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Fun at the Fisher Scramble

One of the greatest games ever invented is golf. There are a building2number of cheesy quotes from either Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, or Happy Gilmore once said in reference to the game. Any way you look at it, golf is the best frustrating game out there. Many of us experienced this last week at the 2014 Fisher Golf Scramble at the Golf Club of Dublin.

I love playing golf and have enjoyed the game for most of my life. For this reason, I was excited to hear that there would be a fun event for students to get together and hit some balls around the course. For me, this would be my third time playing golf since the beginning of business school (I know, where are my priorities?).

One of the best parts of the day was that the weather cooperated for the first time this year. The course was in great shape and the sun was shining. Perfect conditions for golf!

My team started off pretty well going birdie birdie on the first two holes. That’s when things changed, sort of. We double bogeyed the next hole, which was a par 3. I guess I could finish this post there because that’s about the time when you want to walk off the course in a scramble. Anyway, we kept playing and had a great time. Some how, even with a double bogey and a bogey, we came in at four under par.

One of the most memorable moments of the day was when two MBA students (who shall remain nameless) “accidentally” parked their golf cart on the green while they were putting. Needless to say, the marshal wasn’t too happy when he gave them a stern warning.

After the round everyone gathered together for awards and a nice meal. It was fun to relax and enjoy golf with friends and classmates as we wind down our time here at Fisher.


Learning From A Patagonia Executive

Two days ago I sat in one of the most impressive patagoniapresentations I have witnessed during my time here at Fisher. I was able to learn the story of success and failures of a popular American outdoor brand, Patagonia.

Vincent Stanley, the “chief story teller” for Patagonia discussed his 41 year career with the company and how he helped in growing the brand to what it is today.

I was impressed most of all with his humility and passion for profitable sustainability. He spoke of lessons he learned during failures and successes within his tenure at the company. He noted that he nearly bankrupted the company of number of times, but was fortunate that the company’s culture pulled them through tough times.

Stanley highlighted the fact that the hiring process is crucial to the company’s success. The company makes sure that new employees understand the importance of being profitable, yet sustainable. The products that Patagonia manufacture and sell to the public are high quality and priced at a premium, because the company believes in minimal waste. The hope is that customers will use the clothing for 5-10 years and then return the product to be recycled into a new article to be sold as a different product. Stanley noted that the company believes firmly in cradle to cradle sustainability.

I enjoyed not only the stories of the success, but the on-boarding steps taken to increase morale and productivity. Patagonia makes sure its employees are passionate about the outdoors. Many employees participate in a 2 month internship with a NGO. During this experience the company provides the employee with full compensation as if they were working at corporate.

It is no surprise that a company focused on selling outdoor products invests so much time, resources, and money into keeping the outdoors sustainable and beautiful. My hat’s off to this company and its impressive leadership team full of people like Vincent Stanley.

 

 

 

 


CEO of LifeCare Alliance Visits Fisher

Chuck Gehring is passionate about his job and his company’s mission. His passion is evident in the way he talks about his company and the role he plays in leading such an organization.Chuck-Gehring-1807381 220 Having him come and speak was a special treat for students in the Leadership Legacy course.

Chuck’s organization, LifeCare Alliance, is a nonprofit that focuses on helping communities by identifying and delivering health and nutrition services to those in need. A few of the well known programs include Meals-On-Wheels, Columbus Cancer Clinic, IMPACT Safety, and many others.

Having Chuck in the classroom allowed students to ask questions and learn more about his career path and leadership style. Chuck was enthusiastic about the opportunities that recently minted MBAs have in the nonprofit sector. He stated that many nonprofits could benefit from having younger business leaders included in the board room in order to assist in  connecting with younger generations.

Chuck’s career path has been anything but traditional. He started his career with Anheusser Busch before moving on to Sanese Services. From there, Chuck moved into nonprofit and has enjoyed being in this sector.

