Posts filed under 'Campus Life'

The People at Fisher

When starting the MBA program, I never expected the people here to be so nice. You hear the business school stereotypes about the intense competition, too many Type-A personalities vying for the same jobs, everyone stuffy and perpetually be-suited, etc. but I’ve felt something completely different here at Fisher.


I was attracted to the small class size at Fisher and liked the thought of getting to know my fellow classmates, but I had no idea how quickly and how deeply those connections would be forged.

Walking down the hallway after about a month here, I knew most of the first years by name and a surprising number of the second years too, and I’ve met even more people since then. The faculty and staff ask about how a test went and I’m halfway through my answer before I realize how extraordinary it is that they know and care about us to even keep track of something as mundane as our testing schedule.

When the administration introduced the concept of the “Fisher family,” I thought it was mostly rhetoric and didn’t take it too seriously. But then I got here and realized that the faculty, staff and my fellow students live up to that promise every day. People are beyond supportive; they cheer for you, care about you, and want the best for you.

Before our last Data Analysis test (yikes!), a lot of students met at Fisher on a Sunday night to study. There was a very collaborative atmosphere with some people who understood the material teaching the rest of us who struggled with the material a little more. I was blown away when I realized that there were a couple of students going from study room to study room offering to answer any questions and checking to make sure we were feeling alright about the test. They weren’t TAs, they didn’t need to be there, and it was 10:00 on a Sunday night! I was really touched by their genuine concern, especially after the test when they asked me how I felt about it and assured me that I did fine.

I’m only 9 weeks in, but I can tell you that there’s definitely a feeling of “we’re all in this together,” and I think that’s what sets Fisher apart during the program and as alumni.


Experiencing culinary delights in Columbus

A Hard Day’s Grind!


As a grad student, I have had to relearn how to get into the grind. It seems most of my time is spent reading textbooks, keeping up with my to-do list (life saver), exploring job opportunities, and more than anything…drinking coffee from the best grinds (personally prefer Hazelnut & Columbian). Though the picture above seems to sum it all up, it is not so. As it happens sitting in Professor Pinteris’s class and learning about how analysts value corporations is of great interest to me. From using Multiples to discounting Cash Flows, we are exposed to how most firms are valued. The To-do list in the picture is the full picture in terms: Though it looks cluttered, there is a method to its madness. On there I have important class dates, meeting dates, corrections to previous notes, homework assignments due, and notes to remember to watch a financial segment on TV. The pamphlet from Fifth Third is one of the driving goals of my education. I want to use the material learned in class to make a difference one day with a big firm …But the grind does not necessarily just reflect nights reading as we see below…

As I walk from class in Gerlach Hall to the south side of campus towards Thompson I am reflecting about the grind that I went through the night before completing assignments, applying to Fifth and Third, running to Krogers to pick up a fresh bag of ground Columbian coffee beans to make my vietnamese coffee. I am thinking about how I am starting to get used to and like this grind. This grind although it takes up a large amount of my time is well worth it. And so as the gears in my head are turning …..grinding rather.. I am thinking about my next move. Do I walk faster so that I can get that magical fourth floor spot at Thompson? No its Wednesday and the seats are probably full. Should I reach out to an other alumni through linkedin or finish my leadership paper that is due next week? I pull out my To Do notebook and notice that I have annotated both “To Dos” in my notebook. I then stop and realize why it is that I strolled across campus in the first-place knowing that I would not get a spot at Thompson this early ……….

Every chance that I get while the weather is still nice, any couple of  minutes that I am able to steal from my studies and assignments or career search on beautiful days such as this Wednesday, I try to sneak in a pass by Mirror Lake. It has this calming presence about it. It is almost a poster like entity that makes The Campus so much more meaningful and motivating. I stand there and snap a couple of pictures and passerbyers whether students, faculty, staff or regular visitors smile and walk by. Some are engrossed in their phones, some in the conversations they’re having with their peers and some others I notice are just like me; they’re enjoying that moment of quiet and peace that Mirror Lake offers before getting back to the grind. I put my phone back in my pocket and remember that by now the fourth floor has started to clear up and that there is much more to do, a lot more to read, a lot more to learn, a lot more coffee beans to be ground. Back to this grind that I’ve come to respect.


What did you do on Friday night?

I pulled up and parked on the street across from my house (as I usually do), got out of my car and looked up at the window. My daughter was saying “Daddy!” and my boy was making excited sounds with a smile stretching across his face. After two really busy weeks of exams for first term classes, presentations, and work being persistently busy, this was an incredible moment for me. They both tackled me coming into the door and I was almost in tears to spend some time with them so my wife would have a little time to herself.

