Posts filed under 'Full Time MBA'



Fisher Family Network

One of the first things the Class of 2016 learned about during our two weeks of orientation was the Fisher Family. Community was one of the top buzzwords of the faculty and staff who presented to us, and they emphasized that everyone at Fisher – faculty, staff, and students – is here to help us grow and learn both academically and professionally.

And over the past few weeks, our class has bonded and become a family – a real one. Half the time I don’t even have to ask for help – people offer before I can.  Last week, one of my classmates, Michael, gave me the contact information for one of his friends who had interned with a company I was interested in.  “E-mail him!” Michael said.  “He’ll definitely be able to tell you about the culture and what their internships are like.”  So I did.  His friend wrote me a detailed mini-essay about the company.  It was awesome, and it really helped me.

Then, during the weekend, another classmate, Vlad, spent over two hours helping a group of people (including myself) figure out an accounting case. Two.  Hours.  It was a struggle-fest, let me tell you, as we slowly pieced together how to complete the case with Vlad acting as safety net in case we wandered too far off-track.  That was two hours he could have been napping.  Naps are scarce and highly valued commodities in grad school.  But he helped us anyways.

And it isn’t just our class that has become a family – the Fisher Family extends outwards to past students, too.  On Sunday, I was talking to my friend, Jessi, who recently graduated from Fisher.  I mentioned that I was interviewing with a certain company.  “Oh!  You’ve got to talk to Brian!”  She gave me the contact information of one of her classmates who had interned with and was currently working for the company.

And when I e-mailed Brian?  He immediately suggested we set up a time to talk.  When he found out I was a career-switcher, and a little overwhelmed by the tough marketing questions asked in interviews, he offered to give me interviewing help and said to e-mail him anytime I have questions.

I’ve never had so many people helping me succeed.  It’s pretty amazing.  If you have a weakness, your career counselors, classmates, and professors will help you strengthen that skill set.  The people at Fisher – both past and present – support one another and want to see each other succeed.  The Fisher Family is one of the things that most defines Fisher, and what makes it so special.


Talking with a CEO

Last fall, I came to The Fisher College of Business as an atypical business student—I graduated with degrees in International Relations and Geography, and the closest thing I got to a business curriculum was a single course in economics.   Also, I joined Fisher as an early career applicant, with just 2 years of professional experience.

Understandably, when I came to Fisher, my nerves were jumping off the charts: how was a 2 year master’s program going to help a student like me to become a business leader?

Two semesters and many classes later, I joined a start-up of sorts, as an intern, with one of the greatest business leaders in Columbus.  He asked me to stay with his company, through this fall, as I develop marketing communications for a new product launch.  It’s when my boss—who’s also the CEO of another successful company—comes into my office, sits down and talks with me that I realize just how much my business acumen has grown as a Fisher MBA.

When my boss shows me our company’s accounting statement, I can speak to and understand all of the figures on the page.  And when he talks to me about our operations, finances, and business sustainability, I can add value to the conversation by sharing my ideas.

Looking back, one year later, my nerves are still jumping off the chart, but this time, it’s for the excitement of joining the next class of great business leaders.  IRR, SG&A, and MTS inventory, no problem—being a Fisher MBA has taught me how to talk with, and like, a CEO.


Midterms, Accounting and Networking: Not that Bad!

Things have kind of ramped up here in the Fisher Full Time MBA program over the last couple of weeks. Even though we were already busy, our first set of midterms were upon us, our first accounting case was due and graduate careers fairs were beginning.

cf4Lmme

My Husky Energy dog from the Career Fair says “Arpha!”

This is going to sound as bizarre as having a football team with nobody over 5’10, but midterms were probably the easiest and least stressful part of the middle of September. There was only so much to study three weeks into school. Our Marketing Math quiz was literally based off of three pages, our Marketing exam was more application than memorization, Econ was more art (literally) than science and Finance could have been about 1000000% harder than it was. Like they say in business school, learning more than grades are what matters and once you realize the professors aren’t going to absolutely kill you on exams, the focus on learning becomes a lot easier to handle. It’s all about application and not rote memorization like many undergraduate exams tend to be.

