A Quick Summer Internship

I prepared everything possible for my trip to Columbia, MD and the beginning of my internship with Frito-Lay.  I had made all the arrangements with taking a break with my job, prepared all the living arrangements, and my car was completely packed out.  One of the most difficult moments in my life occurred as I said goodbye to my wife, daughter, and son.  I managed to keep myself composed as I said, “goodbye” and started to walk to my car.  My 20 month old son then motioned towards me.  He was asking for another hug.  We embraced and he began patting my back with his hand.  I was no longer able to keep my composure and accepted the fact that I was going to be the farthest from my children and wife that I had ever been.

My first week at Frito-Lay I was torn between desperately missing my family, excitement about the adventure ahead, and the desire to take advantage of this unique opportunity.  I was assigned one large project to complete over the summer.  I was asked to combine multiple career development resources into a single, “one stop shop” with easy access.  The whole summer flew by, but I took every opportunity to ask questions, network with people, and learn about the company.  My persistent curiosity resulted in developing an Excel-based career development software linking multiple career tools in a single tool.  What an amazing summer!

Imagine Yourself Thriving

Hi, Friends!

My name is Nikki Villoria and I am a first year MHRM student. Just a bit about me: I am from Alexandria, VA and attended The Ohio State University for my undergraduate degree in Psychology (I’m a proud double Buckeye!). I graduated in 2015 and this past year, I worked as an Educational Leadership Consultant for Alpha Xi Delta Women’s Fraternity. It was a wonderful experience to be able to travel and meet many different women across the nation. Mainly, I assisted in the areas of project management, leadership development, and recruitment and retention. I am excited to be going back to school to become an expert in the field of HR! I’ll be posting regularly throughout the school year so I hope you enjoy following me along on my journey!

Here’s a little look into the early days of graduate school life:

August 22, 2016: The day before classes officially start at Ohio State. The anticipation is quite high! Whether it’s been a few years since we’ve been in a classroom or we’re just ready to start studying a subject that really interests us, it seems that my peers and I are really excited to get going!

Today was also the day for the New Graduate Student Welcome and Resource Fair. This event was held in the Ohio Union to accommodate all the various graduate students from all across campus. Like many of the events we’ve had thus far, orientation to trainings, the morning started with a mingling session (I’ve been meeting new people non-stop!) and of course….breakfast. There were many students coming together from all different types of graduate programs. They mentioned there are about 10,000+ graduate students this year.


(Enjoying the sunshine in the Fisher Courtyard while reviewing all the information from the fair.)

The Welcome Event included a few different speakers like President Drake and Bruce McPherson, the Executive Vice President and Provost, who gave us all a warm welcome into graduate life. A speaker who really resonated with me was Todd Gibbs, Wellness Coaching Program Manager and Doctoral Candidate in Counselor Education. His talk touched on his own graduate school experience and the work he is doing for his doctorate. He talked about “imaging ourselves thriving” through the graduate school program. I really liked this idea. With the uncertainty in starting something new, it is normal to be unsure of why and how I am where I am. There seems to be some fear of the unknown but also excitement knowing that there are wonderful things ahead. I hope that keeping a positive attitude and envisioning myself thriving will help me push through any challenges that might come my way. I am thankful to be where I am today, though there are a few nerves. The idea of “transitions” or “starting a new journey” has been a recurring theme throughout these first few days. I am excited to continue to stay curious and take advantage every opportunity that comes my way!

Go Bucks,

Nikki Villoria


(Buckeyes checking out all the resources and organizations to get involved in as graduate students.)


A Quick Recap

It has been quite a year and time has passed so quickly.  I recently got back in town after experiencing an amazing summer internship with Frito-Lay.  I wanted to recap where I was coming from to help me organize my thoughts for the next adventure coming this year!

I asked my daughter, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  She answered, “Bigger”.  I responded, “Me too!”  She wanted to be taller and I wanted to grow more more professionally! The spring semester helped me achieve that goal, but was very different from the first semester in that it was more like waves of intense work and then a week with much less work.  Data Analysis, Staffing, Teams & Leadership, and Employment Law.  The ‘Data Analysis’ class helped me to understand business empirically and provided a practical exploration of excel.  The ‘Staffing’ class gave me a comprehensive knowledge of the staffing process to complement my job as a staffing coordinator.  The ‘Teams and Leadership’ class explored dynamics of organizations.  ‘Employment Law’ was a comprehensive introduction  into employment law.  By the end of the semester, and the end of the first year, I had received a thorough preparation for my internship with Frito-Lay.


