SMF Farewell

Well, as was promised to us on our first day of pre-term, time flies in the SMF program and I have made it through to the end.  Graduation is over, and soon I will be off to Houston to start a new job and a career.  It was sad saying goodbye to so many good friends from the program, but it’s also inspiring to see all of my classmates headed off to jobs all over the U.S. and the world.  I know I’m certainly excited to begin this next phase of my life.  Saying goodbye makes you realize how much people mean to you, and so to future students, make sure and forge strong relationships with your classmates because you don’t have much time, and there are tons of good people in the program from all kinds of backgrounds.

The program is intense and can really overwhelm you, but I can honestly say that I have learned more about finance in my one year at Fisher than I did in 4 years of undergrad.  It’s like my dad has told me, education is like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it.  With those words in mind, I encourage all future students to put everything they have into their 9 months in the program.  Both in terms of school, and all the extracurriculars that go along with it.  Because it’s so short and intense doing so will wear you out, but it’s the best way to guarantee you won’t have any regrets at the end.

As I said in my first post, blogging was a new activity for me, but overall I found it to be very therapeutic and it was a regular reminder for me to stop and put things in perspective.  I hope that this blog has given insight to anyone out there considering grad school and maybe even helped them come to a decision.  With that I want to say best wishes to future classes and if anyone is in Houston, don’t be afraid to reach out to this proud alumnus!

-Nicholas

A Wrap to My First Year of Grad School

As grades are out and summer is here, I finally get to sip on a good cup of iced coffee enjoying the sunshine by the window in a coffee shop – this time I’m not studying (hooray!), instead I’m writing a blog post to reflect on the crazily wonderful and crazily stressful year I just had here at Ohio State.

Where do I even begin? I remember unloading the U-Haul truck, and buying Ohio State jerseys at the bookstore last August. It seems just like yesterday. When I first enrolled at the MBLE program, I knew it was going to be a good year, but I had no idea it was going to be this good. I strengthened my professional skills, found mentorships, challenged myself to new things, and made lifelong friendships. Fisher provided me with way more than what I expected, and I can’t wait to start my summer internship and show my future employer what I can do as a future supply chain professional.

Our class only has 28 students, which is very small, but that also meant closer relationships and stronger bonds. In the first semester, as some classes were introductory, we were learning new things, but most of us also had time to enjoy ourselves at football games, at happy hours, at hiking trips, and also constantly finding ourselves going on food adventures in large groups. I know some people would argue that it is grad school and the world knows grad students have no life. Like that old saying “pictures or it didn’t happen”, well, I’m attaching a few photos here to show I did at least have some fun despite the heavy workload from school:

Hanging out at Short North (along with a few MAcc students)

Game Day at the Little Bar
Picnic at Doctor Zinn’s house

Game Day at the Stadium (featuring two of my Purdue friends)

Me picking pumpkins during an MBLE Council Outing Trip
Dinner party at Forno’s Kitchen and Bar Restaurant

As the weather got colder, the Spring Semester hit us by storm. All of a sudden, I found myself struggling with meeting all the deadlines. To make it worse, the second quarter of the semester had two additional classes that required project work. All I remember from the month of March and April were the smell of espresso shots, and the horrible sound alarms make in the morning. Towards the end of Spring Semester, most of us had at least 4 projects, 1 paper, and 4 presentations to deliver within a 2-week window. It was absolute chaos. I remember pulling an all-nighter in the computer lab working on the simulation project along with my teammates. We used chairs and floors as beds, we used printing papers as pillows, and we took a short break by getting breakfast from McDonald’s when the sun was just about to rise. Nobody in the team gave up, and nobody in the team complained. It was a weird feeling, knowing that you’re probably in serious trouble because time is running out, but also knowing that you’ve got a good team and you WILL make it when the time does run out.

