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GE Capital CMO Visits Fisher

Ian Forrest, the current CMO of GE Capital, was on campus a few days ago as part of the 2013 Middle Market Summit. A handful of marketing students were able to sit down with Ian to learn about marketing in a global economy. Luckily for me, I was able to learn from his well of knowledge.

Not only did Ian talk about how to be a great marketer, but he highlighted the importance of being a great leader. Here are a few highlights that I took away from my hour with this fantastic business leader.

  • There are no global brands, only global marketers. Brands can be known throughout the world, but they may differentiate depending on location. A marketing manager in the Unites States will not be able to market effectively in the German market without living there and experiencing the culture. Marketers need to understand the importance of how consumer behavior and insights differ throughout the world.
  • Brands have lost the power, consumers hold the upper hand. Consumers have many options within the marketplace. Gone are the days where brands can afford to make mistakes with their consumers. Products and brand comparisons can take place instantly using smartphones, tablets, computers, and other technologies utilized by consumers. Marketing managers must consider the power of consumers when constructing the marketing mix.
  • Pricing is becoming more and more transparent. Similar to the prior point, consumers can figure out more and more if a product is priced competitively in the market. Proceed with caution when setting a pricing strategy because customers will search for the value.
  • Most insights are found in the long tail, not the majority. The insights that really matter are not found within the majority of the market. Differentiation doesn’t come through core customers, but through the incremental gains in new clients and customers.

This list is not an exhaustive list of everything he shared, just a few tidbits that stood out to me. Fisher continues to provide me with opportunities to help me develop myself as not only a good marketer, but also a great leader. This event was one of those times. It really doesn’t get much better than this.


Getting Involved At Fisher

Business school is a time to change career paths, meet new friends, experience greater learning, attend football games, grow your professional network, live in a new place, learn about new cultures, and so on. Clearly, there are plenty of options of what to do with your time while you are attending b-school. One important lesson I’ve learned while attending school is that school is much more fun if you get involved.

Currently, aside from the recruiting and interviewing process, I am taking a full load of courses, serving on two organizations executive teams (marketing and strategy), raising a 16 month-old child (with the help of a wonderful wife), playing intramural football and softball, and playing with my dog each day. The craziest thing about all of this is that there is so much that I’m not doing.

Ohio State MBA Fisher has so many awesome student organizations that it makes it hard to pick and choose which ones to join. For me, I try to do the most I can with the time that I have. I have found that the busier I am at school, the more fun I have. Yes, it can be very stressful, but it is also very rewarding. Looking back on business school I want to make sure that I didn’t miss out on any opportunities. Two years goes by much quicker than I would have ever imagined.

Aside from student organizations, the school is great about bringing in fantastic leaders in the community that speak on professional development. These have been some of my favorite experiences. A few of my favorite speakers have been Jeffrey Immelt (GE), Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Les Wexner (L Brands), and John Kennedy (IBM).

Social events are also a great avenue for students to become more involved with their classmates. For example, every week a social event is hosted for students to attend and to learn more about one another. Frequently in the first few months, these are focused around tailgating and Buckeye games. Other times the first years and second years will compete in softball or other sporting activities. These examples have helped forge strong friendships that will last far longer than the two years spent here in Columbus.

 


How I Select Classes

I have recently had a number of first years talk to me about career planning and how I select my class schedule. While I am not sure there is one sure way to pick classes, I have found a formula that has helped me enjoy my time here at Fisher. Not only have my classes been relevant to my future career in marketing, they have been fun and very beneficial.

Here’s a brief glimpse into how I decide which classes to take:

  1. Career Path – I always factor into my decision how a particular class will align with my career ambitions. As a marketer, I look into classes with strategy, marketing, innovation, leadership, and value creation. Marketers focus on adding value to organizations, products, and brands and need to be well versed in multiple business disciplines. This means that not every class I take falls under the marketing and strategy departments. It means that I try to be as knowledgeable as possible in various business functions, and see how they relate to my future decision making as a marketer.Fisher College of Business MBA
  2. Leadership – Let’s face it, leadership skills are the most important to develop as a business student. Most business students have had to manage employees in their past, but they probably all could have handled it better. Leadership classes here at Fisher are frequently taught by past c-level officers that know what it takes to lead in the real business world. They balance real world experiences with current business theory to help students learn how to effectively lead and manage.
  3. Professors – A professor can make or break the learning environment within a classroom and that is why it is important to find classes taught by professors with which you connect. Essentially, I have a short list of professors that I have really enjoyed learning from. Because of this, I try to sign up for classes taught by these professors because I know their teaching style and I know how I learn most effectively. Figuring this out early on in business school can definitely make your second year more enjoying.
  4. Scheduling – Everyone has a life outside of school and classes, and sometimes it may conflict with a class or two. So be it. It isn’t the end of the world. I make sure that my schedule is manageable and doesn’t hinder my balance. Flexibility is crucial for business school, but knowing how to prioritize is just as important. Just as in strategy, it’s as much about what your company won’t do, as it is what they will do.

