Posts filed under 'MHRM'



Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo

The Columbus Zoo is one of the many notable attractions of Columbus, and is nationally recognized as one of the best Zoos in America. It is home to a wide variety of animals from around the globe, and includes additional features like the Safari Golf Club, Zoombezi Bay (water park) and Jungle Jack’s Landing amusement park.

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The zoo’s main attractions include: Shores hosts a variety of sea creatures, and features a touch pool. Asia Quest hosts a range of species from Asia, such as bats, Amur tigers, sun bears and elephants. Australia and the Islands hosts animals from Australia and New Zealand, and features a walk-in kangaroo yard. Expedition Congo hosts animals like monkeys and gorillas. North America and Polar Frontier hosts wolves, moose, polar bears and grizzly bears. Lastly, the Heart of Africa hosts cheetahs, lions, giraffes, zebras and more. It also features an area where visitors can take a ride on a camel or feed the giraffes.

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The Columbus Zoo holds special events throughout the year, one of which is Wildlights. This runs from mid-November thru early January, and showcases the Zoo decorated in millions of twinkling lights and activities for all. The Ohio State University’s Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) plans several programs and events throughout the year for students, and this year they are organizing a trip to Wildlights! Our own MHRM council is organizing a trip too! So there are numerous ways to experience this event, but it is definitely a site to see!

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Hub Event: Luncheon with Kevin Malhame, North Star Cafe

Last Thursday, I attended a Hub event: Luncheon with Kevin Malhame, North Star Cafe.

Hub events are activities that Fisher provides for us outside of classes. There are different kinds of activities such as tours, parties, lectures, and so on. But the most popular activities are opportunities to communicate with business leaders. These activities often begin with the leader’s introduction with his or her company and then followed by questions and answers. These activities are more like informal communications rather than lectures as lunch is often provided and we can ask questions freely.


Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner

November 26th, my roommates and I joined the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a wonderful experience.

As there are thousands of students who took part in this event, the dinner was separated into two sections. We could choose either to have dinner at 11:45 a.m. or at 2 p.m. Tickets are required, but we could get them for free at the Student Union.
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When my roommates and I arrived at the Union, I found it was decorated with a welcome board and some special designs, which created a festive atmosphere.
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At about 11:30a.m. We saw the volunteers of the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner. And then the “Turkey”. The “turkey” was very cooperative and made many funny poses as people took pictures with him. It was a funny but really cute “turkey!”
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When we were waiting in line, we met many of our friends. It seemed that the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner was a popular event as so many people came. We waited for about 20 minutes and then we got into the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom. Volunteers were already there. With the volunteers’ help, we came into the room and sat down. During the speech, I learned that the dinner has been held for more than 10 years. No wonder they can arrange thousands of people and make sure that everything was in order.

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The food was great, too. Beans, turkey, potatoes, and pies……all kinds of traditional Thanksgiving food.

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After dinner, there was a board outside the room to write down what or whom we wanted to thank. I wrote down my thanks to my roommates because with their company and help, I did not feel lonely as a student – one who had left family to study alone in a different country. We then signed our names on the board and took a picture. I thought it was a meaningful picture because it was such a memorable moment.

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I really appreciated the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner as it created a special memory for our Thanksgiving holiday. And I really want to say “thank you” to all of the volunteers, who made this event such a success.


Thanksgiving Dinner

On the night of 26th, November, my host family invited me and some other Chinese students for a Thanksgiving dinner. It was the first time I spent Thanksgiving day with an American family and I took a close look at how they celebrate the holiday.

After about half an hour’s drive, we finally arrived at our host family’s house. When we arrived, many people had already been there. Actually, there were about 15 people in the house. Because our hostess, Hyesuk, was Korean, she prepared not only traditional American Thanksgiving food such as turkey, pies but also some delicious Korean food for dinner. Guests also brought some dishes. For example, I brought tofu and chicken. A Chinese family brought a bottle of wine. Hyesuk put all the dishes in the kitchen so that we can pick up whatever we like. We also shared some wine and several good conversation at the table. By the way, the dessert was really delicious!

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After dinner, we played some games. One of which was called pictionary. We were separated into two groups. One person in the group picked a card and drew a picture about the word on the card while the rest group members had to guess the word in 60 seconds. I had played this game in China and it was one of my favorite games.

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We also shared some family stories that night. For example, Bob, showed us a pair of shoes that was worn by 10 of his family members. He also showed us a special clock. See the picture below, can you tell what time it is? It must be difficult as the clock was opposite!

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The day after Thanksgiving Day, when I was on the coach bus to visit my cousin who lived in Buffalo, a lady who sat next to me asked what I thought about Ohio. I told her I liked it very much because people here are so nice and warm-hearted. I was deeply touched by what they did for me and actually I have already considered it as my second hometown now. Sometimes when I think about leaving one day to go back to China, I get upset since I would miss the people I met here and the experience they brought to me.