I’m a bit of a procrastinator, so I tend to work my schedule according to the deadlines. Here is my piece of advice for the future MBLErs: Do not procrastinate! Maybe you’ve had success in undergrad or in a workplace where you can relax for the first half of a project and pull off deliverables last minute, but it simply does not happen here at Fisher, and it certainly won’t work for anyone who enrolls in the MBLE program. It doesn’t matter if you’re smarter than the average person, because everybody in the program is smarter than the average person. Being smart does not mean you spend less time on assignments and projects, because coursework here requires both critical thinking and detailed execution, and without a significant time commitment you won’t be able to deliver good results. I learned that lesson the hard way, and in the coming semester I certainly will start working on things early instead of trying to be “Just In Time’. JIT is a wonderful methodology, but it doesn’t work when you’re hitting a learning curve and need additional time to fix mistakes from an earlier stage of the project.

Spring Semester was painful, but at least we can all now be relieved that it’s over. I think everyone in the class should be proud of what they’ve accomplished so far. I myself have grown so much professionally and personally, and I’ve seen so much growth in my peers too. To wrap it up, I’d like to attach pictures from some of my favorite professional events I attended this past year via Fisher.

APICS conference in San Antonio, TX
OLMA’s 2018 Supply Chain Symposium
Volunteering at the COE Summit 2018

Cheers to a good year and the finally warm weather!

The days are long…

…but the years are short.

This is my last day in my second home Gerlach Hall. To be candid, I’ve been avoiding this blog post for weeks now. I sat down to write on multiple occasions only to be overcome with such nostalgia that I couldn’t ever actually begin writing.

The last two years have absolutely changed my life. I’ve learned more about the field of HR in terms of technical knowledge than I knew existed. What’s more, I’ve learned more about myself than I ever could have anticipated.

I know I’ve talked about this point for some time now, but to be explicit: I believe grad school is about so much more than classes, exams, and projects. Grad school is about pushing yourself to think in different ways. It’s about confronting the anxiety of presenting in front of 50 people. It’s about managing through the hurt of not getting that internship you thought you’d nail. It’s about sleepless nights, and not having the right answer all the time, and learning to dance in the grey area. It’s about learning to fight fair with your classmates and professors and respecting each other at the end of the day. It’s about failing small, learning from your mistakes, and remembering how to be a beginner again.

It’s about all this and so much more. But I wanted to challenge myself to choose my most meaningful learnings from my time in the Master of Human Resource Management program. Here’s my triple-distilled final list of takeaways:

Don’t sweat the small stuff. The business world is fast-moving and always changing. People move quickly and shake things up and make mistakes. Grad school has taught me that doing something is almost always better than doing nothing. Don’t know the answer? Give it a shot anyway. Don’t know how to start that paper? Just start. One of my classmates has often said: “you either succeed or you learn.” Grad school is about learning how to use your energy and effort in the direction of productivity.

Take care of yourself. What recharges you? Do that thing, and do it often. This year, even when I thought I’d run out of hours in the day, I made time to exercise–for just one hour. I knew I’d be able to think more clearly afterward. Everything that needs to get done will get done.

You get out what you put in. As I move through life, I realize that in nearly every organization, team, program, and job there are going to be two groups of people–1) those who put in discretionary effort, and 2) those who do the bare minimum. On paper, these two groups will look virtually the same. They’ll have the same credentials, degrees, and experiences, and positions, and they’ll probably have access to the same opportunities as a result. The difference is in the amount of time and care they have invested into each of these items on their resume. Did they do it to check a box or did they do it for the challenge, learning, and growth? I can tell you with confidence that merely checking boxes will catch up with those folks, so choose wisely which group you want to belong to.

How you do anything is how you do everything. Don’t wait to put your best foot forward. I run across people every day who are so engrossed in the next “thing,” and admittedly I am also guilty of such future-tripping. It was said best by MHRM class of 2017 graduate (and my good friend) Kacielife happens now. It is so easy to get caught up saying, when I nail that internship, get that job, graduate this program, get married, have a family, that is when my life will start. Try to remember your life is happening every day and all around yoube present for it.

To all my followers over the last two years, thank you for the honor. Best of luck in wherever your future endeavors take you! And to all my graduating classmateslet’s do this.

Set A Goal and Work Towards It

The MAcc program is almost done, I figured it might be useful to share some my thoughts and experience with you as a current MAcc student.

