An Evening of Folly: Fall Auction 2017

One of my favorite memories from last fall and my first semester as an MHRM student was the Fisher Follies Fall Auction. It was an opportunity to get fancy, socialize with classmates, spend time with professors outside of Gerlach Hall, and raise money for a cause I deeply care about.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Fisher Follies—a graduate student organization with a mission to raise money in support of Fisher graduate students experiencing unexpected financial hardship. Well, this year, I had an opportunity to be on the steering committee, and I’m still riding high from our first official event of the season this past Friday.

The event kicked off with a photo op on the “FCOB Red Carpet.” CELEB STATUS.

A few dapper first-year MHRMs and their dates working the camera.

Guests were then whisked into the Blackwell Inn Ballroom to bid on silent auction items containing a few serious and many, many silly items. For a few examples of Fisher students leveraging their many talents and connections for a righteous cause, check out of my favorite items and their descriptions below:

ITEM

The Most Amazing Portrait You Will Ever Have – Donated by 2nd-Year MHRMs Chris Schoo and Billy Dunn

DESCRIPTION (written by the sellers)

“WARNING: This is an essay, because Grad School. Billy and Chris, the most dynamic duo of the MHRM program, will combine their skillsets to offer you one of the most amazing opportunities of your lifetime: a portrait with your favorite pet. Yes, you will have to choose favorites, and no, it will not be a popular decision in a multi-pet household. With over 20 years of combined experience in design and higher education (and three months of practical HR), Billy and Chris will help you produce the ultimate portrait. You pick your pet, outfit and location and we’ll bring the gear, talent and charisma (some might even say it radiates).

NON-DISCRETIONARY NOTES (mostly): *You do not need a pet to bid. We are happy to take an awesome portrait of just you with our even more awesome dogs, Kobe (a French Bulldog) and Bear (a cute something-or-other). Also, you can choose to just remove yourself completely and we’ll provide a portrait of Bear and a portrait of Kobe – which your family, potential employers and Bumble prospects will like way more than a picture of you. *If you want a picture with your cat (for some reason Fisher admits a TON of crazy cat peeps), we recommend a low dose of Benadryl to keep the kitty cat peace. Trust us, we are NOT (not?) experts. *If you bring more than 2 cats (or dogs) into this mix, we reserve the right to choose which one will be the newest member of the alley cat gang. (Dogs will be forced to join a cat gang. Super embarrassing for all involved.) *Most of all, we WILL have fun. I mean, Billy and Chris will. But, hopefully you and your pet will, too!”

ITEM

Beginner Personal Finance Lesson – Donated by 1st-Year MHRM Alex Broshious

DESCRIPTION

“Have you lost control of your financial life? Do you have no idea what a 401K is? Did you put all your money in Bitcoin and hope for the best? Do you have so many student loans that they loom over you like the sky monster in Stranger Things 2? Well, never fear (well, unless you’re afraid of demogorgon), I am able to help you work on and prepare your personal finances for the years ahead. I can also bring my dog along if you’d like.”

ITEM

Columbus Zoo Behind-the-Scenes VIP Experience – Donated by 2nd -Year MBA Dan Lamone

DESCRIPTION

“Behind the scenes tour of the zoo: meeting cute baby animals, speaking with nutritionists to see how the zoo animals are cared for, talking with keepers & personnel to see how the zoo operates day to day, etc. and zoo passes for the day.”

ITEM

One Can of Mystery – Donated by 2nd-Year MBA Trent Smith

DESCRIPTION

“One unlabeled metal can – what magic does it contain? It could be your favorite soup or it could be a soup you’ve never had before waiting to be discovered. It could be full of precious metals or maybe just air. What if it contains the ingredients essential for your favorite Midwest casserole? What if the contents are actually not edible but instead they are valuable beyond belief? What if buying this one can could spark a future deep inside of you that you never knew you had? Beauty is in the eye on the beholder. This one mysterious can will go to the highest bidder with the most curiosity.”

Following the silent auction was a live auction facilitated by the one and only Joe Boreman (2nd-Year MBA). Truly a sight to see–I don’t think he took a breath for over 1.5 hours of live auction magic.

