FGSA Elections

I have good news to report…  I recently discovered that I was one of five individuals elected to the Fisher Graduate Student Association (FGSA).  I was honored when I heard the news because the competition was steep and the results were close.  The other four individuals representing the class of 2011 with me will be Sam Adams, Emily Bae, Nick Fischer (fellow blogger), and Mike Thompson.   My involvement with this group will allow me to work closely with the administration and faculty to ensure that my classmates have the best experience possible at Fisher College.  If anyone has any ideas on how to make this program even better, please let me know.

Thanks to everyone who voted.

Joe

72 wings, 5 desserts, a couple beers and MBA 860

My least favorite time of the year has arrived — no not winter… midterm season!  And with midterm season comes the inappropriately timed class projects/group presentations, which are scattered throughout exam week.  Fortunately, my Organizational Behavior team is presenting our project before the main wave of midterms which will allow us to spread out the pain as much as possible.  (Note: It is not proven that spreading out the pain is any better than just 4 or 5 days of pure misery.)

Our project is straight forward.  We need to identify a company that has innovative human capital initiatives and figure out how they use those initiatives to drive their corporate strategy.  As you may suspect, we chose a company that serves wings and beer – Buffalo Wild Wings.  Unlike many casual dining restaurants, Buffalo Wild Wings does not view their servers as disposable assets.   Through their efforts, they have been able to reduce their turn-over rate to half the industry average.

The best part of the project is that we were able to do most of our work on the second floor of the BW-3s on Lane and High.  Our waitress brought wings, desserts and beers to our table while we learned more about the company by speaking to people who worked there.  Perhaps the most interesting thing we discovered is that school teachers tend to have the best character traits for a server position and that BW-3s is trying to identify what makes them so effective.  Go figure.

Hitting my stride

The most difficult part of business school up to this point has been finding a routine that works.  My life for the past three weeks has required fluidity and patience.  I am a person that enjoys structure, so this lifestyle has not been easy for me.

I would describe my first two weeks as the typical “freshman haze”:  I was inundated with work, unsure what to focus on and inevitably behind the rest of the class.  In the subsequent weeks, instead of finding my stride I found more work to manage.  It seemed that for every item I crossed off my “To Do List” I added three more.  As the stress mounted, I was constantly searching for more hours in the day to complete applications for student organizations and summer internships.

Now midterm season is quietly approaching and I can finally say, “I think I have found my stride.”  My conversation with Professor Rucci helped me better understand my career options and has provided some insight as to the ways I can go about achieving my goals.  Having a more clear perspective on these issues has made it easier for me to focus on my class work and the tangible portion of the MBA.   As my time management frustration ebbs, I am now in a situation to better manage the wide array of responsibilities of a Fisher MBA student.

Super Wednesday

Tomorrow is a big day for me for two reasons.

First, I am meeting with Professor Tony Rucci to discuss my career interests and to learn more about corporate strategy and business development.  Dr. Rucci is one of my professors in MBA 860: Organizational Behavior and Leadership Effectiveness, but this is not his only claim to fame.  Prior to joining the Fisher faculty, he was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Sears Roebuck & Company.  He was also Chairman of the board of directors for Sears de Mexico and served on the boards of Sears Canada, Western Auto, and Grupp Carso’s retail board.  Before his Sears days, he was the SVP of Human Resources at Baxter International.  Needless to say, I am really excited to sit down with him and discuss my career options.

Second, my first accounting team project is due.  We finished the project a few days ago, so for the past two days we have been able to work on other assignments.  (Note: Several of the teams I know did not work ahead on this project and will be burning the midnight oil to finish on time.  Good luck to them.)  I’d also like to take this time to say that I probably have the best team in Fisher — no joke.  My group is hardworking, collaborative, intelligent, efficient, and FUN.  Not every group is so lucky.  My team members include:

  • Kevin Lawrence – This week’s Accounting All-Star
  • Meng-Tse (Joseph) Cheng
  • Alison Guzman
  • Ian Menchen

Now back to the books…

Joe

Time to pick student organizations

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to eat Papa John’s pizza 4 days in a row? I have – and that’s why I attended every student organization’s information session in 375 Gerlach Hall this past week. By the fourth day, I had succumbed to pouring Papa J’s famous garlic dipping sauce all over my pizza to spice up the monotonous (but free) lunch. Am I alive? Yes. Does it feel like it? Not really.

Actually, the real reason I attended the meetings was not for the free pizza, but for the opportunity to learn more about the student run organizations at Fisher College. What I discovered is that Fisher has a plethora of organizations that span the diverse student body.  Since I have a limited amount of time, I am trying to whittle down the number of organizations that are attractive to me. I will probably join only 2 or possibly 3 clubs, so that I will have the time and energy to take an active leadership role within the organizations. I am currently interested in the following groups…

Hopefully by the end of next week I’ll have made my decisions. 

