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Change

4 undergraduate years + part of a 5th undergraduate year + one full MBA year = 18 quarters.

I have completed 18 quarters at Ohio State.  So, it should come as no surprise that the change to semesters part way through my second year in the WPMBA program has made me a little nervous.  With one summer term and almost one autumn term under my belt, I thought I’d share some of my initial thoughts on the change thus far:

What I Like So Far:

  • One class per night:  I know some of my fellow classmates don’t like this format, but I do.  I only have to think about one subject per night, which makes attending class after a long work day more manageable
  • Earlier evenings!  The difference between 9:15 and 9:48 may not seem like much, but trust me, it is!  That extra half hour is enough time to wind down before it’s time to hit the hay – or grab a beer at VC
  • More classes:  Because electives are split into 7 week terms instead of 10 week quarters, you get to take more classes in different subjects of your interest

What Will Take Some Getting Used To:

  • Longer class time:  Some professors are having a bit of a hard time adjusting to semesters – many of whom have taught in quarters for their entire academic career.  A three+ hour class is a lot of time to keep the class engaged, but I think this will improve over time
  • Syllabus restructuring: This is by far the biggest challenge.  Both of my classes this term are back-half heavy, meaning that I had very little I could work on in the first four weeks of the term.  Now, in the last three weeks, EVERYTHING is due.  I will need to plan for this in upcoming terms!

The transition to semesters was the right thing for the university – change is inevitable and it’s time we got on the same page as the rest of the country.  Ohio State and Fisher did an admirable job managing the transition – now it’s time for me to get with the change!


Corn Cakes, Paella, and Chocolate Milkshakes, Oh My!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to partake in a food tour with Columbus Food Adventures. I was attending a two-day company meeting, and many of our Swiss colleagues were in town. Our meeting planner wanted to show them that Columbus has good food too – it’s not just in Europe! So she scheduled a customized tour with Columbus Food Adventures. All we had to do was hop in the bus, and they took us around to three trendy restaurants for three tasty courses – and taught us about each one along the way.

Course #1: Hors’ Devours and Cocktails
Till
This was my favorite course of the evening. Although I live within walking distance of it, I had never been to Till. Previously a vegan restaurant called Dragonfly, the owners decided to mix things up a bit with a fresh name and fresh concept. Everything is as local and homegrown as possible – they grow their own herbs and produce on their back patio, and even compost! Our first course was this unbelievable corn cake. That’s an anchovy on top – I didn’t care for it (too salty), but the cake was rich and flavorful. It was served with dry champagne and Riesling – a perfect combination.

Till

Mouth-Watering Corn Cake at Till

Course #2: Entrée
Barcelona
I have been to Barcelona number of times, so I wasn’t as excited about this course as the others. However, it was the perfect spot for a quick and tasty dinner, and the non-locals loved the warm atmosphere. We were served an antipasto plate and a giant cast iron skillet of their signature dish – Paella. Along with a full-bodied Cabernet, it was perfect. My only complaint with this course was that we didn’t have enough time – one of the challenges of a food tour. It was in and out.

Course #3: Dessert!
DeepWood
Surprisingly, I wasn’t that full at this point. I think it had to do with the moderately sized portions and spreading out of the courses – I was pleasantly full and ready for some decadent dessert – my weakness. The atmosphere at DeepWood was a little formal and stuffy for my taste, but man was the dessert GOOD! I am a sucker for chocolate, and we were served a trio of chocolate and caramel. The milkshake was by far my favorite – rich but not overwhelming. Dessert was served with port, but I am not a fan of port and had had enough to drink for night (and a hangover the next day to prove it).

Chocolate Milkshake Heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, our experience with the Columbus Food Adventures was unique and tasty – I highly recommended it for any group activity or even just with a friend or special someone.  Thanks, work and CFA!


