First, I would like to apologize for my absence from the blog. It has been a whirlwind of a quarter, but the up-side is that I have some new and exciting adventures to tell you about. I recently took on the position of President for the Fisher Graduate Women in Business organization at school. Our new leadership team has some exciting new ideas for next year and hopefully we can keep the momentum going from the previous leadership team.
Last month, we went to a strategic planning/leadership retreat in Midway, Utah. The overarching theme of the conference was to recognize and develop your strengths to be a more effective leader. At the conference, we also heard a speaker from CARE, a non-profit NGO focusing on alleviating poverty. It was really eye-opening to me to understand different micro-finance projects going on throughout the world and their affect on reducing poverty. For example, CARE began a micro savings/micro-finance project in Niger in 1991. Since its inception, the projects have grown to 400000 participants and they have collectively saved $20 million dollars. Considering the women put in about 10 to 20 cents a week, it is amazing how successful they are. Nicholas Kristof is an important advocate of CARE and their projects. He recently wrote an article focusing on these projects for The New York Times.
This is something that I have found really interesting and am looking into how I can help with these projects myself. Here is the link for Krisotf’s article as well as for CARE’s website. I will write back soon!
Kristof – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/opinion/23kristof.html?src=me&ref=homepage
CARE – www.care.org
It has been a while since my last post- but there are some exciting updates. As other have written about- spring quarter has arrived and is in full swing. The weather has been beautiful and everyone seems to be in a better way than during winter quarter- despite the large amounts of readings this quarter for the first year students.
One of the most exciting events that some of the other women and I have been working on is a committee to help plan the National Association for Women in MBA’s Annual Conference. It will be held in Louisville, Kentucky this October. Fisher will be the lead academic sponsor- which is going to provide us with some extra work, but some amazing benefits. We will have a private reception with over 75 recruiters, working directly with both recruiters and visitors and a chance to meet with over 3000 other women in business throughout the country.
I will keep everyone updated with the details, because we are so excited for the opportunity. 9 of us are attending a strategic planning retreat this week in Utah, which should be another great event to propel the Fisher women to the national spotlight.
As the quarter is wrapping up, I don’t think I need to tell you that things have been a little crazy. (to tell you where my head is – for two blogs in a row I used the same title and didn’t realize it) However, in the past few days, there have been a few moments where I was able to stop and realize that while I am often overloaded with work, I am also blessed in more ways that I know.
The weather has been a definite mood changer around Gerlach, and could not have come at a better time. With tension levels high throughout all of the campus, the weather has been able to alter the outlooks of the students for the better.
Another event that caused me to sit back and count my blessings was the shooting on campus earlier this week. While my heart and prayers go out to the victims and the families of all those affected, it made me realize that there are much bigger things in this world.
I challenge you to take sometime over the next few weeks to take a break and enjoy the weather or at the very least take 10 – 15 minutes to count the blessings in your life. I think it will help keep tensions low and the perspectives healthy during this exam period. I wish everyone good luck with the wrapping up winter quarter and I hope you can take some time out to reflect and also to let the people you appreciate in life know how much you appreciate their presence.
There are all sorts of age old adages that people say such as “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Or “Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” People say them flippantly, never really stopping to take the time to internalize these pieces of wisdom. Last week, I was able to sit down and focus on the idea that “It is little things in life that make life worthwhile.”
You can take that and interrupt it how you like, but for me I saw firsthand how taking some time out of your day for someone else can mean a world of difference. Last week, we had a guest speaker in our marketing class. He came in with some impressive credentials on his resume and was able to give some real world applications to our theory based class.
His career had taken him all over the globe, from the UK to Africa, to the US. I found this very intriguing, because I have always wanted to push myself to something new and different. Working abroad has always been something that appeals to me.
After his lecture, I approached him, saying that I had some questions and would love to ask him more about his time abroad and his career path. He gave me his email and by noon that day, I emailed him with some questions.
He responded back that night, and got up early the next morning to spend time with me over breakfast to cover my questions and he also helped me to frame what I should do going forward. This man had no allegiance to Ohio State, or to me. But the fact that he sat down with me, took me seriously- even though he was C-level at a major corporation, and gave me advice, meant the world to me.
