The MBA Diaries

In the months leading up to my return to school, one question continuously crossed my mind: What does a day as a Fisher MBA student actually look like? Although my campus visits during my interview and Red Carpet Weekend gave me a good feel for the program, it’s hard to know what your day-to-day will be until you actually get here. So, I decided I would give you a taste of a typical day as a Fisher FTMBA. I like to keep myself extremely busy, but this day (below) was an unusually busy one for me. Your own schedule will obviously vary based on what you decide to get involved in and any obligations you have outside of Fisher, so take this as just one example of what life here is like:

Thursday, 11/09/17

7:45am – Roll out of bed after “snoozing” my alarms at least ten times. I hate mornings, but many of our core classes begin at 8:30am so you do what you have to do. Luckily, my roommate (a third-year vet student) shares my sentiments.

8:10am – Head to campus to begin my day. I live in Grandview a little more than two miles from Fisher, so I usually drive and park on campus.

8:30am – Operations I – I’m a marketing major, but I’ve always been fascinated by operations and I have to say that I’m really enjoying this class. Professor Hill leads us in finishing up the value stream map calculations we started on Tuesday. When he’s done, we have time to discuss potential solutions with our classmates based on the calculations we’ve made. Even though my math skills aren’t stellar, I enjoy thinking about how to make processes more efficient. This class is particularly heavy in case studies, and it’s really helpful to apply the principles of operations to real-world examples.

10am – Professor Hill lets us out a few minutes early, so I make my way downstairs to drop off some stuff in my locker and grab coffee from Rohr Cafe. I try to make coffee at home in my Keurig to save money, but I often don’t leave myself enough time to do that before I have to leave for class. On my way, I run into Julee Conrad and Sarah Campbell from Admissions. They offer me free coffee from the Fall Preview Day table. The GPO is the best!

Coffee coffee coffee!

10:15am – Accounting – We just had our second midterm exam on Tuesday, so today we’re transitioning from Financial to Managerial Accounting. Accounting is the quant-heavy class I like the most because the math is fairly basic and Professor Xue (most of us just call her Sue) is the best. Our last Financial Accounting unit was difficult, so I’m glad to be moving in a new direction.

12pm – I pass by my friend Courtney in a study room on my way out of Accounting and stop by for a chat. Courtney is a second-year student and the president of the Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB), and I work closely with her as one of FGWIB’s first-year liaisons. We talk about FGWIB, Fisher, and life in general– and before I know it it’s almost time for my next class! The second-year MBAs have been an incredibly valuable resource and I can’t wait to pay it forward next year. So if you’re reading this and are starting at Fisher next fall, come find me!

12:45pm – Quickly scarf down some leftovers for lunch before heading to Finance class. I’m not always good about packing lunch or cooking in general, but I try. Gerlach Hall, home of the Fisher graduate programs, has fridges and microwaves and there aren’t a lot of places to get food by Fisher. Plus, it’s healthier and more affordable.

Eating lunch from my snazzy Fisher lunchbox

1pm – Finance – This is our most quant-heavy class this semester, and the English major in me has been struggling. Luckily, I have awesome classmates and a great TA who help me get through it. Professor Wellman does a lot of example problems in class, and copying down the solutions as he works through them helps me understand the material. Today we continue our discussions on the interest tax shield and capital structure decisions.

2:45pm – I head to the Office of Career Management for a meeting with Chase which is recruiting on campus today. I’ve been working hard on my internship search since I got to campus, and Chase is one of my top choices.

3:15pm – I have a little time to kill before my next meeting, so I stop by the Graduate Student Lounge. I spot Ashley, another one of my second-year friends and the co-president of the Fisher Sports Business Association of which I’m also a member. The lounge is a great place to catch up with friends between classes and do group work. I often pass through just to see if any of my friends are around. I won puppy playtime with Ashley’s dogs at last week’s Fisher Follies auction, and I can’t wait to meet them!

4pm – The Office of Career Management started a Job Search Action Team program, and today is my team’s first meeting. The teams are made up of students across all of Fisher’s graduate programs and led by one of our career counselors. The goal is to support each other as we move through our internship and job searches. We get to know each other and learn about “feedforward,” a positive feedback system we’ll be using in future meetings.

