Posts filed under 'Class'

Learning From A Patagonia Executive

Two days ago I sat in one of the most impressive patagoniapresentations I have witnessed during my time here at Fisher. I was able to learn the story of success and failures of a popular American outdoor brand, Patagonia.

Vincent Stanley, the “chief story teller” for Patagonia discussed his 41 year career with the company and how he helped in growing the brand to what it is today.

I was impressed most of all with his humility and passion for profitable sustainability. He spoke of lessons he learned during failures and successes within his tenure at the company. He noted that he nearly bankrupted the company of number of times, but was fortunate that the company’s culture pulled them through tough times.

Stanley highlighted the fact that the hiring process is crucial to the company’s success. The company makes sure that new employees understand the importance of being profitable, yet sustainable. The products that Patagonia manufacture and sell to the public are high quality and priced at a premium, because the company believes in minimal waste. The hope is that customers will use the clothing for 5-10 years and then return the product to be recycled into a new article to be sold as a different product. Stanley noted that the company believes firmly in cradle to cradle sustainability.

I enjoyed not only the stories of the success, but the on-boarding steps taken to increase morale and productivity. Patagonia makes sure its employees are passionate about the outdoors. Many employees participate in a 2 month internship with a NGO. During this experience the company provides the employee with full compensation as if they were working at corporate.

It is no surprise that a company focused on selling outdoor products invests so much time, resources, and money into keeping the outdoors sustainable and beautiful. My hat’s off to this company and its impressive leadership team full of people like Vincent Stanley.

 

 

 

 


CEO of LifeCare Alliance Visits Fisher

Chuck Gehring is passionate about his job and his company’s mission. His passion is evident in the way he talks about his company and the role he plays in leading such an organization.Chuck-Gehring-1807381 220 Having him come and speak was a special treat for students in the Leadership Legacy course.

Chuck’s organization, LifeCare Alliance, is a nonprofit that focuses on helping communities by identifying and delivering health and nutrition services to those in need. A few of the well known programs include Meals-On-Wheels, Columbus Cancer Clinic, IMPACT Safety, and many others.

Having Chuck in the classroom allowed students to ask questions and learn more about his career path and leadership style. Chuck was enthusiastic about the opportunities that recently minted MBAs have in the nonprofit sector. He stated that many nonprofits could benefit from having younger business leaders included in the board room in order to assist in  connecting with younger generations.

Chuck’s career path has been anything but traditional. He started his career with Anheusser Busch before moving on to Sanese Services. From there, Chuck moved into nonprofit and has enjoyed being in this sector.

His take on leadership was inspiring. He noted the importance of doing the right thing, not only for yourself and your company, but for the community in which one resides. It is obvious that Chuck has a great focus on making his organization successful and doing so in an ethical and professional manner. I was struck by one comment he made about his struggle sleeping at night if he feels like the company fell short in one area or another. He truly believes in creating sustainable change for the community by providing wonderful health and nutrition services to those in need.


Innovation Israel Pre-Trek Meeting

Visiting Israel has been a lifelong dream of mine for quite some time. Because of this, you can imagine how excited I was to learn that Fisher was planning on offering a course this year that included a visit to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Of course, I signed up for the class.blog_telaviv

The class is centered around the economy and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel, specifically in Tel Aviv. Our instructor for the course was born and raised in Israel and has an incredible background in business and international consulting. As a student, I have really enjoyed learning about the Israeli economy and culture.

One way in which I was able to learn more about the culture was to attend a social gathering at the home of David and Bonnie Milenthal. The CEO and founder of Israel and Company attended the event, along with representatives of the Columbus Jewish Federation. We learned of their experiences and connections in Israel and had the chance to speak with them in a nice setting that allowed for a lot of learning to take place.

While in Israel, my class will visit various companies and organizations, ranging from global Fortune 500 firms to technology startups. Along with visiting businesses, the trip will include a visit to Jerusalem to see and learn more about the historic Israeli culture. I couldn’t be more excited for this amazing opportunity.


Angela Joyner’s Career Advice

Frequently business schools invite many executives to visit campus and share experiences with students. I personally love these opportunities because it allows me to see someone’s perspective regarding their career path. Many times the executives have great lessons for getting ahead in business, which is important. But the real insights I take away from these meetings is how I learn to have a more rewarding life.