Following these basic principles has allowed me to enjoy business school and the classes I take. Hopefully it can serve as a guideline for someone else trying to strike a good balance with a challenging class schedule.


Fisher 1st Years vs 2nd Years Softball Game

A little over a week ago, students from the full-time MBA program gathered together to participate in a fun-filled softball match at Beekman Park.

It wouldn’t have been hard for any old random Joe off the streets to realize which team was full of first year MBAs. It’s fairly similar to walking around Gerlach. Let me break down the major differences both on the field and in the class.

Fisher MBA

Softball

  • First years tape their wrists. Second years break their wrists.
  • First years wear sunglasses at night…and eye-black. Second years don’t.
  • First years all wear the same color shirt and have 28 players. Second years are lucky to field a team. Shirts? If all the second years are wearing one that’s a bonus.
  • First years wear themselves out like dogs during batting practice. Second years bring their dogs and let them loose during the game.
  • First years win and get soaked in the rain. Second years leave early and enjoy the first round of beers and burgers.

Classroom

  • First years are taking data analysis. Second years enjoy sleep.
  • First years study in the lounge. Second years study at Varsity Club.
  • First years sign-up for clubs. Second years are busy swinging clubs on the Scarlet Course.
  • First years have class on Friday. Second years travel on Friday.

All in all, we are pretty similar. This is just a fun list of semi-sarcastic differences between students all striving towards the same goal…a great education and career opportunities. Fisher delivers both of those in various shapes and sizes. Regardless of the year in school, Fisher students are dedicated to helping one another and enjoying fun activities together when not in class. The softball game was a perfect example of that – I just wish I would have been on the winning team!

 

 


It’s Good To Be Back

As the title of my post relates, it is good to be back.

As my wife and I were making the drive back to Columbus from Minneapolis she asked me if I was ready to start my second year of business school. I hadn’t really thought if I was ready or not but I did know that I was excited to return. Some people may think that is crazy, but let me explain what I mean when I say that it is good to be back at Fisher.

Here is what I am looking forward to at Fisher this year:

  • Camaraderie – Oddly enough this reminds me of my days playing sports. When you are on a team, or in business school, you develop very close relationships with others. Why? Because you are all going through the same trials and challenges and celebrating similar successes and accomplishments. Business school is a mentally and emotionally grueling time of life and great friendships are established that will last a lifetime. To put it simply, I’m excited to see all of my friends from b-school that were off in different parts of the country (and world) completing their internships.
  • Education – I like to learn. If you are in business school and you don’t like to learn, you may as well drop out. School isn’t the only place where education and learning take place. They continue on into the workplace. If you don’t like to learn new things and stretch yourself, you probably shouldn’t be in b-school. I love the challenge and love to learn from others experience and knowledge. This year will be even more exciting as I focus my classes on my majors of strategy and marketing.
  • Buckeye Football – I have to be honest, right? I love sports and I love football. Put me in a school with one of the best teams and storied programs in the country and it makes for some excitement. Not only is it fun to gather weekly with classmates, but it is fun to feel the buzz in the air surrounding football season here in Columbus. You may not show up to Fisher as a Buckeye fan, but I can guarantee you will leave as one. It’s inevitable.
  • Exposure – Being a students here at Fisher comes hand in hand with loads of exposure to recruiters, top faculty, and great alumni. During my first year I was able to meet with numerous recruiters that were very interested in Fisher students. They have had great success with Fisher students in the past and they enjoy recruiting here and meeting more potential candidates. The faculty and alumni are beyond generous and have been a great asset to me as a student. It has been fun to see a few of them and fill them in on my experience with 3M this summer.

Like I said, it is good to be back. Good to see friends, talk with faculty, and enjoy the community feeling of Ohio State. Hopefully this year won’t fly by too quickly!

 


A Day In The Life Of A Fisher MBA

I recently had a friend, from back home in Utah, give me a call to catch up and see how business school was going. We talked about the classes and the recruiting events. I spoke about my classmates and the breakdown of cohorts and first-year teams. It was fun discussing the challenges and successes of attending a top-tier business school.

