One Year Down, One to Go

In two weeks, I’ll move temporarily to Indiana for a 12-week internship with PepsiCo. Not only will I learn the practice of many things I learned in the classroom, but I’ll be tasked with specific, deliverable tasks and share what I create with leaders at PepsiCo in Dallas at the end of the summer. Classmates will move to places all over the country and work for various employers, including Boeing, Owens Corning, Ford, Texas Instruments, Exxon, Honeywell, Huntington Bank, Honda, and several others I can’t remember– and do similar things. We have an exciting summer ahead!

To that end.. and without further adieu… here are my Top 10 jewels of wisdom for 1st-year MHRM students:

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  • Be engaged. This may sound obvious, but the students who succeed are the ones who, as Professor Inks says, make the commitment to “be there” in class. When he means “there,” he means paying full attention and intently thinking about concepts, questions, and problems. I take it one step further: be engaged. Ask questions. Disagree. Faculty are more than willing to help you grow your knowledge and comfort with content if you ask for such help. Talk to them after class. E-mail them. Visit them during office hours. Soak in their knowledge!
  • Don’t overextend yourself. This is really easy to do on this campus. Fisher and OSU have many, many things that can take away from study time– including things that are otherwise good uses of time, i.e. student organizations, philanthropic causes, speakers, etc. But every minute of the day counts and you want to be “firing on all cylinders” in your coursework. I recommend involvement in one or two organizations at most and a clear understanding of what the involvement entails.
  • Partner early with Jill Westerfeld in the Office of Career Management. Jill knows what she is doing and loves to give students’ personalized insight and suggestions about anything career-related. Start by showing her your resume and LinkedIn page– and telling her where you want to be professionally.

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  • Be prepared for the first semester. It is overwhelming– no way around it. Classmates and I had been warned about this in orientation, but it is no joke. In addition to acclimating to so many new things, autumn is “recruiting season.” That means you’ll see recruiters early and often throughout the semester (mostly before the holidays, with heavy presence in September and October) and you’ll be able to attend many informational sessions, mixers, speakers, and… of course… interviews. So, in addition to getting the lay of the land in grad school and living in a new city, you’ll be competing for a summer internship with your classmates (and others across the country)! Prepare by managing your time well and understanding your personal goal of every recruiting event you attend.
  • When it comes to internship and job offers, don’t compare yourself to others. Now, this is not a very realistic suggestion, I realize. Perhaps a better way to express this is: compare yourself to others in a fair way and don’t take things personally. You will hear stories throughout the first year of classmates getting internship offers– and classmates who don’t. Some classmates get offers from very respected employers. Some get impressive compensation– allegedly. The truth is… you will never know the truth about other internships or about why you were or were not picked for an interview. There are many factors, some of which are out of your control. Control the things you can and don’t worry about the rest.
  • Take no more than one elective at a time. I made the bold decision of taking two electives during my three core courses in the second session of last semester and did the same thing this semester. Not smart. These are graduate courses, so you need to devote a good chunk of time and brainpower to them. Taking a high course load and adding that to other obligations, i.e. work, is a risky proposition.
  • Invest in a good laptop. Simple suggestion, but important. I started with a cheap, refurbished mini-laptop that was slow and is now in disrepair. You need a workhorse. By the way, some timed exams are taken online during class, so you don’t want to mess around with poor technology!
  • Build relationships with classmates. Not only will you benefit from having strong connections with great people, but you’ll find their ways of looking at things to be a great benefit. I cannot tell you how many conversations I had in the past year where I was able to clarify a concept or better understand something because I went to a formal study group, talked to someone in the hall, or took part in a GroupMe discussion. Side note: 2nd-year MHRMs are also great assets. They’ve been through what you’re going through. Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself.
  • Remember that Rohr Cafe closes at 7pm. So, don’t count on getting any food or drink during class breaks (there is typically a 10-minute break sometime around 7:30-8:30pm in every class). Pack your food and keep it in the Gerlach Lounge fridge. Also, don’t be shy about eating in class. At first, it felt strange; but you’ll get used to it. No fish, garlic, or similarly strong-smelling food, please!
  • Get comfortable with international students. Meeting and socializing with international students might seem uncomfortable at first, but I’ve built some good friendships with international students. It just takes a little effort to get out of one’s comfort zone. I also very much admire what they’ve done– imagine moving halfway across the world to Columbus, Ohio, for grad school! Their life stories are impressive and they share enlightening details about their countries and how HR works for them.

