Posts filed under 'Full Time MBA'

Top 10 Most Memorable Experiences from the 1st Semester:


1: Tepper Case Competition – This past weekend I traveled to Pittsburgh to participate in an international supply chain case competition with three others from Fisher. While our team didn’t advance to the finals, we learned a TON, networked with executives from a handful of companies, spent 30 hours working on a LIVE company problem and experienced a first-class wine and dine experience. #istillneedtocatchuponsleep


2: Football games – I used to think OSU was the evil powerhouse team that wins too much. Now, I’ve drunk the scarlet Kool-Aid. #punintended #O-H…

3: CEO of Cardinal Health – About every other week a C-suite speaker comes in for a lunch seminar. My favorite has been George Barrett from Cardinal Health. Here is the article (I was even quoted in the article!) #freepaneralunch #greatopportunity

4: Fisher prayer – every other week between 3 and 10 of us gather to talk about how life in Fisher is impacting our lives. Then we pray for 20 minutes. Great memories reflecting and opening up to classmates.

5: Winning the MBA poker tourney. We are a competitive bunch! #thisblogpostinnowaysupportsgamblingbutdangitsfun


6: Urban Meyer spoke on leadership to the College of Business just 24 hours before JT Barrett was arrested for a DUI. I snapped this picture from my seat!

Red Lobster

7: Red Lobster – Our marketing final involved a 24-hour deep-dive into a case about Red Lobster’s effort to re-position itself in the market. This required some memorable late night studying sessions and the obligatory trip with my family and classmates to Red Lobster for ‘market research’. #thebestcheesybiscuitsontheplanet

8: Diwali celebration – Learning about Indian culture from dozens of my classmates and professors. A true highlight and such a fantastic cultural exchange. #deliciousfood

9: This coming weekend…. There are still a few weeks left in the semester, but I’ve been looking forward to the coming weekend. Fisher Follies, MSU vs. OSU, and a families of Fisher parent gathering!

10: I love classes. Seriously, I am SO grateful for a number of my classes this semester. Honorable mentions also go to Data Analysis and Econ and Leadership. The personal development and challenge we have been given to grow our emotional intelligence in leadership is invaluable!

Fisher Impact Day: Our Lady of Guadalupe Center

Fisher faculty and students with volunteers and staff of the Guadalupe Center.

Fisher faculty and students with volunteers and staff of the Guadalupe Center.

“There are green peppers under here! Everyone loves these!” I could see the joy on Megan’s face as she lifted up the last box of cucumbers to reveal the green peppers beneath. She paused to say something in Spanish to the two other regular volunteers. I smiled because everyone else was so happy, but I was also a little surprised to see such excitement over a vegetable. I can’t say that I’ve ever been excited to see a vegetable, but that is probably because I have always had enough to eat. For those that come to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center, hunger is something that is all too familiar.

Megan is a senior Spanish major at The Ohio State University and regularly volunteers with the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center. She did the training for our work at the center on Fisher Impact Day. November 11th was Fisher’s very first Fisher Impact Day, and hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff, volunteered at non-profit organizations around Columbus. As the Chair of Fisher Board Fellows, I was asked to sit on the committee and help recruit organizations to participate. Some of Fisher Board Fellows’ partner organizations that participated were: Catholic Social Services, Ronald McDonald House, Local Matters, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, LifeCare Alliance, and the Columbus Zoo. In addition to these organizations, we had students helping out with the Red Cross and Goodwill, as well as students who made blankets for foster children, and students who helped create packages of food with The Pack Shack. I chose to volunteer with the Guadalupe Center because it is run by Catholic Social Services, which is the board I currently sit on as a fellow.

At the Guadalupe Center, myself and two other Fisher volunteers helped sort through and bag produce. While we worked, Megan taught us what each vegetable and fruit was in Spanish, and she explained to us how the center functioned. As a business student, I was impressed by the organization and efficiency of the center. Clients called in to make an appointment, and then each family was allotted a certain number of playing cards (dependent on the number of family members and the individual needs of each family), and each card was worth one point. Families were able to spend their points on whatever food they wanted, but produce didn’t cost any points – everyone got fresh fruit and vegetables. Volunteers were on-hand to help push shopping carts and keep the center organized and everything running smoothly.

