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Review of the first week of the fifth quarter!

As I’ve mentioned before (and have many other second-year students), it’s so hard to believe the end is so near!

This quarter is already crazy – a lot of the classes are offered only at night, or at other weird times of the day/week.

For example, my classes run 1:30PM – 9:48PM two days a week, along with a project class with local businesses, that must be fit in during the rest of the week.

The really good thing about this quarter is that the majority of classes are ones that I’m excited about taking. Dr. Rucci’s strategy implementation class has been really enjoyable thus far, aided by the fact that he is a truly amazing professor. The global sourcing class will really come in handy in many different future careers, and my project group includes two very stellar students. And who can forget Intopia, the business simulation course run by Dr. Dial. Our first two decisions were due by this morning, so our team was at lovely Gerlach Hall for untold hours last night… and into the morning. There are so many variables, but of course, not nearly as many in real life! The last course I’m taking the Lean Six Sigma project class, which partners students with local businesses to aid them in solving real, quantifiable problems.

This quarter also will bring many different events outside of the classroom. The first EOTW event was held Tuesday at the Rusty Bucket, where many students came to watch the Buckeyes play in the Sugar Bowl. Several famous groups are also coming to town soon, including Cirque Du Soleil. I recommend all OSU students check out D-Tix – which lists different events that students can get discounts to.

I hope everyone’s quarter has started well!

Stacey


Another quarter approaches

So another quarter is complete…

  • grades are in
  • books for next quarter are on order
  • teams are already forming for some classes and meeting times are being set up

Winter quarter has some really great elective options for second year students!

Intopia is a really interesting course – it’s a full business simulation, where each week represents one financial quarter of a business. Teams of four people compete against each other, and use the skills we’ve learned during the MBA program to make the most viable business decisions. My team members are very intelligent people, with different backgrounds and strengths – I definitely recommend considering this course.

There is also a Lean Six Sigma project course that partners teams of 4 – 5 students with local businesses. The students run a project over 1.5 quarters – meeting with the company to kick off the project, moving through the DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) and using all the skills we’ve learned in the Lean Six Sigma course last quarter. I’m really looking forward to this – I’ve done some Lean Six Sigma work at my last company, and am excited to get into it again!

Of course, coursework isn’t the only thing that MBA students (should) think about, especially this time of year! One of the great things about the quarter system is that we all get a decent amount of time off between Fall and Winter quarter. I’m glad to hear that many people were able to go home to visit their families and friends – it’s definitely great to get the chance to “recharge” the mental batteries before another quarter begins.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday break, and I look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces in Gerlach Hall at the beginning of 2011!

Stacey


Hard to believe … quarter 4 of 6 is almost over!

It’s the last week of classes again… it’s pretty astonishing to think that this is the fourth time our class has finished a quarter!

I remember listening to the second year students last year – they promised that the second year of the program was easier than the first. After the first quarter of my second year, I’m pretty sure they were all playing a trick on us – it hasn’t gotten much easier!

In fact, time-management is even more critical now! It’s a balance of doing well in classes, performing research on companies, interviewing, making time for friends & family, and, for me at least, a fair amount of introspection.

I think it’s important for each of us to take time to be alone, and do a “health check” on ourselves. Some of the things I recommend thinking about are:

  • What are your priorities?
    • job search? grades? spending time with family? something else?
  • What are your values?
    • loyalty? honesty? integrity? earning trust? being there for people?
  • What are you NOT willing to compromise on? I find this especially critical when the job search heats up…
    • Will you work in any industry? Is corporate social responsibility important to you? Sustainability? Do you care if a company gives back to the community?
  • What drives you?
    • Money? Power? Recognition? Feeling safe and secure (cultural fit)? A personal mission?
  • How can you give back?
    • This is key… think about it… all of us are very lucky to have gotten to this stage, and I would find it very surprising if no one, at any point in time, gave you a chance or a leg up. I understand that many of us will not have the financial ability to make donations to causes right away, but I think time and effort are extremely valuable gifts.
  • What are your areas for personal growth?
    • Be honest with yourself. Are you a good friend? A good family member? Can you be relied upon? Do people feel comfortable with you? If you had to write your obituary today, what would you want it to say? What actions do you need to take, starting today, to make that happen?

