Tip: Join Student Government

This year, in the spirit of involvement, I decided to join the Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) student council. Every graduate program here at the Fisher College of Business (including MBA, MHRM, MAcc, SMF) has its own council representation that is responsible for being the collective “voice” for the students in the program.

Each council is comprised of students who are elected by their classmates. For 2-year programs like MHRM and MBA, the council is primarily 2nd-year students. For 1-year programs like MAcc and SMF, obviously all council members are in their first year. Each council decides how to delegate responsibilities amongst members and establishes the scope of what they hope to accomplish as a team over the course of the year.

Meet the MHRM Council

“Chief of Everything”

Kate Clausen – President

“Comedic Relief”

Jen Marchese – VP, Professional Development

“Queen of Funds”

Megan Condon – Treasurer

“The Details”

Kelly Mayer – Case Comp. Co-chair

“Stubborn Negotiator”

Irinka Toidze – Case Comp. Co-chair

“The Height”

Matt Shaffer – Social Chair

Obviously, we have a good time. But we also take our jobs very seriously. I view the role of MHRM Council as the heartbeat of the MHRM program. We are the eyes and the ears of the students, and it’s our responsibility to keep the pulse of what Fisher students are experiencing, saying, and feeling about the MHRM program. Then, the most important part: what we do with that information.

I think our most noble duty is to represent the interests of the students by passing along feedback to faculty and staff with regard to possible additions or revisions to the program. In a field where technology advancements are affecting nearly every aspect of what HR professionals do—recruiting, talent planning, compensation, training, you name it—it is critical that our curriculum is agile enough to keep up with current best practices. And I feel fortunate to belong to a school that respects its students and actively listens to our suggestions.

Beyond being a bridge between students and faculty, the MHRM council also puts on additional events to engage outside of class and keep the Fisher MHRM community alive. This year, we’ve had football tailgates, pumpkin picking, bar crawls– and this week, we went to a comedy show.

For professional development, we just had our first event of the year. It was a TED Talk-inspired event (no surprise for those of you who know my obsession). The idea was inspired by some feedback we had heard from last year—students want more opportunities to engage with smaller companies that may not have a presence on campus, and they want to do it in ways other than traditional networking. So we brought in HR Professionals from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Marathon Petroleum, CoverMyMeds, and Cardinal Health to talk about innovative things they are doing in the HR space. It was really exciting to be able to interact with some folks we don’t normally get exposure to and the event was a great success.

On the whole, it is really rewarding to be able to give back to a program that has served me well in my time here. It also gives me a chance to stretch my leadership muscles in preparation for future roles I may have.

Business Jargon 201

Several weeks ago, I launched a multi-part educational series titled Business Jargon. Well, here it is: the next installment that you’ve all been waiting for:

Out-of-Pocket (adj.)

I just learned this gem this week. This is another way of saying you are “out of office” or otherwise “unavailable.” I’m not sure why this expression exists, but it’s probably because it sounds cool and implies that eventually, you will be back “in pocket” which conjours up a silly image of pocket-sized businesspeople. But maybe that’s just me.

Parking Lot (n.)

See that there? That’s your idea. Way out there in the parking lot.

Let’s expand upon our previous lesson in Business Lingo 101 where we discussed how to “table” something you don’t want to talk about right now. Taking it one step further, you can now put that thing you really don’t want to talk in the “parking lot,” where it will never be seen or heard from again.

The Ask” and “The Solve” (both n.)


It would appear the business world has made swift work out of turning verbs into nouns. I can “ask” you to “solve” a problem, but I can also give you “an ask” or ask for “a solve” to a problem, and it means basically the same thing, but it’s more complicated and therefore more trendy.

Let’s Talk That

Ain’t nobody got time [for] prepositions.
Sometimes you’re short on time and need to eliminate words from your commonly-used phrases, even if it violates widely accepted grammar rules. At some point, “let’s talk about that” felt far too cumbersome and was shortened to “let’s talk that.” I completely support this, because come on, who has time for that?

