On the other side of the table

I’m teaching a course this year called “Applied Business Skills and the Environment of Business” or BA499 as Ohio State calls it. Every business major has to go through it and some students refer to it as “Public Speaking 101.” The course focuses on three key areas: 1. team building skills, 2. communication/presentation skills, and 3. ethics/corporate social responsibility. So far it’s gone well, but it has really made me appreciate my professors a lot more.

To start with, it’s a LOT of work. For every hour that I teach, I probably spend four outside of the classroom preparing, grading, meeting, or emailing. And everything takes a long time with forty students. The first class was a little intimidating with forty students just sitting there waiting for you to make a move. I’m just glad that the course material is interesting and that I have a lot of experience/interest in team building and public speaking. I guess I could be teaching accounting. Or worse yet, statistics.

I did have an “I’m getting old” moment though when one of my students emailed me last night. I subsequently told them all today to call me “Mike,” instead of “Mr. Hrostoski,” which got a little chuckle from the group. It’s funny how much better it feels up there when they’re laughing.

So far it’s going pretty well, but we’ll see how happy they are when they get back their first grades on Wednesday.

Mike ^_^

Applied Business Skills and the Environment of Business

I Suppose Public Speaking isn’t THAT Scary

The MLHR program requires many group projects and a lot of speaking in front of the class.  Public speaking is something that I am terrified of.  I don’t know why.  There really is no logic behind being afraid of speaking in front of people.  I keep trying to remind myself that I have done many other things in my life that are much more scary than public speaking, such as scuba diving.  Possibly getting eaten by a shark or separated from my group at 100 feet while scuba diving should cause me more fear than speaking in front of a group of my peers.  Well, that is not the case!

I expressed my fear of speaking in front of a group to one of my classmates who is a Teaching Assistant and she immediately said, “Come speak in front of my class on Monday.”  Initially I wanted to say no, but I realized that she was offering me a great opportunity to practice in front of a group of students who I will most likely never see again.  So, I agreed.

I did a short presentation on my Myers Briggs personality test results in front of her class this morning.  I was definitely terrified and I shook the entire time, but that really was the worst of it.  I am so thankful to my classmate for giving me the opportunity to practice speaking in front of her students and allowing me to face my fear head on.  It will only get easier from here!

PowerPoint Overload

As I print thirty pages of PowerPoint slides for my courses this week, I can’t help but wonder when PowerPoint became such an integral part of the classroom experience.

At the risk of sounding nostalgic (or curmudgeon-like), I am forced to think back to my undergrad experiences.  As an engineering student, I only took a handful of courses that utilized PowerPoint as a teaching tool and I occasionally used it as an aid for my own oral presentations.  However, it was far from a standard part of every classroom.

But flash forward just five years, and (at least in the business school) there is a projector in every room and four out of my five MBA courses are taught primarily using PowerPoint.  I’m not sure what to think of it.   It does seem to be pretty effective and some instructors have found innovative ways to teach using the medium: one instructor encourages “active learning” by distributing slides with blanks in the places of key terms and ideas—as we cover the material in class we are encouraged to fill in the blanks.

Are there any thoughts on the use of PowerPoint as a teaching technique?  Have instructors lost the ability to lecture or lead a discussion without a using it as crutch?  Or is its pervasiveness an indicator of its effectiveness?

Reposted from aaron360.com.

A

PowerPoint handouts for this week 092709
PowerPoint handouts for this week 092709

Kid’s story: Why the heck am I here?

Timeline: Sunday, right after dinner

I see: the smoke remaining from my cooking

I hear: the washing machine in the spin cycle

I smell: smoke, go figure…

I feel: confused

My little cousin asked me recently how a person gets admitted into an MBA program at a top-ranked business school.

My short answer was: “I don’t know”.

I mean, I never meant to study at Fisher. As a matter of fact, the first time I heard of Fisher was this year and an image of a pond, a kayak, and a smelly guy wearing a hat came to mind. I did mean to get an MBA degree against my wishes, but I applied elsewhere (and got admission offers, in case you’re wondering).

Whoa, slow down… against my wishes? Yes, as a matter of fact. I was fed up and done with being a student, given that I already earned a salary (one that we call “decent” in my country, but that’s actually pocket change when turned into dollars) and that can be addictive. Also, I like partying in a measure that does not allow for it to be anywhere near “cheap”, so I was like a kitten in a yarn basket.

My cousin then changed her question into why would a person want to study an MBA.

I began thinking about my experience and how during the first few weeks the faculty members made it clear that they’re convinced that everyone is there for the money (which may be true) and nothing else (which I’m sure is wrong). I started evaluating every single aspect of my short life as an MBA student: the resources, the possibility of learning from distinguished professors, the pride of having a degree from The Ohio State University, the dream of a six-figure salary in the end, the vision of a career, the possibility of making a difference in the world…

None of them make sense. There is just one aspect of my new life that keeps me from regretting my decision, and it just makes everything else go away.