Fall Favorites

I’ve always wished that I had my own blog in which I could just muse about whatever I wanted and somehow people would read in awe.  I read a few blogs like that, and I’m always jealous of the writers.  So, indulge me a little with a blog post that pretty much has nothing to do with the WPMBA program or Fisher or even Ohio State – but it does have something to do with living in this part of the country so, yes, it does have something to do with “being here.” :)  After a (very) hot summer, I am finding myself enjoying fall even more this year.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes at Starbucks:  I know most people are obsessed with the Pumpkin Spice, but I prefer the cinnamon.  Sipping one on a crisp fall afternoon is perfection
  • Sleeping with the windows open and a million covers on the bed:  So. Cozy.
  • Boots:  Sorry, gentleman, this one’s for the ladies.  I am pulling on my camel-colored mid-calf flat boots again, with skirts and jeans.  Love.
  • Tailgating:  OK, confession – I haven’t done this yet this football season.  But the biggest and best tailgate of the year is fast approaching (the Nebraska game), and I can’t wait!  Hotdogs, buffalo chicken dip, day drinking…need I say more?
  • Running: I’m not a warm-weather runner.  I’d take running in 40 degree temps over 80 any day.  But the perfect weather for running is what we have right now – 50s, 60s, and sunny, with the leaves crunching at your feet.  Leave the iPod at home and just enjoy.
  • Chili:  I made a big pot of turkey chili with lots of beans and cumin last week – best served with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, and crackers on top.  It freezes well and gives me a cozy lunch or dinner long into the fall
Starbucks

mmm Starbucks

What are some of your fall favorites?

 


First Year = Check!

Last night while we were enjoying beers and basking in the post-finals glow at the Varsity Club, one of my friends pointed out that we were officially “one year down” in the WPMBA program.  I’ve thought about that before, but for some reason, hearing him say it made it real.   I survived four whole quarters!

Now, notice that I don’t say I’m “halfway done” – because I’m not.  The program will take me ~2.5 years to complete, which means I am not quite halfway there.  But hitting the year mark is really something.  That’s one year of four hours, two nights a week, for 40+ weeks.  And during all that time, I’ve learned some things along the way that are worth passing along:

  • You get used to the schedule, but it never gets easy
  • It’s OK to occasionally (ok, more like rarely) skip class in favor of a beer with your friends – or a night with your couch
  • Always bring a sweater to class – the rooms are cold!
  • Packing your dinner takes away the stress of having to stop somewhere on the way
  • Work in groups as much as possible – it makes doing homework much more fun, and you might learn more than you would on your own (I know I do)
  • It takes some time to establish your group of friends, but once you do, the program takes on a new level of fun
  • Don’t obsess about grades like you may have in undergrad.  Grad school is all about learning, and getting an B doesn’t mean you didn’t learn

Here’s to the next 1.5 years!


I’m going to be a M.O.H.

M.O.H – Maid of Honor.  That’s a title I’m donning for the first time in my life this year, for my best friend Ashley’s wedding (and no, it’s not going to be like the movie).

Ash’s wedding is August 25.  While August 25 may seem like a long way away, my MOH duties began long ago.  Dress shopping for her dress and the bridesmaid dresses, dress fittings, many discussions of wedding details, and the best part – the bachelorette party!  Ashley will be a bachelorette for another 4 months, but we chose to start celebrating early to accommodate her busy schedule as a second-year medical resident.  As a former member of the Ohio State Equestrian team, and lifelong horse lover, she wanted to attend the races at Keeneland in Lexington, KY – similar to the Kentucky Derby, but much more affordable.   Planning your best friend’s bachelorette party is no small task – especially with an already packed schedule like the ones we have as WPMBA students.  So how did I do it, you ask?  By tapping into the planning and organization skills I have acquired both at my job and at school.

The planning started with scheduling.  Finding a weekend that would work for both Ashley and her 12 friends attending the party was not easy – starting early, so that everyone could set aside the weekend, was key.  Then came the big things, like finding a hotel, scheduling transportation to and from the races, and buying tickets.  Once those critical items were crossed off the list, I started delegating.  I asked another girl to be in charge of making restaurant reservations.  I asked everyone to bring food and drinks for the hotel room.  I bought fun stuff for weekend, like blow-up stick horses – which were a really fun way to look like a bachelorette party!  I took a cue from my experience planning trade shows and meetings at work and rather than ask everyone for input on certain things, I made the call and communicated what each girl needed to do – without being “bossy”.

