Fail…

“The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you were born and doesn’t stop until you get called for oral recitation.”

I got the line, which is a George Jessel quotation with a twist, from my friend Kristine Malabanan. And it perfectly sums up what happened yesterday during MBA 812: Managerial Economics class.

When I went through the required reading for the class (which was almost a HUNDRED PAGES), I had a different understanding about marginal benefits and its impact on whether or not a consumer decided to buy more or not. During the discussion, I realized my error. While I was still trying to reconfigure everything (the key word being trying), I was called to say my piece about marginal costs and suppliers. As the professor was shooting questions at me, I was trying to say something using the new information I received earlier. That was, of course, unsuccessful. Although, the way the discussion was moving, you would believe that I was actually on the right track – until you hear the gibberish I was saying anyway. I am trying to remember what I said but all I remember are random numbers.

I felt really stupid after that. But it triggered something in me. I was suddenly very eager to say something else in class. In previous sessions, my heart would be pounding every time I raise my hand. It was actually a relief when somebody else was called. But now, it’s “I already made a big mistake, it wouldn’t hurt to make another one”. This mindset works in classes (with obvious exceptions) where making mistakes is just another opportunity to learn. It’s a cliché but it’s true. I am sure I will never forget the concept of marginal benefits and costs for a loooooooong time. When exams come, I am almost 100% certain that I will get this item right.

Why Fisher?

Kumar, Fan & Robyn in the lounge
Kumar, Fan & Robyn in the lounge

So I am sitting in the Fisher student lounge with a few of my fellow classmates after an excellent discussion in our Economics class about supply & demand curves and how it relates to Organ donation. Sounds boring but trust me it got heated. So I have a few hours to kill between an MBA Intro Real estate class I am a Teaching Assistant in (a little bit more about that later) so I figured I would let you in on a little bit about myself and why I chose Fisher.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, went to the University of Arizona originally to study business but found Regional Development, a major that focused on economic development and land planning, to be more interesting. While in college I had a few internships with different real estate companies and found that I really enjoyed real estate development. After college I worked in Phoenix for two different real estate firms but decided to move back to Philadelphia to work for a commercial real estate private equity firm that focused on industrial real estate. Have I lost you yet? So after working in Philadelphia for the last year and a half and after the real estate market/stock market crash, I knew I always wanted to go back to school for an MBA and figured that now was the perfect time to take two years out of the workforce.

In evaluating schools I looked at the top 30 list and took off the schools I either thought I couldn’t get into and places I didn’t want to live. I was also focused on programs that had some type of real estate focus. My list was narrowed down to five schools, USC, OSU, ASU, Wisconsin & University of Florida. After going through the application process and visiting my top choices (USC, OSU, ASU) I was able to really find why Fisher was perfect for me.

My interview day at Fisher was long, just as long as all the other interviews but what stood out was the time the people took to help answer questions after I had left. After meeting professors that had been recruited from HBS and Booth, I was thoroughly impressed with the teaching faculty and the level of participation in the classroom visit during a first year strategy class. As I was on the way to the airport I had multiple e-mails from people I met throughout the day asking what else they could do to answer questions as well as a voice mail from the Director of the Center of Real Estate (which i am now a TA & Graduate Assistant in), Ken Gold. Obviously not only did this impress me but it gave me the feeling that Fisher wanted me and valued me.

When it came down to it all of the schools I looked at had great programs in Real Estate but what stood out were the people at Fisher. The atmosphere here is unlike any other. People are supportive, not competitive, friendly, not awkward and most of all everyone is really smart! The caliber of student I have met here is higher then any other info session I attended at all the other schools I applied to.

So the group I was sitting with just left to head to a Deloitte info session and I have some time to kill but I see some of my other friends from class at another table. I think I’ll join them before tonight’s weekly social event.

-JB

And so it begins…

One down…how many more to go??  And so this two-year journey starts…

If you haven’t realized yet, I am a first year, first quarter WPMBA student who is now juggling school and a very loaded work schedule.  I meant to write something interesting during the weekend, but guess what?? EXACTLY!!! I spent most of the weekend trying to catch up (already!) with all of the reading material assigned for week 2!

By now you have probably heard all about the first week of classes and the mixed expectations between first year first quarter students (me!) and the rest of the crowd – so I won’t bore you with that.  The only comment I will make is that, regardless of how we feel, we are all in this together and hopefully we will all make it through the two years.

Check back and next time (maybe tomorrow) I will tell you all about my upcoming immigration test (10/8) and what it’s like to go through that experience. Stay tuned!!

A list of firsts

Within the last 7 days, exactly, many firsts have happened in my life. They are as follows:

  • First day of Graduate School
  • Wearing stilettos to class
  • Creating a grad level presentation
  • Creating a presentation which may or may not ever be presented
  • Sitting in class in a comfortable chair
  • Sitting in class where the ‘desk’ isn’t attached to my chair
  • Having plenty of room to spread out my notes during class
  • Having a professor wear a suit to class, each class, not just the first day
  • Forgetting my name plate for class – which is conveniently sitting in front of me in my apartment, now
  • Having something to add to class, and actually saying it (trust me it doesn’t happen hardly ever)
  • Sitting in class for four hours
  • Being warm in Gerlach Hall

I’m sure there are many more, but these are just a few that come to mind.

I keep hearing the reoccurring theme to keep ahead of things. And, as I sit here at 10:30 at night, having just gotten home from class, I realize how true it is. For now, I’m off to read 50 pages about the origins and evolutions of the field of industrial relations.

The comfortable chairs and spacious desk areas!
The comfortable chairs and spacious desk areas!

Second night of class

I just finished my second night of class and now that school is in full swing I have had to sketch out my calendar for the next 10 weeks. In October, I have a ton of events that I have tickets for and thus I have had to plan ahead. Among those events are concerts, out of town football games and the local Italian Festival which you’ll hear all about in my blog over the next few weeks. Anyway, what I guess I am trying to say is that time management is really, really important. If you want to do all of the fun stuff, you have to manage your time well so that you can still get all of your work done.  October is going to be crazy, but fortunately it should slow down a little in November and I will have a little more free time then.

Also, one thing I forgot to mention in my last post was that I went to Montgomery Inn in Dublin over the weekend and it was awesome.  If you like BBQ then this is definitely the place for you. If you don’t like BBQ then it is also definitely the place for you. The service and food were great. Make sure you check it out.

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.