Enough philosophical thoughts for the day. I wish all students the BEST of luck studying for finals, writing papers and presentations, and preparing for anything else they have coming up in the next week! You can do it.

Stacey


2010 International Graduate Logistics Case Competition

Yes folks, that IS a mouthful, I will admit!

Five second year MBA’s traveled to beautiful northwest Arkansas to participate in this competition, which was sponsored by Sam’s Club (which is headquartered in Bentonville, AR). The team consisted of Xia (Andrea) Huang, Mittal Haria, Raj Jaasthi, Parminder (Parry) Gandhi and myself.

There were 12 teams in attendance, and two were from out of the country – Sweden and Germany, to be precise. Each team was given the same case, and 24 hours to prepare a 25 minute presentation and be ready for 10 minutes of Q&A from a panel of judges.

For those of you who aren’t as familiar with case competitions… I’m including some pictures! It’s a hard task for five people to stay focused and continuously engaged for that long (especially when they’re all working on the same problem)! Our strategy was to use large sheets of paper to break down the specific types of analysis we wanted to do, the cost structure of the firm, the product offerings, as well as the exact goals and constraints that were presented. Each of us is skilled in different areas, so it was fun bouncing ideas off each other. Several of the team members have participated in several case competitions – so they brought some great ideas! My favorite was to align our recommendations to a slogan – we picked “CORE”. It’s amazing how easy it was for the judges to remember our slogan – in the feedback session, they specifically mentioned that they appreciated that.

Although our team did not make it into the final¬† three, I know that I personally found the experience very rewarding – it was a great group of students from around the world, and the folks from Sam’s Club and local businesses were very accommodating.

For those of you that may be questioning what there is to do in northwest Arkansas… I was pleasantly surprised by how vibrant downtown Fayetteville is. This is likely because of the diverse student body at the University of Arkansas in that town. There was a dueling piano bar, many excellent and exotic restaurants, night clubs, pubs with vast draft beer selections, and a slew of friendly people that were willing to suggest places for us newcomers to check out. In particular, I recommend Willy D’s Piano Bar and “The Fix”, which is a jazz/hip hop nightclub attached to Willy D’s. It was a great several days, but now it’s time to catch up on schoolwork!

Stacey

The team showing Buckeye pride!

Hard at work in the "war room."

Feeding the brain!

Taking a much-needed mini-break!

The "war room"


A rolling stone… well, you know the rest.

This past week has been a haze of interviews, midterms, projects, group meetings, phone calls and of course, the everyday tasks – like eating, sleeping (hopefully!), cleaning, etc.

Although the Class of 2011 technically has until graduation (mid-June) to find a full-time career… it seems like you’re behind if you’re not madly rushing to second-round interviews at a hectic pace.

For me, it’s been a busy few weeks – it really forces you to decide whether a company is a good fit for you, when you need to either skip class, miss hanging out with friends, or otherwise disrupt your life to attend second-round interviews. I had the good fortune of interviewing with Belden, in Richmond, IN this past Monday. The plant tour made me nostalgic for Owens Corning, my previous employer. Once you’ve worked in manufacturing, you either realize you love it (like me), or you get the heck out. I also was invited up to the Paint & Coatings Division of Sherwin-Williams in Cleveland, OH. Having worked as a painter and a maintenance tech for a number of years, I knew enough about their products to have a very engaging conversation with the CEO of this company at the Fisher Scholar’s luncheon a few weeks ago. I am very grateful that he thought highly enough of me to pass my information along to this division.

In other news, 5 Class of 2011 MBA students will be traveling to Arkansas this Thursday – Sunday to compete in a Graduate Logistics Case Competition, sponsored mainly by Sam’s Club. I have not been to Arkansas for a few years, and I’m excited to compete in another case competition – the Internal Case Competition last year was extremely rewarding!

In case no one else has mentioned it yet, this past Friday was the annual Fisher MBA Halloween party. This time it was held at Callahan’s, in the Arena district. Everyone appeared to having a great time! It was nice to be able to mingle with first and second year students, as well as those from other programs, and their friends and significant others. An important part of maintaining sanity in graduate programs is having a solid support network of friends, and being able to loosen up and “check out” every once in awhile. A big thanks to the Fisher Graduate Student Association Social Chairs for setting up this event!

