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A Much Needed Vacation. Book Reviews. Restaurant Reviews.

The Beach

18th Floor Balcony

For the first time in either of my collegiate careers, I went on vacation for Spring Break. To Puerto Rico nonetheless. It was awesome. But first, some things from Columbus.

As I’m sure all of you readers out there recall from high school literature class, the dramatic structure consists of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and finally the dénouement. Well, as it turns out, business school sort of follows a similar structure.

The climax of my business school career was Winter Quarter 2011. Similar to what I expect boot camp to be, this place had built me up and broken me down in a way I had not experienced previously. But with the end in sight, many things began to clear up and started going well. Whether this was the result of the efforts of those around me and/or my own or just luck, I’ll never know. But a climax had certainly occurred and thus cleared the way for the subsequent falling action.

The Spring Break trip to Puerto Rico begins the falling action and probably in some respects the dénouement. Except there really isn’t an audience to experience these as dramatic events and sense of catharsis, just myself to experience them as life. But I’ll share some bits and pieces…

For those of you that know me well at all, you know that I am usually on or off. Work hard, play hard. Burn the candle from both ends because it burns twice as bright. One of those people. The Fisher MBA program has consistently been an “on” period since the day I set foot on campus. I consistently pushed myself harder and harder to see how much I could take. This peaked in Winter Quarter 2011.

Planned or not, the Puerto Rico trip was the first extended “off” experience in the better part of two years, with the exception of the weekend trip to Thailand this past summer. Except on this one, after the first day or two, I even stopped responding to many emails. I was disconnected and just off. After seven days of relaxing on the beach and reading, I could feel my body in a more relaxed and unwound state. I will have to do this again.

Part of that seven days was spent eating. Part of that seven days was spent reading. And Part of that seven days was spent flying. Now, a little about each.

Eating – I was looking forward to experiencing Puerto Rican cuisine in Puerto Rico finally. The samples that I had in Ohio were delectable, but I figured the real deal would be better. Results were mixed.

Lupi’s in Isla Verde turned out to be a place we frequented often during our stay. Nothing particularly fancy but friendly and quick service made this place a standout. They even turned all the TV’s in our area to college basketball as we watched the Buckeyes and the Boilermakers perform and disappoint. There’s always next year.

Oh, and it never hurts to randomly run into OSU alumni several thousand miles away from campus. On an island. In a local sports bar. To watch a basketball game.

Mi Casita was another popular stop. Inexpensive and delicious, you can’t beat that combination. Paella. Sangria. And a delectable, liquidy, pineapple-ly, local hot sauce that made everything taste better.

If you’ve never had Mofongo, try it. I prefer it with skirt steak. I miss green plantains already.

Reading – After reading so many cases and business related articles, I had almost forgotten what recreational reading felt like. The much needed break gave me the chance to finish two books and start a third.

Promised Land by Jay Parini was the first I finished. Although it started slow, by the end I was happy I spent the time to finish. I think Parini does a masterful job of highlighting some of the literature that shaped the American landscape – as well as Parini himself.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu was the second I read. The classic is short, succinct, and powerful in its simplicity.

I’ve saved the best for last though: The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. While only a little over halfway through the book, I find myself stopping every 5-10 pages to digest what Friedman has written and working to tie it all into my experiences and world view. I even went to my bag in the overhead compartment to get a pen so I could take notes as I read. I’ve heard some people claim the book is 600 pages simply stating the importance of China and India. I feel this misses so much of what Friedman has put on paper and will use two thoughts to illustrate this point.

1) Four Feet Eight and One Half Inches. Friedman discusses at length how the investment in laying high bandwidth fiber optic cables and the standardization of internet protocols (think languages) has dramatically changed the importance of location in many industries. In short, it supports outsourcing of many tasks to the other side of the world. But, in discussing the standardization and its effects he makes a subtle but well crafted reference to railroads which I will elaborate on.

