Wait, it’s week WHAT??

Apparently this quarter is going a lot faster than I had realized because it’s already week 3!  So let me start off by saying, welcome back 2nd year MLHRs, welcome 1st year MLHRs and a welcome in advance to all the prospective students that will hopefully be coming here next fall.

I won’t bore you with the details about my summer internship, but if you are really interested you can read all about it here at the My Fisher Internship Blog I wrote for this summer.

I’ll be brief and just say it was an incredible time and that OCLC truly is a great place to work for.  So much so that I am staying on until the end of this year.

I’m looking forward to a new slate of professors, a new set of classes and challenges and also to be more active with student organizations here at Fisher such as the Graduate Human Resources Association.  I’ll also be putting a lot of focus on the group that I am Graduate VP of : Out In Business, a group promoting social equality for all people but with a focus on the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgendered community and its allies.

It’s going to be a challenge balancing my home life, a love life, work and school.  But we’re MLHR!  We’re tough.

More to come soon, but welcome and welcome back everyone!  It’s good to be home (Gerlach Hall).


Gerlach Hall AKA Home

Putting A Bow On It

“It”, being my first full year of grad school.  I started last spring as a graduate non-degree candidate, testing the waters of the program you could say.  It’s been a bumpy, fun, nerve-wracking, exhilarating, amazing, incredible, crazy ride.

It’s Week 10 now, and there are signs that this ride is finally slowing down.  This quarter has been very different than the others so far.  Core courses aplenty, group projects abound, and no finals.  Wait, no finals?  That’s right, no finals.  Just papers.  Not that papers are less stressful than final exams.

I took two core courses this quarter and an elective.  In my core courses, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some members of the Cohort with which I haven’t had a chance to previously.  And in my elective, I’ve had the chance to interact and work with students from the other Fisher disciplines.  You can sometimes forget how brilliant your fellow students are until you collaborate with them on papers and projects.  Since I had previously completed the core course (Compensation) last year that most of the Cohort is taking currently, I don’t have any finals.  So I get to start my break a week early, even though we have papers due on finals week.

Fortunately, I have great teams that I can rely on.  I’ll be doing my portion of the papers now and I know that my team will be able to put them all together while I’m gone.  This is one of the more amazing things I’ve learned in grad school: I can be relied upon and my colleagues can be too.

In 21 hours from now, I will be on a plane to Orlando for five days, back here for two, back to Chicago for 8 days, and then I’ll be here for the Gay Pride weekend before finally starting my internship on 6/20.  I’ll be done 8/26 and a week later I’ll be flying to Venice to set sail on a cruise around the Greek Isles, and be back just in time to hopefully help out with the 1st year orientations.  Then hopefully it’s off to Napa in October to have a joint celebration with my best friend back in DC and help celebrate his 30th.  I have lots to look forward to in the coming months!

But I will miss my friends that are leaving for their internships.  One of the other amazing things about this program are the friends that I have made:

One, has the purest energy, smile and love for all around her; another is a self-admitted dork who loves technology as much as I do, but can recite the lyrics to just about any hip-hop song from the last 10 years, tell you who was in the group and what year that album was released; another and I have such an amazing and loving relationship that it’s hard to believe that I’ve only known her for about 9 months and not 9 years.  And there are many many more people that I do not have the space to list in this blog post.

I have to say that it’s been a great year and the more sadistic nature of me is sorry for it to end.  But at least we have another year to look forward to!  Have a great summer!  KIT.  See you in the fall!  (Why don’t we have an MLHR yearbook for everyone to sign?)

A preview of the weather I have to look forward to in Orlando
Two of my fabulous Cohort friends and I at Mouton in Short North

Varsity Club: Say Hello To Goodbye

Varsity Club: right there on Lane Avenue, across from the fabled Fisher and Gerlach Halls.  It was one of the first places we went, orientation mixer, and had a chance to really develop the bonds that this Cohort is known for.  Second years are still talking about and envious of how well we’ve meshed. Reference my Cohort blog post here.

It’s the first place we got to say hello, relax a little and let the business school armor fall to the ground with a clang on the concrete floors outside the school where they belonged.  We are MLHR, and we are like none other, not MBA nor MAcc.  There’s a spirit in us that is different, undeniable and incredible. Because of this, we let ourselves be unguarded and vulnerable, mingle, really know each other, and start to form this amazing cohesive unit that we are today.

