Case Comp – A Rite of Passage

Last weekend, first year Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) students underwent a kind of “rite of passage”: the annual MHRM Internal Case Competition.

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The competition was sponsored by PepsiCo this year, and real executives from PepsiCo as well as other companies that recruit heavily on campus—Marathon, The Wendy’s Company, Ford, Rolls Royce to name a few—were on the judging panels. At 8 AM Friday, we were briefed on the case (a real problem that PepsiCo HR professionals were currently facing), and after a 20-minute Q&A, we broke off into respective 4-person teams to begin our work. We had until the following morning at 8 AM to conceive a solution and figure out a way to sell it to the judges in 20 minutes. If you ever participated in some sort of “lock-in” at your church or school, then that’s a good starting point for understanding. We spent 15 hours in Gerlach Hall that day—or as I like to call it now—my second home.

My team’s day consisted of some serious brainstorming, followed by changing our minds several times, and finally settling on a simple and practical solution to the problem. Was it too simple? Had we thought through all the details? What if they throw us a curveball? These were the questions rattling in my brain all day. But we were in a time crunch (yes, that’s on purpose), so we had to roll with it.

Fast forward past lunch, dinner, laughing, crying, sleeping (there was not actually any crying) to the next morning. We arrived back at Gerlach Hall the following Saturday morning at 7 AM and received our presentation room and time slot. At that point, we scurried back to our room to hammer out the last few details and practice, over and over…and over…and over………………………and over.

We had a tough room—the judges are trained to interrupt you and throw you off to challenge your ideas and assumptions. Now seems like an appropriate time to introduce the idea of Type II Fun:

“Something that is fun only after you have stopped doing it”

– Type II Fun

At the end of a nerve-wracking and intense Q&A session, we left our room to debrief how we thought it went. What was most difficult for me was not having anyone to compare ourselves to. We were not permitted to collaborate with other teams, nor see their presentations. So, it was difficult to know how competitive our idea was. Situations like this definitely challenge my discomfort with ambiguity.

At the end of deliberations and a delicious lunch provided by the Fisher College of Business, the results were in. I am proud to say that my team won our room, which is especially exciting considering we were strangers just a few days before. It is so satisfying to be able to come together and leverage our strengths as a team so quickly and effectively. And I feel lucky to have made some new friends along the way!

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That’s us! Myself, Irinka, Krista, and Katie.

#blessed

Maybe it is because Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, but recently I have found myself reflecting on all the things I am grateful for. I could write for days about all my reasons for giving thanks this year, but I will stick to just three highlights of my MAcc experience:

  1. I have a job! The recruiting experience was definitely stressful but I am proud to say that I made it through to the other side and have officially accepted a full-time offer with Deloitte in Columbus. I will be a part of their audit practice and I could not be more thrilled about the opportunity!
  2. I am back in the Midwest! Being in South Carolina for undergrad definitely had its perks, but it has been so nice to live within 150 miles of my hometown. The two-and-a-half-hour distance is perfect – it’s close enough to justify weekend trips while still far enough to prevent me from simply jumping in the car and making the drive just because. I love that I have so many more opportunities to stay involved with things in Perrysburg.
  3. I am almost half a Master of Accounting! It is surreal to think that I am almost halfway through the MAcc program – not sure where the time has gone. This semester has been difficult at times, but on the whole it has been beyond incredible. I feel so privileged to be surrounded by highly-motivated peers and phenomenal professors. Every day has brought a new set of challenges, which has only made these past few months that much more rewarding.
Living the "Suite Life" with Gene Smith
Living the “Suite Life” with Gene Smith

My Summer Internship!

The first session (7 weeks) of my 2nd year of MHRM program has flown by almost as quickly as my summer internship at Huntington Bank HQ in downtown Columbus! The summer was a unique opportunity to not only apply the first year of the program to a more tactical learning endeavor, but also to gain new experiences to then bring back to the 2nd year of the program and share with classmates. Below is a quick recap of my summer internship and unique projects I got to be a part of! I apologize for the delay/lack of blogging; it may or may not have taken me the first 7 weeks to get back into the swing of things!

During the first stint of my summer at Huntington, I tried to quickly apply a book from Business Excellence II – The First 90 Days. The book highlights the importance of the first 90 days of any new job and new transition, and how it is important to make a good impression quickly. Really, a summer internship is just around that time frame, so the book was an easy application for tackling my projects.

