Posts filed under 'Campus Life'



Gimme a Break, Gimme a Break

Earlier this semester, I wrote about the astonishing speed of the first term (seven weeks). Even though I have the exact same feelings about this second term, I won’t bore you with my flabbergasted view of time during this program (but seriously, didn’t we just start Leadership and Operations a couple of weeks ago?).

Amid the flurry of classes, exams, group projects and meetings, there is time to breathe. Trust me. Breaks are such an important part of this program. Luckily, they’re almost perfectly spaced apart.

Academic Calendar

Like any school schedule, the breaks can be short (Labor Day, Veterans’ Day), a little more substantial (fall break, Thanksgiving weekend) or massive (winter break a.k.a. four weeks of brain-resting bliss). Whether it’s a Wednesday off or a five-day weekend, each and every one of us can appreciate a break because we get a much needed taste of normalcy. Some choose to take the extra time to focus on catching up in Data Analysis. Others take time to catch up on Netflix. Anything and everything that has been neglected throughout the preceding weeks receives much needed attention.

Personally, my favorite break activities are sleeping in, reading (for pleasure, not to learn more about value stream mapping) and mini-marathons of beloved TV shows or movies with my girlfriend. Before Fisher, I used to finish a book every one to two weeks. This has drastically changed. I can say, with a twinge of sadness, it took me about twelve weeks to finish the last book I started (it was a terrible book, but still). Nonetheless, I will not be deterred. I have a stack of 10-15 books waiting to be read over winter break, next semester, spring break and beyond.

As for shows, wonderful creations like On Demand, DVR, Netflix and Hulu enable all of us to catch up on our favorite shows in one day (if you’re feeling up to it). I’m partial to travel shows, namely “Parts Unknown” with Anthony Bourdain, but anything will work. I’m sure I have a few classmates who can’t wait to finish the latest season of “Pretty Little Liars” or “UFO Hunters.” I’m not here to judge anyone’s preferred method for fully exploiting a day with no schedules and no deliverables. I think we should all revel in our days off and do just that, take the day off. Do what you want to clear your mind, relax and get re-centered.

Like all great things, breaks come to an end. The hectic schedule awaits on the other side, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put our brains on cruise control and get lost in something other than regressions for a day.

 


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.


On Fisher’s Difference – A Reflection

Reflecting on my first three semesters here in the Fisher FTMBA program, I find the question that I’m most often asked by family, friends, and applicants to the program is: “What differentiates Fisher from other MBA programs?” Over time, I’ve realized that my best answer is not really my answer; it’s Dr. Tony Rucci’s.

Dr. Rucci is a clinical professor of management here at Fisher, and all first year students in the full time MBA program take his Leadership course as a part of the core curriculum. His impressive resume contains stints in the C-suites of Cardinal Health and Sears Roebuck and Co, and Dr. Rucci is actively involved in the community through several advisory roles and multiple philanthropic ventures.

Dr. Rucci could have continued his successful career in the private sector, but he chose to teach at Fisher.

Dr. Rucci could have gone and taught at any business school of his choosing around the country, but he chose to teach at Fisher.

During the first week of Dr. Rucci’s core leadership course, while leading a class conversation on a project concerning the development of our team’s purpose and values statements for Fisher, I recall asking him, “Why Fisher? What makes this program special to you?” After a contemplative pause, Dr. Rucci replied:

At many other MBA programs, students go to class against their competition, fighting to take their next step in life over the fallen body of their vanquished foe. Here at Fisher, students go to class with their friends, and everyone works to take their next steps in life together, arm-in-arm.”

Three semesters later, I can still remember Dr. Rucci answer my question as if it had just happened yesterday. I think part of the reason why this memory has remained so fresh is that I see this message in practice every single day in the interactions among Fisher students. “How firm thy friendship” from Ohio State’s alma mater Carmen Ohio and “Go Beyond” from Fisher’s branding campaign seem like nice sentiments on a page, pamphlet, or computer screen. But seeing them lived out in person packs a potent, palpable punch so powerful that even previously cynical me has become a believer in Dr. Rucci’s words.


Friends Giving With the Swimmers!

