Posts filed under 'Class'

On Fisher’s Difference – A Reflection

Reflecting on my first three semesters here in the Fisher FTMBA program, I find the question that I’m most often asked by family, friends, and applicants to the program is: “What differentiates Fisher from other MBA programs?” Over time, I’ve realized that my best answer is not really my answer; it’s Dr. Tony Rucci’s.

Dr. Rucci is a clinical professor of management here at Fisher, and all first year students in the full time MBA program take his Leadership course as a part of the core curriculum. His impressive resume contains stints in the C-suites of Cardinal Health and Sears Roebuck and Co, and Dr. Rucci is actively involved in the community through several advisory roles and multiple philanthropic ventures.

Dr. Rucci could have continued his successful career in the private sector, but he chose to teach at Fisher.

Dr. Rucci could have gone and taught at any business school of his choosing around the country, but he chose to teach at Fisher.

During the first week of Dr. Rucci’s core leadership course, while leading a class conversation on a project concerning the development of our team’s purpose and values statements for Fisher, I recall asking him, “Why Fisher? What makes this program special to you?” After a contemplative pause, Dr. Rucci replied:

At many other MBA programs, students go to class against their competition, fighting to take their next step in life over the fallen body of their vanquished foe. Here at Fisher, students go to class with their friends, and everyone works to take their next steps in life together, arm-in-arm.”

Three semesters later, I can still remember Dr. Rucci answer my question as if it had just happened yesterday. I think part of the reason why this memory has remained so fresh is that I see this message in practice every single day in the interactions among Fisher students. “How firm thy friendship” from Ohio State’s alma mater Carmen Ohio and “Go Beyond” from Fisher’s branding campaign seem like nice sentiments on a page, pamphlet, or computer screen. But seeing them lived out in person packs a potent, palpable punch so powerful that even previously cynical me has become a believer in Dr. Rucci’s words.

Business Excellence 2: My Favorite Course

It has been 3 months since I arrived in the U.S. and started my graduate life. It is hard to believe that the first semester is almost coming to an end. In this semester, I learned a lot from different courses, but my favorite course is MHRM 7321: Business Excellence 2, taught by Professor Schaffner.

Every class began with Professor Schaffner’s question: “What is in your mind or what did you find interesting about HR this week?” Then students brought their different topics and discussed. We might spend half of the class in these topics. In these discussions, we can talk about the problems we met in HR work and then classmates offer opinions and suggestions. Overall, we are free to voice our opinions and Professor Schaffner always pushes us to think deeply by asking thoughtful questions.


The exams of MHRM 7321 are different, too. Instead of concluding and remembering authors’ opinions, we analyze a certain case with what we have learned in the course. There are two principles of these exams. First is “show off what you have learned.” I think applying the theories, models, and approaches we learned in the class to a case maybe is the best way to link theory to practice. And the professor really encourages us to think beyond the case to our work experience. Second is “creative,” in which we can use different materials and our own experience to support our opinions. As Professor Schaffner says, “Surprise me. Teach me something.”


Last class was even more interesting. We spent almost one and half hours to “design a wallet for your partner.” It was not an activity but a process in which we learned how a design process works. What surprised me most is the result of design process: some really cool or even amazing designs! It is not just a process to design something different, but is a process to think differently.

I was not very used to the course at first because it was so different from classes I had before (both in China and in America). Actually, I never had a course as creative and thoughtful as MHRM 7321. After three months, I found that my mind was changed: now when I analyze cases or read an article from other courses, I tend to use the thoughts I learned from 7321. Some said this course will affect them in 5 years, while I think maybe this course will affect me in my whole lifetime.