An Evening of Folly: Fall Auction 2017

One of my favorite memories from last fall and my first semester as an MHRM student was the Fisher Follies Fall Auction. It was an opportunity to get fancy, socialize with classmates, spend time with professors outside of Gerlach Hall, and raise money for a cause I deeply care about.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Fisher Follies—a graduate student organization with a mission to raise money in support of Fisher graduate students experiencing unexpected financial hardship. Well, this year, I had an opportunity to be on the steering committee, and I’m still riding high from our first official event of the season this past Friday.

The event kicked off with a photo op on the “FCOB Red Carpet.” CELEB STATUS.

A few dapper first-year MHRMs and their dates working the camera.

Guests were then whisked into the Blackwell Inn Ballroom to bid on silent auction items containing a few serious and many, many silly items. For a few examples of Fisher students leveraging their many talents and connections for a righteous cause, check out of my favorite items and their descriptions below:

ITEM

The Most Amazing Portrait You Will Ever Have – Donated by 2nd-Year MHRMs Chris Schoo and Billy Dunn

DESCRIPTION (written by the sellers)

“WARNING: This is an essay, because Grad School. Billy and Chris, the most dynamic duo of the MHRM program, will combine their skillsets to offer you one of the most amazing opportunities of your lifetime: a portrait with your favorite pet. Yes, you will have to choose favorites, and no, it will not be a popular decision in a multi-pet household. With over 20 years of combined experience in design and higher education (and three months of practical HR), Billy and Chris will help you produce the ultimate portrait. You pick your pet, outfit and location and we’ll bring the gear, talent and charisma (some might even say it radiates).

NON-DISCRETIONARY NOTES (mostly): *You do not need a pet to bid. We are happy to take an awesome portrait of just you with our even more awesome dogs, Kobe (a French Bulldog) and Bear (a cute something-or-other). Also, you can choose to just remove yourself completely and we’ll provide a portrait of Bear and a portrait of Kobe – which your family, potential employers and Bumble prospects will like way more than a picture of you. *If you want a picture with your cat (for some reason Fisher admits a TON of crazy cat peeps), we recommend a low dose of Benadryl to keep the kitty cat peace. Trust us, we are NOT (not?) experts. *If you bring more than 2 cats (or dogs) into this mix, we reserve the right to choose which one will be the newest member of the alley cat gang. (Dogs will be forced to join a cat gang. Super embarrassing for all involved.) *Most of all, we WILL have fun. I mean, Billy and Chris will. But, hopefully you and your pet will, too!”

ITEM

Beginner Personal Finance Lesson – Donated by 1st-Year MHRM Alex Broshious

DESCRIPTION

“Have you lost control of your financial life? Do you have no idea what a 401K is? Did you put all your money in Bitcoin and hope for the best? Do you have so many student loans that they loom over you like the sky monster in Stranger Things 2? Well, never fear (well, unless you’re afraid of demogorgon), I am able to help you work on and prepare your personal finances for the years ahead. I can also bring my dog along if you’d like.”

ITEM

Columbus Zoo Behind-the-Scenes VIP Experience – Donated by 2nd -Year MBA Dan Lamone

DESCRIPTION

“Behind the scenes tour of the zoo: meeting cute baby animals, speaking with nutritionists to see how the zoo animals are cared for, talking with keepers & personnel to see how the zoo operates day to day, etc. and zoo passes for the day.”

ITEM

One Can of Mystery – Donated by 2nd-Year MBA Trent Smith

DESCRIPTION

“One unlabeled metal can – what magic does it contain? It could be your favorite soup or it could be a soup you’ve never had before waiting to be discovered. It could be full of precious metals or maybe just air. What if it contains the ingredients essential for your favorite Midwest casserole? What if the contents are actually not edible but instead they are valuable beyond belief? What if buying this one can could spark a future deep inside of you that you never knew you had? Beauty is in the eye on the beholder. This one mysterious can will go to the highest bidder with the most curiosity.”

Following the silent auction was a live auction facilitated by the one and only Joe Boreman (2nd-Year MBA). Truly a sight to see–I don’t think he took a breath for over 1.5 hours of live auction magic.

