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The most disgusting food on the planet!

Well, I knew this time would come. With the  level of cultural diversity at The Fisher College of Business, I figured that I would eventually be challenged in terms of my culinary comfort level. Let me preface this by saying that I have an iron-clad stomach. I thought I could try anything, at least once. So, naturally, the opportunity would present itself. During a presentation by a fellow classmate, who also happens to be my team member, the topic of the most disgusting food in the whole was brought up. He asked for suggestions from the audience. I said mushrooms (which I don’t personally care for), but was I ever wrong. As it turns out, the most disgusting food on the planet, as voted by actual food polls, is the 1000 year old egg. The 1000 year old egg’s history can be traced to China, where it is a popular ingredient in many dishes, and apparently eaten by itself as a stand alone snack.

What is a 1000 year old egg, you might ask? Excellent question. It’s a duck egg which is preserved in a mixture of ash, clay, rice hulls and salt for a period of several weeks to several months. After coming out of this alkaline material, the egg has transformed into this (in the bowl):

 

Now, as you can see, the egg looks black – certainly not what I am used to eating for breakfast. However, the real surprise is inside. The exterior (former egg white) is now the consistency of jello, perhaps slightly firmer like a gummy bear.

The gray/black insides (former yolk) is indescribable. It has the consistency of cream cheese and is in fact quite creamy. Now, the taste… (yes, I ate one!) It’s certainly not a flavor I’ve ever had. It has the smell of sulfur and ammonia (you’re hungry already, right?) and the combination of textures is really wild. The flavor is musty and earthy. Not really as repulsive as it looks. Would I try it again? Depends. There would have to be pride on the line – money is not a strong enough motivator, here.

I would have never tried the 1000 year old egg before starting my MBA. The full time MBA program continues to amaze me! Proud to be a buckeye, prouder to be in the program with all these awesome people who push me to step out of my comfort zone!


Where to live?

I chose to live off campus because I already had a house in the Columbus area in the suburb of Worthington. Worthington is located roughly 8 miles north of The Fisher College of Business. In making the decision about where to live, there are several important factors to consider when choosing a housing option.

  1. How do you want to get to campus? If you’re interested in walking or riding a bicycle to campus, it’s probably not a good idea to live far off campus. The weather in Columbus can sometimes be enough of a deterrent against riding a bicycle, but we do have a nice time frame of fair weather. Something to keep in mind – many students will be in business casual daily, often business professional attire. I don’t want to ruin a suit or cause an excessive increase in my dry-cleaning bill! Parking is easily accessible around the Fisher campus and is pretty reasonable in terms of affordability. Keep in mind that there are also motorcycle parking lots, bicycle racks, etc.
  2. Class/Group Implications. Nearly every single class within the MBA program in the initial term has some aspect of group work. In addition, most students get involved with student organizations and opportunities for other extracurricular. That being said, if you’re going to travel to campus more than once a day – driving each time can get pricey. If you live far off campus, like me, you may not have a choice. No one wants to be a slave to the gas pump, especially on a student budget.
  3. Fisher Commons. The Fisher Commons is an apartment complex which is designed primarily for students of the Fisher College of business. Although I do not have the statistics, many students choose to live at Fisher Commons. Arguably the largest attraction – many students/classmates live at Fisher Commons.  If you have a homework/study question, it’s just a walk across the hall to a classmate. It’s also a natural social hub for events like tailgate events, parties, etc. There are certainly perks.  However, there is a price to pay for the convenience. Fisher Commons is expensive, with many substitutes within the marketplace being 20-30% less.
  4. Neighborhood Personalities. Many surrounding neighborhoods within the Columbus market have their own flavor and personality.
    • Dublin, Powell, Worthington and Westerville comprise the northern portion of the Columbus suburbs. These communities provide great school systems and are very family friendly, generally having a small town feel. The pace slows in the evenings, and these areas are generally quiet all day/night.
    • Clintonville, “The Short North”, Italian Village, Victorian Village, and German Village are very popular among young urban dwellers. These neighborhoods have a rich, diverse history and are vibrant in terms of nightlife and dining options.
    • Campus Area properties are generally going to have an “undergrad” feel.  Although locations may be convenient, the Friday/Saturday parties and traffic congestion may detract for some people. These rentals will often be the most affordable option.

In the end, this is just a snapshot of what options and amenities are available around the Columbus area and is by no means intended to be exhaustive. Where anyone chooses to live is ultimately a personal decision, likely to include consideration of several of the above factors. Do your research and make a decision that’s best for you. In the end, remember that you’ll literally have to live with whatever choice that you make for at least a year.


Learning about culture

The weeks are flying by at this point. Just one month into the full time MBA program at The Fisher College of Business and I’m starting to learn more about culture. Although it wasn’t something that I necessarily expected, the cultural education in the program is exceptional. We have classmates from dozens of countries and cultures around the globe.