Shout-out to the auctioneer himself. (And SPECIAL shoutout to Fisher Follies’ secret weapon, Kristen Stubbs)

While we’re making shoutouts, our fearless leader, President of Fisher Follies Auggie Heschmeyer (2nd-Year MBA), is the mad scientist behind the organization. Coming from a film production background and just generally having a heart of gold, I couldn’t imagine a better person for the job.

What is he doing with his hands?

And last, but not least, our fifth team member Tyler Maddox: unfortunately, Tyler wasn’t able to be with us for the event because he also coaches a high school football team (yes, he has a heart of gold, as well). Here’s a picture of Tyler in his own high school football uniform:

Never before seen: rare capture of Tyler’s senior photo.

Overall, the event was a a smashing success (British accent), raising nearly $16,000 dollars for the Fisher Follies Fund. Each year, the Auction gives us a chance to come together as a Fisher community with our friends and family, and show our support for one another and future Fisher students. And there ain’t nothing better than that.

Millennials Fuel Diversity

One of the things I love about HR is that– when it’s done in an ethical manner– it creates opportunity for people from all walks of life. It’s a function that emphasizes fairness and an equal “playing field” in the workplace. And more discussions than ever are centering upon diversity and inclusion (D&I). The challenge, though, is how to take an abstract concept like D&I (which even those who have no interest in advancing will likely never criticize in front of others) and relate it to business needs.

Todd Corley – Source: https://newsroom.ohiohealth.com/ohiohealth-names-todd-corley-first-chief-diversity-and-inclusion-officer/

Last night, I was honored to meet Todd Corley, the former Chief Diversity Officer at Abercrombie & Fitch. As part of Business Excellence 2, he shared with the class his background and his responsibilities at A&F– and sparked very insightful conversation about the role D&I plays to ensure organizational success (it is not just a social cause). His role was created as part of a consent decree by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission– in short, after a class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination, the EEOC forced A&F to create the role and Todd was hired. Imagine stepping into that.

Todd described growing up in New York, the son of a single mother. He also shared a pivotal moment in his career. He was attending an event on the top floor of a major employer on Wall Street and had noticed that several women were intermittently leaving the table. The time in which they were away seemed long. He later found out that these women were taking awhile because they had to go to a different floor of the building to use the restroom. In this lavish business environment, a women’s restroom wasn’t present and no one seemed to find this unacceptable.

Tales like this remind me of how insidious discrimination remains– and how what underrepresented groups ask for is often something others would see as nothing more than a basic right.

He described his three categories of co-workers: strugglers (who don’t value D&I), neutral observers (people who are not active proponents, but will “go with the flow”), and diversity champions. Each category requires a different leadership approach to yield the change that’s sought.

The most fascinating part of his discussion came when he described how millennials helped spark a lot of his success. At the time he began his role at A&F, Facebook was in its infancy and Twitter didn’t even exist. So, the millennial generation was ready to take advantage of social media– and to use the media as a platform for sharing progressive views about diversity. For as much as millennials are criticized, he stressed the value they brought (and still bring) to the proverbial table when it comes to speaking up. I was impressed by his humility– and thought it was refreshing to hear a positive opinion of millennials.

During the entire time, Todd was candid, kind, and helpful. He went out of his way to ensure that everyone’s questions were answered– and stayed after class to continue the conversations. His presentation is one rewarding benefit of having the MHRM program inside a college of business. We’re introduced to (and sometimes, build relationships with) people who are at the forefront of change– at leading employers facing large-scale challenges (like Abercrombie & Fitch). We are helped to understand how our HR duties help resolve (or prevent) these challenges. And we are inspired to do the right thing.

Experiencing the First Few Weeks

Life as a first-year grad student is no easy task. As a first year MHRM student, the statement “it comes at you fast” is an understatement.

The first six to eight weeks of school has been busy, to say the least. Getting to know my peers, adjusting to the course load, frequent networking events and workshops, Fisher’s Career Fair, student organization activities, and work (if you work also) all have made time management a priority.

I also have been adjusting to life in Columbus. As a New Yorker, I’ve come to appreciate the Columbus. I do miss the more convenient public transportation. However, it’s pretty easy to travel with the COTA Bus. And if you live within 20 minutes of campus, all kinds of shopping and eating establishments are easily accessible. My experience thus far has been a pleasant one and I look forward to experiencing what more Columbus has to offer.

