Posts filed under 'Career Stuff'

The Heart of it All

Time has still been flying by around here, and there has been lots of excitement.  Notably the end of our first terms, and our first round of exams.   Each semester at Fisher is divided into two 7 week terms, which means a new set of courses every 7 weeks, just to keep us on the bounce.  In addition to new classes, the internship search seems to be coming along, with people attending conferences out of state, second round interviews, and some starting to receive offers.  I had the chance to go to the MBA veterans conference in Chicago last week, which was a great opportunity to talk with companies specifically looking to recruit talent from top schools who are also veterans.

So, needless to say, life as an MBA student is still very busy, and requires proper time management.  That being said, life balance is still important, and students need to take time to enjoy life whenever possible.  As someone who is interested in supply chain management and operations, it hasn’t escaped my notice that there are a significant number of companies who have headquarters or distribution centers in the Columbus area, as well as Ohio in general.  Part of the reason for this is that a significant portion of the American population lives within a day’s drive of Ohio.  So while the state is not the geographic center of the country, it is in a strategic location for getting goods to customers.  In fact, I think one of the iterations of license plates the state used to have said “Ohio – the heart of it all.”

In keeping with the need for a healthy work-life balance, especially for people who haven’t traveled much within the U.S., Columbus is in a good spot for those who want to take weekend trips.  I consider about 6 hours (approx 350-400 miles) to be the most I would drive for a 2-3 day weekend trip and within that radius of Columbus are the following cities:

Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, OH

Pittsburgh, PA

Indianapolis, IN

Chicago, IL

St Louis, MO

Detroit, MI

Buffalo, NY

Washington, DC

Lexington, Louisville, KY

Knoxville, Nashville, TN

And those are just some of the bigger cities that I can think of off the top of my head, there are many more smaller cities, national/state parks, lakes and other attractions worth visiting within that radius as well.  As you can see, Columbus, Ohio really is rather well situated to serve as a base of operations for someone who wants to have access to a large portion of the U.S., which is another attractive attribute of the Fisher MBA program.


Have a global mind-set

Ken Bouyer, E&Y Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting, gave our MAcc students a lecture about how to work in a diverse environment with a global mind-set. As a global candidate myself, I cannot agree more on this idea. During my two-years studying in America, I have learned how to be open-minded and embrace the differences.

Most people have certain mind-sets, which are  influenced by the cultures they have been brought up in. It is not easy to change that mind-set in a short time. It is even possible that one can never change his or her mind-set through their whole lives if they do not get exposed to different environments and cultures. Therefore, in my opinion, the most efficient way to open one’s mind is to explore foreign countries, like traveling outside of your home country instead of just sitting in front of TV. Watching TV, reading books and newspapers can help you get a general idea of foreign counties and cultures, but it also can lead to some misconceptions.  The learning you will get from TV and books is really different from the experiences from field trips. If you get the opportunity to going abroad, do not let it go.

What’s Your Type?

As part of our Leadership class today, we were asked to take a short-form version of the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test identifies your preferences between eight personality characteristics, which have been divided into four pairs of opposites: Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I), Intuition (N) and Sensing (S), Thinking (T) and Feeling (F), and Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). After answering questions like “When making a decision, the most important considerations are: a. rational thoughts, ideas, and data or b. people’s feelings and values,” you are left with four letters that are meant to encompass the major components of your personality.

I had taken similar tests before, so I was not necessarily surprised by my results (ISTJ), but I had never thought of how differences in personality play out in the workplace. For example, Dr. Rodgers presented evidence from a sample of US companies that showed that a full 70% of Junior Managers fall into the Extrovert category, while about 55% of Senior Managers are introverts. Similarly, about 80% of Junior Managers were categorized as Sensing, compared to just 40% of Senior Managers. Now, obviously this does not mean that I, as an ISTJ, am destined to be a Senior Manager, but it was interesting to see how certain personality traits align with different jobs within a company. What I really took away from the lecture, though, was that, by understanding how other personality types think and make decisions, you can greatly improve your ability to communicate and work efficiently in a team setting, not to mention understand your spouse better! For a free personality profile and to see how your four letters may play into your career path, click here.

