Posts filed under 'Career Stuff'

Career Fair

What a great experience!  Only two weeks into our program and we are already talking with recruiters from companies.  The career fair started at 3 pm, but I wasn’t able to get there until about halfway into the event,  due to work.  I definitely maximized the time I was there, but left the event hungering for more!  I was torn away only by the desire to see my children and to give my wife some relief from watching them all day.  Despite not being able to stay longer, I was still able to have some nice conversations with employers.  Ironically, I felt that the conversations seemed to flow a little easier with some of the employers because of the difficult class experience from last week.  I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to my teacher after this event.  It may be commonsense to most people, but keeping up to date with the current events (especially in the business sense) really helped to ease the awkward moments in initial conversations and allowed me to contribute more to what the employers were saying.  In other words, it made it feel more like a conversation than an interview.  This format made me feel more comfortable.  One of the other unanticipated benefits of this experience was the interaction with my classmates.  Even in this more “competitive” setting, I felt nothing but complete support and friendliness from my classmates.  That was a wonderful feeling in itself.  I feel so privileged to be a part of the experience and am so grateful to be surrounded by such support.

What’s the plan?

I met with Jill Westerfeld to explore some questions regarding internships, career development strategies and baseline assessments.  It was great to talk to somebody with such deep experience in the field and so willing to help.  It began with a very brief overview of my background, where I am currently working, and my goals.  Through the discussion we were able to identify some methods I can utilize in order to help focus my career search.  One of the things that helped the most during the session was that I came ready to talk about points that were bothering me and keeping open to opportunities.

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]






A day in my life

The day started, as usual, around 4:40 am in the morning.  I played a kung fu form, watched a little bit of the news as I grabbed a quick bite to eat.  I had prepared my lunch and dinner to be ready to go.  By 5:10 am I was on my way to work with my mug full of coffee.  I read over the articles that we were going to discuss in class before I prepared to do a check in for work.  The client that I manage has appreciated the time that I have spent on site at their company and increased their order from our company.  My boss was pretty happy, but I confess it was a little overwhelming, because it also means my responsibilities were growing.  Just in time for the beginning of classes!  The day quickly flew by staying consistently busy and my break around 2 pm was a welcome relief.  I sat at my desk eating my lunch and my thoughts drifted to how my kids and wife were.  I knew it was nap time, so I didn’t want to wake them up.  The rest of the day flew by and I barely had time to finish my work.

I traveled to OSU and as I was parking the car, I got a call from our client and we had an informal chat about the ongoing partnership.  I met up with some friends from class and had a nice time listening to their perspectives on careers and more background.  The professor for the class tonight had a much different style and seemed to be able to engage everyone in the room without much effort.

The professor ended class early so that we could go to a networking event with Marathon Oil company.  I spoke to some folks from the MHRM council and learned a couple of things about the case competition that we will be participating in.  The next group that I floated to included Jill Westerfeld (career development) and an HR representative from Marathon.  I asked questions about his experiences and enjoyed hearing not only about his experiences, but the fact I was asking the questions in front of Jill.  I have a meeting planned with her next week, so it will be interesting to hear her impressions about the type of questions I asked and the manner with which I asked them.  I spent about an hour at the event and said goodbye to a couple of classmates as I left.

I drove home, hoping that I would get the chance to see my kids before they went to sleep.  Luckily, I got to hug my little girl.  My little boy was a little tired, but I got to see him too.  I finished off the night typing up this blog and then preparing for tomorrow.

Another busy day

Another busy day of work today, filled with the normal challenges that helped propel the day forward.  Our boss offered to treat everybody to drinks and food, but I had to say, “no” because I had to teach a guitar lesson and it would be the first time all week that I could sit with both my kids at the same time.  Before I was able to go home though, Jill Westerfeld had arranged for a photographer to come to OSU and took free professional headshots for all the Fisher Grad Students.  My current LinkedIn profile is a picture of me and my daughter playing guitar.  Prior to the MHRM program, I was teaching guitar full time and so it was a more appropriate photo.  Now that recruiters might peek at my profile, I took advantage of the opportunity to put something more professional up.

