Lessons From the Second Session

At the end of the first session, I wrote a post about two things that I learned during the first session. I shared them with you because I believe they are important for you to learn and expect if you are admitted into the program. In this post, I want to share one more important lesson from the second session.

The Importance of Teamwork

The importance of teamwork cannot be overemphasized for many reasons. One big reason being the fact that every organization relies on teams and groups of people collaborating together to accomplish goals and drive results. As a result, the SMF program is structured in a way that simulates real life experiences as most of our assignments are team-based assignments.

For this reason, it is important for current and future SMF students to develop teamwork skills. That is, the ability to effectively cooperate with others in a manner that leads to the actualization of the desired goal. There are many teamwork skills that team members can employ to be effective teammates. These include communicating well with others, contributing equally to discussions, completing agreed upon tasks e.t.c. But, there’s one skill I would like to focus on in this post: the importance of striking a healthy balance between virtual meetings and in-person meetings.

In my own experiences in this program, our team has achieved success by striking a healthy balance between meeting virtually and meeting in person. I believe as tech savvy as our generation is, we are susceptible to overly relying on virtual platforms to plan how we will conduct and finish projects.  But  we ignore the adverse effects of relying on virtual platforms, such as misunderstanding each other and failure to promote the development of deep interpersonal relationships. Therefore, my biggest encouragement to future SMF students is to strive to balance between meeting in person and meeting virtually. This will enhance team performance because it promotes clearer communication between team members and promotes the development of deep interpersonal relationships between team members.

Our team before the core capstone project presentation #greatestteammatesever

Planning and CFA

Hey everyone!

I am back to blogging again! I mentioned I would talk about how planning helps us in grad school. Developing time management and planning skills is particularly useful especially during the holidays. This year many of my peers traveled back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Thus many teams had to plan ahead how our schedules would look like, what times would be best to meet, before or after the holidays, dividing up the work, etc.

One thing that was particularly helpful in our planning process was the development of a project management plan. I was given the opportunity to develop a project management plan following a template that we were provided after one of our speaker’s presentations. In this project management plan, we assigned tasks to each member of our group would be responsible for and set deadlines to complete each milestone of our projects.

CFA Planning

I have been amazed by the level of effort, skills and diversity of knowledge that peers bring to class every day. I asked a couple of my peers preparing for the CFA and CFA Research Challenge to share about their experiences. This is what they said.


Joey Nguyen, Interested in Investments Track

How has your experience been getting ready for the CFA exam?

Since I’m taking it in December, while we are overloaded with a lot of projects and I also have to work on the CFA research challenge, I just think I would try my best for the exam. Everything you learn in the exam materials is what you need if you want to work as an equity analyst or break into investment management.

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

Two things I learned from the preparation for the exam: first is stick to your schedule because it’s a big commitment, and second is being patient because you might have to take one level more than one. So just do it when you are really interested in asset management. One good thing is that 70% of the materials for level one will be covered from all courses in Fisher.

How has your experience been preparing for the CFA Research Challenge?

I have applied what I learned from class to a real investments project, also to work and to think as a real analyst. Bloomberg and modeling are two big key skills you can leverage from the classes while working. You also have to read a lot and try to find the key points (conceptualize it), learn where to start while reading a 10K and spot out the company’s problems. The CFA society also asks the company selected for the challenge to give a presentation about their company to all the participant teams so we need to know which questions we should ask to make them disclose some unique information.


Rizvi Bari, Interested in Investments Track

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

I would say start as early as you can and do a lot of practice questions. I’m still trying to find more sources, but I think the professors are good resources. Working closely with the CFA institute helps a lot as well.


Jayaprabha Dhavale, Interested in Investments Track

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about taking the CFA?

Personally, as I was already working, I studied on weekends only. Many of the topics were not as hard but some topics were new. Topics covered in the Financial Analysis Valuation class are covered in the exam. Regarding planning, I’d say you have to have a time line such as finish studying equity by this date, derivatives by this date.


Thank you to my peers who collaborated on this 😊

Cheers and Go Bucks!

