Posts filed under 'Career Stuff'

Learning From A Patagonia Executive

Two days ago I sat in one of the most impressive patagoniapresentations I have witnessed during my time here at Fisher. I was able to learn the story of success and failures of a popular American outdoor brand, Patagonia.

Vincent Stanley, the “chief story teller” for Patagonia discussed his 41 year career with the company and how he helped in growing the brand to what it is today.

I was impressed most of all with his humility and passion for profitable sustainability. He spoke of lessons he learned during failures and successes within his tenure at the company. He noted that he nearly bankrupted the company of number of times, but was fortunate that the company’s culture pulled them through tough times.

Stanley highlighted the fact that the hiring process is crucial to the company’s success. The company makes sure that new employees understand the importance of being profitable, yet sustainable. The products that Patagonia manufacture and sell to the public are high quality and priced at a premium, because the company believes in minimal waste. The hope is that customers will use the clothing for 5-10 years and then return the product to be recycled into a new article to be sold as a different product. Stanley noted that the company believes firmly in cradle to cradle sustainability.

I enjoyed not only the stories of the success, but the on-boarding steps taken to increase morale and productivity. Patagonia makes sure its employees are passionate about the outdoors. Many employees participate in a 2 month internship with a NGO. During this experience the company provides the employee with full compensation as if they were working at corporate.

It is no surprise that a company focused on selling outdoor products invests so much time, resources, and money into keeping the outdoors sustainable and beautiful. My hat’s off to this company and its impressive leadership team full of people like Vincent Stanley.

 

 

 

 


CEO of LifeCare Alliance Visits Fisher

Chuck Gehring is passionate about his job and his company’s mission. His passion is evident in the way he talks about his company and the role he plays in leading such an organization.Chuck-Gehring-1807381 220 Having him come and speak was a special treat for students in the Leadership Legacy course.

Chuck’s organization, LifeCare Alliance, is a nonprofit that focuses on helping communities by identifying and delivering health and nutrition services to those in need. A few of the well known programs include Meals-On-Wheels, Columbus Cancer Clinic, IMPACT Safety, and many others.

Having Chuck in the classroom allowed students to ask questions and learn more about his career path and leadership style. Chuck was enthusiastic about the opportunities that recently minted MBAs have in the nonprofit sector. He stated that many nonprofits could benefit from having younger business leaders included in the board room in order to assist in  connecting with younger generations.

Chuck’s career path has been anything but traditional. He started his career with Anheusser Busch before moving on to Sanese Services. From there, Chuck moved into nonprofit and has enjoyed being in this sector.

His take on leadership was inspiring. He noted the importance of doing the right thing, not only for yourself and your company, but for the community in which one resides. It is obvious that Chuck has a great focus on making his organization successful and doing so in an ethical and professional manner. I was struck by one comment he made about his struggle sleeping at night if he feels like the company fell short in one area or another. He truly believes in creating sustainable change for the community by providing wonderful health and nutrition services to those in need.


The Internship Search

The New Year started the busy time for finding a marketing internship. I was fortunate enough to make it through several phone screens and had final interviews with some great companies during January: L’Oreal, Nestle, Kellogg’s, and Amazon to name a few. Part of the fun of finding the right internship match is getting to travel to visit the headquarters of amazing companies. L’Oreal hosted an entire weekend, Taste of L’Oreal, in New York City at the Westin in Times Square.

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We met the CMO of the company, heard a presentation from the North American President, and participated in a day-long case competition for a L’Oreal product in either the Luxury, Consumer, or Professional Product Division.

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It was a phenomenal experience and really let candidates get a feel for the company, and its culture, and meet other MBA students from around the country (I still keep in touch with three of my case competition team members!). And we got a lot of goodies just for visiting!

Nestle hosted 60 candidates at their Solon, OH, office and treated us to a wine tasting led by their head chef, and a networking event with top executives. We also got dinner at the best restaurants in town, since everyone who works at Nestle (and planned our visit) is a foodie!

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Kellogg’s hosted a group of Fisher and Ross students for a Day at K at their Battle Creek, MI headquarters. After a harrowing drive through a snowstorm, we had a great day kicked off by a presentation from Kellogg’s CMO, a tour of Kellogg’s vault, and meeting with the company’s ad agency Leo Burnett.