Have you ever heard of a Friends Giving?? I had no idea what it was until my roommate told me we should throw one about two weeks ago. Needless to say I wasn’t entirely sure what he was talking about and needed for him to explain. I had no idea how popular these things are but apparently a Friends Giving is when you assemble, exactly like you would on Thanksgiving, except the difference is a Friends Giving is more for seeing close friends rather than relatives. So I was hooked and decided we needed to go all out!

My roommate Rowan and I started this adventure by making a list of people we were going to invite (mostly old swimming friends who can eat..a lot) and a list of food that we wanted everyone to bring. Naturally, being the hosts, we decided to take on the turkey! Roaming around Kroger, we found a behemoth of a 25 pound turkey and I instantly called my mom to ask if we could borrow her roaster and of course…how to cook a turkey.

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As the day approached, I started to get nervous that people wouldn’t show up, wouldn’t bring any food or that the turkey wouldn’t turn out! Just being a little worrisome I guess. We thawed our bird, seasoned it up, threw it in the roaster and got ready to wait! After two hours it was done…I didn’t know what to do because people weren’t coming over for another two hours so we just turned the temperature way down and got to work on setting up our apartment with the amazing aroma of turkey thick in the air.

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I was blown away at what amazing culinary masterpieces people brought: mac ‘n cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, bread and butter, chicken wings, buffalo chicken dip (dangerously good), ham and of course…the desserts: Oreo pudding, mini pecan pies, full sized apple and pumpkin pies, ice cream and cookies. Then came the moment of truth, it was time to cut into the bird. I was nervous but it turned out to be one of the best turkeys I’ve ever had!

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The rest of the night consisted of watching football, stuffing ourselves, playing cards, eating more, recanting the funniest of stories from our golden days, trying to fit a few last bites in and a lot of sitting and digesting. All-in-all, our Friends Giving was a huge success and it made me feel like such an adult…not sure if I’m ready for that just yet!


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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Top 10 Most Memorable Experiences from the 1st Semester:

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1: Tepper Case Competition – This past weekend I traveled to Pittsburgh to participate in an international supply chain case competition with three others from Fisher. While our team didn’t advance to the finals, we learned a TON, networked with executives from a handful of companies, spent 30 hours working on a LIVE company problem and experienced a first-class wine and dine experience. #istillneedtocatchuponsleep

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2: Football games – I used to think OSU was the evil powerhouse team that wins too much. Now, I’ve drunk the scarlet Kool-Aid. #punintended #O-H…

3: CEO of Cardinal Health – About every other week a C-suite speaker comes in for a lunch seminar. My favorite has been George Barrett from Cardinal Health. Here is the article (I was even quoted in the article!) #freepaneralunch #greatopportunity

4: Fisher prayer – every other week between 3 and 10 of us gather to talk about how life in Fisher is impacting our lives. Then we pray for 20 minutes. Great memories reflecting and opening up to classmates.

5: Winning the MBA poker tourney. We are a competitive bunch! #thisblogpostinnowaysupportsgamblingbutdangitsfun

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6: Urban Meyer spoke on leadership to the College of Business just 24 hours before JT Barrett was arrested for a DUI. I snapped this picture from my seat!

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7: Red Lobster – Our marketing final involved a 24-hour deep-dive into a case about Red Lobster’s effort to re-position itself in the market. This required some memorable late night studying sessions and the obligatory trip with my family and classmates to Red Lobster for ‘market research’. #thebestcheesybiscuitsontheplanet

8: Diwali celebration – Learning about Indian culture from dozens of my classmates and professors. A true highlight and such a fantastic cultural exchange. #deliciousfood

9: This coming weekend…. There are still a few weeks left in the semester, but I’ve been looking forward to the coming weekend. Fisher Follies, MSU vs. OSU, and a families of Fisher parent gathering!

10: I love classes. Seriously, I am SO grateful for a number of my classes this semester. Honorable mentions also go to Data Analysis and Econ and Leadership. The personal development and challenge we have been given to grow our emotional intelligence in leadership is invaluable!