What is Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP)

The Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) is one of the largest graduate student organizations at the Fisher College of Business. While we hold events and activities primarily geared toward those focused in marketing, we have had opportunities to network with non-marketing professionals. Below are some highlights of our annual traditions, as well as new events that we as a leadership committee have implemented. I would say that we have been pretty successful so far! I am proud to be the Director of Professional Development of such a wonderful organization.

Annual events

Columbus Hop – Takes place every fall break. This year’s companies included IBM iX, Root Insurance, Orange Barrel Media, and Watershed Distillery. It gives students an opportunity to network and go behind the scenes to see how each company works.

Fisher MBA students at the Watershed Distillery as part of Columbus Hop

Chicago Hop (upcoming) – We celebrate the end of the fall semester and final exams by hopping on a bus to Chicago! This year’s companies include PepsiCo, BlueCross BlueShield, Tyson Foods, and Ogilvy. If you are not yet an AMP member, you should become one just to be a part of this awesome event!

Attendees at Chicago Hop last year

Marketing For A Better World (upcoming) – Our theme this year is Marketing Ethical & Sustainable Consumer Goods. Agenda includes keynote presentations by Levi Strauss & Co., and Fairtrade America, and a marketing panel moderated by ethics professor David Freel. We are still accepting registrations, and we are raffling off some autographed Columbus Blue Jacket items! You can’t miss this event!

Columbus Advertising & Marketing Practicum, CAMP (upcoming) – This will be our 10th annual CAMP! More details to come, but we will bring students, business professionals, and faculty together to discuss pertinent marketing topics.

CAMP last year

New events this year

Nail the Interview series – a two-part session where different marketing frameworks were introduced that helped with interview questions. We listened to feedback from the first-year FTMBA students and provided them with resources that they needed.

Brand Management series (ongoing) – Over lunch, students get to learn more about brand management from different companies. We have had former Fisher alumni from T.Marzetti (Lucy Liu) and Wendy’s (Emily Jacobson), and we hope to bring in a few more in the spring.

Other events

Happy hours & Panels

2nd-year FTMBA students sharing their marketing internship experiences

The Fisher Coaching Experience

Some of my favorite aspects of the Fisher MBA program are the experiential learning opportunities we have available, like GAP and consulting projects with local companies. However, with new additional program advancements, we have recently had the chance to pilot a personalized coaching experience as well. This is a part of the program I was not expecting to be offered, but has been an amazing opportunity for both personal and professional growth.

Through the pilot, current second-year MBA students were able to sign up for a personalized coaching program based on our goals for professional development. For example, students are focusing on presence, career search, leadership skills, self-confidence, etc. Coaches consist of alumni who went through the Fisher Coaching courses, along with professional coaches who are connected to the Fisher community. We were able to choose our top three coach preferences based on their profiles and are now participating in five personalized coaching sessions.

I have had three sessions with my coach so far, and the experience has been both impactful and engaging! As a part of the process, we leveraged the BUILD assessment, a leadership model developed by the Fisher Leadership Initiative to determine our leadership competency level from both our perspective and the perspective of others across: Stewardship, Relational Skills and Self-Leadership. With this feedback and the ability to talk through with a coach, I have been able to focus on key areas where I hope to improve. My coach has built safety around our conversations and enabled me to feel comfortable in discussing difficult challenges.

In the future, this personalized coaching opportunity will be incorporated in the student experience from the start of the program.

For those interested, students are able to learn more about coaching from Professor John Schaffner through electives in the program as well. I took the Introduction to Organizational Business Coaching earlier this semester, and look forward to taking the Advanced Coaching class next semester. Through this course, we are able to put coaching skills into practice and learn how to improve our listening, presence, business acumen and powerful questioning.

Coaching practice with a classmate

Turning Theory into Practice

Picture twelve teams, eight judges, two rounds of competition, all in search of one solution—what do you have? The Fisher College of Business MHRM Internal Case Competition! Every October, students form teams to compete against one another to solve an HR-related business problem. While this is a requirement for graduation of the MHRM program, this event allows first- and second-year students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in a real-world context.

