Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Cullman luncheon with the former President and COO of Wilson’s Leather, Dave Rogers. Earlier this fall I participated in a Cullman Luncheon that featured Jesse Tyson, Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil. The Cullman Executive Luncheon Series is designed to bring 10-15 graduate students and senior executives, many of whom are also graduates of Fisher, together in an informal setting. Past executives have identified their current roles, discussed work history, and have provided insights into business in general. There is also a time for Q&A at the end.
Personally, it was hugely beneficial to interact with and glean “best practices” from these executives who had 35+ year careers to draw upon. Jesse and Dave both shared things that they did well and also shared about things to avoid as a manager and an executive. The questions asked by my fellow classmates were also very informative and brought out the richness of their experiences in business.
In an age where there seems to be a lack of either good or ethical leadership, the luncheon was a great way to get face to face with an executive who led well and could share those experiences and lessons learned along the way.
As things are heating up on the academic front with finals rapidly approaching, it was fantastic to momentarily escape the stress this Saturday night at the Ohio State Buckeyes football game.
Having earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, I am no stranger to Big 10 sporting events. During my four years in Champaign-Urbana, I attended numerous Illini football and basketball games. In January 2008, I traveled to Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl game between The University of Illinois and The University of Southern California. All of my experiences at Illini sporting events wrapped into one cannot compete with my first Buckeye football game.
The fans, the band, the stadium, everything surpassed my high expectations. Not a single student in my row sat down from the opening kickoff until the fourth quarter. It was truly fascinating to witness the passion in which Buckeye fans cheer on their squad.
Although the football team played great, the Ohio State Marching Band might have been one step better. A flawless performance highlighted by the designed formation of a cowboy tipping his hat as members of the band scurried back and forth in perfect unison.
Coming into the Wisconsin game unbeaten in 16 straight, the highly touted Buckeyes rode the Horseshoe’s electric atmosphere to their 17th victory in a row. Wisconsin was no slouch, but the Buckeyes looked the superior team throughout.
Before Saturday’s game, I strongly considered selling some of my tickets. There is absolutely no chance of that happening now. For now, I will have to patiently wait for my next chance to see the Buckeyes. October 19th could not arrive soon enough!
In all the excitement last week, with the case competition, and studying for exams this week, I almost left out writing about another awesome opportunity I had last week. Last Wednesday, the aluminum manufacturer Alcoa had a function on campus relating to some of the grants they have given to the school for various research projects. If you are interested in reading more about those grants, I am going to include a link to the Lantern (Ohio State’s student newspaper) article about it: http://thelantern.com/2013/10/aluminum-company-grant-ohio-state-250k-2014/.
As the article notes, Alcoa’s chairman & CEO, Klaus Kleinfeld, was present at the function, as were several other executives from the company. Alcoa, in case you didn’t know, is ranked 128th on the Fortune 500 list for 2013. I thought that it was pretty awesome to get to attend a rather small (under 100 person) function at which a CEO of that caliber was speaking, and took the time to share his honest answers to student questions on a variety of issues. After the formal presentation was over, there was a more casual networking dinner with the executives present. Opportunities like that don’t just come along every day, but they do seem to come by much more often now that I am a MBA candidate than they did in the corporate world.
That is one of the great things about Ohio State, and Fisher College of Business, is the breadth and depth of ties to industry that the organizations have. Just based off the sheer numbers of graduates every year, Ohio State has one of the largest bases of alumni in the country, and that can be a powerful thing when you are trying to network professionally. The different colleges on campus also have ties to industry in their own sectors as well, either through their faculty and staff, or through collaboration on projects. This broad network can come in handy when trying to attain better information about a target organization or industry.
As an aside, one reason that I was very excited to attend this Alcoa event, is because the corporation is active with a group called American Corporate Partners (ACP). ACP is a mentorship program which connects qualified military veterans with mentors who are all business executives. I am an alumni of the program, and the gentleman who was kind enough to devote time to being my mentor is an executive with Alcoa, so I have a high regard for the company. If you are a veteran looking into business school or entering the corporate world, I highly recommend applying for ACP.