More later! I’m off to study.

TED: The Real Reason I’m in HR

I am a complete and utter TED Talks junkie. Seriously. Whenever a professor introduces a TED Talk in a lecture, I am transformed into someone with the excitement of 9-year old girl at a Spice Girls concert in the mid-1990s. I am qualified to say this, because I was in fact, a 9-year old girl at a Spice Girls concert in the mid-1990s.

Girl Power.

Ted Talks (swoon). Why do I love these bite-size morsels of informational goodness? Mostly because they introduce people to extraordinary ways of thinking about ordinary things. I subscribe to the notion that in order to change the world, you have to challenge people on the assumptions they make every day that guide them to behave in the ways they do.

You have to change the way people think.

I say that very cautiously, because I believe there are effective and ineffective ways of doing so. Making more rules, telling someone they’re wrong, telling someone you’re right—typically not very effective in my experience. Understanding someone’s motivation for doing what they do (Fear? Insecurity? A need for power and control?), and guiding them to the realization that the method they’re using to fulfill that need may not be healthy or sustainable—much more effective.

But the first step in all this is truly understanding how the world has come to be this way, and how the world has shaped how people think. How has our history led us to this exact moment in time? That where my one true love, TED, comes in.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite goosebump-worthy TED Talks below. Ultimately, I credit my commitment to changing the world—using HR as a vehicle to do so—to the four individuals below.

The first, psychologist and author Barry Schwartz talks about how work came to be seen purely as a means to an end and what we can do to change that notion.

Shawn Achor is one of the funniest storytellers of all time. And in this TED Talk, he speaks about the power of positive psychology in rewiring our brains for gratitude and happiness.

Regina Hartley posits that organizations should “hire the scrapper.” She explains why candidates get looked over every day for gaps in their resume and non-traditional work experience. She argues that these are the very people we should invest in.

5-time CEO Margaret Heffernan challenges the notion that competition is the way to get ahead. Unsuccessful teams are comprised of high achievers, while successful teams are comprised of helpers. And she does it all in a fantastic British accent.

If you have a favorite TED Talk, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Business Jargon 101

True life: the last 12 months have been my first foray into the business world.

I have a BA in Psychology and I worked in mental health for several years before returning to get my Master of Human Resource Management. Fortunately I am in good company—many students at Fisher College of Business come in with nontraditional backgrounds, creating diversity of perspective and viewpoints in and outside the classroom. It’s one of the things that makes life at Fisher so great. The unfortunate part, however, is that I am now years behind in possibly the most important aspect of my development—business jargon.

Sometime over the course of the last year, I developed an obsession for slang in general. Every industry and field has its own language. At my last job, hours were spent debating who had the greater “need for power and control” and how we could “increase our self-awareness” to better “hold ourselves accountable” to our “goals.” I’ve had a field day appropriating this lingo into my daily life because let’s be honest—when work gets heavy, you have to find a way to keeps things light.

For those of you like me whose true passion lies in art of finding the humor in the mundane, I’d like to provide a somewhat tongue-and-cheek introduction to three of my new favorite words in my first installment of Business Jargon 101.

Deliverable (n.)

The thing that comes from the work you did.

It could be a report, a presentation, or a shoebox diorama like you made in third grade. Simply put, it’s the tangible result of you spending many hours doing intangible things.

Table (v.)

To put something off.

This is fun. When you don’t want to talk about something right now, you just “table it” and hope that everyone forgets about it forever. Or at least until the next meeting.

Leverage (v.)

To use something you have to do something you want.

One of the most versatile words in the business world. You can leverage your assets. You can leverage your strengths. You can even leverage your synergies—whatever that means. When you want to talk about how you’re going to use something you have in order to do something you want to do—and you want to sound fancy when you say it—just throw a “leverage” in there and voila.

In all seriousness, in my time at Fisher I’ve collected experiences, knowledge, and skills that are indispensable to my career and development as a person. What’s more, I’ve learned work is more than just what we do–it’s how we do it. In addition to what I’ve learned in the classroom, I’m learning to bring my personality into everything I do. I like to have fun, work hard, and laugh at myself, and I’m lucky to attend a school that encourages me to bring my own style an authenticity to class everyday.