Overall, I would say the first year of my MHRM curriculum trained my brain to think a certain way: what is the situation, the outcomes desired, impressions and experiences we want to provide? I loved that through the first year of my program, I had a network of resources to bounce my thoughts off of: both classmates and professors. To kick off one of my first projects at Huntington, I tried to get an understanding of the current state of the business and how I was being asked to make an impact, and then called one of our professors, Dr. Inks for his expertise and experience. There wasn’t a shiny bauble that came from the conversation, but instead a frame of mind that helped guide my project throughout the summer.

I loved my projects, team, and work environment over the summer. One of my favorite experiences from the summer was Huntington’s all-intern project. The entire class of about 60 interns was divided into groups of five cross-functional teams. I loved that I had the opportunity to work with students from different departments: IT infrastructure, Commercial Risk, Capital Markets, and Data Analytics– all extremely different departments that possessed a different perspective. The task was to pick an opportunity for improvement at Huntington and confront the problem: what is the problem, why is it a problem, and what is our solution for the problem identified? What prepared me for this project was the MHRM Case Competitions – hosted by Fisher. The problem we identified was one that most companies are facing today: how do we retain millennial talent? I had seen this trend before in the MHRM Internal Case Competition with PepsiCo. Therefore, I had a framework and mindset to build on that rallied our team behind how Huntington can improve to retain the very people giving the presentation: millennials.

My intern buddy over the summer and fellow Buckeye, Leah, after our team presented to the Huntington Executive Team!
My intern buddy over the summer and fellow Buckeye, Leah, after our team presented to the Huntington Executive Team!

I’m so excited to be returning to Huntington after graduation from the MHRM program and to be part of the talent acquisition team! I can also say that I’m excited to finish up the last 1.5 semesters in the MHRM program at Fisher, and gain further background and experience that will ultimately prepare me for taking on an HR Specialist role. Plus, I still want to live out the last of my college breaks that I might never see again 😉 Until next time. Go, Bucks!

Buckeyes that intern together, stay together
Buckeyes that intern together, stay together

Fall at Fisher

Fall—the season for football, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes.

Script Ohio
September 3rd, 2016
OSU vs. BGSU

For Master of Accounting candidates at the Fisher College of Business, fall also means recruiting. Although many students enter the program with full-time job offers, a number are still looking for post-grad employment. I did not complete an internship this past summer, and, as a result, was eager to begin my job search once I got to Fisher. The Office of Career Management does a fantastic job of facilitating this process for its students by providing ample resources and programming for those still seeking placement.

For those who aren’t familiar with how the accounting hiring cycle works, here’s a brief breakdown:

  1. Over the summer, incoming MAcc students complete a series of “Career Modules” to begin preparing for the fall semester. Additionally, students submit an updated resume to the Office of Career Management to receive feedback prior to actually applying to jobs. This is also the time to identify service line and location preferences.
  2. A half-day of orientation is devoted to a Career Foundation Seminar. As part of this event, we had the opportunity to hear from a panel of recruiters which was incredibly informative!
  3. Networking kicks off with the “MAcc Mix & Mingle,” an event at Ohio Stadium hosted by the Office of Career Management during orientation.
  4. Classes start and firms begin to regularly visit campus, hosting a number of events and informational sessions during the first several weeks of school. This is a great time for students to learn more about all their potential employers. The Fisher Career Fair takes place at the beginning of September and is a great way to connect with companies that don’t necessarily have the same presence as some of the larger firms.
  5. Application deadlines vary, but most are due within a week or so of the Career Fair.
  6. First-round interviews are held on campus toward the end of September.
  7. Second-round interviews occur in October and include an office visit. Even within the same city, company cultures may vary drastically, so this visit can be incredibly important when determining a “best fit.”
  8. Most offer letters are out by the end of October, at which point it’s time to make a decision!

At this point, my applications are completed and I have started scheduling on-campus interviews. I will be sure to update you once I have come through on the other side!

What I did this summer…

Akin to the traditional elementary-school first homework assignment, I’m going to write about my summer spent in Battle Creek, Michigan, working in brand management for Kellogg’s. First of all, let me gush a little by saying that it was a fantastic experience!