I did not have the final that everyone took this night, but I wanted to meet up with everyone there at Varsity Club afterward to say goodbye to those that would be leaving soon for their summer internship adventures, because I love each and every one of them.  We have become more than friends, more than colleagues, and more along the lines of family and veterans of a war.  The war is grad school, we are wearing Purple Hearts proudly, tending to each others’ wounds, talking about kills and comparing scars.  We leave no one behind.  I have more brothers and sisters than I could ever have hoped for, and the blood we all share is scarlet and gray.

When we first met at the Varsity Club for our very first mixer, we were a ragtag bunch of adventurers, vagabonds, neophytes and strangers.  We knew nothing about each other and we were sizing each other up as competition.  Varsity Club changed that for all of us, and we are stronger, wiser and better because of it.  We are a melting pot of personalities, cultures, backgrounds and education that reflect the business world so absolutely and perfectly.  Because of that, and what we learn from each other, we will all change the world.

Unfortunately, the last time we got together at Varsity Club as an entire Cohort was sometime early Winter quarter.  Tonight, however, we gathered to say our farewells and good lucks and congratulations and expressions of missing and keep in touches and best wishes.  It was like coming home again for the holidays.  The din of shuffling tables and scraping chairs as we grew in number and decreased and grew again; people playing Chinese Fire Drills as we switched around to talk to each other; voices carrying across the expanse of the bar and tables; flashes of cameras and scents of greasy food was like a reunion.  Here was our family, battered and exhausted, but happy and content.  We were together again.  And for a night, we laid down our burdens and regaled each other with memories of things past and visions of things future.

Varsity Club is the place where we came to shake off Stats, had cold drinks to cast off the coils of Compensation, and release the tension from Research Methods.  It was our hub, the focal point of our angst and anxiety, freedom and fear, happiness and horror. This place served as our escape from errors academic, advent of adventures, loudness of laughter and safe place for sorrows.  Here we could be together and all was well because of that.

Soon we will all part for our separate journeys.  It will be strange to not see each other for hours of days, days of weeks and weeks of months.  But I have no doubt in my mind that the bonds we made and the experiences we shared will stretch across state lines, miles of continents, leagues of oceans and seas, time zones and meridians.

We will be together soon again though, more experienced and worldly, stronger than ever, happier to see each other and more ready for the challenges that will face us come September 21st.  We will be first years no longer.  We will be second years, but we will be second to none.  That is how strong we are, because nothing can come between this Cohort and what we will do.

I love you all and wish you the best for the summer, for the coming year and for all that we will encounter afterward.  Together.

(nearly) Group Photo At Varsity Club
"Mom and Dad" Their nicknames for the year
Two of the MLHR boys, Shawn and David
Me and my mei mei (little sis)

Putting The “Focus” On School

I have always wanted to participate in focus groups for products.  I am not shy at all about sharing my opinion or having the chance to possibly score some free stuff.

While I haven’t done that outside of the school yet, I have had the chance this year to participate in several focus groups for Fisher.  One of them was for the Office of Career Management, another for the Communications department that handles the printed and web materials for the college.

These have been a fantastic way for me to give back to the college and help improve things.  The focus group for the Office of Career Management was very enlightening, as it became evident that students were not aware of all the things that the office can do for us with our career searches.  And subsequently, we have been underusing the tools available to us.

The focus group for the Office of Marketing and Communications was great as well.   The first one I participated in focused on our program: what’s good, what’s bad, what needs to be fixed and how.  I was then invited back for a focus group about our MLHR brochure that gets sent out to prospective students.  In this one, we talked about what is great about the brochure, what additional information should be included and what parts of it may be misleading.

The best part of this focus group was that I was asked to provide a written testimonial for the new MLHR brochure that will be coming out this fall.  To take things one step further, some of the other students who participated in the focus group and I were asked to be photographed for the new brochure!  We will also be featured on the college site in video testimonials.

If participating in these focus groups is something that you’re interested in, make sure you pay attention to your e-mail and respond quickly because these slots fill up quickly.  It’s a great way for you to make a difference in the college and be part of the process.  (Plus, they usually serve Panera boxes for lunch.  Not pizza!)