As railroads became a dominant way to move people, communications, and materials across the United States in the 19th century, several different gauges – or the distance between the center-lines of the rails – emerged with each often being unique to a certain company. This meant that rolling stock – locomotives, passenger cars, box cars, etc. – could not be used on each company’s unique set of tracks. Further, it meant that if you wanted to move a package via rail across the country, you had to unload and reload it several different times on several different cars that could operate on several different gauges. The inefficiency of this system should be obvious. Why don’t we just load and unload the package once – at the origin and at the destination. This was made possible in the United States in 1886 when nearly all railroads adopted standard gauge: Four Feet Eight and One Half Inches. Railroads could now focus on moving packages long distances and not on unloading/reloading packages.

Standardization of internet protocols has had a similar effect which many of us take for granted. As a result of a common communication standard for the internet, there is no need for dedicated machines to convert one version of the internet to another version of the internet. All versions are essentially the same and accessible by nearly all. This standardization allows the world to use the internet for what it’s best at: a common way to move information long distances efficiently.

2) Borders, Customs, and Immigration. Centuries ago, the only way to stay in continuous contact with the other side of the world was to actually go there. Intermittent contact could be had with written communication. Then, telegraphs and telephones allowed more rapid - albeit expensive – long distance communications. Now, with long distance fiber optic cables and the standardization of internet technologies, rapid and essentially free communication is possible with a large portion of the world. You can now work alongside someone 9,000 miles away without getting your passport stamped or negotiating customs in several countries. In many situations, physical distance is no longer relevant. In some ways, political borders are no longer relevant. While some implications of this are obvious, there are certainly many we have yet to see.

So, what does all this mean for you and me? Read the book to find out.

Flying – As I’ve highlight before, the MBA experience has allowed me to physically travel to a lot of places. There are so many great stories and insights from this experience, many of which tie into the things Thomas Friedman discusses in The World is Flat. One of the perks of all this travel surfaced during the flights to Puerto Rico – Silver Elite Status with Continental and Star Alliance. We got to cut to the front of the line when negotiating customs. And I got an entire row to myself – with plenty of room to set down The World is Flat and digest.

Freytag would be proud.


Ambiguity

Welcome. Things are finally letting up a bit around here so hopefully I’ll have some more time to write these.

Business school is full of buzz words, three letter acronyms (for which there is a three letter acronym – TLA), and general lingo. Buckets. Bucketed. Impactful. ERP. TMI. FPS. Hats. Hard Stop. Bull-whip. So many more that I can’t think of because they are just part of my vocabulary now. But tonight, we’re talking about ambiguity.

From Wikipedia, my encyclopedia of choice: “Ambiguity is a term used in writing and math, and under conditions where information can be understood or interpreted in more than one way and is distinct from vagueness, which is a statement about the lack of precision contained or available in the information. Context may play a role in resolving ambiguity. For example the same piece of information may be ambiguous in one context and unambiguous in another.

But nothing about business…or life…but it’s not difficult to translate. My interpretation is that there is no clear answer and more than likely multiple somewhat correct answers. Also, I think some level of imperfect information as well. Let’s look at some examples:

Where am I going to go to College. I twice faced this predicament. Recently, I’ve chatted with several people about either their children choosing where to go to college, themselves choosing where to go, or even what major they should choose during their collegiate career. Basically, you only get to pick once (well, kind of) so you should do your research, but there are multiple correct answers. Enter ambiguity.

What should I eat tonight. Well, I had Chipotle last night. And salad for lunch today. So maybe I should have chicken and vegetables tonight. Or maybe Chinese food. See, multiple correct answers based on some research/information/data.

Should I produce chips, PC’s, or both. In the US, Europe, or Brazil. Captive sales or agent sales. Float some bonds or get capital loans. This is Intopia, a business simulation that sucks you in something akin to Second Life. In the real world, I am a business student. In Intopia, I am the “Assistant to the President” of Rumpelstiltskin Enterprises, affectionately dubbed “Rumpel.” We (a team of four MBA students) sometimes are referred to as the “Rumples.” We have some data/information/research to base our decisions on. But we really don’t know what we are doing. There are many, many “correct” answers. Our job is just to pick one, one that seems to be a good one. Make a decision and run with it.

Enter tough-minded(ness). From The Free Dictionary: Facing facts and difficulties with strength and determination; realistic and resolute.

I was first presented with this word as a quality in a person during my time at Purdue. I can’t remember what class it was in, but we learned about X number of personal/professional qualities. As I remember it, it’s basically being able to make decisions with imperfect information.