After smiling awkwardly for the camera, I had to buy two more books for class.  Since I was already on campus, I stopped by the bookstore.  I have two bachelors degrees and a music minor and yet I still keep forgetting how expensive books can be.  On top of that, it would seem that being in a graduate program also means that the price of books are “graduated” to a higher price tag.  Despite the higher price tag, I am excited to be back on campus and look forward to getting into the material.

I got home and my wife had a nice meal for us all to enjoy together.  To be honest, just holding my boy in my lap, talking to my little girl, and being with my wife was what I was really hungry for.  It was like the best kind of reward for a busy week.  All of us are getting used to the new schedule.  We definitely haven’t worked it all out, but I believe it will come soon enough.

Career Fair

I attended a Career Fair on September 8th. It was my first time to get involved in a career fair. At first I was so nervous: I didn’t know what would happen in my first career fair. Luckily, the Fisher Career Management Office held a round table meeting for international students in which we spent one hour talking about how to prepare for a career fair. I learned that I should target companies, search their websites, look for job descriptions, and prepare my questions before a career fair. Then I felt better and believed that the upcoming career fair is not a “terrible” event for me any more.


However, although I prepared carefully, my first career fair is not so successful. As suggested in round table meeting, I first walked toward a company to get some practice.When I was just about to introduce myself, the recruiter started the conversation first. Suddenly, I lost my mind and did not remember what to say. But the recruiter was nice and patient, so our conversation went on but just for 2 minutes. Then I tried several companies, things got better but not as good as I expected. After the Career Fair, I was tired and upset. I thought I was not supposed to be at the career fair. I also heard that it was difficult for an international student to find an internship. I even thought “It was a waste of time since I have no chance to get an internship.”


The next day, we had another career fair in the Ohio Union. I did not want to go but I told myself I must not be afraid of a career fair. This time I realized that a conversation with a recruiter is not reciting a self- introduction but an interaction with them. With well-preparation and a confident smile, I talked to a recruiter of my target company. It was more successful: I linked my questions with my strengths and experience. I felt the recruiter was interested in me as she asked me to apply for their position online. I felt a sense of accomplishment afterwards. I know I was on the right track and my practice is making things better.

After the career fair, I sent a follow-up email to the recruiter. I did not know my e-mail was appropriate as I am not used with follow-up activities. But I am not afraid of failure any more because I know that if I keep trying and practicing, one day it will paid off.

Career Fair 101!!

Elijah Lee - Career Fair

Interviewee: Elijah Lee – “Awesome SMF graduate student”
Interviewer: Didier Hirwantwari aka “Not as Awesome as Interviewee but still Awesome graduate SMF student”

Setup: Beautiful Afternoon at an even more beautiful Gerlach Courtyard Graduate Career Fair at the Blackwell!!!


D: Elijah you look very dapper in your suit, who is your Tailor?
E: Thank you Didier, but I cannot divulge that awesome information right now, maybe after the interview!!
D: I will certainly take you up on it!!

D: Well shall we get started then, I do not want to keep you.
E: Lets!!

D: First and Foremost, thank you for taking part in this Interview, hopefully we can learn a lot and impart it on the graduate student body both international and domestic.
E: You are welcome and it is a pleasure to partake in this Interview.

D: Was this your first career fair and were you nervous?
E: This was my first fair yes and I was a little bit nervous. It was more of a good nervous since I was anxious to walk in there, meet company reps and make good impressions.

D: As we sit here talking, how would you describe your experience at the fair?
E: The experience was great. I learned how to talk with professionals, picked up on nuances of what I should and shouldn’t do as well as what kind of questions to ask. I learned about the interview and application process and more importantly, when to apply as some companies were closing their application windows that same day.

D: How many Companies did you want to talk to?
E: I wanted to talk to as many companies as I could.

D: Has this Career Fair prepared you for the next one and how so?
E: It did prepare me for the next one. I have a better grasp on what kind of questions to ask and how to do company research before the fair.