Before I started as a grad student at OSU, I knew on some level that my life would change forever. But truly, nothing can prepare you for this experience– this wonderful, deeply enriching, challenging experience that cannot be replicated. Take advantage of this time and make the most of it!

The Most Difficult Assignment of Grad School…

Last month, I completed the most difficult (and fulfilling) assignment of the MBA thus far.  It didn’t involve an extensive group strategy session, or a Sunday afternoon in R studio learning to better work with data, or even a 40-page case read with analysis…. It was even more difficult than those other assignments.

This assignment involved digging deep to develop my personal legacy statement.  What do I want my friends and family to say about me when I retire?  What do I want the overall impact of my professional life to be?

The premise is that nobody makes it to their deathbed and says “gee, I wish I’d spent more time at the office grinding in Excel.”  How much more effective (and challenging) is it to consider your life impact on the front end of your career than the back end?

Our Leadership Legacy class had to not only flesh out our legacy into a paper, but also to present our statements in the form of 5 minutes speeches to the class.  It was a beautiful experience to learn how my classmates have overcome crucible moments and how they plan to make a meaningful impact in their careers.

In the end, I’m so grateful that Fisher is not just training me to be a sharp analyst and a strategic thinker, but also to be an effective, authentic, ethical leader who very carefully and intentionally considers my impact on the world.

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(here is a shot of our professor, Tony Rucci)

Defining My Legacy

One of the things I love the most about The Ohio State University’s Master of Accounting (MAcc) program is the fact that the curriculum is primarily electives. While I certainly enjoy my accounting courses, I think there is tremendous value in having a well-rounded education in which you have the opportunity to explore interests outside of your chosen career path. During the first term of the spring semester, one of my classes was “Building Your Leadership Legacy,” and it was absolutely transformational.

The course is taught by Tony Rucci, whose resume is impressive to say the least. Over the course of his 28-year career, he had the opportunity to work for three different Fortune 100 companies, serving in various executive capacities. Despite this professional success, he is one of the most down-to-earth individuals I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

We primarily used the book  Discover Your True North by Bill George, which walks through the steps to authentic leadership.  The text was supplemented by various articles. In addition, we had the opportunity to hear from several guest speakers throughout the 7-week term. I find learning people’s life stories to absolutely fascinating, so this aspect of the course was especially valuable.

The end goal was to successfully define my leadership legacy in fewer than 20 words, a seemingly simple task that proved to be far more challenging than I anticipated. The purpose of this legacy statement is to provide direction to my life – it contains key themes that embody the kind of person I want to be remembered as. During the last three class sessions, all students had the opportunity to share their desired legacies and how they chose it. It should be noted that in a class of 50 graduate professional students, the common themes among these statements had nothing to do with business and everything to do with compassion, kindness, serving others, etc.
I can say with absolute certainty that this has been one of the most influential classes I have ever taken. The power of introspection is often overlooked, but awareness of self is critical to effective leadership. I may not have all the answers as to what I want the rest of my life to look like, but I now have a clearer idea of what direction I need to take to live out my legacy.

Evening Classes?!

One of the unique aspects that differentiates the MHRM program from the other full-time grad programs at the Fisher College of Business and many other Master’s-level HR programs is that classes are held almost exclusively in the evenings. I have to be honest here—this was a big reservation of mine when I was considering the program. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to adapt my lifestyle to accommodate that sort of schedule—I was sure I wouldn’t be able to concentrate as well at night and I was worried that the schedule would cut into my hobbies (I’m a big fan of live music, trivia night, and happy hours).

I challenged myself to see the forest beyond the trees and keep an open mind about the class schedule. It would require a little “schedule Tetris” on my part, but I knew the program was an investment in my future—and something that I could justify making some lifestyle changes for. Here’s what a typical day in Jen’s life looks like since beginning the MHRM program:

8 AM             Wake up (okay, my alarm goes off at 8:00, 8:15, 8:30, and                                8:45, so, let’s call it 8:45 in the spirit of full transparency)

10 AM           Work-out

11 AM            Read for class/eat lunch (each class’s reading typically fits                                into a two-hour timeframe for me)

1 PM              Go to work

5 PM              Dinner (*options, see below)

6:15-9:30     Class

9:30 PM        Relax at home/socialize with friends

1) Make dinner in advance and bring it from home: this is a popular option for those who plan their meals in advance. I am not one of these people.