For me, the green pepper moment was the most memorable of the day, because the volunteers were so genuinely excited. It showed how much the volunteers and staff at the Guadalupe Center care about those they serve. Their kindness and their dedication are invaluable because the clients at the Guadalupe Center come at their most vulnerable and in need of help. Compassion and respect are two of Catholic Social Services’ core values, and these values permeated throughout our entire volunteer experience.

Even though I was a Fisher Impact Day committee member and have been present through each step of the planning process, I am still impressed by how well it went, and by what a wonderful experience students had. I truly hope that Fisher Impact Day continues, and I hope the committee continues to partner with Fisher Board Fellows. Giving back to the community is so important for students, but it is especially important for business students. We spend our days in class learning about shareholders equity and market share and profit margins, but in the real world, where people are hungry and struggling to make it through the next day, those things don’t really matter all that much. Sometimes what matters most is a green pepper. And sometimes we need a reminder of that.

Columbus Christmas

It’s essentially like a whole season of Christmas when fall rolls around and football begins here in Columbus. The Buckeyes are our hometown version of both a college and NFL team rolled into one due to the fact that you have to go either north or south two hours to get to the closest NFL stadium. Our Ohio State Buckeyes don’t need to worry though, as the fans support the team to the fullest. On game day, you can find tailgates virtually everywhere and if you yell O-H, you’ll definitely hear an I-O coming from multiple directions.

I was extremely excited to hear that Fisher wouldn’t be lacking in the tailgate area during my two years in the MBA program. Every Saturday, our program hosts a tailgate at Fisher Commons, which is the apartment complex many of our students live in. Everyone pitches in or brings a dish to share and no matter the time of day, we feast and celebrate. For noon games, we will typically host a breakfast tailgate with pancakes, bacon and more, while afternoon and night games bring your standard tailgate grill foods. Fisher Commons has a central grassy area which makes for the perfect space to eat, drink and hang out before making the short walk over to the Shoe. Once we get to the Shoe, our class sits together in a seating block we form prior to the season. As a former graduate of Ohio State, I am so glad to be in a program where I can continue my fandom with a group of friends.

However, while football is king, I have also begun to appreciate the other sports options we have in the fall here in Columbus. Within Ohio State alone, you can visit any of our fall sport matchups depending on what interests you most. It’s also not too late to catch a Clippers game in August and early September and you may even time it up to catch one of the famous “Dime-A-Dog” nights. If baseball isn’t your sport, you also have the option to catch a Crew game and this year the soccer team has made it through to the playoffs, extending the season for us fans. Overall, no matter what your sport is, you can find a game to go cheer at during the fall months here in Columbus. With that, as always, GO BUCKS!

The People at Fisher

When starting the MBA program, I never expected the people here to be so nice. You hear the business school stereotypes about the intense competition, too many Type-A personalities vying for the same jobs, everyone stuffy and perpetually be-suited, etc. but I’ve felt something completely different here at Fisher.


I was attracted to the small class size at Fisher and liked the thought of getting to know my fellow classmates, but I had no idea how quickly and how deeply those connections would be forged.

Walking down the hallway after about a month here, I knew most of the first years by name and a surprising number of the second years too, and I’ve met even more people since then. The faculty and staff ask about how a test went and I’m halfway through my answer before I realize how extraordinary it is that they know and care about us to even keep track of something as mundane as our testing schedule.

When the administration introduced the concept of the “Fisher family,” I thought it was mostly rhetoric and didn’t take it too seriously. But then I got here and realized that the faculty, staff and my fellow students live up to that promise every day. People are beyond supportive; they cheer for you, care about you, and want the best for you.