What’s your type?

Three terms left…


  • Negotiation final – finished
  • Org. turnaround final paper – finished
  • Services Marketing final paper – finished
  • Corp. Finance 1 final brief – ….stay tuned

I cannot believe that as I am writing this, I am quickly wrapping up the first term of my final year of the MBA program. It’s unreal.

In the past two years I have studied and taken the GMAT, filled out applications for business school, interviewed, received admission letters, gone through pre-term, made it through my CORE classes (looking directly at you stats class!), interviewed for internships, accepted a wonderful internship and learned so much and am now making my way through year 2.

Also, add in a few happy hours, some tears, lots of laughs, some stress for good measure, and a bunch of people that I now consider my close friends.

These past couple years have been incredible and pretty challenging. When people ask me about my program my favorite phrase is, “it’s an adventure”. This has been a very humbling experience, and I still have so much more to learn. I am meeting great people in the Office of Career Management (direct shout-out to Jeff!), the GPO and in the classroom. My professors are becoming mentors and my classmates are becoming those that want me to become a better, smarter business woman.

Only three terms left?! Where has the time gone?

Pre-Nights and Recruiting Events

You hear all about the importance of how you conduct yourself at an interview and how to put together a perfect resume but one of the most important things you can do when going through the job interview process and in applying for jobs is to go to the recruiting events and pre-nights held by firms and companies. I made a point of attending every event that my companies of interest held and it really helped me get to know the recruiters and people from the company and most importantly I learned more about the company itself.  Firms that I had only a fleeting interest in became my top choices.

Attending recruiting events allows you to learn more about a company in a more relaxed environment.  Mixers, recruiting events and pre-nights are all very important for Fisher MAcc students and I would never discount any of them as “simply a dinner” or “just an event”.  Every dinner, party, recruiting event and career fair is an opportunity to learn more, get noticed/remembered and to find the company that is the right fit for you.

Another point of these events are so that the interviewers and recruiters and members of the company can get to know you better. Together you can begin to discover whether the company is a good fit for you. It can’t hurt to get that extra exposure and when it comes to interview decisions and job offers you will be remembered.

My favorite recruiting event was attending a baseball game with Plante Moran. They took a group of us to a Clippers game at the beginning of the semester so that we could get to know more about the firm and more about them.  I got to know the staff at Plante Moran and as an added bonus we had first row seats right along the first base line!

P&G Marketing Case Competition

This week I had the opportunity to participate in the first big case competition of the year on campus, which was sponsored by Proctor & Gamble (a consumer brand goods company based in Cincinnati, OH).  The case was marketing based, using a real P&G brand, and interacting with members of the brand management team that actually works on the product’s marketing strategy.  About 6 hours of time were devoted on Thursday for the teams of 4 to come up with a brand marketing strategy and develop a presentation, and then 5 hours on Friday were used to give each of the 10 teams involved a chance to present their ideas to marketing professors and professionals.  So, all in all, if you include the social events associated with the competition, it was about a 12 hour commitment.

Now, in case I haven’t mentioned this before, I do not intend to major in marketing for my MBA degree, so, some people might wonder why I wanted to dedicate that much time to a competition in a field that isn’t my primary interest.  The answer to that is really quite simple, and that is because there is much more to a competition than just the main functional area.  Case competitions give MBA candidates, like myself, the opportunity to work on things like time management, team skills, leadership skills, creating presentations, innovation, and presentation/communication skills.  All of those, to me, sound like skills that are crucial in order to be successful in the business world.  A case competition gives students the opportunity to work on all of those skills in a controlled environment, it really is a practical application training exercise.

