The Most Popular Course: Negotiation

This semester, I decided to take what may be the most popular course at Fisher: Negotiation. It’s taught by Associate Professor Lount. Many Fisher students (in all programs) rave about it and our program director also highly recommended it to me. I’m beginning to understand why!

After the course introduction and our self-introductions, the first class actually began with a negotiation. Every student was assigned to a role: either a seller or a buyer. We picked up confidential information based on our roles. I was so nervous for my first negotiation because I believed I was not good at negotiating. I would rather obey what the other party said than start a negotiation. Due to my nervousness, I did not say much during the negotiation– which may press my partner (the one with whom I was negotiating) to rise his offered price (I was a seller and my partner was a buyer). To my surprise, I got the second highest price in the class! I learned from the first negotiation: be comfortable with silence. More importantly, I started to gain confidence.

After we learned basic concepts of negotiation, we started to learn some useful negotiation tactics. For example: providing several offers which are of the same value can show our flexibility as well as learn give the chance to learn the other party’s needs and wants. I’ve already conducted this tactic in one of my negotiations. In this negotiation, we had four roles: buyer, buyer’s agent, seller, and seller’s agent. My role was as seller’s agent and my task was to negotiate with the buyer’s agent and help my client sell her house at a reasonable price. We had several rounds of back-and-forth. Every round, I offered 2-3 offers with different prices, closing costs, and pay methods. After the negotiation, I counted my offers: I provided almost 10 offers in a negotiation. Although we did not reach a deal at last, both my client and the buyer’s agent were satisfied with me. It was a tough exercise– conducted via e-mail, so most time I just waited for a reply and when I heard from my client or the buyer’s agent, I had to consider my target and then different offers I would like to provide. Also, because we couldn’t talk face-to-face, I had to consider my words and tone in the emails carefully.

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As the course went on, the negotiation became more complicated and more people were involved. For example, 4-6 people with different roles may have been involved in a negotiation and each would have had different interests and targets. Or it was likely that we had to solve 3-5 issues in a negotiation and each issue was not independent. But after practicing in the class, I was more comfortable and confident to deal with different negotiations.

Negotiation is a practical skill. Therefore, we spent much time in the class practicing. Every time after a negotiation, we would conclude with what happened in the negotiation and what we learned. I think that by the time the class is over this semester, my negotiation skills will be much improved!

The Buddy Program

Due to the success of the MBA buddy program, this year Fisher conducted a new buddy program for our MHRM students. The purpose of the buddy program is to match first year students with second year students. These second year students then serve as mentors so that freshmen can ask them for suggestions on courses, internships, and even living in Columbus.

The match was based on interests. For example, members in our group are fond of music. I like playing the accordion, Craig, who is a second year MHRM student, is a fan of Taylor Swift, while Lewis is a music teacher! After we matched in a group, the first thing we did was find common interests we shared. I remembered we found that we all liked cats and movies. Other groups were more creative. For instance, one group found that they all have iPhones but not Apple laptops.

Although it was difficult to find a time that we are all available, we finally made our first meeting. We met at a coffee shop before class. As Craig and I came earlier than the appointed time, we first talked about our courses. Craig asked me what course I am taking and then offered me some suggestions. When all members arrived, we talked about internships. At last, Lewis brought up an interesting topic that he met in his work. He found that employees in his two departments seldom talked with each other. Therefore, Lewis asked us what to do to improve the two department’s communication. I thought maybe the first thing is to find out the problem, then set up a training program. After we stated out opinions, Lewis talked about his action. He said he conducted a program which brings employees to the other department for three days. During these three days, the employee had opportunities to meet and talk with the other department’s employees. This topic made me realize that sometimes a theoretical method is not the best way to solve a problem, but a little well-organized program will do. Thanks to Lewis, our buddy program was a good opportunity to share our experiences and opinions in Human Resource field.

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I think the buddy program is helpful for us by receiving suggestions, getting involved in Fisher, and communicating our personal feelings as well as our professional opinions.

PowerHerFul: The 6th Annual Women’s Summit

On March 26th, I attended a very special event: The 6th Annual Women’s Summit. The event lasted for almost an entire day. Although I was a little bit tired, I really gained a lot.

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Actually, it was the first time that I participated in a feminist event. The event was well-planned. When I arrived at the 4-H center I found there was a black bag on each chair, a planner, and an agenda sheet. After breakfast and a simple warm-up, we had a guest speaker, Ms. Perfect, who is a successful woman both in her career and family life. She talked about how she dealt with her most difficult time: a single mother who raised 2 young children and went through college courses as well as 3 part-time jobs. Ms. Perfect also talked about how she planned her life. According to her, once she had a vision, she just stuck to it everyday. Ms. Perfect’s speech really inspired us a lot.

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Then we were provided with different workshops. I chose the professional appearance workshop. The workshop lasted about 45 minutes. It was short but I was impressed by our coach. She helped us build our confidence by stating over and over again, “You have all you need to get what you want.” She also offered some short but useful suggestions for us women to make a good professional impression.