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The Frosted Mini-Wheats team

I got to work on exciting and meaningful marketing projects right away. I was on the Frosted Mini-Wheats team and learned a ton about cereal (not to mention enjoyed the free cereal bar almost daily!). For one project I was able to assist with agency relations and digital strategy planning and for the other, I worked on the recommendation for the marketing communication plan for the Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini-Wheats launch and also made predictions of future growth for pumpkin spice as a flavor.

IMG_3511I learned a lot about using data, coming to conclusions, making recommendations and putting together a powerful presentation. I had never worked with Nielsen data before, so learning that system was an early challenge, but also figuring out the best way to visually show data was a lot harder than I expected. Both skill sets will be needed for any brand manager, so I was happy that I was able to improve in both areas.

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My internship was Gr-r-reat!

Everyone at Kellogg was so supportive and happy to help in any way that I needed, so I got up to speed much faster than I would have on my own. (Shout-out to my roommate who taught me everything I now know about HLOOKUPs!) I reached out to the various business units and learned about their own Pumpkin Spice launches or how they handle seasonal flavors in general. It was fascinating! Now, 12 weeks later, I know more about Pumpkin Spice than anyone should, and it’s exciting to see it all play out this fall.

I’ve lived in Ohio for the last nine years, so I mistakenly assumed that Michigan summers would pretty much be like Ohio ones, but I have to say that they are way better up north! Battle Creek is four hours from Columbus, and in addition to being more north, it’s also almost as far west as you can get in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. This means that it’s light so much longer in the evenings (at the peak, it’s still light at 10:00 pm), which gives you so much more time to be outside doing things! It was sunny almost every day and living only an hour from the beach is pretty exciting.

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The four MBA marketing interns on our last day 🙁

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity that I had to work at Kellogg this summer and I truly enjoyed my experience. I have a much better understanding of what a brand manager and an assistant brand manager do at a large company like Kellogg, and I’ve worked on some of the important skills that I will need in those roles, both technical and inter-personal.

Now, who wants to go try some Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini-Wheats? psminiwheats

Week Two: First Monday and EY on Campus!

Monday Morning in Columbus
Monday Morning in Columbus (Aug 29)

“There will be no rest for the weary”, as they say.

Today is the first Monday of this semester since week one started with Tuesday (Aug 23).

Monday is a long day for SMF students this session because we have THREE classes (Corporate Finance I, Data Analysis I & Econ I), from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, with only a one-hour lunch break. So, I was in a bit of a hurry to have a quick lunch at SUBWAY with my friends. When we were heading out of Gerlach, I heard one of my classmates yell, “WOW FREE PIZZA!!!” That’s when I discovered recruiters from Ernest & Young (EY) with DELICIOUS PIZZAS (both Veggie & Meat), EY-yellow sunglasses and EY T-Shirts! This is recruiting season at Fisher– and you’ll often find various organizations on campus. With free food and give-aways!

EY Yellow at Fisher Campus
EY Yellow at Fisher Campus

BTW, I was so relieved that I escaped from SUBWAY for one day because I almost ate there every day in the pre-term. How busy and crazy our SMF schedule in the pre-term is! Just check my previous blog to have a peek! Subway is something that you can eat every day because it is fast and close to Fisher, but you don’t want to! Basically, it is a combination of Meat + Veggie + Cheese + Bread. If you eat it every day for a while, it will taste like the same thing despite various recipes. TRUST ME or TRY IT. You will know what I mean! Or you can prepare your lunch the day before and take it to Gerlach as some of my classmates do. There are two refrigerators on the second floor of Gerlach.  

After a few bites of pizza, I talked to several EY staff in the field, including Adam, Meg, Anna & Harrison. They were so patient and helpful & answered questions from students one by one just as in the career fairs–but under sunshine without air-conditioning and a fancy building.

However, the conversation continued in the “fancy building” (Mason Hall) with AC after 5:30 pm with more EY staff answering questions for more students. Ther students were so polished and professional. I am really impressed and proud of our Fisher family!

Wrap Up of the Year!

Wow, it’s hard to believe the MAcc Program is coming to an end! It feels like we just started, but then again, we did only start about 8 months ago. Even though the year is almost over, there are still more events to look forward to. One event is Fisher Formal. This is a formal end of the year celebration at a Cathedral in which all graduate students at Fisher are invited. We are allowed to bring guests to this event as well. Another event is an end of the year celebration for the VITA program at Dave and Busters with all of the VITA volunteers.

