Spring Break – Early!

I write this post from 30,000 feet in the air, on my way to sunny Las Vegas, Nevada!  That’s right – I am FINISHED with winter quarter!  Before you get too excited, I am not going to Vegas for fun – on the contrary, I am going for our biggest work meeting of the year.  Being that I am basically in charge of the event, it will be almost all work and very little play.  Nevertheless – it IS Vegas, and the highs are in the low 70s every day.

But, you say, aren’t finals next week?  And you would be right – finals are next week.  And because of this work trip, I had to take them early.  This, of course, added a huge layer of stress to what was already a very stressful time at work.  It meant that I had to complete all three work projects AND study for my finals before the end of classes.  I also had to find time to squeeze in some studying during the last week of class, in between work and class.

Somehow, I managed to get all those projects and all that studying done, just in time to take my finals this past Friday.  Both went surprisingly well – I was prepared for both.  Now, it’s on to the next big thing – our big work meeting.  Hopefully the meeting goes swimmingly, and by this time next week, I’ll be able to take a big sigh of relief. This spring break will truly be a break!

Crunch Time

Ok, guys.  It’s officially crunch time.  Both my job and school are entering the peak of their busyness – at the same time.

  • Group Projects:  I have a group project and/or presentation in all three of my classes – all due in the last two weeks of the quarter.
  • Finals:  I have to take my finals EARLY, on Friday of the last week of class, because I am leaving the Saturday before finals week for a week-long business trip in Las Vegas (off strip…don’t get too jealous, it will be more work than play).  This means I will miss a weekend of study time, as well as Professor-led study sessions.
  • Work:  I am responsible for the success of our biggest meeting of the year – one that involves customers – and just so happens to be during finals week.

So, yea, I’m busy right now.  But it’s time I stop b*tch*ng about it, and instead, take a deep breath, and start pushing through it.  I will try to take one day – no, one hour or minute- at a time, and make the most of that hour or minute.  I will plan ahead, so that there is set time to complete all of our group projects.  And I will hunker down this coming weekend and study, study, study for finals!


Wish me luck!

“Chart your Course” – The Fisher Graduate Women in Business Annual Summit

Last week, I wrote about meeting Kevin Malhame, owner of Northstar Café and Third and Hollywood restaurants at the “Taste of Innovation” event.  Well, the very next day I attended the Fisher Graduate Women in Business Annual Summit, an event that I also attended last year as a recently accepted WPMBA student.  My manager graciously gave me the go-ahead to let me spend part of my busy workday at this event, which was focused on women entrepreneurs and the concept of driving your career.  “Chart your Course” featured numerous different speakers, including a Professor, three local Columbus entrepreneurs, and a career counselor.  All were excellent speakers and very insightful.  I especially enjoyed the workshop lead by Nancy Jane Smith, carreer counselor.  Her process for finding your “right” career really clicked with me, and I plan on using it throughout my career.

But the highlight of the event for me was meeting Liz Lessner, CEO/Founder of the Columbus Food League – and more notably, Betty’s restaurant – a favorite of mine!    After Liz spoke on the panel, I introduced myself to her and, just like I did with Kevin, told her how much I love her restaurants and admire the work she’s done in Columbus.  Liz was amazingly warm, kind, and down-to-earth – I felt like I could have talked to her for hours!  She gave me some insight on how I could merge my passion for good food and great restaurants with my non-experience in the industry.

In less than 24 hours, I met both of my Columbus food idols – the owner of Northstar Café and the owner of Betty’s!  It seems my MBA is paying off already.  Thanks, Fisher!

Betty's: Check it out on High St. & Lincoln St.

Taste of Innovation

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the “Taste of Innovation” event hosted by Fisher.  The event was right up my alley.  It was catered by local Columbus restaurants including Betty’s, Jury Room, Jeni’s Ice Cream, and others.  And the keynote speaker was the owner of Northstar Café, Kevin Malhame – number one on my top five restaurants list.  Thus, I took it as a sign of good fortune that my typical 8 pm Thursday night class was cancelled, allowing my classmates and I to attend this exciting event.

