Not the best way to end the quarter…

Today’s topic is a bit more serious in nature.

Fisher College of Business hosts a variety of graduate programs, including the MAcc program, the MLHR program, the MBLE program, the Full-Time MBA program, the Working Professionals MBA program, many dual-degree programs, as well as Executive MBA programs.

Judging by actions of select faculty, staff AND students, there seems to be some sort of feeling that the Full-Time MBA program is more important than the other programs. The evidence for this conclusion is both pervasive and disheartening. I do not wish to delve into specific occasions, but suffice to say, I found the topic compelling enough to present it for public consumption.

I believe that since everyone pursuing a graduate degree is already realistically in the top .5% of the world’s population in terms of opportunities, there is absolutely no reason to create any sort of hierarchy within the Fisher College of Business.

I encourage everyone in the Fisher College of Business to truly think about their beliefs about this school. Do you want Fisher to be known as an inclusive, welcoming community, or as an MBA program with some “other stuff” thrown in? I strongly believe that the first choice is the correct one, and if you do not, I recommend re-evaluating your position. As someone once said, the greatest danger is not evil people, but the indifference of “good” people to evil actions.

That’s all for today. Best luck to everyone on your finals, term papers, and everything else!


The many faces of Warren

I’m sure most people have heard of Warren Buffett, one of  the most famed investors of all time. What people might not realize is how interesting, charismatic, and humorous he is! Mr. Buffett invites small groups of MBA students from schools around the continent to a Q&A session in Omaha, NE, as well as an amazing lunch at his favorite restaurant, Piccolo Pete’s. Approximately 130 students from seven different universities attended the event. Each school was permitted to ask several questions. I was honored to be able to ask Mr. Buffett a question on behalf of the Fisher College of Business.

Mr. Buffett is a true story-teller; he has the ability to weave decades of experience throughout answers to many different types of questions. He has obviously spent time reflecting on what he has accomplished; and it is clear that he loves to share his knowledge with anyone who is earnestly interested.

As a side note, meeting Mr. Buffett was neat for me for a personal reason – My father’s name is Warren, and his father’s name is the same as Mr. Buffett’s father’s name – Howard. My dad is also a person I look to for advice, not just about investing, but for life in general. He has done many interesting and unique things, and is a person I often go to for advice and information about many different topics.

The midterm crunch is over, but it still feels like we’re on fast forward

This weekend was a bit of a breather thankfully!

The last midterm of the quarter was last Monday, which means we have a few more weeks left before final exams. We’ve gotten our grades on two of the core midterms (Operations and Finance), and are waiting for the grade on our Marketing Exam. I’m also waiting to receive my grade on my Sustainability midterm. As I mentioned, the exam was a take-home, and required us to develop a life-long sustainability plan. This was a difficult assignment, because there are so many variables involved. I had to consider where I would live, what companies I am willing to work for (and which ones I would NOT work for), the effect that governmental regulations/changes could have, along with the most important factor – family.

We also still have one large project that is due soon: a brand portfolio, for our Marketing class. Our team choose to analyze the Honda Fit, which is pretty convenient because I have one! The project is interesting, but pretty difficult!

This weekend was very fun! First, I hung out with my Little Sister, Nesha. She introduced me to O’Charley’s – which has some pretty good food! We then watched her little brother play basketball at DayBreakers Church on the east side of Columbus. I had a lot of fun watching all the four- to eight-year olds playing! They did a great job. Then Sunday, a group of MBA students organized a trip to Waffle House, since several of the international students had never been there. As always, there was enough butter for the biscuits and hashbrowns to float on, but that is part of the charm of Wafflehouse. I then drove up to Ashland, OH to see the high school’s rendition of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The students did an amazing job; the auditorium was packed with about 1,200 people.

This week is going by fast – the trip to see Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska is this Thursday and Friday!

Take care,


Tests, Food and Cases

The past week has been a very busy one, both professionally and personally!