My Summer in Steel-Toed Shoes

Wow. Did that just happen? It’s time to catch up on a whirlwind summer. Last time, we “spoke,” I was preparing to join PepsiCo as a human resources intern at its Frankfort, Indiana, site. I went into this experience very excited, but cautiously aware of its telling importance: what would this reveal about my decision to change careers (in my late 30s!)? Could I see myself doing this for years to come? Would this internship affirm my choice to enter HR or serve as a foreboding reality?

I lived in Lafayette, Indiana, and drove to Frankfort. This is what my drive looked like each morning…
This is the East plant parking lot. In the background is an ADM plant that did some kind of soybean refining. There’s quite a heavy manufacturing presence in Frankfort which, of course, has ramifications for recruiting and staffing.

When I entered the plant on my first day, I felt out of place. I’d never stepped foot into a factory that makes food! But I was immediately welcomed by people whose kindness and support were unlike anything I had experienced in the professional world. They were good people who believed in treating others the right way. I’d find out later– through their actions and through the actions of others in the company– that this way of doing business is an expectation of PepsiCo. There is an ethical mindset that guides the decision-making process.

This is THE awesome Frankfort HR team: Melanie, Kristi, Ramona, Shelby, and Alicia. They were nice enough to give me this framed picture at the end of the summer.

Not to say decisions were ever easy. I was given free rein to take part in almost every project on tap for the HR team, including staffing and interviewing; investigations; succession planning; performance management; and more (it all kind of blends together in the HR world). I found that Professor Inks really is right when he says that– so often– the answer to problems HR challenges is, “it depends.” Making the right decisions requires a focused analysis of all the facts, alignment with colleagues on desired outcomes, and careful consideration of the decisions’ ramifications– good and bad.

In addition to the daily HR generalist functions, I worked on two projects (most internships include one or a handful of “side projects” in addition to daily duties). The first and most all-encompassing was the migration of printed employee handbooks to digital platforms. I worked closely with my mentor and with others in the company to research the payoff of putting handbooks online, the pitfalls, and– of course– the cost. The scope of the project was huge and entailed many facets: legality, technicality, and culture, to name just some. But I was happy to take on the challenge and think it speaks volumes of PepsiCo that I was allowed to work on it.

The second project focused on outreach optimization. Specifically, figuring out how to do more than a standard outreach event where local organizations are invited onsite to learn about open positions– how to make sure the right people attend and how to turn attendance into relationships that will yield applicants.

Both projects were discussed during an end-of-summer “report-out” in Las Vegas. A “report-out” is generally a standard feature of internships; most often, people at fairly high levels (decision-makers) will watch the interns’ presentations and their input will help decide which interns are invited to return in a full-time capacity. It was three days of presentations, mixing and mingling, and fun, of course.

Elvis was in the house on the final night of our Las Vegas conference! I couldn’t resist. Shelby was a good sport!
This is Chris, fellow MHRM. He interned at a plant in York, Pennsylvania.
Chester Cheetah made an appearance! Forgive the poor quality of the pic. It was a mad dash when he arrived; everyone wanted their moment to meet him. Pictured in the background is Matt, fellow “MHRM” and friend. Matt was in Birmingham.

I also was encouraged to take part in many other activities and events to get a better understanding of the business operations and the organizational values. PepsiCo expects its HR people to get out of their offices and truly know what its employees face every day. I even wore steel-toed shoes so that I could go out on the plant floor! (On a related note, the attire at a plant is nice and easy: khaki pants, a shirt with no buttons, and steel-toed shoes; I loved not having to wear a dressy outfit every day.) As a side note, the scale of the site was amazing. The size of the machines and the amount of product was quite impressive.

Interns are expected to get the “full flavor” of what plant employees do. This is me in a truck that took product to a bin in Illinois. Of course, the person who did all the work was the driver– who earned major respect from me. It’s a demanding job because they drive *and* unload product.

Among many epiphanies this summer, here are some of the most impactful:

  • HR is awash in change. Before the internship, I knew on some level that change is constant (thanks, in part, to the MHRM classes, including Organizational Development and Change. But this experience reminded me that HR leads the conversation about change and how the change affects employees, individually and in teams. HR must be an overt change agent– supporting the change and explaining its effects.