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I mean, I really wish I was one of those people.

2) Bring a Lean Cuisine or other frozen meal: When I have them in the freezer, I absolutely opt for this option. Quick and easy– and we have three microwaves in the graduate student lounge so that makes things very convenient.

Microwave station. (Also, that is a coffee machine next door)
Microwave station. (also, that is a coffee machine next door)

3) Order food: Sometimes I wait until the last minute to figure dinner out. It works because of technology. Jimmy John’s delivers “freaky fast,” Panera is within walking distance, and UberEats caters to a wide variety of tastes.

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Deliciousness delivered right to your classroom door. (Disclaimer: I do not actually recommend delivering directly to your classroom; the front door of Gerlach Hall is a safe bet, however)

I quickly realized that with a little pre-planning and self-discipline, I would still be able to fit everything in without compromise. The other important note here is that some of my classmates have turned out to be my best friends, so we can hold one another accountable to a) get our school work done and b) make certain we are finding a balance between work and play.

Surviving Syllabus Week

I thrive on routine; while it was nice to have a few weeks off during the Holiday Season, I was more than ready to get back to school for the second semester. That said, no matter how excited I am about classes starting again, it is always a bit of an adjustment to go from having plenty of relaxation time to an abundance of responsibilities.

During undergrad, especially freshman and sophomore year, professors tended to ease us back into the swing of things. We fondly called this adjustment period “Syllabus Week,” because at least the first day of class simply involved going over the syllabus, defining the expectations for the course, and answering any questions. Things are not quite that laidback at the graduate level. Professors still tend to briefly outline the syllabus, but then are quick to get into the material. Because of this, it is important to come into Day 1 prepared to start the semester on as strong a note as possible.

Here are some of my tips for making the most of “Syllabus Week”:

  • Review the syllabus prior to the first day of class. Most professors in the Fisher College of Business utilize “Carmen” (also known as “Canvas”) to house their course materials. This means that students generally have access to at least the syllabus, if not some of the readings. Take advantage of this! If you are familiar with the syllabus, you’ll be better prepared to get questions answered.
  • Research what books you will need. I know a lot of people are adamant that you should not purchase anything until the first day of classes in case a professor has a book listed that you won’t actually use. I, on the other hand, prefer to have all my books ahead of time. Not only does this afford me the opportunity to shop around to get the best deals, I am prepared to dive into the readings and don’t have to waste time trying to locate a copy of the text. At the very least, even if you don’t buy any of your books, take some time to figure out what books are required and where you can get the best price.
  • Make time for fun! Do not overlook how important this is! It can be easy to get overwhelmed but it is critical to keep everything in perspective. I definitely made the mistake first semester of not allowing myself to do more enjoyable things. For example, this past week, I went to see “La La Land” with two friends from the program. Obviously the academics are incredibly important, but the MAcc program is about the entire experience, not just what happens in the classroom.

The Final Stretch

As our final semester of the MAcc program begins, I find myself very excited for many of the classes I am taking. The spring semester allows students more flexibility for electives because there is only one core class that takes place in the spring, and the rest of your schedule is up to you.

The only core class is Accounting and Professional Research taught by the Director of the MAcc. This class involves reading research papers and in class discussions to better understand the landscape of accounting and finance research. I enjoy it so far, but it is definitely a lot of reading.

For electives this semester, I signed up for many accounting and finance courses. I am taking two fraud courses, one taught by the Chief Risk Officer at Ohio State and the other is taught by our Auditing professor from last semester. Both of these classes are very interesting and provide good insight for me as someone who is entering the audit field after graduation. I am also taking a financial modeling course that meets only once a week. I know Excel is going to be used for the rest of my life so I wanted to make sure I brush up on my skills before graduating. Next session, I will be taking Accounting for Mergers & Acquisitions, Government and Non-Profit accounting, Investments 1 and Private Equity.

No Fraud

The last class I am taking this semester is Negotiations. A classmate, Sam, recommended it to me and I absolutely love it so far. You learn the essentials to negotiating and actually practice negotiations in class. I did not do well on my first negotiation, but I am looking forward to learning a lot from this class and having a nice change of pace from my accounting and finance-heavy schedule.

I am very excited for my last semester of school. I am nervous about joining the real world, but I am set on learning as much as possible this semester and making sure I enjoy the time I have left at Ohio State.