In the military, we didn’t just go into a high risk activity without a degree of training in advance.  Before we went overseas, we would spend months or years training, refining our knowledge and skills, so that we would be more successful when we went downrange.  Training is never perfect, because all elements of real world scenarios can’t be included for a number of reasons, but training is still an important part of preparing for real world application.  Most of my colleagues and myself are getting MBA degrees in order to move into management, or leadership type roles after graduation.  And while the risks for an infantryman overseas and business executive clearly have some differences, both roles have inherent risks.  So it makes sense to work on the skills required to be successful at either in a training environment, which is something that case competitions provide.  Because people revert to their previous training and experiences in a high stress situation, I don’t want the first time I have to do something stressful, like need to sell an idea I have to a board of executives to be during my internship, or in my new career.

So, that is my rather long-winded answer, as to why I thought it made perfect sense for someone who wants to major in operations & logistics to be in a marketing case competition, and why I plan to be in several more competitions in various fields.


Here is my awesome team (from the left: Me, Lindsey, Jeff, and John) from the competition. In case anyone is wondering, we won.

MAcc Applied Talk with Aaron Beam

We have our fourth MAcc Applied Talk today during the lunch hour. It talks about business ethics, and Aaron Beam is the speaker, a founder and the first CFO of HealthSouth. Beam was sent to prison in 2003 because of the accounting fraud he made. He told us his life story associated with the accounting fraud, including the how he started HealthSouth, how and why he started the fraud, and how he faced the fraud. The key point of his speech is that people should be taught about business ethics and receive ethics training. One day in your life, you may encounter the same situation as Beam did. How will you choose between financial profit and ethics? Will you compromise to the pressure of management or insist on  integrity? How would you make a decision at some certain point in the future?

I have these questions in my mind after the speech. I realize that it is easy to insist on integrity when you are not facing any problems. One may choose to commit fraud to release himself (herself) from high pressure of management or to meet expectation of his(her) colleagues.  It will work for a short-time period, and one may look successful during that time. However, when the fraud is discovered, one’s life will be totally changed. The money one has earned will be gone, even the part he or she has earned through hard working. Individual’s reputation will be ruined, and never recover as it was. Could you imagine all of these? No one is willing to face this one day. Therefore, we should pay attention to our ethics formation from today and add it to the subconscious mind.

MAcc Applied Talk is my favorite element of my weekly life now. I am looking forward to listening to next speech soon.

Strategic Innovation – so what ​exactly do you do?

This past summer, I was one of the Strategic Innovation Interns at Alliance Data Retail. Their office is over by Easton Mall, so a fairly easy commute from my apartment.

For those of you not familiar, Alliance Data is a company with three subsidiaries – LoyaltyOne, Epsilon and Alliance Data Retail. Looking specifically at Alliance Data Retail, they provide marketing and credit services that include private label, co-brand and more. They have approximately 110 clients across the United States.

Still a little confused? Think about a Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, HSN or Express credit card – Alliance Data uses data to understand how customers shop to grow business for their clients through marketing and loyalty solutions .

It was a fantastic summer and I had an absolute blast! I learned so much and really grew as a business professional.

Ok, so now that we understand Alliance Data, let’s move on to Strategic Innovation. These are some pretty strong words with lots of  ambiguity.

As an Innovation Intern, I supported the team and helped move initiatives through the innovation pipeline. This included writing business plans to help “sell” initiatives to internal partners, holding ideation session to address customer needs and activated prototypes for specific clients.

Bottom line, my team uses data to help you shop better, and with  greater ease.

The best parts of my internship was feeling challenged by my projects, learning about ins & outs of an amazing company and meeting so many new people – but also feeling prepared. I loved that what we had discussed in class, was coming true right in front of my eyes. Business school teaches you how to think and a different way to approach problems. I reached out to my fellow students, along with Fisher‘s faculty, when I felt like I was struggling with my projects, and received such incredible support and guidance.

Really, where else can you find this? And my internship title? Pretty cool addition!


