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A night with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra….and more!

In each city I’ve lived in, I always made an effort to search out the symphony.  I’ve enjoyed performances by the Boston Pops, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and many performances by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.  I love the amazing  venues and the opportunity to just sit and let the music wash over me.  I once sat next to the sweetest elderly man while listening to the NSO and he was just vibrantly excited to be there.  He said “Doesn’t it just give you chills to listen to them?”  It did.  And still does.

And that’s why I recently procured a ticket to go hear the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. I attended a pops performance that was half the CSO performing alone and half the CSO performing with…. Air Supply.

It was like having your cake and eating it too.

I’m a huge Air Supply fan.  I know all the words to their songs.  To hear them play with the CSO in a venue like the Ohio Theater was just an incredible experience.  I remember skating to their music at the roller rink as a kid.  If I could go back and tell 6 year old me that one day I would see them perform, my skates would probably roll right out from under me.

And so I share this experience to demonstrate that there really are all kinds of cool and interesting things to do here in Columbus!  Whether its the arts, sports, festivals, eating out, or sharing a drink with friends, there really is something for everyone!


Air Supply & CSO on stage!

Russell & Graham signing autographs!

Fall in the Midwest

I’m a mid-westerner at heart.  I was born and raised in Indiana. I have lived in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and Texas (which, as I learned while I was there, is not “the south,” despite the fact that those of us from the northern half of the United States typically fail to distinguish it as unique — my apologies to Texans everywhere).  I loved living in all of those places, but there is something about the Midwest that will always feel like home to me.

One of the reasons I love the Midwest is FALL!  Having all four seasons is a great part of being in middle America.  But fall (autumn) will always be my favorite.  Here are some of the things that I like about fall in Columbus!

1. Taking Einstein for long walks to play in the leaves. (He enjoys fall as much as I do.  He doesn’t care for the heat).

2. Circleville Pumpkin Festival.  If you like pumpkins and pumpkin flavored anything, then check out the Circleville Pumpkin Festival! They also have a show for the largest pumpkin!

3. Oktoberfest in Minster, OH.  Minster is a very small, very German, very Catholic town outside of Dayton.  They celebrate their German Heritage in style – this year the first weekend in October.

4. Fall foliage!  Once the leaves start to turn, take a drive through the state to see all of the beautiful foliage.  I highly recommend any of the state parks. Last year, National Geographic named Columbus, OH one of the best top ten places for fall trips!

5. Football — (that one kind of speaks for itself.)

Whatever you choose to do to celebrate this amazing season, I hope you enjoy!

How do I know if I should get an MBA?

Today I participated in a panel for prospective students, and as usual, this made me reflect on my decision to come back to get an MBA.  Each time I speak to a prospective student, I find myself dispensing advice (because I think I have a lot of it!).  And I hear other current students, admissions members, professors, loved ones, random people on the street, etc. doing the same thing.

But you know what?  No one else can make this decision for you.

You are the expert on your life!

But while no one can tell you the best way to live your life, I do think there is a purpose to all that (sought after and not-so-sought after) advice.

Listen to the advice that resonates with you.  As people share their experiences and advice with you, pay attention to the stories that excite you.  You can use these stories and experiences to guide you through the process of deciding whether or not you want to get an MBA, which program you want to attend (full time or working professional), and even what school will fit you the best.

In the end, you’ll make the right decision.  Because – the decision you make will be the right decision for you.  Good luck!



Class, History, Leadership, and fun in Ohio!

During our Organizational Turnarounds class this week, we were very fortunate to have Burt Logan, the CEO and Executive Director of the Ohio Historical Society speak to our class about his leadership experiences.  A graduate of West Point, he left the military to pursue his passion of leadership, American history, and museums.  He has since worked as Director of the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society in Wilkes-Barre, PA; Director of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI; and President of the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, MA.  It was very interesting to hear about his leadership challenges in a non-profit environment, and to witness how similar those challenges are to the for profit environment.  It speaks to the fact that Fisher will provide you with a wide variety of experiences and information to prepare you for whatever role you choose to take after the program.

And do now I’m going to make a pitch about the Ohio Historical Society!  If you want something new and different to do on your weekends (assuming you have finished all of your homework, of course!), the Ohio Historical Society provides incredible opportunities for fun learning that is easy on your wallet.

1. Passport Program – Visit all 58 historical sites in Ohio, get your passport stamped at each one, and be inducted into the “Passport to Your Ohio History Hall of Fame!”  (I happen to think this is very cool.)