Check back for another post next week – I look forward to telling you about how the Logistics Case Competition went!


The Hampton Inns of the Midwest

As I sit (in a very cushy) suite at the Hampton Inn in Richmond, Indiana, I realize that I will spend nearly 20% of my time in the foreseeable future in places like this.

Second round (on-site) interviews are a complicated dance between potential employers and employees. It’s not only a chance for you to impress them, but for them to woo you as well.

Case in point. Upon checking in to this particular Hampton, I received a “goody” bag with two pens, a flashlight, a chocolate bar, a box of color-coordinated M&M’s, a book and a leather-ensconced flash drive (never seen one of those before).

This evening, a group of company representatives will be chauffeuring us to the infamous pre-interview dinner. For those of you that may not have participated in one of these yet, be warned, it is 100% NOT about the food. Remember to be polite, ask questions, and most importantly, follow the lead of the company representatives. If they order an adult beverage, feel free to, but I recommend sticking with water or a soda, just to be safe. Remember you are there to interact with your potential employer. It’s fine to talk with the other students, but be cognizant of the things you say, and the tone of your voice, as well as your body language.

Tomorrow is a tour of the headquarters, as well as one of their distribution facility, then a full afternoon of interviewing. It’s important to remember that you should not take anything for granted at any point in this process – even though you may have scored some “loot”,¬† you must continue to show why YOU are the most qualified, most sincere, and most likely to succeed.

I wish all of you in this position the best of luck – remember you have many resources you can reach out to, such as the Career Management Office, other students, mentors, alumnus, and so many more.

Stacey


Stress

It’s that time of the quarter… midterms… interviews…gloomy weather…

They all seem to come together in a nasty blend some days.

After seeing more than the normal percentage of students walking with their heads down, with a woebegone expression on their face, I figured perhaps I could share some of my coping mechanisms.

The first thing is to consider your priorities in life. An effective exercise for this is to write your obituary as if you passed away today; then write it with everything you hope to accomplish in your life. Then, think about how you’re going to achieve those goals.

Chances are, you may re-prioritize family, friends, job search, grades, and other facets of your life, once you step back and take stock of what your goals are.

One other important lesson that students need to learn is that uncertainty is a staple in the world. You must become comfortable with a certain level of uncertainty, and be able to make decisions despite not having all the information you may want.

Of course, no matter how you prioritize, there will be times were you just feel overwhelmed. If this happens, try exercising – go for a fast walk, a run, dance around the living room to your radio, lift some weights, you name it. If that’s not your style, try taking a break and cooking a healthy meal that requires some preparation – there are few things as soothing and washing and dicing veggies and fruits and creating a tasty meal.

I hope these ideas help – I’m off to relieve some stress myself before studying a little bit more before my first midterm.

Stacey


Interview Season is Upon Us

First year, second year, you name it, you’re probably getting your suit out of the closet on an ever-increasing frequency this month!

It’s interview season again! Others have said that this is one of the most active recruiting years in recent history, and I would have to agree (which is excellent news for graduating students).

A big thank you to the Career Management Office for putting on another wonderful Fisher Fall Career Fair this past week. There were many excellent companies hiring for a wide variety of positions. I hope everyone got the chance to head to the Fair to talk to at least a few of their target companies.

It’s hard to believe the “end” is near for the second-years. Some of my classmates have already accepted some great offers for full-time employment after graduation – I bet it’s quite a load off, so to speak.

Personally, I have a number of local and national companies I’m interested in – I’m putting out my resume and cover letter through Fisher, through Monster, as well as other avenues, and I recommend other students to do the same!

I think the most important thing is to figure out what types of industries you would like to work for. Then, try checking out LinkedIn – chances are someone in your network either works there or knows someone who does. Leverage your relationships! And always, always, schedule a site visit – you need to be sure the actual company culture matches what you were told in an interview. You also need to be sure you would enjoy living in the area that the company is in!