Later on that evening, my daughter (three years old) was watching Pokemon, while my son (1 year old) and I were playing together. He wanted to lay down on the floor and he started staring at the ceiling.  He kept saying “Bah”, “Bah”, “Bah”  I looked up and he was pointing to the balloons that were left over from his first birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Him and I just talked for a few minutes about balloons.

I cannot imagine a more enjoyable way to spend my Friday night.

My Chinese Cuisine

I still remembered on my first day of orientation, one of my American classmates asked me “What is your favorite Chinese cuisine?” I thought for a moment and said,” I can’t answer this question because there are so many cuisines in China and they are all delicious.”

When I came to the U.S., one of the things I missed most about my home country is its different-kinds of delicious cuisines. Actually, people in different parts of China have different cuisines. There are eight famous cuisines in China and each of them has its unique favor. For example, Benbang Cuisine origins in Shanghai and is sweet. Sichuan cuisine origins in south-west of China and is famous for its spicy favor. Below is a picture I took this summer when I dined out with my friends, looks delicious, right? They taste delicious, too!


As I am in America, far away from my hometown, I started to cook traditional Chinese cuisines for my roommates and myself. Soon I found I love cooking: I love the feeling that different food materials turned to delicious dishes in my hand. I also love the feeling that my roommates are surprised by what I made. When I am interested in a new dish, I will search the recipe on the Internet. When my “experiment” on a new dish was successful, I had a sense of achievement. Here are some dishes I have cooked.(Yes, I am just showing off! :))



Among all dishes I made, what I enjoyed most is the soup. Just image on a rainy afternoon, I sat in the living room, reading, with soup cooking on the oven. When I am tired of reading, I just stand up and walk into kitchen, uncover the pot, suddenly, delicious smell fills the room. What a warm and relaxing feeling! Chinese cuisine culture is broad and deep. It is quite true. Cooking now becomes one of my interests as it gives me a sense of belonging, relax and satisfaction. My life becomes more colorful because of these different dishes.


It is Dream Come True

A few days before, during the class break, I saw my classmates writing something on a paper. She told me she’s writing for the Fisher Grad Life Blog, which drove me back to the time when I got the first few emails from Fisher. I kept a diary since junior high, but I never show them publicly. One day we may forget the things which we thought were important; one day when we look back, some trivials of life may become the the most precious part of our life. I want to catch it. And when I read these blogs, I saw another version of the life I’m in with all of you.

I’m going to have the final exams of some of my classes. But it feels like I have just walked into my grad life. I still remember the time when I left my parents, got off the plane,  picked up by host family from IFI, open the door of my empty apartment, looked for my way in the big campus, orientation, the president’s opening speech, had no idea of what the professor is asking, and all of a sudden, I’ve already gave 2 presentations with my group in class, known a lot of names which I didn’t even know how to pronounce, got my first exam paper, made contact to future employer-to-be.

Mason Hall

I used to think that 4 years of undergraduate are a long time, but when I graduated, I eagerly hoped that I seized more. When I was in the red building in my high school, I never thought about that I can one day study in a foreign country, even after I visited some universities in America during a trip, which cost several months salary of my father, although I told myself it must be awesome to study here. My father told his colleagues that he probably can’t afford to send me study abroad, so he spare no efforts to provide me the chance to pay a visit to America.

WHU two

(Undergraduate: Wuhan University)

Five years later, conditions have changed a lot. But I actually just followed my classmates decision to apply for grad school in America. But during this process, I have figured out what I truly want to be in the future. That’s why I choose human resource management. Honestly, I aimed at Cornell and University of South California,  but they turned me off. However, the longer I am in OSU, in Fisher, the more I’m sure and grateful about I am in the right place!

I always think of the red teaching building in my high school, and when I stepped in OSU and Fisher, it was like coming back to the dream come true moment again, and this is a new dream. I will always remember the video interview from Fisher – pay forward. I love this idea. I have received a lot from my classmates, from the professors, from IFI, and from all the people around me. I want to share with you how amazing you are and how amazing it is to be here together.

Zhixin High School

(Zhixin High School)

This time, I will make sure I cherish every moment of it. I start a little late, but I can’t jump off from those wonderful things happened in the first few weeks, I will catch up with you next time.

My first month at Fisher

It’s been almost a month since our MBA classes began. I thought this would be a nice time to highlight some of the activities I was involved with in the last month to help you better understand student life in the Fisher MBA Program.