Top 10 Most Memorable Experiences from the 1st Semester:


1: Tepper Case Competition – This past weekend I traveled to Pittsburgh to participate in an international supply chain case competition with three others from Fisher. While our team didn’t advance to the finals, we learned a TON, networked with executives from a handful of companies, spent 30 hours working on a LIVE company problem and experienced a first-class wine and dine experience. #istillneedtocatchuponsleep


2: Football games – I used to think OSU was the evil powerhouse team that wins too much. Now, I’ve drunk the scarlet Kool-Aid. #punintended #O-H…

3: CEO of Cardinal Health – About every other week a C-suite speaker comes in for a lunch seminar. My favorite has been George Barrett from Cardinal Health. Here is the article (I was even quoted in the article!) #freepaneralunch #greatopportunity

4: Fisher prayer – every other week between 3 and 10 of us gather to talk about how life in Fisher is impacting our lives. Then we pray for 20 minutes. Great memories reflecting and opening up to classmates.

5: Winning the MBA poker tourney. We are a competitive bunch! #thisblogpostinnowaysupportsgamblingbutdangitsfun


6: Urban Meyer spoke on leadership to the College of Business just 24 hours before JT Barrett was arrested for a DUI. I snapped this picture from my seat!

Red Lobster

7: Red Lobster – Our marketing final involved a 24-hour deep-dive into a case about Red Lobster’s effort to re-position itself in the market. This required some memorable late night studying sessions and the obligatory trip with my family and classmates to Red Lobster for ‘market research’. #thebestcheesybiscuitsontheplanet

8: Diwali celebration – Learning about Indian culture from dozens of my classmates and professors. A true highlight and such a fantastic cultural exchange. #deliciousfood

9: This coming weekend…. There are still a few weeks left in the semester, but I’ve been looking forward to the coming weekend. Fisher Follies, MSU vs. OSU, and a families of Fisher parent gathering!

10: I love classes. Seriously, I am SO grateful for a number of my classes this semester. Honorable mentions also go to Data Analysis and Econ and Leadership. The personal development and challenge we have been given to grow our emotional intelligence in leadership is invaluable!

A New Toy

One of my classmates and I were chatting about doing the program full time, working full time, and raising a family full time! I told him, “Classes are invigorating, because I feel like I am constantly getting new toys to play with!” Both of us are fortunate to be working in HR fields and have the capability and opportunity to “play” with these new models in practical settings. On another level, it was nice to be able to talk to someone else that could empathize with managing multiple life roles.

We visited a Frito Lay company today in preparation for the case competition next Friday. I enjoyed the whole experience from being on a bus with my cohort to the plant visit. One classmate had a ‘charades’ app in which you place the cellphone across your forehead. A phrase, name, etc pops up and the group gives you clues to help the person holding it to figure out what the word is. It helped the time pass pretty quickly. We also discovered that one of my classmates is extremely adept at recognizing pokemon names. In two minutes, he was able to name 16 pokemon characters. The day ended with me coming home and carving pumpkins with my little ones.

On class days, I come straight from work to campus (getting here around 4:30 pm) and sit in the grad lounge to smarten myself up before class by looking over the notes I took while reading the class material. Sitting here today, I realize why there is a recommendation not to work full time and go to school full time. I can already see the orientation people smacking their heads in exasperation for my late recognition of this phenomenon. I recognize what I am missing out on. I hear many of my classmates talk about the parties they attended together or the intramural sports that many of them are participating in together. It is likely that many of my classmates are truly getting to know each other and are beginning to form deep friendships. Although it may not be in the same method as many in my class, I have been fortunate enough to find quite a few friends myself! I think the key takeaway is that there are many different strategies to find connections, but it is absolutely crucial to do so if you are to gain more than a piece of paper by the time that you graduate. In my earlier post, I wrote about the benefits of working full time and going to school full time and that works for me! However, there are definitely some benefits into really diving into the experience of getting to know people as not just classmates, but friends.

A different mood

Please forgive the unique composition of this blog!  I have been concerned that I was posting too much and wanted to approach it using a different method to see how it goes!  I am going to post a summary of my week, so it will be a bit disjointed until I get a better feel of how to summarize the experiences of the week.