Shout-out to the auctioneer himself. (And SPECIAL shoutout to Fisher Follies’ secret weapon, Kristen Stubbs)

While we’re making shoutouts, our fearless leader, President of Fisher Follies Auggie Heschmeyer (2nd-Year MBA), is the mad scientist behind the organization. Coming from a film production background and just generally having a heart of gold, I couldn’t imagine a better person for the job.

What is he doing with his hands?

And last, but not least, our fifth team member Tyler Maddox: unfortunately, Tyler wasn’t able to be with us for the event because he also coaches a high school football team (yes, he has a heart of gold, as well). Here’s a picture of Tyler in his own high school football uniform:

Never before seen: rare capture of Tyler’s senior photo.

Overall, the event was a a smashing success (British accent), raising nearly $16,000 dollars for the Fisher Follies Fund. Each year, the Auction gives us a chance to come together as a Fisher community with our friends and family, and show our support for one another and future Fisher students. And there ain’t nothing better than that.

Fisher Follies = GOAT (Greatest Organization of All Time)

Confession: I didn’t join any clubs in undergrad.

I recall, as a bright-eyed high school senior on my OSU campus tour, two distinct things about my tour guide:

  1. His advice to “get involved in extracurricular activities!”
  2. His incredible skill at walking backward.

Hearing his advice, I made a commitment to do something productive with all this free time I was sure to have as a college freshman. And then it never happened. Partly because I didn’t know what organizations existed, and partly because my priorities were work, studying, and self-care (a.k.a. watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns in bed).

How does anyone find the time???

This is something I regret from the five years I spent in undergrad—not serving the Ohio State community in some larger way.

Fortunately, grad school gave me a second chance to fulfill this dream. I have many passions—this is typically the problem—and so I sometimes struggle with where to channel all this energy. And admittedly, the result of this is often indecisiveness. But I was determined to find an organization that gave me a sense of purpose and of which I genuinely enjoy being a part.

Well, call it a happy accident or call it destiny: I ended up in Fisher Follies with the goofiest group of dudes around.

At its core, Fisher Follies is a charitable student organization. The mission of the organization is ultimately to support Fisher graduate students in unexpected times of financial crisis. Through a variety of different events, Fisher Follies raises money for the Fisher Follies Fund. When Fisher students are in need (of a plane ticket home to visit a sick relative, help making a car repair payment, an unexpected medical bill– as a few examples), they can apply for funds to help defer some or all of the cost.

 

Well, where does the money come from?

– you ask

 

I guess we clean up pretty nice.

Every fall, Fisher Follies hosts an auction where Fisher graduate students and faculty get all gussied up and head over to the Blackwell Hotel to bid on some silly and some serious items. Each year there are some hot-ticket items like MBA Program Director Shashi Matta’s “California Dreamin’” networking trip to Silicon Valley and some smaller (but dare I say priceless?) items that students donate like shotgun-shooting lessons, a double date with Fisher’s most popular couple, the opportunity to “pie” a Michigan fan in the face, or the power to control one unnamed Fisher student’s Tinder account for an entire day. It’s an event where Fisher faculty, staff, and students donate and bid on each other’s items in the name of raising money to support the Fisher community.

Fisher Follies resident auctioneer Joe Boreman driving up bids and pointing dramatically into the crowd.
Silent Auction bidding wars are not for the faint of heart.

Other events throughout the year include the Fisher Variety Show in the spring, where Fisher students dream up skits and videos to poke fun at each other and business school. My personal favorites include The Art of the Handraise (linked below) and an artful Beatles parody Shashi Matta’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Fisher Follies is also putting on a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater this year (OoooOOOoohhh)– more to come on that later.

Fisher College of Business has a variety of student groups, clubs, and organizations to join to suit nearly every passion. They also give us the opportunity to stretch our leadership muscles by serving on the committees of these organizations throughout our time here. I feel personally connected to the mission of Fisher Follies and love that it pairs such a meaningful cause with the lightness of fun and funny events to keep spirits high here on campus. It reminds us that in spite of the stress of school, exams, job searching, and other commitments, we’re all here to support each other, and that’s what matters most.