 

  • HR professionals are always on-call and must respond immediately to unanticipated events; planning can sometimes (and often does) go out the window. They must have the ability to stay cool, calm, and collected– and to keep emotion out of the equation. I was amazed at the poise of the HR team in Frankfort, particularly the HR Director. Anything could come her way– any employee could come to her door with any kind of concern– yet she was able to calm the employee and work together to address the concern.

 

  • Most importantly, what is tolerated is taught. During our orientation in Dallas, the company clearly explained how it sees HR and what it expects from its HR professionals. Woven throughout the discussion was that ethical mindset I referred to above, but also other impressive values, including transparency and candor. I saw throughout the summer that good behavior is modeled– and emulated by those who witness it.
Speaking of values, PepsiCo is an inclusive company that, as was explained to me, wants its employees to “bring their whole selves to work.” This is me and fellow MHRM Irinka at the Chicago Pride parade. PepsiCo had an impressive turnout at this event!

I’m truly grateful for my time with PepsiCo over the summer. It was exactly what I needed to see that I’d made the right decision about changing careers to HR; to demonstrate the profound impact HR can have on both organizations and people as individuals; and– on a more personal note– to demonstrate that one doesn’t have to abandon his moral compass to succeed in business. I was able to walk into the plant every day and truly feel good about what I was doing and how I was doing it. That’s something I’ve struggled with in other professional environments.

It still impresses me that– as a student in the MHRM program– I’ve been able to take part in this amazing journey. I’ve learned so much. I’ve met fantastic people: peers, faculty, staff– and of course, professional colleagues. And I’ve been valued. Seen as someone whose talents, skills, and education are desired. It’s been a fun ride– and it’s not over yet.

 

 

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Exactly one year ago, I remember sitting in Gerlach Hall room 265 listening to returning 2nd year Master of Human Resource Management students talk about their experiences with summer internships. One comment from a classmate and future friend of mine, Shane, stood out to me as particularly memorable. He said, “you won’t believe it now, but next summer will change you.”

Just as instructed, I didn’t believe him. I remember thinking to myself I already have work experience. I already know myself—this is just another job. I didn’t consider at the time that this would be a summer of firsts—my first experience working in corporate America; my first time working in an HR department; my first time regularly interacting with directors, VPs, and senior level executives; and my first time having the opportunity to make a significant impact on a large organization.

Well, of course I was wrong, and he was right (but you already saw that coming). I admit it now– here on the internet, where it will live forever:

Shane, you were rightthis summer changed me.

Wendy’s may be the home of old-fashioned hamburgers, but check out that modern corporate office.

I was fortunate enough to spend the summer here in Columbus with Wendy’s at the Dublin Restaurant Support Center. I interned on the HR Generalist team under an incredible supervisor who also happened to be an alumni of the Fisher MHRM Program. I like to say that I spent the summer championing “the employee experience.”

Tactically, I had two main projects: the first focused on internal mobility and the second on our onboarding process, but the thread that tied them both together—and the lens through which I was approaching them—was the employee experience. How do employees move through our processes? Do they feel connected to our values and our customers? Do they come home after their first day energized and excited? Are they inspired? Do they feel that the company is investing in their successes? And how do we ensure that every employee has a positive and meaningful experience as part of the Wendy’s family? These are some of the questions I found myself asking this summer.

I think my biggest “takeaway” from my summer at Wendy’s was learning that HR is both a science and an art. Allow me to explain.

In HR, we do one of two things (and oftentimes, we do both):

We create tools, systems, and processes to enhance the employee experience.

Exhibit A: Here we see science happening.

It is our role in HR to use our functional knowledge and expertise to help people do their best work and to build the most effective teams possible to accomplish the organization’s objectives. We design performance management systems, compensation packages, training programs, and learning frameworks to motivate, incentivize, and develop employees.

And then…

We empower managers to use them.

This is the “art” part.

One of the most critical functions as HR professionals (generalists, in particular) is empowering managers to manage. We give them these tools, the guidance, the skills, and hopefully some confidence, and then they transform these raw materials into success on their teams. We coach them toward productive conversations, we challenge them to challenge their employees, and then we let our managers manage.