My wife and I thought it would be nice to Skype on the days that I went straight from work to school, since I most likely would be unable to see my kids that day. My kids were thrilled.   My daughter showed off a pretty ‘Minnie’ dress that she was wearing while my little boy kept kissing towards the screen.   My daughter kept saying that she wanted to “see the people” and so I turned the screen towards two of my classmates that I was with.  They said, “hello” and my daughter turned away silently.  My boy just sort of stared at them, not saying anything.  Turning back to the screen, I talked to them for a bit and then had to say “goodbye” as I went to prepare for a new class.

Sitting in the classroom and getting ready for the Talent Management course.  The most noticeable thing is that we are in a different and smaller room than we were accustomed to.  Despite the decrease in the availability of seats, everyone is actively talking with each other as if they have all been friends for a long time.  This is only month three of our program and the dynamic is much different then the first class that we shared where everybody was more hesitant and cautious.  It truly seems to be shaping up to be a cohort.  Everyone is getting more comfortable with each other.

There are so many “unscheduled” opportunities to take advantage of while you are pursuing your degree.  Taking the opportunities to get to know your classmates (future working colleagues) by spending a few minutes after class discussing how classes are going or debating various topics.  One of my classmates and I sometimes will spend an hour or so after class, just talking to each other about the program and classes we are in.  It’s really nice to talk to another person who can empathize with the experiences at Fisher.  In another sense, it reminds me of the potential that all of us have and how listening inspires so many new ideas.

The more that I am in this program, it seems like ideas perpetually creep in to my head.  I am in the midst of proposing a staffing coordinators conference and keep getting more and more information to make it better.  There is a certain allure to running something on this level.  It is the kind of thing that would be a great way of encapsulating concepts that I am currently learning and at the same time, strengthening the organization that I work for!  Almost every class provides ideas to implement in the work setting:  Getting to know the clients of our company better and learning more about how to effectively develop solutions while experimenting with innovative ideas.

To end this week, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has been reading my blog.  Please let me know if this has been interesting, helpful, or if there is something else that you want to know!  I look forward to hearing from you!

Class presentation, you are blessed not doomed

Being in a foreign country, getting used to the new style of learning, hunting for the internship, getting invited to all kinds of events, these can be fun and too much. Even though I barely stop, I still missed something and I didn’t even stop to learn from the things I have already experienced.


There’s an info session every noon with lunch, why not go there. One day, I wanted to get my bag out of the classroom where an info session just ended, but it seemed another one had begun. I still needed my bag, so I went in and didn’t want to leave when I heard a speech given by professor Ankerman. I saw that event on the hub, and it’s for MBA, so I didn’t sign up for it. But it doesn’t seem to matter if it says for MBA. After that, I engaged in all the following lectures about communication skill. They are amazing. And I used the strategy in my class presentation.

Speaking of presentation, I am really surprised that the American students are willing to let me present out the group project, given that my oral English doesn’t always works well, and the presentation matters. I’m grateful for these opportunities and with the tricks I learned from the lectures, the presentation actually went well. What surprises me even more is the kindness of the classmates. Before the class, they will encourage you. Even after the class, they will remember to tell you how nice your presentation is. My nervousness totally turns into excitement. And although the American classmates are native speakers, they can also be nervous about it, just like we do when we give speech in our language in front of a lot of people. It reminds me another important thing I learned from the orientation. We are not the only ones who will have trouble integrating into the new environment.


After the career fair and a series of classes and events, I recalled an appointment I have with my career consultant. When I made the appointment at the front desk, it can only be scheduled after 2 weeks. We don’t usually make an appointment with faculties in Chinese university, but it seems the career consultant here is really a hotspot. I assumed our talk will be finished in half an hour at most, since I don’t have much to say. But when we began the conversation, I actually can’t even stop. Jill is amazing, she can just look at you and come up with all the names or resources you can reach out to. I describe my problem and she can always figure out the core problem and help with it.