What is a cohort?

A quick search on the internet reveals that it is a group of people who have something in common. Being in the MHRM program for only three months, I emphatically declare that this is a pale definition of my experiences.

About a month ago, one of my classmates included me in the group text that is shared by most everyone in the class. I am still grateful to her for inviting me to participate in it. It is primarily used as a social network for us to contact each other and ask questions. Lately, we have received many texts regarding an onslaught of birthday wishes to classmates. Each birthday wish submitted becomes more and more amusing. This also supports my earlier claim that there is definitely a culture of support and encouragement within our class. It is truly wonderful to be immersed in that enthusiasm.

Recently I posted a text stating that I am thankful to be a part of such an amazing group. There are certain people that I absolutely love listening to, when they present, because I learn so much.   also find it fascinating to observe the improvements that many of my classmates have made with respect to their presentation style. Coming from a performance background (in music), I feel comfortable presenting. The difficulty for me lies in translating a performance ability into a presentation ability. The distinction is important and I have slowly been working on adjusting it. I have not been entirely successful, but I will get there! The classroom is a superb proofing ground for the business world. It is meant as a place to refine skills, if you allow it to be. I am not the best presenter, but I acknowledge the feedback from my peers, teachers, and experiences to be better. Ultimately, my cohort is there to help make me better and has always supported me in my development.

Finally, the cohort structure provides access to a wealth of experiences on which to learn and share. Recently, I asked one of my peers, who hosted a conference, to help me with a proposal that I have to spearhead a conference with my company. His input was well received and extremely helpful.  My classmates will become my professional colleagues after we graduate, so it is crucial to also develop your professional network through interactions with your peers. Take the time to get to know your cohort!


Taking the GRE/GMAT

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Most graduate programs require some form of standardized test as part of their application process. Fisher’s MHRM program allows applicants to complete either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Most MHRM students complete the GRE, however, I would encourage people to investigate each exam and select the one that is more aligned with their strengths.

Make sure to schedule for the exam well in advance because there are times where you may have to wait a few weeks before getting an appointment. Once you have scheduled your appointment, I would recommend giving yourself 4-6 weeks of preparation time to study and review. There are a lot of great resources available, so I would highly recommend visiting your local or school library, bookstore(s), and the test website. Each of these offer different tools that can help prepare for the exam, whether it’s a prep book, flash cards, or practice exams.

I would also recommend looking at the class profile of the program of interest to gauge what is considered a competitive score. If you choose to take the exam more than once, the highest score will be taken into consideration and should be the score recorded on your application.

No matter what though, be confident in your abilities. Also, be mindful that applications are reviewed holistically, so I would recommend ensuring you put forth the time and effort to write essays that showcase who you are, your strengths and abilities, and why you are interested in Fisher. Furthermore, choose references that will be able to speak about you, personally, and your ability to excel in graduate school.

I do not consider myself a strong standardized test taker. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, all one can ask from themselves is to do their best. Prepare, relax, and be confident!


It’s difficult to just shut off HR

Harkening back to the working full time / school full time model, I have encountered another interesting phenomenon; I can’t just turn off the training easily. Many of my books from classes are on my desk at home and my wife has taken up reading a few of them. She said that she noticed me using some of the verbal techniques with her and she told me to stop using them. I never really thought about it, until she mentioned it, but she was right! Thinking about it more in depth, I realize that on class days (with a full time job), I spend close to 16 hours practicing HR thought and speech, 12 plus hours on non class days, and apparently some time at home practicing it. It is an excellent testament to the effectiveness of the potency of education to have such long lasting effects!

Another fact is that at heart, I am an analytical thinker. I like to take my time being thoughtful and considering my answer. During my Thanksgiving break, my head was whirling with respect to thinking about the time I would be spending with my family, projects and proposals that I am managing at work, assignments and tests that I have for the end of the semester. Going back to my EMT days, I realized that I was experiencing a type of emotional shock. This led me to discover that I need a decompression period between work, school, and home life. Especially when a break is approaching. The other clarity is being able to express the need for this decompression to my family, so that they understand the process and can help me to adjust.

It’s not to be critical, but more aware that this behavior is a “side effect” of the MHRM program. Taking a step back from the program, I realize that the whole process is quite elegant. In the grand scheme, I am slowly being acclimated to the experiences of business culture. Of course, in the everyday, I sometimes feel like it is moving a mile a minute. I may not be able to shut off my HR training completely, but I can recognize what is happening and perhaps minimize it’s presence when I am at home.


Business Excellence 2: My Favorite Course

It has been 3 months since I arrived in the U.S. and started my graduate life. It is hard to believe that the first semester is almost coming to an end. In this semester, I learned a lot from different courses, but my favorite course is MHRM 7321: Business Excellence 2, taught by Professor Schaffner.

