Imagine Yourself Thriving

Hi, Friends!

My name is Nikki Villoria and I am a first year MHRM student. Just a bit about me: I am from Alexandria, VA and attended The Ohio State University for my undergraduate degree in Psychology (I’m a proud double Buckeye!). I graduated in 2015 and this past year, I worked as an Educational Leadership Consultant for Alpha Xi Delta Women’s Fraternity. It was a wonderful experience to be able to travel and meet many different women across the nation. Mainly, I assisted in the areas of project management, leadership development, and recruitment and retention. I am excited to be going back to school to become an expert in the field of HR! I’ll be posting regularly throughout the school year so I hope you enjoy following me along on my journey!

Here’s a little look into the early days of graduate school life:

August 22, 2016: The day before classes officially start at Ohio State. The anticipation is quite high! Whether it’s been a few years since we’ve been in a classroom or we’re just ready to start studying a subject that really interests us, it seems that my peers and I are really excited to get going!

Today was also the day for the New Graduate Student Welcome and Resource Fair. This event was held in the Ohio Union to accommodate all the various graduate students from all across campus. Like many of the events we’ve had thus far, orientation to trainings, the morning started with a mingling session (I’ve been meeting new people non-stop!) and of course….breakfast. There were many students coming together from all different types of graduate programs. They mentioned there are about 10,000+ graduate students this year.


(Enjoying the sunshine in the Fisher Courtyard while reviewing all the information from the fair.)

The Welcome Event included a few different speakers like President Drake and Bruce McPherson, the Executive Vice President and Provost, who gave us all a warm welcome into graduate life. A speaker who really resonated with me was Todd Gibbs, Wellness Coaching Program Manager and Doctoral Candidate in Counselor Education. His talk touched on his own graduate school experience and the work he is doing for his doctorate. He talked about “imaging ourselves thriving” through the graduate school program. I really liked this idea. With the uncertainty in starting something new, it is normal to be unsure of why and how I am where I am. There seems to be some fear of the unknown but also excitement knowing that there are wonderful things ahead. I hope that keeping a positive attitude and envisioning myself thriving will help me push through any challenges that might come my way. I am thankful to be where I am today, though there are a few nerves. The idea of “transitions” or “starting a new journey” has been a recurring theme throughout these first few days. I am excited to continue to stay curious and take advantage every opportunity that comes my way!

Go Bucks,

Nikki Villoria


(Buckeyes checking out all the resources and organizations to get involved in as graduate students.)


Better the Devil You Know…

In the weeks leading up to my arrival at OSU, I was filled with a potent mix of anticipation and anxiety.

The anticipation came from the nerdy schoolboy in me jumping for joy at the prospect of being back in a classroom. “Imagine all I’ll get to learn!” “I wonder what interesting people I’ll meet!” “I can’t wait for football games!”

The anxiety came from my inner skittish recluse pulling his hair out at the prospect of being back in a classroom. “What if I can’t keep up with what they’re teaching?” “What if people don’t think I’m interesting?” “I don’t even like sports!”

I suppose this anxiety would be a little more palpable if I explained my background. I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ School of Filmmaking in 2014 with a focus on film directing. I moved back home to Youngstown, OH after graduation where I did a mix of videography, editing, volunteering at a ballet company, participating in community theater both on- and off-stage and working a variety of part time gigs. I decided an MBA was the right choice after my experiences told me that my passion for film had grown to all arts. I decided I wanted to be the guy who could talk to the stuffy suits as well as the airy artists.

My mom made me take this photo!

No time in a big corporation. No use of what math skills I had. No sports. Does that anxiety make sense now?

Fast forward two weeks and that potent mix has been replaced with something much more powerful.

Coming back to school has felt more like a coming home. I had been to OSU only twice before, but within 48 hours, I felt like a prodigal son returned to his joyous father. Being here has felt like digging an old baseball glove out of a dusty attic and finding that it still fits after all this time (sports!).

I don’t know what a pivot table is or what exactly a consultant does, but orientation at Fisher has made me feel like I’m going to be the best businessman the world has ever seen. The faculty and upperclassmen have not been stingy in telling me how hard I’m going to have to work to make it through the next two years, but without attending a single class yet, they’ve managed to make me feel like I’ve learned a lifetime’s worth of information.

My core group and I during our preterm scavenger hunt.

Adoration has replaced anticipation and until class starts, the anxiety still exists. Now, though, I know better what I’m getting myself into. I know who to turn to for help. I know what boundless resources I have at my disposal. I know who Urban Meyer is (sports!!).

I feel I’m staring into the abyss and the abyss is staring back, hungry. You know what I have to say to it, though?

