Me and my friend Gee

MBA team with my new best friend, President Gordon Gee

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to present at President Gordon Gee’s Pre-game Lunch event as part of a team of Fisher MBA students.  It was amazing! The event began like a pep rally complete with cheerleaders, the band and Brutus Buckeye. Athletic Director, Gene Smith, gave a brief address as did President Gee. Then we went into the Reading Room of the beautiful Thompson Library for some delicious lunch with a side of networking. Our presentation was a huge success (as was the Fisher undergraduate presentation) and we all had a great time!

 So, how did I get to be a part of this presentation? Pretty simple, actually – I took Professor Shashi Matta’s Advertising and Promotions class last spring. Professor Matta’s courses are designed to be “action-based learning” which is a key component of courses at Fisher and throughout Ohio State.  A major component of that class was a live marketing project for a local business, Watershed Distillery. The project itself was very rewarding since we knew we were doing work that would directly benefit a local entrepreneur. As I make my way through my internship/part-time job and my new courses, I continually refer back to all the things I learned in that class and on that project. It was probably the best – and most time consuming – course I have taken at Fisher based on personal growth and professional application. And now, it’s opening opportunities for us as well.  I can’t wait to see what the next unexpected Fisher opportunity will be!


Brutus doing the "O-H-I-O" with his legs (this is the "H")



Gene Smith makes a joke about getting his hair wet 🙂
If you read any of my posts from last year, you may recall that I'm a bit of a band geek. Here TBDBIL begins Script Ohio - did I mention that we were given 2 tickets to the game as a 'thank you'?

There is no “I” in team…but there is a “Hotdog”

After the first week of classes this quarter, I managed to catch a stomach virus.  I was stuck at home, mostly confined to my bed and felt like I had been given a one-two punch to my head and gut.  And to make me feel worse, I had to miss our first core team meeting as well as an entire day of classes.  Luckily, I have the best team ever.

On the Sunday of our first scheduled meeting, I sent emails to my team letting them know that I was in bed with a fever and that I wouldn’t be able to make it.  Here are some of their replies:  “Get well soon, Mama Miche”  “No problem, Mama.  We got this, you just worry about getting better”.  Nice, right?  But wait – there’s more!  The following Tuesday, I received a text from one of my teammates that went like this:

  • Teammate:  I reserved a room for our team from 12-1:30 on Wednesday before our quiz in marketing.
  • Me:  That is fantastic! After the past two days, I feel like I am behind in everything.  🙁
  • Teammate:  You are, well at least in ops and marketing.  But that’s what teams are for!

This may seem like a simple, polite exchange but it meant the world to me.  Business school is demanding, time-intensive and, frankly, pretty darn hard.  When life happens, it is easy to fall behind – and once you are behind, it is nearly impossible to catch up.  I am so lucky to have a team that works together to make sure none of us is left behind!

Kudos to Fisher for putting so much effort into designing and training, highly-functioning core teams.  Most B-schools are heavily focused on teamwork and Fisher is no different.  However, I can’t imagine that the larger programs take time to ensure that core teams have a great mix both in demographics and in experience.  My (our) team consistently works well together, listens to each other and has fun while doing it!  Let me introduce you to Fisher FTMBA Class of 2012 TEAM TEN:

Ahmet "Turkish Delight" Kadioglu
Michael "Hotdog" Higgins, who apparently is some type of ghost or vampire - every attempt at a photo leads to a blurry pic!
Jonathan "JLowe" Lowe
That me, Michelle "Mama Miche" Petrel
Brandon "we can't agree on a nickname" Tackett. Suggestions encouraged!

Team 10: The best MBA team ever!

What was I thinking?

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a prospective Fisher applicant.  It made me stop and reflect on my own decision to apply to the Fisher MBA program and how I almost convinced myself not to apply to Fisher at all!  Sure – now it sounds crazy but I was convinced that I didn’t want to be a student at OSU.

When I began researching Full Time MBA programs, I discovered a multitude of criteria to consider: What kind of learning environment would I prefer? What kinds of student organizations would I like? The one thing I knew for certain was that I was NOT under any circumstances going to apply to the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University! I live in the Central Ohio area and I have lived in some part of Ohio for my entire life. When it came time to tell friends and family that I was going to pursue an MBA, I knew they would all assume that I would apply to Fisher. Naturally, I wanted to go against the grain and apply anywhere other than Fisher.

But as I researched potential schools based on my preferences, Fisher kept coming back as one of the top choices. Small class size? Check! Fisher only admits 150 FTMBA students/year. Sustainability focus? Check! Fisher offers an Enterprise Sustainability career track and has an award-winning Net Impact Chapter. Family-friendly location? Check! Columbus has everything you could ever want in a big city but with the feel of a small community. We even have the nation’s number one zoo for families! Add to that the beautiful Ohio State campus and all of the amazingly friendly and helpful faculty and staff in the Fisher College of Business and I was hooked.

I can honestly say that I am glad I didn’t let my stubborn-nature get in the way of this great opportunity.  All of the people at Fisher are genuinely interested in each students’ success and in helping each student reach their personal goals.   I can’t imagine getting my MBA anywhere else!

