It’s time…

Remember when it’s the night before the first day of class and you sleep early so you’ll be up bright and early the next day. Not anymore.

I didn’t turn in until after 1:30 am last Tuesday night. Wednesday night was a lot worse. I already had a “fell asleep in my study desk” moment. This totally disproves my “as long as I’m not in my bed, I won’t fall asleep and finish studying” theory. I had to read chapters, analyze case studies, and familiarize with the syllabus before even setting foot in class. But hey, that’s expected, right? Any good school would expect this, especially with Graduate Programs.

Actually, the assignments weren’t the “real” reason why I had to stay awake burning the midnight oil. Well, technically they were, but there was a way that the unpleasantness would have been minimized, if not avoided. (No, not enrolling is not an option.)

It’s this tiny but important thing called time management.

We even had a session on this during Fisher Advantage Orientation. But the thing is, this is not that easy to do when you have a million things going on. When there is a lull in the schedule, you just want to chill. Sometimes, you just want the moment to just cyber-stalk your friends in Facebook or watch the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory”. (If you haven’t seen this show, I highly recommend that you do.)

Nobody is saying any of these so-called “time-wasters” are bad. They may be even good to get all the craziness out of your head. But we need to set a limit. Two hours in Facebook is just bad decision-making when you have 35 pages of financial accounting to study.

I’m speaking in general terms here but I am really just making a note to myself. But (I hope) I am improving. I stopped playing Crazy Planets and rejected all the other addictive applications my online friends were inviting me to try. Not incredible growth but hey, baby steps. We’ll get there soon. 🙂

In the meantime, if you have tips or similar stories, please share them. They would be highly appreciated. Thanks.

Checking my gas light…

One day a few months ago, I was having one of those days… I was finishing up my senior seminar class, my computer died, my camera was broken, and as I was driving to Wal-Mart (the only store in the small city) my windshield wiper broke and my gas light came on.  Looking back, I realize that each of these were just one small thing that was not hard to fix, but at the time I thought my world was crashing down around me.

As I told my best friend, I told him about my day, ending about the gas light problem and he looked at me, placed his hands on my shoulders, and said “We call it a gas station, Robyn” At that point, I started to laugh and gained some perspective on the situation.

I would describe my first few weeks of class with this same feeling.  We have our internship to worry about, info sessions, bootcamps, group organization meetings, class work, Carmen, downloading, Swine flu, locker combo, etc.  All these things  were overwhelming me as I walked out to my car today after class.  While I was walking, hands full, in heels, it began to rain.

As I got into my car, I felt like I was in a whirlwind known as business school.  Then as I pulled out of St. John’s arena parking lot, my gas light came on.  I immediately began to smile and realized that I had lost perspective once again.

I pulled into the gas station down the street and started by checking one thing off my list.

First Day Down

As I walked to the bus today, I began to think, “wow, this is my last first day of school”.  I hate to be nostalgic but time flies and I began to think of the superficial worries I had on the first day of first first grade, the first day of junior high, the first day of high school, and the first day of undergrad.  One would think that on my 5th first day of school, I would have the routine down pat…but this is not so…My day began with me catching the wrong bus.  No worries though.  I planned for an event like that by leaving early, and so, I got to take the scenic route to class which wasn’t so bad except for the fact that it was really humid this morning and so, I found myself sweating before I even got to class.

Once in class, some things came back to me naturally-like taking notes.  Some things I forgot-like how hard it is to stay awake in class after lunch.  I have a feeling that I will soon become a coffee drinker.  Other things I found quite amusing-like how much the graduate student lounge at lunch time reminds me of the cafeteria in junior high. “Hmmm…whose table will I sit at?”  And I even caught myself laughing when I told my classmate, “Hey, I have to stop by my locker”.  I still can’t believe that I’m 25 yrs old with a locker again….

All in all today was a good day.  I honestly think I am going to enjoy the program.  It will definitely be a challenge for me to get back into the study routine after being in the work force.  Looking at each class syllabus, there is no class that will be a “freebie”.  And I already feel the pinch that Karen Wruck described in orientation.  She said, “If you feel behind or if you feel like you’re missing something-that’s a good thing. And it’s normal”.  There’s so much to do each day at Fisher-classes, group work, the continuous job search…I know I will soon accept this as my new “normal”.

Day one is done! ….Well, not really.

So today was my first day of grad school in the MBA program! And it was a 12 hour day and counting. I guess that means we really get our money’s worth, haha.

Anyways…it went a little something like this:

First, I came in early to print a few things off in the Gerlach computer lab and check (for the 108th time) if my financial aid issues had been cleared up. They hadn’t, which frustrated me quite a bit, but I had to put it on the backburner to focus on classes.