My first professional headshot
Our group photo outside Gerlach Hall

Farewell to the Kat/Cat

Some of us were fortunate enough to have done Compensation in undergrad or as a graduate non-degree student like I did.  But for those people who weren’t so fortunate, they’re suffering through the final phases of the FastCat project.  That didn’t stop some of them from coming out to the Varsity Club though!

As you may be aware, one of our beloved professors is leaving us to go to Kansas.  Venkat Bendapudi got us through Statistics and our 863 class, Business Practices and the HR Manager.  His patience with us that were not great at math should be legendary.

It will be very sad to see him leave, as he is one of those rare professors who cares more about our education than cashing that paycheck from OSU.  He is witty, funny, intelligent and passionate about all he does inside and outside of the classroom.

In order to honor him, about a dozen or so students descended on the Varsity Club patio to give him a surprise farewell.  The look of shock and adoration on his face was priceless.

A few of us chipped in to buy him a bottle of Glenlivet 18, his scotch of choice.  Peppered in with his lectures were exclamations of love for his wife, daughter, the program and single malt scotch.  He mentioned the last one about 105,000 times.  That could be hyperbole or just me being bad at math.  We couldn’t think of a better way to send him off.  His wife proclaimed that his speech to us at the Varsity Club was the one of the most emotional times she has ever seen him.  The sentiment is returned, Dr. B.

Because it was a surprise party, he was unfortunately not able to stay long.  But a few of us remained and continued to raise a glass to him.  Here’s to you, Dr. Bendapudi.  Best of luck in your future endeavors!  You will be missed.

Good luck Dr. B!
Me and Dr. B

The Columbus Asian Festival

I just call it “the festival.”  Kind of how I just call Chinese food, “food.”  Get it?  That was an Asian joke.  Anyway…

It has been about 8 years since I was last at the Columbus Asian Festival, hosted at the Franklin Park Conservatory, this past Memorial Day weekend.  When I went 8 years ago, I was not impressed.  The food choices were limited (I think Panda Express actually had a booth there…), it was severely underprogrammed and the marketplace was full of cheap tchotchkes.  Attendance was decent, however, so that was a good thing.

Since I needed a study break, and my friends were heading down there, I decided to give the festival another shot.  A lot had changed in 8 years, in some ways.

The food vendors have multiplied threefold and there are some fantastic, authentic dining choices. Cuisines that range from Filipino to Thai and of course Japanese, Indian and Chinese are all there and the food quality has dramatically improved.  There are bubble tea vendors as well as Asian ice vendors that use incredibly authentic ingredients like grass jelly that most people outside of Asia have probably never seen or heard of.  I personally had a meal from Erawan Thai consisting of chicken skewers marinated in ginger and just a touch of spice, an egg roll and a delicious Thai iced tea.  My friends dined at the Filipino vendor as well as the Pan-Asian vegetarian restaurant.

Not much else has changed.  The festival is still severely underprogrammed.  There is usually a performance or demonstration happening on the main stage at the amphitheater and then another on one of the smaller stages.  But the events are short and not the main draw of the festival.  The marketplace is still full of dime store tchotkes that one could pick up for about $.50 in Asia, but they charge about $20 here.

Attendance, however, is something that has changed.  It has dramatically increased.  One of the things that I loved seeing was that there were plenty of interracial couples, something that wasn’t seen as often 8 years ago.

This is not an entirely scathing review of the festival, however.  It is a great event and brings Asian culture to the Columbus, OH population that may not otherwise have the chance to be exposed to it. I recommend that everyone go, but I would not have your hopes too high when you do so.

Me and my Filipina friend Audrey
A performance of a traditional Filipino dance
The Marketplace at the Columbus Asian Festival
The food vendors at the Columbus Asian Festival

My Fisher Internship

I’m hooked on blogging, what can I say?

This summer, after the My Fisher Grad Life blog wraps up for the year, I’ll be continuing to write for the My Fisher Internship blog.  This blog will allow a few of us Fisher students, both undergraduate and graduate, share details about our summer internships, our exploits and travels as we head out into the big bad world for a summer.  Check us out here!

