Opportunity Only Knocks Once – Proverb

Hello again. The principal purpose of the My Fisher Grad Life experiment is to give prospective students a perspective into what it’s like being a graduate student at The Fisher College of Business. I hope that you have been able to cut through my thinly veiled attempt at humor and that  I have provided some insight  into what MBA student life is really like.

First, BOILER UP! Even though I am now a Buckeye I will always be a Boilermaker at heart.  Hopefully this win for Purdue will make tickets to the upcoming Iowa game cheaper. Another reason to enjoy the win!

Second, I’ve noticed a peculiar state-of-mind develop among myself and my fellow MBA classmates. Obviously, we are all occupied with coursework. In fact, between classes, group meetings, and homework – coursework itself is a significant time commitment (if you’ve been following my posts, you already knew this). However, coursework isn’t what consumes our thoughts or conversations.

Rather, the tremendous amount of opportunities in extracurricular and personal/leadership development activities seem to consume us.  Conversations typically cover what lunchtime information sessions, speaker,  interviews for various organizations, or team meetings for non-course related projects we are going to attend.

As an example, here are the extras I am participating in (or plan to participate in):

My short list of activities just scratches the surface of what is available. A more complete list of Fisher’s student organizations can be found here.

Professors, if you are reading this, please don’t interpret this as a reason to make your courses more difficult. The last thing I need is the class hating me for something like that! They are challenging, I assure you.  Classes are table-stakes – everyone does it. I think each student differentiates himself/herself by his/her performance in the classroom and by which of Fisher’s unique opportunities he/she takes advantage of.

I apologize for the relative sincerity of this post. More humor will follow.

Caveat lector. Finis.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like… Internship and Midterm season!

I apologize to those of you who read the first seven words and began to have the tune for a Christmas song in your head… but it seemed an appropriate way to express my sentiment!

I feel like I just started here at Fisher, but I’ve already had two interviews for internships, with another next week, and a fourth one pending… It’s truly wonderful how many great companies are coming specifically to Fisher to recruit MBA interns. I met some amazing representatives from American Woodmark, Unilever, P&G, Bosch, DOW and many other companies at the Fisher Career Fair the end of last month. From that fair, I was able to get an interview with two very senior employees at American Woodmark. The internship sounds truly amazing, mostly because of how appealing the company culture is. I also got an interview with Johnson&Johnson. One of the interviewers had been a presenter at the Operations & Logistics Boot Camp at Fisher. (The Boot Camps are excellent opportunities to really get a feel for the different career paths, as well as to mingle with professionals). A big thanks to the Office of Career Management for sponsoring so many great opportunities!

The other big news at Fisher is that midterm season is almost upon us! The Class of 2011 has its first midterm next Tuesday, and then two midterms and one midterm presentation the following week. It’s hard to believe that so much time has gone by. As a “newbie” to the quarter system, I am truly amazed at how rapidly the classes progress. I’m sure I won’t be the only one doing some serious studying and reviewing the next two weeks! One really nice thing is that several professors are holding extra review sessions in the evenings and even on weekends, in addition to the normal review sessions during the week. The professors here are truly dedicated to our success – it’s a really nice feeling to know that people really care about our progress!

Good luck to everyone studying, and congratulations to the new FGSA members from the Class of 2011!

Stacey

A busy week

It is really a busy week. I had two interviews and one project presentation. I got a full score in my first quiz in United States and I applied SSNON Friday.Frankly, the interviews went well while the presentation is bad.

My first interview is Pearl Interactive Network (PIN) in Merry`s house on Monday. Merry is the owner of it and it is a company help the people with challenge. I like that company, not only because it helps the people with challenge get the job, but also Diane and her team modified sort of high-tech tools to assist those people who need assistance. For instance, people who is sight challenged are able to operate Microsoft office software by PIN`s high-tech voice system. We talked something about my family and my study in China. I was not nervous to share my information with them. Even I would like to talk more to them, since they are very very nice! However, I can`t  get an intern there, since I have only been in United for 1 month and  I am not able  to have an effective communication with people with challenged . What`s more, PIN is a virtual home-base company and it will take a long time for me to realize  my development. But Merry told me to keep in touch and Diane said I would be hired if they have an office. I look forward to helping them in the future.

My second interview is with Erin from Roll-Royce. I did well since my awesome roommate Jessica helped me prepared it; Tanvi, who had internship this summer there, shared some information with me; Professor Hills taught  me  strategy of interview. And thank myself who did a good research in the company. I was excited to share my excellent experience in the Student Union with Erin and she definitely was attracted by my colorful experience.  She also smiled when I analyzed the business of Rolls-Royce. By the way, she is really interested in my position as a student blogger.

I didn’t give the class a good presentation yesterday. I felt ashamed. Sorry, team members. I should re-schedule my time and try to quickly adapt to my new and exciting life!