From my perspective, tough-mindedness is the reaction/quality business school teaches when faced with ambiguity. It’s not spelled out on the white board or in some flashy PowerPoint deck. But it’s the quality that we all seem to be building through accumulated experiences. Lesson learned/learning.

Finis.


2010: A Year in Review; Unforgettable

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

- John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962

Its been 70 days since my last post. I didn’t forget about all of you out there, I was just too busy living life. Please don’t take it personally. And please excuse my poor grammar.

If you have known me for any reasonable period of time, you should be aware of my affinity for quotes. You should have already read one if you got this far. You’re going to get one more. I’m sure you can’t wait.

I recently read Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy. It’s worth reading. Add it to your short list.

I’ve been interviewing for “Post MBA employment opportunities” aka jobs for the past several months. One of my interviewers actually had read this blog beforehand. I was shocked.

I’m taking four classes this winter quarter. This is after the unbelievably difficult and time consuming experience that was this past autumn quarter (in reality, this was the “life” I was too busy living). I could graduate on time and probably take only two classes this quarter. But that’s just not who I am.

One of the classes, by all accounts, is terribly time consuming and complex. It’s competitive. A simulated business environment. Some people are scared of it. I think it should be fun. Especially managing foreign exchange risk!

I have found a gym buddy and will be going regularly again. In my undergraduate days at Purdue it was basically my religion. I was upset with myself when I missed workouts. Unfortunately these sentiments have waned as my schedule has become increasingly full. That is going to change this quarter. One 8AM trip at a time.

A reference to my undergraduate days. A nice segue to the main attraction for the day.

I can’t claim to be aged or wise but I have noticed some things over the years. Some things change people gradually and some things change people rapidly. I like to call the latter “transformative.”

I’ve talked with a lot of people about two experiences that myself and many peers have been through that I feel are transformative.

The first is an individual’s first foray into living away from their parents. For most of us, this is our undergraduate education. We really weren’t that separated as most of us likely relied on our parents for financial or moral support. But, what did change is that we no longer had to seek permission or approval for much. We found ourselves very much on our own. I think this is a huge step towards adulthood for many. And transformative.

The second is an individual’s first foray into being self-sufficient. Yes, working that 9-5 (if you’re lucky) job, paying the bills, and having really no one to report back to except yourself (and the bank I guess). I think a lot of us looked forward to working and the real world. We thought we’d be flush with money and opportunity. And in reality, we really probably were. But within that first year of “freedom,” I think reality really sets in. With this freedom comes a lot of responsibility. And consequences. And you realize you’re really not as great as your parents said you were. There’s a lot of really great people out there and you’re just another one of them. I think this set of realizations is also transformative.

And just recently, I’ve come to appreciate a third period of transformation, corroborated by several of my peers: Business School. Let me explain.

Before  March 2010, the farthest I had been from my birthplace (Cincinnati, OH) was Las Vegas, NV. Once. I had been to Chicago, thrice. I had been to Orlando, FL. Once. I had never seen New York. I spent less than one day outside of the United States. In Windsor, Canada. The tallest building, at 574 feet,  I had ever been in was the Carew Tower in Cincinnati. And most importantly, I had never experienced a Disney park.

My list of contacts in Outlook numbered around 200. I had flown on an airplane 6 times over two trips totaling about 6000 miles. I had never been in someone’s office above the 8th floor of a building.

Since March 2010, a lot has happened. I have traveled literally to the other side of the planet three times. I have been to Chicago (twice), New York City (where I got to watch my Purdue Marching Band lead the Macy’s parade!), Orlando, Cleveland (several times, perhaps not that noteworthy), Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Thailand, and probably several other places I have failed to mention. I spent a total of 10 weeks in 2010 outside of the US, including the first celebration of my birthday abroad. I have been in the Oriental Pearl Tower (at 1,535 feet), The John Hancock Center (at 1,500 feet), the Willis Tower (at 1,730 feet) and two of the tallest buildings in Cleveland (The Key Tower at 947 feet and 200 Public Square at 658 feet). And I have been to two Disney parks – Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyworld.

Outlook has ballooned to 620 contacts. And this ignores a lot of people I have been fortunate enough to meet – from the guy who sold me pho near the lake in Hanoi to the barista at Starbucks I saw many mornings in Hong Kong to the several C level executives I’ve been able to meet. And I’ve flown around 75,000 miles – equivalent to almost three full times around the earth.