5pm – After the meeting ends, I run over to the Blackwell for a happy hour with prospective students. The admissions team is always looking for volunteers for our Fall Preview Days and I love to help out. It’s nice to unwind with some of my friends after a long week and share my experiences with people who might just be my classmates one day!

5:50pm – I make my way back to Gerlach Hall for Chase’s info session. After hearing more about the company and their opportunities, we have the chance to network with a number of representatives from the Columbus office. I’m inspired by Chase’s initiatives in the digital banking space and impressed by their customer-focused mission. I leave the session exhilarated and look forward to learning more as I move through the application and interview process.

8:00pm – I finish up just in time to give my friend a ride home from yoga class. Normally we both go to yoga Thursday at 7pm at the North Recreation Center, but my schedule was just too full today.

8:30pm – Get home in time to collapse on my couch and watch some TV. It’s Thursday, which means I have no class tomorrow!

Hope you enjoyed a day in my life! If you want to see more posts like this, feel free to let me know in the comments.


Five Things I’ve Learned in Two Months of Business School

Time Management

One of the biggest adjustments for me was getting back into a routine of planning out my daily schedule. While working full time, I had an easy daily routine of work, happy hours, and Netflix. Once I got to Fisher, I had to quickly relearn how to make sure I blocked off time to study, get to the gym, meet with my core team, put in hours in my GA role, make it to networking events, and many other things. Google Calendar became my best friend. It’s really easy to let things pile up or forget to get an assignment done, but with a little proper planning each week, staying on top of all of the agenda items is very much manageable.

Personal Time

When you’re in the thick of studying for your next exam or getting a group project done on time, it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself. I found myself pretty stressed a couple of weeks into classes and knew I needed to make a change. So I became more conscious of making sure I set aside a few hours each week just for myself to do non-school things. Whether it’s getting to the gym for a quick workout, catching up on some TV, or reading a fun book at a coffee shop, I make time to be alone every week to recharge. It might seem like you don’t have time when you have a finance exam next week or a big interview to prep for but making time for yourself is important to keep yourself balanced.

Don’t Stress About the Small Stuff

There will be many things to stress about when you’re in business school—interview prep, staying on top of homework, and the next data analysis exam will all be pressures for you. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the stress, including the stuff that doesn’t matter. When I first started, I worked too hard to make sure everything in my life was perfect outside of school and that’s not realistic. My apartment is messier than I’d like it to be, I eat a few too unhealthy meals, and I sometimes forget to text someone back for a couple of days. Learning to not stress about the small or insignificant stuff in my life has been a huge stress relief for me. I focus on what is important and learn to live with the rest of the imperfections. If you try to worry about everything that’s not quite right, you’ll drive yourself crazy.

Friends are Important

Getting through business school is a challenge (and I’m only 10 weeks in!) but friends make it so much easier. The best friends in my life are the ones I have met and forged relationships with since arriving in Columbus just a few short months ago. When the going gets tough, your business school friends understand you the most because they are experiencing the same highs and lows. Take time to build meaningful relationships with people from other backgrounds, geographies, and points of view. Friends make life fulfilling and they’ll be the best ones to help you relieve some stress when you don’t think you’re going to make it through the next finance exam.

Fisher Friends at Apple Orchard
My friends surprised me with a trip to the apple orchard on my birthday!

Fisher is a Great Place

Sounds pretty cheesy, right? It’s true, though. I was not quite sure what to expect when I decided to go back to school full time and move halfway across the country to do so. But I have been overjoyed with my decision, especially choosing Fisher. The admissions team took a lot of time to curate a class of people who complement each other, push each other to think different, and most importantly, get along with each other. Yeah, classes are tough and sometimes you don’t know if you’re going to make it through the week, but at the end of the day, the people here are amazing. Everyone wants to make sure I have the best possible experience and are willing to go out of their way to help me make it happen. I know I would not find that everywhere but I am very thankful I found it in Fisher.