Fisher class events:

  • MBA 850 (Operations) midterm
    • This exam was fairly straight-forward, and had a good mix of conceptual and quantitative questions.
  • MBA 840 (Marketing) midterm
    • The exam was a 2.5 hour “take home” exam. We downloaded the exam, and then had 2.5 hours to type all our answers, then had to upload it.
    • It covered a LOT of ground. Even though marketing can be explained with several short acronyms (5C’s, 4P’s, STP, CARE…), it took me about ten pages to explain it all!
  • MHR 841 (Sustainability) midterm
    • This elective class is one of my favorites so far.
    • The midterm exam was a “take home” as well. We were given approximately a week to develop a “Lifelong Sustainability Plan” for ourselves. This assignment was very difficult, because there are so MANY factors that I needed to consider – job opportunities, my future family, possible health issues, governmental regulations, etc. I stopped and started this exam several times, and found that incorporating a variety of bullet lists and “SmartArt” really helped me get my point across.

Other Fisher events:

  • Chinese New Year Event
    • The Chinese Business Professional Students organization held a wonderful New Year’s celebration at Imperial Gardens a little north of campus. There was great food, lots of fun games, music, and traditional Chinese dancing.
    • Special thanks to everyone that helped plan this event!
  • CIBER and Big 10 Case competition teams announced
    • The first-year teams for these case competitions (which are held in April) were announced. Congratulations to everyone!
  • FGSA (Fisher Graduate Student Association) elections
    • The new student representatives for the MBA Class of 2011 are being announced today! Congratulations in advance to everyone!

Check back soon for my next post!


Unique Experiences

Hello there!

I know it has been a while since my last post… I feel like I say that every post, unfortunately. Since my last update, several wonderful things have happened at Fisher!

The first event was the Internal Case Competition for 1st Year MBA’s last Friday and Saturday. It was amazing how many first-year students participated – 28 teams x 4 students per team = 128 students, out of about 150 students total. Each team was given the same business case to analyze and present a future strategy to the company’s executives. Other bloggers have described the competition in much greater detail in their posts, so I will refrain from re-hashing it.

I had never participated in a case competition before – it was really exciting to be charged with creating and presenting a viable business plan in such a compressed time period. The members of my team: Andrew Boyd, Anthony Cayce and Fan Liu, bring a strong and diverse set of skills and experiences, which I think gave our team an edge (and the judges agreed). After a long day of analyzing the case and creating a strategy, we came in early Saturday morning to practice the presentation a  few more times. I’ll admit I was nervous! Our team presented really well, and the judges gave us very clear and direct critiques, which I am very thankful for. It was refreshing to get third-party opinions on my presentation style; I realize that working on moving around the room, and showing a little more emotion will definitely enhance my presentation skills. Our team won “best team” for our room – so the next step is individual interviews next week, for a chance to be on the CIBER or Big Ten Case Competition Teams for Fisher! I am very, very excited for this opportunity – I never imagined how exhilarating a case competition could be!

The fun social event of this weekend was the “End of the Week” (EOTW) event at OSU’s Ice Rink. For $5, students could rent skates for two hours! As a special bonus, a second-year MBA student skated in a black tutu with orange ribbons (he auctioned off this event at last year’s Fisher Follies Auction)! Thank goodness he was a good skater – he had to make a lot of quick maneuvers around skaters that were rather… confused… about his outfit. He  tried to skate with the young ladies in spandex and tutus, but they obviously had had a little more training than him!

This afternoon, the Black MBA association hosted the first luncheon in the Black Leader’s Series. This year’s theme is “Revering the Past, Embracing the Present and Uplifting the Future” from an economic empowerment perspective. The speaker today was Margot James Copeland; the Executive Vice President – Director, Corporate Diversity & Philanthropy and an Executive Council member at KeyCorp. I really enjoyed her presentation because she is a very engaging speaker who presents her ideas and opinions very clearly. The part I found most interesting was her discussion of “diversity” versus “inclusion.” She defines diversity fairly broadly – every person is complex and complete, not only because of their gender, race, age, and nationality, but because of their life and work experiences. Every single person is unique. As an example, she said a room full of white men IS diverse, because each man brings different experiences and perspectives. However, the room would not be inclusive. To determine inclusion, one needs to look around the room, and see who is missing. This means that a room that is inclusive will have men and women of different races, ages and nationalities, with different life experiences. She also talked about many other topics – the purpose of affinity groups in corporations, the history of diversity, where it’s going in the future, and her personal thoughts on how to ensure future generations are prepared for the realities of a diverse working environment. I really enjoyed this talk, and I am looking forward to the next three speakers this month.

The rest of this week will be devoted to studying – we have three midterms coming up in our core classes, and I also have a take-home midterm for my elective. Good luck to all the other students in their preparations for exams!

Take care!