Presentation of the Case

This event was sponsored by PepsiCo, who presented us with an introduction to their organization, supply chain operations, and the competitions business case at 8 am on Friday. The business case was related to a current proposal the company is working on for their plant operations. It was each team’s responsibility to decide whether or not PepsiCo should add a new role to their organization structure. This decision had to take in consideration the following: change management strategy, organizational design, training and development opportunities, and financial implications.

 Once the case was revealed, the teams had about 30 minutes for Q&A. From then on, the competition had begun they had 24 hours to create their own unique solution for the case. During this 24-hour period, the teams worked hard and long into the night in breakout rooms brainstorming and discussing potential solutions. We were fortunate enough to have the second-year students who coordinated the event feed us and deliver us snacks throughout this period.

Team 2 hard at work
Grab-bag of snacks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early the next morning, each team returned to present their solutions in front of a panel of PepsiCo and industry professionals. To keep things fair, no one knew what time they were going to present until the morning of so each team had to arrive equally prepared. There were two rounds of presentations, the first round divided all the teams into three separate groups, essentially to compete against one another to make it to the final round. Those who were declared the best in each group then moved on to present their solution in front of the entire class, a handful of professors, and a panel of judges. After the final presentations were delivered, the winners were declared and there was a networking opportunity following the event with all the judges.

Having competed in this year’s case myself, I can definitely say it was one of the most challenging yet exciting events of the semester thus far! I’m happy to announce that my team won the case competition and now has the opportunity to participate in the External Case Competition that is held in the spring. The top three final teams are also invited to have lunch with the Dean of the College of Business.

My Awesome Team!

Not only was my team able to take what we learned in the classroom and apply it to this case but allowed us to practice our creativity, critical thinking, and presentation skills. Truly simulating what the atmosphere would be like if a manager came to you in the workplace and needed a problem solved in a short timeframe. Participating in case competition also gave us the opportunity to implement and experiment with new ideas that we may have been otherwise afraid to apply in a classroom setting. We were able to treat it as a learning experience rather than a grade.

Additionally, being questioned, critiqued by and given feedback from actual leaders in industry only made it a more valuable experience. I would highly recommend students of all ages to go outside of the classroom and get involved in professional development opportunities such as case competitions. No matter the outcome, it will be a new experience, a chance to network with others, further develop your professional skills and is a great way to build your resume. As always, thank you for reading!

A Breath of Fresh, Fall Air

I am writing this on my first day back from a much-appreciated fall break. As you may know, our first seven-week session of classes ended last week. This made the Thursday–Sunday break that much more enjoyable, as I had no responsibilities or classwork to worry about!

So how did I spend my break? Enjoying the (finally) cold weather

Cheering on the Buckeyes from home!

and some serious R&R while reflecting on all the great memories that the first seven-week session brought. My weekend was filled with bonfires, pumpkin bread, turkey chili, and dozens of games of college football Saturday (Go Bucks!) and NFL Sunday!

I am very excited to be back in Columbus and starting the second half of the first semester. Time has flown! This seven-week session will lead up to winter break.

We had our first day of classes for our last two required courses today. The first class I went to was Accounting Policy and Research taught by our MAcc program director, Dr. Tzachi. He is one of the most engaging professors I have had thus far in graduate school and I am looking forward to the rest of the session with him!

After his class, I had a Financial Reporting class in which we will be able to apply the knowledge we acquired from intermediate accounting to interesting cases about companies like Apple and Google! I am also taking three business electives in the subject areas of tax, assurance, and human resources. I love that we have the ability to take electives outside of accounting. This allows me to learn and network with students outside the MAcc program while getting exposure to other subject areas at the graduate level! 

Adjusting to Grad School Life

Like many of my classmates, I started the MAcc program right out of undergrad. For that reason, I was very curious as to how differently grad school would feel. I wasn’t sure how my normal everyday habits would translate at the graduate school level. If you’re not coming right from undergrad, I’m sure you’re asking yourself a similar question!