A New Toy

One of my classmates and I were chatting about doing the program full time, working full time, and raising a family full time! I told him, “Classes are invigorating, because I feel like I am constantly getting new toys to play with!” Both of us are fortunate to be working in HR fields and have the capability and opportunity to “play” with these new models in practical settings. On another level, it was nice to be able to talk to someone else that could empathize with managing multiple life roles.

We visited a Frito Lay company today in preparation for the case competition next Friday. I enjoyed the whole experience from being on a bus with my cohort to the plant visit. One classmate had a ‘charades’ app in which you place the cellphone across your forehead. A phrase, name, etc pops up and the group gives you clues to help the person holding it to figure out what the word is. It helped the time pass pretty quickly. We also discovered that one of my classmates is extremely adept at recognizing pokemon names. In two minutes, he was able to name 16 pokemon characters. The day ended with me coming home and carving pumpkins with my little ones.

On class days, I come straight from work to campus (getting here around 4:30 pm) and sit in the grad lounge to smarten myself up before class by looking over the notes I took while reading the class material. Sitting here today, I realize why there is a recommendation not to work full time and go to school full time. I can already see the orientation people smacking their heads in exasperation for my late recognition of this phenomenon. I recognize what I am missing out on. I hear many of my classmates talk about the parties they attended together or the intramural sports that many of them are participating in together. It is likely that many of my classmates are truly getting to know each other and are beginning to form deep friendships. Although it may not be in the same method as many in my class, I have been fortunate enough to find quite a few friends myself! I think the key takeaway is that there are many different strategies to find connections, but it is absolutely crucial to do so if you are to gain more than a piece of paper by the time that you graduate. In my earlier post, I wrote about the benefits of working full time and going to school full time and that works for me! However, there are definitely some benefits into really diving into the experience of getting to know people as not just classmates, but friends.


Food Truck Friday!

A couple of Fridays ago, the MAcc Council and Fisher College of Business hosted its first “Food Truck Friday.” One thing a visitor to Columbus will quickly learn is that Columbus is chalk full of unique restaurants. Food Truck Friday is a terrific opportunity for students and faculty alike to try some of the most unique ethnic food around, all without even having to get in a car! During this past “Food Truck Friday”  four food vendors parked outside the doors of Gerlach Hall at lunchtime. The four food trucks were:

Although it was a tough choice, I went with the Bakmi Ayam Bakar from Aromaku. This Indonesian dish consisted of cooked chicken on a bed of cooked noodles. It was absolutely spectacular.

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I am excited for the next Food Truck Friday to try more new places!


Columbus Christmas

It’s essentially like a whole season of Christmas when fall rolls around and football begins here in Columbus. The Buckeyes are our hometown version of both a college and NFL team rolled into one due to the fact that you have to go either north or south two hours to get to the closest NFL stadium. Our Ohio State Buckeyes don’t need to worry though, as the fans support the team to the fullest. On game day, you can find tailgates virtually everywhere and if you yell O-H, you’ll definitely hear an I-O coming from multiple directions.

I was extremely excited to hear that Fisher wouldn’t be lacking in the tailgate area during my two years in the MBA program. Every Saturday, our program hosts a tailgate at Fisher Commons, which is the apartment complex many of our students live in. Everyone pitches in or brings a dish to share and no matter the time of day, we feast and celebrate. For noon games, we will typically host a breakfast tailgate with pancakes, bacon and more, while afternoon and night games bring your standard tailgate grill foods. Fisher Commons has a central grassy area which makes for the perfect space to eat, drink and hang out before making the short walk over to the Shoe. Once we get to the Shoe, our class sits together in a seating block we form prior to the season. As a former graduate of Ohio State, I am so glad to be in a program where I can continue my fandom with a group of friends.

However, while football is king, I have also begun to appreciate the other sports options we have in the fall here in Columbus. Within Ohio State alone, you can visit any of our fall sport matchups depending on what interests you most. It’s also not too late to catch a Clippers game in August and early September and you may even time it up to catch one of the famous “Dime-A-Dog” nights. If baseball isn’t your sport, you also have the option to catch a Crew game and this year the soccer team has made it through to the playoffs, extending the season for us fans. Overall, no matter what your sport is, you can find a game to go cheer at during the fall months here in Columbus. With that, as always, GO BUCKS!


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