Now on to my actual internship.  Starting June 20th, I will be at OCLC here in Dublin, OH.  OCLC is a global non-profit that specializes in the creation and linkage of digital libraries across the world as well as ensuring their information security.  Although not many people have heard of them, we have a headcount of approximately 800 people in Dublin alone and draw Library Science and Information Securities students and professionals from all over the country.

While I will be in a more generalist role 50% of the time, I will be working as their Diversity/Inclusion intern the other 50%.  This is something that I am very passionate about and I’m hoping that my experiences this summer will allow me to determine whether or not D/I is a specialty I may want to pursue down the road.

Diversity/Inclusion encompasses a few things.  First off, the most visible and prevalent aspect of the field is the creation or Employee Resource Groups, groups within the organization that serve to promote awareness of a certain group (such as women, veterans, LGBTQ, Asian, Black, etc.) as well as serve a business function like increasing diversity in recruitment and developing employees in this group to move upward within the organization.  To prevent these ERG’s from becoming just a social group, they are required to submit a business case detailing how the group will benefit the organization.

The Inclusion piece of D/I deals with getting the organization’s culture as a whole and making sure that the needs of all employees are met, making sure they are satisfied with the organizational culture and so forth.

One of the most exciting parts about my internship is that the D/I officer is relatively new to the organization.  Joining us from sunny California, Patrice Jimerson has extensive experience in this field, but has a lot of work to do at OCLC.  This is exciting for me because I will be working with her to develop the program within the organization with essentially a blank slate.  This kind of experience will be invaluable to me if I do pursue D/I as a specialty.

Although I’m not looking forward to commuting to Dublin every day for the summer, I am excited about the opportunity, the people I will be working with and the chance to use our world class gym after work.  (I’ll be able to get a work out in, relieve some stress and wait for the traffic to die down on 270/315.)  I’ll need those work outs especially since I plan on eating here (unlimited California Rolls!  Vietnamese Summer Rolls!  Tempura!) just about every day, hopefully with some of the Cohort that will be at Cardinal Health across the street.

So be sure to check out my new blog!  I promise a couple more posts on this one too.  Don’t worry.  🙂

The courtyard at the main OCLC building

Travel Ails and Remedies

Over the winter, I wrote a blog about how to travel like a pro.  Unfortunately, sometimes airlines get in your way, no matter how big of a pro you are.  So here are my tips on how to get yourself from Point A to Point B when, as a student, you just need to get out of town, forget about your coursework, and go have some fun.

A little background first:  On a trip back from DC on USAirways, I ran into the most difficulties in a single trip I ever have.  Ever.  I was bumped (read forcibly removed) from a flight because I was one of the two last people to check in and the flight was overweight.  I was shifted over to Delta, which proceeded to cancel its flight.  I then got shifted back to USAirways, which then postponed its flight until 1AM.  I was at Dulles Airport for a grand total of 12 hours before I decided to just go home.  I received a flight voucher, which I then used to book a flight to NYC for this weekend.  The flight was delayed five times for Air Traffic Control reasons, which were not elaborated upon, and I decided again to just hop on a flight the next morning.  As a friend told me, “Fool me once…”

So here are my tips to make traveling a little easier:

1. Sign up for alerts from your airline.  I received a phone call and e-mail from USAirways every time they delayed my flight.  All four of them.  Even though your flight has been delayed, at least you can delay yourself from sitting in the airport ad infinitum.

2. If you do have trouble, find a rep.  This is a crap shoot. I lucked out and received a wonderful USAirways rep who got me rebooked for a flight the next day, had my bag pulled out and onto a carousel within five minutes, and she did it all with panache and a sense of humor.  She looked mean, so don’t judge a book by its cover, but restored my faith in humanity and in USAirways.  For now.  Look for Laura G at CMH.  She’ll do right by you.

3. Book your flights for as early in the morning as possible.  Airlines who have delay problems (I’m looking at you, USAirways, Delta, United, American, etc…) tend to keep getting backed up until what happened to me, happens to you.  Getting a flight as early as possible will circumvent this for the most part.

4. Complain, complain, complain.  The greasy wheel gets the grease, aka a flight voucher and probably a meal voucher.  Use at your own risk though.  Flying on an airline you get a voucher from is like getting waterboarded and then saying, “Please sir, could I have some more?”