  1. Job Searching

Job Searching is always the hot topic. Since most of the full-time accounting positions are recruited during the fall recruiting season, it means you need to be prepared to go when you start, or even before you start your graduate school life. It could be difficult to adapt to a new job-searching platform, keep track on time to apply for all the positions, and wait for hearing back from recruiters. Especially when your friends are all getting interviews, but you are still waiting to hear back.

Don’t be afraid of getting rejection letters, it will happen to all of us. Just keep searching for jobs and start to think what you really want to do and set a goal for yourself.

It is important to have a positive attitude, your recruiter can feel it. It’s okay to be upset, but don’t drown yourself in the sadness. Keep searching and everything will work out on its own.

2. Set A Goal

Searching for jobs is not the only thing you can do. While searching for jobs, you should start to think what are some other things you could do to polish yourself and make yourself stand out among others. You may start to network with your recruiters more often, or maybe you can start to study for your CPA and other certifications.

Your recruiters would love to see that you are passionate towards the career and you should do something to prove it.

Set a goal for yourself. Don’t be upset about your current situation. It’s great if you have a job on hand, but if not, keep your mind clear and work towards it.

3. Work Towards Your Goal

I understand how difficult it can be to go through the interview process, but make sure you keep your goal(s) in mind and work towards it.

It is a rewarding moment when you achieve your goal(s), you might find it even more accomplished than securing a job. When your goals are slowly but surely achieved, your job will be down it waiting for you.

Best of LUCK.

 

 

More Than a Case

Nervous and a bit unsure…

Two feelings I endured while walking into the office of Professor Marc Ankerman. A couple of weeks before the start of the MBA program, I received an email from him about potentially representing The Ohio State University at the 2017 National Black MBA (NBMBAA) Graduate Case Competition. I chose to attend The Ohio State, in large part, because of the legacy built by David Harrison and Fisher’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion, so I was eager and hopeful for a chance to represent the University.

Professor Ankerman is… animated. He sat me down and asked me why I was interested in competing. He shared that the competition would be fierce. The team would have a month to prepare the case, while also acclimating to the program. Toward the end of the conversation, he extended his hand and offered me a spot on the team.

I would never have guessed that my decision to accept his offer would be one of the most transformative and rewarding experiences of my life.

Nervous and a bit unsure…

Two feelings I felt at the start of the MBA program. Coming from a small liberal arts university, I wondered if I belonged in the program. Have you ever heard of the “Imposter Syndrome”? Imagine going from a school without a football program to The Ohio State University—100,000 football fans pack out the stadium for home games. 100,000.

Growing up, my mother worked late nights to provide me a better life. She taught me about grit, hard work, and sacrifice. She always told me she believed in me. I leaned on her words as I felt pulled in every direction as a first-year MBA. New city. New school. New classes. New friends. Mixers. Info sessions. Interviews. Interviews. Interviews. Add to that the Case Competition… and attempts at a personal life.

It’s almost funny even mentioning a personal life. I bought football season tickets and didn’t make it to one football game. Looking back, some of the only things that kept me sane were my 5k and 10k runs through the trails. During those runs, I would often wonder if I had made the right choice about getting my MBA and if I had what it takes to succeed in the program. After my runs, I would call my mother and she would tell me she loved me and to keep at it. I needed that.

Nervous and a bit unsure…

Two feelings I felt waiting as the announcer called out the 10 teams that would compete in the final round of the NBMBAA Case Competition. Honestly, I didn’t expect to hear our name called. I had put my heart into preparing the final deck, but top schools from all over the country were there competing for their share of $50,000. Cornell was there. So was NYU.

I remember looking over to Professor Ankerman in disbelief when they announced that we had made it to the finals. Riding up the elevator, tears welled up in my eyes. When I finally got a minute alone, I called my mother. Crying over the phone, I told her we had made it to the final round. I had done it. I couldn’t hold back the tears. She told me she wasn’t surprised.

Thinking back, I can’t help but laugh. I would have never imagined that at 25 years old, I would be crying to my mother about a case competition. But it was so much more than a case.