First Semester Favorites

It is surreal to think that my first semester of graduate school has come and gone. It seems like just yesterday I was beginning my first day of orientation, yet here I am, half a “Master.” As I reminisce on the past 15 weeks, I thought I would highlight my five favorites of the semester.

  1. Ohio State Athletics. It goes without saying that The Ohio State University is a football school, through and through. I had season tickets, which meant I spent many Saturdays at the Horseshoe. Not only did the Buckeyes have a great season– Mother Nature did her part, giving us beautiful weather (with the exception of a rainy Tulsa game).
Ohio State vs. Northwestern {10/29/16}
Ohio State vs. Northwestern {10/29/16}

As part of my Business of College Sports class, I also had the opportunity to attend a basketball game. Athletic Director Gene Smith and his wife Sheila hosted us in their suite for the men’s game against Providence. The Buckeyes pulled off a “W,” and it was so nice to relax with classmates after a particularly stressful week. This was my first Ohio State basketball game but it will not be my last!

Living the "Suite Life" with Gene Smith
Living the “Suite Life” with Gene Smith

I also went to my first hockey games this fall! One of the major components of my Sports Marketing class was doing the promotion activities for both a men’s and women’s ice hockey game. In addition to marketing the games beforehand, we were also responsible for running in-game promotions. I had no idea what to expect, and ended up having a great time. I am definitely going to make a point to get to more games during the second semester. Not only does the sport’s fast pace make it a lot of fun to watch, admission to the games is free with a valid BuckID.

Ohio State Men's Ice Hockey vs. Bowling Green State University {10/22/16}
Ohio State Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Bowling Green State University {10/22/16}
  1. MAcc Activities. Each MAcc class has a MAcc Council, tasked with providing various social opportunities for students enrolled in the program. Some events are geared toward only MAcc students, while others are hosted in conjunction with the other Fisher graduate programs. These activities included a scavenger hunt, a Halloween party, tailgates for every home football game, a white elephant gift exchange, and the Lights at the Columbus Zoo. It is so nice to have the chance to spend time with classmates outside of the classroom and I appreciate that so much effort goes into planning these happenings.
MAcc at the Lights at the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo
MAcc at the Lights at the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo
  1. Classes. While the Business of College Sports was definitely one of my favorite classes, another favorite was Professional Research. The course was designed to teach us how to use the FASB Accounting Standards Codification online database and how to apply the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to various cases. The professor was outstanding and while the assignments were incredibly challenging, I really liked learning the “real world” application of GAAP.
  1. Group Work. Never in a million years did I imagine this would be the highlight of my semester, but I have truly come to love working in a group. This is partially attributable to my teammates. Everyone I have worked with has been so much fun, which makes for really enjoyable meetings. I have also come to appreciate how much easier it is to do things with the help of others. Everyone brings a different set of skills and a new perspective, which means the final product is that much stronger.
  1. Being a Buckeye. I can honestly say that I love coming to campus every single day. I love my classes, the people I am surrounded by, and my job in the Graduate Programs Office. It is so fulfilling to be a part of a university where there is so much pride for the institution. While it will be refreshing to have a break to get some much needed rest, I am already looking forward to the second semester! Columbus definitely feels like home.

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What is Change?

What is Change?

This is the question Professor Jeff Ford posed to us during our first class. Most of us took a stab at answering and the usual responses surfaced–a process of making something different than it was before, an equation of addition or subtraction, a state of transformation. No single answer seemed to entirely encompass the definition of “change.” And like most philosophical questions, the concept seemed to slip through our fingers like fine sand as we tried to wrap our arms all the way around it. I knew immediately that I was going to love this class.

During the second 7-week session of the first semester, all 1st year MHRM students take Organizational Development & Change with Professor Jeff Ford. The course is structured around a series of short cases that we explore each week. We are given a simple question that we work together to answer. The first week, we defined change. This past week, we talked about how to identify–exactly– what we want to accomplish and how, specifically, we would know if we accomplished it.

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Professor Ford’s teaching style is exactly what I envisioned of a graduate-level class. He challenges us to tease out the essence of what we are saying. In undergrad, I felt it was much easier to get away with saying a bunch of pretty words and hoping my main points and ideas would materialize for my audience. But, when forced to focus on word choice and detail the way Ford urges, I find that stripping away all the excess is the best way to solve any complicated problem. He doesn’t lead you into the answer or finish your sentences; he waits for you to distill your message down to the very essence. I think it is so important to practice thinking like this in a world littered with so much information to sift through.

