First Case Competition

As you may know, there are no classes on Fridays at Fisher.  Fridays are devoted to leadership and personal development.  So, yesterday, instead of catching up on homework like some of my other classmates, I decided to personally develop myself by participating in the P&G Case Competition.  This was my first case competition, and so, I really didn’t know what to expect.

The competition started on Thursday afternoon when we were greeted by P&G employees and presented with the case:  “How to grow the Crest Whitestrips business”.  We were only given 4 hours to work on the case which meant that we had to make some assumptions and come up with an action plan very quickly.  We worked in teams of 4 and it was my first time working with all of my teammates .  Fortunately, somehow, we all had complimentary strengths and were able to put together a cohesive presentation without pulling our hair out.

There were over 13 teams that presented which made for a very long day since everyone watched the other teams present!  One positive effect of this was that we were all able to see what the other teams came up with and we were also able to see our classmates in action (it was the first time I saw a lot of people present)…All in all, although my team didn’t win anything, I am happy with our finished product.  I think we put a different spin on the problem—we actually changed the product and the packaging (I’m not sure how the judges felt about this though!).

Looking forward, I am participating in the Internal Case Competition in January.  So, this provided much needed practice.  But, I can only imagine how much more grueling that experience will be since we will have all day to work on the case and not just 4 hours!  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see……

p.s. Congratulations to the winning team!

p.s.s. Thanks to P&G for hosting the competition and most importantly, providing us with goodie bags 🙂 not sure what I am going to do with the dog food though!

“I’m Alive”

Once again, this week has had its ups and downs.  I got one of my midterms back and it did not go so well.  That night I stayed up until 4:00 AM studying the material and trying to figure where I went wrong.  The 3 hours of sleep I got made me way less functional the next day than I would have liked, but luckily that night in class we had two very interesting speakers.  One was from General Mills and she did a presentation about how to use influence techniques to be a better leader.  This is definitely a subject I find extremely interesting and I hope to start practicing the techniques.  The other speaker was from Perio.  It is a small company based in Dublin, Ohio and the company culture reminded me a lot of the company I worked for in Austin.  That was my favorite job by far, so, it brought back a lot of good memories.

I had another interview today and then class.  Our group presented our marketing pitch in MHR 851.  Our marketing pitch was a lot different from all of the others, but I think it went well.  I’m also really excited that one of the groups talked about Summit Vision and getting our MLHR class involved with it.  I was so jealous that the MBA students got to have the Summit Vision experience and we didn’t.

This week has been quite a rollercoaster and there were moments when I was feeling really down.  Luckily, on my way home from class the song, “I’m Alive” by Kenny Chesney featuring Dave Matthews came on.  It was definitely exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.  I love how music can put things in perspective.

Still Job Searching

Things have been going well. I am still in the midst of the job search, and have expanded my search to include government agencies, banks, and some other entities as well. The economy is definitely not making it easy to get things done. I feel like a couple years ago, a MAcc from OSU would be the equivalent of writing a ticket to whatever employer was wanted. With the economy the way it is, hiring is way down, and it has definitely had an effect.

This is just something I have to fight through. Like I said, I have opened my search, and I will make this happen.

Classes are going extremely well. I had a financial statements midterm on Thursday that went well, and just had my finance midterm Monday, and think I did extremely well on that. The group projects I have been working on have been fantastic. My group members continues to be amazing, and we are working together extremely well. I was taking a look at the calender yesterday, and it is ridiculous, there is only about a month left in the semester, then we get a month off!

Office Visits

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had numerous 2nd round interviews to help determine which firm/ company is the best fit for me.  These visits typically consist of a “prenight” event the night before and then a whole day of interviews/ presentations the next day for the office visit.  I enjoyed going on the first couple of office visits along with the presents they always give, the free meals, and meeting all of the current employees.  However, I have slowly grown tired of the loooong office visits that could easily be shortened to 1.5 – 2 hrs, but instead last 7 + hours.

At this point in the process, I’m tired of telling the same story about what makes me such a great leader, crafting great reasons why I want to work for X company or X public accounting firm, and hearing how great the people are at each firm/ company.  After so many interviews, I have stopped asking the general question that many people ask the person that interviews them— “what sets your company apart/ makes it unique from your competitors?”  I have realized that the odds are about 90% that the first response will be “the people are great here.”  After going through all of these office visits, I have decided to work for a firm where I feel that I fit, where I’m doing work that interest me, and where and of course… where the people are great!

Delayed

It feels as though I haven’t posted in quite a while. So much has happened in the last 5 or so days that I feel horribly behind in my updating.

