the MBA program, I had not yet decided on a major, or even a post-MBA career path.  I had been a high school teacher for the past 8 years, and I wasn’t sure where the B-School journey would lead me. 

Throughout the first year of school, I became increasingly attracted to marketing, and even more specifically to the role of brand management.  This seemed like a dynamic role that might be a good fit for me.  I was given the opportunity to give the role of ABM (assistant brand manager) a trial run this past summer as a marketing intern at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati.

After working in a large CPG company for the past 12 weeks, I have had the opportunity to get a first-hand view of the role of a brand manager.  Here is my analysis: it is an awesome job.  There are lots of things I enjoyed about my internship, but in terms of the role of brand management, the most compelling things are its pace and the breadth.

Pace:  Brand managers (and ABMs) are not bored.  Their day is packed full of all kinds of meetings, tasks, functions, and priorities.  If you’re looking for a job that positions you comfortably in a cubicle or office for 8 hours a day, quietly working on a spreadsheet, this is not the job for you.  For me, I love the energy and frenetic pace of a busy day, and brand management provides that.

Breadth: Brand managers do a lot of marketing, but they also do some of everything.  They play in finance, strategy, market research, design, human resources, and operations—as the “hub of the wheel,” so to speak, brand managers get the opportunity to think and act across the entire spectrum of business functions, and that is really engaging for me.  For a marketing professional who wants to work strictly in a traditional marketing capacity, they may want to look elsewhere for a good professional fit, but for a manager who wants to have their hands in multiple buckets, driving the overall course of a business unit, brand management might be a role to consider.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend the summer at P&G—I learned more in 12 weeks than I ever thought possible.  I would encourage any prospective MBA candidate to at least give brand management a look if this description sounds appealing—you might end up discovering a challenging, stimulating, rewarding new career path.


Library Sunday!

In last week’s post I described a few sites to visit off-campus, so today I thought I would share a little about one of my favorite sites on-campus: Thompson Library! (aka-The Main Library).

This gem is located right at the heart of campus, just a five to ten minute walk from Gerlach Hall. One of the most iconic buildings at Ohio State, Thompson offers an array of services. First and foremost of course is the extensive archive.

You can find books surrounding just about every topic here. You can even conduct an online search at the Ohio State Library website, and have the book you want pulled from the shelves and waiting at the front desk for you when you arrive. What’s more, if by chance Thompson Library doesn’t have the book you are looking for, you can request to have the piece sent over from another library on-campus or from libraries all across the state, sometimes even nationally.

That’s not all, here are a few more terrific amenities provided in the Library:

  • Buckeye Bar: Having a problem with your laptop? Come see the experts at Buckeye Bar for an in-person technology help session.

  • Berry Cafe: Feeling a little hungry? Head over to Berry Cafe to enjoy a delicious deli sandwich, healthy fruit and yogurt treat, or sweet coffee pick-me-up.
  • Gallery Exhibits: Need a study break? The galleries are, in my opinion, one of the most unique aspects of the library. I always feel like I’m traveling back in time when I visit them.

And last but not least, what most students come to the library to do-Study! Here’s a typical Sunday in the Grand Reading Room…Remember to be quiet, shhh…

If you’re interested in taking in a view while you crack the books, head up to the 11th floor for a breath-taking scene of campus…

And finally one of the more unexpected, but delightfully pleasant parts of visiting Thompson-the possibility of meeting someone new. Students from all over campus come to study at Thompson. Just today I had the honor of meeting 2 wonderful students in the MHRM program, right here at Fisher, who I probably wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t been awkwardly reaching over them to take a picture out the window. The campus might be large, and the student body very diverse, but it’s always a nice surprise to meet a new Buckeye.


Fisher’s Faculty

One of my favorite things about The Fisher College of Business is the incredible faculty. My time in the Full Time MBA has introduced me to incredible professors and lecturers  – all who are more than willing to share their experiences and expertise.

Professor James A. Hill Jr – Worked at Pepsi Cola as a production manager and a supplier development manager

I am currently enrolled in the class Organization Turnaround taught by Mr. Jeff Rodeck, who worked at FedEx as Senior Vice President before becoming CEO and turning around Hyperion. It is a very interesting class and he has brought in other speakers to share their experience of how to change the course of a company/firm for the better.

Other professors have worked for P&G, Sears, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Deloitte, Pepsi Co., The Limited, Wells Fargo and more. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn from those that have experience in the field and with companies across the globe.

Fisher’s faculty also have incredibly diverse and broad research background. Publications vary across all areas and numerous members of our faculty have received distinguished awards for their publications.

Our Senior Associate Dean, Karen Hopper Wruck, also teaches Corporate Finance II. I am currently taking Corp. Finance I now – so hopefully I’ll be seeing her in the classroom next term!

See all faculty bios and learn about their expertise here.

Talk soon!


