Posts filed under 'Full Time MBA'



Lessons From Harley Davidson’s Chairman and CEO

Keith Wandell is the current chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Last weekOB-YU416_0905ha_DV_20130905150728 he stopped by The Fisher College of Business to enjoy lunch with students and speak about leadership. His story is quite unique and he ended up being one of my favorite speakers that has visited Fisher.

Keith was very blunt and honest about his life and the business he oversees. He didn’t sugarcoat anything. He was very transparent and honest in assessing his own performance as CEO and chairman. He admitted his faults and highlighted many of his successes during his tenure at Harley-Davidson. What he has done for the company over the last 5 years has been pretty amazing.

I was really impressed with how focused he was on the customer. When I think of an auto company, whether cars, trucks, or motorcycles, I think of operational excellence. Keith mentioned that his first order of duty when becoming the CEO was to focus efforts on their customer. He felt that the customer needed more attention, and not just the typical Harley customer, but the future Harley customer.

Keith looked into minority groups and helped the company develop and market products to groups that had previously not been targeted. This has been an important factor in the success of Harley over the last few years. Women and African Americans have made a huge shift into the biking industry and Harley was well positioned to receive them.

During his time as CEO, Keith had to make a lot of difficult decisions to help keep the company moving forward. He said that it is never easy, but it is necessary in the position of a turnaround CEO. In addition to being extremely focused on success, he stated that a great leader needs to know how to take a stand against mediocrity. He related a story about meeting with an extremely poor performing Harley plant that illustrated his focus very well. He didn’t negotiate with the employees and was honest in telling them how poorly they performed. His tactics worked. That same plant is now one of the top performing manufacturing facilities in the world and has won various rewards for its success.


MBA Internal Case Competition

A week or so ago, the annual Fisher Internal Case Competition was held here on campus, pitting teams comprised of first year students against each other, in competition for spots on the team for the Fisher Invitational Competition which is coming up in April.  The invitational brings teams from other Big 10 business schools to campus, to compete in a live case for a company.  As I have said before, I like case competitions because I feel that they allow me (and my fellow students) to put theories learned in class into action in a safe environment, and get then get feedback on the ideas generated.  One awesome aspect of the Internal is that the judges for the competition were a combination of business executives and faculty who volunteered their time to come in on a Saturday to come in and take part in the competition.

You may have heard the quote before “feedback is a gift”, which is something that I believe is true.  It allows a glimpse of your actions through the eyes of another person, giving additional depth and perception to your personal beliefs on something.  Since case competitions are a safe environment, participants can apply some creative thinking to the theories that they have learned, and see what the results are (what I mean by this, is that if you take a risk, and make the wrong choice, you won’t be fired, and a company won’t lose millions of dollars).  While such a safe environment doesn’t perfectly replicate the post-business school working world, it allows skills and ideas to be developed and tried that can be useful in the future.  Relating this to my past as a Marine, this is similar to conducting training patrols against other U.S. units in the United States, before deploying overseas.  Both units, or teams, benefit from the exercise and the additional stress of competition, while at the same time building skills.   Having impartial judges who are experts in their fields observe all the teams during this process, and then provide feedback to every team and participant is a very valuable learning experience if the participants take the input to heart.

Win or lose, I think that all of the participants from this year’s competition learned some valuable lessons about themselves and their teamwork skills through the process.  I personally believe that that learning and growth opportunity is move valuable than the accolades of winning a case competition, although winning is nice too.

 


Angela Joyner’s Career Advice

Frequently business schools invite many executives to visit campus and share experiences with students. I personally love these opportunities because it allows me to see someone’s perspective regarding their career path. Many times the executives have great lessons for getting ahead in business, which is important. But the real insights I take away from these meetings is how I learn to have a more rewarding life.

