International Business Etiquette

The second semester of our program has been really enriching. I checked our Student HUB, which lists student events, and guess what I found this time? International food tasting…I mean International Business Etiquette. Anyway, we can’t live without eating as well as learning.

When I stepped into Mason Hall’s rotunda, it proved to me again that I am part of a great program that provides international experiences. The exotic food brought me to a foreign environment instantly and started good conversation.

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Looking at things like this, how can you not be curious and try it out?

international ettiquete food

Of course, we are here to learn about business etiquette all around the world. There were flyers about business etiquette in the UK, Brazil, India, and so on. Amusingly, when international students looked at the food tables, they are actually looking for the one about America. Our wonderful holders forget to tell us about themselves. We are supposed to learn about the countries, but I instinctively looked for one on China. The students sitting in front of me were also looking for one on China since one of them is traveling there. I thought I could be the “live flyer” about business etiquette in China for him, but I actually found one for Korea, which is very close to China, and gave it to him for reference. The one for Saudi Arabia is really interesting and different. “It is not uncommon to have a meeting cancelled once you arrive.” “You should arrive at meetings on time, although it is an accepted custom to keep foreigners waiting.”

saudi arabia

It’s about life not money

When talking about business schools, it seems people automatically link it with making money. But here, I learn to be yourself and money will follow.

“Leadership” is the buzz word in business school. The course Advance Leadership is recommended by a lot of students. I do not consider myself a leader type of person, but after taking this class, I now feel every one is obligated to take the lead. Not everyone can become a CEO, but every one of us is the leader of our own life. I wrote my assignment not for the score, but how I can be an authentic leader, who I am and want to be, and how I want to be remembered after I die. In class, we listened to stories of CEOs, for example, one who gave every employee a milkshake because he didn’t get one when he started to work at a restaurant and another who committed himself to people’s dignity because he was looked down upon by a rich teenager when working at a car wash. We also heard stories from our classmates, such as one who is determined to be a successful woman in business despite disdain from a Catholic family and one who always gives credit to other people’s devotion because of his own bad experiences.

Any business or profession is just part of our life. What really matters is to live our life, have a positive impact on others, and make a difference.

CEO Milkshake

New Challenge, New Mentors, New Partners

It’s almost the middle of the first session and I have finally written my first blog for this semester. We still have just 3 core courses in the evening, but having heard a lot of good words about the selective courses, I chose to take 3 of the selective courses after a tough picking process. I’m interested in a lot of topics, such as leadership, team performance, technology innovation, and so on.

I end up with 6 classes on my list. One week later I found myself buried in reading materials, and although they are all very interesting, I dropped one of my selective classes.

This semester, we’ve got more readings, assignments, quizzes, and exams. But luckily, we’ve also got experienced teachers guiding us through the valuable process and classmates making progress with us. For example, Professor Klein has our picture and names and tries to remember every one of us. His class always begins with an interesting riddle and a quiz. A quiz is always stressful to me, but it happens the same day when I finished the reading and learn about it in the lecture. The best part is if I do well in all his quizzes, I can choose not to take the final exam.

Why we choose this program? Here’s our answers from our survey.
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Learning Dining Etiquette

I got a new email from OUAB (Ohio Union Activities Board – ouab.osu.edu) about an opportunity to learn dining etiquette. Free meal and learn something, why not? After registration, they sent another email for us to pick the dishes. When I stepped into the dining hall, I was impressed by the well placed knives, forks, plates, glasses, etc. I’m glad that the university is so thoughtful to provide international students opportunities to learn life here. But what moved me even more is that the faculties and staff are devoted to give us the best care and help they can.
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They served delicate food, from appetizers to coffee. At meal time, the speaker provided us suggestions from choosing food to taking a bite. We learned that the formal dinner is not about eating, but a chance to display our grace and make connections with people that will foster our future.

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At the end, when the waiter cleaned the table, he thanked us for keeping the table clean. It’s just a tiny thing, but he even expressed his appreciation for that while we were grateful for his considerate service. You can feel the efforts the university is making to get everybody involved. No wonder every time we shout out “O-H”, we will definitely get an “I-O”. We know we are embraced and have become part of it.

Sweet final week

“Final” might be a terrifying word for students. But as usual, OSU updated my impression again.

