Archive for October, 2013

Visiting Fisher – MAcc

I had several choices when choosing a MAcc program. The programs were good but in retrospect not quite as good as Fisher. Of the three programs I applied for, and was accepted to, I visited two. When it came down to it, each school was equally affordable and relocating would be an equal hassle. My decision was purely based on the quality of the school and the fit of the program. My visit to Fisher made that decision for me.

A visit to Fisher is planned so that you get a taste of what the program will be like. You meet professors, students and you can sit in on a class. The resources available in the career management office are like a god-send for someone who comes from a small private college in the middle of nowhere with a two person department. With on-campus interviews and easy scheduling, the idea of job hunting while in school did not seem so frightening. The tiered seating classrooms and meeting rooms with large flat screens for group work were impressive. The facilities were perfectly conducive to a learning environment in which I felt I could flourish.

While the resources that Fisher offered were excellent, it was the indescribable feeling of fitting in that was present while on campus. I showed up to my campus visit early. Classes were in process and it was still early in October and winter’s chill hadn’t set in yet. I sat outside of Fisher Hall after buying a cup of coffee from the Rohr Café and I could see myself walking between buildings. I didn’t feel as much like a stranger in a strange land, campus felt familiar.

When it came to the actual visit, my host was amazing. The student ambassador who led me around Fisher left no stone un-turned. She answered every question I asked and even the ones that I didn’t. For me, that visit was my decision. I decided that, if I got in, I would choose OSU.  I haven’t for one moment regretted that decision. If you have the opportunity to visit campus, do it. Visiting campus is the best way to know if Fisher is right for you.


The Heart of it All

Time has still been flying by around here, and there has been lots of excitement.  Notably the end of our first terms, and our first round of exams.   Each semester at Fisher is divided into two 7 week terms, which means a new set of courses every 7 weeks, just to keep us on the bounce.  In addition to new classes, the internship search seems to be coming along, with people attending conferences out of state, second round interviews, and some starting to receive offers.  I had the chance to go to the MBA veterans conference in Chicago last week, which was a great opportunity to talk with companies specifically looking to recruit talent from top schools who are also veterans.

So, needless to say, life as an MBA student is still very busy, and requires proper time management.  That being said, life balance is still important, and students need to take time to enjoy life whenever possible.  As someone who is interested in supply chain management and operations, it hasn’t escaped my notice that there are a significant number of companies who have headquarters or distribution centers in the Columbus area, as well as Ohio in general.  Part of the reason for this is that a significant portion of the American population lives within a day’s drive of Ohio.  So while the state is not the geographic center of the country, it is in a strategic location for getting goods to customers.  In fact, I think one of the iterations of license plates the state used to have said “Ohio – the heart of it all.”

In keeping with the need for a healthy work-life balance, especially for people who haven’t traveled much within the U.S., Columbus is in a good spot for those who want to take weekend trips.  I consider about 6 hours (approx 350-400 miles) to be the most I would drive for a 2-3 day weekend trip and within that radius of Columbus are the following cities:

Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, OH

Pittsburgh, PA

Indianapolis, IN

Chicago, IL

St Louis, MO

Detroit, MI

Buffalo, NY

Washington, DC

Lexington, Louisville, KY

Knoxville, Nashville, TN

And those are just some of the bigger cities that I can think of off the top of my head, there are many more smaller cities, national/state parks, lakes and other attractions worth visiting within that radius as well.  As you can see, Columbus, Ohio really is rather well situated to serve as a base of operations for someone who wants to have access to a large portion of the U.S., which is another attractive attribute of the Fisher MBA program.

 


A new life

It seems like only yesterday that I landed in Columbus airport to begin my new journey as a Full Time MBA student at the The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business, and already an entire term has flown by! It’s unbelievable how fast time flies when there’s so much to do – course work, classes, informational sessions, case competitions, job search, career interviews , and before you know it, your term exams are right around the corner! I remember feeling blindsided somehow – “They’re already here? But I’ve only just started my program!”

But that’s just the way it is. In hindsight, having seven weeks for a term leaves you with both a feeling of “Has it only been that long?” as well as that of “But so much has happened already!!”, which is a good thing I guess. Having too many things to do is way better than having nothing to do and I am glad that my MBA program here has truly tested my time management skills. I can already say that I am more adept at managing time effectively today ( a wee little bit ) than I was at the start of my program only seven weeks ago. Another aspect that I am excited about embracing and improving is my team-building skills. Myriad opportunities here. Take for example, working with our core teams for the entire tenure of our first year, or recently, the exciting prospect of working with my new teams in Project One ( a seven-week long project, at the end of which teams pitch proposals to Huntington Bank, a major local bank in Ohio), the upcoming GE Case Competition as well as the Fisher Internal Case Competition.