It was so much more…

I went on to win one of ten Best Presenter awards at the competition. Later in the year, I was privileged to captain my own team in KeyBank’s 14th Annual Minority MBA Student Case Competition in Cleveland. My team took first place in Cleveland and it was the first time Fisher had won that competition in over a decade. We brought trophies back from both competitions, and I personally placed each of them into the trophy case on the first floor of Gerlach Hall.

As a two-time National Case Competition Finalist and Best Presented Award Recipient, I am no longer nervous nor unsure. I know I belong. Case competitions changed my life. Professor Ankerman changed my life. David Harrison changed my life. The Fisher College of Business changed my life.

Will you let them change yours?

My Career Search: Two Pieces of Advice

Something I haven’t written about yet, but that I know is important to students considering undertaking the SMF program, is my personal career search.  My case is a little different than the typical student, but I still think it would be beneficial to share.

As many of you know by now, I am from Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma State University last May.  Since I knew I would be pursuing the SMF degree, I wanted to undertake an internship for the summer before to get more work experience under my belt (and also make a little bit of money).  Through my network from my old university, I was able to secure an internship with Phillips 66 for the summer.

Phillips 66 might be unfamiliar to students not from the region, so I will go ahead and provide a little bit of background on the company for anyone who is interested.

Myself touring one of Phillips 66’s facilities

It is an independent oil & gas company that came into existence after ConocoPhillips spun off its midstream and downstream assets in 2012 (“midstream” and “downstream” are terms you’d learn about if you ever work in the energy industry).  It has approximately 14,000 employees in about 65 countries worldwide and is ranked #34 in the Fortune 500.  Based on my internship experience, I truly think it’s a great place to work and I highly recommend it to any future SMF students who are interested in either living in Houston or working in the energy industry!

At the time of securing the internship, I wasn’t necessarily planning on starting a career at Phillips, but after a summer immersed in the culture and meeting tons of awesome people, I decided I could really see myself coming back full-time.  I was fortunate enough to receive a full-time offer at the end of the internship and after soliciting advice from different people in the program, I decided to go ahead and accept the offer and secure full-time employment.

My last day of work outside the original Phillips Petroleum Company Building

The reason I tell you about my search is to give you a couple of pieces of advice.  The first is: just because you will be coming to a new university with a new network, that doesn’t mean that your connections from undergrad can’t still be beneficial.  There’s no shame in accepting a job that doesn’t directly come through the SMF program.  Second, I highly encourage students coming directly from undergrad to do an internship during the summer before the SMG program.  It could really pay dividends, and you might find that you really fit in well with the company.

All in all, I consider myself very lucky to have been able to secure a job so early, and I am very excited to begin working after graduation!

As We Go on, We’ll Remember…

As my MHRM journey comes to a close, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time in my head reflecting over what the the last two years have meant for me. But because you only ever hear from me, I wanted to give a voice to some of my classmates. Below, graduating MHRM students share some of their fondest memories in the MHRM program.

My favorite part of the program is the family I’ve created within Fisher. Being surrounded by students and faculty who are passionate about HR like I am have made me even more excited to start my career. Grad school can be intense, but I’ve had so much fun attending events like grad school prom, Fisher Follies events, Varsity Club outings after class, intramurals, and football games. The people are what I’m going to miss most! I can’t wait to see the success my classmates achieve and to continue to share ideas as the field of HR changes.

– Kelly Mayer

Fisher Follies Fall Auction 2017 (Kelly is on the right)

My favorite part was really day one. Sounds super cheesy, but being separated and away from Georgia for the first time ever was a daring (and scary) adventure. I just remember doing the scavenger hunt during orientation and meeting a lot of excited, eager people. That really brought to light that Ohio would be home for two years or more and I was ready.

– Chase Lakhani

Chase rushing the field after an OSU win

I will never forget winning the HR External Case Competition (Jen was on my team). I was so tired and so proud of our recommendation and presentation. It was really rewarding to win and be recognized for our hard work.

Also, on a lighter note, I really loved how good we were at potlucking. I don’t know if that’s an HR quirk or if we are all just awesome. We could have a potluck for anything and we always came through, it was so fun.