After the international food sharing class, our final class ended with a talk with our classmates in the bar, beer provided by our professor. We reviewed our first semester and shared our new great findings about our classmates’ presentation styles and so on. It was really fun!
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Another class is harder because of the strict requirement of the exams, in which we must be very accurate and clear to get a high score. We have covered a wide range of topics about organizational change and development, but the professor perfectly wrapped it up by drawing two boxes and several lines between it. And he has invited several senior students to talk about how they have applied what they learned in real work. They all looked confident and happy about what they are doing. It makes me feel excited about my own future.
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There are students studying late for their finals, but for us, we mainly got take home exams. They are not easy, but we have more flexibility in doing it. It really drives me to think about how I can turn what I have read and lectures into my tool-kit to analyze and solve problems.

Also, there were people giving out candies, good luck notes, and coffee near the Ohio Union on campus. “Good luck with your final” is just 5 simple words, but you have no idea how encouraging it can be during finals week.
咖啡

Thanksgiving: Eat, Pray and Love

This week is of course about Thanksgiving! I had 3 Thanksgiving dinners and 3 stories about Thanksgiving.

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The first is in the demo Kitchen in the RPAC. The Indian professor has been offering free vegetarian cooking classes and Thanksgiving dinners there for five years. Every Monday, he will teach the students how to cook while giving lectures. And then all the people will have dinner together and take extra food home. From his experience, I learned that I can choose to be a vegetarian for even one day. This professor is making a change to the world day by day through his words and the food.

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The second dinner is provided by Isaac, a young man from the International Friendship Institute (IFI). He has so much enthusiasm about work and about people. He invited as many people as he could, trying to give the international students as much warmth as he can. He also invited his boss, who he has a good relationship with because of his loyalty and hard work. He thanked us for attending the first Thanksgiving he held and invited us to hotpot next time.

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The third Thanksgiving dinner was hosted by my host family. They have given me a lot of help since I connected to them through IFI. And a couple from my home church was also there. My host family gives a lot to people who are far away from their own home.

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Case Competition – the Day Belongs to US

We formed our team and came up with a 5-step strategy about big data to address the case. Honestly, we knew the judges may not like our idea, but we seriously believed it was a strong case.

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The presentation actually turned out as we expected and we lingered in the Q&A section for 15 minutes. We didn’t win the competition. However, we had a great team and a case we all agreed with. At the end of the competition, we learned how we could do better in the future. They also taught us that we should be able to deal with ambiguity and take risks sometimes. In addition, the ideas from the other teams gave us some new thoughts.

There’s one more thing I liked about the case competition. Working with students in our program in a small room was fantastic. It really helped us learn more about each other. Li’s a liberal art student and really good at numbers. Craig is clever and playful. Ruth is a senior student and professional. The meaning of life is experience. Life is a journey, and we are so lucky to have walked together.

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Working in the department office, I see how much the faculty and students devoted to run the case competition. The competition is over, but that’s not the end of the story. There is more to take away. Best wishes to MHRM, to Fisher, and to OSU!

Autumn Break is Great, but Getting Hired during Autumn Break is Even Better!

Here comes the autumn break after all the exams for the first portion of the semester are done. I am really cheerful about this break, although without a car and money, it might be a little difficult to come up with an exciting plan for the vacation. However, 4 days ago, I wrote an email to apply for a part-time job on campus and got a reply the day before my final exam. My mind was so occupied by the exam, but I still went to the interview in the next building, guessing they probably will say “thank you and goodbye” after hearing my English. I am applying for front desk work which expects me to answer the phone. Figured I would just take it as an experience of an interview. But surprisingly, the only interview question is “are you available this Wednesday and Thursday?” An interesting thing is when the lady in the office asked me if the salary is ok for me, I said “much better than nothing.” I actually mean having a job and earning some money is better than not working. I probably shouldn’t have missed that lecture for compensation negotiation on the HUB. I’m really grateful that I can get a job as an international student. I hope my English skills will prove to be worth the payment. Maybe Fisher is really my perfect predestined choice. Anyway, life is getting better and better. I’m really grateful for what Fisher has given me.

