Organization Design Strategies: A Look at the Global One Health Initiative GAP Project in Ethiopia and Kenya

Rolling out of bed after finals week at the end of our second semester in the MBA program, it was both exciting and nerve-racking to be packing for a three-week trip for Ethiopia and Kenya. After making it through final group projects and coursework, I kept wondering if I was truly prepared for our in-country portion of the GAP global consulting project. On May 4, 2018, most of the members of my GAP team met at the Columbus airport for our journey to Addis Ababa. We were headed to our client’s regional office that was recently opened at the end of 2017. Our client, GOHi, is an NGO based at The Ohio State University focused on education, research, training and outreach programs to build capacity toward a global One Health approach.

My amazing GAP team!

Before leaving for Ethiopia, our team of seven MBA students met with GOHi several times to work through project objectives and develop a plan of action during the in-country experience. We were working toward developing recommendations for their organization structure and a list of potential partners for GOHi to establish a sustainable presence in the region. The months leading up to the trip, we identified organizations with similar missions to connect with in-country and learn more about their strategy and operations on the ground. We prepared interview guides, developed spreadsheets, laughed late into the evenings in Gerlach Hall, made nicknames for ourselves and bonded over Graeter’s Ice Cream.

After all this time, May 4th finally came around, and we embarked on our journey. Our team spent the first week in Addis Ababa getting to know the GOHi team and beginning our interviews with similar organizations working in the region. We were able to walk to the office every morning from the hotel where we stayed, passing by the ongoing building construction and liveliness of the capital city. The GOHi staff was extremely welcoming and supportive, inviting us to learn about their daily activities, taking us to a traditional Ethiopian lunch and dinner where we tasted our first authentic injera and later experienced the traditional dance of eskista, and allowing us to observe project sites and learn more about the on-the-ground project work taking place.

We met with organizations like Amref Health Africa, PSI Ethiopia and the Ethiopian branch of the CDC. We learned about the importance of maintaining relationships with government entities to gain support for organization success, we identified potential partnership opportunities and recommendations for increased visibility and flexibility in organization structure. 

Meeting with GOHi team and PSI Ethiopia

After our week in Addis Ababa, we traveled to Kenya to further our research with organizations based in Nairobi. There, we met with and learned from organizations like the International Livestock Research Institute, World Animal Protection and the University of Nairobi. Although most of our time was spent in meetings, we had time for a quick weekend safari to Maasai Mara as well!

After a week in Nairobi, we flew back to Addis to bring together our final report and presentation to the GOHi team. Throughout the entire project, we had established a strong group dynamic that enabled a strong final product for the client, one that they are still using today! Although a short trip, I found this to be an amazing experience, full of learning, the chance to build new relationships and the opportunity to consult for an organization working toward an important mission.

Beautiful sunrise on our last day in Addis!

A huge shout out here to my amazing Fisher MBA GAP team: Aziza Allen, Ariel Cooper, John Cox, Kaitlyn Kendall-Sperry and Obi Nnebedum

And to the GOHi staff and leadership team: Wondwossen Gebreyes, Emia Oppenheim, Ashley Bersani, Getnet Yimer, Kassahun Asmare, Tigist Endashaw, Tewodros Abebe and Joshua Amimo

My Grad Life: The Intro

Welcome to the Fisher Grad Life Blog!

My name is Elise Zawacki, and over the next two years, I will be sharing my experience in the Masters of Human Resource Management program here at the Fisher College of Business. To better understand the content I will be writing about, here are a few things to know about me. I lived in the state of Michigan for the past 22 years of my life and recently graduated from Central Michigan University where I studied Human Resource Management with a minor in Information Systems. During this time, I also was a part of various student organizations and found a passion for volunteerism and professional development. Although it may be to my family and friends dismay, I couldn’t be happier that I get to call myself a Buckeye.

May 2018 Graduate

Outside of my academics, I enjoy a number of hobbies during my free time. A few of these include:

Traveling Everywhere & Anywhere

Paris, France

Most recently, I took a post-graduation trip throughout Europe where I visited Amsterdam, London, Paris, Florence, and Rome. A future goal of mine is to visit every continent in the world (Yes, even Antarctica).