– Kate Clausen

MHRMsgiving = Thanksgiving for MHRMs

My most memorable day was when I realized that I had been accepted among all the domestic students here. It was the last day of Professor Shepherd’s class and we had a potluck. I had a chance to bring in an authentic Indian food. I was reluctant as I didn’t know if everyone would like Indian food, but then  I received a lot of appreciation from all of my classmates. I was overwhelmed with the amount of love and support everyone has shown. Be it group projects or team meetings, I have always been treated well.

– Divya Selvaraj

MHRMs celebrating Utsav together at the Fisher College of Business (Divya is on the left/second “row”)

Grad school can be really hard and life-consuming, especially when you are at a business school. We are consumed with cases, strategy, ROI, and all kinds of other things that many people don’t ever think about. The “business school bubble” is what I call it. Tell any average person outside the school what you obsess over in your studies and they just look at you with wide-eyed confusion. So with that in mind, one of my favorite grad school memories is the Fisher Follies Variety Show. At the end of the spring semester, we have a chance to pop our self-made bubble and make some fun of it. It’s always entertaining to step back are realize how ridiculous our business cocoon can be, and to have fun and laugh about it. Each year I attended, I was entertained and delighted by the level of craftsmanship and wit in each of the short videos. And in those moments, I realized how amazing our Fisher community is.

– Chris Schoo

MHRMs Chris and Billy Dunn posed for a partner headshot after class.

One of my favorite memories will always be winning Internal Case Comp my second year. I still can’t believe how much better Case Comp felt after a year in the program; just a real testament to how valuable the Fisher experience was for building my business acumen and professional presentation style.

Having the Varsity Club Thursday night tradition really was a special part of business school for me, too. Knowing you’d always have some time each week to catch-up, decompress, and just have fun. This is my second master’s, and my cohort never had anything like that in my first grad school experience. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for “the VC.”

– Billy Dunn

Team OSU after the 2018 HR Invitational Case Competition

When I think about my favorite memory from my time here, I wouldn’t say it’s a particular event. Rather, I think I would say it’s the overall closeness of our class with students at a wide variety of stages in their own lives– ranging from fresh out of undergrad to a recent grandfather or from being local to moving across the country and the world. Witnessing the relationships that have formed and the lifelong friendships that have developed is what I will truly value and remember for the rest of my life.

– Matt Shaffer

“MHRMs” doing the iconic O-H-I-O at Frito-Lay headquarters in Dallas at the start of their summer internship

“Now In My Day…”

Ohio State has been a central force in my life for almost a decade now.  As an undergraduate (2010-2014), employee (2015-2016), and graduate student (2016-2018), I have been able to see the University from many angles.  What always amazes me is this place’s ability to re-invent itself based on where you are in your life.  It never feels small, it never feels predictable, and it never feels like you have outgrown it—because there are constantly new worlds of opportunity opening up to you.  Eight years ago, I never thought I would work at a University.  Four years ago, I never thought I would get a master’s degree.  Yet, here I am!

Thinking back to my earliest days on campus, sometimes it is almost difficult to believe they really happened.  So much has changed in the world and in my life that it can be challenging to relate, fond as the memories may be.  That is why we have traditions—rituals that do not change with time—to help us connect with our past and with each other.  Time-honored traditions are what make higher education so special—because while everybody’s individual experience is unique, much of the experience in earnest is universal.  These shared experiences allow us to connect with past versions of ourselves and fellow alumni from all different eras.

One of Ohio State’s many notable alumni is Milton Caniff (1930), famous cartoonist and artist.  Caniff is an Ohio native and his instantly recognizable style is considered one of the most significant influences on cartoon and comic drawing of the 20th century.  Original copies of his work can be found around campus, both in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum and the Ohio Union Cartoon Room.

Caniff drew this self-portrait (including samples of some of his popular work in the background) for the cover of Newsweek in 1950. Source.

Caniff has a wonderful poem he wrote in 1930 (his senior year) which captures the memories of his college years and the special connection all Ohio State alumni feel with this campus.  He made an illustration in 1968 to accompany the poem, which captures famous campus landmarks that any Ohio State student will recognize.  I am always struck by how relatable the words are, even though my experience at Ohio State was nearly a century apart. I am sure if you have ever spent time on campus you will understand!

