Finals, Midterms, Job Applications, Projects……. All those are words that have become part of my daily vocabulary. In fact I am willing to bet that it has become part of everyone’s vocabulary who is a graduate student at the Fisher College of Business. It is though what makes the school such a great place for students to develop. We are exposed to so many things and facets of life in such a short time even if it is 2 years. At the end of the day it is what brings in the big bucks or to put it better; it is what makes us better people, better members of society, people who question the status quo and push for better things.
There is a word that is missing from the afore-mentioned list though, at least in my case. I get so engrossed in all the technical aspects of what I am doing and learning here that I forget to breathe. I forget to ask a classmate how their weekend was or miss a smile from a passing friend because I am think of how I am going calculate the zero yield of a certain bond. It is not always the case because as the picture shows above, I do remember sometimes and better yet that passing friend stops me in the hallways and asks me how my weekend was. They ask me if I am free for lunch so that we can go to Diaspora (Possibly best Korean food in Town). This aspect of my graduate career so far is my favorite because I realize that as much as I am thinking about that zero yield rate, they too are thinking about it or another thing regarding classes and we discuss the subjects in a nonacademic way relating it to our lives.
Pictured above are two of my classmates Elijah li and Taylor Snare who remind me that sometimes a smile and some breathing is all one needs to get through the day. The rest, we learn as we go and ask questions so that in the future we can answer other people’s questions as well.
In the midst of a two and a half week onslaught, I write to you during a brief respite to talk about time management and the dire importance of learning how to manage your time, for sanity’s sake.
The past two weeks have, on top of the normal demands of daily MBA coursework, included seven team projects, two individual assignments and a marketing case competition. Sounds like a lot, right? We haven’t finished just yet. The cherry on top of the sundae is a blitz of finals this coming Monday and Tuesday to round out the term.
To give you some insight, the breadth and depth of our assignments included:
- Team Operations Management II Case
- Team Presentation in Global Business Environment
- Team Strategy Case
- Team Marketing Management II Case
- Team Global Business Environment Term Paper
- Team Global Business Environment Term Presentation
- Team Marketing Management II Term Project and Presentation
- Individual Strategy Case
- Individual Operations Management II Assignment
- Macy’s Marketing Challenge
- Yet to come:
- Operations Management II Final
- Marketing Management II Final
- Global Business Environment Final
My classmate Danny already touched on the importance and ever-present inclusion of group work into our MBA experience. I can whole-heartedly say that the bulleted to-do list above would not be possible without an accountable core team. Thankfully, my team and I successfully worked together and spent hours and hours pushing to ensure we had quality deliverables. Yes, tensions can run high. No, you cannot escape it. It’s these experiences that best mirror working under tight deadlines with a team in the business world. Setting aside the individual for the betterment of the team, sharing responsibility and depending on each other to shoulder the burden each weigh heavily in the foundation of a high performing team.
Now, I’ve got to get back to it. If you think you possess great time management skills, be prepared to back it up. I thought I was pretty good, but I still have plenty to learn. The good news is, we all survived and by 2:45 pm Tuesday afternoon, we’ll have a chance to take a deep breath.
That is, until we start our next term the following morning at 8:30 am.
This session a group of MAcc students (myself included) decided to form an Intramural Co-Ed Basketball Team. Since The Ohio State University is a large university there is a huge number of intramural sports offered for several different groups of people. We were able to enter a co-ed graduate, professional, and faculty league for basketball that plays on Tuesday evenings.
Through three games, The Embezzlers are sporting a powerful 3-0 record entering the second half of the season. With two more games before the beginning of the playoffs, we are hopeful for a high playoff seed and maybe even a championship.
All joking aside, playing intramural basketball has been a terrific addition to my MAcc experience. It has provided an opportunity for me to interact with my friends in the MAcc program in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with accounting or schoolwork. More importantly, the exercise serves as a healthy outlet of stress from classes or looming finals!
Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of The Embezzlers!
When I first started the program, my logic was that you went to info sessions in order to get information about a place that you wanted to go for your internship. However, in going through the program, I attend as many information sessions as I possibly can. These are free opportunities to interact with professionals and to learn about their specific industry. In another sense, you also get the opportunity to look at possible trends or connections between the industries. If you notice the same thing coming up in each session, that only strengthens your ability to enter into your field with a more comprehensive outlook. I recently attended an information session on Gender issues. It was led by the CFO of Cardinal Health and it was an amazing an inspirational lecture. I immediately went home and started looking at how I can start integrating that understanding into my own workplace.
My Chinese classmates have been patient enough to help me with my very basic ability in speaking Chinese. It is usually only a few minutes after class, but it gives me the opportunity to interact with others that I don’t know as well in a medium that I haven’t mastered. It’s definitely humbling, but it encourages me to listen better, and reminds me that no one person knows everything and everyone has something unique about them to share. Taking full advantage of this program requires an interest into not only drawing off the wealth of knowledge from the professors, but also in your classmates. Every time I go to class, I look forward to hearing how others are thinking about things and to better understand how they think and speak.