It’s the people. It’s my classmates. It’s my friends. This is the invaluable asset of an MBA experience. This is what keeps me going. And I am grateful for it.

By the way, my little cousin is applying for the MBA next year.

“How does it feel to come out of nothing…” – Dark Tranquillity (yes, with two l’s)

First day of class and OSU – Illinois weekend

I had my first night of class this past Thursday and I was pleasantly surprised that the (almost) 4 hours of class went by as quickly as they did. In 812 (Managerial Economics), we discussed a case for the majority of class and in 870 (Data Analysis for Managers), we went over the syllabus and then jumped into the course material. I think it will be a good quarter as long as I stay up to date with my work.

Since Thursday’s class I really haven’t had time to think about the reading and homework I have to do for class on Tuesday. My girlfriend’s family flew in from Chicago on Friday and we’ve been busy until now. Friday night we went to dinner at Marcella’s in the Short North. The food was good but the service was slow and the restaurant was ridiculously loud.

Saturday we went to the OSU – Illinois game. As most of you know, the weather was awful and despite our waterproof jackets and ponchos, we still managed to get pretty wet. Five minutes into the 2nd quarter we decided to go underneath and watch the rest of the quarter. We quickly decided that it would be a good idea to leave at halftime and watch the game from home. The defense looked great and it was nice to see the Buckeyes get another shutout.

Once the rain had cleared Sunday morning, we went golfing at OSU’s Scarlet course. It was a little soggy out there and I didn’t play very well but we had a great time. Scarlet is one of my favorite courses and for $30 you won’t find a better deal in Columbus. For those of you that aren’t golf fans, OSU’s golf courses were designed by Alister MacKenzie who designed Augusta National (where the Masters is played) and is considered by many to be the greatest golf course architect ever.

Now that the weekend is winding down, it is time to to get started on my homework and readings for class. Thanks for reading…below are a few pictures from the game.

Maybe a History degree wasn’t a great idea…

On Wednesday of last week, I had my first class as an Ohio State graduate student.  I never thought I’d say this about school, but I am really excited about my core curriculum and the skill sets that I’m about to gain.  After graduating from Yale University in 2006, I entered corporate America thinking I was prepared for anything that would come my way.  As you can probably imagine, it didn’t take long before I realized that I still had much to learn.  (Despite this discovery, I have no regrets about earning a BA in History… it just needs to be complemented with an MBA.)

Now that I have a couple classes under my belt, I need to stay on top of my assignments so I don’t fall behind in class.  Since I am one of a handful of students who have never taken a business class, I’ll need to work twice as hard as my peers.  Fortunately, I have come to this realization before receiving my first round of grades, and I am currently in the process of finding a place where I can study in the most efficient manner.

My first weekend as a student on Ohio State’s campus has been fairly dull from a blogger’s perspective.  On Friday, I woke up and started reading the 4 chapters that were assigned in Economics.  Around noon, I helped a friend move a futon to his place. (He provided Chipotle for lunch.)  Afterwards I started reading again until I could no longer focus due to my excitement for that night’s social activity:  1980’s theme party.  As expected, it rocked.

On Saturday, I woke-up to the sound of pouring rain and decided against going to The Horseshoe to root on the Buckeyes.  Instead of watching the game on TV, I decided to make it a “reading day” and drove to the Upper Arlington Public Library to get some work done.  I stayed in the library for 8 hours and left at the 5pm closing time.  After spending the entire day in the library I was completely brain dead when I left and decided to make it an early night rather than going out with my MBA friends.

Sunday was very similar to my Saturday.  I woke up early and went to Gerlach Hall to study.  I started reading my Accounting chapters, but continuously took mini breaks to watch the Bengals game on TV in Gerlach’s hallway.  All I can say is “Who Dey, baby!?”

My awesome classmate, Eva

I am too busy recently. But I really appreciate this status, since it brings me a great stage for self-development. Overwhelmed by the stress from study and new living environment, I also receive lots of help from my friends and classmates home and abroad. Here, I would like to show my sincere gratitude to my close friend and classmate Eva, who I met in the OIA during check-in. She is from India and she came here with her smart and nice husband Renji.

Eva is very easy-going, gentle, environment-friendly and helpful. She took me to the shopping malls and I got a very cute blue T-shirt that makes me very energetic . And she also offered yummy Indian food at her sweet home. Furthermore, she shares her hobby with me. She taught me about DIY decorations. Furthermore, she drove her SUV to pick up my second-hand furniture for my bedroom. Last but not least, she is that helpful that she gave me considerable suggestions about life and study. I don’t know what kind of things I can do for this kind-hearted lady!!!

