CSCMP Roundtable Event

This past Thursday was my first experience with CSCMP. CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) is an international organization for supply chain professionals. During the luncheon, I was informed by an active member that the Columbus CSCMP Roundtable is among the oldest roundtables dating back to ~50 years ago. The long history was impressive but what really impressed me most was the new knowledge you get from attending the event.

The adventure started at 10:15am (departing from Gerlach Hall). Steve Singer, career consultant for MAcc, MLHR, SMF, and MBLE, was our driver. It was also his first time to CSCMP Roundtable, and it was really nice of him to take 11 students to the event. Ever since I went to Fisher, I realized that networking is one of the most important things you actually learn in business school. Studying is definitely important but business school separates from other graduate programs in that “soft” abilities such as communication are emphasized more, as they might be the keys to our future success. Therefore, we dressed in “business formal” and embraced the golden opportunity to go into the meeting room with experienced supply chain professionals.

Upon arriving, networking started even before we entered the meeting room. I approached the people around me and made introductions. People were nice and they enjoyed sharing their experiences with me. Also, at the end of the luncheon, Steve taught us a lesson of how to network even if you are not an expert in the field . According to him, using some more personal interest-related topics (e.g. football, etc.) is definitely helpful. Surely, there were people in the fields of procurement, inventory management, transportation management as well as supply chain consulting … how could I have same level of interest to their field and have a nice professional discussion with them all?

This luncheon had a specific topic. IBM North American Leader in Optimization & Supply Chain Software Group gave us a presentation about optimization in supply chain. The presentation was built on very large quantity of data and information. Lack of experience as well as “English as a second language” created somewhat of a barrier for me … however, I still was able to get a sense of the latest trends in the field of supply chain management and I definitely enhanced my understanding of the concept “optimization” as practiced in the real world.

I survived this week’s midterms

After 2 week relay, I am back to write my blog again. The two week absence is result of three midterms this past week. When the class started, I already felt that focusing on the lecture for longer than 100 minutes was impossible. Even if I am paying all of my attention to the professor, I can hardly catch his humor. Studying in a foreign language is really a big challenge for me.

The first exam, Logistics Management, turned out quite unexpected but was unexpectedly good. Although I struggled to try to remember all the key points for a question, the professor is kind to only ask for two main points.  The exam was simple in format but was complex in that it tested our understanding of the class content.

For the second exam, the professor wrote the exam and included some of his personal humor. For the bonus question, he set up 5 choices of names, asking which one is the president of US that brought about most changes in the transportation regulation. However, 3 out 5 names are those of former football coaches at Ohio State. I was surprised when I heard the underlying story of his choices and felt embarrassed because I happened to randomly picked the most famous coach!

I was rather unsatisfied with my performance in the third class, Linear Programming. It is the the only course we are taking from the College of Engineering. As MBLE is a combined program between Fisher and Engineering, we will spend half of the total credit hours on engineering related courses. My classmates were happy to see that the exam was not as difficult as the homework.

Now the first exams in Fisher are over, I am much more aware of how to study and prepare for the exams, so I guess I will be fine for final exams – at least I will not be sleepless for 2 nights out of nervousness 🙂

My career fair adventure

This week is all about career fairs. I took part in both the Fisher and TLA career fairs. The first one is for Fisher students and the second is for logistics majors. There is also a graduate career fair next week.

Before the career fair
There is a lot of preparation that students need to do before the career fair. According to the Fisher Office of Career Management (“OCM”), we should first investigate the companies we are targeting, then work on our personal commercial,” which is a small personal introduction in a quiet business setting. My preparation went smoothly with the help of the Career Fair Guide, accessible from the OCM website and on-site.

During the career fair
Never before did I feel such pressure. I was dressed up, wearing high heels that I am still not used to, trying to make a professional impression on others. The big ballroom was crowded with people but there were some booths not occupied with students. Whenever I made eye contact with a company employee who was available, I went directly toward them, because I think it is rude not to talk with them after making eye contact. I sometimes struggled on what I should say, what question(s) I should ask.