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I also got to experience Seattle for the first time during my Amazon interview. Amazon hosted candidates in the best part of town, just a quarter mile from Pike’s Market, and I spent the morning checking out the market and visiting the original Starbucks!

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Amazon’s headquarters are very low-key, and you could drive right through the company’s campus and not realize you were at Amazon! They arranged a lunch with current Product Managers and then held interviews for 3 hours. It was intense. One constant across all the companies was the friendliness of the people and focus on employee development and culture fit. We have some amazing people and organizations recruiting at Fisher and I know wherever I end up, I am going to have a great experience this summer!


Lessons From Harley Davidson’s Chairman and CEO

Keith Wandell is the current chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Last weekOB-YU416_0905ha_DV_20130905150728 he stopped by The Fisher College of Business to enjoy lunch with students and speak about leadership. His story is quite unique and he ended up being one of my favorite speakers that has visited Fisher.

Keith was very blunt and honest about his life and the business he oversees. He didn’t sugarcoat anything. He was very transparent and honest in assessing his own performance as CEO and chairman. He admitted his faults and highlighted many of his successes during his tenure at Harley-Davidson. What he has done for the company over the last 5 years has been pretty amazing.

I was really impressed with how focused he was on the customer. When I think of an auto company, whether cars, trucks, or motorcycles, I think of operational excellence. Keith mentioned that his first order of duty when becoming the CEO was to focus efforts on their customer. He felt that the customer needed more attention, and not just the typical Harley customer, but the future Harley customer.

Keith looked into minority groups and helped the company develop and market products to groups that had previously not been targeted. This has been an important factor in the success of Harley over the last few years. Women and African Americans have made a huge shift into the biking industry and Harley was well positioned to receive them.

During his time as CEO, Keith had to make a lot of difficult decisions to help keep the company moving forward. He said that it is never easy, but it is necessary in the position of a turnaround CEO. In addition to being extremely focused on success, he stated that a great leader needs to know how to take a stand against mediocrity. He related a story about meeting with an extremely poor performing Harley plant that illustrated his focus very well. He didn’t negotiate with the employees and was honest in telling them how poorly they performed. His tactics worked. That same plant is now one of the top performing manufacturing facilities in the world and has won various rewards for its success.


Angela Joyner’s Career Advice

Frequently business schools invite many executives to visit campus and share experiences with students. I personally love these opportunities because it allows me to see someone’s perspective regarding their career path. Many times the executives have great lessons for getting ahead in business, which is important. But the real insights I take away from these meetings is how I learn to have a more rewarding life.

Angela Joyner is a big name executive from ConAgra Foods, but what she spoke about wasn’t all business and leadership; It was more than that. She spoke about how to become a better individual and a more rounded leader in today’s business world. Here are a few of my favorite points from my time listening to her:

  1. Find Your Purpose – This really resonated with me because I think that there is much more to life than a successful P&L. Clearly, any business leader wants his or her business to perform well, increase revenue, grow the bottom line, and provide a great experience for employees. However, at the end of the day, what is your purpose in being a business leader? Are you replaceable? Most leaders would like to think that they aren’t. The truth is, almost everyone is replaceable. So, find your purpose, work hard, and enjoy life.angela joyner
  2. Surround Yourself With The Right People – Most great athletes recognize the importance of their teammates when it comes to achieving great success and receiving awards. Similarly, successful coaches heap appraise upon their wonderful staff and players for winning championships. This isn’t because they aren’t the best in the business, but because they are some of the smartest in the business. Similarly in business, great leaders surround themselves with hard working, honest, and capable individuals. This not only helps the business succeed, but it allows for everyone on the team to learn and grow from one another.
  3. Make Your Personal Brand A Priority – This is key for any new business leader. Angela highlighted that everyone has thoughts and feelings regarding an individual’s performance and style. In business settings, it doesn’t take long for someone to label you as an all-star, an average joe, or an under-performer.
  4. Align Your Heart With Your Smarts – To sum it up, find out what you are passionate about and find a way to excel in that specific industry or function. Incorporate what you love to do into your daily routine. This will create a much more balanced leader that is good for the long haul, not just short term performance that eventually burns out.