The real big bad in all of this was an accounting case worth about 2% of our grade, if even that. Accounting has supremely thick barriers to entry, at least in the way we have been taught, and with CPAs being exempt from the class, it seemed like absolutely nobody knew what was going on. Thankfully, because our CPA Fisher Family brothers and sisters love us so much, they were happy to help us with our homework and at least give us a push in the right direction. We had study groups the two days before the case was due and even if nobody could completely figure it out, we’re learning and I think that’s all that matters. I hope, anyway. I’ll let you know how the next case goes.

And then there was the Fisher Graduate Career Fairs. The big one was in the Blackwell on the Fisher Campus and brought companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Nationwide, Wendy’s and PolyOne. It was a chance to try out our pitches of ourselves if nothing else and get used to talking to people at these booths about their companies and learning about places we could potentially intern next summer.

To say my first attempt at this was a trainwreck would be a lie as it was far, far worse than that. I’ll keep the details of this talk classified but let’s just say I won’t be getting a job with this employer. I slowly got better, however, and once I got to the companies I was actually interested in such as Wendy’s, as I am a longtime consumer of their wares, I felt like I was doing a decent job. Anyway, these fairs aren’t the end all be all of the job hunt but are good practice if nothing else.

Anyway, once these trials and tribulations of business school were over, there was still time to play soccer, do homework and do some intense Friday night networking in the Short North.

The best parts of all of these things though is that nearly every one of your classmates is going through the exact same thing and it helps you all bond and really become a Fisher Family (copyright someone, I’m sure). A lot of us have gotten closer or just met more people through studying at Gerlach Hall or going to talk to the same employers at info sessions and then having some hardcore networking seshes on Fridays.

This part’s really been my favorite as I haven’t always had the easiest time making friends in the past. In law school everyone was dispersed and it was hard to see anyone outside of class. Undergrad was more of a bizarre experience for me, personally. But here, I’ve done the best I’ve done since about 2nd grade socially and am apparently the class mascot somehow. My face is on the top of this Grad Life blog. I couldn’t have made a better decision to have come and even things like midterms and horrible accounting cases and scary career fairs haven’t dampened that in the least.


P&G Case Competition

As I write this its P&G Case Competition Eve – our teams are assembled, the 2nd years have given us the Competition run down/inside info. Claudel Nisingizwe, Christian Medeiros, Alison Schwalbe and I have joined forces to create the greatest super team since the Silver Snakes…

Wouldn’t it be nice if case competitions involved unfortunate headgear and giant talking rocks… food for thought P&G think it over.

Anyway, there will be eight teams of four competing in the competition, and on Thursday 9/25 we’ll be presented with the case at 3:00pm and have until 9pm to put together a full presentation. At 9pm, we turn the slides in and no changes can be made. The next day, Friday 9/26 we reconvene at 12:00pm and the rumble begins.

But for now we wait.

Procter and Gamble is one of the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the world, and we are lucky enough to have them on campus recruiting. Every year they host a case competition on Fisher’s campus for 1st year MBA students competing for glory, prestige, and a chance at business school immortality… or at the very least something cool to put on your resume. It really is a pretty special opportunity though – not only do we get to network with professionals from one of the most successful companies in the world, but we also get the chance to apply what we’ve learned in the classroom thus far to a real world problem. Granted we’re only a few weeks in, but they seem to find a way to really pack things in. Send out some good vibes for our team, and I’ll be sure to do a post P&G competition update.


Mixing Business With Pleasure

So, can I have a job? That probably isn’t the best thing to say to the recruiter you walk up to when attending a job fair. Last week I had the opportunity to attend the National Black MBA conference in Atlanta, Georgia. There were about 400 employers there, many from Fortune 500 companies and thousands of job seekers out to clench their ideal internship or full-time position. I’ve never experienced anything on this scale and I’m so happy I was able to go. Not only did I expand my network, but I also formed stronger bonds with the other students along on the trip. Below you can see the massiveness of some of the booths, and the fun logos and mascots hanging from the ceiling.