From 8:30a-10:30a I have Organizational Behavior and Leadership Effectiveness followed by Accounting until noonish. I have a hunch that the Org. Behavior class is going to be my favorite. Some of my classmates may not agree, but leadership (and the lack of it at times) and how a group functions fascinates me. I’m excited to delve more into the topics. Oh, and I got a headache in accounting.

After classes, I ate my packed lunch and did the readings for tomorrow’s Managerial Economics class. When I met with my group later, I discovered that I had read the wrong Chapter 11 in the textbook. Yes, there were apparently two Chapter 11’s. And they’re both kind of long, but, hey, at least now I have more understanding about game theory, no?

So now it’s about 8pm and I’m getting a little sleepy, but I still have to finish reading the other Chapter 11 and re-read the accompanying articles to get a better feel for the material.  I also need to organize my new life! I’m kind of anal about scheduling and time management so I bought one of the planners that divides your day into 15 minute increments. I bought some colored pens and highlighters so I’m actually looking forward to it. It’ll look like an art project when I’m done. 🙂 AND, I can sleep easy because as of 8:14p my financial aid is in the clear. All in a day’s work.

at the Ohio State University…RPAC

One of the biggest advantages of the Fisher MBA program is that it is a small sized program within a large university. Literally the Ohio State University is the largest university in the US.

The university campus is simply huge. To give you a glimpse of the campus, over the quarter, I will cover significant parts of the campus in a series of posts under the title ‘at the Ohio State University’, consider it a virtual tour ;). The RPAC or the Recreation and Physical Activity Center  is our first stop. It is located just south of ‘the shoe’ (I will cover that in a subsequent post).  RPAC is a wonderful facility which includes the following:

  • Fitness floor, approximately 27,500 square feet in size.
  • Basketball, badminton, racquetball, squash and volleyball courts
  • Jogging/walking track
  • Swimming pools, diving well and dive spa
  • Massage therapy center
  • Wellness center
  • Table tennis and pool tables
  • Sports shop
  • Golf stations
  • even a crèche.

It is an experience to just go around it once, it will take a really long time I bet. Amazingly whenever I go there I find so many people there. It starts like at 5:45 a.m. and closes at mid-night, but it is always packed with people. One tip I can give you is about lockers, they are limited and hence if you are planning to be regular, it would be good to apply for the lockers early in the quarter. There is a lottery system so even if you apply you are not guaranteed. But I was told if you don’t get it in a particular quarter and if you are still interested then you are given preference in the next quarter. You’ll have to use the day locker till then. I still don’t know if I managed to get one this quarter ;-).

It is a place full of energy and it gets you pumping. So those of you who never been to the RPAC before, I suggest you go and check it out.

If only I could be in two (or more) places at once!

While at the Fisher Student Organizations Fair this Monday, I concluded that there are enough student activities that I could literally spend 24/7/365 doing things related to Fisher!

I am definitely interested in several of the organizations, especially the Fisher Board Fellows, which places about 16 MBA candidates on boards of local non-profit organizations. What a wonderful way to give back to the community while growing your business skills! I’m also considering the Center for Operational Excellence, because of all the interesting work involving Six Sigma and Lean. While interviewing, I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Ward, the director of the Center, and was really intrigued by all the projects being pursued. I noticed the sign-up sheets for most of the organizations were getting pretty full, so it seems like the class of 2011 is definitely ready to get involved!

I’m looking forward to the Fisher experience over the next 21 months – not just the coursework, but the chance to really explore new ventures and meet motivated, engaged students and faculty.

Have a great first week of classes!


Int’l students, get your calculators ready…

65 mph.

I immediately regretted not reviewing my “conversion of measurement units” skills. Although that road sign was a clear signal that I was in fact in the US.

Miles and not kilometers; Fahrenheit not Celsius; US dollars not Philippine pesos – I had a lot of converting to do. And besides the currency, I only dealt with these units in some mathematics classes.

One mile is around 1.6 kilometers. Walking this distance takes about 15 minutes. I would know. I am staying in the South Campus (Neil Building) while the Fisher campus is on the North. It isn’t so bad (in my opinion). The air is starting to become chilly so you would not be drenched in sweat.

Temperature is still a bit tricky for me, just because the formula is a bit more complicated to do in your head.

0F = ((9/5)* 0C) +32

As a general guide though (i.e. deciding what to wear), 800 is a warm day. 600 is a bit chilly. And 320 is the freezing point of water, so beware. I have not actually experienced freezing conditions yet – the leaves are just starting to change colors. I am just looking forward to seeing snow. I’ll worry with the cold later.