Bee Dance, Make-Buy, Test Drives and one crazy weekend.

So as Week 4 of Winter Quarter begins, several note-worthy things have happened since my last post.

Bee Dance:

Last Thursday, Professor Drobny (who teaches MHR 841 – Business Sustainability) invited the inventor of Bee Dance to speak to our class. The session was devoted to biomimcry, which is the use of nature as a design model. Bee Dance was created recently, and uses the theory of bees’ “waggle dance” to develop the business strategy and actions. The presentation was very intense, and it was very neat to hear about how the company actually received a grant for its’ use of biomimcry in the business. Check out the website for more information!

Make vs. Buy:

One of the many unique things available to Fisher students is the Center for Operational Excellence. This group held a 2 hour Supply Chain Forum last Friday. Over 25 supply chain experts from local companies joined several Fisher students in listening to Dr. John Gray (an OSU professor) explain global sourcing decisions, using a case study on Scott’s. The presentation was VERY useful; Dr. Gray gave several decision matrices, and went through a very detailed decision process for: in-house vs. outsourcing vs. off-shoring. He also explained the basics of Monte Carlo simulations, which can seem intimidating, but can really aid in decision-making.

Marketing Project:

Our core Marketing class has a large project component: choosing a product and creating a detailed marketing portfolio for it. My team, (Team W.A.M.) chose the Honda Fit! This past Saturday our team split into two groups and visited two Honda dealerships to learn more about the Fit, and do test drives. We learned the aspects of the Fit that salespeople focused on, and also learned more about the demographics of the target customers. The only downside to the trip is that since I was the one who did the test drive, I am also the one getting lots of voice-mails from the salesperson!

One crazy weekend:

Although I’m one a tight budget like most other graduate students, I decided to go to ICFA “New Beginnings” Friday night – 15 live cage fights, fully sanctioned by UFC and televised from Screamin’ Willie’s on the east side of Columbus. I rationalized the cost: $30/15 fights = $2/fight OR $30/3 hours = $10/hour… Not too bad for such an unusual event!

The other fun thing I did this weekend was to go to a “Zombie” party. I got to work on my networking skills – I met about 10 really interesting people. In respect for the theme of the party, I brought some Zombie cocktails, which are made as follows:

  • 1 oz clear/light run
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • 1/2 oz creme de almond
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz sweet and sour mix
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • drizzle with 1/2 oz of Bacardi 151, pouring it over the back of a spoon

Warning: Although these are very delicious, they are also very potent!


A Zombie... with a Zombie.
A Zombie... with a Zombie.


It’s hard to believe it’s already mid-January

And the start of Week 3 of Winter Quarter!

The past week has had quite a few highlights, some school-related and some not.

1) Two very interesting Marketing lectures, with lots of eye-opening information about the anchoring effect, behavioral economics, irrational consumers, and many other concepts. Marketing is definitely one of my favorite classes this quarter.

2) A talk from an AEP representative about their ground-breaking Mountaineer, WV plant, with has the first large-scale carbon capture sequestration (CCS) operation. Our class learned a great deal about the technology behind CCS, the possible concerns, and the limitations of it.

3) AG’s apartment-warming party was a blast! There were at least 30 Fisher students, along with lots of AG’s other friends. It was nice to unwind with classmates, make some jokes, drink some tasty beverages, and get the long weekend started!

4) Reaching Expert level on several duets in “Beatles Rock Band”. What a blast!

5) (Successfully) cooking jambalaya for the first time. I was reminiscing about my trip to New Orleans over winter break, and decided that with a little luck, some sausage, rice, beans and spices, I too, could make jambalaya.

6) Getting matched with a “Little Sister” through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Nesha is awesome! She’s a freshman at a local high school, loves basketball and soccer, and has a very cool family. We had a nice lunch on Monday, and I introduced her to my guinea pigs, which she really enjoyed. I also showed her a bunch of games using the Wii Fit Balance Board – she was a natural! She did better on some of the balance games on her first try than I’ve ever done.

Well, it’s about time for my first class of the week, so I’ll sign off for now!


Winter Quarter – Week 1 Snapshot

So the first week of Winter Quarter is over… already. Talk about time flying! I still haven’t received all the textbooks I ordered online, but we already have several assignments due next week! That’s one of the main differences between a semester system and a quarter system I think; there is no “easy” first day (or week) to help slowly ease students back into the grind – it’s more like a dunk tank.