Class presentation, you are blessed not doomed

Being in a foreign country, getting used to the new style of learning, hunting for the internship, getting invited to all kinds of events, these can be fun and too much. Even though I barely stop, I still missed something and I didn’t even stop to learn from the things I have already experienced.

food

There’s an info session every noon with lunch, why not go there. One day, I wanted to get my bag out of the classroom where an info session just ended, but it seemed another one had begun. I still needed my bag, so I went in and didn’t want to leave when I heard a speech given by professor Ankerman. I saw that event on the hub, and it’s for MBA, so I didn’t sign up for it. But it doesn’t seem to matter if it says for MBA. After that, I engaged in all the following lectures about communication skill. They are amazing. And I used the strategy in my class presentation.

Speaking of presentation, I am really surprised that the American students are willing to let me present out the group project, given that my oral English doesn’t always works well, and the presentation matters. I’m grateful for these opportunities and with the tricks I learned from the lectures, the presentation actually went well. What surprises me even more is the kindness of the classmates. Before the class, they will encourage you. Even after the class, they will remember to tell you how nice your presentation is. My nervousness totally turns into excitement. And although the American classmates are native speakers, they can also be nervous about it, just like we do when we give speech in our language in front of a lot of people. It reminds me another important thing I learned from the orientation. We are not the only ones who will have trouble integrating into the new environment.

presentation

After the career fair and a series of classes and events, I recalled an appointment I have with my career consultant. When I made the appointment at the front desk, it can only be scheduled after 2 weeks. We don’t usually make an appointment with faculties in Chinese university, but it seems the career consultant here is really a hotspot. I assumed our talk will be finished in half an hour at most, since I don’t have much to say. But when we began the conversation, I actually can’t even stop. Jill is amazing, she can just look at you and come up with all the names or resources you can reach out to. I describe my problem and she can always figure out the core problem and help with it.

Live Career Fair is Here

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I would like to take more time to savor the past, but things are changing so fast here. I just want to quickly go over the wonderful first quarter of this semester. Before I arrived here, some people told me I was going to be in a village with a lot of Chinese people. When I walked into Columbus, I did see Chinese people frequently, but when school really got started, it completely changed my impression.

The international student orientation was taken up by Chinese students and I was expecting the same situation in the MHRM program. However,  that orientation really surprised me! There are 57 students in our program, and except for Americans, there are some students from India, Pakistan, Germany, and Dubai. The welcome video with the professor and director was more funny than serious, although we didn’t get the American jokes well. We switched tables every few minutes so that we could get to know more classmates. One of the professors mentioned that we were going to have a lot of info sessions which provides food, and we should go. Why not. But then another professor said to eat before you go there, because you are there to network. This word appears frequently here. People used to think that Chinese count on “guanxi” to do business, but it seems it’s even more common here. And in the following weeks, we really get involved with all kind of info sessions and food…Rolls Royce, Procter & Gamble, Shell, and KPMG. At first I was not quite familiar with some of the names, but when I knew the Chinese translation, I am really shocked. As customers, we see some of them as luxury and when thinking about working for them, it feels incredible.

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Dressed in business professional, standing in the queue of the dream company, I felt like lingering between really being in HR and wandering into fantasy. A formal career fair which happens so soon really makes me anxious. But one thing I learned in the roundtable discussion for international students with our career consultant helped a lot. The recruiters in the ballroom could be as nervous as us. They really want to know us and we just need to help them know us. The practice of an elevator pitch with classmates is also helpful. The moment you start to do something, you may know its not that bad.

As an international student, all the recruiters seem nice. Some companies “Generally can’t offer sponsorship, but who knows what will happen.” Actually, we understand why the employer don’t want to bear the trouble and we study abroad to learn the American style, and then help them run better in our country and contribute to our own country in the future. Although I failed to get any interviews from these career fairs, I still benefited from it and see some hope. There are good resources for us to learn what to expect in the real work and form further relationships with them. One interesting thing is that most of the professors or recruiters will tell us to make ourselves uncomfortable, so that we can make some breakthrough, but Gallup actually told me that people were hard to change and they would give the best performance when they were doing the things they were good at. Actually, these 2 theories don’t always contradict to each other. Sometimes, only when we try out something can we know if we are really good or bad at it. I’m grateful for all these possibilities around this place. Like the professor said, “soak in as much as you can”.