Before our last Data Analysis test (yikes!), a lot of students met at Fisher on a Sunday night to study. There was a very collaborative atmosphere with some people who understood the material teaching the rest of us who struggled with the material a little more. I was blown away when I realized that there were a couple of students going from study room to study room offering to answer any questions and checking to make sure we were feeling alright about the test. They weren’t TAs, they didn’t need to be there, and it was 10:00 on a Sunday night! I was really touched by their genuine concern, especially after the test when they asked me how I felt about it and assured me that I did fine.

I’m only 9 weeks in, but I can tell you that there’s definitely a feeling of “we’re all in this together,” and I think that’s what sets Fisher apart during the program and as alumni.


Experiencing culinary delights in Columbus

One Term Down, Seven To Go

Although the Full-Time MBA program technically includes four semesters and one summer internship, those semesters are truthfully split into two terms each. Eight fast-paced, blurred seven week terms that take novice economists, marketers and businesspeople and fill them with enough information to make the most brilliant minds ache. (Full disclosure, some of our core courses do cover the full 14 week period, but not all.) I have no doubt that Term 1 is the tip of the educational iceberg here at Fisher. The mere fact that some courses are called “Marketing Management 1” and “Operations Management 1” plainly shows us that we’re nowhere near finished. Not yet.

As I mentioned, we’re 1/8 done (not that I’m counting). I couldn’t tell you what we covered in each class period or which exams were what week. All I know is that I’ve learned more in seven/eight weeks than ever before. Completely foreign concepts like analyzing accounting statements and corporate finance (or, let’s be honest, finance in general) are now familiar tools I use each week. Maybe I don’t use these tools perfectly, but still.

Before the program started, I had serious reservations about my ability to pick up the business concepts I knew we’d cover in our core courses. I majored in the humanities in college and graduate school, worked in PR and corporate communications and hadn’t touched math since 2009. Luckily for me, the courses are structured in a way that allows non-business background students to keep up and even flourish. That’s not to say that someone with a weak finance background won’t have to work harder than a former financial analyst in our corporate finance course, but the opportunity to do well is there. As Dr. Gray (data analysis guru) loves to tell us, you need to do the problems and practice outside of class. With my more than seven weeks of expertise in the field, I can tell you he’s right. Do the problems. All the problems.

I’m excited to see where these next 49 weeks of class take me. I don’t know where I’ll end up but I do know that I’ll be ten times as prepared as I was before entering Gerlach Hall for that first day of school.


MId-Terms Round 1

It has been many years since I was sitting in a classroom as an undergrad student taking mid-terms. That changed last week as the first wave of Mid-Terms were here. Five over the course of two weeks to be exact. The majority of the first year MBA students were nervous about our first mid-terms, myself included. First was Marketing, then Finance, and economics followed by Accounting and Data Analysis.

As I walked through Fisher this past week, I have seen nothing but groups of my fellow students helping one another out with mid-term prep. Students who were strong in one subject were helping other students who were not as strong. Then the next day the same students that were doing the helping were now being helped by others. It was amazing to see the help and support that was offered by my fellow classmates. I can personally speak to the group of 7-8 individuals I have been studying with. Each one of us leading a different study session that we were particularly strong in.

As test day arrived we were anxious to take our first mid-term and get it over with. After the test there were multiple opinions on how we did ranging from: great to horrible. Once we got our mid-terms back, many people did better than they thought and non-to our surprise our study groups paid off.

Everyone you talk to says the culture in the Fisher MBA program is like no other. Mid-term week proved that to be accurate. Although we are competing for the highest grade and some of the same jobs, everyone wants to see everyone else be successful.

My first month at Fisher

It’s been almost a month since our MBA classes began. I thought this would be a nice time to highlight some of the activities I was involved with in the last month to help you better understand student life in the Fisher MBA Program.