Reading

I don’t have a particular topic or subject that I specifically focus on, but lately, I have been picking up any New York Times Best Seller I stumble upon at Barnes & Noble. My long-time favorite author is John Green, and I fully blame him for the reason I am obsessed with life and love quotes.

Food & Drink Exploration

Fox in the Snow Cafe
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

I am a foodie, so this particular hobby is the one I practice most often. Being in a new city makes it fun and easy to do. My pro tip for exploring new places is to use Yelp—it has yet to let me down! Pictured above are two places I most recently checked out, Fox in the Snow Cafe and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, they are absolutely worth a trip. This topic will more than likely consume another one of my blog posts so stay tuned!

Concert Enthusiast  

Lollapoolza – Chicago, IL

Although I don’t have the time or money to do this as frequently as I would like, I have managed to attend over 25 concerts in my lifetime. Whether it is country, hip hop, alternative, or electronic music I enjoy it all. Something I have already come to love about Columbus is that there is no shortage of concerts, music venues, and live bands to go to around the city.

Thank you for reading my introductory blog post, and I hope that you stick with me as I continue to write about my graduate school journey.

Buck-i-Frenzy

Nothing says “Back to School” like Buck-i-Frenzy! Buck-i-Frenzy is Ohio State’s annual welcome back festival hosted by corporate sponsors from the Columbus area.  Over 20,000 students and hundreds of business attend each year.  The festival carries the motto of “Four hours of friends, food, and free stuff!” and certainly lives up to that claim.

Buck-i-Frenzy is held around the Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC) each year during Welcome Week on the day before classes officially start.  Being a combined BSBA/MAcc student, I was able to attend my fourth Buck-i-Frenzy and was not disappointed. I came home with a lot of snacks, preseason Blue Jackets tickets, free meal coupons for many popular High Street restaurants, water bottles, t-shirts, and a concert ticket.  This year we had Moe’s, Raising Cane’s, and Skyline Chili giving out free food to students.  While free stuff is always appreciated, the best part about Buck-i-Frenzy is the experience.  Where else can you listen to music and participate in activities such as a zip line or inflatables with over 20,000 of your closest friends?

Students and companies interact at Buck-i-Frenzy

At Buck-i-Frenzy, I met up with Tom Baldinger, an Ohio State MAcc student from Buffalo, New York.  Tom was thrilled to share some words with me about the atmosphere during his first Buck-i-Frenzy.

“Buck-i-Frenzy was an awesome event to kick off the year.  Seeing so many students dressed in scarlet and gray created a sense of camaraderie and excitement to start the year. It was a great way to learn and get free swag from local and national companies in Columbus.” – Tom Baldinger

Buck-i-Frenzy is just one of Ohio State’s signature events to get undergraduate and graduate students involved on campus.  The opportunities to get involved at Ohio State are seemingly endless!

Buck-i-Frenzy video

MAcc Gives Back… and I Get a Workout

One of my favorite experiences this past year has been volunteering in MAcc Gives Back. This event occurs every spring and is open for participation by all MAcc students and professors. The goal is to “give back” to the local community of Columbus.  This year, different groups went to different locations. My group volunteered at Clarfield Farm. This is a local farm that produces healthy produce for the Ohio community, and works closely with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Once we arrived at the farm, we received a brief tour of the facility and greenhouses to see current growing plants. There were different duties to fulfill such as: filling the irrigation system over with dirt, shoveling gravel to cover a certain area of the ground, and helping move supplies to lay tarp on the ground and reorganizing the supplies.

I personally worked with two classmates, Courtney and Matt. Courtney and I shoveled the gravel into wheelbarrows, while Matt unloaded the wheelbarrows and spread the gravel evenly around the area needed. This activity was a great way to bond with fellow classmates while volunteering in addition to getting a major “arm workout.”

Matt carrying the gravel to be distributed on the ground
Courtney and I in “mid- shovel”

Overall, this was a great experience. One reason is that I learned more about my classmates outside of class and enjoy some fresh air with them. In addition, after the volunteering, a former professor who worked with us, Brian Mittendorf, took all of us out for lunch. There are enormous opportunities at the Fisher College of Business to connect with classmates and professors. I highly recommend all incoming students to get involved in as much as possible.