It’s kind of like…

Hello again everyone. As I sit here writing this at 8:23 PM on Friday evening, I have a sense of urgency; not because I am preparing for a night out on the town, but because I have a yellow legal pad to-do list for the evening. For this reason, I am going to use bullet points:

  • Finance Boot Camp – Kara Albert of Career Management ran a terrific program today that covered a lot of information concerning career options for Finance majors. Presentations included two representatives from Barclays (who gave a fantastic presentation on the nuances of interviews), Dean Wruck who, among other things, encouraged us to be more aggressive than perhaps our mid-western sensibilities would allow, several representatives from Nationwide who covered case interviews, and Senior Lecturer Daniel Oglevee. Despite his unapproachable, arrogant first impression (“You only get one chance to make a first impression”),  he is a wealth of knowledge who wants to see all of us succeed (Professor Oglevee – if you are reading this – please don’t hurt me). His presentation covered I-Banking; his stories are fantastic.
  • Innovation – I had a moment of brilliance today which I am going to share. People come in all shapes and sizes – desk chairs mostly do not. I constantly find myself sitting in desk chairs leaned all the way back (reclined) since it’s the most comfortable position for me. Some people tell me this isn’t always a good thing as it shows that I am not interested in what’s going on. This makes sense to me. However, I also realized another reason I likely end up reclined. All the chairs have that spring-reclining-apparatus-knob adjusted to “normal” sized people – a group in which I do not fit. Then it occurred to me (listen up Herman-Miller) – why not make the chairs weight-sensitive. When heavier people sit down, make it harder to recline. Sounds easy enough. Over-sized people like me will forever love you.
  • THIS JUST IN – The Fisher College of Business Class of 2011 has selected the following 5 members as their Fisher Graduate Student Association representatives: Sam Adams, Emily Bae, Joe Fahrendorf, Nick Fischer (not a typo – that’s me!),  and Michael Thompson. I am humbled by my selection and look forward to representing our class!
  • Riding your Bike – This is my best analogy so far for business school. In the beginning, you need training wheels (Fisher Advantage). After you take the wheels off, you are shaky at first but you’ve largely got things under control (first week or so). Then you try going off road and crash into a tree (approx. 10.15.2009). At this point, you slow down and take it easy (fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 PM on a Thursday because you haven’t slept more than 4 hours a night in several days). Finally, your parents trust you to ride down the street and explore the vast world around you (graduation – not sure what this feels like!).

Finis.

I need to know.

Today I submitted another request for an interview through FisherConnect, and filled out a more comprehensive application on the company’s website. Interestingly enough, the latter part of the process involved what I consider to have been an IQ test. The first time I took one of these wasn’t a particularly fun experience, partially because the test was super official, and mostly because it was administered in a language I hadn’t quite learned. The second time I took one, I did it for fun, online, and with the help of a very smart classmate. We pretended to be an eight year old boy. Not surprisingly, the results for the second attempt were much better than for the first.

So, where am I headed with this? Well, I like to see my results, that’s how I get over my mistakes. But in this case, I might never, ever know…ever! So tonight, instead of waking up at 4:30am thinking about EPS ratios and bond amortization, I will probably wake up with images of incomplete geometric shape sequences, trying to figure out what the missing piece looks like. I am pretty sure this can’t be considered an improvement.

Interview Woes

I have had a couple of interviews in the past weeks and I have to come to the realization that I might not be very good at interviews.  Having fun and leaving the interview with a smile on my face does not necessarily mean that I wowed them with my professionalism and intelligence.  It probably just means I enjoyed talking to the person and that I am a spaz!

I do not get nervous for interviews.  I think this is mostly because I know I have a lot of great experience and I tend to feel if I am too uptight that it will make the interviewer uncomfortable.  I was in charge of recruiting at the company that I used to work for and we usually hired the people who we had the most fun with and who weren’t afraid to show their personality.  It worked out well for that particular company, but that was a small, family owned business.  We used these measures to judge if the person would fit in with our culture.  I think culture fit is so important, but I think it is almost more important in a small business because if you have one person who has a bad attitude or doesn’t quite fit in with everyone, the entire organization feels it and it becomes apparent very quickly!

Oh goodness, what am I to do?  It looks like it is time for me to call the Career Management office to set up my mock interview.  I have heard many good things about this process and I hope it will help me learn how to portray all of the positive attributes I have to offer a business.  It would also be nice if they could give me some tips on how to be less bubbly.  I just can’t control my excitement sometimes!

Go Team!

With week 5 right around the corner and the deadline of my three group projects looming overhead, I find it appropriate to dedicate this post to group projects.

So far in MGT 863 we’ve had 4 presentations on Current Issues in Business. They’ve all been pretty good, but one last night added some unintentional entertainment. On a presentation about companies going green, the entire class was given pencils which were made out of recycled newspaper. Pretty awesome, huh? All of the pencils had Chinese characters on them, so one of my group members, Lindsay (pictured below) and I asked our other group member Elle what it said. I won’t repeat what mine said, because it’s not very appropriate, but Lindsay’s said “blessed”. It was kind of cool. A really neat thing about group projects is that you have study buddies. My group has set aside 2 hours every Thursday before class where we can work on our group project or work on class work. I work almost 40 hours each week so it’s nice to have time devoted to nothing but studying because it’s hard for me to find the time otherwise.