  • Pre-Term: In the 2 weeks before our MBA officially started, we had our pre-term where we got to learn more about the program structure, professors, resources, and fellow classmates among many other things. Over many creative team bonding exercises, we were able to understand our key strengths (and weaknesses) and make new friends along the way! We also had a few career foundation seminars that helped us get a better picture of the different career paths ahead of us. The pre-term ended with the ’Fisher Challenge’ where each team had to present a case analysis with their core team, which was extremely exciting primarily because it is your first group exercise with your team. As an International student, we also had an additional 3 days of orientation that helped us in our transition. My favorite part was a workshop on American Football 101, conducted by a couple of ex NFL players (and Fisher Alums)! In a nut shell, the pre-term helped the students understand what it means to be a part of the larger Fisher community.
My Core team: Team 22 (that should explain the hand signs) From Left: Lucy Liu, Sarang Nampoothiri, Andrew Wolff, Adriana Castro and Rob Harrison.

My Core team: Team 22 (that should explain the hand signs) From Left: Lucy Liu, Sarang Nampoothiri, Andrew Wolff, Adriana Castro, and Rob Harrison.

  • Career Management – The career management team at Fisher is one of our strongest assets. Within the last month, I have attended multiple career fairs and got to meet and network with many potential recruiters. We have Information Sessions conducted by companies on a daily basis. This is a great way to learn more about a company and meet their representatives in a bit more relaxed setting. Apart from these, we also have individual meetings with our career counselors. They help you streamline your job search and refine your approach.
Fisher College of Busines

Fisher College of Business

  • Student organizations – I think I might have gone a bit over the top here. I have signed up for 5 student organizations for the upcoming year even though I was advised to restrict it to 3 by many second year students! But in my defense, I found value in all 5 of these organizations! Career specific student organizations help conduct some of the company information sessions. They also help their members prepare for interviews and can be a great resource for networking.
  • The Ohio State University – I joined Fisher because it was a small program within a very large university. There is always something amazing happening around you. I have signed up with the Buckeye Leadership Fellows program for some of their Luncheon Sessions, where they invite outstanding community leaders to interact with a group of students in a small and intimate environment. As a fan of music, I also volunteered for a Music experiment conducted at the School of Music!
  • Mid Terms – Here at Fisher, we have our semesters divided into two terms. One month into the program and I have already finished most of my Mid-terms! In a way, this is good as it always keeps you on your toes. :)
  • Calendar App – I think this point sums up my first month at Fisher perfectly. A few days into the program and you will soon realize the true value of the mobile calendar app! This one app is going to be a life saver here as it helps you keep a track of all the events every day.

If my next two years are as exciting as my first month at Fisher, I am sure this is going to be my most rewarding and enriching journey!

Jumping into the Full Time MBA World!

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A picture of my kitchen table on the first day of pre-term MBA program

I’m a 33-year-old (balding) dad of two young kids with 10 years of non-profit work experience.  How do I fit in at business school?

That was the gut-wrenching question in the back of my head as I entered into Fisher’s 1st year MBA pre-term program just one month ago. Little did I know that most of my peers were asking similar questions about their own identity and status.062515Greenawalt-18

It’s no secret that leaving your job as a budding young professional to pursue a degree will cause you to evaluate your identity.  We have left behind our previous jobs, social networks, and, in many cases, even family to live in Columbus and immerse ourselves in a world of academic, career, and personal growth.  While my first day jitters have subsided, it’s that very process of wrestling with issues of identity that I believe contributes to such a powerful experience here at Fisher.  When else in my adult life will I have another opportunity to jump a different direction in my career trajectory, and remove myself from my comfort zone for 20 months in order to learn, grow, and develop as a person and a professional.

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My CORE team of 5 along with some other 1st year MBAs

From my experience so far at Fisher and Ohio State, I’m so grateful for how our resources are pointed towards my personal (and our communal) growth, development, learning, and future career placement.  This university is vast and it’s set up to help many thrive.  From working with career management to tell my story and clarify my career direction, to networking among other MBAs and learning how they are wrestling with their identities, to reading case studies and engaging in class content that relates to my previous work experience and challenges my paradigms, it is nothing short of awesome to be a part of this program!  I’m one of many students here who is utilizing the MBA experience to shift career directions, know myself better, and have a great time doing it.