After the first few weeks, I can tell you that adjusting to the MAcc and life in Columbus has been a breeze! Here are five of my favorite things about the MAcc program and being in grad school here at Ohio State:

The classroom environment

There is such a high level of respect between the professors and students at the graduate level. Our classrooms are more discussion-based and less homework-heavy. The distinguishing factor for me is that the professors care about us fully understanding the material. After all, we are here to deepen our knowledge of accounting—not just get A’s.

The time commitment  

In our classes, the deliverables consist mostly of group projects. In undergrad, I remember meeting with groups as late as 11 p.m. to work on projects. In the MAcc program, I love that we all have very similar class schedules and meet while still on campus during the day. The culture is this way because many students live off-campus. I appreciate this aspect of the MAcc program because I can leave time for other priorities in the evenings!

The subject exposure

One unique component of the MAcc program is the exposure to over 18 courses in only one year! Each course is seven weeks long (aside from a few electives), and the best part is that only four courses are required. That leaves at least 14 courses that you can tailor to your preference to make your MAcc experience truly personalized!

Are seven-week courses stressful? That was a question I asked myself before beginning the program. They are completely manageable! In fact, I love them because I can easily visualize my schedule over the seven-week period and balance school, work, and life!

Living in a metropolitan city

audrey-farmers-marketColumbus offers so much more than what lies on campus. As a grad-student, I love that there are very accessible places to go off campus. Downtown is a quick drive away and so are the Blue Jackets (hockey) and Columbus Crew (soccer) teams. Even closer to campus is Short North - a neighborhood just a few blocks from my apartment that offers dozens of trendy food, drink, fitness, and shopping options! That leads me to my fifth point…

Fitness

Leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle has always been a priority for me. Finding a new workout routine on a new campus was something I was worried about. Luckily, the Fisher College of Business is close to two campus recreation facilities (the RPAC and North Recreation Center) that offer group fitness classes as well as great amenities to students for free!

Another bonus: This semester, the MAcc program created both sand volleyball and soccer co-ed intramural teams. Intramurals are a great way to stay active and get to know students in the MAcc program! Off campus, there are also various options. Most apartment complexes have workout facilities, and I love the group fitness/yoga studios in Short North as well as the surrounding suburbs!

Taiwanese Girl in Columbus

MY FIRST BLOG POST! How exciting!

Hello dear readers, this is Zola speaking.  At the start of my life as a Fisher grad blogger, I would like to introduce myself:

Where do I come from?

There you are- Taiwan!

Taiwan.  A tiny island across the whole Pacific Ocean. On this map, you can get a rough idea of its size and distance. (It took me about 32 hours flying and waiting at airports to get to Columbus!)

Before coming to OSU, I graduated from National Taiwan University with bachelor’s degrees in Finance/Accounting and my one-year internship at KPMG Advisory in June.

Why am I here?

My list of applications for graduate programs abroad was not super long: Three schools. That’s it. And oh you bet The Ohio State University was on the top of it. Not only was I deeply impressed by the “Buckeye Proud” during my school research, the super friendly and helpful Assistant Director of Specialized Graduate Recruiting & Admissions Rebecca Zurek also made me fall in love with the school and the SMF program itself. With enormous help from Rebecca and the Director of Specialized Graduate Recruiting & Admissions Rob Chabot, I was fortunate enough to receive the University Fellowship, which has made my OSU experience even better.

The Oval

How’s it going so far?

Me and Harley-a family member in my homestay

Right after my flight landed in Columbus, I lived with a temporary homestay arranged by International Friendships, Inc (IFI). The host, Janet, and her family welcomed me with open arms, allowing me to adapt to my new life in the U.S. with absolute ease. I really couldn’t appreciate their kindness more. I strongly recommend applying for a short-term homestay through IFI to any international student who wishes to make local friends and experience American culture before school starts!

Now, I have been through the preterm courses in August led by the SMF program director Professor George Pinteris, which is basically Finance 101 for the SMF program and I personally consider a solid start of the program.

Sneak peek of my next episode

Mirror Lake before sunrise

Just one month into the new semester, I’ve already started to know my way around the SMF program, the OSU campus and Columbus itself. I will be sharing something fun about my classes, my dorm, my food and… just MY LIFE in general. Hope that’s spicy enough.:) Don’t change the channel!