5. Here’s my real solution to everything:  FLY SOUTHWEST.  I flew Southwest to Chicago, where I was going to be for a few days.  I decided to extend my stay by a day.  I changed my flight online, there were no change fees, I checked in two bags for free (after a shopping bender on Michigan Avenue doubled my luggage) and for $15 more, I was able to upgrade to business class.

6. Southwest business class gets you this: You are one of the first ten people to board, which means you can get one of the four seats in the front with the extra, super-deluxe legroom.  If you check in exactly 24 hours before your flight, you’ll likely be the very first.  It also gets you a free glass of wine, cocktail or Monster energy drink.  And next comes the most important part.

7. It gets you their Fly By Lane, available at most airports (not CMH).  I underestimated how much time I needed to get through security at Midway in Chicago.  The Fly By Lane let me almost literally fly by the 50 minute+ line at security, and go through the priority security line.  It took me five minutes to get through.

8. Even if you don’t do business class, you still get two bags checked for free (in addition to a carry on and personal item), a free drink, a snack and the peace of mind that your flight will leave on time.  The 24 hour check-in trick works for non-business class too.  Set an alarm for 24 hours before your flight, check in and you will almost certainly be in the A11-A30 group.

9. Southwest flies into outlying airports, and so you get to fly cheap.  I flew into Midway instead of O’Hare for Chicago, and fly into BWI instead of Dulles or National for DC.  The travel time between Midway and Lincoln Park is the same as O’Hare.  And I saved $150 on a comparable flight.  Very student budget-friendly!

10. The airport you choose when not on Southwest is also important.  Dulles, O’Hare and La Guardia tend to have the most problems with delays.

11. And no, I am not a spokesperson for Southwest, though I should be.  You can bet this blog will be posted on Southwest’s Facebook Wall in hopes that my kind and deserved words land me a free flight somewhere.  Business class preferably.

12. Update: My flight back to Columbus from La Guardia got off without a hitch, and even arrived half an hour early.  Well done, USAirways.  You’re 2 for 15 in my book now.  Southwest still rocks the most though.

Out In Business

Sounds like a contradiction sometimes, doesn’t it?  The business environment hasn’t traditionally been known to be a wonderfully accepting and liberal sphere, but, to borrow a phrase from Dan Savage, it gets better.

When I first decided to join this program, I was worried that I would have to downplay certain aspects of my self that might not mesh with the traditionally conservative environment of business school and the business world.  A big decision for me when writing my personal statements regarded whether or not I share my sexuality.  I didn’t.  I regret that a little.  I was hiding an aspect of myself that has contributed so much to my personal growth and my personality.  Why?  I didn’t feel comfortable.

Doing some more research, I looked into the work the Human Rights Coalition has been doing with Fortune 500 companies and their rankings of these companies in regards to their LGBTQ-friendliness.  The HRC releases annually their Corporate Equality Index, where they score Fortune 500 companies on a variety of metrics such as diversity programs, domestic partner benefits, and so forth.  They also release an annual list of best places to work for the LGBTQ community.  Check out statements from companies that have scored 100 on the CEI here, and a list of the best places to work by industry here.  You will be surprised and impressed by who you see.  A Fortune 17 company in our own backyard is amongst the perfect score winners: Cardinal Health.

So what I have been doing on my part to make our Fisher College of Business more LGBTQ-friendly?  I am a member of OiB, Out In Business, an undergraduate and graduate organization specifically tailored for Fisher students, LGBTQ or otherwise.  Our mission statement is to to inform, involve, and inspire business students by connecting them with the resources and tools necessary to successfully advance social justice, equal rights, diversity, and inclusive initiatives at Fisher and in the community.

We’ve done great things like social mixers, invite speakers and throw events like fashion shows.  Were you at any of them?  I’m thinking not.  Our membership is down and the word is ironically in, not out, about our group.  So where do we go from here?

We have launched an aggressive social media campaign that spans Facebook (click hyperlink to see the group), Twitter and, you guessed it, my blog.  There are more events coming up like speaking events featuring LGBTQ leaders of local industry, more social events and awareness programs.  This group is open to everyone and I’d love to see some of you Fisher students at our events and our meetings.  Working together, applying our unique skills and the business acumen that makes us Fisher students, we can make our college a true reflection of the business world today, and build a vision of what we want the business world to look like tomorrow.