His take on leadership was inspiring. He noted the importance of doing the right thing, not only for yourself and your company, but for the community in which one resides. It is obvious that Chuck has a great focus on making his organization successful and doing so in an ethical and professional manner. I was struck by one comment he made about his struggle sleeping at night if he feels like the company fell short in one area or another. He truly believes in creating sustainable change for the community by providing wonderful health and nutrition services to those in need.


Benefits of the Fisher Corporate Mentor Program

Last year I had the opportunity to participate in Fisher’s Corporate Mentor program. The program pairs first year MBAs with local executives from Columbus that are interested in helping mentor and develop students in their chosen career field. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor last year and truly enjoyed the relationship we developed during the program. This year, I reached out to a first year student to gain their perspective and see if their experience was similar to mine.

Below is a question and answer session I had with Megan Tuetken, first year MBA with a focus on marketing.

 1 – Who is your corporate mentor and what is their background?
My mentor is Mary Beth Cowardin from T. Marzetti’s.  She is the Director of Marketing for the Marzetti brand.  She did her undergrad at OSU and earned her MBA from Fisher.

2 – What were you hoping to gain from participating in the corporate mentor program?
I wanted a non-student/non-professor sounding board to talk to about my internship search and seek advice. I was also looking for a professional perspective on life in the corporate world of marketing.  I was hoping for a mentor in brand management to get an additional perspective to compare to what I’d experienced working with brand managers at Kimberly-Clark over the years.

3 – What have the events been like? Have you been able to meet other students’ mentors?
I did not attend the kick-off event as my mentor was not able to attend.  Instead, I met Mary Beth for breakfast one morning for our first official introduction.  We’ve done breakfast a few times to catch up and chat, and we’ve found that this casual approach has worked well for us.  I went to the event at the Thompson Library, which was pretty informal.  There were quite a few mentor/student pairs.  Some were simply chatting as pairs while others were mingling as larger groups.  I mostly talked with Mary Beth directly as I was in the middle of some critical decisions regarding my internship opportunities.  However, the chance to meet other mentors was definitely available.  I did meet a former colleague of Mary Beth’s briefly.

The last event, which was targeted towards Marketing students/mentors, provided much more of an opportunity to meet other mentors as we were forced to switch our table arrangements throughout the event.  It was great to hear other professionals talk about their experiences regarding a host of business topics.

4 – What is the best piece of advice you have received from your mentor?
My mentor was very helpful in giving feedback regarding my resume.  She helped me expand it quite a bit and pushed me to really capture additional items that I wasn’t really considering.  She also helped me realize which direction I wanted to go with my internship.

5 – Would you recommend the corporate mentor program to other students? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend it.  I’ve had a very positive experience so far, and I plan to stay connected to Mary Beth in the future.  Even though the formally planned events through Fisher are complete, she’s going to give me a plant tour and we’re planning on doing a store walk-through so I can learn more about the categories Marzetti plays in.

To me, it’s a no-brainer to sign up for a mentor.  Fisher has so many amazing alumni and local businesspeople to tap for mentorship.  There’s absolutely no reason not to do it!  I know some students have had better connections than others, but it’s also what each person makes of it.  I found that having a goal for the relationship (for me, it was mostly about the internship search) really helped.  I’m glad to have participated and made a new connection in my network for the future.


Celebrating Holi Dinner at Fisher

The Fisher College of Business has been a great place for me to meet Holi Dinnermany students from various parts of the world. I have especially enjoyed learning more and more about the Indian culture. One way I have learned more about their culture is by participating in many of the student organizations’ activities.

Last week I was able to take my wife and son to one of my favorite activities that takes place each year – Holi Dinner. In an effort to celebrate Holi, the Indian student organization puts together a dinner with music, great food, and lots of chalk. The celebration is one focused on color and love, and welcoming in the colors of the spring and summer seasons.