MAcc Applied Talk with Joseph A. Alutto

Joseph A. Alutto, Interim President who served as the university’s executive vice president and provost for more than five years and dean of Fisher College of Business for 16 years, shared his experience and advice on leadership with our MAcc students.

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“There is more to life than work and a career”

Joseph A. Alutto pointed this out at the very beginning of his speech before he talked about other leadership topics. He advised us to find out  ’what really means for you’, either at work or in life. He showed different attitudes towards work and life for different time periods by recalling his journey of work. At the early stage of his career, work was always the priority. However, at this point of time, family overrides work. For us, who are going to start a brand-new career path, may not be able to get a good balance between work and life, but what we can do is to figure out what really mean for ourselves, either career achievement or family relationship, and approach it step by step. We should work toward what we are expecting, not what others are hoping.

“Thick skin” 

This is another interesting concept that Alutto mentioned during the speech. I understand this concept in a few aspects: first, we need to develop a thick skin to face failures and learn from them. Second, we need to develop a thick skin to push changes in the organization. Third, we need to develop a thick skin to deal with complaints among team members and “accept the reality that you will often be the only ‘adult’ in the room”.  Alutto mentioned this concept several times through his speech and concluded that “develop a thick skin, know ‘who you  are’ and make it your brand”. I consider this is the key to leadership. How you brand yourself affects how you are going to stand out from the crowd.

Alutto highlighted other key insights, including:

“Skill development and performance have greater career value than title, position or compensation.”

“Always surround yourself with people who complement your skills, interests and perspectives but who duplicate your values.”

“Focus on alternative paths to goals and not just on goals themselves.”

“Do what you believe is best.”

Leadership is a process that one’s reputation is built. There are a lot of things we need to learn before reaching the stage of leadership, and there are also many things we can do to step toward it.  Go Buckeyes!

 

 


Angela Joyner, PhD – plug the leaky buckets

Last week was a whirlwind at school – with a ton of fantastic opportunities to have small-group chats with inspirational leaders.

Don’t believe me?

  • Monday – lunch with Melisa Miller, President of Alliance Data (and my future boss!) with a small group from my Advanced Leadership Class
  • Tuesday – Super Bowl Ad Review with AMP and a few marketing professors
  • Wednesday – lunch with Jeff Eldersveld from the Columbus Blue Jackets – data analytics meets marketing
  • Thursday – lunch with Dr. Angela Joyner, Vice President/General Manager at ConAgra Foods, Inc., courtesy of the Black MBA Association

Told you. Whirlwind.

On Thursday, a few females were asked to join Dr. Joyner for a lunch before her afternoon session to talk about women in the business world and leadership positions. I was so honored to be part of this event and have the chance to ask some questions to Dr. Joyner in a more personal setting. It was a very open dialogue and we discussed female leadership, tricks for approaching conflict and then general work-life balance concerns.

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Then Dr. Joyner spoke to a larger group later that afternoon. I filled several pages of notes during her session, but I summarized some of my favorite take-aways below.

These are great tips for business school, the workplace and life in general :)

  • Prioritize
  • Plug the leaky buckets – allow yourself more time to be effective — set guidelines and rules
  • Get the facts at work – Dr. Joyner said this beautifully; find out what good, better and a rock-star looks like at your company
  • Identify your gifts & be an expert in something
  • Create a powerful brand
  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • Find your entourage and create raving fans
  • Authentically promote yourself
  • Reflect, revise and renew – celebrate all of your accomplishments and look at your life with open eyes

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Fisher is constantly bringing in inspiring and note-worthy guests that speak to so many topics.

As you can see from the list at the beginning of the post – one week was full of diverse speakers from a wide range of organizations. The meeting with Dr. Joyner inspired me — but so did the lunch on Monday with Melisa Miller. She got me so excited about returning to Alliance Data and working every day to make an impact. However, my Wednesday lunch with Jeff Eldersveld from the Columbus Blue Jackets was extremely informative.

Just another great week here at Fisher!

 

 

If you’re interested, check out Angela on Twitter and her blog from The Wonder Loft‘s page.

