Last Saturday, Fisher held the Fifth Annual Human Resource Invitational Case Competition. This competition is an annual competition which involves five premier master’s programs in human resources in the U.S. to compete against one another. These programs including: Cornell, Illinois, Minnesota, Rutgers, and of course, Ohio State. Sponsored by PepsiCo, the case competition requires candidates to come up with solutions based on the case that PepsiCo provided in 20 hours. Derek Lancashire, one of our team members, and my classmates, told me that the process was stressful because they received the case on Friday morning and had to give presentation on Saturday morning. But our team did a good job. They ranked second in the competition. In addition, Marlina Frederick, a second year MHRM student, was given the award of Best Q&A. Well done, buckeyes!
It was my first year in the MBA, and school had started just a couple of weeks ago. I received an email from the president of the Fisher Graduate Latino Association (FGLA) telling us about this conference happening in Philadelphia: NSHMBA Career Expo (National Society of Hispanic MBAs). It was a 3-day career conference hosted by NSHMBA, an organization dedicated to “increasing the number of Hispanics graduating with MBAs; and to assist in networking by helping secure leadership positions and enhance professional development.” I had only been in the MBA program for a couple of weeks, and I had no idea what this event was, or the great opportunities it provided.
After talking to the president of FGLA and my advisor, I decided to attend, along with 5 other first years and a couple of second years. We arrived in Philadelphia Thursday night, and would be attending the Conference first thing Friday morning. The night before at the hotel, we all researched the companies we were interested in, and took a look at the conference map. There would be so many companies attending! The map, however, only conveyed the scale of the conference to a small degree. When we arrived there Friday morning before the conference started, it was a busy, crazy scene of hundreds of MBAs in suits and with portfolios, eagerly waiting to go talk to the company they were interested in.
The doors to the conference finally opened. I decided to walk around the conference and get a feel for the environment before I talked to any recruiter. It was an overwhelming experience, since it was my first time in a conference such as that one, but it was also so energizing and thriving. So much talent and opportunities everywhere. I walked around the floor and observed the layout of the conference. Once I felt comfortable and ready to take part of this experience, I put down my coffee and looked at the first company name in my list. It would be a great, long day ahead of me – and I felt as ready as ever to start!
This past week Susan Blasik-Miller from the law firm Freund, Freeze & Arnold came to talk to our class. As a lawyer, most of her daily work is spent either training doctors how to avoid malpractice suits or defending them in court. However, unlike many of our other speakers, she chose not to talk about her work. Instead, Mrs. Blasik-Miller talked about things she has learned over her career that she wished someone had told her in college.
Some of her main points were:
Email vs. Personal Communication:
While it is often times easier to just simply send emails to a colleague, it is very beneficial to pick up the phone or stop by their office. By having live or face-to-face communication, you will be able to develop strong connections and strengthen your personal network.
Remember Who Owns Your Work Computer:
What you do or what you send from your work computer can probably be recovered by the IT department of your company. Never post anything from your work computer that you wouldn’t want your boss to see!
Own your Mistakes:
When you do something wrong, own up to it. It is much better for you to admit your mistake to your boss rather than having your boss find the mistake later on when it cannot be fixed. Be open with your communication and don’t try and cover anything up.
Find a Mentor:
Having someone who is experienced in the work you will be pursuing to bounce questions and ideas off of will help maximize your talent. These relationships develop over time so do not fret if you don’t have a mentor within the first 6 months of work.
Mrs. Blasik-Miller touched on many other topics related to career development. It was a terrific experience receiving advice from someone so successful!
This year, I have had the incredible opportunity to participate in the CFA Research Challenge with three of my fellow SMF’s. The CFA is considered to be the must-have designation in the finance world and the CFA Society is represented by thousands of charter holders. Each year, local CFA Societies host and review local level research papers prepared by college students. Each region decides on a few papers they deem competitive enough to make it to the regional and global rounds. Our local level includes the CFA Societies of Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati so we are competing against the likes of University of Dayton, University of Cincinnati, Miami University and another Ohio State team. If we are chosen for the next level, we will have to prepare a presentation to give to regional and global CFA Societies who will decide on a global winner.
We are assigned Owens Corning (OC) as our company to be researched. At the beginning of the competition, we were invited to an investor presentation put on by the Vice President of Investor Relations for OC and hosted by Ohio STRS (State Teachers Retirement System). At that point in time, we found out we had a lot of work to do. We started by splitting the paper into different sections (business segments, investment thesis, financial analysis, investment risks and industry profile) and worked individually on each section then came back together to edit for content and grammar.
By the time we reached a week out from the submission deadline, we knew we had to get in gear. Over that last week, my teammates and I spent anywhere from 5 to 10 hours each day working on the paper. Most of the content was done with about a day to go, we just needed to finalize our grammar and make sure it was pristine. Despite our beliefs that we were ahead, we ended up scrambling at literally the last moment to get it turned in. Who knew that trying to combine a 35-page paper would bog down a MacBook and take a few minutes to upload to the internet? In the end, the submission went through at 12:00.15 and we were safe. Check back here in a few weeks to see if we made it to the regional round!
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.
Hometown: Wheeling, West Virginia
Undergraduate Major: Economics and Psychology
Favorite place to go in Columbus: I really enjoy walking and biking on the Olentangy River Trail. Luckily, we have had beautiful fall weather this year and having the trail so close to my apartment and Fisher has given me the opportunity to spend a lot of time outdoors. On the weekends, I really enjoy wandering around Short North exploring the different shops and restaurants. I feel like there is always something new to try there.