More importantly, through all the opportunities that are coming up, the most important one is the one available most days of the week. One day, I got home around 10 pm (due to class and a late group meeting for class) and I spent about 40 minutes cleaning and tidying up the house. My wife had a rough day and it was a great opportunity to do something nice for her. Another day, I was just about to start reading for class when my daughter came up to me and said, “Do you want to have a tea party?” I said, “yes.” We sat down eating imaginary blueberry and strawberry cakes accompanied by imaginary blueberry and strawberry tea. Another day, my son brought me a book, turned around, and sat in my lap. We read that picture book at least ten times straight. No matter how busy my schedule gets, I will not lose sight of the most important opportunities.
If I haven’t learned anything else from the MAcc program so far, I have learned two things: 1. MAcc students get a lot of free Panera and 2. The professors here love getting to know their students.
Recently I attended something called “The MAcc Meet & Greet Breakfast.” This is a casual gathering where a small group of MAcc students are invited to attend breakfast with MAcc faculty. Only about 10 students are invited at a time and there were 5 faculty members at the breakfast I attended. I think this event is an excellent example of what a personal level of attention students in the MAcc program here at Fisher receive. The faculty truly want to get to know you and are genuinely concerned about what is going on in the students’ lives – as far as classes, jobs after graduation, hobbies, spring break plans, etc.
Many students are invited to a MAcc Breakfast session during first semester, and this is a nice way for students to get to know professors even if they had not them in class yet. Since I went during second semester, I already knew the professors from having them in class, but breakfast was a fantastic way to catch up and get to know these professors in a context outside of class.
Coming from a small undergraduate school, I can truly say that the MAcc program here at Fisher offers the unique personal connections and attention one would typically get at a smaller university, but still has so many of the benefits and opportunities that come with attending such a large university with so many resources!
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.
One of the many great aspects of the MAcc Program (and Ohio State in general) is the abundance of fascinating speakers that are brought in to present to us. We have something called the “MAcc Speakers Series” and this goes on throughout the entire year. We have several speakers from all different professional and personal backgrounds come in to present on a topic of their choosing, and we also get to ask them questions. Recently, we had a speaker who has an extensive background in law. She also happened to be a current MAcc student’s mom!
For Susan’s presentation, she chose to share some of the insights and knowledge she has acquired throughout the years of being a lawyer, an employer, and a mother. Here are some of the things she shared with us:
- Email vs. Personal Communication: There are many positive and negative aspects that come with email and constant communication. She stressed the importance of building relationships, and how this is difficult to do from email communication alone. Also, never deliver bad news over email or ask for special consideration over email.
- Remember who owns your business computer: Susan shared horror stories of people losing jobs, being sued, and suffering severe embarrassment from things they have done on their business computers. Overall, it is best to keep emails free of jokes or innuendos and to not use your business computer for something that you wouldn’t want others to see.
- Own mistakes: We should always admit to our mistakes. Although we might get punished for admitting our mistakes, companies have professional liability insurance in case mistakes happen. The insurance no longer applies if we try to cover up our mistakes, and thus it is important to never try and cover anything up.
- Don’t isolate yourself: Get your work done, but also build relationships within the firm and try to meet as many people as possible. This could include doing things such as joining work intramural teams, volunteering, and going to other social events with coworkers.
- Find a mentor: It is important to find a mentor at any stage in your career. You are never too old to have a mentor!
- Broaden your horizons: Join organizations that you are interested in joining. You never know what people you may meet that will one day be future clients or a future contact for a business opportunity or favor.
I really enjoyed Susan’s presentation and she shared some very good things to think about as we begin our future careers. I also like that many of the speakers, such as Susan, do not have a background in accounting, but they are still able to share very relevant and interesting topics with us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a great vacation. I had a truly restful vacation. My initial plans were to do some intensive reading to prepare myself for the Spring semester. Those plans quickly fell to the wayside as I spent most of my time with my family. I must have read “Cat Power” and “Madeline” at least 50 times to my son and daughter, respectively. Our family passed around a cold throughout the break, but finally recovered. Despite the illnesses, we all truly appreciated the time together and the lack of pressure from school. The break was perfect, but as the new year arrived, I started yearning to get back into the groove of the semester.
The first week did not disappoint. In the first class of the week, we learned about tunnels underneath the business school! The data analytics professor mentioned it in class and I was among others who went to explore. Our class was in Schoenbaum hall. We went to the basement to find a locked door. Luckily, a faculty member happened to come downstairs and he let us in! We curiously found our way through empty classrooms, computer labs, and hallways with exposed pipes. We ended up coming up through Fisher Hall facing the garage. Of course, I”ll be spending sometime on campus before class further exploring this new area! In addition to the data analysis class, I will also be taking Staffing and Employment Law.
Work has been going well and I have still been actively utilizing many of the skills learned in the program. I recently proposed an Office Exchange program in order to increase company client knowledge, participate in a distinctly different work culture, and to facilitate more company wide cooperation. I will be going to the East office for three days and one of their coordinators will take my place at the West office. It should be an interesting experiment!