Gimme a Break, Gimme a Break

Earlier this semester, I wrote about the astonishing speed of the first term (seven weeks). Even though I have the exact same feelings about this second term, I won’t bore you with my flabbergasted view of time during this program (but seriously, didn’t we just start Leadership and Operations a couple of weeks ago?).

Amid the flurry of classes, exams, group projects and meetings, there is time to breathe. Trust me. Breaks are such an important part of this program. Luckily, they’re almost perfectly spaced apart.

Academic Calendar

Like any school schedule, the breaks can be short (Labor Day, Veterans’ Day), a little more substantial (fall break, Thanksgiving weekend) or massive (winter break a.k.a. four weeks of brain-resting bliss). Whether it’s a Wednesday off or a five-day weekend, each and every one of us can appreciate a break because we get a much needed taste of normalcy. Some choose to take the extra time to focus on catching up in Data Analysis. Others take time to catch up on Netflix. Anything and everything that has been neglected throughout the preceding weeks receives much needed attention.

Personally, my favorite break activities are sleeping in, reading (for pleasure, not to learn more about value stream mapping) and mini-marathons of beloved TV shows or movies with my girlfriend. Before Fisher, I used to finish a book every one to two weeks. This has drastically changed. I can say, with a twinge of sadness, it took me about twelve weeks to finish the last book I started (it was a terrible book, but still). Nonetheless, I will not be deterred. I have a stack of 10-15 books waiting to be read over winter break, next semester, spring break and beyond.

As for shows, wonderful creations like On Demand, DVR, Netflix and Hulu enable all of us to catch up on our favorite shows in one day (if you’re feeling up to it). I’m partial to travel shows, namely “Parts Unknown” with Anthony Bourdain, but anything will work. I’m sure I have a few classmates who can’t wait to finish the latest season of “Pretty Little Liars” or “UFO Hunters.” I’m not here to judge anyone’s preferred method for fully exploiting a day with no schedules and no deliverables. I think we should all revel in our days off and do just that, take the day off. Do what you want to clear your mind, relax and get re-centered.

Like all great things, breaks come to an end. The hectic schedule awaits on the other side, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put our brains on cruise control and get lost in something other than regressions for a day.

 

The hunt for a Job/Internship

The biggest part of coming back to get my MBA was to pursue a different career than the one I was in. I knew the MBA program would help me make the switch but I was unsure what the process would look like. When would I start interviewing for Internships, what kinds of internships would be available, where would they be located and how much would I make?

The easy answer for all of these questions is: it depends. Marketing, logistics and most finance internships/jobs begin interviewing pretty early in the fall. Investment banks begin interviewing in December and consulting firms start the hunt for candidates in the spring. The experience for each and every one of my classmates has been very different. Most of my classmates have interviewed for multiple internships/jobs. Some have 4-5 offers from various companies, some received offers for their “dream” position and accepted right away and others are still on the hunt.

As for where are the internships and jobs located. I would ask you, where do you want to live? Odds are you will be able to find an internship/job in that location. A perk of coming to one of the largest universities in the United States is a HUGE alumni network.

Career switchers, it is possible. 90% of my experience prior to my MBA was in sales and I currently have multiple offers related to finance in multiple locations – exactly what I wanted.

As for how much you will make. I’ll leave that one to the office of Career Management.

The hunt for an internship/job is time consuming, fun, stressful and ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!!!

 

On Fisher’s Difference – A Reflection

Reflecting on my first three semesters here in the Fisher FTMBA program, I find the question that I’m most often asked by family, friends, and applicants to the program is: “What differentiates Fisher from other MBA programs?” Over time, I’ve realized that my best answer is not really my answer; it’s Dr. Tony Rucci’s.

Dr. Rucci is a clinical professor of management here at Fisher, and all first year students in the full time MBA program take his Leadership course as a part of the core curriculum. His impressive resume contains stints in the C-suites of Cardinal Health and Sears Roebuck and Co, and Dr. Rucci is actively involved in the community through several advisory roles and multiple philanthropic ventures.

Dr. Rucci could have continued his successful career in the private sector, but he chose to teach at Fisher.

Dr. Rucci could have gone and taught at any business school of his choosing around the country, but he chose to teach at Fisher.

During the first week of Dr. Rucci’s core leadership course, while leading a class conversation on a project concerning the development of our team’s purpose and values statements for Fisher, I recall asking him, “Why Fisher? What makes this program special to you?” After a contemplative pause, Dr. Rucci replied:

At many other MBA programs, students go to class against their competition, fighting to take their next step in life over the fallen body of their vanquished foe. Here at Fisher, students go to class with their friends, and everyone works to take their next steps in life together, arm-in-arm.”

Three semesters later, I can still remember Dr. Rucci answer my question as if it had just happened yesterday. I think part of the reason why this memory has remained so fresh is that I see this message in practice every single day in the interactions among Fisher students. “How firm thy friendship” from Ohio State’s alma mater Carmen Ohio and “Go Beyond” from Fisher’s branding campaign seem like nice sentiments on a page, pamphlet, or computer screen. But seeing them lived out in person packs a potent, palpable punch so powerful that even previously cynical me has become a believer in Dr. Rucci’s words.

Top 10 Most Memorable Experiences from the 1st Semester:

Tepper

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Fisher

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!