Angela Joyner is a big name executive from ConAgra Foods, but what she spoke about wasn’t all business and leadership; It was more than that. She spoke about how to become a better individual and a more rounded leader in today’s business world. Here are a few of my favorite points from my time listening to her:

  1. Find Your Purpose – This really resonated with me because I think that there is much more to life than a successful P&L. Clearly, any business leader wants his or her business to perform well, increase revenue, grow the bottom line, and provide a great experience for employees. However, at the end of the day, what is your purpose in being a business leader? Are you replaceable? Most leaders would like to think that they aren’t. The truth is, almost everyone is replaceable. So, find your purpose, work hard, and enjoy life.angela joyner
  2. Surround Yourself With The Right People – Most great athletes recognize the importance of their teammates when it comes to achieving great success and receiving awards. Similarly, successful coaches heap appraise upon their wonderful staff and players for winning championships. This isn’t because they aren’t the best in the business, but because they are some of the smartest in the business. Similarly in business, great leaders surround themselves with hard working, honest, and capable individuals. This not only helps the business succeed, but it allows for everyone on the team to learn and grow from one another.
  3. Make Your Personal Brand A Priority – This is key for any new business leader. Angela highlighted that everyone has thoughts and feelings regarding an individual’s performance and style. In business settings, it doesn’t take long for someone to label you as an all-star, an average joe, or an under-performer.
  4. Align Your Heart With Your Smarts – To sum it up, find out what you are passionate about and find a way to excel in that specific industry or function. Incorporate what you love to do into your daily routine. This will create a much more balanced leader that is good for the long haul, not just short term performance that eventually burns out.

Angela Joyner, PhD – plug the leaky buckets

Last week was a whirlwind at school – with a ton of fantastic opportunities to have small-group chats with inspirational leaders.

Don’t believe me?

  • Monday – lunch with Melisa Miller, President of Alliance Data (and my future boss!) with a small group from my Advanced Leadership Class
  • Tuesday – Super Bowl Ad Review with AMP and a few marketing professors
  • Wednesday – lunch with Jeff Eldersveld from the Columbus Blue Jackets – data analytics meets marketing
  • Thursday – lunch with Dr. Angela Joyner, Vice President/General Manager at ConAgra Foods, Inc., courtesy of the Black MBA Association

Told you. Whirlwind.

On Thursday, a few females were asked to join Dr. Joyner for a lunch before her afternoon session to talk about women in the business world and leadership positions. I was so honored to be part of this event and have the chance to ask some questions to Dr. Joyner in a more personal setting. It was a very open dialogue and we discussed female leadership, tricks for approaching conflict and then general work-life balance concerns.

joyner 1

Then Dr. Joyner spoke to a larger group later that afternoon. I filled several pages of notes during her session, but I summarized some of my favorite take-aways below.

These are great tips for business school, the workplace and life in general :)

  • Prioritize
  • Plug the leaky buckets – allow yourself more time to be effective — set guidelines and rules
  • Get the facts at work – Dr. Joyner said this beautifully; find out what good, better and a rock-star looks like at your company
  • Identify your gifts & be an expert in something
  • Create a powerful brand
  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • Find your entourage and create raving fans
  • Authentically promote yourself
  • Reflect, revise and renew – celebrate all of your accomplishments and look at your life with open eyes

DSC_0033

Fisher is constantly bringing in inspiring and note-worthy guests that speak to so many topics.

As you can see from the list at the beginning of the post – one week was full of diverse speakers from a wide range of organizations. The meeting with Dr. Joyner inspired me — but so did the lunch on Monday with Melisa Miller. She got me so excited about returning to Alliance Data and working every day to make an impact. However, my Wednesday lunch with Jeff Eldersveld from the Columbus Blue Jackets was extremely informative.

Just another great week here at Fisher!

 

 

If you’re interested, check out Angela on Twitter and her blog from The Wonder Loft‘s page.

NEW-Angela-Joyner-eZine-Newsletter-Approved-Main-header


Happy Lunar New Year From Fisher

photo-CNY2Every year the Fisher College of Business hosts an evening to celebrate Chinese New Year. This event is one of the favorites for many students. Here’s why:

  • Great entertainment from many Chinese students- this includes, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, and much more!
  • Fun games for all attendees, including children. The event isn’t only for graduate students, but for members of the faculty and community. This truly is one of the best attended events every year!
  • Incredible Chinese food is brought in from a local restaurant. Not to worry, the Americans aren’t selecting the restaurant, we leave it to the experts to choose which offering is the most authentic!
  • A glimpse into another culture. Because many students at Fisher aren’t Chinese, or have never been to China, the celebration allows others to have an educational experience as well. For me, this is one of the reasons why I find this event so enjoyable.