Favorite extracurricular activity at Fisher: Any event put on by the MHRM Council. They do a great job organizing events such as scavenger hunts, networking activities, and group outings like “Zoo Lights” that make you feel closer to your classmates. A vast majority of 1st and 2nd years attend and participate, which has helped me get to know people in the program a lot better outside of the classroom.
Favorite hangout spot on OSU’s campus: The Shoe! I am a huge football fan and game days at OSU are awesome. Football Saturdays are a great opportunity to tailgate, eat great food, and socialize with friends and classmates. Once you’re inside, you realize how massive and electric the stadium really is. My first game is an experience that I’ll never forget.
Favorite MHRM class thus far in the program: I really enjoyed Markets, Organizations, and Human Resource Management. The class dives into the complexities of labor and employment issues from an economic standpoint. We discussed how we, as Human Resources professionals, must respond to changes in wage rates, employment trends, and macroeconomic conditions. I liked being able to put my economics background into a HR-related application.
What I hope to do after the MHRM program: After completing the program, I plan to become either an HR Generalist or a Compensation and Benefits Specialist for a large corporation. I’m hoping to work for a great company that will allow me to put my knowledge of HR to work right away.
Advice I would give incoming first years and/or prospectives: Do not be afraid to branch out to meet classmates and don’t be shy! Many friendships are formed within the first few days and weeks of the program. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with new people- remember: they are in the same situation as you are!
This year the Association of Marketing Professionals and Fisher Board Fellows joined forces to put on the first ever Marketing For A Better World event. The event kicked off with small-group break-out sessions with local non-profit organizations. Six of Fisher Board Fellows’ partner organizations participated, including Catholic Social Services, Kaleidoscope House, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, A Kid Again, the Ohio Psychological Association, and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Each break-out session group included one representative from one of these non-profit organizations, and these representatives posed a current marketing problem their organization is facing to the group. Participants then explored ways to solve these marketing problems and had discussions about the best solutions.
I was the moderator for the break-out session with Catholic Social Services. The CEO of Catholic Social Services, Rachel Lustig, attended the session and brought with her a brief case study for students to read and then comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the case. Rachel explained some of the strategic and marketing changes that Catholic Social Services is going through, and she asked for student feedback on the case study and how CSS might better reach out to donors. I was impressed by how thoughtful student responses were, and by how passionate everyone was about helping the organization. The experience was a good one for students because it gave them a chance to work on a true marketing issue, and it allowed them to better understand some of the problems that non-profit organizations deal with.
After the break-out sessions, everyone converged downstairs in the U.S Bank Theatre and heard from three keynote speakers: John Rush, CEO of CleanTurn, Liz Geraghty, VP of Wendy’s, and Dianne Radigan, VP of Cardinal Health. The speakers had wonderful things to say about the ways that marketing and business can impact the world for good. John Rush discussed the importance of social entrepreneurship, and how profits are often not the ultimate goal – the goal is to help others. Liz Geraghty discussed what it was like to work for an organization that is closely aligned with its partner non-profit. She explained the ways that Wendy’s uses marketing to spread the word about the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and help get more children out of foster care and into their forever homes. And finally, Dianne Radigan discussed the importance of working for an organization that aligns itself so strongly with helping the community and making a difference.
The event was a huge success, and I think everyone – myself included – learned something. It was wonderful to see undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, and business professionals, come together to discuss ways to help our local non-profit organizations and ways that marketing can make a positive difference in the community. I hope this event continues in coming years, and I hope that Fisher continues to explore ways to get students involved with giving back and focuses on the ways that marketing and business can be a force for good in the world.
Last Thursday, I attended a Hub event: Luncheon with Kevin Malhame, North Star Cafe.
Hub events are activities that Fisher provides for us outside of classes. There are different kinds of activities such as tours, parties, lectures, and so on. But the most popular activities are opportunities to communicate with business leaders. These activities often begin with the leader’s introduction with his or her company and then followed by questions and answers. These activities are more like informal communications rather than lectures as lunch is often provided and we can ask questions freely.
During Q&A part, Mr. Malhame also made several interesting points. For example, some small activities such as receiving a birthday card and having an employees tour can be very useful to motivate employees. This point actually supported what I have learned in class that intrinsic motivation can be at least as useful as money motivation in motivating employees.
Of course we all want to go to grad school to learn cool new stuff and further develop our skills, however I think the main goal for many of us this year is to get a job. That was my main goal at least.. (sorry professors if you’re reading this).
The recruiting process starts up in full swing right when school starts, and maybe even the week of orientation. There are events hosted on and off campus all the time by the Big 4 as well as many other public accounting firms. It can definitely seem overwhelming, but I’m going to offer a few tips I picked up along the way.
- Be yourself! Talk to as many people as you can and really try to find out where the best fit is for you. I know it can be intimidating at times going up to people you’ve never met and asking them all kinds of questions, but that’s what they’re there for! I can honestly say that everybody I met during the recruiting process was so nice and helpful.
- Practice Interviewing! The office of career management is there to help and they have some amazing resources. I was able to schedule a mock-interview with Steve Singer, the MAcc director of career management, and it helped a ton. Most of the interviews are behavioral based, and I had never done one before, so meeting with Steve really helped me to figure out what I needed to work on and to be more comfortable with the whole process.
- Have Confidence in Yourself! I think that this is a big one for many people. I would say 99% of the students in my MAcc program are very humble and don’t like to brag about themselves. The reality is, we are at one of the top MAcc programs in the country at one of the most well known business schools. We have already accomplished so much, and it’s okay to talk about your accomplishments! Employers are looking for you to talk about times and situations you have worked hard and succeeded so don’t be afraid to have confidence in yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Good luck!