In the end, the girls told me how appreciative they were of my planning – they knew where to be when, what to bring, and what to wear – all the things that are key to a successful bachelorette party.  And a success it was!  Despite the lousy weather, we all had a fantastic time – especially the bride.  MOH success #1!  Now for the wedding shower (which, luckily, her mom is planning most of) – and writing that speech!

Horse Races!

At the Horse Races!


Electives…Friend or Foe?

With almost four quarters in the WPMBA program under my belt, the time has come to make the big leap from core classes to electives.  I am not entirely completely with the core courses, but due to the quarter-to-semester conversion, I won’t be taking my last quarter of electives until Spring of 2013. Which means it’s time to start taking electives.  Now, many of my classmates have been looking forward since day one to getting the core classes “over with” so they could begin taking electives.  I, on the other hand, am terrified of electives.

Why terrified, you ask?  For one, the choices themselves are overwhelming.  Fisher boasts a wide selection of course offerings, which is a good thing, I know – but makes deciding which ones to take a bit stressful.  What if you pick the wrong ones?  How do you know if the professor will be good, or if the class will be too challenging or not challenging enough?  I will do my best to talk to my older, wiser classmates who can provide advice on what to take and what not to take, but without a central depository for that type of information, it’s almost impossible to have the “in” on every class.

Perhaps even more disconcerting to me is the loss of “core comfort”.  For the past year, I have been told exactly what classes to take and when to take them.  I have gotten to know my classmates well.  Now, we are all going to be spilt up based on our interests and schedules – and that makes me sad.  I really like being in class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, seeing the same people.  Now, we will be spread out – I will probably have class on Monday and Tuesday, while some of my friends will have class on Wednesday and Thursday.  And what about seeing everyone at the bar on Thursday nights?!  “Growing up” is making me sad.

I need to remind myself that I am not in this program just to socialize (although that’s what makes it bearable) – that I am actually paying a lot of money to learn – and learn what I want to learn.  I also need to remind myself that new classes are an opportunity to meet new people, which means an opportunity for new, refreshing class discussions.  Change can be good!  At least I’ll keep telling myself that…

How Electives Make Me Feel


Fisher “Prom”!!!

I will use this post as my first unofficial action as the WPMBA Internal Public Relations representative (I am running uncontested, so I think I’m OK to say that :-) ).  This post is a shameless plea to get you, WPMBA student, to attend the Fisher Formal on Friday, May 18!  Reasons to attend:

  • It’s not just for the full-time students, although it may feel that way.  Let’s show the full-timers that the WP’s know how to party, too!  They shouldn’t get to have all the fun.
  • It’s downtown, in the Smith Brother’s building – I’ve never been, but I hear cool things
  • $40 all you can eat and drink.  Nuf said.
  • It’s a reason to dress up a bit and wear that new, cool tie or fun dress
  • It’s a great opportunity to have a fun night out with your school friends without having to drive home and go to work in the morning!
  • It’s my BIRTHDAY!

Hope to see you on May 18th!

Better Than Your High School Prom!


Expectations

This post is dedicated to a topic that many of us struggle with in our everyday lives – that of expectations.  This topic may be a bit personal for the My Fisher Grad Life blog, but it’s one that recently reared its ugly and ever-present head, and I’m guessing it’s one that many of you have struggled with as well.

I was recently promoted at my job after being in the same role for quite some time.  I didn’t actually physically move – I am still working with the same people in the same group.  The promotion was more of an acknowledgement on the part of my employer that I am a valued contributor to the organization, and thus, at some point must be recognized as such.  It came with a welcome title change, more responsibility, and perhaps some more respect from my peers.  And, of course, I also expected it to come with a nice financial boost.  This is where the expectations come in.

I had a certain percentage in mind for what I thought was a typical, standard promotion.  Not having gotten a true “promotion” at my company before, I expected the number to lie close to that percentage.  And so, when the number was lower, and even though it came with a good explanation and positive reinforcement, I was upset.  I expected something different from what was reality.  After stewing over it over the course of the weekend, and discussing it with a peer and mentor, I realized that, in fact, I really didn’t get “the short end of the stick” as I felt I had.  Rather, my expectations didn’t match up with the reality of the situation.  Another conversation with my manager showed me that, much to the contrary, the raise I was being given was actually quite fitting.  In giving me that raise, he felt that he was doing right by me, and paving the road for my continued growth at the company.

