A different type of risk management

Jumping off a perfectly good place is a type of risk taking – albeit not one we talk about in our classes at Fisher. But with the resources available at The Ohio State University, it was a risk that I decided to take.

I enrolled in PAES 139.14 (Introduction to Skydiving) this quarter. It is a one-credit course, with three class sessions and a field trip. You do not need to jump to pass the class (although there is really no reason to enroll for the class if you won’t do it).

Surprisingly, you do not feel like you are falling. So, after you get over the fact that you are voluntarily stepping off the plane, it was not scary at all. In my opinion, Accounting is much more terrifying. And since I am in business school, I guess I should describe myself as risk loving. If I were risk averse, I would have been a skydiver.

Pura vida

Pura vida, literally translated as ‘pure life’, is a Costa Rican philosophy. It is used by the Ticos to celebrate good fortune as well as to symbolize their lifestyle. I, along with my classmates in the Working Spanish for beginners, got to learn about pura vida plus more during our immersion trip to the country on March 18-26.

Each of us lived with a host family, who spoke only Spanish, thereby ‘forcing’ us to use everything we have learned in the past two quarters. Although challenging, it was a good experience because 1) it forces us to remember everything we learned and 2) it was a chance to learn what we haven’t, and 3) it shows us that we do know more than we think we do, no matter how limited. Fortunately, we do have dictionaries, miming, and drawing to fall back to if our words fail.

Because the program is more than just a language course, we also learned about the culture and business in Costa Rica. We made friends at the school Intercultura. We visited multinational companies like Intel, HP, and Allergan. We also went to INCAE, a top business school in Latin America. We also learned about the coffee business through our tour at Cafe Britt. Lastly, we learned about the economic policy from the Banco Central de Costa Rica.

Of course, no trip to Costa Rica would be complete without a visit to the beach, waterfalls, and the rain forest. Here are a few of the photos from the trip.

O-H-I-O at Isla Tortuga (Photo by Chris Carey)
At La Paz Gardens (Photo by Gerry Ockers)
A break from rafting (Photo from Chris Carey)

Future CAMP

Camping in the middle of winter, you say?ย  This is not just any camp – it’s Future CAMP.

The Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals will hold its second Columbus Advertising and Marketing Powwow (CAMP) on March 4, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Wexner Center for the Arts. This yearโ€™s CAMP is all about the future of marketing. Experts from Wexley School for Girls, Plan B Branding, Team Detroit, FITCH, Chute Gerdeman, and Scotts Miracle Gro will speak about “fresh marketing ideas, developing trends, ways to continue to engage the consumer, and where this ever-changing, industry is headed.”

To register and learn about speakers, sponsors, and more, visit: www.fisheramp.com

So grab your space lasso, atomic robot compass and quantum canteen and join Future CAMP.

Twitter: @FisherAMP

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fisher-AMP/142911225729799

Tumblr: http://CAMPFisher.tumblr.com

A Taste of Fisher and OSU

Jan 28 turned out to be aย  very busy Friday. After videotaping testimonials for a work project, I went straight to the RPAC to see the last event of the Fisher Winter Grad Games. Teams of the Fisher graduate programs compete in basketball, volleyball, and dodge ball for the coveted “winners’ briefcase”. Congratulations to the MBA 2011 team who were this year’s winners!

I then went straight to “A Taste of OSU.” Organized by the Office of International Affairs, it is an “evening of cultural performances on stage, exhibits and food from around the world provided by more than 30 different international and ethnic clubs on campus.” I sampled food from Russia, Thailand, Brazil, Ukraine, India, and Sri Lanka.

Lastly, I attended the Fisher Follies Auction. Every year, the organization auctions off items or services donated by the Fisher community. All the proceeds go to a chosen charity.

Since there were three MBA students with Filipino heritage, we decided to donate a Filipino dinner for four plus karaoke (no Filipino party would be complete without it). I also won 8 of the items I bid for. I ended up spending more than I intended but it was money well spent. I’m looking forward to going on the activities and having my dinners for the next months or so. ๐Ÿ™‚

“Fisher Follies is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to foster community at the Fisher College of Business, encourage creativity, support local charities through a variety show, and to generally lampoon the life of business school students.” Visit their website here.

A Taste of Innovation

Living up to its name, Innovation Fisher held an innovative event “exploring innovative food developments in Columbus, Ohio.” That’s one too many iterations of the word in a sentence, but it was exactly that. Seven key players in the local food and restaurant industry were in attendance. Their originality was shown not only in their unique food offerings but also in the way they do business. See the full program here.

Entrees from Due Amichi, Barrio, and Two Caterers
Desserts from Pistacia Vera

For another taste of innovation, remember to sign up and attend the What If Summit next quarter. Visit their website for updates.

