During the sixteenth century, a French apothecary named Nostradamus scripted cataclysmic predictions for planet Earth such as: the Balkan Wars, World War III, and the release of the iPhone.  Unfortunately, Nostradamus’ vague quatrains require intense hindsight and lack the ability to predict the future.  As a result, Nostradamus’ literature can be found in the Fiction aisle of the public library.

Nostradamus’ work is a stark contrast to the blog entries of Fahradamus: a strapping, young, Fisher MBA student.  In recent blog posts, Fahradamus accurately predicted a curse on the MBA basketball team.  The day after the entry was posted; I took an elbow to the cheek while playing basketball which resulted in a humiliating black eye.  Perhaps you are thinking that one accurate prediction is just luck.  If this is the case, keep reading.

Last week, Fahradamus posted a blog that stated he was planning to play softball for the Fisher MBA intramural team.  In this entry he stated, “Although softball might seem relatively safe, I am quite sure that one of my classmates (probably me) will either get a black-eye or sustain some other serious injury while attempting to relive our glory days.”  What happened next is probably obvious… In my very first softball game, I sustained a black-eye and required eight stitches above my eyebrow to stop the bleeding after I collided with a guy on the base path.  Go figure.

Going forward, Fahradamus will only predict straight-A’s, high paying job offers, and success in safe recreational sports such as golf.

Uncle Joe

I’m now able to add an important title to my name …  Uncle.   My sister and her husband had their first child on Wednesday night.  Her name is Grace Jacqueline Ravasio.  She’s amazing (from the pictures I’ve seen) and I am trying to work ahead on projects so that I have some time to return to Cincinnati and meet her.  Unfortunately, the third quarter is in full gear and this will probably be the busiest quarter of my MBA studies.   This Tuesday I have a finance quiz on stock options.  Studying for the quiz was a nice break from all the case studies I’ve been reading, but it somehow consumed my entire weekend.

On a different note, some of you might recall that I was a member of the FCOB intramural basketball team.  After receiving a black-eye from an errant elbow (thanks again, John), I determined that I was too old to continue playing competitive sports.  After a short hiatus from intramurals, the spring weather has coaxed me to return to the world of competitive sports and play on the FCOB softball team.  Although softball might seem relatively safe, I am quite sure that one of my classmates (probably me) will either get a black-eye or sustain some other serious injury while attempting to relive our glory days.  It should be fun.

3rd quarter = Reading galore

I’m a week into the third quarter and I can already tell that this quarter is going to be hectic.  If you have been reading my blog since the beginning, this statement should come as no surprise.  Fisher College keeps us busy and it doesn’t help that I lack traditional business class experience.  Although my learning curve is steeper than some of my peers, I have found each quarter to be a little easier since class material coincides with earlier work.

This quarter is going to be reading intensive.  After previewing the syllabi of my classes, I decided that it would be in my best interest to only take four classes so that I can focus on the reading… and possible a few rounds of golf.  Unfortunately, I have the feeling that the reading will trump the golf.  Every week I need to read The Economist and be prepared for a short, five question quiz on the material.  I enjoy staying informed on current events, but The Economist leaves a lot to be desired.  It is basically 100+ pages of dry, British stories regarding the state of the European Union and ObamaCare.

The good news for this quarter is that I will not need to allocate time to my internship search.  Last week I accepted a finance internship with Cardinal Health.  I am very excited about the opportunity and I can’t wait to rejoin the workforce… even if it is only for a couple months.

Spring Break – Cincinnati

The second quarter is officially complete… unfortunately, so is Spring Break.  Despite only having one week off (and the fact that it snowed), my spring break was a much needed escape from the hectic life of an MBA student.   During my vacation, I was able to schedule two interviews; one with Cardinal Health and the other with Battelle Memorial Institute.  I was also able to return home to Cincinnati for several days to spend some time with my family.

Overall, I really enjoyed my second quarter at Fisher.  I actually thought the second quarter was easier to manage than the first quarter (probably because I’m use to student life).  Hopefully this positive trend continues since I am planning to take some challenging courses this upcoming quarter.  Those courses are International Business, Strategy, Services Marketing, and Corporate Finance.