Bring it.


Exciting Semester Starts with FINAL EXAM for SMF!

Aha! The new semester begins! Believe it or not! SMF students are preparing for their first final exam this week! How exciting! : )

SMF stands for Specialized Master in Finance. There is no doubt that we are a special group who has already done two group assignments and five case studies before the new semester begins and is going to take a FINAL EXAM in the first week of the new semester.


There are maybe many question marks in your head: Are you kidding? Do you finish a course for only one week? How is that possible?

Well, that’s because we have been on campus for three weeks before the semester officially begins! We were taking a course called Turbo Finance which covered almost all basic ideas of Finance, from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 3 pm.

Additionally, we met successful alumni of our program and took Bloomberg training with the legendary rock star of Bloomberg, Professor Matt Sheridan, during the busy pre-term schedule.

This sounds like mission impossible, but we did it! The awesome staff of Fisher and the director of our program who is also our professor for Turbo Finance, Dr. George Pinteris, prepared and scheduled perfectly to make all of these happen.

& Here is some beautiful view of campus and Columbus!

Fisher College of Business:


The Oval:

The Oval

The One & the Only RPAC:


Ohio State Fair (Annually August Event in Columbus):

Ohio State Fair

Columbus at night:

Columbus Nightview

The Big Spring Concert at OSU


Every year, the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) puts on what they call the “Big Spring Concert”. They bring in a popular artist or
group and have a free concert for all Ohio State students as they near the end of their academic year. In the past, they have brought in groups like OAR, Passion Pit, The Chainsmokers and Weezer plus artists like Skrillex, Juicy J and Childish Gambino. Needless to say, the OUAB does a good job of bringing in a wide range of music genres. This year is no different as they lined up Marshmelllo, Vic Mensa and headliner Martin Garrix. Garrix and Marshmello are both EDM artists with Garrix being one of the most popular in the current EDM scene.


garrixIn years past, they have held the concert on The South Oval, just across the street from The Ohio Union, and students would just walk in. This year, they held it at Columbus Commons (a very popular outdoor venue in downtown Columbus). My favorite event that I’ve attended at Columbus Commons was by far the Food Truck Festival where they brought in around 100 different trucks with foods ranging from pizza and sandwiches to cupcakes, churros and other sweet treats. To get in to the event this year, students were required to pick up a wristband from the Ohio Union. I’m not sure why exactly the university moved the concert from The South Oval to Columbus Commons but I thought it was a huge hit!

Sadly, I did not attend the Big Spring Concert this year. My sister surprised me about a month earlier with tickets to see Panama Wedding, Magic Man and The Griswolds at Newport (America’s longest continuously runningmagic man concert hall). These artists are more indie and electronic rock bands than EDM. I enjoy listening to almost every genre of music (especially live) and I have already seen Garrix and Marshmello live so it was time to mix it up a little. The indie/electronic rock bwristbandands were certainly way more relaxed than the EDM artists. Moral of the story, Columbus has many options for lovers of all types of music.

Wrap Up!

As the fourth session begins to wrap up, I look back on the past year in the MAcc program and think “wow, where did all of the time go?” It truly does not feel like 9 months ago I was sitting in orientation, eager to begin working towards a master’s degree. However, as I write this last blog post, I am reminding myself of all the memories that I have had in the MAcc program, all of the incredible people I have met, and all of the information and skills I have learned over the past 9 months.

Commencement at The Shoe!

The most obvious part of my MAcc experience that I can reflect on is the classes. Like any program, there were some classes that I absolutely loved, and some that were a little more challenging to get excited for. However, all classes had extraordinary professors who provided valuable learning experiences. After my first three years in Undergraduate classes at Fisher, and this past year in the Graduate classes, it is clear, the professors are the best assets that Fisher has. Regardless of class title or professor, you are going to be challenged in the way that you think, which is the best way to learn.

Another place where I spent a large portion of my time this year was working as a Graduate Assistant. As a graduate student ambassador, I was the first point of contact for many people who were interested in or being recruited by Fisher. Seeing this other side of the business school has taught me many hard skills that will make me a better business person, but has also instilled a strong sense of Fisher pride in me. Having to pitch the program and the College to people I hardly know has made me realize that I truly love the Fisher College of Business, and more importantly The Ohio State University.

It will be a very bittersweet moment when I walk across the stage for graduation in a few Sundays. Bitter because I am leaving campus, friends, and memories, yet sweet because I have so many memories to look back on as an Alumnus (wow, that sounds weird)! After graduation, I will begin studying for the CPA exam. If all goes well, I will hopefully be majorly done with the exams prior to starting at EY in Chicago come September!