Take advantage of the opportunities that lay before you. Yours may not be the path through business school that I have just described, but it may be just as transformative if not more so. It’s a big world out there.

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.

- Neil Armstrong


I Go to the Fisher College of Business…

…and all I get is some crummy pizza. Maybe Panera boxed lunches if I’m lucky.
I recently got re-trained on how to be a blogger. Yep, the first training apparently wasn’t enough. Expectations were clearly set – thou shalt publish at least one blog post per week. I promptly ignored that.
Actually, I didn’t really decide to ignore that stipulation. Despite what some members of the class ahead of us claimed, the second year of business school is no easier than the first. In fact, I think it’s probably even more difficult. We’ve all figured out the game by now, and in fact are all adept at doing enough work to get by and do well in class while running student organizations, conducting our job search, and feigning some sort of social life. However, the time commitment to survive/succeed at all of those – at the same time – is preposterous. I’ve already had many days that started at 6AM and ended at 1AM – with very little so far as breaks during that time. Why did I sign up for this…
We’ve been in classes for a little over a month now and I’ve been back in Columbus after my stint in Hong Kong for nearly two months. It seems like just yesterday I was riding the 7AM ferry back from Macau…I do miss it.
Anyways, there are many, many good things to report:
  • MBA2012 – with a few exceptions (you know who you are), the new class of graduate business students is a good bunch. They are very involved, enthusiastic, and off to a good start. They seem to be freaking out about school just about as much as my class did last year – how silly they will feel when they look back at this time!
  • Fisher Professional Services - is off to a good start. This responsibility certainly tests me on a daily basis, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything right now.
  • Chicago – I got to visit a couple weeks back. Returning to a big city made the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I rolled through the streets searching for the Intercontinental Hotel. Oh, I wasn’t staying there, my friends were. I have a feeling Chicago and I will meet again. Oh, and the MTR >> The “L.” Sorry.
  • Old Friends – While I do genuinely enjoy meeting new people, I very much appreciate seeing old friends as well. This past weekend I had the pleasure of seeing some high school and Purdue friends. I got nothing productive accomplished most of the weekend, but it was worth it.
  • Case Interviews – I had the privilege to due a mock case interview with the one, the only, Marc Cosentino. In front of 140 people. Fun. Someone captured it on film – I added names and arrows in case anything was unclear.

“We only part to meet again.” – John Gay


In Memoriam H.K.S.A.R.

‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
-Lord Tennyson

(Don’t be alarmed – no one died in the making of this blog post)

Firstly, it was wonderful to be on campus yesterday for the Buckeye football game versus Miami. Beating the U didn’t hurt either.

Secondly, being back in Columbus has been great so far. I’ve already had the opportunity to mix and mingle with many members of the first year class (I’ve finally accepted being called a second year). I don’t know if I will ever tire of meeting new people – I certainly derive quite a bit of energy from being around people.

Thirdly, making the trip (albeit brief) back to Dayton to see friends from The Greene was pleasant as usual. It also served to remind me of the perpetual state of change we find ourselves in. While many familiar faces remain, many have moved on to other places and other things. And even those that remain have changed in their own unique way.

Fourthly, for those of you familiar with Fisher Commons, I can speak from experience when I say that the corn field adjacent to us is passable and a viable shortcut home when returning from campus. Traversing it reminded me of the small plot of corn we had when I was growing up – and that fall is beginning to set in here in central Ohio.

Finally, Hong Kong. Again. Being back in Columbus and seeing everyone has been great. But it seems everywhere I go I notice little things that make me appreciate even more what  I had this summer. I certainly hope that I get the chance to return, if for nothing more than a visit.

We took a lot of pictures during our stay. I have compiled a select group of them to share (thanks to Anil, Javier, Khalid, Nadine, and Ross for providing some of the photos):


These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…about HK

Hello friends, it’s been a long time. My words of wisdom today are “be careful what you wish for.” A little over a year ago I didn’t feel like enough was going on in my life … business school certainly corrected that. However, I was hoping this summer would be fun and a little less hectic – but of course, I created a situation that is just as busy as being back home …

Nonetheless, my time here in Hong Kong has been fantastic. I’ve been able to check out some really cool places here as well as Macau, Shanghai, and a short day trip to Shenzhen and Dongguan. Before we leave, a couple of us are making a trip to Thailand to see the beaches. All in all, not a bad summer.