TED: The Real Reason I’m in HR

I am a complete and utter TED Talks junkie. Seriously. Whenever a professor introduces a TED Talk in a lecture, I am transformed into someone with the excitement of 9-year old girl at a Spice Girls concert in the mid-1990s. I am qualified to say this, because I was in fact, a 9-year old girl at a Spice Girls concert in the mid-1990s.

Girl Power.

Ted Talks (swoon). Why do I love these bite-size morsels of informational goodness? Mostly because they introduce people to extraordinary ways of thinking about ordinary things. I subscribe to the notion that in order to change the world, you have to challenge people on the assumptions they make every day that guide them to behave in the ways they do.

You have to change the way people think.

I say that very cautiously, because I believe there are effective and ineffective ways of doing so. Making more rules, telling someone they’re wrong, telling someone you’re right—typically not very effective in my experience. Understanding someone’s motivation for doing what they do (Fear? Insecurity? A need for power and control?), and guiding them to the realization that the method they’re using to fulfill that need may not be healthy or sustainable—much more effective.

But the first step in all this is truly understanding how the world has come to be this way, and how the world has shaped how people think. How has our history led us to this exact moment in time? That where my one true love, TED, comes in.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite goosebump-worthy TED Talks below. Ultimately, I credit my commitment to changing the world—using HR as a vehicle to do so—to the four individuals below.

The first, psychologist and author Barry Schwartz talks about how work came to be seen purely as a means to an end and what we can do to change that notion.

Shawn Achor is one of the funniest storytellers of all time. And in this TED Talk, he speaks about the power of positive psychology in rewiring our brains for gratitude and happiness.

Regina Hartley posits that organizations should “hire the scrapper.” She explains why candidates get looked over every day for gaps in their resume and non-traditional work experience. She argues that these are the very people we should invest in.

5-time CEO Margaret Heffernan challenges the notion that competition is the way to get ahead. Unsuccessful teams are comprised of high achievers, while successful teams are comprised of helpers. And she does it all in a fantastic British accent.

If you have a favorite TED Talk, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Business Jargon 101

True life: the last 12 months have been my first foray into the business world.

I have a BA in Psychology and I worked in mental health for several years before returning to get my Master of Human Resource Management. Fortunately I am in good company—many students at Fisher College of Business come in with nontraditional backgrounds, creating diversity of perspective and viewpoints in and outside the classroom. It’s one of the things that makes life at Fisher so great. The unfortunate part, however, is that I am now years behind in possibly the most important aspect of my development—business jargon.

Sometime over the course of the last year, I developed an obsession for slang in general. Every industry and field has its own language. At my last job, hours were spent debating who had the greater “need for power and control” and how we could “increase our self-awareness” to better “hold ourselves accountable” to our “goals.” I’ve had a field day appropriating this lingo into my daily life because let’s be honest—when work gets heavy, you have to find a way to keeps things light.

For those of you like me whose true passion lies in art of finding the humor in the mundane, I’d like to provide a somewhat tongue-and-cheek introduction to three of my new favorite words in my first installment of Business Jargon 101.

Deliverable (n.)

The thing that comes from the work you did.

It could be a report, a presentation, or a shoebox diorama like you made in third grade. Simply put, it’s the tangible result of you spending many hours doing intangible things.

Table (v.)

To put something off.

This is fun. When you don’t want to talk about something right now, you just “table it” and hope that everyone forgets about it forever. Or at least until the next meeting.

Leverage (v.)

To use something you have to do something you want.

One of the most versatile words in the business world. You can leverage your assets. You can leverage your strengths. You can even leverage your synergies—whatever that means. When you want to talk about how you’re going to use something you have in order to do something you want to do—and you want to sound fancy when you say it—just throw a “leverage” in there and voila.