We expected the food to be small hors’ devours, but my friends and I were greeted with full-on entrée-size portions upon arrival, which suited our 8 pm bellies just fine.  Some of the food I had tried before, like the veggie burrito from Betty’s.  I have yet to dine at Piada, a quickly growing Chiptole-meets-Italian type restaurant.  I had heard mixed reviews – some loving, some not so much.  The burrito I tried put me in the not-so-much camp, but I will visit the actual restaurant before I take an official stance.  I also tried some macaroni salad and chicken salad cups from Jury Room, both of which were fantastic.  And, of course, the icing on the cake was the Dark Chocolate Gelato I had courtesy of Jeni’s Ice Cream – a staple in my life.

And then came the keynote speech from Kevin Malhame, owner of Northstar Café and Third and Hollywood restaurant here in Columbus.  The chance to meet Kevin and hear him speak was my main motivation for attending the event.  I’ve admired Northstar from the very first bite of Veggie Burger I took many years ago and have always wondered what it would be like to work for such an innovative company.  Kevin spoke about what he looks for in a “good egg” – both in the culinary sense and in his employees.  It is clear that Northstar Cafe sets very high standards for not only its ingredients, but also the people it chooses to represent them – both evident in the many dining experiences I’ve had there.  After his speech, I was fortunate enough to actually speak one-on-one with Kevin about his restaurants and my career interests – and even snag a free dinner at Third and Hollywood (after giving it mixed reviews – hey, he told us he likes honesty!).

Stay tuned for my next blog post about my experience meeting Liz Lessner, the owner of Betty’s, another one of my top five!

WPMBA + Baby = *$(#*!*@

Before you freak out – the baby is NOT mine!  Thank goodness.  I am speaking of my friend Mark, my best friend in the WPMBA program who I met at orientation and befriended on day one of class.  He and his wife, Lucia, are expecting a baby any day now – in fact, by the time this is posted, they will already be a few days past their due date – and could be parents!

Mark and Lucia were planning on starting the WPMBA program together this past summer; in fact, Lucia was accepted before Mark!  But, a few weeks before school started, Lucia got the exciting news that she was pregnant, and decided that work + school + baby = impossible – a choice that many women make.  Mark, however, would continue on with his plan to start the program.  I find that this is a pretty common decision – there are plenty of fathers of young children in the program, but very few mothers.  Chalk it up to whatever you’d like – a women’s maternal instinct to “be there” during the first precious years of childhood, the sheer exhaustion of childbirth, “typical” male/female role, inequality in the workplace…the list goes on.

But the purpose of this post is not to debate these issues.  Rather, I simply wanted to dedicate a post to Mark while he’s still childless – and while his life is still (mostly) about him.  Word on the stree is, having a baby turns your world upside down.  I’m sure there will be nights that Mark nods off through class, or doesn’t make it at all.  Tests for which he will barely study.  Group projects that he will barely contribute to (OK, I’m getting a little harsh).  But for all the difficulties, he will be experiencing one of life’s greatest joys – to be a parent.  I haven’t known Mark long, but in the two-plus quarters I have known him, I can say that he will make a darn good father.  As far as the WPMBA + Baby = *$(*&#@ equation goes – for that, we’ll have to wait and see!

Congratulations, Mark and Lucia!

Will They Have a Boy or a Girl?!

Life After the WPMBA Program

Wait, is there life after the WPMBA program?!  Right now, with just two quarters under my belt, it’s easy to feel like post-graduation is far off.  But it’s important to remember that I will eventually graduate one day.  And while I really like my job, I don’t know if it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.  So that’s why, when Fisher Career Services scheduled a career session specifically for WPMBA students, I immediately signed up.

The session, held this past Sunday afternoon, focused on helping us think through what our values, talents, and likes/dislikes are, and then use those to create a “Career Marketing Plan”.  Personally, I found the values exercise to be the easiest – out of a list of about 30 values, check the eight that matter most to you.  Things like health, friendship, challenge, and variety were at the top of mine.  From there, we went to the likes/dislikes exercise, in which we listed out things that we both liked and disliked about our past three positions.  In doing this exercise, I realized how much of what I currently do at work I really like, and forced me to articulate what I don’t like as much.  The talents exercise was more of a challenge – it instructed you to recall times in which you felt certain emotions, like “proud” or “fulfilled”.