After reflecting on the past week, I’ve come up with a list of the most memorable things (good and bad); most of which are non-school related (mostly because of the crazy weather we have had)!

1. Tuesday, Jan 5 – 1:30 – 3:18PM: The first session of my Business and Sustainability class (MHR 841) really inspired me. We watched a very moving video of a keynote speech given by Interface Carpet’s founder, Ray Anderson.

2. Thursday, Jan 7 – 8:30 – 10:18AM: The professor of Marketing (MBA 840) gave us an excellent brain teaser, which I’ll rewrite here, for you to try. Pick a number between one and nine. Multiply by 9. If you get a two digit number, add the digits together. Subtract 5. Find the letter that corresponds to your number (A=1, B=2…). Think of a country whose name starts with that letter. Now think of an animal whose name begins with the last letter of the country’s name. Then think of a color whose name begins with the last letter of the animal’s name. I’ll put the most common answer at the bottom the post – so no cheating!

3. Thursday, Jan 7 – 10:30AM – 12:00PM: Cost Accounting (MBA 801) began with some unidentified rock music… and a quick “brain teaser” devolved into a 15 minute disagreement about what size piece would fall off if you make two random cuts into a circle hanging on a string. Wow.

4. Thursday, Jan 7 – 3:35 – 5:23PM: My 20 mile commute home took…. this long. I thought I would be “smart” and take city streets, instead of the freeway, but those tricky Columbus drivers (snow novices) apparently had similar ideas!

5. Thursday, Jan 7 – 9:30 – 11:00PM: Doing donuts, power slides and drifting with the Columbus Racing crew – six SUV’s, a brave MR2 owner, a Honda, and of course, my V8 RWD Towncar. You know you’re having a good time when you’re getting sprayed with snow even though you only have your windows rolled down about 2″! I didn’t get any good pictures, so I’m including a generic one, for those of you unfamiliar with the concept.


** The most common answer to the brain teaser in #2 is: an orange kangaroo in Denmark! I came up with an aubergine koala from Denmark… I must admit, I had some trouble coming up with a color whose name began with “a” in English! (I came up with azul immediately, but I figured that was cheating… although aubergine also is rooted in French and British English, so that may be a bit of a stretch as well)!

I hope everyone has an excellent, safe weekend!


This quarter is starting off just fine!

Some things I’m thankful for:

After buying/ordering all the books for Winter Quarter, I added up everything… and was thrilled that the total was only $188.07… About a third of what Autumn Quarter was!

I made it through a week-long road trip and nearly two weeks with the family over winter break without any mishaps.

Christmas with my extended family was relaxing, and everyone enjoyed their gifts.

I successfully achieved > 90% on the SAT I took this afternoon – in order to teach SAT prep classes at Kaplan, your score has to be over 90% AND from within the past five years… mine was eight years ago!

New Year’s Eve is shaping up to be a nice, low-key event with friends, music and of course some tasty beverages.

I hope everyone is enjoying their last few days of “freedom” before we start classes again!

Best wishes,


The Open Road Song

I notice there haven’t been any posts for a while, so I figured I could take a quick moment to jot down some thoughts about winter break…

I decided that a road trip was in order (cheap, easy, lots of options)!

Since 11:00 AM on December 17th, I have:

  • Put over 1800 miles on the KNPSHUN Fit
  • Driven through seven states
  • Sang along (probably poorly) to at least 450 songs
  • Become re-acquainted with my music collection which spans from the 1940’s to 2009… from Aerosmith to Wesley Willis and a LOT of artists in between
  • Spent the night in Decatur, Alabama, the French Quarter (New Orleans), Louisiana, Live Oaks, Florida, and Orlando, Florida
  • Seen TWO white alligators!
  • Seen several live bands on Bourbon Street
  • Eaten beignets (Google: Cafe du Monde)
  • Splashed around in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Driven through the Irish Bayou
  • Learned the origins of the words “Creole” and “Cajun”
  • Saw the “Oldest Building” and the “Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse” in St. Augustine, Florida
  • Realized how beautiful the southeastern part of the US is – the last time I was in Florida… I’m not sure if I was even in the double digits yet.
  • Met SO many wonderful people that were willing to give advice and take pictures!
  • And so, so much more!

I wish I could add all the pictures to this post, but unfortunately, there is only room for a few.

I hope everyone is having an excellent break, and enjoying time with family and friends!