After about 15 minutes of catching up and filling him in on my schooling, he asked, “so, what is business school really like? What does your daily routine and schedule look like?” I thought I had done a good job of painting the b-school picture for him, but apparently not. He wanted the gritty details of every day. So, I walked him through a day in my life. Here is what it looks like – a day in the life of a Fisher MBA:

6:00-7:15 I roll out of bed and jump in the shower, trying not to wake my wife or our 11 month-old son in the other room. I get ready for the day, pack my computer and books into my backpack, make sure my lunch is ready to go for the afternoon if I don’t have a lunch meeting scheduled at school. I eat breakfast (a must in b-school to make sure you make it through the day) and head out the door.

7:45-8:15 – I like to get to school a little earlier than most of my classmates. I will review case notes and the readings from the night before to make sure that I am ready to contribute in class.

8:30-10:00  – First class of the day. Enjoy class lectures and analyzing case studies.Depending on the day I would either be attending Strategy or Leadership Excellence.

10:00-12:00 - Study time. I normally hunker down in a study room with a few of my classmates to read cases, work on papers, finalize team projects, research companies, etc.

12:00-1:00 -I frequently eat lunch in the student lounge or I attend a Fisher sponsored event. Many of the events over the lunch hour are great learning opportunities. Fisher frequently brings in executives from around the country to speak about business and leadership. I have found these events to be very beneficial and educational! During the lunch hour is also when many of the student organizations host activities and events. These are great times to meet more students and learn more about specific industries and job functions.

1:15-2:45 -Second class of the day. Currently, it would be Market Research and Analysis or Consumer Behavior.

3:00-4:00 -I normally have team meetings, project briefings, or graduate assistant responsibilities that I attend to during this hour. Mainly use this time to make sure that everything that needs to be accomplished is headed in the right direction.

4:30-6:00 -I try to head over to the gym and get in a quick workout. This helps keep a balance in my life during the busy days and weeks at Fisher.

6:15-10:00 – Family time. This by far is the best time of the day. I normally don’t see my wife or son before I take off in the mornings so I really clear my schedule for the evenings so that I have time to devote to them. As soon as I get home, we eat dinner together and then I play with my little boy for the next hour or two. Then I feed him his last bottle, bathe him, and read his story and get him to sleep. Like I said, best time of the day. I then have about an hour of time to spend with my wife talking, reading, watching tv, playing a game, etc.

10:00-11:30 -This is when I get back to studying for the last hour or two of the day. I will finish up papers, readings cases, and assigned homework until I can’t keep my eyes open.

Wake-up the next morning. Repeat. The life of a (married) b-school student. Gotta love it!

 


Cultural Education At Fisher

Coming to business school in Columbus, OH, one would think that the opportunities to learn about global business cultures would be limited. This is what I thought last August as I prepared to begin my time here at Fisher. I was wrong.

I have been given so many opportunities to learn about various cultures and emerging markets during my first year of business school. The faculty and administration here at Fisher frequently comment on the fact that the business world is becoming more and more flat. That is, the world of business is global, not just regional or national.

The last few weeks, I have been able to attend student-ran lectures and activities centered around international culture in business. Two weeks ago I was able to learn more about Nigeria from two native students. They spoke of their currency, legal system, regulations, work/life balance, as well as recreational and family activities. For someone who has never been to Nigeria, it was a great learning opportunity.

Fisher College of Business MBA

Similar to the Nigerian culture snapshot, I was able to learn about Peru. Peru seemed a little more fascinating to me because I speak Spanish fluently. The presentation peaked my interest and seemed like a great opportunity for businesses looking to expand into emerging markets. I’ll admit, the idea of a siesta seemed a little inefficient, however, it does seem to unite families and communities.

The International Business Club has also held a number of Indian celebrations that I have been able to attend. Last week, Fisher hosted the annual UTSAV celebration. Fisher students, faculty, and families gathered for an Indian fashion show and dance outside of Fisher Hall.

Ohio State MBA

For more picture of Fisher’s UTSAV celebration, visit our Flickr page.


Breakfast With Dean Poon

How many full-time MBA students across the world ever have the opportunity to sit down and have breakfast with the dean of their business school? My guess is not many. Lucky for me, I was able to enjoy breakfast last week with Dean Poon and a handful of other full-time MBA students here at Fisher.

One of the benefits of attending an intimate program like Fisher is that students have great access to many faculty and school administrators.  Last week was no different. Dean Poon arranged her schedule so that she could have breakfast with 10 MBAs and talk about their lives and their experiences here at Ohio State.