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One of the lunches I attended featured the oh so accomplished Magic Johnson! He was not only funny, but gave us a real look into how he achieved his success. My main take away from his message was, when you want something go after it relentlessly and don’t have fear. One quote that stood out to me was, “Goal setting is a good thing, but you have to have a strategy to get there.”

THE Magic Johnson

THE Magic Johnson

Of course I didn’t go to Atlanta for just business, this is where the pleasure part comes in. The conference hosted an event at the new College Football Hall of Fame. My phone was dead or I would’ve provided you with a sneak peak, but take my word for it, it was cool. We had dinner and drinks on the indoor football field, and got free tours of the building. I wore my Ohio State jersey that night and was constantly hearing people yelling “O-H” at me, as I politely screamed back “I-O.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, its an Ohio State thing, you’ll catch on.

Right in the middle of the city we found a huge Ferris wheel. It gave us a great view of the city at night, and the music they played wasn’t bad either.

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I might have missed three days of class to go, but from the professional growth to the fun times had, I would do it again!

 

 


Living in Columbus: A New Yorker’s Perspective

After living in NYC for 4 years, I kind of feared moving to Columbus. New York City had it all – culture, world class entertainment and sports, a vibrant nightlife, every walk of life, great public transportation, a diverse music and food scene, iconic parks, etc. In my mind, Columbus would be the typically college town, with a few rundown bars overrun by undergrads, some chain and fast food restaurants, a sleepy downtown area, and lots and lots and lots and lots of open space.

I have now been living in Columbus for a few months, and I must say this couldn’t be further from the truth. While I do miss the NYC subway, Columbus offers everything that NYC does, except on a smaller scale. You will find great diversity (e.g., ethnicities, nationalities, LGBT community) in and around the city, especially since Ohio State and the Fisher College of Business draws students from all over the U.S. and world. Major companies located in Columbus, including Nationwide, L Brands, and Cardinal Health, also bring in a diverse crowd of young and seasoned professionals. There is a great nightlife, especially in the Short North area, which caters mostly to young professionals and graduate students both during the week and weekend. Columbus residents, not surprisingly, are extremely passionate about sports, especially since Ohio State harbors some of the best U.S. college sports teams (Go Buckeyes!). There are also plenty of opportunities to get yourself into shape with the numerous bike paths, top-notch sports facilities, and parks in Columbus and on campus. And there is definitely an active Columbus foodie scene – every type of restaurant you can imagine from vegan to Indian to Asian to Ethiopian to American to Mexican to you name it! There is even the Columbus Food Truck Festival right before fall semester begins.

I’m still pretty new to Columbus, but it is feeling more like home every day. I still have more to explore, but thankfully there will always be something to do.

Full disclosure: I do live across from a cornfield, but it is a part of the Ohio State campus ;)


Going Global with GAP

The Global Applied Projects (GAP) program was one of the biggest factors in my decision to attend Fisher. The program pairs groups of 6 students with a business facing a real international business problem and tasks the students with finding a solution. Our group of first-year full-time and working professional MBAs was matched with DHL Supply Chain to analyze consumer buying behavior for third-party and lead logistics services within the automotive manufacturing industry in Europe.

DHL Headquarters

After our final presentation at DHL Headquarters in Bonn

Before we even arrived in Germany, we had 7-weeks to work on the project with our client, form our hypotheses, and develop the project plan for the trip. This included the opportunity to visit a global automotive supplier in Akron, Ohio as well as a DHL/Exel distribution center in Detroit, Michigan. When we landed in Germany, we met with our project sponsor, a Senior Vice President for DHL Supply Chain, and discussed our work to date. He joined us throughout our trip as we toured DHL facilities and operations and interviewed senior executives at DHL’s clients throughout northwest Germany. We even had the opportunity to meet with the CEO of DHL Supply Chain at their world headquarters in Bonn!