  • Pre-Term: In the 2 weeks before our MBA officially started, we had our pre-term where we got to learn more about the program structure, professors, resources, and fellow classmates among many other things. Over many creative team bonding exercises, we were able to understand our key strengths (and weaknesses) and make new friends along the way! We also had a few career foundation seminars that helped us get a better picture of the different career paths ahead of us. The pre-term ended with the ’Fisher Challenge’ where each team had to present a case analysis with their core team, which was extremely exciting primarily because it is your first group exercise with your team. As an International student, we also had an additional 3 days of orientation that helped us in our transition. My favorite part was a workshop on American Football 101, conducted by a couple of ex NFL players (and Fisher Alums)! In a nut shell, the pre-term helped the students understand what it means to be a part of the larger Fisher community.
My Core team: Team 22 (that should explain the hand signs) From Left: Lucy Liu, Sarang Nampoothiri, Andrew Wolff, Adriana Castro and Rob Harrison.

My Core team: Team 22 (that should explain the hand signs) From Left: Lucy Liu, Sarang Nampoothiri, Andrew Wolff, Adriana Castro, and Rob Harrison.

  • Career Management – The career management team at Fisher is one of our strongest assets. Within the last month, I have attended multiple career fairs and got to meet and network with many potential recruiters. We have Information Sessions conducted by companies on a daily basis. This is a great way to learn more about a company and meet their representatives in a bit more relaxed setting. Apart from these, we also have individual meetings with our career counselors. They help you streamline your job search and refine your approach.
Fisher College of Busines

Fisher College of Business

  • Student organizations – I think I might have gone a bit over the top here. I have signed up for 5 student organizations for the upcoming year even though I was advised to restrict it to 3 by many second year students! But in my defense, I found value in all 5 of these organizations! Career specific student organizations help conduct some of the company information sessions. They also help their members prepare for interviews and can be a great resource for networking.
  • The Ohio State University – I joined Fisher because it was a small program within a very large university. There is always something amazing happening around you. I have signed up with the Buckeye Leadership Fellows program for some of their Luncheon Sessions, where they invite outstanding community leaders to interact with a group of students in a small and intimate environment. As a fan of music, I also volunteered for a Music experiment conducted at the School of Music!
  • Mid Terms – Here at Fisher, we have our semesters divided into two terms. One month into the program and I have already finished most of my Mid-terms! In a way, this is good as it always keeps you on your toes. :)
  • Calendar App – I think this point sums up my first month at Fisher perfectly. A few days into the program and you will soon realize the true value of the mobile calendar app! This one app is going to be a life saver here as it helps you keep a track of all the events every day.

If my next two years are as exciting as my first month at Fisher, I am sure this is going to be my most rewarding and enriching journey!

Chinese Parties

It is true that Chinese always gather together. I think it is partly because of our tradition. For thousands of years, Chinese people have lived in big families that may contain 3 or even 4 generations. As a result, we are afraid of “loneliness” and tend to join a “circle” to be surrounded by others, especially in an unfamiliar environment.

I live in University Village, where many Chinese students live. Soon after moving in, I held a party and invited my neighbor (who are also Chinese – one of my neighbors even comes from my undergraduate university). We got familiar with each other when eating hot pot together that night. Thanks to hot pot!


In my “hot pot” party, I knew one of my neighbors, Huang, is very good at cooking. When my roommates and I were quite familiar with him and his roommate, we sometimes would go to his apartment for dinners. Below is what he made for us, looks delicious right? With delicious food, beer (we are all over 21 years old!), and talk, we always have great time!


Apart from parties with my neighbors, Chinese in Ohio have other kinds of parties. For example, I was invited to a party on Labor Day. It was held by the Southeast University Alumni Association in Ohio. These members held an annual party so that they can build relationships with each other.  The party was held in a park. For me, it was a new experience to have lunch in such an environment: with sunshine, wind, and grass, people grabbing food and talking around me, and with children laughing when they are flying kites. It was wonderful!


It is true that Chinese like gathering together. But it is not because they lack confidence or are dependent. Parties for us are not a celebration but an opportunity to meet with each other,  share food, information and feelings, and to get support.

BSBA/MAcc Crossover Program

One of the great benefits to being an Ohio State student is being able to take advantage of all of the fantastic opportunities that are offered to the student community. Whether it is the 1000+ student organizations, football Saturdays, recreation facilities, or top-notch education programs, Ohio State has it all. One amazing program available to Undergraduate Accounting students in the Fisher College of Business is the BSBA/MAcc program.

What is it?