In all seriousness, in my time at Fisher I’ve collected experiences, knowledge, and skills that are indispensable to my career and development as a person. What’s more, I’ve learned work is more than just what we do–it’s how we do it. In addition to what I’ve learned in the classroom, I’m learning to bring my personality into everything I do. I like to have fun, work hard, and laugh at myself, and I’m lucky to attend a school that encourages me to bring my own style an authenticity to class everyday.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Exactly one year ago, I remember sitting in Gerlach Hall room 265 listening to returning 2nd year Master of Human Resource Management students talk about their experiences with summer internships. One comment from a classmate and future friend of mine, Shane, stood out to me as particularly memorable. He said, “you won’t believe it now, but next summer will change you.”

Just as instructed, I didn’t believe him. I remember thinking to myself I already have work experience. I already know myself—this is just another job. I didn’t consider at the time that this would be a summer of firsts—my first experience working in corporate America; my first time working in an HR department; my first time regularly interacting with directors, VPs, and senior level executives; and my first time having the opportunity to make a significant impact on a large organization.

Well, of course I was wrong, and he was right (but you already saw that coming). I admit it now– here on the internet, where it will live forever:

Shane, you were rightthis summer changed me.

Wendy’s may be the home of old-fashioned hamburgers, but check out that modern corporate office.

I was fortunate enough to spend the summer here in Columbus with Wendy’s at the Dublin Restaurant Support Center. I interned on the HR Generalist team under an incredible supervisor who also happened to be an alumni of the Fisher MHRM Program. I like to say that I spent the summer championing “the employee experience.”

Tactically, I had two main projects: the first focused on internal mobility and the second on our onboarding process, but the thread that tied them both together—and the lens through which I was approaching them—was the employee experience. How do employees move through our processes? Do they feel connected to our values and our customers? Do they come home after their first day energized and excited? Are they inspired? Do they feel that the company is investing in their successes? And how do we ensure that every employee has a positive and meaningful experience as part of the Wendy’s family? These are some of the questions I found myself asking this summer.

I think my biggest “takeaway” from my summer at Wendy’s was learning that HR is both a science and an art. Allow me to explain.

In HR, we do one of two things (and oftentimes, we do both):

We create tools, systems, and processes to enhance the employee experience.

Exhibit A: Here we see science happening.

It is our role in HR to use our functional knowledge and expertise to help people do their best work and to build the most effective teams possible to accomplish the organization’s objectives. We design performance management systems, compensation packages, training programs, and learning frameworks to motivate, incentivize, and develop employees.

And then…

We empower managers to use them.

This is the “art” part.

One of the most critical functions as HR professionals (generalists, in particular) is empowering managers to manage. We give them these tools, the guidance, the skills, and hopefully some confidence, and then they transform these raw materials into success on their teams. We coach them toward productive conversations, we challenge them to challenge their employees, and then we let our managers manage.

In other words, we create the conditions for people to succeed.

What a powerful, yet humbling position to be in. We are influencers, advocates, champions, and often times, the “ethical heartbeat” (credit to MHRM Professor John Schaffner for that phrase) of the organization. I feel particularly fortunate to have witnessed each of these roles in action this summer at Wendy’s, and I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with my classmates and professors this coming year.

The Frostys didn’t hurt either.

Reflecting on MHRM – Year One

What a year it’s been!

For those of us who took time between undergrad and grad school, the idea of coming back for another couple laps on this track of academia can seem pretty daunting. I know it did for me. The year was full of “firsts,” but also full of “agains,” since moving back to my home city and revisiting all the familiar people, places, and things that I left behind in 2014. In the spirit of reminiscing, I thought I would catalog my favorite moments from the past year in pictures.

Before the Michigan game. Easily the most memorable of the season, and arguably one of the best games of all time. Derek has a no-shoes rule, which is why we’re all wearing socks.

 

Fisher Scavenger Hunt/Bar Crawl with, You know, some Pokemon.

 

Pre-Fisher Halloween bash with my favorite bird of paradise? (Katie, please confirm your costume)

 

Internal Case Competition sponsored by Pepsico. An opportunity for us to dress up, match outfits, and win.
A fancy evening at the Fisher Follies auction! We clean up well, don’t we?

 

My beloved external case competition team. This is a ride-or-die friendship right here, and a win that we’ll never forget.
Getting’ fancy again (and silly) for Fisher Formal.