Hopping around Columbus

I love to be involved. By the end of my undergraduate career at Cornell University, I was an active member of five different student organizations. So, when choosing an MBA program, I had to be sure that there were ample opportunities for involvement. When I arrived at Fisher, I quickly realized that there are more student organizations than I could ever hope to join… and that’s a good thing! I’m currently a first-year leader for Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) and the Association for Marketing Professionals (AMP), as well as a member of the Fisher Sports Business Association. I also joined the Ohio State Hunt Seat Equestrian Team, a club sports team. Am I really busy? Definitely, but I love every minute of it!

My AMP membership has been particularly rewarding. It’s incredibly valuable to me as a marketing student, as the second-year leadership team has gone out of its way to help everyone looking for marketing internships (myself included), from recommending companies to resume reviews and internship workshops. The club also organizes annual visits to companies in Columbus and nearby Chicago called a “Marketing Hop.” I was fortunate to participate in the Columbus Marketing Hop over fall break, and it got me very excited for what’s to come in Chicago in December. We visited three companies – The Oneida Group, Homage and Alliance Data – with a lunch stop at Easton and a happy hour at Land-Grant. Here’s a rundown of our action-packed day:

The Oneida Group

As a young, single student who has yet to “settle down” and with a limited budget, my current sets of dishes consist of a random mix of boring white plates, some very basic silverware, and a collection of glasses from my parents’ attic in New York. My cooking skills are less than stellar, and my tiny kitchen barely has enough storage space for both me and my roommate. Needless to say, cutlery and cookware aren’t things I spend much time with. But as soon as I walked through the door of The Oneida Group’s new office in downtown Columbus, I felt inspired to become the next Martha Stewart. CMO Jeff Jarrett and Director of Retail Marketing & Innovation Sean Gibson gave us a sneak peek at Oneida’s upcoming marketing campaigns, and we all took home an Anchor Hocking LifeProof water bottle.


Next stop was Homage, a clothing company that specializes in retro t-shirts. It also makes a lot of clothing for sports fans and being a Columbus-based company, that includes apparel for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, and of course, the Ohio State Buckeyes. We took a tour of the company’s warehouse and office space – complete with a wall of the employee’s favorite t-shirts – and talked to the marketing staff about their strategies. On our lunch break in Easton, we were able to check out one of Homage’s stores and get some swag.

Alliance Data

Our final, official stop of the day was Alliance Data, specifically the card services division. Alliance Data is responsible for numerous loyalty programs and collects data to help a wide variety of companies in their marketing campaigns. We were first brought into the Innovation Lab where we got a first hand look at some prototypes Alliance Data was testing for clients. While I am unable to disclose exactly what we saw, I can say it was almost like getting a glimpse into the future. We wrapped up our visit with a presentation from Tim Sweeney, Sr. Director of Marketing Analytics, on what Alliance is working on as well as a panel and Q&A with Fisher alumni. While our Data Analysis class is not exactly my strong suit this semester, I found myself fascinated by everything Alliance is able to accomplish through data and walked out feeling like we, as future marketers, truly have the power to affect change.


Sad at the thought of the hop coming to a close, I made my way to Land-Grant along with some fellow AMP members for an optional happy hour and tour of the facilities. While I’m not normally a beer drinker, I’ve started to explore the craft brewery scene in Columbus thanks to the Columbus Ale Trail. Creative Director Walt Keys treated us to some of the most delicious beer I have ever had (still kicking myself for forgetting what it was called) and showed us the brewing facilities that are conveniently attached to its taproom in Franklinton. We also learned about Land-Grant’s start through a successful Kickstarter Campaign and subsequent partnerships with the Columbus Crew and the Columbus Bluejackets. It was amazing to hear how supportive the Columbus community was of this growing business and to see how a grassroots marketing campaign turned into a thriving craft brewery whose beers I recently spotted on the shelves at Kroger.

The Columbus Marketing Hop was a fantastic kickoff to what was, for me, an action-packed fall break. I’m so grateful to be part of an organization that can offer me hands-on opportunities to explore my chosen career path. I’ll be counting the days until the Chicago Marketing Hop in December!

Why Ohio?