D: Did you exchange any tips with your fellow graduate students about any particular companies?
E: I exchanged a few tips about certain companies with my classmates because the end goal is for all of us to succeed in our job search.

D: Elijah, I definitely appreciate the time you took to do this interview. I definitely hope to have you back when you land that dream job, and for your time I will not ask you about your suit tailor. Thank You!!!
E: Thank You Didier and good luck to you as well!!!!

Many thanks to our viewers and readers!!! Hope you enjoyed the interview — More to come in the future

The Value of Internships

Welp, Summer has come and gone, and with that, so have most of our internships. In their place, many hope for full time offers or are seeking employment elsewhere. We’re getting closer to honing in on what are the most important things we want out of our careers as far as culture, job function, location, etc etc etc are concerned. But most importantly, we all came back…different people. We’re more knowledgeable not just about business and what we want to do, but who we are.

I personally consider my internship experience invaluable. I found a company that cares about business outcomes AND people. One of the drivers of my company’s success is the fact that they care about their people. They want their people to develop and they want their people to be happy. And they work hard to achieve that.

I’m fortunate enough to have an offer from this company that is not only willing to work with my school schedule, but also fully understand that I have a son who is my first priority.

My internship experience and events over the Summer have made me feel like a different person. I’m so excited about my future and where it’s taking me. Lastly (but not least), I’m STOKED to be back in school (really – but I’ll be singing a different tune come December). Bring on football season!

Go Bucks!

Beyond the Classroom – Real Estate Development Site Tours

One great aspect of the MBA program here at Fisher (and of OSU in general) is the extent to which the university is connected with the city’s local businesses. Student groups and faculty have hosted local business leaders from small startups to CEOs and CMOs from the city’s array of Fortune 500 companies.

Last semester I took a Real Estate Principles class which basically focuses on the real estate development process from cradle to grave. Taking advantage of the great connections between the university and local business leaders, the class featured 5 site visits to local development projects.  At each visit, we had the chance to meet with the real estate developers, project managers, and other key players involved with projects to learn the nuances of their developments and get a bit of first-hand knowledge to accompany our classroom discussions.

The central project for the class was a team-based development project where we were assigned several blocks in a downtown environment and were challenged to put together an investment proposal for the development site. Our class site visits were scheduled such that we had the opportunity to meet with industry professionals, get questions answered, and see live projects to keep our own projects moving.

With an increasing number of online programs and online education in general, a unique and valuable benefit of an on-campus program is the ability to have experiences such as these. Having site visits with local professionals to compliment in-class lectures and readings provides a learning environment that neither format accomplishes on its own. This is just one more way OSU’s strong network provides rare, valuable opportunities for its students.

Returning to Columbus!

It’s hard to explain the feeling you get when you return to a place that you called home for four years. Four of the best years of your life! Simply put, it feels incredible to be back. Back in the capital of the Buckeye state! After graduating from Ohio State last May, I spent the summer working in the human resources department at Great Clips and truly enjoyed my time. my experience, there is no better feeling than getting off the highway and looking at Ohio Stadium knowing that you are about to begin another year at one of the (if not THE) best school(s) in the nation. For me, returning to Columbus was the simple decision, figuring out what I wanted to do here was the hard part.

I specialized in Human Resources as an undergraduate student here at OSU and until last November, I was certain that I was going to pursue the Masters of Human Resource Management. That was my plan until I fell in love with the material taught in my Introduction to Finance course. This new found interest prompted me to explore a little bit and I decided to take a trip across the Fisher courtyard from the undergrad building (Shoenbaum) to the graduate programs building (Gerlach). On my visit to Gerlach, I met with multiple faculty members who explained what it would be like in the Specialized Masters of Finance program and what resources are available not only for career search but everyday life at Fisher as well. After the visit, my decision was made and I applied right away.

Mason Hall 2

Coming back to Columbus this time was a little bittersweet because I knew it could be the last time I pull off the highway and look at Ohio Stadium knowing I have another nine months in this beautiful place. Who knows though, maybe soon I will look upon Columbus as my future home as a finance professional.

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