1966667_10152344790519642_1435701083_nAt first, my son was a little reluctant to have some pink chalk marked on his forehead, but he eventually warmed up to the idea and enjoyed the music and food. The food was delicious and it was fun to have an activity where I could bring my family along for the fun.

I was surprised at how much chalk and color was thrown around the lounge, but hey, everyone seemed to be having a good time. I am now looking forward to the next Indian student organization activity taking place next month!


The Start-up Nation and Spring Break

Israel has recently received the nickname “The Start-up Nation” thanks to Dan Senor and Saul Singer, authors of a book with that phrase as its title.

israel 3As part of an international innovation and entrepreneurship course here at Fisher, I had the chance to travel to Israel over the break to learn more about its unique business environment. The trip was an incredible experience full of learning and networking opportunities.

As a group, we spent the first few days in Tel Aviv. I was surprised at how modern and diverse the city was. People from all walks of life lived in Tel Aviv and worked in various industries. As part of our visit, we met with many businesses in the high-tech industry. Some of my favorite business visits in Tel Aviv were to Venture Capital firms or the small business in which so many VC’s invest.

In addition to visiting traditional businesses in Tel Aviv, we had the opportunity to visit an Israeli Air Force base. It was enlightening to learn about the strategy and tactics that the Air Force uses in defending its land and country. On a daily basis, Israel faces threats from various enemies and needs to be ready to perform efficiently at any given moment. I was most impressed by the rigorous amounts of training that take place on a daily basis so that pilots and ground crew are always on top of their game in case they are quickly called into action.

Jerusalem was a totally different experience than Tel Aviv. The City is surrounded israel 1with conflict, history, and media. Because of this, it is harder for flourishing businesses to remain in the Jerusalem. Many successful companies head towards Tel Aviv once they have reached a point where they can afford to do so. However, on small business that we visited is focused on creating and keeping entrepreneurs in Jerusalem. The business helps budding entrepreneurs flush out ideas, provides them resources, and at times, invests in them during their early stages. This is all done in hopes to improve the local economy in Jerusalem, but to also show entrepreneurs that they don’t need to pack up and head to Tel Aviv to be successful.

Many of the cultural, religious, and historical site visits were also very fascinating. Even though the weather didn’t completely cooperate with us, we still had an incredible time in one of the most historic regions on earth. I’d definitely recommend the Innovation Israel class to future students at Fisher.

 

 

 

 


Innovation Israel Pre-Trek Meeting

Visiting Israel has been a lifelong dream of mine for quite some time. Because of this, you can imagine how excited I was to learn that Fisher was planning on offering a course this year that included a visit to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Of course, I signed up for the class.blog_telaviv

The class is centered around the economy and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel, specifically in Tel Aviv. Our instructor for the course was born and raised in Israel and has an incredible background in business and international consulting. As a student, I have really enjoyed learning about the Israeli economy and culture.

One way in which I was able to learn more about the culture was to attend a social gathering at the home of David and Bonnie Milenthal. The CEO and founder of Israel and Company attended the event, along with representatives of the Columbus Jewish Federation. We learned of their experiences and connections in Israel and had the chance to speak with them in a nice setting that allowed for a lot of learning to take place.

While in Israel, my class will visit various companies and organizations, ranging from global Fortune 500 firms to technology startups. Along with visiting businesses, the trip will include a visit to Jerusalem to see and learn more about the historic Israeli culture. I couldn’t be more excited for this amazing opportunity.


Lessons From Harley Davidson’s Chairman and CEO

Keith Wandell is the current chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Last weekOB-YU416_0905ha_DV_20130905150728 he stopped by The Fisher College of Business to enjoy lunch with students and speak about leadership. His story is quite unique and he ended up being one of my favorite speakers that has visited Fisher.

Keith was very blunt and honest about his life and the business he oversees. He didn’t sugarcoat anything. He was very transparent and honest in assessing his own performance as CEO and chairman. He admitted his faults and highlighted many of his successes during his tenure at Harley-Davidson. What he has done for the company over the last 5 years has been pretty amazing.