It was on my drive to school after our meeting that I realized the power of the “little things.” He said I could email or call with more questions when I needed to and who knows if we will ever meet again. But the fact that he was able to listen to me and help me out, gave me more confidence in my search. I cannot thank him enough for that same gesture and I hope someday I can pay it forward to someone else.
One of the leadership programs that Fisher offers is a mentor program. Fisher set me up with someone based on what I am interested in and what I want to go into, and then for the next year we have different activities to go to such a networking nights and speakers.
Since we first met about a month ago, my mentor and I have really hit it off. The office did a great job pairing the two of us up and she has already taught me a lot. For instance, networking has always been something that is out of my comfort zone. However, she is a big believer in networking. This past week she set up a lunch for me with one of her former co-workers to learn more about the investment field. She said she believes it is really important to “Pay if forward.”
I really appreciated her help and learned a lot throughout the lunch. However, not only is she helpful in terms of career advice, but she has also been really helpful in just my adjustment and transition to Columbus. I have lived here now for about 6 months, however, there are still many parts I don’t know.
She is there if I ever have any questions about a restaurant to go to or an event at the Wexner Center. Her generosity has meant a lot to me and really showed me the impact that someone can have. I look forward to more of our meetings and hope that I can use what she has given to me to “pay if forward” to someone else.
Sometimes things happen that are out of our control. This is something that seems fairly obvious; however, today has given me many different moments that have proven this statement true time and again.
This morning, I made it to school in record time. There was not anyone on the road because many people were off of work and school for the day. I was also pleasantly surprised because the winter storm we were expecting was delayed some from some of the forecasts I heard the evening before.
I got to school early to study and prepare for the finance midterm. Our professor walked into class a few minutes late today, without any exams in his hands. He said he was sorry but he did not have the exam because of a printing miscommunication but that they should arrive in about 15-20 minutes. People were so upset in our class, yelling things out and complaining.
I felt bad for our professor because he is new, and this was one of those moments- it was out of everyone’s control. We ended up getting extra time and it was not a problem. In fact, I think it was good for people to have this little hiccup because it is a good example of what real life is like. There might be a hitch along the way, we just need to adapt.
After the exam, I went to work a little but later than normal, but planned on staying the normal hours. Due to the storm, I decided to leave a little bit early because, unlike my drive in at 7am, I knew this drive was not going to be so flawless. I made the trek home, clocking in at over two hours for the usual 25-30 minute commute. However, during the ride, I realized it was out of my control. I was happy to be safe and slow than for something bad to happen.
This wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to do with my evening, but at the end of it I was thankful for being safe. There is always that silver lining and I feel like today I lived the adage “slow and steady wins the race.”
As I have gone through the MBA program, I have changed my focus and career path many different times. I have gone from wanting to be a market researcher, to wanting to be a consultant, to wanting to go into human capital consulting, to where I am now institutional investments. My path usually starts with a really inspiring or moving speaker or possibly reading an interesting article. Then I go onto to research the field, talk with people in the field and start to dream about my life in said position.
I tend to be a bit dramatic, so then I think about what kind of house I would want to have, the car I would drive, what my husband would do, how I would raise my kids, would I have a dog? (mind you I am currently not married or engaged, I live with my sister, and do not have a dog or kids) But still, this all does go through my head.
This past week I had the opportunity to speak with someone who had investing experience on Wall Street and knew the industry very well. My goal of the meeting was to learn about the industry and come away having a better idea of what my options are. But as I went in, he questioned me and pressed me to get answers to questions about everything. Where I wanted to live and why? Did I want to see my niece or nephew or send them a check because I was living oversees and could not come to their birthday party. (Mind you I don’t have a niece or nephew or even one on the way) These questions went on for near an hour and I left the meeting beaten down and unsure of what I wanted.
I sat down that night and reflected on what happened during the day. I had spent the past quarter living in the land of gray and this professor in the span of an hour threw me into a land of black vs. white. Right vs. Wrong. Good vs. Bad. And as I thought about it, I realized his point wasn’t to scare me to death, it wasn’t to beat me down, it was to show me that I need to work on making decisions. I think he was being dramatic to prove this point. And after an hour of talking about life experiences, my take away wasn’t even anything he specifically said.