After lunch, we had a seminar about women starting businesses, followed by 2 selective workshops. I chose “Health habits in your 20s” and “Women in Business Panel.” I received a lot of useful suggestions about how we should take care of ourselves as well as our careers.

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The most exciting part was PowerHerFul Fashion Walk Show. I could see from the models’ faces that they were happy and confident. The audience was influenced by these charming ladies and they all got very excited.

The event ended at 4 p.m. It was really worthwhile to spend all day at this event because we felt more confident about ourselves, we built friendships with each other, were inspired by each other, and we gained support from each other.

Hocking Hill Trip

During spring break, my friends and I went on a trip to Hocking Hill.

In order to enjoy the wonderful weather and the first day of the spring break, my roommates and I made a quick decision to have a picnic. But where to go? My roommate recommended Hocking Hill. After calling some neighbors and friends and simple preparation, we headed to Hocking Hill.

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After about one-hour drive, we arrived at the Hocking Hill. Probably because it is a sunny Saturday, many people had the same idea as us. As a result, we spent a lot of time parking our cars. As planned, we had a picnic: we brought some snacks, soda and fruit. It was a good time: we could enjoy the food as well as the view, and talk with each other.

After the picnic, we went hiking. Because many people recommended the Old Man Cave, we first took a visit to the cave. The road was muddy, but the beautiful scene made this little difficulty worthwhile. We took many pictures. There was also a waterfall. I have to say, compared to waterfalls in China, the waterfall is quite small. But I really liked the shallow river (probably it is not suitable to call it a “river” as it is so shallow). I saw children play near the water. I also saw some family brought their dogs. I touched the water, it was so cold, but cool.

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We spent almost all the afternoon at Hocking Hill. It was a wonderful experience and I definitely recommend the Hocking Hill for picnic and hiking.

Human Resource Invitational Case Competition

Last Saturday, Fisher held the Fifth Annual Human Resource Invitational Case Competition. This competition is an annual competition which involves five premier master’s programs in human resources in the U.S. to compete against one another. These programs including: Cornell, Illinois, Minnesota, Rutgers, and of course, Ohio State. Sponsored by PepsiCo, the case competition requires candidates to come up with solutions based on the case that PepsiCo provided in 20 hours. Derek Lancashire, one of our team members, and my classmates, told me that the process was stressful because they received the case on Friday morning and had to give presentation on Saturday morning. But our team did a good job. They ranked second in the competition. In addition, Marlina Frederick, a second year MHRM student, was given the award of Best Q&A. Well done, buckeyes!

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Chinese Christmas Eve

I joined a Chinese Christmas party held by a friend of my father on December 26th. As you may know, Chinese people do not celebrate Christmas, but to my surprise, it seemed that they now treated Christmas as Chinese New Year (Spring Festival).

Just as Christmas is an important holiday to some Americans, Spring Festival is an important holiday to some Chinese. Our Spring Festival lasts about a month. Families start to prepare 20 days before the Spring Festival. We prepare food, clean houses, and hold special activities such as eating Laba Zhou, Ji Zao and so on.

At Chinese New Year’s Eve, all family members gather together and enjoy big dinner (similar to a Christmas dinner). But we do not give gifts, instead, children can receive Yasui Money (small red packets with money inside) from their parents and grandparents.

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My father’s friend who I call “Uncle Zhang” is in his 50s. He came to America 30 years ago, and now all of his family is in Columbus. He has a big family: his wife, 2 children, his parents, his sister and her family, and his mother- in-law.

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It was a wonderful night. When we arrived, Uncle Zhang’s sister had already prepared a big dinner. Perhaps because they have lived in the U.S. for a long time, some of their traditional Chinese habits have changed. For example, in China we do not use “common chopsticks” for all the dishes. The dinner is different from a traditional Chinese New Year’s dinner too. It is easy to understand as some traditional cooking material is not available in the U.S. But to my surprise, the parents of Uncle Zhang gave us a “red packet,” which is a traditional Chinese Spring Festival custom. They also gave us a small package with gifts in it.

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To conclude, it was a memorable night and gave me an insight into how Chinese mix American customs with their own traditions. For example, they treat Christmas as Chinese Spring Festival: gathering all families together, making a big dinner with both traditional Chinese dishes and American desserts, and giving us red packets as well as Christmas gifts.

Basketball Game: OSU vs North Illinos

On Dec. 16, I watched a basketball game with my friend. The game was between our very own OSU and North Illinois University. It was the first time that I watch a basketball game. Although I was not very familiar with basketball rules, it was still an exciting experience to me.

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When we arrived at Jerome Schottenstein Center at 6:45 p.m., many people were already there. As we entered the center, I found people walking around, holding food and drinks and talking excitingly. It was hard to describe the atmosphere. It was like people were waiting for something exciting, but the atmosphere was more like a festival. When we found our seats and sat down, I was shocked because I had never seen so many basketball fans, which reminded me of the Quidditch games in“Harry Potter”. When I was young and reading “Harry Potter”, it was hard to me to image why wizards have such great enthusiasm in a sport game. Now I understood.