Oh, and we’ve been working 45+ hours a week.

So, the title. Here’s what I like and what I don’t like about Hong Kong:

Dislike

  • Walking to the train station. It’s not that far, but it adds about 20-25 minutes to everything that I do, which adds up. And, rarely is it a nice walk – it’s usually either super hot & humid, or raining. Fortunately, there are taxis for days that are particularly bad.
  • Slow internet at our apartment. Yes, there are cheap hotspots all over…but again…20-25 minutes in transit time to do anything other than read the news or write simple emails. I’ve been spoiled by broadband for far too long.
  • Bathrooms. I’ve yet to figure out the pattern of where they are located, but it seems to me that they are hidden.
  • With rare exception, the only places to find ATMs are the train stations and banks themselves. It’s not like either is terribly difficult to find, but you’d think they’d just be a little more common considering how many people are here.
  • Humidity, although I think I’m used to it now. I just accept that it’s going to be sweaty. All the time. And I’m not alone. Comfort in numbers.
  • Coins. They seem to be much more prevalent here than in the US. I hate them in the US. I hate them in Hong Kong.

Like

  • Food. It’s simply amazing the variety of cuisines represented as well as the price range. You can easily eat out for less than USD $3 and have a nice, delicious, large meal of any number of Asian cuisines. Or you can spend USD $40-$50 plus and get a great hamburger, good Italian, or tasty Mexican. You can’t go wrong.
  • Chopsticks. I have gotten to the point where I can eat with them while doing something else. I am even starting to prefer them over forks.
  • MTR. Yes, you have to walk to the station. But you can pretty much go anywhere in Hong Kong on the MTR. And it’s cheap and reliable. You don’t have to get the oil changed or have your mom drive to Columbus when your battery explodes and you are 9000 miles away. I want the MTR to expand to Columbus.
  • Haircut at the Mandarin Barber Shop. No explanation required.
  • Octopus Card. You put money on it. Everyone accepts it (almost). You don’t have to carry around change in your pocket. It takes less than 3 seconds to use. I don’t see any downsides, other than Columbus doesn’t use it.
  • Nightlife. There are so many neat places to check out. And things stay open late. No, not 2AM, 8AM.
  • Macau. So it’s not actually Hong Kong, but it’s an hour by ferry. Worth the trip.
  • Baked goods. Every grocery has an awesome bakery. There are also fast food style ones all over the place. And its cheap and delicious.
  • Taxis. They are very cheap to go anywhere even though they often try to take you the long way. They are also all over the place – it’s rarely hard to find one.
  • The Outdoors. So, I think when people hear Hong Kong they see it as a big, bustling city, which it is. What most people probably don’t know is that 30 minutes from the financial district are some beautiful hiking trails and beaches. Stunningly beautiful.


This is starting to feel a little routine.

It’s been a long time, old friends. My life has become even busier than earlier this year which I did not think was possible.

As I sit here at 11:42PM on Thursday July 8th, 2010 I have my bags packed for Asia for the third time in approximately 5 months. This comes after never traveling farther than Las Vegas before that.

This is the 4th time in approximately 5 months that I have had my bags packed for an airplane ride though. The 4th trip was to Orlando for an alumni golf outing and work with a client. We managed to squeeze in a little time at Disney World…my first time too!

So, the bags are currently packed for a two month stay in Hong Kong, where I will be leading a project team that is working to solve some business problems for a Fortune 500 company with offices in Hong Kong. Having been there before, I know just how awesome Hong Kong is and I can’t wait to go back.

In other news…

  • Fisher Professional Services – As I previously mentioned, I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the two Managing Directors of FPS. These two MD’s are primarily responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization (with support from several other people, thankfully). It’s been an amazing experience – and a lot of work.
  • Graduation – I volunteered to work at the 2010 graduate programs graduation and it was great to see several of my friends on their graduation day. I look forward to that day next year.
  • First Years – Yes, now I can call myself a second year MBA student. That means that all the incoming students are now first years. So far, I have been impressed with those that I have met.