MAcc Gives Back

One of the difficult parts of being in such a short program is that by the time you start to get to know the city, you’re almost done. This can sometimes make it hard for students to participate in community service. On the one hand, you have a whole year to volunteer. But on the other hand, it can be intimidating to finding a good cause immediately after moving to a new place.

 

Future horticulturalists at Franklin Park Conservatory
Cleaning up a new Boys and Girls Club site

One of the MAcc Council’s solutions is “MAcc Gives Back.” Similar to Fisher Impact Day in the fall, MAcc Gives Back is an annual day of service to spend a morning giving back to the Columbus community in the spring. This year, we had the opportunity to volunteer at five different sites across the city. Focusing on issues that ranged from food insecurity to youth programs, MAcc students, faculty, and representatives from Crowe Horwath and Deloitte all had a great time serving.

Hanging out at the food bank with a recent alum
Farming in the city

As Vice President of Community Service for the MAcc Council, I also got to plan and coordinate this event. For any prospective students interested in nonprofit work or even just continuing their service projects from undergrad, this is a great opportunity. This position allows you to plan MAcc Gives Back, VITA, and any other service projects you can fit into the year. I would definitely recommend this position to anyone wanting to engage with the broader community around Fisher.

Our photo shoot at Dress for Success

Columbus Stay-cation

Over spring break, my parents made the drive from Oklahoma to Ohio to come see me for a few days!  We spent a few days seeing the different sights in Columbus, and it was really great to have some time off from school to enjoy everything Columbus has to offer!

A view from out seats in the arena

One of my favorite things that we did while my parents were in town was attend a Columbus Blue Jackets game. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Blue Jackets are a NHL team that plays in Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus.  It was my first ever hockey game. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the game (it doesn’t hurt that the Blue Jackets beat Montreal 5-2)!

On our next day, we had lunch at the North Market, and then walked over to the convention center.  We stopped and saw the statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and then made our way to a really unique piece of public art.

My dad posing with Arnold, he says the only difference is Arnold is a “little taller”

This is a really fun place to get your picture taken with your friends and then laugh about the goofy results that come out.  What’s really cool is that once you get your picture taken, it goes into a database and is randomly displayed on the statue from then on so you can always have a little piece of you still in Columbus.

Exhibit A of the goofy pictures that the statue will put on display of you

On our last day, we made the drive across town to Easton Town Center.  Easton is a really cool outdoor shopping complex and provides a nice outdoor atmosphere.

All in all, it was a great couple of days. It was nice to be a tourist in my own city and to remember all the fun stuff there is to do in Columbus!

A Trip to North Market

Recently, the SMF council organized the 4th SMF lunch/dinner of the year at the North Market. It gave, once again, the opportunity for the SMF class to unite outside Fisher around a great variety of food.

North Market is one of the great places that Columbus has to offer. It is an indoor marketplace with a variety of restaurants with culinary tastes of all around the worlds. North Market is home to multiple unique and independent merchants and farmers who supply this great place located in the downtown area of Columbus.

Most of the students attending the event and I decided to go for “Hot Chicken Takeover” as the lunch dish. This hot chicken fast casual dining place is known to serve “juicy and perfectly-fried Nashville Hot Chicken rubbed with a cayenne-infused paste.” I have to admit that by choosing the “warm” level of spice, which is the second lowest level of spice Hot Chicken Takeover serves, I was not expecting to rely on ranch and white bread to finish my meal!

On a personal note, shut out to Nanson for eating the hottest spice proposed in the restaurant.

I might repeat myself but I have been impressed and pleased with the events that the SMF council have been organizing throughout the year. It has given students the opportunity to meet and bond outside of the classrooms. Definitely an aspect of the master that I was not expecting but that has our experience much more enjoyable.

Red Carpet Reflections

Little did I expect that Red Carpet this year would be just as an amazing experience as it was last year! This time, from the perspective of a current student and point person to welcome in part of the admitted class, I realized how much fun it is to share about Columbus and the program experience so far. Also, through other current students sharing their stories, I was reminded of many opportunities to experience this amazing city!