What Has Impressed Us? Let’s Hear From International Students!

On the morning of August 4, 2018, I jumped into a host’s car to start my journey in Columbus. With jazz music playing on the radio, I was attracted to what I call “new antique-style” buildings—those with a rusty, red-brick color. A short time later I asked my host, “When will we arrive at the Ohio State campus?” She responded, “Oh, we’re already here.” We had already been driving around campus for a number of minutes! I was impressed by the expansive campus, specifically because university campuses in my country are much, much smaller. I could not believe that I was joining a campus 238 times larger than my former one!

My name is Ting Fan Chang, and I am from Taiwan. I previously studied Public Health at Taipei Medical University, and I am currently pursuing an MBA degree at the Fisher College of Business. Fisher definitely delivers when it comes to resource availability. Specifically, I have only been here for six weeks and I have already attended several key events, such as the Fisher Fall Career Fair, the Fisher Graduate Student Career Fair, a variety of company information sessions, and many others. Fisher students have many opportunities to build connections with company recruiters and gain detailed information on full-time job and internship opportunities. More importantly, at Fisher, students are able to utilize the Office of Career Management for insightful, one-on-one sessions with the Office’s many career consultants. The OCM team gives customized advice corresponding to each student’s particular background and interests.

To gain some other perspectives, I interviewed other first-year international students at Fisher to learn about their stories, and what they’ve experienced in the last couple months at Fisher, OSU, and throughout Columbus. Here is what they had to say:

Sai Chandra Pujita Vazrala — Guntur, India

Q: What is your impression of the Fisher MBA classroom setting?

A: Fisher MBA classrooms are interactive and relaxed – different from the more formal setting back in my home country. Students are encouraged to contribute to discussions and meaningfully challenge each other’s viewpoints. Overall, an engaging and dynamic classroom environment!

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being a part of the Fisher MBA program?

A: I truly believe that the biggest advantage of being a part of the Fisher MBA program is its diversity! We are exposed to a great blend of not only cultural diversity, but also professional diversity, in an intimate setting. I hope to learn more about the intricacies of what makes us the professionals and individuals that we are, while building a lasting network for years to come!


Fahd Jehangir Lahore, Pakistan

Q: What do you think is the biggest advantage of the Fisher MBA program?

A: The faculty and Office of Career Management staff are extremely approachable, helpful and dedicated. You feel lucky to be part of the FTMBA batch by the sheer level of resources dedicated to your success.

Q: What do people do for fun in Columbus?

A: It all depends on what you want to do. If you’re a sports lover, it takes almost no time to plan a pickup game of soccer, basketball, volleyball, what have you, within the class. If you’re interested in nightlife, there are tons of domestic students who will not only guide you to the best spots in town, but also invite you to join in!

Q: What is your most impressive experience since arriving at OSU?

A: Within one month of arriving at OSU, I was hosted by more than five domestic students, and many more international students. I’ve made many new friends and gotten to know almost everyone in my MBA class. Yet everyday someone’s new experiences are shared in class. The level of diversity and intellect accumulated within the MBA group is fascinating!


Chih Chien (Jeff) Chiu Tainan, Taiwan

Q: What is your most impressive experience since arriving at OSU?

A: Comprehensive career services at Fisher amaze me because they personalize their support and allow us to leverage the power of such a large university. Compared to business schools in my home country, Fisher provides more customized career consultants, broad alumni networking, recruiting events, and career workshops. All of these resources along with solid technical training help us effectively stand out among others.


Rattaporn Puikaew Bangkok, Thailand

Q: What do you like to do for fun in Columbus?

A: Classes are wonderful, but we know, spending time outside with super cool, new friends is way more enjoyable! There are copious interesting places to explore near OSU’s campus: cool bars in Short North, the vintage-style book loft in German Village, and many more fun activities always going on. Most importantly, the Buckeye football games are huge! To be honest, the first game of the season was my ‘Football 101’ experience. I’m not a big sports fan, but time will be well spent cheering on the team and watching with friends! (Warning: remember to buy tickets for the whole season – it’s a must!) If you’re not a big sports fan like me, Friday nights with friends are another way to get together and let loose! To me, hanging out with friends is the fastest and easiest way to get to know each other. (Hint: the best moments are ones we all share!)