 


2014 Internal Case Competition – controlled chaos

A couple weekends back I volunteered for the 2014 Internal Case Competition. It was a great experience to set back and time – much less stressful that last year where my group and I were frantically trying to create a strategic plan, marketing campaign and solid finances for a fake perfume company.
I am a a big fan of case competitions – I even traveled to Calgary, Canada last year to complete in the Haskayne 24 Hour Case Completion with the Haskayne School of Business. Side note, want to see four outspoken and intelligent Fisher MBAs become experts about the Canadian Oil Sands Industry in less than a day? Send them to Canada and throw them into a case competition!

One thing I enjoyed seeing during my volunteering was truly how much you learn in business school. As a timer, I was able to watch several presentations – and hold up cards that said 5/2/1 minute left and STOP – yeah, I  know, I am a huge deal :)

OSU-FCOB-Horiz-RGBHEX

But in all seriousness, the presentations were fantastic. I am constantly in awe of the talent of my fellow classmates. The Class of 2015 is full of great presenters and very creative individuals. The Internal Case is a weekend of long nights, early mornings and learning how to communicate with your teammates. Judges aren’t afraid to ask intense questions and make you defend your ideas — or think on your feet!

Congrats on another successful Fisher Internal Case Competition weekend!

 

 


An Evening with T. Boone Pickens and Les Wexner: Inspire. Enrich. Impact.

I was both honored and excited to attend An Evening with T. Boone Pickens and Les Wexner on Wednesday, February 5th. What a night!

The evening kicked off with a welcome reception where a blend of Fisher graduate and undergraduate students, community executives, military veterans, New Albany high school students, and leaders of The Ohio State University were able to mix and mingle. We had an opportunity to speak with leaders from some of the largest and most successful companies in Columbus, including Limited Brands, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, DSW Inc., Pearl Therapeutics, and the Columbus Dispatch.

Fisher Graduate and Undergraduate Students at An Evening wtih T. Boone Pickens

Fisher Graduate and Undergraduate Students at An Evening with T. Boone Pickens

We were pleasantly surprised and privileged to be joined by three of the nation’s most successful businessmen: T. Boone Pickens, Chairman of BP Capital Management, Les Wexner, Chairman and CEO of Limited Brands, and Mike Morris, Chairman of AEP’s Board of Directors. After our group was able to snap a few photos with these guests of honor, we were ushered to an auditorium where we listened to the three of them speak and share thoughts on different areas such as their upbringing and how it influenced their character today, leadership, philanthropy, world events and the future of clean energy.

T. Boone Pickens, Les Wexner and Mike Morris share thoughts on leadership and life

T. Boone Pickens, Les Wexner and Mike Morris share thoughts on leadership and life

The event was part of a series of forums titled The Jefferson Series. These events are held by The New Albany Community Foundation, and are based on the mantra, Inspire. Enrich. Impact. I truly experienced these words on Wednesday while in the presence of these three leaders. But for Ohio State and the Fisher College of Business, I would not have such an amazing opportunity to hear from these leaders in person!

Andrew Gardner, Tom Weirich and Ryan Stiers, fellow Fisher MBAs in attendance

Andrew Gardner, Tom Weirich and Ryan Stiers, fellow Fisher MBAs in attendance


Middle Market Student Summit

On January 29, I was able to attend the Middle Market Student Summit – it was a great opportunity to learn more about a strong, but often over-looked, market. There is a Middle Market Summit, but this event is geared specifically towards students in a more casual setting.

As I learned, the U.S. Middle Market is a mighty force to be reckoned with. It is comprised of nearly 200,000 businesses that all have an annual revenue of $10MM — $1B. They are 1/3 of all US jobs and contributed more than 1.2 million new jobs last year. PLUS (and this is my favorite fact), they added  jobs during the financial crisis, when big businesses lost jobs.