Some of the cool things that happened last term -

  • Football! – As an international student, I have to say that I am mind-blown by the importance the people here give to football; simply put it is like a religion here - the sooner you absorb it, the better. Tailgates and simply sitting at home and watching the game on the big screen (when I didn’t get tickets) have all been super fun.
  • Healthy banter between Professor Campbell and Gray – This was a fun part of our Econ and Data Analysis classes. Enjoying the sarcastic comments each had to say about the other subject/prof, the back and forth ribbing and the general camaraderie shared between the two and with us. It didn’t hurt too, that they took our class out for drinks at the end of mid-term.
  • Social events -  Awesome opportunity to get to know your fellow classmates and second- years and make friends. There have been so many of these I can’t even count, and I know there will continue to be many more.
  • Info sessions – Learning about the culture and working of different companies, meeting with executives has been enriching. Not to mention all the free lunches.

All in all, it has been a packed first term and with a foot in the door on my second, I am readying myself for new developments and new challenges. I’m happy to be here. And I’m looking forward to a gorgeous two years of business school.

So here’s to new beginnings and a whole new life!


Have a global mind-set

Ken Bouyer, E&Y Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting, gave our MAcc students a lecture about how to work in a diverse environment with a global mind-set. As a global candidate myself, I cannot agree more on this idea. During my two-years studying in America, I have learned how to be open-minded and embrace the differences.

Most people have certain mind-sets, which are  influenced by the cultures they have been brought up in. It is not easy to change that mind-set in a short time. It is even possible that one can never change his or her mind-set through their whole lives if they do not get exposed to different environments and cultures. Therefore, in my opinion, the most efficient way to open one’s mind is to explore foreign countries, like traveling outside of your home country instead of just sitting in front of TV. Watching TV, reading books and newspapers can help you get a general idea of foreign counties and cultures, but it also can lead to some misconceptions.  The learning you will get from TV and books is really different from the experiences from field trips. If you get the opportunity to going abroad, do not let it go.


Lean Six-Sigma, The Basics

Last month I attended a Six Sigma Workshop during lunch with Professor Peg Pennington. It was about an hour and students with non-operating majors were encouraged to attend. I had my Matching Supply and Demand class with Professor Hill yesterday — boy was I glad I had that ops review a few weeks before! Professor Hill’s class will focus on different things than what we discussed during lunch, but the workshop was the perfect jolt back to the “ops world”.

I saw the Six Sigma Workshop on the Hub, a RSVP system that allows students to review and sign-up for activities.  These range from lunches to events put on by student organizations or Fisher departments, information sessions and more.  It’s a great system that allows students to stay organized and involved with everything at Fisher.

Throughout the workshop we discussed how six sigma is a problem solving methodology that uses research and data to construct a plan. Topics also included the DMAIC method (see illustration below) and quickly talking through two examples of a banks and an emergency room in a hospital. For a one hour workshop, it was jammed-packed with information!

Visual explanation of the DMAIC method – image taken from Google.

This type of of workshop is one of the reasons I absolutely love Fisher’s MBA Program. One of my fellow students described it best: I am treating this opportunity like a dressing room – I want to try on everything and see what fits”.

Fisher has given me an opportunity to find out my passions, but has also exposed me to brand new worlds. I will never be a finance guru, but I feel much more comfortable with the topic after my CORE finance classes and my  Corp. Finance 1 Class. Operations and Logistics, sign me up! Negotiations and strategy, let’s try it out!

My heart will always lean towards marketing and advertising, but why would you ever stop yourself from learning everything you could? I am excited for my Matching Supply and Demand and my diverse course load next semester. Who knows what I’ll learn and what “will fit”!?


Getting Involved At Fisher

Business school is a time to change career paths, meet new friends, experience greater learning, attend football games, grow your professional network, live in a new place, learn about new cultures, and so on. Clearly, there are plenty of options of what to do with your time while you are attending b-school. One important lesson I’ve learned while attending school is that school is much more fun if you get involved.

Currently, aside from the recruiting and interviewing process, I am taking a full load of courses, serving on two organizations executive teams (marketing and strategy), raising a 16 month-old child (with the help of a wonderful wife), playing intramural football and softball, and playing with my dog each day. The craziest thing about all of this is that there is so much that I’m not doing.

Ohio State MBA Fisher has so many awesome student organizations that it makes it hard to pick and choose which ones to join. For me, I try to do the most I can with the time that I have. I have found that the busier I am at school, the more fun I have. Yes, it can be very stressful, but it is also very rewarding. Looking back on business school I want to make sure that I didn’t miss out on any opportunities. Two years goes by much quicker than I would have ever imagined.

Aside from student organizations, the school is great about bringing in fantastic leaders in the community that speak on professional development. These have been some of my favorite experiences. A few of my favorite speakers have been Jeffrey Immelt (GE), Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Les Wexner (L Brands), and John Kennedy (IBM).

Social events are also a great avenue for students to become more involved with their classmates. For example, every week a social event is hosted for students to attend and to learn more about one another. Frequently in the first few months, these are focused around tailgating and Buckeye games. Other times the first years and second years will compete in softball or other sporting activities. These examples have helped forge strong friendships that will last far longer than the two years spent here in Columbus.

 


What’s Your Type?