When we arrived to the Dean’s conference room in Fisher Hall there was a nice breakfast put together for the students. I grabbed a bagel and some juice and started chatting with a few of my classmates as we awaited the arrival of Dean Poon. We were all excited to speak with her in a close setting and provide feedback and thoughts regarding our time in and out of the classrooms.

When Dean Poon arrived (right on time) she immediately radiated a kind and friendly personality. She grabbed a cup of coffee and sat at the table while she was still asking each student what they did for Spring Break. She then asked about summer plans and internships and offered her advice regarding those important summer months. I was very pleased and grateful for her kindness and sincerity. She really did care about the students in the room at that time and made it very apparent that she was invested in our future and the future of the Fisher College of Business.

Not only did Dean Poon provide us with advice and insight as to how we should navigate our time as interns, but she also petitioned us for feedback regarding the program. We were able to talk with her about orientation, international learning opportunities, career management, course structure, and any other topic of school that came to mind. She genuinely listened to our feedback and engaged with all of us in that room regarding possible changes.

I walked away from that hour meeting with Dean Poon feeling encouraged and grateful for the chance to be a Buckeye. Most deans at business schools would not see meeting with students as one of their top priorities, however, I feel that Dean Poon is different. She cares about the student experience and the value that Fisher provides to all students, regardless of program. My breakfast meeting with her is just another reason that I am loving my time here at the Fisher College of Business.

 

 


Jodi Glickman: Great on the Job

Similar to most business schools across the nation, Fisher frequently brings many executive speakers to campus to speak to MBAs about their experiences and knowledge of the current business environment.  The speakers are frequently from various industries and their experiences and education vary dramatically.  Last week, the graduate programs office at Fisher helped bring in a great speaker, Jodi Glickman.

Jodi has experience in many different industries and brought that knowledge to Fisher to help us learn how to succeed during our summer internships.  Her experience ranges from the Peace Corps to Goldman Sachs and to writing her latest book, Great on the Job: What To Say, How To Say It, The Secrets Of Getting Ahead. 

The majority of what Jodi related to us was based around some of the important points of her book, as well as her experiences in the corporate world.  She did a great job at helping all of us first year MBAs, understand what types of communication will succeed during a typical summer internship. Some of the main points that I took away from Jodi’s presentation are as follows:

Speak Up – Jodi related an interesting story about an MBA intern that was very well liked at Goldman Sachs during his summer. He worked hard and everyone knew his name. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive an offer. Why? Because he didn’t work on any assignments or projects that could be used for senior management and partners to measure his potential. The moral of the story was that he should have taken initiative and asked for a difficult assignment that would truly showcase his skills and talents.

Soft Skills Matter – Jodi started the session by asking the audience what it would take to receive a job offer from a summer internship. She listed a few of the remarks from the audience, and then she noted what they all had in common: communication.  She followed up her point by asking about some of the worst bosses we have ever known or had. They weren’t classified as bad bosses because of technical errors or a lack of knowledge. The reasons were all centered on communication and management of people.

Get An Offer – Jodi was adamant that the most important thing that an intern do is to receive an internship offer.  Even if the intern doesn’t want to work for the company they interned with, it is important for them to receive an offer. Recruiters will want to know why an intern didn’t receive an offer. That could lead to an awkward moment for the interviewee. The main key to her presentation was that interns need to do their best to get an offer.

At the end of her presentation we were awarded with copies of her book, Great on the Job. I am looking forward to reading her book and implementing her advice this summer during my internship.

 


Innovation CAMP 2013

Every year AMP (Association of Marketing Professionals) and IF (Innovation Fisher) host a marketing and innovation summit here at Ohio State. This year the event was one to remember. The lineup of speakers was incredible and the insights that were shared are sure to benefit all that were in attendance.

This year’s speakers came from a variety of industry backgrounds, yet they all contributed their thoughts and ideas on the importance of innovation for any business.  The keynote speaker of the event was Brad Wolf who was instrumental in launching Nike’s latest hit product, the Nike FuelBand.

Brad highlighted the importance of really innovating towards the end consumer. If the consumer will be pleased with the product and it resonates with the brand’s current position, then it will drive loyalty and attract new segments. The FuelBand has successfully done this. I was blown away when Brad informed us that the FuelBand sold more than 30,000 units in the first 24 hours it was available. The FuelBand continues to be such a success that there is currently a 3 week back-order for medium black FuelBands. Impressive.

A few of the other speakers noted the importance of using technology to innovate and learn more about our consumers. From analyzing their buying habits in the store by tracking their carts with a gps unit to looking at their photos on instagram and twitter, all in attendance were educated on the many ways marketers can successfully innovate. It was a great experience and another reminder as to why I love being a full-time MBA student here at Fisher.


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