- The National Center for the Middle Market on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn -

student middle market

Some Middle Market companies you may not think about are Krispy Kreme, Smart Balance, American Apparel, Bravo Brio restaurants and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams! These companies fall right into the sweet spot of being not-to-small, but also not-to-big.

With such large sums being thrown about – seriously, I think I heard the world million and billion more than thirty times – it was hard to stay on-top of all the information given. I was so surprised that the Middle Market makes such a huge impact on our local and national economy, but also how many Fisher grads and other professionals work for mid-size companies.

The speaker for the event was  Giovanni Feroce, the CEO of Alex & Ani (really cool jewelry that focuses on symbology and spiritual energy). Extremely candid and a joy to listen to, Mr. Feroce talked about doing the right thing and really working for what you believe in.

alex and ani

I thought it was interesting that he asks his employees three questions (see below). Trust me, this guy doesn’t cut corners and starts true to himself in every situation.
1) What were you hired to do?
2) What are you doing?
3) What do you want to do?

Fisher is always giving me and my fellow students opportunities to learn more, interact with interesting C-level executives and become the best business professional possible. Once again, this event didn’t  disappoint!

 


Sustainability at Ohio State

That's right. Nada.

That’s right. Nada.

Last semester I was lucky enough to be a part of the Sustainability team of The Ohio State  University. Its major initiative - The Zero Waste Program, focuses on diverting 90% or higher of its waste materials away from landfills to be recycled and composted.

The Ohio Stadium, or the Horseshoe as it is popularly called, is now the largest stadium in the entire country to achieve zero waste. Last year, Ohio State won the 2012 Game Day Challenge, a competition in which we beat 78 other schools to divert the most football game day waste. More than 102,000 fans pack the stadium at any given game, and this is where the impact of the initiative is most visible. So, when thousands of fans are busy screaming and enjoying the game, members of our team are  walking around the stadium (and trudging along in the snow come winter) , faithfully inspecting the bins, recycling and composting.

Also, after the Indiana game, our entire team went out on the football field and had our photo shoot for the season. This was also the first time I got to actually be ON the football field, so I wasn’t complaining. And did I also mention that it was snowing heavily? We spent a good forty five minutes taking pictures on the field and it was totally awesome.

 

 

Just look at all that stadium !

Just look at all that stadium !

O - H !! Go Beyond.

O – H !! Go Beyond

 

All said and done, it is extremely humbling to work with people who volunteer their services time and again to give back to the society in this way. I feel quite fortunate just to be part of a movement that accomplishes the incredible feat of 120,000 pounds of diverted waste materials every season. It also gives me a great opportunity to widen my circle beyond the Fisher group of friends whom I usually interact with and meet some really interesting and wonderful people.

 


AMP Super Bowl Ad Review

One of the many enjoyable aspects of being a full-time MBA student is that so many great student organizations exist in which anyone can be a part of. Student organizations range in size from large to small, depending on the interest in the organizations subject matter and activities. One of the organizations here at Fisher that I have been a  part of is AMP – the Association of Marketing Professionals.

The last few years AMP has held an activity in conjunction with the Super Bowl. For most marketers, watching the commercials on Super Bowl Sunday is just as entertaining as watching the big game. This is also true for MBA students.

In order to take advantage of some great learning opportunities that come from viewing the Super Bowl, AMP held its annual Super Bowl Ad Review a few days ago. The event always brings in a large crowd of students interested in learning more about creative advertising and why some commercials are received well and why others fall on their face – even when spending $4 million for 30 seconds.

This year was fun because we were able to hear from two marketing professors as well as a Fisher alumnus, Jason Mlicki, who owns his own advertising agency (Rattleback) here in Columbus. Jason has worked in the advertising world for quite sometime and brought a great perspective to many of the ads that we viewed.

A few of the favorites that the professors and Jason shared with the class included Audi, Hyundai, Radio Shack, and Heinz. I personally enjoyed the Audi and Hyundai commercials. They both had different strategies and tactics used throughout their creative, but I believe they both communicated effectively to their audience. Here is the Hyundai commercial for your viewing pleasure! Go Bucks!


« Previous PageNext Page »


The content and opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by The Ohio State University or Fisher College of Business.