The Journey Begins

13958000_10154366799382777_3267127209711401170_oI am 37 years old and back in college! It’s a new chapter of my life– maybe a new “book”– that I never would have imagined when I graduated in May of 2000 with my degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. One week after moving to Columbus and preparing for the semester to begin, I’m still having those “pinch me” moments. On rare occasions, they’re moments filled with anxiety. But the comforting reality is that most of these moments are filled with excitement, hope, and a sense of great opportunity ahead. I am truly ready for this.

Although classes haven’t begun yet, the staff at Fisher has already held a two-night orientation and a “career foundations seminar.” The latter event was amazing. There were several high-level panelists from major companies (we’re talking BIG people, i.e. the VP of HR for Frito-Lay/Pepsi, HR Manager of U.S. Global Functions for Shell, HR Operations Manager for Rolls-Royce and more) who offered great insight into the field and what we should consider as we begin (or continue) this professional path. We also were given the opportunity to mingle quite a bit with the panelists and we heard from second-year MHRM students. These companies want to talk to US about internships and entry-level positions; they want the best students from the best HR management programs. And that’s why they come to OSU. (Side note: the cohort is diverse and I particularly noted the large number of international students. Yesterday, I befriended two students from India. If many people are traveling half-way across the world to join the MHRM program, it’s a good sign!)

Today, I met with Jill Westerfeld, the Assistant Director of Career Management and the MHRM “career adviser.” She helped organize the seminar earlier this week and gives lots of feedback and guidance to students. She also develops relationships with recruiters and others from various organizations. She’s super-helpful and knowledgeable– and intense in a really good way. She has a very driven spirit about her– the kind you want in someone trying to help you get a job! If you have vague memories of a mediocre career services office during your undergrad time, Jill and her colleagues are NOT that. They offer customized attention and assistance, although Jill stresses that she does not place people; she helps. And she expects the student to do all the hard work– research, networking, academic performance– to better ensure career success.

Thinking about Jill and all of my interactions thus far at Fisher, I’m very impressed and very comforted as I get ready for class next week. I feel like I have a support network and will have everything at my disposal to make the most of my time at OSU.

Getting Into the ‘Swing’ of Things

From navigating the city-like campus of The Ohio State University, to making new friends and participating in on and off-campus events, the past week has been full of excitement and filled with new firsts! I’d be totally fooling myself if I said that my first week of grad school hasn’t been an adventure.

To cap off an already enjoyable week, the MHRM first-years and second-years participated in Summit Vision, an indoor and outdoor education center in Westerville, Ohio. We were given the opportunity to participate in activities that truly challenged our ability to work collaboratively in a team, communicate with each other, and rely on one another -all essential skills for future HR leaders!

On an individual level, we were all challenged to step outside of our comfort zone. For some, that was an easy task. But for me, stepping outside of my comfort zone required a great deal of courageousness, self-confidence, and outward trust. This manifested itself when it was my turn to climb up a 50-foot pole and jump off of the ledge.

The entire time leading up to the jump, I was nervous. In fact, I was among the last people in my team to climb up. But as I stood, gawking up at my daring teammates taking the plunge before me, I found myself more and more inspired to accomplish the same feat. “If they can do it, why can’t I?”

Just as that thought crept in, the beginning of a mental shift took place. I reminded myself that stepping outside of my comfort zone was supposed to be uncomfortable, scary, and maybe even a bit risky.

So I did it. I climbed up the pole and took the jump -which was more like a backwards side step- and went in full swing, high among the trees, screaming at the top of my lungs with my eyes closed as tight as possible while clenching firmly onto the swinging rope.

After several oscillations, I finally opened my eyes and my screaming sharply turned into deafening laughter. I felt so happy and shocked that I had taken the jump and grateful that I had been surrounded by a team of supportive people, cheering me on as I did so.