As part of our Leadership class today, we were asked to take a short-form version of the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test identifies your preferences between eight personality characteristics, which have been divided into four pairs of opposites: Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I), Intuition (N) and Sensing (S), Thinking (T) and Feeling (F), and Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). After answering questions like “When making a decision, the most important considerations are: a. rational thoughts, ideas, and data or b. people’s feelings and values,” you are left with four letters that are meant to encompass the major components of your personality.

I had taken similar tests before, so I was not necessarily surprised by my results (ISTJ), but I had never thought of how differences in personality play out in the workplace. For example, Dr. Rodgers presented evidence from a sample of US companies that showed that a full 70% of Junior Managers fall into the Extrovert category, while about 55% of Senior Managers are introverts. Similarly, about 80% of Junior Managers were categorized as Sensing, compared to just 40% of Senior Managers. Now, obviously this does not mean that I, as an ISTJ, am destined to be a Senior Manager, but it was interesting to see how certain personality traits align with different jobs within a company. What I really took away from the lecture, though, was that, by understanding how other personality types think and make decisions, you can greatly improve your ability to communicate and work efficiently in a team setting, not to mention understand your spouse better! For a free personality profile and to see how your four letters may play into your career path, click here.

What’s your type?


How I Select Classes

I have recently had a number of first years talk to me about career planning and how I select my class schedule. While I am not sure there is one sure way to pick classes, I have found a formula that has helped me enjoy my time here at Fisher. Not only have my classes been relevant to my future career in marketing, they have been fun and very beneficial.

Here’s a brief glimpse into how I decide which classes to take:

  1. Career Path – I always factor into my decision how a particular class will align with my career ambitions. As a marketer, I look into classes with strategy, marketing, innovation, leadership, and value creation. Marketers focus on adding value to organizations, products, and brands and need to be well versed in multiple business disciplines. This means that not every class I take falls under the marketing and strategy departments. It means that I try to be as knowledgeable as possible in various business functions, and see how they relate to my future decision making as a marketer.Fisher College of Business MBA
  2. Leadership – Let’s face it, leadership skills are the most important to develop as a business student. Most business students have had to manage employees in their past, but they probably all could have handled it better. Leadership classes here at Fisher are frequently taught by past c-level officers that know what it takes to lead in the real business world. They balance real world experiences with current business theory to help students learn how to effectively lead and manage.
  3. Professors – A professor can make or break the learning environment within a classroom and that is why it is important to find classes taught by professors with which you connect. Essentially, I have a short list of professors that I have really enjoyed learning from. Because of this, I try to sign up for classes taught by these professors because I know their teaching style and I know how I learn most effectively. Figuring this out early on in business school can definitely make your second year more enjoying.
  4. Scheduling – Everyone has a life outside of school and classes, and sometimes it may conflict with a class or two. So be it. It isn’t the end of the world. I make sure that my schedule is manageable and doesn’t hinder my balance. Flexibility is crucial for business school, but knowing how to prioritize is just as important. Just as in strategy, it’s as much about what your company won’t do, as it is what they will do.

Following these basic principles has allowed me to enjoy business school and the classes I take. Hopefully it can serve as a guideline for someone else trying to strike a good balance with a challenging class schedule.


Three terms left…

 

  • Negotiation final – finished
  • Org. turnaround final paper – finished
  • Services Marketing final paper – finished
  • Corp. Finance 1 final brief – ….stay tuned

I cannot believe that as I am writing this, I am quickly wrapping up the first term of my final year of the MBA program. It’s unreal.

In the past two years I have studied and taken the GMAT, filled out applications for business school, interviewed, received admission letters, gone through pre-term, made it through my CORE classes (looking directly at you stats class!), interviewed for internships, accepted a wonderful internship and learned so much and am now making my way through year 2.

Also, add in a few happy hours, some tears, lots of laughs, some stress for good measure, and a bunch of people that I now consider my close friends.

These past couple years have been incredible and pretty challenging. When people ask me about my program my favorite phrase is, “it’s an adventure”. This has been a very humbling experience, and I still have so much more to learn. I am meeting great people in the Office of Career Management (direct shout-out to Jeff!), the GPO and in the classroom. My professors are becoming mentors and my classmates are becoming those that want me to become a better, smarter business woman.

Only three terms left?! Where has the time gone?


Finals Week!

With the first session of autumn coming to an end this week, there’s only one more thing between the MAcc class and session two… FINALS! On top of this, we are at the time of recruiting season when firms are interviewing candidates and extending offers for office visits and second interviews. While these past few weeks have been especially challenging for these reasons, I can already see how rewarding my experience in the MAcc program is. The ability to work with other highly driven, success minded individuals requires the class to perform at their top of their game. The faculty, career services, and administrative staff have been tremendously helpful, whether explaining a particular aspect of an accounting transaction, or offering advice on how to best prepare for a potential career opportunity.

Thompson Library at The Ohio State University

I’d like to end this blog post with a quote I think is fitting for times such as this when I really need to focus on working hard to accomplish my goals:

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Now time to get back to studying!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Thomson Library, I suggest you check out the great post by Sabah Sufi (fellow MAcc blogger).


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