Another unique feature of Ford’s class is that his wife, Dr. Laurie Ford (an experienced consultant), sits in on class and contributes her insights. This is fantastic–Laurie shares real-life examples of how she has initiated change from diagnosis to implementation in organizations she has worked with. With a concept as cloudy as change, I’ve found it is tremendously helpful to have access to multiple perspectives to help us apply what we are learning to real cases that we analyze from start to finish. I also think Laurie’s involvement is such a palpable example of how Professors at Fisher (and their spouses in this case!) truly invest their heart and soul in their students.

Last week, we studied an example of a utility company struggling to complete installations accurately according to the specs provided by the engineers, leading to delays and complaints. We were asked by Professor(s) Ford to get into small groups and provide recommendations for what we would “change,” how we would change it, and how we would know if we succeeded.

Many of us fell victim to the “action imperative”–doing too much too soon and all at once. We suggested lofty ideas like streamlining the communication systems, instituting various task forces (what are those anyway?), implementing and training and project managers, relationship-building among the installers and the engineers…all of which could have worked, but they very quickly became too abstract and unmanageable. Then we started to think about how we would know if our changes worked. Increase in revenues? More timely installations? And how would we implement the changes? Company-wide training initiatives, team-building, eLearning…at a point it began to feel like we were vomiting every HR-related word or phrase we had ever heard in a desperate attempt to hit the right answer. It turns out, we were overcomplicating things.

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This case study was actually a client that Laurie had worked with. She encouraged us to think about the “lines” that represent the connections between the different players. The issue clearly became the communication that was (or wasn’t) happening between the installers and the engineers. They weren’t speaking the same language, and directives were being lost in translation and leading to mistakes and delays in the work orders. Upon further discussion, we discovered that the work order template hadn’t been updated for over a decade. The simple solution was to update the template. Brilliant.

My takeaway from this class so far is to keep it simple. Change can be an intimidating concept for many organizations that need it, and so it is best to change as little as possible that still allows you to accomplish the goal. Tread lightly, and don’t rock the boat if you don’t have to. I’m sure these will be important lessons to remember after grad school when we will be brand new HR professionals trying to make our mark on the world. It will be a tough balance to strike, but I already feel more prepared to tackle it.

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Electives in the MAcc Pt. 2

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I have interviewed several of my peers within the MAcc program about some of their favorite electives offered in the MAcc. Here are some of their responses:

Erica Yoder:

What is your favorite elective?

My favorite elective so far has been ACCTMIS 7620 Management of Corporate Data. It’s a 7-week session course, and each week you learn about a new data system.

Why did you decide to do this class?

I decided to take this class because I had an interest in risk advisory and technology, and felt that this class would be beneficial in pursuing that as my future career.

What is the format of the class? (i.e. lecture, cases, group/individual)

The format of the class is an interactive lecture. More often than not, half of the class is going over lecture material and the other half is walking through the data system of the week, following along on a personal computer. There is one assignment every week, to help you grasp the new data system that has been introduced.

Favorite thing you learned/biggest takeaway from the course:

The class was fast-paced, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see a variety of different systems in such a short amount of time. I am taking data mining next, to expand on my knowledge and understanding of data systems and data usage.

Kate Sabin:

What is your favorite elective?

Sports Marketing.

Why did you decide to do this class?

I chose to do the class because I loved my Marketing class during undergrad and I am a huge sports fan.

What is the format of the class? (i.e. lecture, cases, group/individual)

The class is primarily a lecture format, though we have had several guest speakers. All the speakers completed the Sport Management program at Ohio State and have gone on to work in various sectors of the sports industry. There is also a group project component. We were split into teams of 8-9 students and each team was responsible for doing the promotion for both a men’s and women’s hockey game. This included everything from pre-game marketing strategies to actually executing in-game promotions. I had actually never attended an ice hockey game before! Before the end of the semester, we will also create a social media plan for a sports paraphernalia item, as well as a marketing plan for a Columbus Clippers event that another class will go ahead and put into action during the spring semester.

Favorite thing you learned/biggest takeaway from the course:

This class definitely got me out of my comfort zone. The Fisher College of Business can function a lot like a bubble and it is very easy to spend all of one’s time within the walls of Gerlach Hall. By taking a course outside of the “norm” for MAcc students, I have had the opportunity to interact with students who I might not have met otherwise.