March Madness

Two rounds into the NCAA basketball tournament and I can officially throw my bracket in the trash.  I picked Kansas, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Villanova to make it to the Final Four… only Kentucky remains alive.  You might be curious why I didn’t take the very talented number two seed Ohio State Buckeyes to go to the Final Four instead of Kansas.  My answer is three-fold.  First, it is a well-known fact that my teams never do well in the NCAA tournament.  I am cursed.  If I pick you, then you lose… usually in a painful, last second choke kind of way.  Second, Kansas is a tough team and I really questioned Ohio State’s ability to beat perhaps the best team in the tournament.  It is no secret that Ohio State relies too heavily on Evan Turner to get them out of sticky situations.  Why should I have believed that Diebler, Buford, Lighty and Lauderdale would all of a sudden make meaningful contributions to the team at clutch points in the game?  Third, I figured everyone who I was competing against would have Ohio State beating Kansas out of some sense of pride and loyalty to the University.  It’s not that I don’t have these things; it’s just that I really, really wanted to win the prize money and the ability to boast about my basketball picking ability.  If Ohio State would have lost as I predicted and if Kansas would have won the tournament, I would easily have won the pool since no one else would have had similar picks.  It’s too bad none of my strategies ever seem to work as I envision.  Fortunately this time the results aren’t entirely negative… Ohio State is still in the tournament and most of the really good teams that would have posed a challenge to them have already been knocked out.  Sure my bracket is complete garbage, but maybe this March might just be the month of the Buckeyes.

Worst Bracket Ever
Worst bracket ever
Joseph Fahrendorf
OSU's William Buford giving a #1

Club Trillion

Last Thursday I was a TA for a public speaking course at Ohio State and was responsible for grading student oral presentations.  Overall I was very impressed with the talent of the class, even if topics included “Why Jim Varney is the best actor ever” and “Everyone should buy a Hangover Helmet.”  Despite a clear disinterest in the class, most students were way more comfortable at speaking in front of a classroom than I was seven years ago… (Yes, I realize that my public speaking skills in 2003 should not be a benchmark to grade a class – but I used it anyways).

Although most speeches were interesting, one topic really stuck out from the rest.  This student decided to talk for seven minutes as to why Mark Titus (OSU Men’s Basketball Player) has the best blog in the country.  As you can expect, I was skeptical at first.  Who is this Mark Titus and what does he have on Joe Fahrendorf’s Fisher Grad Life Blog?  After all, the Google analytics are reporting that my blog actually receives a few unique hits per month (although this is steadily fading – c’mon Mom & Dad, start reading my blog again).  Well, as it turned out, this guy was right.  Mark Titus’ blog “Club Trillion” is one of the best blogs in the country.

Mark “The Shark” Titus (#34)… aka Mr. Rainmaker is a staple of The Ohio State Men’s Basketball bench.  Mark’s blog provides a perspective on college basketball that is impossible to gain from ESPN or other news sources.  The name Club Trillion was developed from the stat line Mark usually earns: 1 minute played and nothing else.  When this happens, the scorecard reads 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – hence 1 Trillion.  Although Mark is a highly talented basketball player (or so he claims), he is unable to be an everyday player on a program that is consistently ranked in the top 10.

Club Trillion has received nearly 2.5 million hits, slightly higher than my blog attendance.  The blog has become such a hit that the website even sells Club Tril t-shirts, which have become very popular on The Ohio State campus.  All the proceeds from the shirts go to support the charitable group A Kid Again.

As you can tell, I highly recommend you check out Club Trillion – in addition to the other authors on My Fisher Grad Life Blog.  However, I will give you this warning: if you are like me and have no time for the next couple weeks, postpone exploring his blog until you have time to spare.  I could not have been introduced to this website at a worse time.  Next week I have a large marketing paper due and a negotiations exam.  The following week I have 4 finals (so this will probably be the last post you see from me for two weeks… sorry).


The Fisher 5K

My activity with the Fisher 5K Association has really increased the past two weeks.  The Fisher 5K Association is a student organization that is responsible for organizing the annual Fisher 5K charity race.   The Fisher 5K is an annual Run/Walk (5 kilometers or 3.1 miles) which began in 2004 and is held on The Ohio State University campus.  It is the largest service event hosted by the Fisher graduate programs.  All the proceeds of the race go to support the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus.  In 2009, we had 608 race registrants and raised $21,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus.  We are already close to 300 registrations and are looking to get another 500 more.

This year the race will be held on April 25, 2010. The official start time for the Fisher 5K is 9:00 AM.  If you haven’t signed up, I encourage you to do so.  If you have signed up, convince friends and family to sign-up and run/walk with you.

To register: https://www.premierraces.com/smartReg/newRegister.asp?ID=328

FGSA Winter Town Hall Recap

At the winter town hall meeting, there were several ideas that were brought to the attention of FGSA.  Some we were aware of and others we were hearing for the first time.  This is a summary of the ideas that were brought up at the meeting and our plan of action.