These three exercises were meant to give us a foundation for building our “Career Marketing Plan”.  By knowing what is important to us and what we like to do, we can lay out a description of who we are and what we want out of our careers.   This helps us focus our job search on positions that will actually fit our needs, rather than approach the process with a more open and generally haphazard approach.

Overall, I was very pleased with the WPMBA Career Session and appreciative that it was offered.  I hope to attend more events like this in the future that will better prepare me for life after the WPMBA Program!

My Top Five …

… Restaurants in Columbus!  I’ve been blogging for almost half a year now, so it’s about time I write a post on my top five restaurants in Columbus.  I have been in Columbus for almost 10 years, so it’s only natural that a self-proclaimed “foodie” like me would come to rack up a nice list of restaurants.  A handful of those restaurants have popped up over the years more than others – much more than other – and thus, make my list of Top 5 Restaurants (in no particular order – depends on my mood!):

Northstar Café:  OK, I just said that these are in no particular order, but if I have to pick my favorite restaurant in Columbus, it’s Northstar Café.  Call me a tree-loving hippie, this all-organic, slightly expensive order-at-the-counter restaurant is just SO good.  And it’s consistent – you get the same great food, every.single.time.  First timer?  Order the Veggie Burger – you won’t miss the beef.


Haiku:  Some people call this “Americanized” Sushi, but if that’s the case, then so be it.  I’ve had sushi at a lot of places in a lot of cities, and this is the best I’ve had to date, for the best price.  It’s also a fantastic place to celebrate a joyous occasion – sake bombs and loud tables are encouraged!

Betty’s:  Before I moved to the Short North, I used to make the trek from the West side of Columbus to eat there all the time.  And now, I live above it (a coincidence, I swear)!  It’s cheap, and it’s comforting.  The Betty’s Best Salad is to die for (can you say bacon and blue cheese?), and weekend brunch is also a favorite (probably because I can walk downstairs).

Basi:  This tiny Italian restaurant is tucked in an alley off of Neil Ave – you wouldn’t know it was there unless you went looking for it.  Inside, it’s romantic and cozy, and while I’ve not yet had the pleasure of enjoying it, I hear the back patio is even better.  The chef is an NYC transplant who wanted to create his NYC atmosphere for a Midwest price – and that he did.  The eggplant parm is to die for.

Barrio:  Bacon Wrapped Dates.  Need I say more?

Yes, I know that these are all in the Short North.  What can I say…I like to support local businesses?  That, and I like to be able to have wine with dinner and walk home:)  I hope you check out these favorites and the wide variety of local restaurants Columbus has to offer!  Enjoy!

Jet Setter!

During my first two quarters in the WPMBA program, I only had to travel for work once – and it was during the three-week break between summer & fall quarters.  While that did mean I got a little “office fever”, it made things easier – I didn’t have to worry about missing class, group meetings, etc.  Well now, I do.  In the first four months of 2012, our marketing team is attending three trade shows and hosting our annual Sales Meeting and Customer Council – none of which are in Columbus.  I just got back from three nights in New York City for a trade show, then will head to Las Vegas in February for another three-night trade show.  Our Sales Meeting and Customer Council follows next in mid-March, also in Las Vegas (I know…you aren’t feeling bad for me!), and spans over 6 nights.  And finally, I’ll be heading to Dallas in late April for another trade show.

Whew!  I’m tired just writing all of that.  That may not seem like a lot to some of you, but I’m willing to bet at least a few of you find traveling while in school a bit tricky.  And keep in mind, this doesn’t include any weekend trips I have planned!  So, I thought I would give you some tips for how to travel during the WPMBA program:

1.  Try not to miss class.  I know this isn’t always possible, but try not to miss class when you can avoid it.  For this last trip I made to NYC, I worked it out with my manager to leave halfway through the last day of the tradeshow, so that I could fly back and still make it to class by 6 pm.  This means my co-workers had to tear down the booth without my help…so I’ll buy them a coffee to make up for it 🙂

2.  When you have to miss class, talk to your professors EARLY.  As luck would have it, our biggest meeting of the year – the Sales Meeting and Customer Council that spans 6 nights – is during winter quarter finals week.  I knew about this long before the start of the quarter.  When my professors emailed their respective syllabuses a week or so before class started, I contacted them right away to tell them about my conflict.  Both were appreciative that I notified them before the start of the quarter – and were willing to find an alternate time for me to take the final.  Finding time to study for those finals during the last week of class is another thing altogether!