The BSBA/MAcc is a program in which a student can gain both a Bachelors of Business Administration and a Masters of Accounting degree in four years (3 years as an undergraduate Accounting major, 1 year in the Masters of Accounting Program).

How do I know if I am eligible?

In order to apply students must be:
1) An Undergraduate Accounting Major
2) Have at least a 3.5 Cumulative GPA
3) Have at least 120 credit hours prior to enrollment in the MAcc program
4) Have all undergraduate required classes completed except for ACCMIS 4200, ACCMIS 4500, ACCMIS 3400, and BUSMHR 4490
5) Have taken the GMAT

Why should I do the BSBA/MAcc program?
The BSBA/MAcc provides a terrific opportunity for accounting student to get an undergraduate and graduate degree in a shortened time frame.  The BSBA/MAcc is also a terrific opportunity for students pursuing a career in Public Accounting to satisfy their 150 credit hour requirement to sit for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) Exam!

Next Steps:

If you are interested in hearing more information regarding the program, stop by the Graduate Programs Office in 100 Gerlach Hall!

Jumping into the Full Time MBA World!

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A picture of my kitchen table on the first day of pre-term MBA program

I’m a 33-year-old (balding) dad of two young kids with 10 years of non-profit work experience.  How do I fit in at business school?

That was the gut-wrenching question in the back of my head as I entered into Fisher’s 1st year MBA pre-term program just one month ago. Little did I know that most of my peers were asking similar questions about their own identity and status.062515Greenawalt-18

It’s no secret that leaving your job as a budding young professional to pursue a degree will cause you to evaluate your identity.  We have left behind our previous jobs, social networks, and, in many cases, even family to live in Columbus and immerse ourselves in a world of academic, career, and personal growth.  While my first day jitters have subsided, it’s that very process of wrestling with issues of identity that I believe contributes to such a powerful experience here at Fisher.  When else in my adult life will I have another opportunity to jump a different direction in my career trajectory, and remove myself from my comfort zone for 20 months in order to learn, grow, and develop as a person and a professional.

2015-08-15 12.29.13

My CORE team of 5 along with some other 1st year MBAs

From my experience so far at Fisher and Ohio State, I’m so grateful for how our resources are pointed towards my personal (and our communal) growth, development, learning, and future career placement.  This university is vast and it’s set up to help many thrive.  From working with career management to tell my story and clarify my career direction, to networking among other MBAs and learning how they are wrestling with their identities, to reading case studies and engaging in class content that relates to my previous work experience and challenges my paradigms, it is nothing short of awesome to be a part of this program!  I’m one of many students here who is utilizing the MBA experience to shift career directions, know myself better, and have a great time doing it.

In the end, I’m thankful to be a 33-year-old balding dad with unique experience to bring to the table here.  Besides, balding gives you wisdom, right?

New Beginnings

Life is full of transitions.

As a married military veteran with a family, I view transitions as endeavors to personally and professionally grow while taking advantage of new opportunities.  Leaving the private sector for full-time graduate school is a long-term investment.  The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University has so much to offer.  I’m proud to be a Buckeye.

FullSizeRender[1]Dedication to lifelong learning seems to be a theme in our household.  I began a graduate degree program, my wife completed hers (while working), and my daughter started Kindergarten – all in the same week!  As a father and a husband, I am so proud of them both.

As the fall semester begins to pick up momentum, we must remember who we are in order to prioritize what is most important in our lives.  I, like most of my classmates, am attracted to pretty much everything that the Fisher College of Business has to offer.  There are so many clubs, organizations, employer info sessions, events, and activities competing over our most precious resource – time.  If we view time as a resource, how do we allocate it?

FullSizeRenderOne place to start is to identify who we are in relation to others (I am a father, husband, son, brother, student, uncle, employee, job-seeker, club member, mentor, mentee, veteran, coach, blogger, etc.).  The list is long for many of us.  Prioritizing this list can also be difficult with so many competing factors taking place simultaneously.  We realize that we cannot be everything to everyone all the time, but we can deliberately plan those aspects that are most important into our lives if we choose to do so.  This process becomes critically important during major transitions when we are faced with new situations, changing conditions, and increasing obligations. It can be difficult deciding what not to do, at least temporarily, during transitions.  Ultimately, our decisions are about trade-offs intended to maximize value.

What we choose to do with our time is ultimately what we value most.  Many of us have roles and responsibilities within our personal, professional, and even spiritual lives.  Intellectual curiosity, respect for diversity of thought, and continual growth and development are important to me in a professional context.  This is why I chose to invest my time at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.FullSizeRender[2]






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