That’s about all for now. Expect more in the coming weeks as I explore all over Hong Kong and China. It should prove to be a fantastic experience!

Best,

Nick Fischer


Potpourri

Hello everyone. It’s been several weeks since my last blog post and as you may or may not have noticed, they have been few and far between in general. If you check the full-time MBA posts, you’ll see that everyone has slowed in their posts. Spring quarter is a bear.

Classes alone would be challenging. Add in my responsibilities with Fisher Graduate Student Association, Fisher Professional Services, and my travels over this quarter, and it becomes nearly intolerable.

There are several mostly unrelated things I would like to convey (many with photos!):

  • Fisher Follies – Every year, the graduate school community at the Fisher College of Business takes a minute to make fun of itself, all in good fun. I participated in two videos (cameo in one, starring in the other) and also one live skit. I also debuted my beardless face (don’t worry, it already has grown back) to the Fisher community. By far, one of the funniest nights of my life and hosted in the beautiful new Ohio Union. Here’s a link to one of the videos – amazing work considering we are all business students not film producers: Fisher Sabotage.
  • Fisher Formal – Each quarter, the Fisher Graduate Social Chairs plan and host a large social event. In the fall quarter, this generally is the Halloween celebration. In the spring, this is the Fisher Formal, which is essentially prom for graduate students. Even though it was before Memorial Day, I still decided white was acceptable:

  • UTSAV -Every year, the Indian MBA Association at the Fisher College of Business holds a large, spring event called UTSAV. UTSAV is a celebration of all things Indian and includes dancing, a fashion show, and delicious Indian cuisine. It was good fun and I had the opportunity to participate in the fashion show (along with several others students and faculty, including Dean Karen Wruck!):

  • Dean Wruck – Fisher Graduate Student Association had their second meeting of the quarter with Dean Karen Wruck. FGSA has been working to improve already good relations with the college administration, and has been able to drive changes that positively affect student life. Highlights of recent meetings and activities can be found here.
  • Orlando – As part of Fisher Professional Services and the Global Summer Fellowship (GSF) program, I had the opportunity to travel to Orlando. The trip was focused on one of the projects for GSF, business development for FPS, and building alumni relations in central Florida. Activities included volunteering with Junior Achievement on Friday, visiting Disney World on Wednesday and Friday, and playing in an alumni golf tournament on Saturday. The Ohio State Alumni Club of Central Florida welcomed us to their third annual Buckeye Classic at Orange County National’s Crooked Cat course. On our final night we ate at Havana’s Cuban Cafe – which was some of the best food I have ever eaten. I highly recommend trying it if you are in the area. It was a great trip with a great group of people representing the Fisher College of Business well!

  • Dean Poon – A small group of Fisher Professional Services members had the opportunity to meet and discuss the future of FPS with Dean Christine Poon. The discussion was largely centered on the recent addition of undergraduate students to FPS’ talented pool of members. This is one of the great things about Fisher – faculty and staff are very accessible and interested in staying in touch with students.
  • MBA820 Group Project Presentation – Quite possibly one of the highlights of the quarter, our team of eight chose to do something creative and entertaining for our final presentation. Our instructor, Prof. Kistruck encouraged such behavior, saying these presentations should be entertaining while delivering content. We chose to do a mock case interview in Kistruck-esque style, including poking fun at several of our classmates. All reviews so far have been positive, with most people saying they don’t remember any of the content because they were laughing so hard. Whoops.
  • FPS Gala – For the first time, Fisher Professional Services hosted a celebration of the past year’s successes. In addition to FPS members, several members of the local and national consulting community were present to join in the celebration. Several awards were presented and the outgoing leadership were thanked for all their hard work over the past year.

  • Grilling Out aka Spring – After the seemingly never-ending Ohio winter, it’s finally consistently nice here in central Ohio. With that comes many great things, including good old fashioned cookouts. It was nice this past Friday to sit down with some classmates at Fisher Commons, light some charcoal, and just enjoy good weather and good company.
  • Dirty Franks – After hearing great reviews, I decided rekindle my love of a good hot dog and test out Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace. I tried the Chicago Dog, Ohiana, and the Dog from Hell along with their supposedly to-die-for french fries. While the food was decent, I was underwhelmed especially compared to all the hype. If you truly like a good hot dog, I would recommend Famous Franks over Dirty Franks any day. Feel free to disagree…try it out for yourself.