Final exams are coming up in the last week of April and then graduation takes place on May 8th. There is a Pre-Commencement ceremony taking place 2 days before graduation to recognize MAcc students and professors specifically. There is certainly a lot to look forward to the rest of the school year and the weekend of graduation!

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This summer I will be staying in Columbus and studying for, taking, and hopefully passing the 4 sections of the CPA exam. I will be starting my full time position in federal tax at KPMG in Columbus this upcoming October.

Overall, this has been a fantastic year. I have met so many new friends, some of which are staying in Columbus, and some that are moving to other places. I hope to stay in contact with the people I have met in the program. I have also really enjoyed all of the cool classes I have gotten to take this year, both accounting and non-accounting courses. Finally, I enjoyed all of the events I was able to attend as a student here such as football games, basketball games, volleyball games, and volunteering. This is definitely a year I will never forget, and I am so grateful that I had the wonderful opportunity to attend such a great program and university!

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!

Internship for the Win!

As the school year comes to an end all I can think about is how fast time goes by! The MHRM Class of 2017 is about officially halfway done with the program! My classmates, including myself, are all off to start our summer internships hoping to bring back perspective, credibility, and experience. Well, I promised to keep y’all posted and I’m officially here to report my first week in Huntington Talent Acquisition was a major success! I love what I’m doing: the projects I’ll be working on over these next few weeks, being in downtown Columbus, and my TA team. Below is a short recap of my first few days (I work half days Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the summer starts).

welcome

Fortunately, my manager had me visit Huntington HQ a couple weeks before my start date to recap with her since it had been awhile after my interview and my last time in the office. That meant when Monday came I knew where my desk was, how to maneuver through the building, and most importantly, where her office was. I also had met her manager who I’ll be partnering with for one of my main summer projects during my pre-start date visit, so I did have some familiar faces in the office. Monday I also got my official Huntington badge (so fancy). Monday was a lot of getting set up to hit the next few days running. By Wednesday, I felt like a pro! I got most of the mandatory training completed, discovered the printer, set-up my desk to my liking, and discovered where the water bottle re-fill spot is!

(Excuse the lack of office decorations - to come)
(Excuse the lack of office decorations – to come)

Friday is when the fun started! My manager took me and another one of our TA team members to lunch (so many options in downtown Columbus) and we got to chat outside on the patio in the sunshine. The big lunch geared me up for the big meeting with her manager: this meeting was to get the deliverable for one of my summer projects! Friday was exciting because it was a sneak peak into some of my summer work, but also how I’m going to get that work done. Lots of brainstorming, more set-up, and computer software ideas spun through my head for the rest of the day. My manager and I wrapped up the day with a little reflection (highly recommended) and I headed into the weekend like a giddy five year old, already ready to be back in the office!

I went into my summer internship search with the mentality that I want to love my job, because at the end of the day that’s what will keep me where I start my career after graduation. What I love about my internship with Huntington TA is that my projects are not just meaningful, but they will be sustainable past just my summer internship. I have a feeling my first few days in Huntington Talent Acquisition were only a glimpse to the great summer that’s ahead! #gobucks

But really, how can you not love that view?

view

The Year is Coming to an End

Technically, there are two days of class left in the semester. For the sake of this post, let’s say classes are over and all that remains between the student body and summer are those pesky exams.

Here in Gerlach Hall, there are two camps. First-year MBAs are eagerly preparing for GAP assignments and summer internships that will hopefully turn into full-time offers. Second-years are staring employment directly in the face. Try and picture the fleeting look of carefree senioritis on a 28-year-old’s face as she realizes winter break, spring break and Fridays off will forever be in the past. I fall squarely into the anxious, exhausted first-year camp. In less than two weeks, I’ll be in Tanzania working with the Global Water Institute on a water well program. In less than six weeks, I’ll be interning with The Wendy’s Company in its marketing division. Bring it on!
tanz-LMAP-md

On one hand, I cannot wait to ditch homework for four months. No more late nights at the kitchen table with a strategy case for a company. On the other hand, I’m essentially going back to work for 13 weeks. Work stress and effort are totally different than school stress and effort. Grades and participation points are great, but real life company-related implications and a paycheck are vastly more important in the long run. A dumb answer or a half-hearted deliverable will not ultimately sink a ship here in the safe classrooms of Fisher. Not so in the real world. All the theory and case studies will finally be put to the test. I’ll let you know how it goes!

The-Wendys-Company