WET Trip to Niagara Falls

Finally, I got time to write something. After a crazy and busy “quiz” week, setting in my chair, enjoying my breakfast, I start to record my life here backwards. So many things happened in August, first day in Columbus, met my host family in airport, lost my luggage, check-in, orientation, ESL test, Health-screening, orientation, another orientation, Career foundation seminar, paid tuition, rejected by bank, first class, first quiz, awesome RPAC. However, none of these I would like to talk about, because I find those topics are far back to one month ago and some people have already written about them. Today I want to tell everybody the coolest thing I did last week during the Labor Day break.

Since I didn’t get the football tickets, which I believe would have a lot of fun too; I went to the Niagara Falls with folks I met in IFI. It is necessary that I introduce IFI a little bit. IFI stands for International Friendships, helping international students have a smooth transfer to United States and make friends with other people. Rich, the leader of IFI invited us to that trip and he contacted his friends in Buffalo, NY asking whether they could accommodate us. Fortunately, they agreed. We set out on Saturday and arrived at Buffalo at night. I have to say our host family was so enthusiastic, she kept talking with us totally ignoring how tired we were after the long drive. But I mean it in the good way. She prepared towels for us because we would get on the jet boat the next day! She warned us never ever tried to sit in the front rows, you would get 100% wet! However, you know, it’s worth to try.

 

After having a Bible study in church on Sunday, it is a great church by the way; we went to Niagara Falls literally. Our first stop is jet boat! Everyone got a raincoat though, our guide said it is absolutely, definitely useless. The fact is he was right! I sat in the third row along the boat’s right side. It turned out to be the perfect direction at which huge water would target. So guess what, after the first time surfing in the Mickey wave, I got totally wet. The water poured everywhere. And several times going up and down, I embraced the wet and enjoyed it. I couldn’t find any single part of my body that is dry, even my underwear. We ride on the boat visiting the great electricity plants, dams, and the famous whirlpool. But we could not be able to make through it, it is so dangerous. Sometime, human cannot fight against great nature.

Then, we went to see the American falls, three sisters’ islands, and enjoying the beautiful scenery around the park. While we were waiting for the amazing lightening falls at night, I taught my American friends how to play the Chinese card game, fight the landlord. We had a great fun time playing that game. A part of Niagara Falls belongs to Canada, and Canada actually has a better view on the falls. They shot a colorful light on the falls from Canada, and we can enjoy it on a sky-bridge here in U.S. The light changed color every few minutes. That was awesome. Pictures are better proof than words. Please enjoy them!

The third, that was Labor Day, we went on the cruise heading to the Canadian falls, it is called Maid of the Mist, which allowed us to have a close experience on Niagara Falls. And again, totally wet when we got closer, the powerful falls arouse the water when they hit the rocks. The sound was so loud and it really sound like storm. After that, we went to the cave of winds and hiked around the fall. When we arrived at the hurricane spot, we can directly feel the falls by touching it. And again, wholly wet. Everybody was screaming while enjoying.

Anyway, during this trip, I experienced something brand new, and learned a lot about American culture. I guess that is the meaning of going out and open mind. Thanks IFI gave me that chance to Niagara Falls. Later on, I will tell more interesting stories about my gradlife on blog.


Catch fun in Buckeye Village

Do you know Buckeye Village? Have you ever been there before?  It is an off-campus family housing at Ohio State University. It is a quiet and safe community designed for students who have been married or have children. If you do not have time to take care of your children, don’t worry, there is a child care center close to Buckeye Village. If you do not have a car, you can take a bus to campus and back home. If you want to kill your time, there are playgrounds and basketball court for families to relax. There is also a recreation center where family members can have fun and hang out inside during high-temperature periods. This is just a brief introduction of Buckeye Village, you can refer to school website for more details, and here is the link: https://housing.osu.edu/living-on-campus/family-housing/

I always do my grocery shopping at the University Shopping Center, distance walking from Buckeye Village.  One day, when I walked to the Buckeye Village bus stop with spoils of my grocery shopping, I caught some interesting scenes:

That’s right! Gooses lined up to cross the street together. It may seem normal to local residents, but it is new and interesting to me. They will not stop even when cars are approaching. They acted like foot passengers and said in silent: ” we are pedestrian, and we have the priority to cross the street”, ” you should wait and be patient” or ” do not disturb us,  we are on our way to attend an important ceremony”. I can think of many interesting dialogues to describe their communication between each other. They marched very slowly, but pretty organized. The first goose is like a General, leading his or her soldiers to join another army. They are ready for a fight to earn great living space at Buckeye Village.

There are many interesting things around campus area, waiting for you to find it out. I believe you will love Columbus and enjoy the life here as I do.


Festival Time!

When I moved to Columbus three years ago I was surprised how much I liked it. Who knew this capital city in a “fly-over” state would have so many amazing restaurants, so much culture, and be filled with incredibly friendly and accomplished people. In fact, Columbus was recently rated as the smartest city in America. It was also ranked as one of the best cities to be young, broke, and single- something I find particularly appealing as a poor graduate student. For more on Columbus be sure to see this page.