-Joe

Maybe a History degree wasn’t a great idea…

On Wednesday of last week, I had my first class as an Ohio State graduate student.  I never thought I’d say this about school, but I am really excited about my core curriculum and the skill sets that I’m about to gain.  After graduating from Yale University in 2006, I entered corporate America thinking I was prepared for anything that would come my way.  As you can probably imagine, it didn’t take long before I realized that I still had much to learn.  (Despite this discovery, I have no regrets about earning a BA in History… it just needs to be complemented with an MBA.)

Now that I have a couple classes under my belt, I need to stay on top of my assignments so I don’t fall behind in class.  Since I am one of a handful of students who have never taken a business class, I’ll need to work twice as hard as my peers.  Fortunately, I have come to this realization before receiving my first round of grades, and I am currently in the process of finding a place where I can study in the most efficient manner.

My first weekend as a student on Ohio State’s campus has been fairly dull from a blogger’s perspective.  On Friday, I woke up and started reading the 4 chapters that were assigned in Economics.  Around noon, I helped a friend move a futon to his place. (He provided Chipotle for lunch.)  Afterwards I started reading again until I could no longer focus due to my excitement for that night’s social activity:  1980’s theme party.  As expected, it rocked.

On Saturday, I woke-up to the sound of pouring rain and decided against going to The Horseshoe to root on the Buckeyes.  Instead of watching the game on TV, I decided to make it a “reading day” and drove to the Upper Arlington Public Library to get some work done.  I stayed in the library for 8 hours and left at the 5pm closing time.  After spending the entire day in the library I was completely brain dead when I left and decided to make it an early night rather than going out with my MBA friends.

Sunday was very similar to my Saturday.  I woke up early and went to Gerlach Hall to study.  I started reading my Accounting chapters, but continuously took mini breaks to watch the Bengals game on TV in Gerlach’s hallway.  All I can say is “Who Dey, baby!?”

Back to School

It’s the night before my first day of business school and I don’t know how to describe my feelings.  Does “reluctant anticipation” make sense to anyone?

Don’t get me wrong…  I am definitely excited about the start of classes.  This is something I have wanted to do for a long time.  Earning my MBA from Fisher College will provide me the business skills necessary to think both critically and strategically about leadership and management.  What more could I ask, right?

Well, I am reluctant to begin this journey because for the first time in my life I am behind on schoolwork before classes have officially begun.  You might be wondering, “How is it possible to be behind in something that hasn’t actually started?”   Don’t worry, this is not some theoretical question.  (Remember, my personality is ESTP… theories and conceptual problems bore me.)  The answer is really quite simple: three out of my five classes have work due on the first day of class.

The good news is that I am almost finished with my homework and I will be ready to dive into my MBA experience head first.  Wish me luck.

Joe

Orientation wrap-up

Hey everyone.  My name is Joe Fahrendorf and I’m a 1st year MBA student at the Fisher College of Business (FCOB).  As the second week of orientation officially comes to a close, I finally have a moment to reflect on the previous 12 days and write my first blog entry.

The FCOB faculty have kept us incredibly busy throughout orientation.  A few of my activities included:

  • A case study with Professor Jay Dial.
  • Team building activities at Summit Vision.  (I was blown away at how well my core team operated as one.  Hopefully this is a sign of more good things to come.)
  • A Myers-Briggs typology test.  (According to the results I am an Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving “ESTP” personality.)
  • A practice job interview with the career development office.
  • Networking events with companies such as AEP, Eli Lilly & Company, Kimberly-Clark, Limited Brands, Nationwide, NetJets, P&G, Target, The Scotts Company, Whirlpool and several others.
  • A boot camp focused on careers in consulting.  (For a day and a half, we listened to several industry experts discuss the pros and cons of the industry and we were given the opportunity to network with representatives from Accenture, Deloitte, McKinsey and other top consulting firms.)
  • Organizing my apartment at Fisher Commons.
  • Golfing.  (This has been a great way to meet classmates.  The talent level ranges from scratch golfers to pure novices.  Yesterday I shot an 85 on the Grey course, but still lost to a classmate by several strokes.  Hopefully I’ll find the time to play the Scarlet course before the cold weather arrives.)

Overall, I would say that orientation has been a huge success.  I’m excited that classes are about to begin and I look forward to meeting more classmates.  Twelve days ago I literally knew 3 people in the area and now I know roughly a hundred.

Keep checking my blog for new posts. My goal is to submit 2 or 3 entries per week.  If you have any questions or comments, let me know.

JF