You say you want a resolution…

A resolution is not a burden, but an opportunity — a chance to prove you’re master of your fate.  -Terry Dunkle

I read this quote in an article by Terry Dunkle and it really made me think.  I’m not normally one to make New Year’s Resolutions.  I believe most of us make resolutions that reflect our end goal and not the steps we need to get there.  For instance, a common resolution is to lose weight.  But, without a metric for how to accomplish this, you set yourself up for failure.  Even if you say “I will go to the gym every day”, you are setting yourself up for failure.  You miss one day, promise that it won’t happen again but inevitably life gets in the way.  Sometime in March you realize that you haven’t been to the gym in weeks and then you beat yourself up for failing on your resolution.  Or, perhaps this only happens to me?

But this quote forced me to rethink resolutions – to look at them as opportunities to construct positive change without the internal punishment for “failure”.  Resolutions should be a chance to commit yourself to doing something differently, even if you accomplish it incrementally.  In that spirit, this year I am making a couple of resolutions:

  • Take on one more activity/class/event than I think I can handle in order to stretch myself and get the most out of my time at Fisher (which is already flying by!).
  • Get back to the person I used to be.  You know, the one who actually liked to exercise and wouldn’t miss it for anything.  I remember her… 🙂
  • Embrace the advice given to us by Senior Associate Dean Karen Wruck during Fisher Advantage Orientation: “All of [the Fisher MBA students] have enormous potential.  Find it in your classmates.  Don’t squander your own.”  (Paying special attention to that last phrase)
  • Spend at least two evenings at home NOT doing homework – at least until the kids are in bed…
  • Make entries to this blog more often!

The plan is to do better – it’s not an all or nothing game.   Here’s to a fantastic 2011!

Veterans Day, Vacation Day?

For the past few weeks, I have been really looking forward to November 11th – the day I have no classes and no intentions of stepping foot on campus.  All that I, and most of my classmates, really want to do is catch my breath and get prepared for the last four CRAZY weeks of my first quarter at Fisher (during which we will have 4 Accounting Cases, 3 final papers, 3 final presentations, 4 daily assignments and 3 final exams – not to mention all of the reading that goes with those assignments…).  But, November 11th is more than just a vacation day, it’s Veterans Day.

Buckeye Battalion preparing to raise the Flag at an OSU home football game. My daughter loves the fact that the Flag "has legs" - two Buckeye Battalion members crouch under the Flag to keep it from touching the ground.

My father (Air Force), step-father-in-law (Marine Corp), brother-in-law (Army Reserves) and one of my cohort team mates (Army) are all Veterans.  I am immensely proud of each of them and would like to use this blog to honor them and all Veterans by taking us all back to the real meaning of Veterans Day.  Veterans Day began in 1918 as Armistice Day – a way to honor those who fought in World War I.  In 1954, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in order to honor veterans of ALL wars.  Today, Veterans Day is designed to honor and thank living veterans who served in the military during times of peace and of war.

So, as you relax (or study) on this Veterans Day or hit the malls for some great sales, please be sure to stop for a moment to remember what this day truly means.  In fact, why not take that moment right now and watch this clip of the OSU ROTC Buckeye Battalion raising the Flag as the Ohio State Marching Band plays the U.S. National Anthem:

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I took a trip to Ann Arbor, MI… and liked it!

Last weekend, I had the pleasure to travel to Ann Arbor (home of OSU’s arch rival) for the 2010 Net Impact Conference.  For those of you who do not know, Net Impact is a global organization that focuses on changing the world through business.  Fisher College of Business is home to a two-time award winning local graduate chapter of Net Impact of which I am proud to be a member – VP of Marketing and Communications, actually.  That’s right!  Not only do I get to follow my passion (I have a previously underutilized BS in Environmental Health) and be a part of this wonderful group of like-minded students, but I also get to hold a leadership position as a first-year MBA!  Yet another perk of the small, close-knit Fisher community.

Perhaps the most simplistic, yet most profound quote of the weekend came from Chet Gesechickter of GTM Research during the Future of Smart Grid Communities panel discussion: 

Things aren’t smart.  People are.  We need to give people the information [they need] to make the right choices and force the changes to the system.

It really can be that simple.  Get the information to the people so they can make informed decisions that will ultimately help us all.

In addition to great panel discussions and amazing keynote speakers – like Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm –  the conference offered us a break from midterms and some time to recharge.  Often, the most important part of any conference is the extra time that you get to spend with your fellow classmates.  The Net Impact Conference was no exception.  We debated sustainable topics, we brainstormed sustainable ideas and we taught one of our International classmates some American nuance and slang.  We had so much fun together!  And now we are back in Columbus fully charged and ready to make a Net Impact at Fisher!