 

One of the best things about Columbus is the plethora of festivals in the summer and fall months.  I just visited one of my favorites, the Columbus Greek Festival.  What’s not to love about delicious Greek food and ethnic dancing? There’s a lot more to do at this festival as well like visit the numerous gift shops and attend cultural events like cooking demos. In addition, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral is stunning. I am looking forward to enjoying a few more festivals before it gets cold like the Columbus Oktoberfest and Circleville Pumpkin Show. So much more fun to be had! For more on Columbus festivals see this page.


First Few Weeks Impression

After having some time to think back on my first several weeks in the MAcc program at Fisher, a few things became apparent. First, the MAcc class of 2014 is full of diverse, intelligent, and fun individuals! Second, if these three weeks serve as any indication, this school year will be full of new experiences, learning opportunities, and great memories. Some highlights:

  • It seems like the common theme in each class is “diversity”. It’s beneficial to make sure project groups include individuals from different ungraduate universities, nationalities, majors, and personalities. I find that this is helpful because it brings fresh perspective to the assignments and helps avoid “group think” that can happen when everyone works on the tasks in the same way. Also, it is a great way to get out of your comfort area, meet new people, and build your network.
  • Time management is key. The MAcc program is only one school year long, and there are so many great events to take a part in. To make sure that I take full advantage of all the opportunities this program offers, I’m going to need to stay on top of my schedule and squeeze all of the time I can out of it.
  • Close knit, but with BIG resources: One thing that became apparent when I visited OSU was the fact that well… it is a really BIG University! I’m not going to lie, I did not want to look like a freshman carrying around a campus map at all times to help find my buildings. After finishing up orientation and my first weeks of class that concern quickly disappeared. The Fisher campus (where all of my classes and professors’ offices are at) is a one-stop shop for everything I need. There is even a Starbucks in Mason Hall on the Fisher campus. It’s important to note though that being a part of The Ohio State University’s main campus does offer students benefits outside of Fisher. The RPAC, Thomson Library, and of course football games at Ohio Stadium are just a few of the many perks.

I could go on about all the great experiences I have had in such a short time, however I will have to save them for a future blog post. Go Bucks!


Running Around Columbus

Fisher’s campus gives you little reason to leave, but venturing outside Ohio State University’s community reminds you that Columbus is a vibrant and growing city that offers plenty of attractions and activities to keep you busy. I have gotten to know the city of Columbus very well while training for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, which will be held in downtown Columbus on Sunday, October 20th.

My training runs have taken me down the Olentangy River Trail, a 13.75 mile bike path that follows the Olentangy River and runs right through Ohio State’s campus and into downtown Columbus. The marathon itself will run down Broad Street, which is lined with the Art Museum and Franklin Park Conservatory.

 

After passing the Governor’s Mansion – and The Ohio State President’s house! – runners will go through German Village and up High Street towards Ohio State’s campus and a quick tour through the Stadium at Mile 16.

 

The race continues through Grandview, with its picturesque boutiques and shops, then wraps up through Victorian Village’s mansion lined Neil Avenue and Goodale Park to end in front of the Blue Jackets’ stadium in Nationwide Arena. And the best part: all runners are supporting the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The marathon has been a great way to learn more about my city and help me feel connected to the broader Columbus community. I cannot wait to participate again next year. Until then, you can find me on the trail! Happy running!


Start early, start often

People, perhaps now more than ever, like instant gratification.  We want answers and results right now.  We don’t want to have to wait until 6 in the evening to catch the evening news, which is why we have multiple 24 hour cable news networks.  Most of us carry more computing power in our pockets than it took to get to the moon, so that we have everything, news, weather, banking info, contacts, and whatever else there is an app for, at our fingertips.

But, if you are looking at attending an MBA program, or utilizing the GI Bill, or even planning to use the GI Bill to attend an MBA program, then an important element to achieve success is to start both processes early.   And neither one is really going to give you that instant gratification that we all crave these days, but they are worth it in the long run.

If you are thinking that attending a top MBA program sounds like a good idea, then if you haven’t already, you should be studying for and scheduling a time to take the GMAT.  It was actually about this time last year that I took mine.  That way, you will have your score when you go to recruiting events, and if you don’t score as high as you would have liked, might even be able to re-take the test before it is time to apply.

After the GMAT is done, come all the other important things, like recruiting events, campus visits, and interviews, all of which you want to get done before application deadlines, so that you can make the best informed decision possible.   Sometimes there are also scholarships and fellowships that are available only to those who apply to the earlier deadlines a school may have.

And, if you are eligible to use the GI Bill, I assume you have dealt with the VA before, so start the process of verifying your eligibility early, because that process can involve a whole lot of hurry up and wait as well.   Time management and task prioritization will be of the utmost importance when pursuing an MBA, so it is best to build those skills early, if you don’t already possess them.

Finally, here is a more current picture of Ohio Stadium, taken last Saturday vs.  Buffalo.

I think my seats are not too shabby.

 


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