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.

First week MBA + First month USA

Time flies by.  Here comes the first week of my MBA study, and the first month of staying in USA for the first time.  My life seems never ever to be so exciting, fulfilling, and interesting:

1)  New York New York! – I went to Big Apple to attend 1st Asia MBA conference, and explore many sites of interest like MET, UN headquarter, 5th Avenue and Central Park. More over, during the football time of OSU vs USC on Sept 12, we joined a gathering with hundreds of OSU alumni in a bar near Time Square to watch the game. We drank, cheered, sang, applauded  and shouted “Go Bucks” all the time.  This is a really great experience.

2) Case study and group meetings – Given my engineering background and education experience in China and Singapore, I have never been exposed to the case method and group study. In first sessions, case study is really a challenge for me — professor talked about Opera show, which I have never seen although heard of; my group buddies used slams or idioms like “beat  a dead horse” that I am not quite sure the exact meaning; and topics in the class changed so quickly that you must be focused 110 percent to catch up…  But, I like challenges because challenges mean the opportunities for self improvment.

3) Food: Food is always an attractive topic.  I spent several years in Singapore, where I can find all kinds of oriental foods like Japanese Sashimi, Korean grill, roti prata from India, and Southeast Asia-style spicy seafood. Here in Columbus I had chances to try western style foods — like genuine American food (other than Macdonald and KFC of course), and my favorite is “sweet corn” (they put butter and pepper on the corn which is truly delicious). Last night I went to “Buca di Beppo”– an Italian restaurant in Columbus where got wonderful pasta, and I am planning to go “Schmidts” for German food now!

My happy ending: my first week/month is over, but the long journey just started.  Overcome the obstacles, acquire what I really want are the goals of my two year B-school study~  and don’t forget — have fun!

It’s time…

Remember when it’s the night before the first day of class and you sleep early so you’ll be up bright and early the next day. Not anymore.

I didn’t turn in until after 1:30 am last Tuesday night. Wednesday night was a lot worse. I already had a “fell asleep in my study desk” moment. This totally disproves my “as long as I’m not in my bed, I won’t fall asleep and finish studying” theory. I had to read chapters, analyze case studies, and familiarize with the syllabus before even setting foot in class. But hey, that’s expected, right? Any good school would expect this, especially with Graduate Programs.

Actually, the assignments weren’t the “real” reason why I had to stay awake burning the midnight oil. Well, technically they were, but there was a way that the unpleasantness would have been minimized, if not avoided. (No, not enrolling is not an option.)

It’s this tiny but important thing called time management.

We even had a session on this during Fisher Advantage Orientation. But the thing is, this is not that easy to do when you have a million things going on. When there is a lull in the schedule, you just want to chill. Sometimes, you just want the moment to just cyber-stalk your friends in Facebook or watch the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory”. (If you haven’t seen this show, I highly recommend that you do.)

Nobody is saying any of these so-called “time-wasters” are bad. They may be even good to get all the craziness out of your head. But we need to set a limit. Two hours in Facebook is just bad decision-making when you have 35 pages of financial accounting to study.

I’m speaking in general terms here but I am really just making a note to myself. But (I hope) I am improving. I stopped playing Crazy Planets and rejected all the other addictive applications my online friends were inviting me to try. Not incredible growth but hey, baby steps. We’ll get there soon. 🙂

In the meantime, if you have tips or similar stories, please share them. They would be highly appreciated. Thanks.

Checking my gas light…

One day a few months ago, I was having one of those days… I was finishing up my senior seminar class, my computer died, my camera was broken, and as I was driving to Wal-Mart (the only store in the small city) my windshield wiper broke and my gas light came on.  Looking back, I realize that each of these were just one small thing that was not hard to fix, but at the time I thought my world was crashing down around me.

As I told my best friend, I told him about my day, ending about the gas light problem and he looked at me, placed his hands on my shoulders, and said “We call it a gas station, Robyn” At that point, I started to laugh and gained some perspective on the situation.

I would describe my first few weeks of class with this same feeling.  We have our internship to worry about, info sessions, bootcamps, group organization meetings, class work, Carmen, downloading, Swine flu, locker combo, etc.  All these things  were overwhelming me as I walked out to my car today after class.  While I was walking, hands full, in heels, it began to rain.

As I got into my car, I felt like I was in a whirlwind known as business school.  Then as I pulled out of St. John’s arena parking lot, my gas light came on.  I immediately began to smile and realized that I had lost perspective once again.

I pulled into the gas station down the street and started by checking one thing off my list.

Cheap Books and Tips.

I’ve noticed as I’ve read through several of the other blogs that people have commented on on the expense of buying books through campus bookstores or are curious as to where they can find a cheaper alternative. As my fiance puts it, I’m a connoisseur of online buying; most everything I buy is from online and multiple times cheaper than the vast majority of retail stores.

I discovered about 2 quarters into my sophomore year the art of buying books online. This quarter is probably my pride and joy as I saved $160 by buying my books online as opposed to buying used books from the campus bookstores. **NOTE** this does not apply to course packets. And for any professor reading this, sympathize for your students and don’t have course packets. Post readings on Carmen and make them buy a book. At least that way it’s re-sell-able.

How do I do it? Simple – Email your professor and ask which books are required for your class and be sure to ask for the edition. Once you have the title, author, edition and most of the time ISBN, google search the ISBN. Use the shopping function of google, which is AMAZING, and find the cheapest book. Amazon is good, but I much prefer abebooks.com. It tends to be a little cheaper and have less shipping. Amazon has the “super saving” deal where you can spend so much and get free shipping, but that’s only from Amazon, not their dealers, and most of the time are more expensive than the dealer prices or the prices from other online book distributors. Buy.com and half.com are other good sites, but always make sure you’re shopping through a secure site. Nine times out of ten, if the web URL starts with https, not just http it’s secure, but be careful where you put your credit card number.

Also, if you have the option of buying the binder-ready version vs the hard/soft back book, buy the hard/soft back book. Campus area stores won’t buy it back if it’s the binder-ready version. I learned that the hard way after “saving” $40 on a physics book and ended up losing $120 because I can’t sell it back.

More tips to come. For now, happy 2nd day of classes!