Every class began with Professor Schaffner’s question: “What is in your mind or what did you find interesting about HR this week?” Then students brought their different topics and discussed. We might spend half of the class in these topics. In these discussions, we can talk about the problems we met in HR work and then classmates offer opinions and suggestions. Overall, we are free to voice our opinions and Professor Schaffner always pushes us to think deeply by asking thoughtful questions.

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The exams of MHRM 7321 are different, too. Instead of concluding and remembering authors’ opinions, we analyze a certain case with what we have learned in the course. There are two principles of these exams. First is “show off what you have learned.” I think applying the theories, models, and approaches we learned in the class to a case maybe is the best way to link theory to practice. And the professor really encourages us to think beyond the case to our work experience. Second is “creative,” in which we can use different materials and our own experience to support our opinions. As Professor Schaffner says, “Surprise me. Teach me something.”

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Last class was even more interesting. We spent almost one and half hours to “design a wallet for your partner.” It was not an activity but a process in which we learned how a design process works. What surprised me most is the result of design process: some really cool or even amazing designs! It is not just a process to design something different, but is a process to think differently.

I was not very used to the course at first because it was so different from classes I had before (both in China and in America). Actually, I never had a course as creative and thoughtful as MHRM 7321. After three months, I found that my mind was changed: now when I analyze cases or read an article from other courses, I tend to use the thoughts I learned from 7321. Some said this course will affect them in 5 years, while I think maybe this course will affect me in my whole lifetime.


What is the case competition like?

We finally got to experience the long awaited case competition! What an exhausting, but exhilarating process.  It is amazing how quickly the time passed by. The morning began with coffee, OJ, and bagels as we sat down in a classroom waiting for the information. Once they started talking about the case, there is a palpable air of competition that I have not previously felt from my classmates. Everyone wanted to win.

We broke off into our groups and found our way to our assigned rooms and we spent the next 16 hours preparing our solution and presentation to the case. The time actually passed relatively quickly. Looking back on the experience, it was fascinating to interact with my peers in a “serious” working context. The context was real enough to motivate us to do well in preparing and practicing for a board room context. Although their were moments when we become anxious and felt pressure by the looming deadline.

The people who organized this event did an amazing job from day one. The informational sessions, the visit to a plant, the food during the case competition, and the persistent and sincere help in all the logistics was amazing. Thank you to everyone who helped us to participate in this opportunity.

We stayed until around 11 pm and because I have a parking pass for the Lane Garage (next to Fisher) I was able to drop my group members off at their homes or their cars relatively easily. On a quick tangent, for any working student who is debating whether or not to get a pass for the Lane Avenue garage. Do it! It is very exhausting working full time and going to school full time. The pass has been so convenient. I have thanked my wife, so many times for encouraging me to make the investment.

I got home around 12 midnight and immediately fell asleep. I woke up about 3 hours later to get back to Fisher and practice for the presentation.  Thank goodness we arrived back early! We managed to get through a good rehearsal and finish up some last minute details.

We were one of the last groups to present, so we had about 2 hours to get nervous for the actual presentation. We presented the case and afterwards felt good about what we had done.

Of course, the judges evaluation was a little different than our expectations.  We were disappointed that we hadn’t won, but all of us were grateful for the experience.  There were moments when we experienced pressure by the looming deadline, but when it came down to presenting, I was thoroughly impressed by the abilities of our group. We didn’t win the competition, but we still received some irreplaceable takeaways: feedback (both wonderful and humbling), experience in presenting to executives, and a new set of friends with a unique shared experience.


MHRM Case Competition

One of the MHRM program requirements is to participate in the annual internal case competition during the first or second year in the program. Each student is placed on a team with 3 others, and teams are typically comprised of both first and second years. During the event, a company presents an HR-related problem they are currently facing, then the teams deliberate to create a strategy and solution to address the problem.

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This year’s case competition was hosted by PepsiCo. Teams arrived at Fisher by 7:30am on Friday, and once PepsiCo shared the background of their situation, teams had from roughly 9AM on Friday through 8am on Saturday to develop a solution and create a presentation that would assist in pitching the solution to PepsiCo. Each team presented to 3-4 judges, who were either Pepsico HR professionals or local HR professionals. At the conclusion of individual group presentations, all participants gathered together to provide 1 minute executive summaries on their group’s proposal, and then awards were presented to Best Speaker, Best Question & Answer, and Overall Best.

Participation in the case competition allows students to analyze real HR problems and provide thoughtful solutions. It also provides students an opportunity to practice their communication, problem-solving, and presentation skills. Lastly, it is a great networking event. It not only helps connect students with HR professionals, but also connects them with their peers in the MHRM program. I was very fortunate to have been paired with 3 first year MHRM students, and we were able to speak openly and honestly with one another, challenge one another, and support one another throughout the process. We walked away from the case competition having both laughed and learned a lot!


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