3.  Prepare.  Whether your travel causes you to miss class or not, you are undoubtedly missing some regular study time.  The best way to combat this is to prepare, prepare, prepare!  Review your class syllabuses and pack the necessary material in your carry-on – you can read it on the plane or during some downtime in your hotel room.  If you are working on a group project, make sure to inform your classmates and complete any work before you leave town.

Do you travel for work?  What are some of your tips?


New Year’s Resolutions

Long time no blog!  The almost one month break between fall and winter quarter was greatly appreciated, especially considering that it’s our longest break for a year, thanks to the quarter-to-semester conversion this summer.  I spent the time between Christmas and New Year’s at my parents home in Cleveland, doing a whole lot of nothing – and enjoying every second of it.  However, I did manage take some breaks from streaming Friday Night Lights on my parent’s Netflix to think about the past year and make some plans for 2012.

I made two New Year’s Resolutions in 2011:  to start recycling, and to apply to the MBA program at Ohio State.  Good news:  I accomplished both!  I am a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions – it’s an opportunity to evaluate yourself and determine how you can be a better citizen, friend, employee – whatever.  At the start of 2011, I knew I wanted to apply to the Fisher MBA program, but was struggling to actually take the time to write my essay and complete my resume.  By creating the resolution and laying out the steps to complete it, I was setting myself up for success.  Same with recycling – I went to Target, bought a cute bin to place next to my trash can in the kitchen, and started taking my recycling to Goodale Park once a week.  2011 – check!

In 2012, I am committing to a few resolutions:
1.  Go to a yoga class once a week.  This is a habit I started last quarter: I took an eight-week beginner course in the fall and kept practicing after the course was completed.  I want to keep the habit up, and making a resolution helps.
2Pursue advancement at my job.  I have been working in the same position for three years and it’s time for a bit of a change, or at least some recognition.  I started talking about this with my manager last year, and it’s time to see it come to fruition.  I believe that I am in control of my own career, and by setting this goal, I am taking a step further to make sure it happens.
3.  Be a nicer person.  I know I said I like to make specific resolutions, but I am breaking that rule with this last one.  It’s not to say I’m currently a mean person – I’m not!  But I’m aware that I can stand to be a bit more gentle, a bit more patient with the people I love – and the people I don’t.  So I’m going to work on being a nicer person in 2012  🙂

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  If so, what are they?  If not, why not?

Yoga! (This is not me!)

The Hardest Quarter

When I started writing for the Fisher Grad Life Blog ten weeks ago, in the beginning of my second quarter in the Fisher WPMBA Program, I was quite nervous about what lied ahead of me – check out my first post here.  Thursday nights at the Varsity Club had taught me that Fall Quarter was supposed to be the hardest one:  Stats and Econ.  With an Engineering background, I wasn’t particularly worried about Stats – in fact, I was kind of looking forward to it.  Call me a dork.  But Econ was another story.  I took one silly Economics course my freshman year of college, and that was the extent of my knowledge in the subject.  I knew the course required a lot of reading and comprehension, which meant that I was actually going to have to do work on my nights off and weekends.  I was nervous.

Well, now that I am just one weekend of studying and two finals away from a ONE MONTH winter break, I can say that it wasn’t all that bad.  Yes, this quarter was infinitely more time consuming than last.  I had to read and answer questions for every Econ class, write two group papers, take 3 tests (not including finals), and give a presentation.  There were many lunch breaks spent reading, many nights spent emailing my group.  But now that those ten weeks are almost behind me, I can honestly say that it really wasn’t all that bad.  I was still able to find time to tailgate, go shopping, exercise, and do *almost* all of the things that keep me sane and happy.

If truly the “hardest” quarter is almost behind me, then I know I can make it through the next ~2 years.  I’ll keep working hard – and enjoy my breaks!