Positive Perspective on Progress


The First Year MBA students at Fisher are diligently preparing (i.e. panicking) about our first round of midterms.  As I try to re-learn the relationship between Correlations and Covariance (um, I got an A in stats…in 1995!), I sense that I am neglecting everything else on my ever-growing MBA to-do list.  I’m starting to feel like I am merely treading water in this ocean of grad school requirements and possibilities.  In an attempt to make myself feel better, and point out some of the fantastic opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of here at Fisher, I’ve compiled the following list of things that I have completed in the past two weeks:

  • Participated in four very productive team meetings – shout out to Team X!!!
  • Attended four Fisher Information sessions (Corporate Mentor Program, Emerging Market Field Study, Fisher Serves & Association of Marketing Professionals)
  • Spent some quality time at the mall with my daughter
  • Spent some quality time with a Fisher Director of Career Management and Corporate Relations
  • Mailed a birthday card to a new friend who is far from home
  • Attended a Brand Management Happy Hour/Info Session hosted by Nestle
  • Heard an amazing speaker from Thailand via the Distinguished International Speaker Series
  • Hand delivered a birthday card because I goofed up the address…
  • Received a hug from a classmate after a particularly stressful day in Data Analysis
  • Gave a hug to a classmate who lost a loved one
  • Attended Fisher Graduate Women in Business happy hour and Young Alumni happy hour – on the same night!
  • Met with my academic advisor
  • Entertained the Fisher Fairy Godmother for a brief moment or five…
  • Attended a Data Analysis review session (and provided comic relief when a classmate made my chair fall – thanks for the love J-Lo)
  • Attended a Fisher Networking Event at the Blackwell
  • Went on a FIELD TRIP to Algaeventure with fellow members of Net Impact
  • Had coffee with a new friend
  • My son went pee on the potty for the first time!  O.K. so maybe this isn’t really my accomplishment but I am claiming it anyway!
  • Got my hair cut and colored (um, hello?  Priorities here!  In my defense, I read three articles for Organizational Behavior while allowing the color to set…)
  • Had lunch with a new friend who tried to talk me down from a Data Analysis melt-down (I see a trend here…)
  • Had a blast with some new friends at a fall potluck – oh how I wish Charades were a major!
  • Participated in an all-day Marketing Boot Camp – one of the best learning experiences I’ve had thus far at Fisher!

So maybe my Organizational Behavior paper isn’t finished, I haven’t prepared anything for my Enhancing Professional Interchange assignment and I am SO not ready for my Data Analysis exam (again with DA?).  But at least I can refer back to this list and realize that I am truly making positive progress!  Now I need to calculate the probability of positive progress on, you guessed it, the Data Analysis Midterm!

Some Like it Hot – a Fisher homage to Tony Curtis

Service to others is the rent we pay for time on this planet.

I heard this quote from the late Tony Curtis, last week on NPR as I drove to Fisher.  I found it very fitting given that as a First Year MBA student I spent my lunch hours last week learning about all the different student organizations at Fisher, most of which have a strong service component.  There’s Fisher Board Fellows that matches MBA students with local non-profits; Fisher 5K which raised and donated over $17,000 to charities in 2010; Fisher Serves coordinates many service-based initiatives, including the upcoming Fisher Community Service Day.  Even Fisher Follies has a charitable component – and they encourage student comedy, just like Tony Curtis would have wanted.

This is just a small sample of the Student Organizations at Fisher.  Unlike ‘Spats Columbo’, the students of Fisher are earning their rent on this planet – one great organization at a time.  Now I just have to decide how many of these great Student Organizations I can fit into my schedule…

I hate football!

O.K.  I don’t really hate football.  But I don’t love it either.  As a student at Ohio State (or simply a resident in Central Ohio) who doesn’t LOVE football can get a bit uncomfortable at times because it seems that everyone except you treats Buckeye Football like a religion of sorts and you are a leper, begging for mercy.  Even though I am not a true fan of Buckeye Football, I purchased season tickets (yes, that’s tickets – married students get to purchase TWO tickets, even if your significant other is also not really a fan…).  You may be wondering why I would spend all of that hard-to-come-by cash on tickets to five events that I don’t really care about.  The answer is actually quite simple:  I love marching bands, fanfare, pageantry and tradition.

This weekend my daughter and I took part in one of the Ohio State Marching Bands long-standing traditions: The Skull Session.  The Skull Session began as a final memorization run-through for the members of the band.  Over time the Skull Session has become a giant band driven pep rally with 10,000 of your closest friends!  The best part?  It’s absolutely FREE!  You don’t need a ticket; you don’t have to go to the game afterward.  All you have to do is show up (2 hours prior to kickoff) and have a good time.

During the Skull Session, the band practices all of the music they will play during the game including the score for Script Ohio.  As the band plays, the drum majors and the sousaphone players practice dotting the “i”.  I am a big fan of low brass (I played some tuba in my day…) so I’ve included a video of this practice “dotting” for you to enjoy as well!

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If you don’t love football, are not a fan of low brass, and do not care for pageantry or tradition, Central Ohio is still a great place to live.  Just treat OSU game days as I once did – a really great excuse to hit the shopping malls!  Everyone else is watching the game so you’ll have the entire place to yourself.