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Serving the Community – ‘Fisher Serves’

One of the biggest things that forms an ingrained part of the MBA program here at Fisher is developing a sense of responsibility of giving back to the society. The faculty and the staff make sure they lead by example by continuously involving themselves in events such as Pelotonia, Fisher 5K, and Fisher Follies in an effort to raise money for charitable purposes. Along with the academic excellence, such a commitment forms the core of the values instilled by Fisher to the students.

Inspired, I participated last week in Fisher’s Community Service Day. This is an annual volunteering event organized by FisherServes, a graduate student organization committed to promoting awareness towards civil and social responsibilities. Community Service Day is celebrated to help and support the local Columbus communities by making small contributions in their day to day working and showing our appreciation and patronage to these communities.

Steven Fields @ The Huntington Bank

This year the event was in partnership with The Huntington National Bank. The day started with the keynote speech by Steven Fields, President of  The Huntington Foundation, who emphasized upon the mutual benefits that the community as well as the volunteers reap by participating in such activities. He mentioned that the camaraderie and bonding that such an event establish among individuals in an important take away that corporations have. This year there were six projects on which the students participated:

1. Mid – Ohio Food Bank: Helping by preparing newsletter to help spread a word about the cause.

2. Faith Mission Homeless Shelter: Helping by harvesting and maintaining community garden from where all food harvested goes towards feeding the homeless.

3. Animal Shelter: Helping by taking care of pets, cleaning their shelter, and doing various other associated tasks.

4. YWCA: Helping by organizing donations for building a women’s shelter.

5. Four Seasons City Farm: Helping the community by harvesting plants for the urban garden. Food harvested from the farm went to benefit food banks and/or homeless shelters.

6. Ronald McDonald House: Cleaning the common areas of this organization which provides housing for families that have to temporarily relocate to Columbus so that their children can receive medical care.

The OSU Team

I participated in the Mid-Ohio Food Bank which is a non-profit organization working for more than 32 years towards obtaining food from potential donors and distributing it to the needy individuals and communities. Here I, along with the team of OSU students, helped prepare newsletter which were to be distributed across Columbus to spread the word and awareness about the organization and the cause it works for.

In the words of Steven Fields, these events not only help the communities but also help the individuals and corporations volunteering towards the noble cause. He mentioned about the ‘collective impact’ that a group can have on these communities and that was exactly what we realized working there. Overall the event gave me a productive and purposeful break from the rigor of the MBA.

Looking forward to more of such opportunities!


It’s begun! Case Competitions.

It’s begun! Case Competitions.

So, after reading all the posts you guys must be taking MBA to be synonymous to fun, frolic, and excitement. If you do, you are absolutely right!  The MBA program is turning out to be a really exciting time to learn, experience, and implement. ‘Learning’ through a mix of people – professors, classmates, and project partners, ‘experience’ by actually interacting with CEO’s, CMO’s, Directors of top notch Fortune 500 companies, and ‘implement’ in real business problems through various opportunities such as case competitions.

Just a couple of weeks back we participated in the P&G Case Competition where we implemented our classroom learnings and professional experiences to help P&G address one of their key business issues. With Managers coming in and interacting on a personal level to explain about their problems and at the same time listen to what concerns we had was an experience in itself. Let me tell you three things which made the experience appear like an actual business premise.

1. Time Frame:  Having a serious case competition pertaining to a real business challenge for a client as huge as P&G barely one month into the program was a huge advantage to us. We didn’t have as much to worry about as the second year students. Moreover, the case was required to be submitted and presented in just over 24 hours. We could participate without actually missing any of our classes or other commitments.

2. Battleground: The battleground was neither the library nor the internet. And guess what, it wasn’t P&G’s financial statements either. It was a 10 feet by 12 feet room with a board and 4 minds in it. The time for coming up with a feasible solution was 4 hours. This actually fostered creative business thinking and working our minds rather than crunching numbers or ‘googling’. Advantages – learning in an innovative setting rather than sinking under a huge pile of data.

3. The Reward: What better way to celebrate the completion of the case competition than by hanging around with the trio – Professor Gray, Professor Campbell, and Professor Matta – over beer at The Varsity Club.

With the P&G factor and the M factor (Professor Matta) working in tandem, the entire experience was a great learning experience as well as a lot of fun. It was not only me, who found out the competitiveness of my peers, but also the P&G team who acknowledged that our batch turned out to be the most competitive and creative batch in the history of this competition.

Next milestones – Michigan State University Supply Chain Case Competition, National MBA Human Capital Case Competition, and Internal Case Competition.


INCEPTION

“As I write this blog, what echoes in my ears are the words of one of my friends, “What crap man! Senseless long essays, is this what you are going to gain out of you MBA?” I had barely started my application essay and this was the first review that I got. Little did I know then that, yes, that was what I was going to gain. Discovering myself – my ‘INCEPTION’.”
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The journey does start with a dream, but a dream without a desire, without reason remains a dream. Finding out the reasons for things that you are passionate about helps you to identify the right path amongst the many that allure you. “Discover yourself”, “Shaping your vision”, and “Focus on leadership” were the three things mentioned as I opened the word file to start my essays for Fisher. Unlike other colleges who emphasize on academic performances, extracurricular skills, and professional achievements, what Fisher asked me to write were simple things that I should have known like the back of my palm. But, I was unable to write even a paragraph. When I reflect back now, I can’t do anything but to thank Fisher for making me realize the real me. My ‘inception’ was truly discovering myself (Advice 1).

Now that I titled this blog as ‘Inception’, let me do what Christopher Nolan made Leonardo DiCaprio do in the movie – dive in the memories of time. I think I am taking it a bit too far. Let me de-convolute the convolutions. Haha, I love it. Ok, I just want to remember and share how I landed at Fisher and how I became the first applicant among the applicant pool (domestic + international) for MBA Class of 2014 and even got selected.

Before actually starting to think about myself and my life hitherto, I made a list of prospective colleges where I always wanted to study. It was the easiest thing in my life to do and it took me just five minutes. It is not an intentional pun; my list – MIT, Stanford, Harvard, LBS. It really is a five minute job, isn’t it? They say ‘ignorance is bliss’ and it did turn out exactly that way. I talked to a few Indian students in these colleges (Advice 2). What they told me was an inside story of which I was unaware. Most of them were in huge debt and to make things worse, the economy had hit them really hard. Considering what they had analyzed over time, one of them suggested The Max M. Fisher College of Business to me which, as per their research and later as per mine, had shown consistent placement records even during the economic recession. I did not intend to start this right away, but I know you guys want facts all the time. Ok, the more I researched (Advice 3) about it, the more I fell in love with the college. There were several aspects of MBA here which that guy mentioned and later I discovered through my research which appealed to me. And then I did not waste much time in filing my first ever application for MBA right after the link was active (Advice 4).

So, what are the key takeaways from this blog?  I want to stress the four pieces of advice that I gave you. Know yourself, talk to people, research well, and apply early. These four things are your walking sticks as you embark on your journey to take the next big step in life.



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