Angela Joyner is a big name executive from ConAgra Foods, but what she spoke about wasn’t all business and leadership; It was more than that. She spoke about how to become a better individual and a more rounded leader in today’s business world. Here are a few of my favorite points from my time listening to her:

  1. Find Your Purpose – This really resonated with me because I think that there is much more to life than a successful P&L. Clearly, any business leader wants his or her business to perform well, increase revenue, grow the bottom line, and provide a great experience for employees. However, at the end of the day, what is your purpose in being a business leader? Are you replaceable? Most leaders would like to think that they aren’t. The truth is, almost everyone is replaceable. So, find your purpose, work hard, and enjoy life.angela joyner
  2. Surround Yourself With The Right People – Most great athletes recognize the importance of their teammates when it comes to achieving great success and receiving awards. Similarly, successful coaches heap appraise upon their wonderful staff and players for winning championships. This isn’t because they aren’t the best in the business, but because they are some of the smartest in the business. Similarly in business, great leaders surround themselves with hard working, honest, and capable individuals. This not only helps the business succeed, but it allows for everyone on the team to learn and grow from one another.
  3. Make Your Personal Brand A Priority – This is key for any new business leader. Angela highlighted that everyone has thoughts and feelings regarding an individual’s performance and style. In business settings, it doesn’t take long for someone to label you as an all-star, an average joe, or an under-performer.
  4. Align Your Heart With Your Smarts – To sum it up, find out what you are passionate about and find a way to excel in that specific industry or function. Incorporate what you love to do into your daily routine. This will create a much more balanced leader that is good for the long haul, not just short term performance that eventually burns out.

AMP Super Bowl Ad Review

One of the many enjoyable aspects of being a full-time MBA student is that so many great student organizations exist in which anyone can be a part of. Student organizations range in size from large to small, depending on the interest in the organizations subject matter and activities. One of the organizations here at Fisher that I have been a  part of is AMP – the Association of Marketing Professionals.

The last few years AMP has held an activity in conjunction with the Super Bowl. For most marketers, watching the commercials on Super Bowl Sunday is just as entertaining as watching the big game. This is also true for MBA students.

In order to take advantage of some great learning opportunities that come from viewing the Super Bowl, AMP held its annual Super Bowl Ad Review a few days ago. The event always brings in a large crowd of students interested in learning more about creative advertising and why some commercials are received well and why others fall on their face – even when spending $4 million for 30 seconds.

This year was fun because we were able to hear from two marketing professors as well as a Fisher alumnus, Jason Mlicki, who owns his own advertising agency (Rattleback) here in Columbus. Jason has worked in the advertising world for quite sometime and brought a great perspective to many of the ads that we viewed.

A few of the favorites that the professors and Jason shared with the class included Audi, Hyundai, Radio Shack, and Heinz. I personally enjoyed the Audi and Hyundai commercials. They both had different strategies and tactics used throughout their creative, but I believe they both communicated effectively to their audience. Here is the Hyundai commercial for your viewing pleasure! Go Bucks!


Buckeye’s Basketball Game For Class

That’s right ladies and gentleman, as part of an MBA class, I was able to attend the Ohio State vs Illinois basketball game a few nights ago. Yeah, I know, there are thousands of students that attend Buckeye games every week. However, there are not thousands of students that get to sit with the athletic director, Gene Smith, in his suite! Ohio State

This past term I was luck enough to take a class from Gene and Sheila Smith. The Business of College Athletics was taught by the Smiths as well as various managers and directors from within the Ohio State athletic department. This class truly was one of my favorites and full of excellent learning opportunities. We learned about the NIKE and IMG contracts, coaches compensation, game day security operations, pricing of tickets, fundraising, issuing of scholarships, student development, licensing and trademarks, and much, much more!

As a gift to the class, Gene and Sheila invited the students to attend one basketball game with them in their suite. The suite was a neat experience and it was a fun way to celebrate the ending of a great class. Lots of food, drinks, and fun conversation with one of the best athletic directors in the nation. I was very impressed with the humility, kindness, and professionalism of Gene and Sheila. It didn’t surprise me to hear on the radio this morning that Ohio State just barely extended Gene’s contract through 2020. He is a class act and a great professor. His class was great and the game was an excellent way to kick-back, relax, and enjoy some buckeye basketball with a lot of great people.


Snow Day(s) at Fisher

As the month of January is coming to a close, students, faculty, and administrators are still trying to wrap their heads around how scheduling will take place the next few weeks. This is what happens when temperatures drop to extreme lows that cause issues not only for students and faculty, but for buildings, heating systems, and snow removal systems.Ohio State Snow

Since returning to school at the beginning of January, we have already had 3 days of school cancelled due to frigid temperatures that aren’t all that common here in Ohio (windchill as low as -35°F). In fact, when I was driving to campus this morning I heard on the radio that a year ago from today, Columbus set a record high of 67°F. Talk about variance!

The most difficult part of this whole situation is that the university is trying to use Friday’s to make up for the missed/cancelled days. This poses an issue for MBA’s because many first years are out of town on the weekends interviewing for internships and therefore, aren’t able to be in class during the makeup sessions. For second years, many are accustomed to not having class on Fridays and have thus scheduled recruiting trips, house hunting tours, and site visits with prospective employers. So, what do we do?

As one would think, the show must go on. If you can make it to class you obviously put all of your effort into doing so, but if not, most professors and faculty are understanding of the situation.

As for me, I have enjoyed tracking facebook and seeing what all of my classmates are doing during the days of school that are canceled. Some are ice skating, others are setting up forts with their kids, while others stay in bed and watch Netflix. Does it really get any better than that? So, another reason to be a Buckeye – we still get snow days!