In other words, we create the conditions for people to succeed.

What a powerful, yet humbling position to be in. We are influencers, advocates, champions, and often times, the “ethical heartbeat” (credit to MHRM Professor John Schaffner for that phrase) of the organization. I feel particularly fortunate to have witnessed each of these roles in action this summer at Wendy’s, and I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with my classmates and professors this coming year.

The Frostys didn’t hurt either.

Reflecting on MHRM – Year One

What a year it’s been!

For those of us who took time between undergrad and grad school, the idea of coming back for another couple laps on this track of academia can seem pretty daunting. I know it did for me. The year was full of “firsts,” but also full of “agains,” since moving back to my home city and revisiting all the familiar people, places, and things that I left behind in 2014. In the spirit of reminiscing, I thought I would catalog my favorite moments from the past year in pictures.

Before the Michigan game. Easily the most memorable of the season, and arguably one of the best games of all time. Derek has a no-shoes rule, which is why we’re all wearing socks.

 

Fisher Scavenger Hunt/Bar Crawl with, You know, some Pokemon.

 

Pre-Fisher Halloween bash with my favorite bird of paradise? (Katie, please confirm your costume)

 

Internal Case Competition sponsored by Pepsico. An opportunity for us to dress up, match outfits, and win.
A fancy evening at the Fisher Follies auction! We clean up well, don’t we?

 

My beloved external case competition team. This is a ride-or-die friendship right here, and a win that we’ll never forget.
Getting’ fancy again (and silly) for Fisher Formal.

 

Pedal Wagon shenanigans in the Short North arts district for a double-MHRM birthday! Happy Birthday, Kate and Matt! You’l notice everyone was required to wear a hat to ride.
Honored to have a photo with the Dean (and my best MHRM buddy Chris Schoo) on Donor Day. Thanks Fisher donors, for making our experience the most stellar possible.

Overall, I have to say this year was one of friendship, challenge, and growth. The Fisher MHRM program has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself in my adult life, and I am so excited for what the 2nd year has in store.

In the meantime, I’d like to wish all the best to the 2nd year “MHRMs” who will graduate this Sunday– as they launch into their careers as HR professionals! I can’t wait until our paths cross again. Until then, I’ll miss you all!!!

Signing off

-Jen

One Year Down, One to Go

In two weeks, I’ll move temporarily to Indiana for a 12-week internship with PepsiCo. Not only will I learn the practice of many things I learned in the classroom, but I’ll be tasked with specific, deliverable tasks and share what I create with leaders at PepsiCo in Dallas at the end of the summer. Classmates will move to places all over the country and work for various employers, including Boeing, Owens Corning, Ford, Texas Instruments, Exxon, Honeywell, Huntington Bank, Honda, and several others I can’t remember– and do similar things. We have an exciting summer ahead!

To that end.. and without further adieu… here are my Top 10 jewels of wisdom for 1st-year MHRM students:

Image result for top 10

  • Be engaged. This may sound obvious, but the students who succeed are the ones who, as Professor Inks says, make the commitment to “be there” in class. When he means “there,” he means paying full attention and intently thinking about concepts, questions, and problems. I take it one step further: be engaged. Ask questions. Disagree. Faculty are more than willing to help you grow your knowledge and comfort with content if you ask for such help. Talk to them after class. E-mail them. Visit them during office hours. Soak in their knowledge!
  • Don’t overextend yourself. This is really easy to do on this campus. Fisher and OSU have many, many things that can take away from study time– including things that are otherwise good uses of time, i.e. student organizations, philanthropic causes, speakers, etc. But every minute of the day counts and you want to be “firing on all cylinders” in your coursework. I recommend involvement in one or two organizations at most and a clear understanding of what the involvement entails.
  • Partner early with Jill Westerfeld in the Office of Career Management. Jill knows what she is doing and loves to give students’ personalized insight and suggestions about anything career-related. Start by showing her your resume and LinkedIn page– and telling her where you want to be professionally.