Hey there! I’m Ariel and I am a first-year student in the full-time MBA program (FTMBA, as we like to call it). At 24, I am one of the youngest in my program, and I’m also the only person from New York. In an attempt to explain the roundabout way in which life led me to the wonderful Fisher College of Business, I’ll summarize my journey in my top 3 FAQs:

1. Why did you decide to get an MBA?

After graduating with a BA in English from Cornell University in May 2015, I had virtually no idea what I wanted to do with my life. With little knowledge of the career paths I could take, I enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Course to explore a career in book publishing. From there, I landed a job as a marketing assistant at Henry Holt, a small publisher that’s part of Macmillan Publishers. I loved marketing, but I realized that book publishing wasn’t really for me. I ultimately decided to get an MBA to learn more about marketing before embarking on a new career journey– and here I am!

Me at Cornell graduation. I wasn’t too thrilled about it 😉

2. What do you want to do after you graduate from Fisher?

Good question! Honestly, I feel like the world will be my oyster with all the doors Fisher has already opened for me. Right now, I’m concentrating in marketing and sports management (a brand new major this year) in the hopes of eventually ending up in the equestrian industry. In terms of summer internships, I’m looking at roles in both marketing and brand management across a variety of industries. Because I have less work experience than most of my peers (average work experience in an MBA program tends to be 4-5 years and I have less than 2), it’s important for me to get a good company on my resume to really propel my career forward. Luckily, the Office of Career Management has been really helpful in developing my career plan and suggesting target companies for me to consider.

Me with Annie, a horse I used to ride. If I could ride horses all day every day, I would.

3. How did you end up in Ohio?

New York is pretty great, don’t get me wrong. My friends and family thought I was crazy for wanting to leave. But frankly, New York is also exhausting. After four years upstate in Ithaca, adjusting to life in New York City wasn’t easy. Eventually I got tired of the stress and expense of living in such a large, active, pricey city, and I knew it was time to go. I’m also really close with my family and felt I wouldn’t have the motivation to be truly independent if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone. When I applied to business school, more than half of my list was made up of schools outside of New York. When I began my search more than a year ago, I just so happened to visit one of my best friends from undergrad who is now a graduate student at Ohio State. I fell in love with both Columbus and OSU, and the rest is history. I’d also like to give a shout-out to Fisher’s incredible admissions team for being so supportive throughout the process. One month into classes, I can definitely say that Fisher is the right fit. I also love living in Ohio…so much so that I may never leave!

Gerlach Hall, home of all Fisher graduate programs

Well, I better get back to studying for my three midterms this week (no one ever said school was easy!). I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures with all of you!

The 6 Surprising Things I Learned in Business School

As my 2nd year begins to wind down, I was debating about what helpful nuggets of advice I could leave for any current or future MBA students. So I present to you a Buzzfeed-style random list of “The 6 Surprising Things I Learned In Business School.”

1. It’s important to have an answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 

Maybe not the first week, but eventually. Probably in the 1st semester. Do everything, see and listen to every speaker, attend plenty of company info sessions, and eventually you’ll figure out what you like and what you don’t– which is the first step in deciding what you want to do.

2. How to interview like a boss

Okay, maybe not like a boss, but you will improve. I got rejected from almost every company I interviewed with my first year, so I’m not really a beacon of shining interviewing success, BUT I’m a heck of a lot better at interviewing than when I joined the program, and that’s a skill I’ll use for the rest of my life! And always remember that jobs are like spouses; it’s not a question of success rates or batting averages, you just need to find the one.


3. Super-crazy insane time management

I will let you in on a secret: I watched TV most weeknights. I know, it’s crazy, but I was able to prioritize insane amounts of homework, group work, a graduate assistantship on campus, student organizations, recruiting happy hours and info sessions– and I still had a social life!

I did sleep, but definitely gave up working out, cleaning and cooking, but knew that I needed to do some things to invest in my mental health, and that’s why I watched TV (usually as I wolfed down dinner before diving into homework, but it counts!). Even though I was stressed, it definitely helped keep my life into perspective when I talked to my classmates with children; now, they are the real heroes here!

4. I am not and never will be the smartest person in the room/organization.

Your classmates will be crazy smart! Everyone in the program is smart, motivated and has probably been pretty successful up to this point. So, it can be a pretty humbling and inspiring experience to hang out with these people for two years. It’s also a great feeling to realize that YOU made it into this impressive group too, so it’s a strange mix of self-confidence boosting and some humble pie, too.

5. I have a newfound appreciation for free food.

“Free food” is one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language, especially when you’re a poor graduate student who isn’t earning any money and is too busy to take the time to cook and eat well. I can’t tell you how much pizza I’ve eaten in this program, and I LIKED it.

6. Introspection is a rare and beautiful thing.

I expected to gain technical skills during this program, especially since in my English Literature studies I had literally never taken one of these business classes, and I certainly did. What I didn’t expect, though, was how much the program pushed me and developed me as a person.

In leadership courses, you’ll learn about your strengths and weaknesses (some knew what to expect and some people were really taken aback), but it’s very good to know these things about yourself, so that you can continue to improve in those areas. I also recommend taking Professor Rucci’s Leadership Legacy class, where you think about what you want your life’s work to be and how you want to be perceived by the people around you. Since you’ve stepped out of the workforce, take the opportunity to do a little soul-searching and make sure you understand your priorities. That way, you’re prepared for life and can make deliberate decisions about your path that lead to your long-term happiness.

Image Sources:

  1. Baby in suit.
  2. Interview.
  3. Balancing act.
  4. Average student.
  5. Free pizza.
  6. The Thinker.

The Most Difficult Assignment of Grad School…

Last month, I completed the most difficult (and fulfilling) assignment of the MBA thus far.  It didn’t involve an extensive group strategy session, or a Sunday afternoon in R studio learning to better work with data, or even a 40-page case read with analysis…. It was even more difficult than those other assignments.

This assignment involved digging deep to develop my personal legacy statement.  What do I want my friends and family to say about me when I retire?  What do I want the overall impact of my professional life to be?

The premise is that nobody makes it to their deathbed and says “gee, I wish I’d spent more time at the office grinding in Excel.”  How much more effective (and challenging) is it to consider your life impact on the front end of your career than the back end?

Our Leadership Legacy class had to not only flesh out our legacy into a paper, but also to present our statements in the form of 5 minutes speeches to the class.  It was a beautiful experience to learn how my classmates have overcome crucible moments and how they plan to make a meaningful impact in their careers.

In the end, I’m so grateful that Fisher is not just training me to be a sharp analyst and a strategic thinker, but also to be an effective, authentic, ethical leader who very carefully and intentionally considers my impact on the world.

Image result for leadership legacy fisher tony rucci

(here is a shot of our professor, Tony Rucci)

Columbus Marketing Hop

As a 2nd-year student in the MBA program, I’ve had the opportunity this year to serve as VP of Programming on the leadership team for AMP, the Association of Marketing Professionals. In the fall semester, I enjoyed coordinating the Columbus Marketing HOP, which started last year as a way to introduce Fisher students to different companies in Columbus and understand how they do marketing.

We like to do the trip in the early fall to expose the 1st-year marketing students as early as possible to different types of marketing careers. The core curriculum marketing class is a quick intro in the fall and isn’t able to deep dive into all aspects of marketing. So, for some students this might be their first introduction to what agencies do or understand how different industries do marketing very differently.

Piada’s Headquarters

This year, we started the morning at Piada, which is a new restaurant start-up founded in Columbus. They have recently expanded from Ohio to Minnesota and Texas to test different markets with their Italian street food, fast-casual concept. We got to hear from Matt Eisenacher, their director of marketing, on Piada’s marketing challenges in being a small start-up dealing with explosive growth. He also compared his experiences in the restaurant industry to his background in brand management at traditional CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies like Nestle and Abbott.

From Piada, we traveled to Perio, which is the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk shaving brands. It was really interesting to hear from Amy Litzinger and the team at Perio about their different consumer segments and how that leads them to different marketing tactics. They spoke at length about sports and entertainment sponsorships, which opportunities they choose, and why they do them,(which personally I found very interesting because I didn’t know very much about that side of marketing).

The group at Perio, home of Barbisol and PureSilk

After loading us up with gift bags of shaving cream (thank you!), we stopped for lunch at, you guessed it, Piada! We got to try some of the seasonal specials that Matt talked to us about in the morning, and it was especially interesting to hear from half of our group who had never been to one of their restaurants before!

Baesman’s welcoming moose 🙂

Our last stop of the day was Baesman, a non-traditional marketing agency located in downtown Columbus. I was very excited to showcase an agency to our group because it’s hard to understand the agency lifestyle until you get to see it for yourself. So much creativity and flexible thinking is needed in their roles and that often translates into offices that look very different from the stereotypical cubes of the large companies they typically work for.

Baesman’s focus is on data-mining and creating content based on insights that they glean from their clients’ data. It was fascinating to hear about how their business and focus has changed over the past 5 years when they realized what an opportunity data-led marketing would be.

I worked with Baesman in a couple different capacities before I came to Fisher, and even I learned a lot about their business model, and how quickly things are changing in their industry. We got to hear from their president, Jeff Sopko, about starting the business, and we also heard from Evan Maggliocca, who is in charge of their agency branding. I confess that I had never really thought about how important branding and marketing efforts are for an agency as they compete for new business. I had only viewed them from a client standpoint, and it was great to realize their challenges as a business, and how they’ve set themselves up for success under those conditions.

Even though I’ve lived in Columbus for more than 5 years, I personally benefited from visiting these companies and hearing about their very different marketing challenges and tactics. The students who went on the trip learned a lot too, and were excited about the diversity of the companies we visited. I’m happy that AMP was able to share such variety in our own backyard and get our students thinking in different ways about their marketing career possibilities while exposing them to great companies.

Spring Break: From Germany to German Village

Last week’s Spring Break saw members of our graduate programs spread out across all corners of the world; visiting family, soaking up the sun, and exploring exotic places. I spent my break right here, in the snowy Columbus corner of the world—and I regret nothing.

One group of students spent their week in Germany as part of our Global Business Expeditions program. During the trip—led by MBA Program Director Shashi Matta—the travelers visited famous German companies such as Audi, while also enjoying the culture and scenery.  I was with them in spirit as I made a day trip to German Village.

German Village is a historic neighborhood just south of downtown Columbus, and a true gem of the city. It was settled in the mid-1800s by German immigrants and today is nationally recognized for its historical preservation efforts—in fact, the entire neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.  The area is instantly recognizable by its brick streets, quaint and meticulously-maintained brick homes, beautiful Schiller Park, and German dining options.

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus and Restaurant is a neighborhood institution that has been serving up traditional favorites in the same location since 1886. The spicy Bahama Mamma is my go-to.  Served on a platter with sauerkraut, German potato salad, and house-made applesauce it truly makes you feel like you are far away from Columbus.  Be sure to save a little room for dessert, because Schmidt’s legendary cream puffs (about the size of a softball) are not to be forgotten!

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus and Restaurant; Image:

The Book Loft is another German Village favorite. One of the nation’s largest independent book stores, this quirky labyrinth of literature features 32 themed rooms throughout its winding hallways, connecting what were once three separate properties.  The experience of wandering around is in and of itself an Alice in Wonderland style adventure.

The Book Loft, German Village; Image:

German Village is just one of many unique neighborhoods that comprise the vibrant city of Columbus. We are very fortunate as Fisher students to have opportunities to explore the world directly through study-abroad programs, and indirectly in our own backyard—no matter your choice, adventure awaits!


Dylan Goes Electric

When it comes to classroom technology, I’ve always been a bit of a traditionalist, cipherin’ with my slate and chalk.

Ok, maybe not that traditional.

For those who don't understand the reference:
The story behind the obscure pop culture reference:

I have, however, always preferred a good old-fashioned pen and notebook, foregoing the laptop system favored by many of my classmates during my undergraduate career. In my opinion, handwritten notes are considerably more effective for capturing the graphs, illustrations, and charts so common in a business curriculum, which is why all my attempts to computerize my note taking have usually been short-lived.

But as an admitted neatnik, I have always admired certain elements of a digital system, namely its ability to keep all materials in one place, eliminate stray papers which are easily misplaced, and even replace cumbersome textbooks. I recently became the owner of an Apple Pencil and decided to give the electronic world one more try—it has only been two weeks, but things are going better that I could have ever hoped.