With currency, my advice – stop converting, especially if everything turns out to be expensive. Accept that you are receiving dollars so you do need to spend in dollars and not, in my case, pesos. Only then would you not feel guilty of spending $12 dollars, plus tips on a haircut when you need to spend just about a dollar back home. :p

Fisher Orientation, it begins…….!

Hello Fisher Friends!

Thank you to all the Fisher staff and professors for organizing such a complete, resourceful and fun orientation program. It was a very warm welcome and we certainly appreciate all the effort and time put on the event. There were many things I enjoyed from Orientation, but here are my top 10 memories of orientation:

  1. International orientation: Very important to understand cultural differences and how to overcome with them. Take advantage of all the resources for international students (English and American culture classes) and let’s succeed as international students!!
  2. Warm Welcome: Was choosing Fisher College of Business the right choice? YES!!! Congratulations!! We are in an outstanding program within a wonderful university, and with people willing to help as succeed and have the best experience ever.
  3. Going Global: It was fun to see how Fisher students are gaining unique experiences around the world and exciting to know all the options the Office of International Programs have to offer!
  4. Career Management: Impressive display of resources and personal approach that every staff member in the career management offers to students. Definitely something to take advantage of!
  5. Leadership and Professional Development: Need to develop leadership and professional skills? YOU WILL, get ready for Professors Inks and Rucci’s input in your careers!
  6. Key note Speakers:Three successful professionals: Neil Currie (global perspective for MBA’s), Craig Morrison, (how to succeed as MBA’s), and Dr. James Waldroop (career leader assessment).
  7. Networking: Let’s be ready to network at ALL the times! Carry business cards and resumes, talk to guest speakers, have your elevator speech ready. We never know who is mysteriously recruiting in Fisher!
  8. Discovering ourselves and team members: Exciting to discover several aspects of our personality, career paths and social styles. Teamwork is learning about the differences and understanding them! Good Luck Teams!
  9. Summit Vision:Extremely fun and adventurous! Great exercise and effective tool for teambuilding J.
  10. How to survive MBA life: Basics in excel, how to present a report, how to elaborate an answer, time management; and learning from second year student’s experience was tremendously useful.

Good luck to Everyone and welcome to an exciting adventure!!

MBA Candidate 2011

Back to School

It’s the night before my first day of business school and I don’t know how to describe my feelings.  Does “reluctant anticipation” make sense to anyone?

Don’t get me wrong…  I am definitely excited about the start of classes.  This is something I have wanted to do for a long time.  Earning my MBA from Fisher College will provide me the business skills necessary to think both critically and strategically about leadership and management.  What more could I ask, right?

Well, I am reluctant to begin this journey because for the first time in my life I am behind on schoolwork before classes have officially begun.  You might be wondering, “How is it possible to be behind in something that hasn’t actually started?”   Don’t worry, this is not some theoretical question.  (Remember, my personality is ESTP… theories and conceptual problems bore me.)  The answer is really quite simple: three out of my five classes have work due on the first day of class.

The good news is that I am almost finished with my homework and I will be ready to dive into my MBA experience head first.  Wish me luck.


So it begins…Really

Welcome, to my blog!

Well, it has been hell of a time! Almost 3 weeks now in the US, things have been great. First of all the MBA 2011 finished their ‘orientation’ last week, which I hope was summed up by the background song played through a video showing stills from the Summit Vision, ‘I don’t scare easy’. I guess Prof. Wruck had a message in there.

Summit vision camp:

  • Weeeeaaah! Thats what most people sang the whole day zipping and jumping and falling from great heights.
  • Brought the teams closer, nothing better to build trust than to just put your life in someone’s (or the 5-6 odd people trying to lift you and pass you through the smallest of webs) hands and exploring life beyond the ‘zone of comfort’.
  • All in all great fun, never thought would have zip-lined or jumped off the ledge on the giant swing.

Consulting Boot Camp:

  • Really covered all there is to consulting in depth and had industry perspective.
  • Good networking opportunity.
  • Had 2 amazing sessions with great professors. Prof. Barney and his hot-dog business, you have to have to try a hot-dog at Barney’s. And what can I say about our mission impossible man Prof. Ogelvee. Talk about being creative, one of the best presentations I have ever seen.

New year’s party:

  • Full of fun.
  • Lots of alcohol.
  • Met one of the most intriguing personalities that you can meet on any given day. A frenchman who taught ‘english’ in China, talk about being cosmopolitan.

Well, that was all last week. This week started with pages and pages of reading to be done before classes begin tomorrow. I had to actually spend over 3 hours to make sure my schedule was in place and I didn’t miss anything important. The iPhone comes in handy again. (FYI: I am unofficial salesman for Apple, you’ll hear more soon enough).

The quarter starts tomorrow and I am very excited. Over the course of the quarter I’ll be sharing my perspective on life at Fisher, so stay tuned.