Posts filed under 'Class'

Change Management

One of the hardest things about this program is that it is a true immersion into the business world.  This week, I have been a part of at least 5 different teams with my classmates.  On the one hand, it is great to work with different people on tasks (as we would in a real world setting).  On the other hand, it can be difficult to remember which team is doing what!  Thank goodness for e-mails to help to keep things organized.

I also realize that my energy drops towards the end of the week.  My persistent ability to stay positive starts to fluctuate as I approach the last class of the week.  The conversation was interesting to listen to, but I felt like I didn’t have a lot to contribute.  Initially, I was quite disappointed with my lack of familiarity with the subjects being discussed.  “Are you gonna do something or just stand there and bleed” (Tombstone, 1993) reminded me that I am at OSU to learn.  Even if I can’t participate in the immediate conversation, doesn’t mean that I can’t be better prepared for the next conversation.  This incident also triggered a desire to rethink my current schedule and tweak it a little bit to accommodate for this increased tiredness at the end of the week.  I am excited about the prospect of being better, even if I have to recover from a bloody nose.

The same evening that I had this “tough” class, I also spoke to my daughter on the phone during break.  She said, “I want Daddy home.”  It broke my heart.  I know that I am doing all of this to make our lives better, but how do you explain the complexities of the arrangement to a three year old?  I was so shocked by her statement, that all I managed to say was “I love you so much and I look forward to seeing you.”

The week ended with me thoroughly enjoying time with my family at the Columbus Zoo.  Both my little girl and my boy were literally all over me.  She didn’t want to walk and insisted that I carry her the whole time.  My boy oscillated between wanting to be held by me and my wife.  To end on a more humorous note, my three year old girl now weighs 28 lbs (pretty tiny) and my 11 month old boy weighs 30 lbs!

Found and Lost

My week ended with the prospect of preparing for my first grad school exam, a presentation, and economics homework.  I got home after work and was looking forward to seeing my family.  My daughter and son greeted me at the door.  I stepped over the baby gate and my little boy started crying because he wanted me to pick him up.  I set my things down and picked him up only to hear my little girl asking for me to pick her up.  My wife came over and got my boy, while I picked up my little girl to hug.  We hugged and she kept saying “Found him, I found you Daddy.”  My wife told me that throughout the week, she had kept saying “Lost Daddy, Lost Daddy.”  It was her way of saying that she missed me.  I was torn between feeling sad that I couldn’t be more available and the joy of just embracing my children.  Along with all this, I think about my wife and her unbelievable support and I have immense gratitude for being an amazing mother.  I would not be able to do this program without my family.

Who Knew 8:00 AM Class Could Be Amazing?!

This semester I am taking “The Business of College Sport” as one of my electives. From the title of the class alone, it is obvious that this class has little to nothing to do with accounting, yet it has quickly become my favorite class. Not only did numerous former students who have taken this class PERSISTENTLY tell me that it was their favorite class they had ever taken, but it is also taught by The Ohio State athletic director, Gene Smith, and his wife Sheila Smith.

The first month of this class has been super exciting considering each class we have had a guest speaker come in and talk about a variety of topics related to the Ohio State Athletic Program such as finances, governance, trademarks, and ticketing for games.


The Football Locker Room

Our most recent class was EASILY the coolest class we have had so far (if you can even call it class) because we got a personal tour of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. This is the facility that contains the indoor practice facility where numerous Ohio State Varsity Athletic teams practice, including the football team, and also holds the training rooms, workout equipment and locker room used by the Ohio State football team.

The tour started in the lobby of the facility that had been newly renovated and held the plethora of trophies accumulated by the football team over the years. We then walked through the impressive halls of the building that contained extensive lists and pictures of All Americans, the helmets of every NFL team an Ohio State football player has played for (a very full wall), displays of previous team uniforms and shoes, and countless other decor lining the hallways.


Outdoor View of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center


The Football Workout Facility


We then went through Urban Meyers HUGE office that led out to the indoor turf practice facility where the men’s lacrosse team was currently holding an early-morning practice. From there, we walked through the football team’s luxurious locker room. The locker room was huge and even contained a waterfall on one of the walls. The locker room led to the training room with a full staff already at work. Finally, the training room led to the massive workout area solely dedicated to the football team. This area was lined with benches, machines, free weights, and stat charts that showed things such as a player’s attitude and effort were hung on the walls.