Erik the undergrad

In myย  last post, I mentioned having the flexibility to take elective classes outside the Fisher graduate program. UPDATE: I added another class Bus ML 756: Product design and development (in the Fisher undergraduate program). Because my other class (Comm 634) is an upper level undergraduate/graduate course, I spend my Tuesdays and Thursdays morning as an “undergraduate” student.

This is, of course, a new experience for me. I feel like I am a new student in a new school. For the first time, I am taking classes outside Gerlach Hall.

The first difference of my undergrad classes from the usual courses is, obviously, not knowing anyone else in the class. I had to ask to make sure I was sitting in the right class.

Related to the first point, the dynamics of the class is different, so far, but that maybe because I am the foreign body that is disrupting the force. The 7:30 am schedule (ML 756) may also be to blame. Yes, that’s no mistake. I am taking a class that early in the morning during winter. Not the best time but I was really interested to take the class and the other schedule conflicts with my other class.

Lastly, the grading. Instead of the usual “grading in a curve”, something I first experienced in the US I might add, there are points that we have to earn to get the corresponding letter grade. My first quiz and assignment for my classes will be this week so fingers crossed.

So far, all of my classes have been great! I hope everyone else is having an awesome winter quarter too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Electives outside Fisher

Selecting my classes was interesting this quarter. There were only two marketing electives offered, both of them I already took in the previous quarters. Although I already have enough credits to graduate as a marketing major, I thought it was important to have at least one marketing class per quarter.

It’s a good thing that Fisher’s MBA curriculum is designed to give students flexibility. It allows us to customize our degree. We can take elective courses outside of the College of Business, as long as these courses help us in our career goals. Click here to read more about the Fisher Academics. Click here to browse the different colleges and schools of OSU.

This quarter, I decided to take Creative Message Design offered by the School of Communication. The course involves a number of writing assignments including press releases, news articles, and blog posts. Click here to read more about courses offered by the School of Communication.

Collaboration tools

This last two weeks of classes has seen a million deadlines piling up on me. Last week, presentations and papers had to be finished. With everyone of us having different classes and thus, different schedules, group meetings are a challenge to organize. While there are times when on-site meetings are extremely necessary, other tasks usually have a technology solution.

Google, as you may know, has a whole suite of productivity tools. Google docs has been frequently used by a number of different groups to create and edit a number of papers. It has proved very useful for everyone to be up-to-date without hundreds of emails.

Another amazing tool we used is the free screen sharing site join.me. The free version allows people to collaborate without having to meet. One person can share his screen with his group. The group can then chat or call a number to conference call with the entire team. We recently used it to finalize and rehearse a presentation we gave last week.

This are just a few of the free technology options available. If there are others that you recommend, feel free to share them!

Good luck with finals everyone!

Mirror Lake Jump 2010

If something that was considered “illegal” was made lawful for one night, would you do it? I did! I jumped into Mirror Lake last week.

OSU fans jumping into the campus lake. Photo by Jon Barkan.

Jumping into the lake is technically criminal trespassing but is allowed for the Michigan week tradition, usually the Thursday before The Game. Because this day conflicted with Thanksgiving this year, the jump was moved to Tuesday. That meant doing crazy stuff (and risking getting sick) on a school night. (Just in case anyone needs background information, click here to read more about the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry).

But since we are technically Ohio State “seniors” and might not get another chance, some of my classmates and I still decided to participate in this grand tradition. It was freezing cold (mid 30s) but it was an awesome experience that everyone should try at least once. A bonus: Footage showing our group was shown on national TV. Sure, only my back (I think) was seen but I could still say I was there and no one can prove otherwise. Click here to see what may have been part of the footage that was aired.

With Ohio State winning 37-7 over Michigan, the jump was doubly worth it! Here’s to extending the Buckeyes 7 win streak against the Wolverines. Go bucks!

Don’t get sick now!

Last week, all the work and lack of sleep finally took their toll on me. After more than a year in the United States, I got sick for the first time. It was a good run, which unfortunately had to end.

Note to self: A flu shot is not an end-all for all diseases. You could get a cold – and that was exactly what I got. Being sick is just a hassle – piling up my to-do list even higher because I need to get better. I had to spend the entire Thursday in bed to try to get at least a little better. I think I got sick because of lack of sleep.

We still do need sleep. Although we do have a responsibility to do well in school and in our other activities, we also have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. I may have forgotten that for a bit – sleeping for only about 4 hours per night for quite a while. And for someone who cannot function well without sleep, that is saying something. Case in point: today, I was frantically looking for my phone WHILE I was using it. A new low, even for me. A similar thing happened to me last year, which I explained in my EPI speech. See post here.

I’ll try to have at least a “lazy day” per week, although it might be hard now that there is only two weeks for finals (!). This means deadlines are breathing down are necks again. The good news, the break will be here soon. And I can’t wait for snow! ๐Ÿ™‚