2. Archaeology Blog – Need a quick study break, but no time to go anywhere?  Jump online and check out the updates on the Ohio Archaeology Blog.  You’ll find updates about Ohio Archaeology as well as information as to what’s going on with archaeology exhibits.

3. Ohio History Center – Visit the museum right here in Columbus!  Just off I-71, it’s a quick trip from campus and admission is only $10. You can see the museum, archives, exhibits, and special events and programs.

4. Stop by the recently re-opened Ohio Village!  Admission $10 – who doesn’t love an “immersion” experience where everyone is in character??

This is a mere sampling of all the things the Ohio Historical Society has to offer.  Check out their newly designed website and “Explore Ohio!” for yourself!

The incredible i4 experience

The International Programs office has been hosting information sessions this week about the i4 programs for this upcoming year.  I had the pleasure of being a part of the i4 India class last year, and so I thought I would write a blog listing the reasons you should partake in an i4 class if given the chance.

1. You get to travel!

2. There is so much opportunity in emerging economies.  These opportunities span all of the business disciplines we have here at Fisher.  Meaning whether you’re a marketing guru or a finance fiend, you will be able to appreciate the content in the class, in addition to the travel.

3. Not to sound too cliche, but aren’t most of us here in an MBA program to “push ourselves,” “create new boundaries,” “try new things,” “see what we’re made of,” (etc)?  The i4 program, both class and travel, is an excellent way to do just that.  You will learn about a specific business environment in a new framework, you will get to travel (perhaps to someplace you’ve never been before), and you will create new friendships (the kind that can only come from traveling experiences!)

4. You get to go for 3 weeks!  It’s short enough that you will be back in time for an internship, but long enough to truly immerse yourself in the culture, the work, and the people.

5. Food.  Food food food.  Palak Paneer, Feijoada, or Bratwurst – it doesn’t matter which experience you choose.  You will be happily rewarded with yummy regional food.

6. What else are you going to do for May term?

So pick a country and sign up!  And if you have questions – contact the International programs office, the professors who are teaching the courses, or students who have traveled in the past!


With my i4 India friends, in front of the Taj Mahal

Stress? We don’t need no stinkin’ stress!

Even MBA students have rough days.

All in all, being a full time student, in my opinion, is far less stressful than working.  You are only responsible for managing your own work, you don’t deal with customer issues, and your schedule tends to be more flexible, which is a benefit that everyone can appreciate.  But, even in that environment, stress can rear its ugly head.

So just like in the “real world,” it’s a good idea to know what helps you make it through those stressful times.  It’s different for every person.  And very often it’s different for the same person based on the situation. I know people that thrive on being with friends and those that need some quiet time to regroup.  I myself turn to junk food (I love cake), while I have friends that find themselves looking to healthy food options that make them feel better.  My sister sweats away her stress at yoga, kickboxing, running, and other forms of exercise, but my mother turns to Lifetime movies to take her mind off her own stress (apparently by focusing on the dramatic life issues of those poor people in the Lifetime movies).

And I have Einstein.  Einstein never interrupts me when I complain, he doesn’t judge me if I choose not to make the bed, and he certainly doesn’t give me a hard time about my food choices because that dog will eat anything from fresh vegetables to frosting.

Think about what brings you joy and be prepared to have those options available to you during school (or anytime, for that matter)!  Life, after all, is all about balance…. right?



Taking a nap with Einstein


“How was your internship?”

The first question you’re asked upon returning to school for your second year as a full time MBA student is: “How was your internship?”  Whether it is driven by social convention (ask about something you know), or pure curiosity (what else could I have been doing with my summer), I have noticed it is more often than not the best way to kick off a conversation after not seeing your classmates for 10 weeks.  And, interestingly, I have noticed that the answers vary dramatically from person to person.

The internship experience means something different to everyone.  It can be viewed as an opportunity to push the boundaries because you’re only there for 10 weeks.  Or it can be viewed as a test run for a full time job.  It can help you decide what you would love to do after graduation.  Or it can help you decide what you absolutely would hate to do after graduation.  You can meet people that inspire you.  You can meet people that demonstrate exactly the kind of manager/worker that you do not want to be.  You will most likely find that everything you learned in your first year of school is useful and helps you with your work and decision making!  How fantastic!

The internship experience is ultimately a learning experience.  As incoming students you will start to identify your potential internship opportunities before you’ve even started classes!  And I remember how overwhelming that felt.  An important thing to remember is that YOU have the power to make your internship great.  Because what makes an internship truly useful is what you learn from it.  So do everything in your power to find the right internship for you.  Then do everything in your power to learn everything you can from it.