I don’t know everything!

Being one of the more life experienced individuals in my class, I still find myself keeping a child like openness to learning. Being in this program has helped to remind me of the importance of keeping my mind and approach flexible. There is so much opportunity to learn if I continue to listen. Below are a few examples of some of my experiences in learning and keeping flexible this semester.

Classes this semester seemed to be focused on minimizing the paper used. I’ve always felt comfortable printing out things, but the amount of reading that we have to do would require me to print out an excessive amount of paper. I decided to just start saving readings to my desktop and using the highlighter function to keep notes while I read. It actually turned out to be really efficient and helpful to use this option. Exciting stuff I know!

I was at the grocery store in the check out line and my daughter was sitting in the grocery cart and said ‘Totoro!’  Totoro is a character from an animated movie by Hiyao Miyazaki. I didn’t really give it much attention until she repeated ‘Totoro’ again. I said, “Where’s Totoro?” and she pointed to my left. I said, “I don’t see him here.” She kept emphatically restating “Totoro!” and I responded, “Sweetheart, I don’t see him.” No sooner did I say it then I noticed a woman with the character tattooed on her arm. I told Larissa, “I’m sorry that I didn’t notice it! Good eyes!”IMG_20160322_194320

One of my classmates broke an apple in half with her hands! She told me about a physics class that she had and the teacher told her how to do it. She taught me how to do it and after a few failed attempts, I was finally able to too!

International Business Etiquette

The second semester of our program has been really enriching. I checked our Student HUB, which lists student events, and guess what I found this time? International food tasting…I mean International Business Etiquette. Anyway, we can’t live without eating as well as learning.

When I stepped into Mason Hall’s rotunda, it proved to me again that I am part of a great program that provides international experiences. The exotic food brought me to a foreign environment instantly and started good conversation.

internation food -

Looking at things like this, how can you not be curious and try it out?

international ettiquete food

Of course, we are here to learn about business etiquette all around the world. There were flyers about business etiquette in the UK, Brazil, India, and so on. Amusingly, when international students looked at the food tables, they are actually looking for the one about America. Our wonderful holders forget to tell us about themselves. We are supposed to learn about the countries, but I instinctively looked for one on China. The students sitting in front of me were also looking for one on China since one of them is traveling there. I thought I could be the “live flyer” about business etiquette in China for him, but I actually found one for Korea, which is very close to China, and gave it to him for reference. The one for Saudi Arabia is really interesting and different. “It is not uncommon to have a meeting cancelled once you arrive.” “You should arrive at meetings on time, although it is an accepted custom to keep foreigners waiting.”

saudi arabia

Involvement at Ohio State (and a National Title)

One of the coolest things about being a student at Ohio State is the level of involvement of the average student. Ohio State provides limitless opportunities to get involved in more ways than I can even begin to describe. There are service and leadership opportunities like Buck-I-Serve and BuckeyeThon in addition to over 1,200 student organizations ,  70 fraternal organizations and student government. There really is something for everyone! Fisher also has quite an array of student organizations ranging from The Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals to Fisher Sports Business Association to the Fisher Graduate Finance Association.


For the sake of this blog, I am going to stick to the 1,200 university-wide student organizations and clubs. Here is a little excerpt from the Ohio Union’s website: “With over 1,200 student organizations, Ohio State provides a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved. Student organizations have a significant impact in providing effective learning environments for students, preparing them to live in a multicultural society and work in a global community. In addition to building lasting friendships, student organizations provide many benefits including serving as a medium for academic discourse, personal growth, leadership development, intercultural understanding and community service. Moreover, research suggests that involved students tend to perform better academically and are more likely to graduate when compared with their non-involved peers.”

As you can tell, student organizations and clubs at Ohio State are a big deal for growth, development and preparation for life after college. My nats smallexperience with clubs was limited until earlier this year. Throughout my time here as an undergraduate student, I wasn’t involved with a single club. I spent the majority of my time either studying, in the pool or in the weight room. Academics and varsity swimming were my life so I really wasn’t even aware of all the opportunities available to students. This year however, I was looking for something to get involved with and I found that in the form of the Club Swim Team.

trophyOn April 3rd, the Ohio State Club Swim Team was crowned East Coast Collegiate National Champions by defeating 9-time defending champion Colorado. The meet lasted three days, took place in Atlanta, Georgia (my future home) and saw two current SMF students competing for gold (myself and Garrett Trebilcock). It was amazing seeing the team’s hard work paying off in the water and it really made me realize the importance of involvement, whether it be in the form of club swimming, student government or fraternal life. My advice to any incoming students, undergraduate or graduate, is to get involved! Find something that interests you and pursue it in your spare time! You never know what connections you’ll make, lessons you’ll learn or accomplishments you will achieve.