Me interviewing one of my friends, Kate Sabin
Me interviewing one of my friends, Kate Sabin

Samantha Daugherty:

What is your favorite elective?

My favorite elective is my Negotiations class.

Why did you decide to do this class?

A friend who took this class in the MAcc program last year suggested I take this course.  In addition, I wanted to increase my negotiating skills and learn different tactics on how to negotiate certain topics.

What is the format of the class? (i.e. lecture, cases, group/individual)

The format of this class is a little bit of everything.  On one day, we will break out and negotiate with a partner, each having our own set of information and needing to negotiate in order to receive a favorable outcome.  Once we finish this negotiating day, there will be a more lecture-based discussion debriefing the negotiation and talking about the different tactics and takeaways from the negotiation.  In addition to these individual negotiations, we have an ongoing three-step group negotiation, where we negotiate with a different group in order to receive a favorable group outcome.

Favorite thing you learned/biggest takeaway from the course:

So far, my favorite thing I am learning is how to confront certain situations that would otherwise be uncomfortable.  For example, a salary increase or a lower purchase price.  I have learned how to interact and work with different personalities, which I believe is an important takeaway when I enter the workforce.

Chloe Lam:

What is your favorite elective? 

Managing Product and Process Innovation is my favorite elective. The compelling factor about the MACC program here at OSU is that students are encouraged to take classes that interest them. I knew from the start that I wanted to take more management classes to broaden my general business skills and learn from the MBA students.

Why did you decide to do this class?

The topic of innovation has always intrigued me – I wanted to learn more about how big companies, like Siemens and 3M, have succeeded/failed through innovation.

What is the format of the class? (i.e. lecture, cases, group/individual) 

Primarily lecture and group cases.

Favorite thing you learned/biggest takeaway from the course:

The biggest takeaway from this course is to not be afraid of speaking up to share your ideas/opinions. I tend to shy away from participating in classes, but management classes encourage students to participate and learn from each other. Through participating, I was able to learn so much more.

Organizational Development: Lines, Nodes, Agreements, and Deliverables

So, let’s say you want to make a change in your life– in any aspect. You want to change your job, your spouse (yikes), your relationship with your next-door neighbor, your health. Big changes. Small changes. We all want to change and grow in new ways… especially in the upcoming New Year.

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This was near the beginning of one class… before the board got much messier.

But how do you actually make the change happen? Introducing BUSMHR 7308 Organizational Development and Change. This class really makes me think and has real-world application. Therefore, it’s my absolute favorite so far! It’s taught by Professor Emeritus Jeff Ford. Professor Ford is extraordinarily accomplished and well-respected in the area of organizational behavior, specifically change management (a hot topic, particularly in HR). He’s written a book which we use in class, The Four Conversations: Daily Communication That Gets Results. And he has a very specific framework about which teaches. I won’t get too into it, but… in short order…

You have to know what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to do it. And you have to make agreements regarding what you’re going to get from who and by when. It’s something you need to map out–using lines and nodes. This is the extremely high-altitude summary; there are obviously much more nuanced and granular details to the process that require a lot of deep thinking during class. It sounds logical– and it is. He’s able to take the abstract complaint of “miscommunication” and dissect specifically why it occurs and how to avoid it.

Best of all, he’s… intense in class. Quite a bit of the discussions focus on case studies that are rife with detail about an organizaton’s woes: lack of communication, unrealistic goals, blame, politics and game-playing, sexism– you name it. And our job as students is to come up with solutions to fix the organizations and get them on the right path. Professor Ford analyzes every word we utter and firmly asks for clarity, disagrees, or otherwise challenges our assertions. This is not a class for the thin-skinned (I’ve made a few observations about which he’s disagreed; it hasn’t felt good, but his willigness to question students is what forces impactful thinking). And his approach is a gift; those without any or much work experience haven’t learned the sometimes harsh realities of the professional world– and his candor is a good primer.

Now… let’s talk about that decision to apply for the MHRM program at Fisher. What’s your “from” state? And how will you know when you’ve arrived at your “to”? Is your “to” admission to Fisher or is your “to” a certain GPA or certain thing you want to learn? What agreements do you need to secure from others? How will you know you have the agreements? And what outputs will you need to generate? And what inputs must you secure? Decisions, decisions…