Well, look for a more varied blog post next weekend – the main thing on my mind lately has been the job search, so I apologize for the uni-dimensional post!

Stacey


NAWMBA Conference – in a word, inspiring

I had the great pleasure of attending the NAWMBA (National Association of Women MBA’s) Conference in Louisville, KY the past few days. Here are some of my thoughts…

1. Louisville is a beautiful, charming city! I had never been to the revitalized downtown area before, only the Historic District. The city is very well-kept, people are extremely friendly, and the restaurants and pubs are busy and delightful.

2. There are so MANY amazing, powerful, awe-inspiring, talented women. I have always been impressed by Fisher women (and all the students!), but it was mind-blowing to meet so many other ambitious, insightful women that I shared so much in common with.

3. Karen Hough of ImprovEdge, gave me so much to think about. Her presence, her warm smile, her thoughtfulness and ability to read and respond to her audience is something that truly touched me. Her presentation resonated with me, and I encourage everyone to check out her company, her philosophy, and also her book launch, which is happening in March 2011 right here in Columbus!

4. Lynn Tilton. What can I even say about her? This is a confident, self-secure woman who has absolutely no compunction about sharing her deepest thoughts about the American economy, manufacturing, industry, morals, and how to live life like it’s the only one you have – because it is. Listening to her speak had me on the verge of either crying or spontaneously standing up or dropping to my knees in acknowledgment and thanks. She espouses values that I try to maintain in myself – and did so eloquently. Again, this a woman EVERYONE needs to know. To anyone that has ever read anything by Ayn Rand, this is the current day embodiment of her theories, philosophies and “fire”, in spades. To quote Lynn, the most powerful thing in the world is “people standing shoulder to shoulder, walking together.” What a powerful, powerful message.

It’s not very often that something happens that shakes me to my core. Points 3 and 4 did that. Without a question. I am truly humbled by what I heard this weekend, and I hope that I can incorporate even just a few of these powerful womens’ thoughts and values into my own life.

Many thanks to all the faculty, staff and students of Fisher for their involvement in this conference.


New classes, new faces and some new places

Greetings!

I realize it’s been quite a hiatus since my last post – there’s definitely a lot to catch up on!

I, like many of the now second-year MBA’s, spent the summer interning at a company, working on a great project. I worked at Ford Motor Company, up in Michigan. It was a cool company – Alan Mulally, the CEO, has a great message and vision that I felt very comfortable standing behind. It was also personally rewarding, because I grew up in Michigan – it was a sort of “homecoming.”

Now that I’m back in Columbus, it’s been a whirlwind of unpacking, painting, getting pets settled, catching up with friends and remembering just how crazy traffic can get on the I-270 Outerbelt in the mornings!

I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few of the first-year MBA students at different events at Fisher Commons and on campus…What a great group! I’m impressed with the things they have already achieved, and I hope they enjoy their first year as much as I know my classmates and I did!

As for this quarter, I’m focusing on operations and logistics, with two classes about supply chain, one on lean/Six Sigma, and one on competitive analysis. I also began working part time at HDR. This company, located on the west side of Columbus, makes power supplies, power controllers and panel boards for a wide range of industries. In fact, the glass-melting furnace I ran at the Newark facility of Owens Corning Fiberglas used equipment from HDR. The people are wonderful – they are constantly looking to improve their process and better serve their customers. I will be working on supply chain, logistics and inventory management projects. I can’t wait to get started, and I know the courses I’m taking will definitely help!

Enough with words – no blog post is complete without some pictures! I’m including just a sampling of some of the amazing places and things I saw this summer!

The kind of horses I would want in my stable too. Upper Peninsula, MI.

Two best buddies at the Oakland County Fair.

Got to take a trip around Columbus in this two-seater plane.

Demolition Derby at the Oakland County Fair.

Heidelberg Project. An interesting district in Detroit.

New Albany Classic. Beautiful, talented horses and their riders.

Agawa Canyon, Canada. We took the train tour from Sault Ste Marie, Canada to the canyon.

Tahquamenon Falls. The largest and most beautiful falls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Diamondback at Kings Island.

Saw this beautiful orange Lambo parked on the side of the road at the Woodward Dream Cruise in Michigan.


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