Image result for overwhelmed

  • Be prepared for the first semester. It is overwhelming– no way around it. Classmates and I had been warned about this in orientation, but it is no joke. In addition to acclimating to so many new things, autumn is “recruiting season.” That means you’ll see recruiters early and often throughout the semester (mostly before the holidays, with heavy presence in September and October) and you’ll be able to attend many informational sessions, mixers, speakers, and… of course… interviews. So, in addition to getting the lay of the land in grad school and living in a new city, you’ll be competing for a summer internship with your classmates (and others across the country)! Prepare by managing your time well and understanding your personal goal of every recruiting event you attend.
  • When it comes to internship and job offers, don’t compare yourself to others. Now, this is not a very realistic suggestion, I realize. Perhaps a better way to express this is: compare yourself to others in a fair way and don’t take things personally. You will hear stories throughout the first year of classmates getting internship offers– and classmates who don’t. Some classmates get offers from very respected employers. Some get impressive compensation– allegedly. The truth is… you will never know the truth about other internships or about why you were or were not picked for an interview. There are many factors, some of which are out of your control. Control the things you can and don’t worry about the rest.
  • Take no more than one elective at a time. I made the bold decision of taking two electives during my three core courses in the second session of last semester and did the same thing this semester. Not smart. These are graduate courses, so you need to devote a good chunk of time and brainpower to them. Taking a high course load and adding that to other obligations, i.e. work, is a risky proposition.
  • Invest in a good laptop. Simple suggestion, but important. I started with a cheap, refurbished mini-laptop that was slow and is now in disrepair. You need a workhorse. By the way, some timed exams are taken online during class, so you don’t want to mess around with poor technology!
  • Build relationships with classmates. Not only will you benefit from having strong connections with great people, but you’ll find their ways of looking at things to be a great benefit. I cannot tell you how many conversations I had in the past year where I was able to clarify a concept or better understand something because I went to a formal study group, talked to someone in the hall, or took part in a GroupMe discussion. Side note: 2nd-year MHRMs are also great assets. They’ve been through what you’re going through. Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself.
  • Remember that Rohr Cafe closes at 7pm. So, don’t count on getting any food or drink during class breaks (there is typically a 10-minute break sometime around 7:30-8:30pm in every class). Pack your food and keep it in the Gerlach Lounge fridge. Also, don’t be shy about eating in class. At first, it felt strange; but you’ll get used to it. No fish, garlic, or similarly strong-smelling food, please!
  • Get comfortable with international students. Meeting and socializing with international students might seem uncomfortable at first, but I’ve built some good friendships with international students. It just takes a little effort to get out of one’s comfort zone. I also very much admire what they’ve done– imagine moving halfway across the world to Columbus, Ohio, for grad school! Their life stories are impressive and they share enlightening details about their countries and how HR works for them.

Before I started as a grad student at OSU, I knew on some level that my life would change forever. But truly, nothing can prepare you for this experience– this wonderful, deeply enriching, challenging experience that cannot be replicated. Take advantage of this time and make the most of it!

Student Perks: D-Tix

Of the many perks available to Ohio State students, I think one of the neatest and least advertised is D-Tix (abbreviation for “discount tickets”). Through OSU’s vast network of community partnerships, the school is able to offer general discounts and discounted tickets to special events through an online lottery system. Everything from Hocking Hills zipline tours, passes to the Columbus Zoo, and gift cards to local restaurants may be available at any given time on D-Tix.

The website is set up similar to Groupon, but with a lottery component. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students can enter the lottery for any particular event they are interested in, and if selected they pay a discounted price for the tickets (anywhere from 25-50% less than face value).

Obviously, the popularity of the event determines the probability of being selected. The recent John Mayer concert at the Schottenstein Center was quite popular (by the way, Chance the Rapper will also be performing there next month), but for other lower-key entries (gift certificates to local restaurants, for one example) students have a relatively high chance of being selected. Also worth noting—for any unclaimed tickets, they are sold first-come, first-served at the Ohio Union.

One of the benefits of attending a large, public institution like Ohio State is that perks like D-Tix come at a very small cost to each student and are included in the student activity fee (hello, economies of scale!). Let us also not forget the general student discounts afforded to students at various establishments around the city by simply presenting your BuckID. I am grateful that we’re able to enjoy so much of the city, even on a student budget!