A wall in the hallway of the WHAC

I am not a morning person by any means, but even as my alarm rings at 6:30 A.M. every Tuesday and Thursday, I am wide awake anticipating attending The Business of College Sport and seeing what fantastic guest speaker will be in class that day and hearing what intelligent/informative/hilarious insight Gene Smith has to openly share with the class.

Fisher Grad Buckeyes

Since I’ve been in Columbus for almost five weeks I feel like I’m settling into Fisher and what it means to be a graduate student as well as an Ohio State Buckeye. First, grad school is NOT undergrad. They told us this during orientation but I don’t think it really hit home until the first two weeks of classes came and gone, very quickly. We are held accountable to reading because students need to be a value-added body in the classroom that’s prepared to contribute. Grad school means not sitting in a classroom for an hour and fifteen minutes listening to a lecture twice a week, then taking tests to earn your grade. However, both components I love and each lecture you hear another perspective that you may not have originally thought of. You get to know your classmates, professors, and most importantly, yourself, better. Professors and faculty alike also told us at orientation that in grad school we need to possess a certain level of “intellectual curiosity” because of the opportunities ahead and I feel like I am so fortunate to be welcomed into Fisher’s pool of resources. I finished undergrad in May at the University of Georgia and I can honestly say this a whole different ball of wax because of the standard and caliber. Second, being a student at THE Ohio State University means when someone says, “O-H,” you say, “I-O” (still working on my reflexes with this one). I love when I fly home to Atlanta I’m almost always able to find one Fisher alumnus on the plane ride back to Columbus, and we have an instant and special comradery about campus and football season. Being a Buckeye means Saturdays are now committed to cheering on the Bucks on and off the field. I LOVE football season, so this was a major component when I considered where I wanted to further my education. Could it get any better than winning a National Championship the season before? Not in my eyes. Needless to say, I love Fisher grad life and the Buckeyes!


What was I thinking?

I spent most of Saturday working on projects for school and doing a little bit of reading.  The project aspect went fine.  However, when I got to the reading portion, I started to get nervous again.  A thought occurred to me though.  More correctly, I thought about my way of thinking.  Up to this point, my readings have been utilizing a limited perspective on absorbing the information.  After the class on Thursday, I realized that memorization is not the way to go.  I had the idea of supplementing the information in the text with real world examples.  My idea for this week is to go into class with a couple questions and a little background research into the contemporary examples of the topics.  Already, I feel more competent and confident that this strategy will work.  At the very least, I will be better off than I was last week.

New Horizons

Work started off rough this morning.  There were a lot of things to deal with this morning and it was incredibly frustrating.  I immediately thought about my children and what behavior I would demonstrate in front of them to handle the situation if they were watching me.  First step was to listen and absorb.  The next step was to respond.  I went back to the office and typed up an e-mail to my superiors stating the issues and the steps to address it.  I then followed through.  To my surprise, I got no response back from anyone.  I was very grateful, because it was my superior’s way of saying.  Good job, I have no feedback for you!  The end of the day brought resolution to the issues of the morning and actually a positive spin on things.

I got lined up with my third team (one for each class I am in).  We debated how to divide up the responsibilities and some peripheral chats about scheduling.  It’s a great opportunity to learn how to work as a group and also a great opportunity to quickly adjust to different people and their perspectives.  I have really taken it to heart that other people have great insights into issues.  The lectures definitely have a “higher level” feel to them.  Most of these classes we actually are discussing points together.  There of course is always the nice feeling we get when we make the big point, but there is now something deeper.  Listening to others and absorbing their thoughts into yours.  The focus for me is beginning to shift from the “I have a great idea” philosophy into the idea “what can I say that will help everyone think about this in a new way.”

In the three plus years of being a father, tonight was the first night that I did not get to kiss my kids goodnight.  On the one hand I am deeply saddened.  On the other hand, I am doing my job as a father by working hard to make our lives better.  This kind of situation is awful, but I know that when I hold them next, I get to savor that moment a little bit more than usual.

Reading, reading, and also reading

My full time schedule means that I will most likely be spending my weekends reading.  Today, I spent most of my day getting through the majority of the assigned readings for the upcoming week.  Thank goodness for the ability of my children to interrupt me and provide me with an excuse to take a break from education!  I believe that the reading went a little slow today, mainly because it is an immersion into a new culture that I am not accustomed to.  Some of the terminology was unfamiliar and my laptop was crucial for looking up the definitions of the words I don’t know.  There was a gulp of anxiety about halfway through a 150 page reading assignment.  Again, my little girl woke me from this stupor and asked “Daddy, play you with me?”  I followed the order and we played with Rainbow Dash, Shutterfly, and Rarity pony.