Travel Map

We traveled all over northwest Germany

The trip wasn’t all work, our team took advantage of our weekends off to travel and take in the culture. We visited Hamburg’s 825th anniversary port festival, where we enjoyed brats and beer on a German battle cruiser, checked out the amazing nightlife, and made an early morning trip to their famous fish market. The team also traveled to Amsterdam the following weekend where we visited the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh museum, and took a nice cruise into the city on its canal system. On our final weekend, we explored the old fort overlooking our home-base of Koblenz and visited a 900 year old castle!

Castle

O-H-I-O at Burg Eltz

The GAP program is another great example of how Fisher allows students to Go Beyond the classroom to get great international business and real-world project experience while making memories that will last a lifetime.

Team Amsterdam

Enjoying the canals of Amsterdam


The Internship

The Internship-Vaughn and Wilson
Second year MBA students-they’re older, wiser, and more mature, right?  The first one in that list is guaranteed to happen.  The others, not necessarily, but the internship between the first and second year of the MBA program is aimed to help towards that.  This summer I interned as a Global Supply Chain Project Manager at Greif, which is a $4.5 billion industrial packaging company headquartered here in the Columbus area.

Greif Global Supply Chain
It was a great internship.  The Greif supply chain folks welcomed me as a full member of the team and never looked at me as an “intern”.  The projects I got to work on were ones that the other full time team members would have been working on if I weren’t there.  Not only that, but I also worked on a project that had an international focus and was able to travel to Amsterdam for a week during the summer to pitch the solution we had come up with to the leader of the business unit there.

I’ve found as a 2nd year MBA this year there are a lot of things I’ve been able to hit on from my internship at Greif while at career fairs and in interviews.  The things I learned while doing the internship have been beneficial in growing my experience and understanding of supply chain management, and it was largely due to the role I had there.  So, when looking for an internship it’s worthwhile to focus on what kind of internship it will be and if you’ll get a great experience out of it.  I sure had that at Greif, and was more than happy to intern there this summer.


Business School, Or Why I’m Enjoying Not Having a Minute of Free Time

Business school is filled with reading, class, club information sessions, studying and professors with fancy hair (maybe too fancy?). But that probably describes every business school in these United States. Every school has a finance association and every school has textbooks and every school has quiet rooms. But Fisher and The Ohio State University has so much more than that and as I told a second year, “I can’t handle myself right now.”

Your views are not appreciated here, Business Cat

Your views are not appreciated at Fisher, Business Cat

I could describe abstractly my schedule and everything I’ve had to do in the month plus I’ve been at Ohio State coming from New Jersey and another huge state school in Rutgers. I could just say you could get lost in everything here, but I think there’s a better way to do this: I’m going to lay out as much of my schedule on Monday September 16, 2014 as I possibly can. It may seem like a crowded day, but I promise this is pretty much what every Monday is going to be for me for the foreseeable future, so here it is COMIN’ AT YOU HARD.

8-8:30AM: Print out Econ discussion questions for that sweet participation credit.

8:30-10:00AM: Accounting class featuring Jolly Bob’s Jerk Joint and joining intramural flag football leagues. I am a good student I swear.

10:15-11:45AM: Econ class! A blur of supply and demand curves even a day later. Reminiscing about Jolly Bob’s.

12-1PM: 3M Marketing Info Session: Free lunch! It was sammiches. And free pens! Oh and learning about 3M’s marketing internships and full time opportunities.

1-2PM: I exercise/listen to the Pitch Perfect Soundtrack. Barden Bellas 4 lyfe.

2:30-3PM: The two team captains for intramural football draft our players. It can get challenging determining the net present value of Ryan McClellan vs. Adam Tedrick. I should be doing work now butttttttt….no.

3-7PM: Studying for Marketing Math Quiz tomorrow and realizing I don’t have a calculator. I buy a $3.50 one from the bookstore. It does not have exponents. Also studying marketing cases and doing finance homework. I realize (have it reinforced, more likely) that I have no idea what is going on in finance. This is important as the midterm is 3 days away. I need to pack in all this studying for tomorrow because the day’s about to go sideways.