It was instead a realization that I needed to see. I realized that sometimes you need to see the world in a black and white view. Sometimes you have to make the decision because you can get caught up in what-ifs (such as the whole what car I would drive thing) While I am sure I will continue to play different scenarios of happily ever after in my head when I land a dream job, I will still need to eventually make that decision to move forward.
Usually I focus my blogs on small things that happen in my every day life and try to turn them into a lesson I have learned. and as you might have read, I have learned a lot over the past quarter.
Anyways, this past Monday, I was at a funeral of some old classmates’ father. I did not know him well, and had lost touch with the sons, but I went to show support and solidarity. As I got to the funeral, I was preparing myself because I knew it was going to be so sad. Their father was always one of those dads everyone really liked, very considerate and caring towards everyone. But as I got there, I never really felt the heavy cloak of sadness.
The family was mourning, of course, and there were a lot of people from around town there showing support and solidarity. However, it was more of a celebration of his life. He had an impact on some many, and was such a positive person, that everyone realized that just having him in their life was truly a blessing.
This whole experience really got me thinking. With the idea that you never know what is around the corner, it is important to live your life like that. Even though I was never close with the father, going to his funeral has changed the way I act. I try know to be more positive, more caring, and more considerate towards others. Because just having a positive impact on others can go a long way. So I thank him, because not knowing him, but seeing his impact on others has inspired me to be a better person.
Our family always enjoys reading each others horoscopes. We are not people who necessarily live by them, and almost read them for entertainment as opposed to advice for our lives, but at the same time there is always some take away from them. This year, my yearly horoscope said that knowing my limits would be a strength this year.
This got me thinking about myself and what are my limits. It is easy to judge your limits based on what other people say about you. For example, some friends in college always told me that they would not want my schedule. That I ran around too much from meeting to meeting and did not have enough time to relax. (After all, relaxing is an art form)
Coming to Fisher, I told myself I would work on finding my own boundaries. But this was hard for me first quarter, because I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me. Between class, work, clubs, and social activities, I feel like I did push myself but also became a better- more well-rounded person along the way. But yet again, people kept saying that they would not want my schedule, that I was too busy.
But after thinking about my new years horoscope, I realized that limitations are personal and vary drastically from person to person. They depend on things such as priorities, habits, and goals. Going forth from this point into 2010, I know that it will be important to figure these things out. And I challenge everyone to do the same for them. Find what you want your limits to be, push them some, and then turn your own limits into a strength. I am hoping that it will make this new years one of the best yet!
Before starting at Fisher this past year, I never realized how big Ohio State really is. I know that my mom went here for undergrad a few years ago and her main reason for coming was that she “wanted to be a number.” Ohio State is the biggest university in the country and it is easy to blend in and be a part of something bigger.
Even though I knew the size of the school was large, I did not realize the reach and impact the school had throughout the community. At my new assistantship in the Office of Financial Services, I have been working on gathering information about the University. This information spreads from enrollment numbers, tuition, faculty and employment, to the financial statements. I realized that I was not working for just a normal school; I was working for one of the biggest businesses in the whole state.
Going beyond the amount of people and the amount of money that goes through Ohio State, I realized that Ohio State also has a different kind of reach to the community. I saw this over the holiday break, as I was driving through the small town of Bellefontaine, Ohio. The town is about an hour west of Columbus and it is a small town that has been hit hard by the recession.
As you drive through the old downtown, that has a lot of charm to it, you cannot help but feel somewhat depressed because of the amount of small mom and pop stores that have gone out of business. There used to be a yarn and craft store that didn’t make it, along with a few restaurants and some other general stores. But as you drive past some of the boarded windows, you come across a sea of scarlet and gray.
There is a whole store that is totally devoted to The Ohio State University. If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have thought that that store would never make it. I usually said, “How much Ohio State stuff can one person need?” But with the past football season and exciting bowl game, I saw the true reach of Ohio State. The Buckeyes give people something to cheer for and believe in. By watching the Rose Bowl, people forget about their own situations for a few hours and are able to have fun cheering on the players. They look forward to this break from the stresses around them, and put on their scarlet and gray to be a part of something bigger.
I am slowly becoming more and more of a fan than I ever thought I would be. And I think I can attribute this to opening my eyes to what Ohio State is all about. I am excited to be a part of this great community and must admit I had my jersey on all New Years Day. Go Bucks!