In the end, I’m thankful to be a 33-year-old balding dad with unique experience to bring to the table here.  Besides, balding gives you wisdom, right?

Round #2: The Good, The Bad, and The Awesome

They told us second year would be easy. They told us that the workload would be lighter and the classes much less difficult. They said we would learn how to balance grad school with a social life, and they promised we would have more free time. They lied.

At this stage of the game, survival feels like winning. But I will do all the things, and I will do them to the best of my ability, even if it means I won’t be sleeping much. There may be days when I don’t eat until dinner, and days I spend twelve straight hours in Gerlach. There may be times when I clean my apartment at 9:30pm on a Sunday night, because it’s the only free time I have. But there are also days when, as a Fisher Board Fellow, I get to go to board meetings and learn about how a non-profit organization is run. Those days are my shining star of hope in the chaos that is my life.

I wrote a lot last year about my first year experiences with Fisher Board Fellows. Most of last year was spent preparing for this year, because this year, I am actually serving on the board of Catholic Social Services. And I love it. I love it even more than I thought I would. I cannot tell you how much fun I am having. Although my life is a zoo, no matter how busy I am, the board meetings I attend are always the best part of my day.

Since April, I have been to a strategic retreat, Breakfast with the Bishop fundraising event, several full board meetings, and numerous external relations committee meetings. Every meeting I go to is a new learning experience, and I even feel like I’m starting to contribute to the team. Another board member and our CEO complimented me on my marketing and advertising insights at our last meeting. I’m sure Dr. Matta would be proud of me.

Over the last several months, I have been able to learn about what it takes to run a non-profit organization. I have learned about the strategic and branding and financial concerns of Catholic Social Services, and I have learned much about leadership from the CEO, Rachel Lustig. Catholic Social Services is going through some big changes, and I have been lucky enough to be present and to learn about these strategic changes and processes over the summer. I’m actually seeing the concepts we learned in class last year be implemented in a real business situation, and the experience has been invaluable for me.

Overall, this term has been challenging and overwhelming, but it has also been weirdly wonderful. If I survive and make it to fall break, I’ll let you know how the rest of my year and experiences as a board fellow go!

New Beginnings

Life is full of transitions.

As a married military veteran with a family, I view transitions as endeavors to personally and professionally grow while taking advantage of new opportunities.  Leaving the private sector for full-time graduate school is a long-term investment.  The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University has so much to offer.  I’m proud to be a Buckeye.

FullSizeRender[1]Dedication to lifelong learning seems to be a theme in our household.  I began a graduate degree program, my wife completed hers (while working), and my daughter started Kindergarten – all in the same week!  As a father and a husband, I am so proud of them both.

As the fall semester begins to pick up momentum, we must remember who we are in order to prioritize what is most important in our lives.  I, like most of my classmates, am attracted to pretty much everything that the Fisher College of Business has to offer.  There are so many clubs, organizations, employer info sessions, events, and activities competing over our most precious resource – time.  If we view time as a resource, how do we allocate it?

FullSizeRenderOne place to start is to identify who we are in relation to others (I am a father, husband, son, brother, student, uncle, employee, job-seeker, club member, mentor, mentee, veteran, coach, blogger, etc.).  The list is long for many of us.  Prioritizing this list can also be difficult with so many competing factors taking place simultaneously.  We realize that we cannot be everything to everyone all the time, but we can deliberately plan those aspects that are most important into our lives if we choose to do so.  This process becomes critically important during major transitions when we are faced with new situations, changing conditions, and increasing obligations. It can be difficult deciding what not to do, at least temporarily, during transitions.  Ultimately, our decisions are about trade-offs intended to maximize value.

What we choose to do with our time is ultimately what we value most.  Many of us have roles and responsibilities within our personal, professional, and even spiritual lives.  Intellectual curiosity, respect for diversity of thought, and continual growth and development are important to me in a professional context.  This is why I chose to invest my time at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.FullSizeRender[2]






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