Pushing Forward


Back in August we were told that things were going to move really fast forward and I was a skeptic. I realize now how fast they have moved. We’ve finished one of our biggest projects and we have been here for 8 weeks learning and absorbing material. I remember Professor Pinteris stating that we would be professionals by the time the program would be over, that it would take time to see the change, but that the change would happen. I have started to see that change, not just in my knowledge of finance but in the way I act. I communicate a lot more than I used to, and I make sure that I try to cover all bases. If I cannot cover all the bases, I cover what I can and move on. It definitely has been an interesting change.

I have had the opportunity to talk to some professionals in the Investment Industry, and having had the training from Career Management as well as advice from professionals, I was able to have good value adding conversations with those professionals. It definitely feels good moving forward knowing that what the program is offering adds so much value not only in the classroom but also outside of the classroom. Faculty and staff does their best so that we as students are allowed to take full advantage of the value added bonus.

As I start the second half of the program, I see promise on the horizon. I know that I have yet to see everything that the program offers but am excited to see what it is going to offer. Having seen just how much the first 8 weeks transformed me, I am excited to step forward and take the challenges coming with the following time remaining. I am sure it will be hard at times but I’ve come to understand that it is a matter of putting everything into perspective, trying your best, and learning from everyone around you.

Interview with Professor Arya

Professor Arya

Throughout the year-long MAcc program, students are required to complete 4 core accounting courses. One of these four courses, Management and Control,  is completed in the first session of first semester and is taught by Professor Anil Arya. Professor Arya not only teaches this course in the MAcc program but is also the Academic Director of the MAcc program. It is evident how much the students appreciate and enjoy Professor Arya. Every morning I walked into class at 8:30 AM and Professor Arya would have a different rock band blasting from his Spotify account. He also always made it clear that all of the MAcc students were welcome to come to his office at any time (even before 6:00 AM since this is when he gets to campus) to ask homework questions, express any school/career concerns, or just chat about anything that comes to mind. This week, I went to Professor Arya’s office to ask him a few questions so I could learn a little more about him and share it in this post.

Years teaching at OSU: 24 years. Professor Arya made sure to tell me that he began teaching at Ohio State back when he had “a full set of nice flowing hair” in contrast to his “less flowing hair” now.

Years teaching for the MAcc program: Since the program has started. Professor Arya has been the head of the program for the last several years. Prior to this, Professor Arya taught undergraduate accounting students for both the traditional accounting program as well as the honors accounting program.

Years teaching at other schools: Professor Arya has only taught at Ohio State. He has given about 75 lectures at other schools but has only been a professor here.

Favorite things about teaching at OSU: Professor Arya was very adamant that his favorite 3 things about the MAcc program here are 1. The students 2. His colleagues 3. The support the program receives.

  1. Regarding the students, Professor Arya commented on how much he loves being able to actually teach a course in the MAcc program where he is able to interact with the students. He said that he used to be much more focused on doing research, but he has now realized that it is much more fulfilling to do research and teach. He loves how he has the freedom to do research and then share some of his findings and new ideas with the students.
  2. In terms of his colleagues, Professor Arya explained how this program has extremely genuine and hard working professors. He thinks it is fantastic that the faculty teaching in the MAcc program come from a wide variety of backgrounds, whether that is primarily an academic background or a background of professional accounting experience. He truly believes that every faculty member would be happy to help his or her students in anyway possible.
  3. Professor Arya couldn’t say enough about how appreciative he is of the support the MAcc program receives. This spans from people such as the Dean of the business school, Anil Makhija, to the extremely dedicated staff members, such as Rob Chabot, the director of recruiting and admissions. Professor Arya raved about how much all of the faculty and staff genuinely love their jobs and how this is a huge contributing factor to the success of the MAcc program. Professor Arya also mentioned the immense support from employers recruiting MAcc students, especially the Big 4 accounting firms.