First and most important, I got the interview! I’m very very excited about the opportunity. I had the chance to speak with the director of IMS a week ago and after talking with her, it just made me realize so much more that I would love the chance to complete an internship with the program. It wasn’t until a few days later that I was offered a position within the center. Such a relief. It will surely be a great opportunity. I have my first training program tomorrow during lunch. I’m nervous for it all, but excited at the same time.

Second, this weekend was Halloween, and it was a BLAST!!!!! I’ll post pictures below. I went up to Michigan State for Halloween. I know, I know, I skipped out on the grad student Halloween get-together, but I had so much fun this weekend. Friday night, I went to a long-time friend’s party dressed up as a Crayon. You can’t beat home-made costumes. I was “tickle me pink”. I love that costume. Saturday night, my fiance and I and his friends roamed around the streets of Lansing and East Lansing dressed up as the toy soldiers from Toy Story. It was SO much fun seeing everyone’s expression as we walked around and randomly posed. We were trying to find a place to catch the MSU vs Minnesota game, and decided on Bdubs. We walked into the restaurant in our stealth mode and you could hear the entire place go silent. It was awesome. I’ve never had so much fun in my life. Anyway, pictures are below. We’re now taking ideas on next year’s costumes. If you have any awesome costumes that you saw, send them my way, or feel free to share.

Lastly, tomorrow is your chance to go out and vote. Vote yes for Issue 2. That’s my only political plug because I have a personal connection with it. Issue 2 will establish a board of directors to make decisions about animal care in Ohio and the board will be made up of informed individuals who know the animal industry and know what’s best for Ohio and for the animals. I grew up on a small sheep farm and I have many farming friends who know what’s best for their animals and would rather have informed individuals make decisions about how they’re supposed to farm than people who know very little about the agriculture in this state. If nothing else, make sure you’re informed about what/who you’re voting for, but just make sure you vote.

Busiest Week of My Life Continued…

My classmates and I entered the room for the networking dinner.  There were quite a few people there already, but the OSU people had the coolest name tags by far.  I think there was some name tag envy from the students who were there from Michigan and Illinois.

I was proud of myself.  I jumped in and started introducing myself to people.  During the dinner I spoke to an employee who is currently in the Leadership Development Program, the Director of the Director of HR, the HR Director of the Marine Division, and the HR Manager at the plant in Indianapolis.  All of the employees at Rolls-Royce seemed extremely enthusiastic about working for the company and were a lot of fun to talk to.

After the dinner we all went our separate ways and I headed to my room to relax for the evening.  I was really excited about sleeping in the big, fluffy bed.  Unfortunately, I was so nervous about the next day that I only slept a total of 2-3 hours.

The next morning we all met in the lobby of the hotel and headed to the Rolls-Royce plant on a shuttle.  I was nervous, but everyone at Rolls-Royce was very nice and kept telling us to just be ourselves.  We ate breakfast and the HR Manager did a quick presentation about the company.  After that it was time to interview.

The first activity I did was a written case study, next was a one-on-one with situational questions, then my 10 minute presentation with a question answer portion after, and then a group exercise where we were observed in a group and then presented after 15 minutes of discussion.  I really thought the presentation was going to be the most stressful part, but I actually was most nervous during the group exercise.  I didn’t want to be overly aggressive, but I also did not want to be too passive either.

It was a long day and I was relieved when it was over.  We headed back to the hotel and made the drive back to Columbus.  Unfortunately, I was not chosen to move forward as an intern at Rolls-Royce.  I was disappointed because I really like the company and the people there were really great, but on a positive note, it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.

This actually only gets us through Wednesday of my busy week.  The rest of the week was midterms, another interview, group meetings, class, and finally a really fun Halloween Party.  Maybe this week will be less crazy but, every time I think that, something comes up!

Busiest Week of My Life.

Obviously I knew this week was going to be very busy with it being midterm exam week, but I had no idea it was going to be as crazy as it has been.

Last Friday morning I woke up and was prepared to study for midterms all weekend.  About 30 minutes after I woke up I received a phone call from Rolls-Royce congratulating me on making it to second round interviews and informing me that I would receive an e-mail with more details later in the day.  I was extremely excited, but quickly realized that the two days I was going to be in Indianapolis for the second round interviews were the same two days of my midterms.  Hmm…what to do now…?

I immediately e-mailed my professors to let them know the situation and they were both quick to respond, congratulate me and reschedule my midterms.  That was a huge relief.  Once I had rescheduled my midterms I settled in to study and patiently awaited my e-mail with more details from Rolls-Royce.  I continued to study and check my e-mail throughout the day, but still no e-mail from them.  I honestly started to wonder if I had dreamt the phone call from earlier that morning.  Finally, I decided to go to bed, but checked my e-mail one last time.  There it was!  The e-mail!