 

Pedal Wagon shenanigans in the Short North arts district for a double-MHRM birthday! Happy Birthday, Kate and Matt! You’l notice everyone was required to wear a hat to ride.
Honored to have a photo with the Dean (and my best MHRM buddy Chris Schoo) on Donor Day. Thanks Fisher donors, for making our experience the most stellar possible.

Overall, I have to say this year was one of friendship, challenge, and growth. The Fisher MHRM program has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself in my adult life, and I am so excited for what the 2nd year has in store.

In the meantime, I’d like to wish all the best to the 2nd year “MHRMs” who will graduate this Sunday– as they launch into their careers as HR professionals! I can’t wait until our paths cross again. Until then, I’ll miss you all!!!

Signing off

-Jen

Student Perks: D-Tix

Of the many perks available to Ohio State students, I think one of the neatest and least advertised is D-Tix (abbreviation for “discount tickets”). Through OSU’s vast network of community partnerships, the school is able to offer general discounts and discounted tickets to special events through an online lottery system. Everything from Hocking Hills zipline tours, passes to the Columbus Zoo, and gift cards to local restaurants may be available at any given time on D-Tix.

The website is set up similar to Groupon, but with a lottery component. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students can enter the lottery for any particular event they are interested in, and if selected they pay a discounted price for the tickets (anywhere from 25-50% less than face value).

Obviously, the popularity of the event determines the probability of being selected. The recent John Mayer concert at the Schottenstein Center was quite popular (by the way, Chance the Rapper will also be performing there next month), but for other lower-key entries (gift certificates to local restaurants, for one example) students have a relatively high chance of being selected. Also worth noting—for any unclaimed tickets, they are sold first-come, first-served at the Ohio Union.

One of the benefits of attending a large, public institution like Ohio State is that perks like D-Tix come at a very small cost to each student and are included in the student activity fee (hello, economies of scale!). Let us also not forget the general student discounts afforded to students at various establishments around the city by simply presenting your BuckID. I am grateful that we’re able to enjoy so much of the city, even on a student budget!

Glory to Columbus!

As a Columbus native, I celebrate just about everything unique to this fine city. However, one aspect I feel I’ve neglected during my 26 years of life and love for Columbus is the Crew team. Columbus has an MLS soccer (or football, for the purists) team smack dab it its own backyard–literally a 20-minute walk from campus.

This past Saturday I attended my first game in 6 years, and man how I’d missed it. We played the Portland Timbers (I lived in Oregon the last two years, so this was an uncomfortable limbo for me to exist in. But come on, we all know where my loyalty lies.) As is typical in soccer, we were tied up for most of the match. But as expected, the Crew scored in the final few minutes to pull out the win.

“All we do is win.”

The Crew team has some of the most fiercely loyal fans in the entire MLS, I’m convinced. Led by fearless leader (and brand ambassador, and retired Crew player) Frankie Hejduk, they have conceived a parody of nearly every popular and unpopular song, eloquently replacing the words with some crew-related lingo (hint: “you” and “Crew” rhyme, so that really opens up a lot of possibilities). You’ll find the lyrics to a few of my favorites below:

Frankie Hejduk has not missed an entire Crew game since he retired. I cannot confirm this is true, but it is how I feel based purely on his team spirit. Just look at him.

500 Miles (The Proclaimers)

I would walk 500 Miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the fan who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at Crew’s door
Call: COLUMBUS
Response: COLUMBUS
Call: COLUMBUS
Response: COLUMBUS
Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)

Yellow Soccer Team (Yellow Submarine – The Beatles)

We all Cheer for the Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
We all Cheer for the Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team,
The Yellow Soccer Team

(repeat, forever)

You Got What I Need (Just a Friend – Biz Markie)

Oh baby Crew
You got what I need
And it’s never going to end
And it’s never going to end

All in all, I feel lucky to be a part of a city with a variety of activities to do on the weekends. I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard sports fan, but it is fun to always have the option to go to a Columbus Clippers (baseball), Blue Jackets (hockey), or Crew game when the mood strikes. And, I feel fortunate to have a MHRM “Crew” of my own to accompany me.

“Go Sports!” -the MHRMs