7:30-8:45PM: Intramural Soccer. I’m also one of the captains for one of our two intramural flag football teams. While the football one entails duties like drafting people you know and pretending to be Urban Meyer, the soccer iteration involves bothering people endlessly to get them to officially sign up and telling them where the hidden field at Lincoln Tower Park is. But hey we won 7-6! Woo go Fisher Gray!

9-10PM: Go home and lay facedown drinking Gatorade. But today’s not over because I’m dumb.

10:30-12: Go play intramural Broomball with people I don’t know. I am a crazy person. It’s played with sneakers on a normal ice rink. I fell on my butt about 12 times and sent part of a broom almost into the stands that were filled with kids with nothing better to do than laugh at me fall on my face (no it was funny I don’t blame them). I did not know this sport existed before OSU and now I have a sore butt from it. Oh and we lost.

1AM: Finally eat dinner. Subway was literally the only thing open since McDonalds switched to their breakfast menu at midnight. I do not like eggs so this did not fly.

2AM: Bed.

7AM: Study for marketing math quiz.

SOOOO that was my day and a little added afterward. It may seem like I was annoyed or frustrated with the day, but there are just so many opportunities to take advantage of at Ohio State and Fisher. If I went to a smaller school or one with fewer opportunities, my day could have been over early and I could have been sleeping by 11. But why waste what’s out there? You’re not going to find stuff like this everywhere or maybe anywhere else.

 


Leadership Lessons

All first year students take a leadership course during their fall semester, which is taught by Dr. Tony Rucci. In this class, each team of five students is required to do a community service project and write a reflection paper about their experience.  My team chose to participate in Meals On Wheels.  Meals On Wheels is a program where volunteers deliver food to the homes of those who cannot afford to buy food, and who are either partially or completely house-bound.

My team of five was assigned to two delivery routes and given instructions on where and how to deliver the meals.  Some deliveries required signatures, and others did not.  Hot meals and cold meals were sealed inside individual trays, and hot meals came with a slice of bread and an apple.  Drink choices were skim or 2% milk.

I was prepared for the poverty we saw – probably better prepared than my teammates.  I grew up in a town where poverty is normative, and I was a volunteer tutor in an inner-city school while I was an undergrad.  I’ve seen hunger on children’s faces – in the ways they act and react – because I’ve studied next to and taught these children.  I was also prepared for the dirt and decay we encountered in some homes because I worked for a cleaning company in the summers.

But what I was not prepared for was the complete and total isolation we encountered.  Most of the people we brought meals to were elderly, and many were handicapped.  I wondered where their children were – their grandchildren.  I wondered it for at least the first hour.  That’s how long it took me to realize that they probably didn’t have children.  Or their children were dead.  Or lived in another state and couldn’t afford to visit often or financially support their aging parents.  And if you or your children can’t afford to hire an in-home nurse or move into assisted living or a nursing home, there isn’t much choice.  You’re stuck.

I was also unprepared for how little food we actually delivered. I greatly respect what Meals On Wheels does, and I think it’s a wonderful program.  I fully realize the funding and man-power limitations they face on a daily basis.  I also understand that, as an Italian, my beliefs in portion size are dramatically skewed.  But despite all of these things, the bottom line is that we only delivered one meal to each person.  One meal per person.  One meal per day.

Think about how much you eat in one day.

 

Our route took my team two hours to complete, from start to finish.  Two hours and we got to go home to full cupboards, clean floors, and air conditioning.  Two hours and we were back to being students, with all the academic, intellectual, social, and economic privileges that students have.

After an experience like that, you have to ask yourself what you’re doing with your life.  How are you helping anyone besides yourself?  And maybe you aren’t.  Maybe you’re just trying to survive grad school.  And maybe that’s the point.

Our leadership project was a good way for us to give back, to remind us of what is important, and to remember that despite the lengthy class discussions about profit margins, supply and demand curves, and increasing shareholders equity, money isn’t everything.  It isn’t even close.

 


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