Despite how little I get to see my family, how busy work is, how much schoolwork there is to do, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have these burdens.  I am grateful for the opportunity to develop my abilities and improve the lifestyle for my family.

A day in my life

The day started, as usual, around 4:40 am in the morning.  I played a kung fu form, watched a little bit of the news as I grabbed a quick bite to eat.  I had prepared my lunch and dinner to be ready to go.  By 5:10 am I was on my way to work with my mug full of coffee.  I read over the articles that we were going to discuss in class before I prepared to do a check in for work.  The client that I manage has appreciated the time that I have spent on site at their company and increased their order from our company.  My boss was pretty happy, but I confess it was a little overwhelming, because it also means my responsibilities were growing.  Just in time for the beginning of classes!  The day quickly flew by staying consistently busy and my break around 2 pm was a welcome relief.  I sat at my desk eating my lunch and my thoughts drifted to how my kids and wife were.  I knew it was nap time, so I didn’t want to wake them up.  The rest of the day flew by and I barely had time to finish my work.

I traveled to OSU and as I was parking the car, I got a call from our client and we had an informal chat about the ongoing partnership.  I met up with some friends from class and had a nice time listening to their perspectives on careers and more background.  The professor for the class tonight had a much different style and seemed to be able to engage everyone in the room without much effort.

The professor ended class early so that we could go to a networking event with Marathon Oil company.  I spoke to some folks from the MHRM council and learned a couple of things about the case competition that we will be participating in.  The next group that I floated to included Jill Westerfeld (career development) and an HR representative from Marathon.  I asked questions about his experiences and enjoyed hearing not only about his experiences, but the fact I was asking the questions in front of Jill.  I have a meeting planned with her next week, so it will be interesting to hear her impressions about the type of questions I asked and the manner with which I asked them.  I spent about an hour at the event and said goodbye to a couple of classmates as I left.

I drove home, hoping that I would get the chance to see my kids before they went to sleep.  Luckily, I got to hug my little girl.  My little boy was a little tired, but I got to see him too.  I finished off the night typing up this blog and then preparing for tomorrow.

First Day of School

I sat there in class and connected with a few people that I had met with during orientation.  We chatted about various things as we waited for the professor to come in.  He introduced himself and very thoroughly went through his syllabus, clearly outlining his intentions for us to learn.  He also sincerely professed his desire to help us along the way.  We then had a brief lecture introducing us to the fundamentals of HR.  I was really grateful to have my computer, because he spoke with such detail, that I would have had a hard time writing everything down by hand.

After the lecture there was a short break.  The class seemed to re-energize a little as we broke into small group discussions about the topics we discussed.  The class concluded with two of my classmates debating the issue in front of the class.

Classes in Fisher

It has been 3 weeks since my classes started. Although I have been an exchange student in United States for 4 months, I still feel a little bit stressful with my academic life. First of all, we have a mountain of pre-class reading: I read 200 pages per week on average. Therefore, I spend most of my time at Fisher reading these materials. The first thing I have learned is to use different reading strategies on different reading materials. For example, in the “Foundations Of Labor and Human Resources” course, we have over 200-pages of reading for a week. At first, I read so carefully that I realized I wouldn’t finish this task before class begins. So I changed my strategy and just focused on the main points of each chapter. However, when I read cases, I have to be more careful to be prepared for class discussion. It takes about 2 hours for me to finish reading a case. I should first know the situation of the company and then clarify what problem the company is facing. After that, I analyze causes of these problems and try to figure out solutions. So here is one of my ideologies of Fisher courses: we do not focus on memorizing all content in a book but absorb the author’s thoughts and apply them in practical cases.


In addition, we really emphasize class participation. We may have a discussion, debate or presentation in classes. In the course “Fundamentals of Business Excellence II,” every class begins with the professor’s question: “What’s in your mind this week?” Then students start to talk about what they found or thought about recent HR issues.

Last week, we had a group discussion on a case. As a group, we analyzed the situation and gave suggestions. We spent about 2 hours on the discussion. It was like we were hired by this company to make a change of this organization. The professor told us it was a real case that he had worked on. He talked about how he dealt with this case. It was great since we made a link between classroom teaching and real organizational practice.

Since the Chinese education system is so different from that in the United States, I am still trying my best to adjust my academic life to here. My undergraduate life was quite relaxed. But here at Fisher, I have to deal with course assignments, group projects (we value teamwork and have group work for each courses), career fairs, and hub activities at the same time. I need to be energetic everyday!

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