During the welcome reception at the Ohio Stadium, we learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes to game day and were reinvigorated with excitement for next season! Student ticket info will be coming this summer, and we can’t wait to buy the Big 10 package again. One thing to look forward to for all home games are the great Fisher tailgates at Fisher Commons. Not only an apartment complex to look into, Fisher Commons is in a central location to bring many current students together.

I also helped coordinate the significant others/partners/spouses (SOPS) breakfast on Saturday morning at Red Carpet, and I learned some great tips for managing time between work/school/home! For example, many current SOPS put together shared calendars for each other to find times to spend together. My husband and I try to eat dinner together almost every evening and spend at least one day of the weekend away from work and study. On the next nice weekend day, we plan to check out the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, while doing some background research for one of the consulting projects I am working on for the Professional Development core class.

Finally, Red Carpet weekend came to a close with our women’s breakfast on Sunday morning. We have a strong group of women coming into the program, and I cannot wait to see how Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) and our Forte Foundation connections grow into next year. I had a great time connecting with classmates at the Forte conference last summer (see photo below) and hope to see many again this summer! Also, I hope to see a few admitted students at our first Fisher Women’s Conference on April 6th!

Overall, it was an amazing weekend, and I am looking forward to our incoming class next year!

A Dream Come True

When I was younger, my brother gave me a poster from one of his soccer magazines. To most, this would seem like a small thing. After all, kids save posters and random papers all the time. But this poster was different. For the next ten years, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team hung above my closet door, inspiring me through every achievement.

Although I love soccer, I myself am not very athletic. I never aspired to be a professional soccer player. In fact, my aspirations were pretty fluid. Archeologist. Psychologist. Mathematician. When you’re constantly finding new interests, there may not be a constant female role model in your own field (especially since you’re not even sure what you want your field to be). So instead, I looked up to this group of women on my wall who would never share a career path with me, but motivated me nonetheless.

As I got further into college and discovered a passion for accounting, I never forgot the team of women who inspired me to dream big and go after what I want in life. I cheered them on in the World Cup. I felt my heart swell with pride when they fought for equal pay. And last Thursday, I finally got to see them play in person.

The team had to do a lot of warming up before the game since it was so rainy and cold.

By some miracle, I won discounted tickets in the OSU ticket lottery to go see the “She Believes Cup” in Columbus. And when Megan Rapinoe, my favorite player, scored the only goal of the game, I knew without a doubt that Columbus and the MAcc program are exactly where I need to be. Out of all of my experiences this year, this is the moment that I truly felt like I had come full circle– back to that little girl who dreamed big and went after what she wanted.

We got seats right above the tunnel and saw the players walk onto the field.

This fall, I start my career as an auditor. I will be the first person in my family to have a bachelor’s degree and the first to earn a master’s degree. I will be living in a major city that I have grown to love. I will meet strong women in my own field. And on my phone will be a picture of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to remind me to dream big and go after my goals.

Zoo Lights

Columbus has many unique features and things to do such as the Columbus Zoo. The Columbus Zoo is rated the third-best zoo in the United States, and definitely worth a visit while in Ohio! During the winter months close to the holiday season, the zoo gets transformed and decorated with millions of beautiful Christmas lights; it’s called “Wildlights.” The MAcc Council decided to plan a trip on the last day of classes. Pictured below is a group photo outside of the zoo of all the MAcc students who went.

MAcc students at the Zoo

The zoo is separated by areas and locations the animals would be found, such as the Artic Zone. It’s a large area and I would have gotten lost without a wonderful tour guide and fellow classmate who knew her way around the zoo. If you want to see the animals in addition to the lights, I would recommend going early afternoon. Once it gets dark outside, many animals are hard to see and are also sleeping. There are various food carts and stops throughout the zoo, so you can get a cup of hot chocolate or a snack while looking at the attractions. The center of the zoo is a pond that plays a light show choreographed to holiday music every half-hour.

If you love taking photos or just want to get into the holiday spirit, I would highly recommend checking out Wildlights! Everywhere you look and go is lit (as seen above on a bridge inside the zoo). With the semester coming to a close, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays!