Technically, there are two days of class left in the semester. For the sake of this post, let’s say classes are over and all that remains between the student body and summer are those pesky exams.
Here in Gerlach Hall, there are two camps. First-year MBAs are eagerly preparing for GAP assignments and summer internships that will hopefully turn into full-time offers. Second-years are staring employment directly in the face. Try and picture the fleeting look of carefree senioritis on a 28-year-old’s face as she realizes winter break, spring break and Fridays off will forever be in the past. I fall squarely into the anxious, exhausted first-year camp. In less than two weeks, I’ll be in Tanzania working with the Global Water Institute on a water well program. In less than six weeks, I’ll be interning with The Wendy’s Company in its marketing division. Bring it on!
On one hand, I cannot wait to ditch homework for four months. No more late nights at the kitchen table with a strategy case for a company. On the other hand, I’m essentially going back to work for 13 weeks. Work stress and effort are totally different than school stress and effort. Grades and participation points are great, but real life company-related implications and a paycheck are vastly more important in the long run. A dumb answer or a half-hearted deliverable will not ultimately sink a ship here in the safe classrooms of Fisher. Not so in the real world. All the theory and case studies will finally be put to the test. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Fisher Follies is honestly one of my favorite organizations here on campus, even though I am unfortunately not directly involved with it. Follies was set up with the purpose of raising money for students who may come across an unexpected need during their time here at Fisher. The major fundraiser put on by the organization is our Follies auction, which is held each year in November. The auction features items to bid on in both a silent and live auction. Everyone from faculty and staff to students can donate items to auction off and there are always such great items (think an all-expenses paid trip to California, the chance to drive a classic car or a signed OSU jersey). While I love the auction and especially love the cause we are raising money for, I couldn’t possibly forget to mention another recent major event Follies puts on: Fisher Follies Variety Show 2016!
On Friday, March 4th, we had our variety show, which is essentially our year-end celebration for the successful auction put on back in November. The variety show is a mix of filmed and live skits/performances, which are 100% produced and run by our students. I am sure that many of you participated in variety shows in high school or at other times, but I have to say, Follies put on quite the production this year.
We had two hours of skits, many of which tied together with a great overarching plot line and were produced with some ‘real deal’ video equipment. There was a 007 spoof, a Pure Barre class taken by some lovely gentleman at Fisher, a live serenade of songs about our faculty director and many more amazing videos. The great thing about Follies is that every graduate program can, and does, get involved. Most of our skits had actors/actresses from all of the Masters programs and featured jokes and story lines that everyone in the audience could relate to. Quite a few of our professors and staff members also participated and it was amazing to see the culture and friendships here at Fisher come to life on the “big screen”.
The variety show was hosted at our student union in its U.S. Bank Theater by two “MCs” from our second year class. Students and their friends/family, faculty and staff all came to watch and we had quite a large turnout. There were even a few awards handed out for things like best Facebook post and the acceptance speeches for these were just as entertaining as some of the skits. While the variety show really is just an opportunity for everyone to have fun and sometimes, poke fun at our life as grad students, it always reminds me how great life is here at Fisher. We all become such great friends during our time here and these student-run skits truly bring that to life. Now that I am a mere 6 weeks from graduating, events like this really make me appreciate my two years at Fisher and everything I have gotten to experience. Here come the graduation tears….
It’s hard to believe that we only have five weeks left of our time at Fisher, which is both exciting and sad. This is my second graduate degree, so I knew it would be fast, but somehow, I’m still surprised to find myself this close to graduation. So here is my advice to the current first year class and the incoming class of Fisher MBA’s, as the Class of 2016 rounds third base and heads towards home:
1) Do you. I said this in a post I wrote last year, and I stand by it. You will be in class with people who are brilliant, people who already have established careers, people who have started successful businesses, and people who already have graduate degrees. There won’t be anyone who is exactly like you or who wants the same things, and if you find that you’re on a more non-traditional career-path like I was (non-profits) that’s perfectly okay. Don’t compare yourself to others. Twirl down your own road. There are opportunities at Fisher and ways you can network to get yourself where you want to go. I joined Fisher Board Fellows simply because it was something I loved, and that’s how I got my job.
2) Find kindred spirits. They will advocate for you harder than anyone else. I doubt I would have made it through my program without Dr. Shashi Matta, Michelle Petrel, and Professor John Barker. They are wonderful human beings and I am so grateful for them. If you aren’t finding help through what seems like the more traditional pathways, start knocking on office doors and see who will sit down and talk with you.
3) Never stop asking for help. Ask for help from your teammates, from your friends, from professors, from staff, and from alumni. People are much more willing to help than you think they are, because everyone had someone to help them (or several someones). So ask. And make sure to follow through with a thank you and maybe some chocolate. Everyone likes chocolate.
4) Learn how to be a team player. Work hard to learn how to work with other people. This doesn’t mean be a pushover or a people-pleaser, it means learn how to work together to accomplish a goal. Be a leader when you need to be, but know that the best leaders know how to step back and let others lead, too.
5) Network. Look at everything as a networking opportunity, and a way you can meet new people. Don’t think of it as work. Don’t think of it as asking someone for a job. Think of it as making friends. And you can never have enough friends.
6) Take a leadership position in a student organization. My time on a leadership team pushed me in ways I didn’t expect it to, and it taught me how to adapt to the very different needs of the people on my team. I learned the most about leadership by being on that team, and I’ve seen the most growth in myself because of it.
7) And last, but not least, try not to stress out too much. Two years goes fast, folks. So go to follies, go to girls’ night, and hit all the happy hours. Because the work will be there, whether or not you panic. So try not to panic, and enjoy the time you have at Fisher.
One of my favorite memories from the end of the first semester was attending the Chicago Hop, hosted by the marketing student organization, AMP! We had about 50 students across all disciplines attend the trip immediately after finals were over. On Thursday 12/17, we first stopped in Dearborn, MI to visit Ford’s headquarters and then hear a presentation from their creative agency, Team Detroit.
Then, onward to the Windy City! At the alumni networking event, we met many Chicago-based Ohio State alums and enjoyed hearing stories of their experiences at OSU and in their careers. Dean Makhija teleconferenced in and shared the college’s vision for the future with the alumni. After experiencing a little of the city night life (but I’m sure everyone was home at a reasonable hour, of course), we prepared for a big day on Friday.
Friday dawned bright but cold. We first visited the Big Ten Network and had a great time trying out the commentator desks and pretending to talk about sports. Elizabeth Conlisk, VP of Communications, spoke to us about how the Big Ten Network starting in 2007 as a new entrant in a saturated market. People thought they were crazy to start this, but they’ve turned the brand into a success in just a few years.
From there, we went to Groupon’s offices, which run counter to everything you thought you knew about offices. Open floor plan? Check! Swings? Check! Fake fairytale woodland themed meeting area? Check! Luau with fake palm trees and probably not fake bar? Check! Spaceship with a giant cat head? Double check! It was great to hear from a brand that’s built a completely different business model than what was previously out there and strives to stay innovative and fun.
After a quick lunch, it was time for Tyson/Hillshire Farms! We were able to tour their office and see their great facilities. Several of their assistant brand managers came in to talk to us about their jobs and represented a variety of different brands: Sarah Lee, Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, Tyson, and more. It was interesting to hear about their day-to-day activities in charge of brands large and small.
From Tyson, we visited Ogilvy & Mather, a full-service agency that was founded in 1948 at the beginning of the rise of advertising. Many people believe that the founder, David Ogilvy, was the inspiration for Mad Men’s Don Draper. The Ogilvy team shared advertisements that they’ve worked on, discussed the relationship between the agency and their clients, and gave advice for people interested in working for agencies.
What a full and exciting day! One of the goals of the Marketing Hop is to showcase different sides of marketing and give real-life examples of the types of careers a marketer can have. With an upstart cable TV network, a discounting website, a traditional CPG food company and a well-known agency on the agenda, it was hard to not see the breadth and excitement available in marketing careers.
On the social side of things, we had a great time at dinner and at various bars around Chicago. It was great to get to know my fellow students better outside of class and mix more with the 2nd years too. While there, many of the international students experienced their first snowfall, so it was really fun to be a part of those memories, and connect with people on a personal level. The Chicago Marketing Hop was a whirlwind trip, but hugely valuable for the 50 of us who went, both in a professional sense and a personal sense. I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip!
In the midst of a two and a half week onslaught, I write to you during a brief respite to talk about time management and the dire importance of learning how to manage your time, for sanity’s sake.
The past two weeks have, on top of the normal demands of daily MBA coursework, included seven team projects, two individual assignments and a marketing case competition. Sounds like a lot, right? We haven’t finished just yet. The cherry on top of the sundae is a blitz of finals this coming Monday and Tuesday to round out the term.
To give you some insight, the breadth and depth of our assignments included:
Team Operations Management II Case
Team Presentation in Global Business Environment
Team Strategy Case
Team Marketing Management II Case
Team Global Business Environment Term Paper
Team Global Business Environment Term Presentation
Team Marketing Management II Term Project and Presentation
Individual Strategy Case
Individual Operations Management II Assignment
Macy’s Marketing Challenge
Yet to come:
Operations Management II Final
Marketing Management II Final
Global Business Environment Final
My classmate Danny already touched on the importance and ever-present inclusion of group work into our MBA experience. I can whole-heartedly say that the bulleted to-do list above would not be possible without an accountable core team. Thankfully, my team and I successfully worked together and spent hours and hours pushing to ensure we had quality deliverables. Yes, tensions can run high. No, you cannot escape it. It’s these experiences that best mirror working under tight deadlines with a team in the business world. Setting aside the individual for the betterment of the team, sharing responsibility and depending on each other to shoulder the burden each weigh heavily in the foundation of a high performing team.
Now, I’ve got to get back to it. If you think you possess great time management skills, be prepared to back it up. I thought I was pretty good, but I still have plenty to learn. The good news is, we all survived and by 2:45 pm Tuesday afternoon, we’ll have a chance to take a deep breath.
That is, until we start our next term the following morning at 8:30 am.
As you may know, a big part of getting an MBA is competing in case competitions. There are numerous case competitions focusing on different subjects – “Marketing, Finance, Venture Capital, Supply Chain, Strategy, Operations, Data Analytics, Marketing Analytics, etc.” – across the country and even the globe. Ohio State prides itself by competing in and performing well in all of these case competitions. Recently Ohio State took first place in the ACG case competition in Cleveland and second place in the Strategy case competition at the University of Illinois.
Teams from Ohio State have competed or plan to compete in the below competitions.
Procter & Gamble Marketing Case Competition
The Lincoln Challenge
Macy’s Marketing Case Competition
Venture Capital Investment Competition “VCIC”
The Big Ten Case Competition
ACG Case Competition
International Supply Chain Case Competition
Deloitte Supply Chain Case Competition
The GE Case Competition
And many more
What are the prizes you ask? They range from a cool trophy to $40,000 CASH!!!!
I have competed in three case competitions and plan to complete in more. They are a great learning experience, fun, tiring, stressful and a fantastic networking opportunity. Many students end up with internships and full-time jobs from competing in case competitions.
It was my first year in the MBA, and school had started just a couple of weeks ago. I received an email from the president of the Fisher Graduate Latino Association (FGLA) telling us about this conference happening in Philadelphia: NSHMBA Career Expo (National Society of Hispanic MBAs). It was a 3-day career conference hosted by NSHMBA, an organization dedicated to “increasing the number of Hispanics graduating with MBAs; and to assist in networking by helping secure leadership positions and enhance professional development.” I had only been in the MBA program for a couple of weeks, and I had no idea what this event was, or the great opportunities it provided.
After talking to the president of FGLA and my advisor, I decided to attend, along with 5 other first years and a couple of second years. We arrived in Philadelphia Thursday night, and would be attending the Conference first thing Friday morning. The night before at the hotel, we all researched the companies we were interested in, and took a look at the conference map. There would be so many companies attending! The map, however, only conveyed the scale of the conference to a small degree. When we arrived there Friday morning before the conference started, it was a busy, crazy scene of hundreds of MBAs in suits and with portfolios, eagerly waiting to go talk to the company they were interested in.
The doors to the conference finally opened. I decided to walk around the conference and get a feel for the environment before I talked to any recruiter. It was an overwhelming experience, since it was my first time in a conference such as that one, but it was also so energizing and thriving. So much talent and opportunities everywhere. I walked around the floor and observed the layout of the conference. Once I felt comfortable and ready to take part of this experience, I put down my coffee and looked at the first company name in my list. It would be a great, long day ahead of me – and I felt as ready as ever to start!
What does your group work scar look like? Maybe it’s just me, but I was all messed up from a few particularly dysfunctional group work experiences in undergrad. If you had asked me a year ago, I’d tell you that group work is where at least 1 person doesn’t pull their weight and everyone is trying to just get through it, but doesn’t really enjoy it.
Enter in Fisher CORE team to my life. 5 people (including me) assigned intentionally to work together for all of the 11 CORE classes. This system is brilliant, and something I like to highlight when people ask me, ‘what has surprised you about your time here?’ Here are a few quick reasons why the CORE team has been a redemptive group work experience for most folks.
Desire: Everyone wants to be here and is much more mature than undergrad. You don’t just pause your career for 2 years without some serious intent to learn and grow!
No more free loading: Having the same group for every class means we are all incented to put our best foot forward and build trust with a team for a whole year. #incentivesaligned
Friendship: Teams often become good friends with each other given all the time you spend together. I recently hosted my team member Sahil (from India) at my parents’ house in Austin TX over winter break (pictured below).
Logistics: Scheduling with just 1 group is much simpler than multiple groups for 1 class.
Thank you Fisher (and CORE TEAM #4!) for redeeming group work and giving my group work scar time to heal! I’m even more ready to enter the workforce and work in teams than when I started here. #teamlearning
I know I have already made a habit of writing about all of the wonderful, exciting things to do around Columbus. However, I just recently attended a brand new event that is a must share for those who have never heard of it.
Studio 35 is a cinema/draft house in the neighborhood of Clintonville, which is one of my favorite areas in Columbus. Fun fact that I didn’t know until writing this blog is that Studio 35 is Columbus’ oldest independent movie theater and draft house. This is an awesome establishment because they show so many different types of movies and have a full bar out front! You can catch anything from a new release to classic cinema to a special event built around a movie.
This is where Dudethon comes into the picture. Dudethon is an annual event that sells out every year at Studio 35. This year, there were three different nights. Each night, a different brewery brought in staff and did a sampling event of all of their beers. The night I chose to attend (Friday) was Columbus Brewing Company’s (CBC) night and we sampled around 10 different (DELICIOUS) beers from them. Each night was sold out, so it was a lively crowd in the theater. In between beer samples, Studio 35 showed funny Youtube videos (grandmas trying Fireball, anyone?), auctioned off prizes and told us about the beers we were drinking.
After sampling was over, everyone took a quick break before the main event: the screening of The Big Lebowski (hence the name Dudethon). It was super fun because everyone in the crowd loved the movie and you could hear people quoting their favorite lines throughout the evening. There were even a couple of super fans that dressed up like characters. The great thing about Dudethon is they were completely fine with people coming in and out to grab a beer at the bar, order pizza from the nearby pizza place or just run out to grab a snack of popcorn.
Studio 35 does events like these periodically throughout the year and this was my first time attending. It was a great time and I was even lucky enough to win a raffle that included two free movie tickets and a free popcorn. Looks like I will be returning soon…maybe for Bad Movie Night (BMN) in the future!
To learn more about Studio 35 and plan your own visit, visit their website below. Trust me, you will be going back again and again for the movies, beer and all around amazing atmosphere.
This December, I was faced with the realization that I was approaching my final “break.” I have no additional grad school in my future, and I don’t know when I will take more than 2 consecutive weeks of vacation during my career. Moreover, future vacations will always be at least a bit overshadowed by thoughts of work left undone. It is a unique (and wonderful) feeling of freedom to finish final exams and presentations and “check out” for 4 weeks.
I am normally one to over-schedule my time off (as well as my time on), but I took a rewarding step out of my comfort zone this year and planned nothing over my break. By “nothing,” I mean that I had a couple of weekends set aside for my wife and me to go visit family over the holidays, but nothing in the way of a big trip or project. I was worried I would end the break with regret that I hadn’t taken full advantage of it, but having a more relaxing, spontaneous schedule was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Instead of having an epic, 4-week adventure, I scattered a number of “micro-adventures” throughout the break. My wife and I have a 1-year-old pup, an American Brittany Spaniel named “Gus,” that we have trained for hunting. I used the break to take him out about a dozen times to different bird preserves and local conservation land I hadn’t yet visited for both hunting and trail runs. In the afternoons/evenings, I worked through a long list of to-dos that have been accumulating over the year. Fortunately, these were much less chores and much more projects I have been hoping to accomplish with this much-needed free time. Lastly, I took the opportunity to make a small trip down to North Carolina to visit my favorite professor from undergrad, a much overdue trip.
Most importantly, I ended the break feeling two things: first, despite not having a big trip/adventure, I felt the excitement and satisfaction of nevertheless having an adventurous break. Secondly, I felt relieved – normally I come to the end of a vacation or break to the realization that I have to get caught up with the things I missed, but by spreading out activities and projects alike, it made for a great blend of spontaneity and accomplishment.
For those who still have the luxury of 4-week breaks or who are looking forward to them in future plans of grad school, I encourage you to do a few things:
Change your routine: Whether that means waking up earlier or later, take the opportunity to “buck” the routine – it will be a relief in its own right
Manage your to-dos: Find the right amount of things that actually need to get done and will feel good to accomplish, and make sure not to overload your time with chores that you won’t enjoy
Have Adventures: Even if you can’t travel, find places close-by that you haven’t visited, go for runs in new neighborhoods, and do whatever else you can to make sure your eyes fall on new scenery
See Friends: I love staying connected with my friends, and it is hard when they are spread across the country. Time spent face-to-face with old friends is easily the most rewarding use of my time.