Acing That Interview

Let’s be real. Part of the reason for going to graduate school is to land that dream job you always aspired to achieve. As I see all my peers around me in suits it reminds me of when I was in their shoes just a year ago today. I cannot say enough how much Fisher College of Business has prepared me for my future career in Chicago. Maybe I’m biased, but numerous outside sources have ranked Fisher’s Career Services as leaders in the country. Ever since I joined the business school at the end of my freshman year, Fisher has encouraged me tremendously to partake in the job search early and has prepared me as best as possible. I will never forget the QUIC (Qualified Undergraduate Interview Candidate) Program, a module-based seminar followed by a mock-interview, required by all in order to interview with future employers. Graduate students can elect to go through a similar mock-interview process in order to help them in their job search. Graduate students even have their own go-to person to assist them with their job search, and he holds walk-in hours at least once a week for any questions. As I have already been through the process twice, I have a little advice to newbies going through our program:

  • Take advantage of career services (cannot stress this enough!)

There are so many resources at your fingertips, just need to do a little digging on the website or schedule a meeting with a Career Services counselor!

  • Make a list

Before you even start the year, make a list of five characteristics you would like of your dream or ideal job (hours, location, responsibilities, team, salary, benefits, perks, really cool office, travel, etc.). What traits are you look for in it? Rank your preferences in order from MUST HAVE IN THE JOB to eh not a deal breaker and that should help you focus.

  • Go into the year with a plan

Make sure you know a little bit about your interests before starting the year. I am not saying you should know exactly what you would like to be doing but definitely have areas in mind (Do I like technical accounting? Do I want to travel? Do I want to work for a big company or small? What about hours? Location, location, location…).

  • Be open-minded and listen

I know everyone is concerned with nailing the “big interview with the big firm”, but culture-wise you may fit in at a smaller firm working in a completely different department than you ever imagined. Also, make sure you pay extra attention to the job description to know exactly what your responsibilities will be. As many of you are looking for full-time jobs, internships (what I like to call trial runs) aren’t likely to occur. Doing your research, listening to the interviewer, and not being afraid to ask meaningful questions, will allow you to have the best job prospects.

  • Use your peers!

Some students will have prior internships and can give you very helpful advice when going through the initial job search. Job fairs can be overwhelming so it is good to go in with a mindset of where you could (potentially) see yourself after graduate school. Talking to fellow students who had similar responsibilities will help narrow down all the prospective employers on your list so you can focus on what you really want!

Although overwhelming, the job search is such an exciting and unique time for you! Fisher is giving you the opportunity to build and extend your network and take advantage of every moment of it. It puts a smile on my face to know that so many of peers will be either working with me or at neighboring firms next year!



Let’s Do Lunch

Jesse Tyson (left), former Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil came to speak at a Cullman Luncheon in late September 2013

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Cullman luncheon with the former President and COO of Wilson’s Leather, Dave Rogers. Earlier this fall I participated in a Cullman Luncheon that featured Jesse Tyson, Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil. The Cullman Executive Luncheon Series is designed to bring 10-15 graduate students and senior executives, many of whom are also graduates of Fisher, together in an informal setting. Past executives have identified their current roles, discussed work history, and have provided insights into business in general. There is also a time for Q&A at the end.

Personally, it was hugely beneficial to interact with and glean “best practices” from these executives who had 35+ year careers to draw upon. Jesse and Dave both shared things that they did well and also shared about things to avoid as a manager and an executive. The questions asked by my fellow classmates were also very informative and brought out the richness of their experiences in business.

In an age where there seems to be a lack of either good or ethical leadership, the luncheon was a great way to get face to face with an executive who led well and could share those experiences and lessons learned along the way.

Jack Detzel, Director of Supply Chain Capability & Baseline Optimization/Productivity for PepsiCo, is coming to speak at a Cullman Luncheon in October

Craig Bahner, Fisher alumnus and Wendy’s chief marketing officer came to speak at a Cullman luncheon in April 2013


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