The Apple Pencil is a simple, but very effective tool. I was very impressed by how natural and accurate it feels to write with it on my iPad.  In fact, my handwriting was not adversely impacted at all (though it admittedly was bad to begin with).

Pencil and iPad
The notebook of the 21st century?

The real power of this tablet/pencil system is the ability to replace my need for textbooks, notebooks, binders, and printing all with one 9.7 inch device. Using a note-taking app called Notability alongside GoogleDrive, the Canvas (Carmen) app, and the Harvard Publishing app, I am able to import electronic textbooks, PDF articles, PowerPoint presentations, and more into Notability, where I can organize them into folders and virtual “tabs”, and then draw notes directly on the screen (including multiple colors, highlight styles, even typed text boxes).  This system has freed me from heavy backpacks, trips to my locker, time in the computer lab printing, and the fear of being unprepared for class, since all of my materials I could ever need are with me at all times.

A look inside the Notability app.
A look inside the Notability app.

It is still quite early in the semester to declare full victory, but I am cautiously optimistic that this new system is here to say. I think this implementation of technology will also help me as a professional, where I will be expected to be prepared, agile, and up-to-date with technology.  I am getting good practice now in integrating technology into my life, so I will be better prepared as I head off to my summer internship and beyond.


‘How Did I Get Here?’

Those who know me well learn (sometimes to their dismay) that I have a soft spot for 80’s movies. From the classic to the cringe-worthy, I am unable to resist the nostalgic and synthesizer-tinged siren song of the MTV era. The genre has taken on new meaning to me recently, as I feel ever increasingly that I have been plucked from real life and dropped into the middle of a John Hughes montage:

Look at protagonist Michael go—he’s taking classes, doing homework, interviewing for jobs—working hard with his gang of friends towards their common goal! The days are flying off his Page-a-Day calendar as his Trapper Keeper fills with HBR articles! (Music fades as Michael’s car pulls into student parking lot).

Time and Change: Not even Mirror Lake is immune to the fast pace of life on campus.

This morning I had such a montage moment when through my car radio, I heard David Byrne of the Talking Heads squelch “…and you may ask yourself—‘how did I get here?’” ‘Here’ in this case, meaning week eight of the semester. It was a sobering realization that my academic MBA experience at Fisher is already 1/8 of the way done. I took a moment to reflect as the chorus chanted in the background, “Letting the days go by…”

It truly feels like yesterday that I walked into orientation. Yet somehow here I am, eight weeks in and already finished with the seven-week long Economics and Marketing courses. My only explanation (aside from the possibility that we are in fact sentient beings trapped inside the b-roll of a teen movie), is that time flies when you’re having fun. And boy, have I been having fun.

The 12-, 15-, sometimes 18-hour days that I have become accustomed to as a business student fly by more quickly than eight-hour days during some of my past endeavors. There’s no time in this fast-paced program for busy work. As such, every lecture, every assignment, every group project is intensely enriching and clearly builds towards the goal of becoming an effective business leader. This makes it so easy to stay engaged and motivated. Add to this the limitless opportunities for professional development, networking, and exposure to companies and there truly is never a dull moment. The greatest challenge is forcing yourself to go home and go to bed at the end of the day. It wouldn’t be difficult to fill 24 hours a day with MBA-related activities.

A sample time warp agenda

Sure, there is plenty to be stressed about in business school, but there’s always equally as much to be excited about. Ultimately, I think that is what separates my MBA experience thus far from my previous academic endeavors. I walk into Gerlach Hall each day excited, knowing that new lessons, new skills, and new challenges await me. I am never bored, I am never sitting still, and I am constantly challenged– and as such, the weeks quickly wash over me in a wave of intense activity. I have lots to learn and I’m far from mastering the many facets of graduate school, but I look forward to the new challenges ahead.

And so a new montage begins. Will protagonist Michael get a summer internship? Will the football team win the big game against their rivals? What misadventures and mischief await our lovable band of buddies? Cue the music—let’s find out.