I was really impressed with how focused he was on the customer. When I think of an auto company, whether cars, trucks, or motorcycles, I think of operational excellence. Keith mentioned that his first order of duty when becoming the CEO was to focus efforts on their customer. He felt that the customer needed more attention, and not just the typical Harley customer, but the future Harley customer.

Keith looked into minority groups and helped the company develop and market products to groups that had previously not been targeted. This has been an important factor in the success of Harley over the last few years. Women and African Americans have made a huge shift into the biking industry and Harley was well positioned to receive them.

During his time as CEO, Keith had to make a lot of difficult decisions to help keep the company moving forward. He said that it is never easy, but it is necessary in the position of a turnaround CEO. In addition to being extremely focused on success, he stated that a great leader needs to know how to take a stand against mediocrity. He related a story about meeting with an extremely poor performing Harley plant that illustrated his focus very well. He didn’t negotiate with the employees and was honest in telling them how poorly they performed. His tactics worked. That same plant is now one of the top performing manufacturing facilities in the world and has won various rewards for its success.


Angela Joyner’s Career Advice

Frequently business schools invite many executives to visit campus and share experiences with students. I personally love these opportunities because it allows me to see someone’s perspective regarding their career path. Many times the executives have great lessons for getting ahead in business, which is important. But the real insights I take away from these meetings is how I learn to have a more rewarding life.

Angela Joyner is a big name executive from ConAgra Foods, but what she spoke about wasn’t all business and leadership; It was more than that. She spoke about how to become a better individual and a more rounded leader in today’s business world. Here are a few of my favorite points from my time listening to her:

  1. Find Your Purpose – This really resonated with me because I think that there is much more to life than a successful P&L. Clearly, any business leader wants his or her business to perform well, increase revenue, grow the bottom line, and provide a great experience for employees. However, at the end of the day, what is your purpose in being a business leader? Are you replaceable? Most leaders would like to think that they aren’t. The truth is, almost everyone is replaceable. So, find your purpose, work hard, and enjoy life.angela joyner
  2. Surround Yourself With The Right People – Most great athletes recognize the importance of their teammates when it comes to achieving great success and receiving awards. Similarly, successful coaches heap appraise upon their wonderful staff and players for winning championships. This isn’t because they aren’t the best in the business, but because they are some of the smartest in the business. Similarly in business, great leaders surround themselves with hard working, honest, and capable individuals. This not only helps the business succeed, but it allows for everyone on the team to learn and grow from one another.
  3. Make Your Personal Brand A Priority – This is key for any new business leader. Angela highlighted that everyone has thoughts and feelings regarding an individual’s performance and style. In business settings, it doesn’t take long for someone to label you as an all-star, an average joe, or an under-performer.
  4. Align Your Heart With Your Smarts – To sum it up, find out what you are passionate about and find a way to excel in that specific industry or function. Incorporate what you love to do into your daily routine. This will create a much more balanced leader that is good for the long haul, not just short term performance that eventually burns out.

Happy Lunar New Year From Fisher

photo-CNY2Every year the Fisher College of Business hosts an evening to celebrate Chinese New Year. This event is one of the favorites for many students. Here’s why:

  • Great entertainment from many Chinese students- this includes, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, and much more!
  • Fun games for all attendees, including children. The event isn’t only for graduate students, but for members of the faculty and community. This truly is one of the best attended events every year!
  • Incredible Chinese food is brought in from a local restaurant. Not to worry, the Americans aren’t selecting the restaurant, we leave it to the experts to choose which offering is the most authentic!
  • A glimpse into another culture. Because many students at Fisher aren’t Chinese, or have never been to China, the celebration allows others to have an educational experience as well. For me, this is one of the reasons why I find this event so enjoyable.

 


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