I am not suggesting that one should never have expectations.  Having no expectations is a difficult state of being, and in fact, can lead to a state of mediocrity.  Setting expectations for yourself and others means that you care, and expect a certain level of performance, which is far from being a bad thing.  So the goal is not to not have any expectations, but rather, to learn how to manage them.  This philosophy is extremely relevant in the WPMBA program.  With busy lives, we have to learn how to manage our expectations for ourselves and our peers.  Setting realistic and manageable expectations ensures that we will rise to our potential without being disappointed in the process.  It’s easier said than done, but I will continue to work on it every day!


“This is Sarah Chait, and I Approve This Message”

Elections for the 2012-13 WPMBA Council are quickly approaching, and I have my name in the hat for “Internal Public Relations”.  The WPMBA Council is a group of six current students that represent the WPMBA student body.  The Council serves as the interface between students and the Graduate Professional Office, Career Management, and other student organizations, and is responsible for a variety of professional and social events.  Specifically, the Internal Public Relations representative is responsible for student communications, event HUB management, and maintaining the Facebook page, amongst other activities.

Believe it or not, I have never run for office, or at least that I remember.  My mother tells me that I ran for Secretary of the National Honor Society my junior year of High School, but I certainly don’t remember a campaign of any sort.  Call it motherly bragging.  So, as far as I’m concerned, this is my first dabble into “politics”.  So far, it’s been…interesting.  I am running as part of a “ticket” with 5 of my classmates, a strategy taken by last year’s council, and one that proved to be successful.  This ticket has caused some drama amongst my fellow classmates, of which I won’t divulge here – but suffice it to say, it’s been somewhat “political” – at least more than I expected.  WPMBA students are more competitive than I thought!

As for me, I just want to be “the one that sends all the emails” – in this case, “Internal Public Relations”.  This is generally my MO in life as it is.  At work, I manage our internal and external communications and marketing programs, and am the one who organizes birthday lunches, team happy hours, and other morale-building activities.  In my personal life, I am the “social coordinator” – the one who brings my group of friends together for nights out and dinners in.  And, in the WPMBA program, I have naturally assumed the informal position of “the one who makes everyone go to the bar on Thursdays”.  I believe in the value of being involved, and the intangible benefits it brings not only to the individual, but to the collective group.  As the Internal Public Relations representative, I believe I can rally the troops, and make for a more beneficial and enjoyable program for all.

“This is Sarah Chait, and I approve this message”

WPMBA Council Elections - Vote!

WPMBA Council Elections - Vote!

 


Marketing!

Last night in class, for the first time since I started the WPMBA Program last summer, I had that feeling I dreamt of having when I decided to pursue my MBA.  That feeling of utter excitement, engagement, and passion for what I was learning.  That’s not to say that I haven’t been impressed with the level of education I am receiving at The Fisher College of Business –believe me,  I am – after all, we are ranked #9 in part-time MBA programs!  And while I have enjoyed my classes thus far (Econ was particularly interesting), I have yet to feel giddy over a class.  That is, until last night …

So what class could make me feel this way, you ask?  Why, none other than MARKETING!  This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given that I work in marketing, and have long proclaimed my distance from my undergraduate background of Industrial Engineering.  A large part of why I chose to pursue an MBA is to gain a formal education in marketing, so that I can establish myself in the field and continue to grow in a marketing career.  But although I was really looking forward to taking marketing, I didn’t have high hopes for the class.  It’s notorious for inconsistency in professors, and as of the first class, I had yet to hear a peep from our professor.

But happily, Professor Deborah Mitchell way exceeded my expectations!  A Buckeye alumna, she is new to the Fisher teaching community – so new, that she only gained access to Carmen yesterday afternoon. (Carmen is the online class management system used by faculty and students at Ohio State.)  She is the exact opposite of the unorganized, uninspiring professor I feared.  Her first class was engaging and thought-provoking, and had me smiling with excitement the entire time!  To her, marketing is much more than the 4P’s, and rather, is the driver for growth in a firm.  I believe that I will be a better contributor to my organization after every class I attend.

I can’t wait to go back tomorrow night!


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