So, I opened the e-mailed and read over the travel information and agenda and then noticed an attachment.  I opened the attachment and it stated that I must prepare a 10 minute presentation for the interview process.  My heart started to race and my mind was going a million miles a minute.  First, I’m still a little scared of presentations and second, how in the world am I going to study for midterms and prepare a presentation, and go shopping for a new suit etc, etc…?

Well, somehow I fit all of that in and carpooled to Indianapolis on Tuesday with a couple of my classmates who were also invited for second round interviews.  I am from Indiana, so the drive was familiar and I enjoyed getting to know my classmates better.  Once we got to Indy we went our separate ways and relaxed for a little while prior to the networking dinner.

Around 6:20, we met up and headed downstairs to see what was in store for us!

To prevent this blog from being 10 pages I am going to stop here.  Check out my next blog to find out what happened at the interviews!

Interested in real estate?

As an architect, my primary reason for coming to Fisher was to gain the skills I’ll need to run my own architecture firm and to learn/venture out into the world of real estate development.  (I’ll explain my career path to Fisher in another post!).  Last Friday, the Real Estate Boot Camp provided the perfect opportunity for me to learn more about the industry and hear from professionals.  Here are some of the highlights from the day:

  • Informative real estate discussion by Tim Gallagher who is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs.  Tim provided insight into the Commercial Real Estate Debt Market, something that I knew very little about before his presentation.
  • Discussion about careers in real estate led by the Fisher Real Estate Society Board
  • Panel Discussion including professionals from banking, development, corporate real estate, and environmental law
  • Information about class listings and learning opportunities through the Center for Real Estate

It was a great chance for me to ask questions and hear advice on entering the market in a down economy.  Thanks to Career Management for putting together such a great opportunity!

Honesty and Optimism

These are the two things that I have come to value most these past few weeks. Something just hasn’t been “clicking” for me as a Fisher grad student. I have no complaints about the school itself at all, but I have had to ask myself if I really want to be here. Do I have passion for what I’m learning? Is this really how I want to spend the next two years? Is there another way to accomplish my goals- a better fit for what I need to grow? And because there’s an Econ exam tomorrow, I’m going to answer, “Only if there’s something better for me to do, haha.”

But seriously, I have struggled with these questions for a while now, and it’s time to just admit that the Fisher Full Time MBA program may not be “the one” (in a graduate program sense)  for me. I actually had these thoughts before classes even started. I had applied to both the Master of Public Health (MPH) and the MBA program, was admitted and received equal financial aid offers to attend either school. Lucky me, I know.

At first I felt HORRIBLE about having these thoughts. I thought I was the only one in history who would ever even think about leaving a MBA program at such a good school. But it turns out that there are many grad students each year who change programs. Turns out that if the graduate program you selected isn’t quite the best fit for you, OSU offers you the option of transferring to another school as long as they will take you. And many times you can transfer your financial aid, too.

Graduate school is a big investment in terms of your time, effort, and sacrifices for family and friends. There are many fabulous options, Fisher included, but you need to choose what is the best fit for you, regardless. My intent with this is not to discourage anyone from attending Fisher, but to know exactly (or as close as possible) how the program will benefit your needs and career/life goals.

So this week I’ll be attending a MPH class just to really make sure that this is the decision I want to make… I’ll keep you posted on what I end up deciding either way.

FAIL? NO .

I failed in Rolls-Royce interview.

I did not get a full score in the second quiz of  Business Practice &  Human Resource Manager.

I didn’t do well in my project.

I was proud of myself before.

Now I have to consider myself again.

About the interview, I didn’t think I did bad. I am happy that I had my first interview experience and I know what questions HR prefer to ask in the interview. Also, I now understand what kind of knowledge is important to the company here. Moreover, I have to work with Steve Singer or other professors or classmates to make a practical strategy of my career.  I am confident that people in Fisher can give me great suggestions and information!  And late I will make a SOWT analysis for myself. I will tell you later!

Absolutely, I have learned some knowledge the same with now before. But I forgot some knowledge and I have learn something different in the same field. I should not be that confident in what I have learned before. I have to study more before and after the class. Today, Courtney told me that I can search SHRM for more professional information. That`s awesome!

And I am now working on two projects. I will appropriately budge my time to do them. And I should also share my teammates my idea clearly and logically.

I will be good later and I will be excellent in the future!

I am busy now, so talk to you later!