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Thanks to my basketball courses in my undergraduate university, I knew the basic rules of basketball. When the game began, people were caught by the game. They cheered for every goal and sighed for every miss. The first half of the game was quite exciting because the goals were so close. The beginning of the second part of the game was even more tense. I could feel a desire to win the game. At about the last 10 minutes, we gradually achieved the dominant position. The atmosphere changed again and it now became exciting. But it was different from the beginning of the game, as at first people were excited about the basketball game but now they were excited about the results.

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I was excited about the game, too. It was so different from watching a game on TV. I could hear people cheering, feel people’s excitement, and got exciting myself. But what impressed me the most is one small thing that happened during the game. Two men who sat on my right were loyal basketball fans. One of them was eager for a souvenir T-shirt given out by cheering squads members. Sitting on my left side was a father with a child. During the game the father introduced the game rules to his son patiently. When the guy threw the souvenir T-shirt for the last time, the father got a T-shirt and he gave it to his son. But later, the son gave the T-shirt to the man who sat on my right. The father explained that his son wanted to do so. It was so warm.

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As we won the game, people left with a sense of pride and excitement. When my friend and I waited for the bus, a car passed by and people in the car shout to us “O-H”, we responded by a loud “I-O”. Before the game, I never thought I would be so excited. But now I understand why people all around the world are crazy for sports: sports are really exciting and inspiring.

Hub Event: Luncheon with Kevin Malhame, North Star Cafe

Last Thursday, I attended a Hub event: Luncheon with Kevin Malhame, North Star Cafe.

Hub events are activities that Fisher provides for us outside of classes. There are different kinds of activities such as tours, parties, lectures, and so on. But the most popular activities are opportunities to communicate with business leaders. These activities often begin with the leader’s introduction with his or her company and then followed by questions and answers. These activities are more like informal communications rather than lectures as lunch is often provided and we can ask questions freely.

Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner

November 26th, my roommates and I joined the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a wonderful experience.

As there are thousands of students who took part in this event, the dinner was separated into two sections. We could choose either to have dinner at 11:45 a.m. or at 2 p.m. Tickets are required, but we could get them for free at the Student Union.
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When my roommates and I arrived at the Union, I found it was decorated with a welcome board and some special designs, which created a festive atmosphere.
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At about 11:30a.m. We saw the volunteers of the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner. And then the “Turkey”. The “turkey” was very cooperative and made many funny poses as people took pictures with him. It was a funny but really cute “turkey!”
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When we were waiting in line, we met many of our friends. It seemed that the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner was a popular event as so many people came. We waited for about 20 minutes and then we got into the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom. Volunteers were already there. With the volunteers’ help, we came into the room and sat down. During the speech, I learned that the dinner has been held for more than 10 years. No wonder they can arrange thousands of people and make sure that everything was in order.

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The food was great, too. Beans, turkey, potatoes, and pies……all kinds of traditional Thanksgiving food.

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After dinner, there was a board outside the room to write down what or whom we wanted to thank. I wrote down my thanks to my roommates because with their company and help, I did not feel lonely as a student – one who had left family to study alone in a different country. We then signed our names on the board and took a picture. I thought it was a meaningful picture because it was such a memorable moment.

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I really appreciated the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner as it created a special memory for our Thanksgiving holiday. And I really want to say “thank you” to all of the volunteers, who made this event such a success.

Thanksgiving Dinner

On the night of 26th, November, my host family invited me and some other Chinese students for a Thanksgiving dinner. It was the first time I spent Thanksgiving day with an American family and I took a close look at how they celebrate the holiday.

After about half an hour’s drive, we finally arrived at our host family’s house. When we arrived, many people had already been there. Actually, there were about 15 people in the house. Because our hostess, Hyesuk, was Korean, she prepared not only traditional American Thanksgiving food such as turkey, pies but also some delicious Korean food for dinner. Guests also brought some dishes. For example, I brought tofu and chicken. A Chinese family brought a bottle of wine. Hyesuk put all the dishes in the kitchen so that we can pick up whatever we like. We also shared some wine and several good conversation at the table. By the way, the dessert was really delicious!

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After dinner, we played some games. One of which was called pictionary. We were separated into two groups. One person in the group picked a card and drew a picture about the word on the card while the rest group members had to guess the word in 60 seconds. I had played this game in China and it was one of my favorite games.

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We also shared some family stories that night. For example, Bob, showed us a pair of shoes that was worn by 10 of his family members. He also showed us a special clock. See the picture below, can you tell what time it is? It must be difficult as the clock was opposite!

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The day after Thanksgiving Day, when I was on the coach bus to visit my cousin who lived in Buffalo, a lady who sat next to me asked what I thought about Ohio. I told her I liked it very much because people here are so nice and warm-hearted. I was deeply touched by what they did for me and actually I have already considered it as my second hometown now. Sometimes when I think about leaving one day to go back to China, I get upset since I would miss the people I met here and the experience they brought to me.