So, to sign off my final post before graduation, I will leave you with Caniff’s words, “Now In My Day…”.  Wherever you are, I hope it brings back fond memories of your time on campus, as it always will for me.

Milton Caniff – “Now In My Day…

 

Practicing Gratitude

As our year in the MAcc program comes to a close, I asked a few soon-to-be graduates what participating in this program has meant to them. Although we were only here for a year, we know that we will continue to feel Fisher‘s influence throughout our lives.

Max Smith is grateful for the opportunities he found to give back to our temporary home in Columbus:

“I am grateful for the experiences and activities that are available outside of the classroom. As an undergrad, volunteer opportunities were around if you sought them out, but the MAcc program really makes it easy to get involved and help out in the community. Hopefully, this will be something I can continue in the future after the MAcc program.”

MAcc Council President Ace Lassman is grateful for the people he met along the way:

“I am most grateful for the friends I made here! It was a blast to be able to connect with people from such different backgrounds who all want to go out and make an impact in the accounting industry. I couldn’t be more excited to see how all of us will go out and change the world after graduation!”

And finally, I am grateful for the all the opportunities this program has afforded me. I engaged with research, participated in community service, and made lifelong friends. From Big Four recruitment to living in a large city, this program has pushed me and exposed me to ideas and opportunities I would not have otherwise had. So, on behalf of the MAcc Class of 2018, thank you, Fisher!

Special thanks to Maxton “Max” Smith and Andrew “Ace” Lassman for their assistance.

Spring Conference 2018

On Friday March 30th, 2018, the current full-time MBA students welcomed back the alumni of the Fisher College of Business for the “Spring Conference.” The Spring Conference is an annual alumni conference where alumni are invited back to speak to current students about life after the program and to share tangible insights for students heading off to their summer internships.

We welcomed back 13 successful, engaging, and knowledgeable alumni– all experienced in different aspects of business: finance, marketing, operations, and human resources. They represented well-established organizations such as Nestle, Nationwide, Abbott, NetJets, Ford, Wendy’s, P&G, and others.

The current students began the day with a high-level discussion about Transforming Data into Insights and The First 100 Days. Then, students attended presentations about Taxes, Savings, and Personal Investing, All About Buying a Home, and the informative Managing Up, Down, and Sideways. In this session, students were thoughtfully reminded to be authentic, on time, and present. It is important to present your best self at your workplace; people always notice. Then, students were able to go to a breakout session of their choice where they could earn more about the data and skills used in finance, marketing, and operations. The breakout sessions were one of the most important aspects of the day. One student said, “My favorite part of the day were the breakout sessions. I was able to ask specific questions I had pertaining to operations. I was able to gain clarity and felt more confident as I headed into my internship this summer.” Here, students were also able to ask the alumni about tangible skills used while on the job. Many students found this to be very helpful. We finished the day with all-encompassing presentations about Work/Life Balance 2.0 and The Intern’s Final Presentation. During The Intern’s Final Presentation, the students learned how to communicate recommendations for the company. After running the necessary tests and analyzing the data, what do we think the company should do next? Organizations want to see how each candidate goes beyond the data to deliver solutions and results. This puts our creative minds to the test. What is incredible about this insight is that at Fisher, we are given many opportunities to put this into practice. Through classes and group projects, we are consistently encouraged to go beyond what the data says and effectively find solutions. At Fisher, we not only learn how to sustain a business but propel it.

We ended the day with a delightful happy hour where the students and alumni we able to chat and connect. Here is where meaningful connections were made. Students engaged with alumni in a more informal setting which allowed students to feel comfortable asking more questions. The very kind and humble alumni not only offered their insights and expertise, but their willingness to connect further with the students. As the day was coming to an end, an alumni who currently works in the marketing department at Nationwide shared, “I felt extremely prepared for my position at Nationwide after going through the MBA program at Fisher.”

Students left the conference with new insights and new connections but most importantly, with a confidence that Fisher provides through its unparalleled alumni network and invaluable education.