Shameless plug: go out and vote! It’s your patriotic duty. I voted this week. What did you do for your country?

I’ve been researching internships. I’m limited in what I can do for an internship next summer. I have to stay in Columbus, so my options are a little more limited. I’ve found a few companies that have corporate headquarters in or near Columbus that I’m looking into, but if anyone has any brilliant suggestions, let me know. But OH!!! I got an interview for the Initiative for Managing Services (IMS) next week and I’m REALLY excited. I’ve recently had a eureka moment where I’ve planned out my entire life. I find intrinsic motivation fascinating. I want to discover the best ways – through training and compensation – to better motivate people to do a better job in the workforce and determine what employers can do to keep people motivated, but it’s more-so I want to find out how people are intrinsically motivated and incorporate that into training programs. IMS is a research center through Fisher and researches training programs, etc, so I think it would be a perfect fit. Excited/nervous about the interview.

That’s all for today! Happy Weekend! Go Bucks beat the Boilermakers!

Lindsay and her "blessed" pencil
Lindsay and her "blessed" pencil

Getting Productive

The quarter is definitely in full swing, and it is taking a full effort from me to keep up with everything. Just this past week (Wednesday really) I got fully into school mode, and I am now seemingly going from 9am to 9pm. I find I am most productive when I wake up early, get over to campus, and start taking care of things.

Whether that is reading, working on a group project, or filling out yet another candidate profile on a company website, there are plenty of things to do!

I am still waiting to hear back from the three companies I interviewed with this morning, hopefully it will be soon!

Some of the projects I am currently working on are pretty awesome though. My finance project includes taking Ford and analyzing the results of what would have happened had they implemented different dividend plans back in 2000 when Ford was sitting on ~10billion in cash. Pretty interesting stuff!

Nothing else matters, except……

Last week we had the Marketing Boot Camp. It was an inspiring experience. There were many wonderful speakers and alumni.

I will like to share with you one of the fascinating experiences from the camp.

Mr Brad Davis,Vice-President, Nationwide Financial Individuals was giving us an inspiring talk as to how we can make a headstart in a good marketing career.He asked us “What are the companies looking for in a prospective employee”

We said “Leadership, Teamwork, Creativity, Analytical abilities, Passion,etc…..

The answer was “Leadership”

Then he asked us “What is the second thing that matters?”

We tried – Teamwork, Creativity, Analytics, Passion,etc…..

The answer was “Leadership” again.

Then he asked us “What is the third thing that matters?”

We tried – Teamwork, Creativity, Analytics, Passion,etc…..

The answer was “Leadership” again.

Then he asked us “What is the next thing that matters?”

This time we all said “Leadership” but the answer was “Teamwork”  [:(]

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Jajaja!

This weekend I attended the NSHMBA Conference in Minneapolis, MN. I went with a group of nine great Fisher students also in the Fisher Latino Graduate Association. We had an extremely productive, fun-filled weekend. I don’t know how many total attendees there were, but I’d guesstimate around 1000-1500. The company list was impressive as well. Most of the top MBA employers were represented, along with most of the top 25 MBA programs. The highlights of the weekend were:

  • Interviewing with three of the top companies on my short list.
  • Making solid contacts at several other companies.
  • Networking with MBA students from other top schools.
  • Going to the corporate-sponsored parties. The Target party was amazing!
  • Watching Ohio State receive the Brillante Award for Educational Excellence.
  • Seeing some of my friends in the MBA program from last year on the other side of the table, recruiting for their companies.
  • Spending some quality time with the incoming first-year MBA students.
  • Hearing from several different recruiters how highly regarded the Fisher College brand is.

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Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Hispanic culture and people. It was great to be back in that warm, loving environment after a year in Columbus (not that I don’t love the Midwest, it’s just a different kind of nice here). My cheeks hurt a little bit from laughing so much the entire weekend. As my buddy Jorge would say, there was much jajaja’ing the entire trip ( how some of my Hispanic friends say “hahaha” in a text message or Facebook post). I know one thing for sure, no matter where I’m at next year, I’m going to the 2010 NSHMBA Conference in Chicago.

On a similar note, I just decided that I’m spending my Spring Break in Brazil. Fisher College has a program called Emerging Market Field Studies where students take a class in the Winter to learn about and become experts in one particular emerging market. Upon finishing the course, they spend their Spring Break in that country. Upon return from the country, students are required to write field study case reports. I had friends go to Bolivia, Vietnam and Ethiopia last year and they all had a great time. I can’t wait!

In not so good news, I’m getting to the point now where sleep is a thing of the past (currently it is 2:31am Sunday night/Monday morning). I usually work from 8am-10pm most days and catch up on emails and manage my career search from 10pm-2am. I feel bad for my friends with iPhones and Blackberrys, but it’s the only time I have right now to go through my 100 emails a day. So sorry if your email notification goes off in the middle of the night.

Well, I’m off. I have a dozen or so emails to finish and a couple cases to read before I call it a night. Make it a great week!

Mike ^_^