Well, that’s about all for now. Hopefully I’ll squeeze out a few more posts before the end of the year, and maybe even have the opportunity to write during my summer stay in Hong Kong. Finis.


Sorry for the Delay – HK, KY, and Life

Welcome back. It’s been a little while since my last post, and for that, I apologize. Life is pretty hectic around here and being gone for a week in Hong Kong didn’t really help that.

So what’s happened since last time – a lot – and I think the important parts of the story follow thoughts I had while cruising down I-64 in Woodford County, Kentucky. My trip through Woodford County was due to the fulfillment of a promise made about 14 months ago, before my MBA journey really began.

From April 3rd – April 5th, 2009, I spent my weekend in Columbus, OH meeting a group of students who had been offered admission to Fisher’s MBA program. Amazingly, nearly all of the people who were there that weekend ended up matriculating. One of my most vivid memories from this weekend was a discussion – and a promise – with Jeff Lakarosky, a fellow structural engineer whose family lives in Versailles, KY near Lexington.

A while back, I had decided to add what I call the “Three Great American Races” to my “bucket list” – The Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, and the Kentucky Derby. I made it to the Indianapolis 500 in May 2009 with my cousin Greg and had a blast – looking forward to making a return trip soon. I don’t see Daytona in my near future – but thanks to Jeff – the Kentucky Derby was easily within reach. And this past weekend, I fulfilled my promise to join Jeff at the Derby – and it got checked off my list.

The Kentucky Derby was a blast. Jeff, his family, and his friends were all amazing and very hospitable. Hopefully I can make it back down next year for another.

During that drive along I-64 through the rolling hills of Kentucky, I had one of those reflective moments. Just two weeks earlier I had been 9000 miles away visiting Hong Kong. Two weeks prior to that, I had been 9000 miles away visiting Viet Nam. I know a little German and even less Vietnamese – but that’s a lot more than before. I’ll be heading to Orlando in about 3 weeks to meet with alumni and potential clients. I’ve meet several hundred new people, many of which I now know on a first name basis. I finally bought an iPod and a BlackBerry. I’ve rediscovered what being busy is, and just how little sleep I can survive on. At that moment, I was watching as white fences and rolling hills flew by. And I love every minute of it – even when it’s 1:30AM and my paper due the next day isn’t finished.

So, a few more things before I go:

  1. While in Vietnam, I used a Flip Camera to record video for a short YouTube video about our trip. Something like an hour of recording turned into a 2 minute and 18 second video :  Vietnam 2010 – Emerging Market Field Study (EMFS)
  2. While in Hong Kong, I took about 500 pictures. It’s an amazing place and I look forward to checking it out for two months this summer. Here are some selected photos (Please note: there are 7-Elevens ALL over Hong Kong – I wasn’t out looking for them):

Thanks for tuning in.


Big Jet Plane – Hong Kong

Guten Tag. For the second time in less than a month, I am sitting in the Columbus Airport waiting to board my connecting flight to the other side of the world. A few weeks back, the destination was Vietnam; today, it’s Hong Kong.

For those of you who regularly follow this blog, you know that I have yet to devote much space to stories from my Vietnam trip. Without being out of the country twice in a month for 7-10 days each, this spring quarter would  be daunting. Add that to the mix, and it’s really hard to time find to write all the stories out.

Why Hong Kong? I am participating in the FPS Global Summer Fellowship, which is a summer program run through Fisher Professional Services. The program matches up student teams (project managers and consultants) with global companies (this year, destinations include Dublin and Hong Kong) for consulting work.

In other news, I recently was selected to be one of two Managing Directors for Fisher Professional Services next year. This is a tremendous opportunity and set of responsibilities – but I look forward to the challenge. If you are reading this as a prospective student, please contact me with any questions you may have concerning FPS. I think you’ll find it’s a pretty unique organization among business schools and I hope to see you in ProjectONE next fall!

Well, I think that’s enough for one day. Expect photos and stories from Hong Kong in the coming weeks. And jet lag. Again.

auf Wiedersehen!


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