Making Connections

Orientation these past few weeks can be best represented by my first night of work at a local restaurant. Being a grad student comes with a lot of great aspects- unfortunately money is not one of them. To help out with expenses, I took a job as a hostess. I was excited for the job, and had a little restaurant experience. Steve, my boss, told me to come at 5 to train on what he thought would be a slow night. I was supposed to just shadow him for a few hours to learn the system.

I showed up to work early, all decked out in my black uniform, ready to master the art of the hostess. I figured that if I could get into Fisher, then this should not be a problem….was I wrong! But with the good weather, coupled with a live band, Steve could only help me for about ten minutes, leaving me to fly solo the rest of the night. I did not anyone’s name or really any of the procedures. However, over the next four hours, people were given tables, they enjoyed a good time, and left happy, and I slowly began to feel less like a chicken with its head cut off.

I went in thinking I was going to have someone to hold my hand, but looking back I realize how naïve I was. This was also my view coming into orientation. I have learned that grad school is not undergrad and also that I am responsible for my abilities. Throughout countless hours of speakers and jumping off a 55 foot pole, orientation has also showed me that feeling like a headless chicken is not necessarily a bad thing, and if you work hard, you can get the successfully get the job done.

Even though I have now realized how much work I am getting myself into, I cannot wait for classes to start soon and to start a new chapter in my life!

Village, District, whatever the name, they’re all great!

A busy night in short north
A busy night in short north

Having grown up in Philadelphia, I was always surrounded by culture and different neighborhoods. I have been in C-bus (How the locals call it) for about three weeks now and i haven’t had a moment when i haven’t liked it. My first night after driving a uhaul for 8 hours from Philly, i needed a beer and found Short North to be an excellent fit. The area is just south of campus and offers a wide array of restaurants and shops with a great neighborhood feel. Over the past few weeks I have made it back to the area a few times and have also discovered other areas such as German Village and the Arena District (a place where i think i will spend a lot of time this coming year with fellow classmates as we have already had some great bonding time there). Best of all is that all these neighborhoods with their different offerings are all within a short distance of Campus.

South Campus Gateway
Eddie George's Grill below the apartments. A popular spot on gamedays.

When I was looking for a place to live I wanted to be surrounded by one of these “neighborhoods” but with not having time to make it out to tour buildings I had to search online and found South campus gateway, a new development on the south edge of campus to be a great fit. It offers housing for grad students (mostly law and med) and many restaurants, bars and shops. What makes it perfect for me is that it is a 10-12 min walk from Fisher, saving me the parking “enjoyment” many of my fellow classmates have told me about.

Have to run now, one of my new friends/classmates is coming by to watch Entourage but I’ll keep you updated on the more neighborhoods I visit as I continue to explore my new city.

officially oriented….

It’s been an eventful two weeks.  And nothing like I expected.  When I first learned that classes started on the 23rd and that I was expected to be here on the 8th, my reaction was “what in the world are we going to be doing for 2 weeks?!?”.  Well, to answer the question, we’ve done everything.  We began with the normal introductions by our professors, the dean, and career management.  Each day was packed with activities.  We’ve completed two case analyses, had a mock interview with career management, been advised by a panel of 2nd yr students, gotten reprimanded about our spreadsheets for a homework assignment in Excel, and we even got to go “play outside” on a ropes course.

I think the most exciting day for me was meeting my team.  Through all my research for b-school, I was continuously informed that it’s all about the team experience.  The process of meeting my team was quite entertaining and I felt like I was on a reality tv show.  Just before getting our lunch on Thursday, we were each handed sheets of paper that listed our names with a corresponding number next to them.  Everyone scanned the sheets to learn their team number and decipher who else was on their team.  Suprisingly, I didn’t recognize any of the names listed for my team and so I walked alone to the room assigned for my team to meet.  As we each filed into the room, we gave quick intros, talked about our interests and discussed not-so-important topics like what restaurants we’ve eaten at since we’ve been in Columbus and what parts of town we live in.

At Fisher, we are divided into teams of five and this is your group for the entire year.  Teams are a mixture of different backgrounds- careers, gender, nationality.  My team consists of 3 males and 2 females: an OSU grad with a background in industrial engineering, another Ohioan with a background in finance, an engineer from Bogota, Columbia, and an employee of the Korean Stock Exchange from Seoul, Korea.  We haven’t had any real assignments yet, but so far, so good with my team!  I’m really looking forward to work with them 🙂

My Team at the Summit Vision Ropes Course
My Team at the Summit Vision Ropes Course

Although orientation serves the purpose of helping to create a level playing field for each student so that everyone knows what is expected once classes start, equally important is its role to help everyone to get acclimated socially.  Getting an MBA is a 2yr process and so its important that we all feel at ease with each other.  Meeting people and forming friendships is a lot easier to accomplish in a relaxed orientation setting before everyone gets stressed out and burdened with work. We’ve already had 2  formally organized social get-togethers and countless others organized by students.  Its been extremely helpful to just get out and relax and meet people who I haven’t encountered in orientation.  Yesterday I had the chance to play the Gray Course at the OSU Golf Course with 3 classmates. I was going to take a pic of the score card and put it up here but I don’t want to embarrass myself like that….

Alright….believe it or not, there’s homework due the first day for a couple of my classes.  I’ve yet to even glimpse at what’s expected…so, until next time….

Cheers! ¡Salud! Cin cin! Saúde! Sláinte!

But instead of writing about the mundane, I’d like to propose a toast:

“Though we know not what the future holds, and “the market’s memory” lacks, may I not be this year’s “barnacle”, and may job offers come in stacks.”

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I moved from Washington, DC to Columbus, Ohio.  I would have told you then that I came to get an MBA and pursue my dream career in the wine and spirits industry, but it has certainly turned out to be so much more.  And while the last year was an amazing experience, filled with a trip to South America, a case competition in Vail, and even a day with Warren Buffett… I am certain this year will be even better.

With less than a week before classes begin, I’m excitedly lounging around the apartment, working on pre-class projects and updating my resumé.  But instead of writing about the mundane, I’d like to propose a toast:

“Though we know not what the future holds, and “the market’s memory” lacks, may I not be this year’s “barnacle”, and may job offers come in stacks.”

Classic cocktail* suggested for this “original” toast above is the Negroni, a “bittersweet” start to the last year… bitter because it will come and go and a blink, and sweet because “ahh yeahh” it’s going to be fun.

Negroni:  1 ounce London dry gin * 1 ounce Campari * 1 ounce sweet vermouth * Soda (optional)
Combine all ingredients in an chilled old fashioned glass and stir. Garnish with an orange peel. Top with an ounce or two of soda or serve straight up, in which case it should be stirred with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass.

*Author note: If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, please follow the law and drink responsibly. Any recipes or beverage products mentioned in my posts are placed as mile posts to highlight the unique flavors and products that reflect the mood of the post and my directly industry-related interest in pursuing an MBA.  I hope to use these recipes as a signature of sorts – and maybe even inspire someone to try something new.

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