Course Evaluations – There is overwhelming support for a system in which students can rate the elective courses offered at FCOB and the professors who teach them.  We were aware of this desire and have been working with our faculty adviser, Dr. Inks, to understand the challenges in putting a student accessible course evaluation system in place. One of the more significant challenges is gaining faculty support.  Additionally, we have spoken with Molly Hood about her previous work regarding this issue. In order to make this proposal more compelling, we have benchmarked some of FCOB’s peer institutions and a majority of these institutions already have an evaluation system in place. We are currently devoting a significant amount of time and effort to this project, but we currently do not expect the system to be in place in the near term (6-9 months).

Action steps:  We are going to meet with Dean Wruck ASAP to discuss this issue and hopefully find a compromise that is agreeable to all parties involved.   In the meantime, we are beginning work on a week-long series of lunch sessions during the middle of Spring quarter that will allow faculty an opportunity to sell their fall elective courses to the students.  We understand that this is not the ideal solution, but feel that for the short run, it’s the best way to get information about elective courses out to the student body.

Break-Out Room Reservation – There are several concerns that the current system for reserving rooms is not practical or efficient.  There are many complaints regarding the three day advance notice and the inability to reserve a room after FCOB hours of operation.

Action Steps: We have already spoken with Alisa McMahon in the GPO about this concern.  One of the issues that led to the current system was abuse of the privilege to reserve rooms, and for this reason the GPO currently “filters” the requests.  We are going to work with Fisher ITS to determine if there is a system that could be created which would prevent room reservation abuse while making it easier to schedule a room on short notice.  We have also inquired about opening up the Fisher Ambassador Interview rooms during exam week, but this cannot happen since they either contain a computer or a phone line.

Course Planning – Several students are concerned about the inability to forecast when upcoming electives will be offered.  The feedback that we have received from the administration is that they are aware of this concern, but they are unable to publish available courses for the next couple quarters because of unforeseen changes that may occur.

Action Steps: We will work with Jen Mercer to find a way to improve the system.  In the meantime, we recommend that you use prior years’ schedules as a baseline for future schedules.  Although they are not always the same, it should provide a good idea of when classes will be offered.

Alumni Relations – Some individuals feel that the current alumni affairs group at FCOB could do a better job of finding alumni willing to talk with students regarding employment and FCOB classes.

Action Steps:  We will speak with the Fisher Office of External Relations regarding ways to improve interaction between students and alumni.  We have also requested the social chairs host quarterly events that include alumni in the Columbus area.

Access to course rosters – Some individuals would like to have access to lists of individuals who have taken classes so they can talk to them about the course or so that they can buy books and course packets from them.

Action Steps: We will speak to Jen Mercer about this request but are concerned that there may be FERPA obstacles.  If nothing else, we believe it is possible to create some sort of system that will allow individuals to opt-in to a program that will share this information with others.

In addition to these ideas, we have several of our own such as getting a copy machine placed in Gerlach for student use.  We also plan to coordinate a FCOB March Madness Bracket Challenge.   We encourage people to follow what we are doing and to send us any suggestions.  Our email is fgsasuggestions@gmail.com.  Please don’t wait for the next town hall meeting to tell us what is on your mind today.

#4 Purdue vs. #9 OSU

Tonight I went to my first Ohio State basketball game.   The game pitted the #4 ranked Purdue Boilermakers vs. the #9 OSU Buckeyes.  As you can imagine, the Shottenstein Center was rocking!  Although the Buckeyes were down for most of the game, the fans never quit.  After rallying from 16 points down, the noise was so loud that I couldn’t even hear the guy next to me.   Despite the Buckeyes valiant effort, the halftime deficit was too much to overcome and they failed to convert a last second 3-pointer to tie the game.   Watching the game in person was so much better than I expected and I am now an Evan Turner super fan.   Overall I was really impressed with the team and am looking forward to an exciting March Madness!

In other news, I am finally finished with midterms.  It was a rough two weeks, but I think I did well so I’m excited to see my results.


Midterm week… again

It’s that time of year again… midterm season.  Although I had a rough midterm week last quarter, I am handling the pressure and the work-load in a much healthier fashion this time around.  I guess I can attribute this to finally getting into the swing of school.

I have already taken my Operations midterm and did really well on it.  Tonight I’m studying for my Marketing midterm.  It is pretty straight forward so I’m not too worried about it… hence I am able to write a blog entry.  After tomorrow I will only have my Finance midterm left and who knows how that’ll go.  I’m just looking forward to having these midterms behind me so that I can refocus on my internship search.   I have two second round interviews coming up, so hopefully I can close on one of the opportunities.