After the career fair
Following up is perhaps the most difficult step. First, you need to ensure you keep track of everyone you speak to – you need to ensure you get everyone’s business card and write a quick note on the back of each in order to help you remember anything about your conversation with that person. Right now, I am still writing emails to those people I met and am looking forward for replies.

OSU football vs Michigan State University

Yesterday it felt like winter in Columbus as the temperature fell 10 degrees to below 50F. Wind and cold rain swept across the street. However, in such a chilly first day of October, I was surprised by the full Ohio Stadium. Is football really so important that people would give up their warm houses and get soaked?

Actually, this is my second football game experience. Last time I was late by 40 minutes and exposed to the direct sunlight; this time I stayed in a building so I only watched half of the game. The rain cooled my enthusiasm toward football. On my way to the football game, I saw people wearing scarlet raincoats heading to the parking lot. These small groups of people further surprised me. If they watched the game when it was raining, why did they leave at the end of second quarter?

Upon my arrival in Ohio Stadium, I looked up at the scoreboard. The score was far from satisfying. The Michigan State University fans were more fervent than fans of the home team. Maybe we Buckeyes were just disappointed by the performance of our team. They missed too many catches. Accompanied with “Ouch” from all directions, I also felt at a loss. After only a month in Ohio, I developed a strong sense of belonging here. We have a united community.

As time went by, the sense of disappointment grew and turned into anger. OSU was making more mistakes. People started to shout “Take away his scholarship!” Suddenly, I understood, in some sense, people pay for the game in the way of tickets. The words were a little disrespectful, but really made sense – if you pay to get into the stadium, you want to see a good game.

The ballgame was about to end and we were behind with a shameful score of 0 – 10. The audience became silent and left at a faster pace. However, in the last minute, OSU scored. It happened so fast that I did not realize it until I saw the replay. The cheers lasted a few minutes, like grasping at straws. People started to expect a turnover at the very last minute, but the result remained: we lost. Unlike the previous game vs Colorado \, the game ended with silence – only MSU fans were singing all the way out of the stadium.

The differences between a Chinese university and an American university: My 1st few days at Ohio State

Today is the 30th day since I arrived in Columbus. After waiting for about a month, my first class began 3 days ago. In short, OSU is beyond my imagination even though I have properly prepared myself for a brand new environment. Here are some of the shocks:

1. You need to be in good shape if you want to walk around the entire OSU campus! In fact, according to my experience from the campus walk during orientation, merely circling the main campus, takes at least an hour. The campus here is very big. One thing that really intrigued me is that on the outskirt of campus there is a pasture that includes barns for raising horses, cattle, etc.. When I passed it, I was thinking, ah, it must be an authentic American farm 🙂 Luckily, we have CABS and COTA, so a trip around campus is possible much more easily and quickly than walking!

2. Classes are really interactive. I am still not used to asking questions so freely. In the past, taking notes are deemed the second most important part of class (other than focusing on the context). Every time I want to say something, I feel like struggling against my shyness. Here, the short but really important question – any question – will always be followed by a lot of other questions. Class participation makes up at least 10 percent of class scores, especially at Fisher.

3. People are close and accessible. Professors, staffs and students mix in all kinds of activities. I cannot believe that I met the President of OSU, E. Gordon Gee before class begins. I just walked up and said hello and asked him for permission to take a photo together. On the contrary, the only time I stand close to the President of my undergraduate school was during graduation. I was just one of eight percent lucky students to be presented diplomas by my undergrad university’s president.

4. Plagiarism is taken very seriously here. During orientation, we spent more than 2 hours on plagiarism. The school also created a well-designed document to accentuate the influences and consequences of plagiarism. Although I have taken it seriously in the past, I have never taken plagiarism so seriously in last 4 years. It will definitely be one of the things I pay attention to in the upcoming year!