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The Stages of Semester No. 2 – MAcc

 

The first semester of grad school in the MAcc program at OSU leads directly into the last. It’s a whirlwind where, just when you’ve settled into the rhythm, you remember you only have 3 or 4 months until graduation. Frightening moments from senior year flash back every once and a while and you feel the need to grab the closest paper bag and breath into it.

The collective class will realize some truths as the final semester begins. You’ve settled down faster than you did as freshmen, entering graduate school is not like starting the first year of a bachelors program. You have people who you genuinely like seeing casually and would be willing to vouch for professionally. You have a good idea of when professors are in their office, how to find them if they aren’t, and how late they’re willing to respond to e-mail.

Some less poignant things you may have learned include:  the best and worst times to find a parking space (including what time the ROTC students leave so you can snag that spot right up front), which restaurants within walking distance have the best specials on Tuesdays, you have gained an excellent understanding of the underground tunnels which protect you from the frigid weather that sometimes decides to overcome the city, why it is or is not a good idea to jump into Mirror Lake, and which chairs are bolted to the floor in the classrooms and by now you have probably stopped trying to push them in.

You know what is expected of you now. You know which events you have to go to and which events you really should go to (which is as many as possible because they’re all awesome). You know that you will be an excellent alumnus and you secretly hope that you’ll get invited back for alumni events. The MAcc program is something that you’re proud that you will complete and, if it wasn’t already, it has for you become an experience which has allowed you to develop a deeper understanding of your craft, lasting relationships with truly fantastic people and the idea of the program has ceased to be simply a program or degree and has become so much more.


Going Beyond At Fisher

The Fisher College of Business recently released their new branding campaign – Go Beyond.

The launch of the Go Beyond campaign was held at the Blackwell Ballroom. Students, faculty, professionals, and other members of the community gathered to hear the new tagline and slogan for the business school. Fisher College of Business

It has been fun to be a student at Fisher while this rollout has been taking place. Students and faculty seem to be excited about the changes that are taking place and the new logo and color scheme that will be seen within Fisher materials. The college is transitioning away from the maroon and tan color scheme to a more traditional Ohio State color scheme – scarlet and gray.

Fisher isn’t the only school that has introduced a new brand tagline and slogan. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management uses the slogan Think Bravely and Wharton uses the phrase Knowledge for…

As a student at Fisher I feel that the tagline truly fits the mission and objective of the program. The MBA program continually pushes students to be better, learn more, and grow in every way possible. Before coming to Fisher, I had a knowledge of advertising and marketing within the financial sector. When I leave Fisher in a few short months I will carry with me a strong network of friends and classmates, business knowledge in multiple industries, consulting experiences, additional leadership skills, and  tools and resources to assist me in solving complex problems that businesses and managers confront on a daily basis.

 

 


Welcome Back Lunch With Dean Wruck

Arriving back on campus after the winter break is always a good time. Students catch up with one another and discuss the fun and exciting activities in which they participated over the break. For faculty and administration, this is also a good opportunity to focus in on the goal of developing students into the greatest business leaders possible.

This past week I had the chance to join many other second year MBA students in meeting with various faculty and administrators to discuss the upcoming months of school and highlight important dates and events as they pertain to us as students. Dean Wruck was one of those administrators that attended the event and answered questions, provided insight into the search for a new dean, and motivated students to continue on the path of excellence from now until graduation.

mattaIn addition to the motivation and highlights of this upcoming semester, Dean Wruck announced a new role for one of our favorite professors. Shashi Matta will now serve as the Faculty Director for the full-time mba program. While serving in this role, he will continue with his curriculum and teaching responsibilities in the MBA program, executive education and other academic programs at the college.

Jeff Rice from the Office of Career Management also delivered some exciting news to the group. He showed the latest employment statistics with our class. The current class of 2014 has more than 50% of students that have accepted offers and reported them, and an additional 10-15% that have accepted offers and just haven’t reported them to the career management portal. In addition to the great percentage of students having accepted offers, the average salary of those students is more than $102,000!

This event and lunch reminded me of what a great blessing it has been to be a full-time mba student here at the Fisher College of Business.


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