I was very fortunate to have a truly incredible internship experience.  As the sole intern at a garment factory in Bali, I had the power to experiment with ways of improving operations and motivation in a new (to me) culture.  I met incredible people and we were able to achieve truly great things in my short time there.  That short experience has helped to shape me for my second year of the MBA program.  And I hope you have that same sentiment upon completing your internship as well.

My team at Wooden Ships

Fast, furious, and finished … where did the time go?

The absence of my blog posts since February might be an indication of how busy and fast the last few months of the first year of the FTMBA program really are.  By the third quarter (and for future students, the second semester), you will find yourself completely immersed in graduate life; classwork, internship prep, and socializing.  The time after spring break went by like a Formula 1 race car (way to go, Dario Franchitti!).

Dario pushing for the win - 2012!


I took my last final yesterday and I am still in shock that the first year of my MBA program is complete.  I came into this program confident that it was the right move for me, yet humanly hesitant about the challenges that lay ahead.  Every scary new opportunity is ripe with the possibility of growth.  And grow I did.  I have rediscovered the excitement of learning.  I took on classes that I never thought I had a chance of understanding (um, finance, accounting?) and succeeded (and even discovered that I, dare I say, enjoyed them???).  I lived without a steady income.  (I had no idea how I would survive without buying designer clothes and eating at fancy restaurants, but as it turns out, it’s not that hard to spend wisely).  I’ve met professors who have inspired me and fellow students who have supported me.  It’s not just a new chapter, but a whole new book.  I figure life is like building a library, and I might need a new bookshelf soon.

To the new MBA class, tackle your new opportunities head on.  You’ll get sucked in to an exciting experience that will literally change your life.  You may even forget to keep up with your blog posts.

Have a wonderful summer!

Buffy and Einstein



From trekking through temples to managing midterms.

This time last year, I was trekking through Thailand and Cambodia with my best friend.  We were indulging ourselves in amazing food and drink, incredible landscapes, and thoroughly interesting people.

This year I’m studying for mid-terms.

It’s really not all that dissimilar.  Instead of exploring physically, we’re exploring mentally.  We’re delving deep into the heart of operations management, marketing strategy, and understanding the importance of having a well diversified portfolio.  We take breaks — food breaks, drink breaks, breaks to brainstorm about how to contribute to Fisher Follies — and that helps to keep up motivated in our studying.  I’m quite amazed at how quickly this quarter has gone by.  It does not seem like we are half-way through, and yet here we are.

So while I’m not exploring temples, I’m easing my throbbing ones as I try to absorb all of the information delivered in our classes.  It’s amazing what a difference a year can bring.


One of the temples through which I trekked!

Team-tastic! 5 observations from my MBA experience

If you see your MBA path as a solo endeavor – think again!  You will have group work during orientation, group assignments during classes, and groups you seek out for your own study sessions.  B-school is nothing if not a social endeavor in managing behaviors, building relationships, and negotiating ideas for assignments.

I happen to be fortunate enough to have a really great MBA core team.  And I’ve been equally lucky to have sought out some great study partners outside of my core team as well.  This past weekend, we completed the Internal Case Competition — another opportunity to work closely with a great team.  I’ve developed some observations based my experiences with my teams this year, and I thought I would pass those along to all of those prospective students who are trying to get a better idea of what B-school is all about.

1) Come prepared.  Our best meetings occur when everyone has some idea of what’s going on.  This doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers – but at least be able to ask intelligent questions.

2) Humility.  I think one of the reasons that the teams I’ve been a part of have been so successful is that we are all willing to recognize we don’t have all the answers.  I’m consistently amazed at how much my fellow students know.  Always be willing to sit back and listen for a bit.  It makes the conversations so much more interesting.

3) Challenge each other and be challenged.  Respectfully.  We all come from different backgrounds with different opinions and different knowledge, and we use that to make each other work harder and think further through the problem.  Ask your team members about their opinions, share your own, and challenge each other to think even more deeply through problems and assignments.

4) Work through things together.  Take your time.  Plan accordingly.  If you have a difficult assignment, find a room, shut the door, and start from scratch.  Each student brings a lot individually – you will be amazed at what you can accomplish together.

5) Enjoy yourself!  Laugh.  Make goofy jokes.  It’s worth the extra time and it will help you bond with your team.

Get ready for lots of work with other people. It can be intimidating to try to do all of this school work with a group of people you don’t know.  But if you approach the group work with an open mind and a desire to learn, you will find that your team based work has a huge, positive impact on your MBA experience.



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