 

 

My GAP Experience: Italy and Germany

Fisher MBA students often talk about GAP. What exactly is GAP and why is it such a focal point of our program?

Global Applied Projects (GAP) is an opportunity for MBA students to gain international consulting experience by working on a business challenge in a global location (non-US). It is a three-credit, graded, elective course that allows students to lead, plan, and execute global consulting engagements across multiple functional areas for a wide variety of corporations, not-for-profits, and governments in locations outside of the US. A typical GAP project timeline looks like this:

January: Project client and Office of Global Business work to define the business problem and formulate a high-level scope.

Late February: Student participation begins with the section of MBA team members chosen to meet the needs of the project.

Next 10 weeks: Team is directed by a second-year MBA team coach and a faculty functional expert. Students attend weekly classes that teach best practices in project management and global consulting, and develop cultural awareness. They also meet regularly with teams, advisors, coaches, and clients, and submit class assignments that support the development and execution of the projects.

May: Three-week, in-country, primary research phase with a presentation of findings, an in-depth analysis, and specific, actionable recommendations to the client.

As a second-year MBA student, I would love to share with you my most recent GAP experience, where I had the opportunity to work with Technical Rubber Company, based in Johnstown, OH, as well as Salvadori, based in Rovereto, Italy. 

 

 

Client: Technical Rubber Company

Team members: Luke Barousse, Abhishek Chakrabarti, Adam Kanter, Andris Koh, Vaibhav Meharwade, Carl Shapiro, Sangyoun Shin, Kristen Stubbs

Cities/Countries we visited: Rovereto, Italy, and Munich, Germany

Activities: Visited TRC’s corporate headquarters, Salvadori’s headquarters, as well as attended the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management.

At the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management
World’s Largest Tire at Salvadori’s Headquarters

 

Project Title: Rubber Molded Products Business Plan

Objective: To define a pathway for TRC to forward integrate from the equipment business to manufacturing and selling products made from recycled rubber.

Submitted Deliverables: A 100-page business plan that contained our industry analysis, strategic recommendations, as well as financial, operational, and marketing plans. We also delivered a final presentation to TRC’s and Salvadori’s executives.

What were some takeaways from this GAP experience?

1. Even though I had no experience in the manufacturing or recycled rubber industry, I was extremely fascinated by it. By keeping an open mind, as well as the willingness to learn, changed my perspective of recycled rubber and the manufacturing industry.

An espresso vending machine

2. Italians absolutely love good food, wine, and espresso.

Best pasta ever had

3. Working in a team of eight within close parameters is not easy. There were many memorable moments, but there were also moments of tension. It is important to talk through these issues, instead of letting emotions breed over time.

4. Take some down time for yourself. I decided to stroll along the river one evening in Rovereto, where I enjoyed the perfect sunset with a glass of wine.

Rovereto, Italy

5. Communication is key. One of our team members was unable to travel internationally, so we had to find a way to deal with different time zones, interact and engage with our teammate, as well as communicate in a way that made him feel as part of the team even though we were not physically together.

6. Take time on the weekends to explore nearby cities, take a break from work, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I visited Rome, Venice, and spent the last weekend in Munich visiting the Neuschwanstein castle.

Rome
Venice
Munich

7. Rely on each other’s strengths to get things done efficiently. For example, when we were working on the business plan, we had Carl work on designing our logos, Sangyoun/myself on market research, Adam/Abhi on financials, Luke/Vaibhav on technical viability, and Kristen in putting things together. We each had our own strengths and we used them to maximize our output.

8. Having the opportunity to work as a consultant for a global client is something really unique and special. I know that having these relationships with clients and colleagues will carry into the future as I embark on more global projects in my career.

Original Hofbrauhaus
Our Team!
Pork knuckle, anyone?