Staying Fit

I’m writing this right now because I have yet to find the motivation for working out today.  I’ve already summarized the chapters for my upcoming Staffing quiz, returned e-mails, Facebooked and read my blogs.  The only distraction left is this.  But I’m hoping that writing about this will help motivate me!

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk in the halls and classrooms of Gerlach Hall lately about how people think they’re so fat, out of shape, or not at their target fitness level yet.  Even though it’s been rainy and cold and nasty out for the last several weeks, Spring Fever has set in, and people are thinking about their beach bods.  I know I am.  My favorite line from the Fox comedy, American Dad, is “I’m straight skinny, but I’m gay fat.”

So, how do you find the time to work, study, go to class, and still find time for your fitness?  I have no idea, because I haven’t quite struck that balance, but here are my tips:

1. Don’t eat after class.  I know it’s tempting.  But eating a full meal, like I used to do, at 9:30 after getting home from class is awful for your body and your goals.  Bring food to class with you, and eat then, not later.

2. Don’t eat out.  This is a tough one too, but when you eat out, you have no control over your caloric intake or the ingredients.  That Tai’s chicken sure tastes good, but the sauce is full of sugar, oil and chemicals.  I make three days worth of meals every Sunday evening.  It’s a good way for me to end my weekend on a nice mellow note, I blast some music, get lost in the process and I get full control over what’s going into my body.  I bring these meals with me to class and the temptation to stuff my face afterward is gone.

3. Choose healthy snacks and stop drinking soda, even if it’s diet.  There are studies that show that diet sodas can actually contribute to weight gain and make your body process sugars differently in other foods you eat.  I strictly drink water and for snacks, I either eat rice cakes or almonds.  Sometimes 100 calorie granola bars as a treat.  Keep ONE small portion on hand for class for when you’re really really tempted and your self control has been battered by a seriously long lecture.

4. Cut back on that booze and carbs.  I’ll admit, I love a glass of wine after class.  That paired with the full meals I was eating was wreaking havoc on my body.  I’m not saying totally abstain, but find another stress reliever for the end of the night.  Cut back on those carbs too.  If you’re sitting on the sofa with a belly full of carbs, you’re in trouble.  I’ve been substituting sweet potatoes for bread or rice.  Just wash, wrap in saran and nuke for 6 minutes and you’ve got a sweet, tasty, filling substitute.  If you really can’t give up carbs, try quinoa.  It’s similar to rice in carb values and texture, but is a complete protein, the only one of its kind in the plant world.  It’s also nice and filling.

5. I’ll admit, I’m the worst about this one.  Drink lots of water.  When you’re dehydrated, your body’s metabolism goes on the fritz and you start to retain water.  I add a splash of lemon to mine to liven it up.

6. Work out.  Duh.  This is a tough one when it comes to time constraints.  I normally don’t get a workout in on Monday’s and Wednesday’s because I have an earlier class, but I try.  Get a few in at least every week.  Get P90X and some weight bands and you have an instant gym in any of your rooms and a very effective, 45 minute workout.  Run up the stairs of Gerlach with your abs contracted, two steps at a time.  Jump rope every day.  It’s a full body workout and you can burn as much as 15 calories per minute.  It’s not much, but it’s something.

7. Have something to work toward.  For me, I’m going to Orlando in 15 days where I will be lounging around pools and beaches for 5 glorious days.  That’s my goal and it’s kept me motivated.  If you’re not heading anywhere for the break, try thinking about a target waist size or shirt size.  (Remember, losing pounds doesn’t always mean getting fit.)

8. EAT.  This seems contradictory to a lot of people, but starving yourself will kill your metabolism.  Eat a large, healthy lunch, don’t forget breakfast, and snack throughout the day.  This will keep your metabolism roaring like the furnace that it should be.  Also allow yourself one “bad day” a week, where you just get a ton of calories.  This will prevent your metabolism from plateauing and is a good way to celebrate your day off from your work outs and reward yourself for your hard work.

Those are my tips.  And now it’s time for me to go work out and put my money where my mouth is.

PS – I dropped two waist sizes in three weeks following this plan