Now we two are now team members in MHR863- Business Practices and the Human Resource Manager. I was overwhelmed by lots of new information. Eva comforted me  and also wrote an email to the other team members . I attach her email here——–

Lily feels bad that she was not clear about what the auto bailout topic was and is afraid to make mistakes again. So I was hoping we could all encourage her a bit. We are all here to learn and making mistakes is a part of learning. And frankly none of us know the actuals of the issue and need to read a lot about it too… So hope to see more of your mails bouncing in Lily.. 🙂

Then I also received encouragement from other members.

For instance, one of the members told me:

LILY!!! Please do not waste another second of your time feeling bad about anything! On top of Eva’s points, we will only work well together as a group if we are understanding of each other’s limitations as well as working hard, as we are clearly going to.
The point is, we each have different strengths and weaknesses, and I definitely see us taking turns leading on different things. We should strive to create an environment in which everyone feels comfortable putting their ideas out there to contribute, since that’s what is conducive to the collaborative success we will now rely on in this program. It is excellent that you are our marketing guru too! We will all find our niches and become better at developing plans of attack and work distribution as we adjust to this as well, I have no worries there.
Thank you!!!!!! You did make me stronger!

I now have more energy to prepare my program because help is everywhere!

Thank you, Eva!

First Week Lessons and Observations

The first week of classes is officially over.  It has been an exciting week of getting to know my classmates better, figuring out what time I should leave for campus to avoid traffic, realizing that time management is going to be a major factor in my success, and dealing with the fact that I am going to have to get over my fear of public speaking immediately!

Everyone in my program is extremely nice and I love how diverse our group is.  I think the diversity of our group is going to be a huge advantage and that we all have a lot to learn from each other.  Diversity can, of course, cause some barriers, but I have already experienced how supportive everyone can be when one of these barriers becomes evident.  Being supportive of one another is going to be so important.  This is new to all of us and I think we are all a little anxious!

Something else that I find interesting with a group of graduate students is that it seems we are all subtly competitive.  This competitive nature can be used in a productive manner and push us to do our very best or it can cause conflict.  Due to the fact that I have already seen so much support from my classmates, I think it is going to work to our advantage.

So far, I still LOVE graduate school!  I will speak more on time management and public speaking in later posts.  For now, I must go do homework!

Week one…I survived!

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m finished with what I’m considering my first official week of graduate school….some of the highlights:

-Work wise I finished training and was able to jump in and apply all of the things I learned in training.  My job title is Undergraduate Career Consultant and I work in the Career Management at Fisher.  I give students mock interview, review resumes and present to various classes about career management things! So this week I gave about 8 resume critiques and my first mock interview.  For the first time in well over a year I can truthfully say: I. love. my. job.

-I had two classes this week, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.  The night classes are definitely going to take some getting used to.  I’m more of a morning person.  Wednesday night was Fundamentals of HR I which I think is going to be a little bit dry…especially with the first book we need to read.  But knowing the background and history of HR is obviously important to a career.  My Thursday night class is Business for the HR manager, basically business 101.  For the first hour of the class I thought I was in the wrong place–it was Fisher College comedy hour! Everyone went around and did introductions and I was impressed and happy with the amount of diversity and comedic genius.  There are a lot of students in my program from China, others who work full time and go to school part time and everyone in that class comes from a wide variety of academic backgrounds.  We were also assigned into groups for the first of what seems to be many many group projects.  What I like about group projects in grad school is that everyone is here because they want to be, making everyone very dedicated and hardworking.  It’s a nice atmosphere to be in.

-We get name plates to display in class so professors can easily see our names.  My goal was to make it a week without forgetting to take it with me after class.  I made it through two days.  I forgot to take it after class last night…the hunt is on….so if anyone sees it let me know!

This weekend my Dad is coming to visit…I got him an OSU t-shirt so he will blend in with the crowd tomorrow 🙂

Go Bucks!

First class … for them.

As another quarter  (and another school year) starts I can feel a sense of excitement on campus.  I trudge through the hustle, bustle and usual parking hassles.  Sitting in my Data Analysis class I can pinpoint the first quarter newcomers versus the rest of us veterans.  The wide-eyed newbies have a trying-to-take-it-all-in look as they rigidly sit waiting for the professor to start talking.   Some still are wearing their MBA candidate name plates they received in orientation.  They are freshmen once again ready to be hazed by the flames of graduate coursework.  One the other side of class the veterans sit casually, gabbing and griping to each other about their previous quarter grades, their summer break, the same complaints about work that echoed in my last class.

Takeaways:   Get plugged into your classmates as soon as  you can, especially in the working professional program.  Your classmates have a world of experience that you don’t.