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Looking Back and Looking Forward

fisher college


I am a second year full time MBA student and am set to graduate in about a month.  There is a mix of reflection and excitement (even more so from my wife who has endured having her spouse in a full time graduate program).

The Past

When reflecting on the past two years and what I’ve gained from them, I’ve thought of the relationships I’ve made and how walking out of this experience confirmed the things that brought me here in the first place.  When talking about Fisher, we talk a lot about the small class size being a key component of the overall experience.  The small class size lends itself to more intimate settings which, in turn, lend itself to more opportunities to connect with classmates, faculty and career management.  This all made logical sense, but I’ve been able to now have the experience of living it out and I can say it’s all true.  Friendships-I have been able to get to know several classmates in a deep way over this relatively short period of time, and I fully expect to continue those relationships even after the program is finished. Professors-even having gone to Ohio State for undergrad, I’ve seen a world of difference in the depth of relationships I have with my professors at Fisher.  Most of them are in the Ops/Logistics field (my focus in the program) and I have been able to cultivate these relationships and to lean on them for better understanding a concept and also for career advice.

Another area that sticks out to me is the Corporate Mentor Program.  As a student, you fill out an “application.”  It’s more of an info sheet on what you’re looking for in a mentor, and they pair you with an executive in the Columbus area.  The program is only supposed to last for a year, but often the relationships extend for more, and that was the case for me.  My mentor has been a great source of advice and has graciously connected me to others in the supply chain profession.

The FutureFuture path

Looking now to the future.  Currently, I am searching for a supply chain position in the Columbus area, but am hopeful that something will come through soon.  Coming to an MBA program is somewhat of a gamble, albeit a calculated and relatively low risk gamble (92% of graduates last year had jobs within 3 months of graduation).  You’re essentially putting all of your chips in and hoping the investment pays off.  Thankfully it almost always does, but at certain times tries your resolve.  I’ve found in those times it’s been helpful to focus on the good things in your life and to know that life is more than just what job you have.  For example, my wife and I just welcomed our daughter to the world a couple weeks ago (see picture below).  What a blessing!


The MBA program has been a great re-calibration experience for my career and I’m looking forward to a brighter future than when I entered.

The Internship

The Internship-Vaughn and Wilson
Second year MBA students-they’re older, wiser, and more mature, right?  The first one in that list is guaranteed to happen.  The others, not necessarily, but the internship between the first and second year of the MBA program is aimed to help towards that.  This summer I interned as a Global Supply Chain Project Manager at Greif, which is a $4.5 billion industrial packaging company headquartered here in the Columbus area.

Greif Global Supply Chain
It was a great internship.  The Greif supply chain folks welcomed me as a full member of the team and never looked at me as an “intern”.  The projects I got to work on were ones that the other full time team members would have been working on if I weren’t there.  Not only that, but I also worked on a project that had an international focus and was able to travel to Amsterdam for a week during the summer to pitch the solution we had come up with to the leader of the business unit there.

I’ve found as a 2nd year MBA this year there are a lot of things I’ve been able to hit on from my internship at Greif while at career fairs and in interviews.  The things I learned while doing the internship have been beneficial in growing my experience and understanding of supply chain management, and it was largely due to the role I had there.  So, when looking for an internship it’s worthwhile to focus on what kind of internship it will be and if you’ll get a great experience out of it.  I sure had that at Greif, and was more than happy to intern there this summer.

Going Beyond the Cold

OSU-Cold weather

It’s been a cold start to the year for most of the country, Columbus included.  The first two days of “Spring” semester were cancelled due to cold weather (not snow) which seemed like a great thing initially.  Turns out, we had to make up those days.  After all, we are paying to go to class, not to have classes cancelled.  The make-up days have been on Fridays, a day usually for catching up and getting ready for the next week.  All that to say, it’s been a busy start to the year.

Go Beyond

The new brand for Fisher College of Business centered on “Go Beyond” was launched this week.  There was a launch party where Fisher unveiled the new brand and also had speakers like Craig Bahner-Chief Marketing Officer of Wendys, John Lowe-CEO of Jeni’s and Mark Anderson-Chief Experiential Officer of Omelet to Go share how they have been impacted by the Fisher experience and how going here has helped propel their careers.

Hearing from these Fisher alums and seeing the success they have obtained in their careers was refreshing and inspiring.  It was a chance to think beyond the moment (of cold days and feeling behind on reading) and to remember why I am here and to dream about what’s next.  It was encouragement for us in the MBA program to Go Beyond the circumstance and keep pushing towards greatness/success, however those terms may be defined.

The Family Man (Not Nicholas Cage…)


It’s ok…It will be alright.

This is for all of the spouses and parents out there.  I thought coming to Fisher the thing I would get in 2 years would be an MBA, but I quickly learned that I was gaining a whole new discipline in the process.  As a husband and father who wanted to be around his family, I knew coming to business school was going to be challenging both inside and outside the classroom.  However, I feel that having a family has actually made me be better as a student and at home.  The three things I have learned through this process have been:

  1. Time Management: You just have to be good at managing your time.  I don’t have a lot of margins in my life right now, so it’s a sink or swim situation.  Often when you’re in this spot, not having a choice can actually push you to be better than you might have chosen on your own.
  2. Devote time to thinking about what’s important: The forethought you put into what you want to get out of business school is positively correlated (what’s up data analysis!?) with the opportunities you’ll be able to take advantage of while here.  There are a ton of events and if you don’t know what you want things may pass you by without you realizing it.  Better to be prepared and do the heavy lifting on the front end.
  3. Learn to say no: Like I referred to in point #2, there are a ton of events out there.  The temptation is to go to all of them.  It’s a temptation because there are a ton of awesome and interesting events.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a temptation, right?  Well, due to family parameters, I can’t go to everything, but I can go to the events I’m really interested in and passionate about.  That’s where the power of saying no comes in.  You have to pick your battles, and part of that is saying no to good things in order to say yes to great ones.

Let’s Do Lunch

Jesse Tyson (left), former Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil came to speak at a Cullman Luncheon in late September 2013

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Cullman luncheon with the former President and COO of Wilson’s Leather, Dave Rogers. Earlier this fall I participated in a Cullman Luncheon that featured Jesse Tyson, Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil. The Cullman Executive Luncheon Series is designed to bring 10-15 graduate students and senior executives, many of whom are also graduates of Fisher, together in an informal setting. Past executives have identified their current roles, discussed work history, and have provided insights into business in general. There is also a time for Q&A at the end.

Personally, it was hugely beneficial to interact with and glean “best practices” from these executives who had 35+ year careers to draw upon. Jesse and Dave both shared things that they did well and also shared about things to avoid as a manager and an executive. The questions asked by my fellow classmates were also very informative and brought out the richness of their experiences in business.

In an age where there seems to be a lack of either good or ethical leadership, the luncheon was a great way to get face to face with an executive who led well and could share those experiences and lessons learned along the way.

Jack Detzel, Director of Supply Chain Capability & Baseline Optimization/Productivity for PepsiCo, is coming to speak at a Cullman Luncheon in October

Craig Bahner, Fisher alumnus and Wendy’s chief marketing officer came to speak at a Cullman luncheon in April 2013


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