Obviously, from a weather standpoint, autumn is a beautiful time of year in Columbus. The leaves are just beginning to yellow (in my yard) and I’ve certainly seen a few instances of leaves dropping on the smaller trees around campus. The days are warm (mid to upper 70′s) but the evenings and nights are starting to drop into the 50′s. After leaving the Fisher College of Business campus last Friday evening, a classmate of mine commented on how cold it was. He reacted in almost the same way that I would walking outdoors in January without a jacket. It occurred to me that he’d never been in a climate that was “this cold” before. It felt wonderful and refreshing - the kind of evening that reminds you of the transition from summer to autumn football. This then led to a conversation about Ohio winters, which can be frustrating, if not downright unpredictable.

In addition to helping explain American culture to international students, I truly enjoy learning about other cultures. One of the blessings of this program is that I am realizing more and more that the American way isn’t always the best way. As someone who hasn’t traveled internationally, it’s really helpful to get international exposure and perspective.


More than an MBA

Of the many great opportunities available at The Fisher College of Business as an MBA candidate, Fisher Professional Services stood out to me as a wonderful opportunity to get involved outside of coursework. Fisher Professional Services (FPS) is essentially an MBA run consultancy service which is led by Mr. Kurtis Roush, JD, MBA, who brings years of professional consulting experience into the equation. In addition to Mr. Roush, FPS has a governance board comprised of several distinguished faculty members which provides tremendous opportunity to collaborate with faculty on projects. Essentially, you have the opportunity to work with real companies, providing insights which drive actual decisions within the business. This program is valuable to me, as a full time MBA candidate, for a number of reasons.

  • The Team Component: FPS Project One is giving me the opportunity to work in a team outside of my core cohort group. This provides another chance to diversify my team-based skills, specifically in a “working” environment. My past work experiences, while on functional teams, were more individually oriented. This allows me to really push myself as a member of a team where each person contributes towards a result, together, rather than just having a common goal.
  • Real Consulting Experience: Although I somewhat alluded to this in my last point, the FPS projects actually coincide with a company’s real time problems. I have some entry-level consulting experience through my most recent position in commercial real estate, but this project allows a deeper probe into the consulting process. We’ve been presented a project which will have a major impact within the client organization upon completion. As someone looking to find full time employment within the Columbus market after graduation, this consulting experience with a target company is invaluable.
  • Networking: So, from the start of FPS, here’s how the touch points have evolved.

Me > Other FPS members > FPS Project Team > Client > Senior VP at Client>????

Just by joining the organization, I’ve been exposed to a number of connections from both within the MBA program (from other Cohorts), as well as MAcc Students, Working Professional MBA’s, and Vice-President level employees from major Columbus employers. It’s likely that at some point throughout the process, the relationships will deepen. This is just the beginning.

Although my involvement with FPS Project One is still in its infancy, I’m already seeing the benefits of active participation within the organization. Even more powerful yet is the fact that this is one of many opportunities for involvement outside of coursework here at The Fisher College of Business. This is more than an MBA.

 


Ready, Set, GO!

So, interesting things start to happen after the first day of classes.

  1. Time is everything: The first thing I noticed is that your schedule will fill quickly. I can see, very early on, why time management skills are essential in an MBA program. There’s a good deal of reading from the start, and if you don’t read regularly, I suggest practicing reading technical or unknown material to develop that skill. Not all of the material will be intuitive or familiar, so it’s good to have practice with subject matter that doesn’t come naturally – it’ll help.
  2. The team environment: Each student is placed in a core team within the cohort. This team of five (typically) is with you in all of your classes during the first term(s). The team is of a diverse background, both professionally and culturally. One of the real strengths of the team aspect of the Full Time MBA Program at The Fisher College of Business is that it provides continuity and consistency within the program. Plus, if you have a question about a homework assignment or reading, you have a go-to team that you can email at midnight and get a response!
  3. Exposure: Another pleasant surprise in the Full-Time MBA program is that you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of professionals from different layer of organizations. We’ve already had the opportunity to network with c-suite executives, directors, and hiring managers from the likes of Victoria’s Secret and Intel. Also, through the career foundation seminars, which are designed and organized by the Office of Career Management, we’re afforded the opportunity to explore the career tracts available in the program in more depth.

Leap of faith

Everyone who makes the commitment to pursue an MBA has made left something behind. It’s a huge sacrifice. I left a job and the income/security that came along with it. For me, that meant adjusting to a standard of living that I wasn’t necessarily accustomed to. I lived in the greater Columbus area prior to coming to The Fisher College of Business, so I knew a little more about Columbus than some. However, I didn’t attend Ohio State for undergrad, so I was worried about getting lost in/on a large college campus.

The first few days on campus for pre-term were intimidating – there’s no doubt about it. But it didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable. One of the things that I noticed immediately was how friendly and outgoing people are. Change isn’t always easy, but the people at Fisher have made all the difference. I mean that both in terms of peers, but also the outstanding staff and faculty.

Even this early in the program, I’m beginning to see how much I can learn from my peers.  I’m consistently impressed with how serious everyone is about their education. Not everyone in undergrad had that attitude and it’s refreshing to have that kind of synergy. The learning environment, with that support, feels very different than what I was used to. It’s been an extremely positive experience so far and I know it’s only going to get better.



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