The Stages of Semester No. 2 – MAcc

 

The first semester of grad school in the MAcc program at OSU leads directly into the last. It’s a whirlwind where, just when you’ve settled into the rhythm, you remember you only have 3 or 4 months until graduation. Frightening moments from senior year flash back every once and a while and you feel the need to grab the closest paper bag and breath into it.

The collective class will realize some truths as the final semester begins. You’ve settled down faster than you did as freshmen, entering graduate school is not like starting the first year of a bachelors program. You have people who you genuinely like seeing casually and would be willing to vouch for professionally. You have a good idea of when professors are in their office, how to find them if they aren’t, and how late they’re willing to respond to e-mail.

Some less poignant things you may have learned include:  the best and worst times to find a parking space (including what time the ROTC students leave so you can snag that spot right up front), which restaurants within walking distance have the best specials on Tuesdays, you have gained an excellent understanding of the underground tunnels which protect you from the frigid weather that sometimes decides to overcome the city, why it is or is not a good idea to jump into Mirror Lake, and which chairs are bolted to the floor in the classrooms and by now you have probably stopped trying to push them in.

You know what is expected of you now. You know which events you have to go to and which events you really should go to (which is as many as possible because they’re all awesome). You know that you will be an excellent alumnus and you secretly hope that you’ll get invited back for alumni events. The MAcc program is something that you’re proud that you will complete and, if it wasn’t already, it has for you become an experience which has allowed you to develop a deeper understanding of your craft, lasting relationships with truly fantastic people and the idea of the program has ceased to be simply a program or degree and has become so much more.


The Season’s Pass The Years Will Roll…

I remember when I was interviewing for MBA programs and talking to people who had already gotten their degrees, a common sentiment was that the MBA program is “over in the blink of an eye.”  It is the sort of phrase that you hear fairly often, and is almost a bit cliche’.

From where I am sitting, a bit over a quarter of the way through my degree, I can now agree that the MBA program is quickly flying by.  It seems like just the other week that I was starting classes and meeting my new colleagues.  But, I have already completed one semester of courses.  I believe that part of what makes the program go so fast is that since the semester conversion from quarters, each semester is divided up into two terms.  While there are a few courses that last a whole semester, the majority of them last for just one seven week term.  So by the time you feel settled in a class, it is week 3-4 and time for the midterm, and then right around the corner is the final exam.  All in all, I believe that this course schedule helps contribute to the blazing speed with which the program is flying by.  The other influence on this is of course just the sheer amount of things that need to be done during the MBA experience.  From going to class and doing assigned readings, to trying to have a social life, find a job/internship, and every once in a while finding time for a meal and some sleep, there is always something to do.   As I have mentioned before, time management is an essential skill to excelling in the MBA program.

If time continues to pass at the rate it did for the first semester, the next thing I know I will be at my summer internship, and then graduating from the program in no time.  With that in mind, I am constantly looking for the opportunities that will foster the most personal and professional growth for me.  Managing those experiences are, in my mind, the key to success in the MBA program.


First Semester Lessons Learned

First semester of the MAcc program was a wild whirlwind of experience gained, learning fast on my feet, and figuring out how to be an efficient and effective grad student. Here are my tips on how to be more successful in grad school.

Fall term 1, if you are searching for a job, that will be your life. You may look at your schedule and think, this is not so bad. It is. Before I started Dr. Dave Williams told me that the job search is like taking another class. As someone who was not used to the level of intense work required by the MAcc program, I would say it is like taking two extra classes. Job fairs, information sessions, and interviews will eat up the time you would have used to study, run errands, or just generally have a life.

But!- It gets better. Thrive a little while you survive by having a non-computer oriented hobby that is easy to start and stop when you have free time, like reading, crosswords, painting, knitting, or exercising. These can bust stress and remind you that there is a life outside of case studies and upper level math.

Stay at school and study during breaks – Whenever possible, do not use 2-3 hour breaks between classes at lunchtime to run errands. There is something about being surrounded by other people studying that makes starting and continuing your own homework easier. Having classmates around also means you can ask questions- and when appropriate, commiserate- about assignments.

Keep up – This is much easier said than done, especially in times like Fall term 2 when my combination of classes required about 10 hand-in assignments due the second week of classes. If you fall behind in your reading or understanding, do not use that as an excuse to not do the reading for current classes. Picking up later in the class is better than never getting current, but it is extremely taxing to keep up with classes and trying to catch up at the same time, and you will not be able to learn everything you have missed.

Don’t be afraid to take MBA classes- I took Advertising and Leading and Managing Change last Fall and absolutely loved them. Business classes are a great opportunity to learn interesting non-accounting topics and meet people outside of the MAcc program.

Finally, if you are not a morning person and have to take an early class, try to arrange a break afterwards that is long enough for you to go home and take a nap afterwards. Like my other tips, it will give you a little more peace of mind.


Next Page »


The content and opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by The Ohio State University or Fisher College of Business.