Other comments: Professor Arya told me that he often tells people when they ask him what he does for a living that he has never had a job. He often forgets what he does is technically “a job” because he enjoys what he does so much. He also said that while this program is very successful, there is always still room for improvement. It is important to contiunally to make changes such as adding new elective course options and bringing in new faculty to teach courses.  Ultimately, Professor Arya’s goal is to make the MAcc program better, focus on teaching, and for his students and himself to have a good time while doing serious things. Professor Arya believes that learning is serious, and therefore a little stress is good, but students should also have fun.

What do I do with my hands?

It seems like we are doing presentations every two weeks or so. Presenting can be stressful, but also fun!  I typically spend a lot of time in preparing for presentations and always like to sneak in subtle humor. I have a pretty dry sense of humor, but so far it seems to blend well with what we have presented so far. One professor made the comment though, that I might want to be careful about being too comfortable with the audience and losing the nature of the presentation.

Everyone has their own style of presenting, but I don’t like using note cards and prefer to improvise over an extensively rehearsed speech. It makes me feel more comfortable to present this way and allows the presentation to be a little flexible. This method does require a lot more rehearsals in preparing for it and also requires that I be over prepared. I may rehearse much more than I actually say due to the way the presentation flows. This also opens the door for more preparation for a Q and A session afterwards.

At a recent information session for a case competition, I learned that the judges are not only observing the person currently presenting, but also the other people in the presentation. It stimulated a thought of my ability to actively listen to my colleagues as they present as opposed to looking at my watch and waiting for my part. In another sense, it improves the general flow of the presentation, by connecting specific examples that a previous presenter has mentioned into your section. On a different note, my gestures are pretty minimal when I am presenting, but I started to wonder about what I am doing with my hands when I am “on stage” but not presenting. The best thing I came up with was to put my hands in my pocket and to focus all my attention on listening and following my colleagues as they talk. Not necessarily a “best solution” but I figure that it will be a good holdover until I view more presentations and get ideas from my other classmates.

First Part Complete!!!!


Ahh Finals Week (First Part)!!!!

We’ve all had that feeling when we think its almost impossible to lump into our brains material that we have just finished let alone when its for a cumulative exam. I spent the better part of the weekend before the exams as well as the week of the exams studying for exams, drinking coffee, drinking coffee (yes I repeated that) and listening to music. I did find time in there to breathe and tell myself that its all part of a greater goal which helped alot. I think the hardest part of studying for me is when I hit that wall that’s covered with “Why are you doing this?” The question of course is always obvious: because I want to be better, because it is inevitable, and more importantly proves that I can make the connections outside of class. The hard part of it is when I start thinking about the opportunity costs but I’ve come to know that those only come because I am most if not all the time extremely tired. It is a rewarding process though. There is nothing more that I enjoy than making that connection while I am studying.

It is the end of the first part of the program. Two months have passed, seven weeks of study compiled with projects, presentations and ….finals. Having taken the finals, I look back and try to process what I have learned. It is easy because of all the material I have just absorbed while studying for the finals. I know now that a bar chart isn’t necessarily the best chart to present ratio or quantitative data. I can now understand why the east side of columbus looks the way it does with the lack of banks allowing for the economy to grow in that area. I can also understand that companies wanting to satisfy their shareholders can raise dividends/repurchase shares and drive their stock price up. Arbitrageurs such as hedgefunds can then take advantage of that and buy stocks of those companies. A very intricate process all in all. These are all things that studying for the finals helped me process and absorb. It definitely adds value to my understanding of finance.

Finals regardless of how many or how hard are always stressful. There is nothing like enjoying a good meal to celebrate the completion of finals. As I am undergrad alumni and soon to be grad alumni of Fisher, all my finals have been at the OSU campus. After my finals I like to go to this Korean Restaurant on High street called Diaspora and get their spicy pork bulgogi. There is no other meal like it (at least for me). It has become somewhat of a tradition of mine. If I go there, it means that I think I did fairly well and I deserve to treat myself.

Here’s to the first part of the semester being over !!!



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