The MHRM and Fisher latest

Wow, I haven’t blogged in awhile and I’m so sorry. Classes and life in general have been an absolute whirlwind! I want to provide some Fisher and MHRM updates, as well as personal updates since last semester. Let’s start with Christmas break!

1: MHRM goes to Columbus Zoolights!


2: Student Experience provides Destress with Doggie Day. 

Everyone knows this was my favorite event because I desperately want a pug of my own!

doggie copy

3: MHRM External Case Competition Sponsored by PepsiCo.

Our team won 2nd place competing against Cornell, Rutgers, Illinois, and Minnesota! We brought home the hardware for Professor Ankerman and Dean Makhija


4: OSU Spring Break.

A great chance to escape from the chilly weather and head down South for some vitamin D (yes, I actually went here – Cabbage Key! 🙂 )

IMG_0077 copy

5: Fisher Celebrates 100 years!

Fisher College of Business is officially 100 years old this year and there’s lots of celebration. Check out what the past century has looked like here.

Fisher 100th Birthday Celebration Blackwell - Ballroom Mar-07-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete
©2016 Jay LaPrete


6: MHRM Council Elections.

I’m very excited to serve on the MHRM Council for the 2016-2017 school year, and I can’t wait to meet the incoming 1st years!

With these past couple months means new classes for students. This semester I’m taking Staffing Organizations, Data Analytics & Decision Making for HRM, Labor Relations, Understanding Teams & Leadership for HR Managers, and I finished up one elective – Leadership Legacy with Dr. Rucci. Dr. Rucci’s class has been one of my favorite and I highly recommend it! Wondering about these classes and what the syllabus might look like? All of the course descriptions and some syllabi are available here.

My last piece of exciting news is that I’m starting my internship early at Huntington Bank HQ in downtown Columbus! I’m super excited for what’s to come and to get started on my summer projects. I chose to start a little early (April 11th instead of May 16th) so I could hit the ground running by the summer! More MHRM updates and details to come on what it’s like to balance two jobs and a full time curriculum!

Rounding Third

It’s hard to believe that we only have five weeks left of our time at Fisher, which is both exciting and sad. This is my second graduate degree, so I knew it would be fast, but somehow, I’m still surprised to find myself this close to graduation. So here is my advice to the current first year class and the incoming class of Fisher MBA’s, as the Class of 2016 rounds third base and heads towards home:

1) Do you. I said this in a post I wrote last year, and I stand by it. You will be in class with people who are brilliant, people who already have established careers, people who have started successful businesses, and people who already have graduate degrees. There won’t be anyone who is exactly like you or who wants the same things, and if you find that you’re on a more non-traditional career-path like I was (non-profits) that’s perfectly okay. Don’t compare yourself to others. Twirl down your own road. There are opportunities at Fisher and ways you can network to get yourself where you want to go. I joined Fisher Board Fellows simply because it was something I loved, and that’s how I got my job.

2) Find kindred spirits. They will advocate for you harder than anyone else. I doubt I would have made it through my program without Dr. Shashi Matta, Michelle Petrel, and Professor John Barker. They are wonderful human beings and I am so grateful for them. If you aren’t finding help through what seems like the more traditional pathways, start knocking on office doors and see who will sit down and talk with you.

3) Never stop asking for help. Ask for help from your teammates, from your friends, from professors, from staff, and from alumni. People are much more willing to help than you think they are, because everyone had someone to help them (or several someones). So ask. And make sure to follow through with a thank you and maybe some chocolate. Everyone likes chocolate.

4) Learn how to be a team player. Work hard to learn how to work with other people. This doesn’t mean be a pushover or a people-pleaser, it means learn how to work together to accomplish a goal. Be a leader when you need to be, but know that the best leaders know how to step back and let others lead, too.

5) Network. Look at everything as a networking opportunity, and a way you can meet new people. Don’t think of it as work. Don’t think of it as asking someone for a job. Think of it as making friends. And you can never have enough friends.

6) Take a leadership position in a student organization. My time on a leadership team pushed me in ways I didn’t expect it to, and it taught me how to adapt to the very different needs of the people on my team. I learned the most about leadership by being on that team, and I’ve seen the most growth in myself because of it.

7) And last, but not least, try not to stress out too much. Two years goes fast, folks. So go to follies, go to girls’ night, and hit all the happy hours. Because the work will be there, whether or not you panic. So try not to panic, and enjoy the time you have at Fisher.