As I reflect on the underlying meaning of this activity and the implications it has for me as I navigate grad school, my career, and the rest of my life, I am reminded of a speech that Steve Harvey gave on an episode of Family Feud.

In his speech, Harvey states that the one thing every successful person has done at some point is jump. He goes on to say, “You cannot just exist in this life. You have got to try to live. If you are waking up thinking there has got to be more to your life than there is, man believe that there is. But to get to that life, you’re gonna have to jump.” Harvey then goes on to say that it is our gifts, our unique skills and talents, that act as a parachute to break the fall once we take the jump.

Now that I’ve physically taken the jump, throughout the next phase of my life, starting with my time here at Fisher, I want to take the jump academically, professionally, and socially. I want to get even more comfortable with being uncomfortable; for I now know that it is only when I am outside of my comfort zone that I am able to soar higher than I’ve ever imagined, utilize my gifts to their fullest potential, and truly understand what it means to be successful.

So here’s to taking a step away from the mundane and leaping into the exciting, frightening, and unknown reality that lies ahead of me. I think I can get into the swing of that! 😉

Welcome to Grad Life!


Today marks “Day II” of my two-year adventure in grad school! I wanted to just take a moment to introduce myself as I will be writing about my experience here at Fisher College of Business’ Master of Human Resource Management program. My name is Chase Lakhani, and I am from the wonderful state of Georgia! I have lived in Georgia all 22 years of my life, and graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2016 (but it feels like ten years ago). I studied Electrical Engineering, but my true passion (and I love talking about other’s passions in life) was when I was working with a core group of leadership development freshmen in a peer-to-peer mentoring program my supervisor and I developed over three years. I loved it so much I decided to find a career that I could do that for the rest of my life, and lo and behold Ohio State came-a-knocking with this wonderful information about Human Resource Management! I will end this ramble with just a few things about my first day:

  1. Columbus is such an amazing city and such a pleasure to explore!
  2. Fisher College of Business has such a supportive family atmosphere between faculty, staff, and fellow students
  3. The MHRM program has spectacular 2nd year students that want to see the 1st years (like me!) succeed in every way possible
  4. If you love food as much as I do there are so many amazing restaurants and food trucks to fill you up ten thousand times over
  5. I cannot wait to see what else I find and do among the Ohio-ans (and of course fill you all in as I continue on my adventure)

Well, I hope you will continue to read about my adventures, and if you have any questions about the program or myself please do not hesitate to leave a comment!


Memories of Graduating MHRM Students

99-749-35 Fisher College pillar 9-14-99 Photo: Jo McCulty

  • “I would say that without a doubt my favorite memory from this program has been the opportunity to travel to Brazil for the global business expedition class. I enjoyed this so much because I got to meet students from all the other Fisher graduate programs and travel with them to different companies such as Nike, GlaxoSmithKline, etc. I learned so much about what it means to do international business in an increasingly global world. I was able to apply the concepts we’ve learned in our HR classes, and also gain additional business knowledge through the other graduate students at Fisher.” –Kaitlin Bressler
  • “One of my favorite memories from my time here at Fisher was at Fisher Formal, which is an event where multiple programs get together to celebrate the end of the school year. It was a great time to hang out with other MHRM students and also get to know people in some of the other programs Fisher offers!” –Katie Baird
  • “It’s hard to pick just one, but my favorite memory is the Welcome to Campus mixer for returning students and incoming students during Orientation 2015.  There was just so much buzz and excitement in entering a new academic year, meeting new people and hearing about everyone’s summers and internships.  That’s the best part of the program.  Meeting so many smart and diverse people and developing those friendships.” –Craig Baker
  • “My favorite memories from the program always involve spending time with the wonderful friends I have made. Whether we are staying up late working on a group project or having fun on the weekend, we always create memories that I will never forget.” –Taylor Boyer
  • “One of my favorite memories for myself, may be a little more stressful for others, however for me, I really enjoyed participating in the 1st year fall recruiting season. I have never been in an environment where I had a legitimate opportunity to apply and pursue internships with such prestigious companies, and actually be desired amongst these companies.  It was the first sign that I knew I chose the right school.” – Brennan Brumfield
  • “Aside from having a summer internship, participating in case competitions is the single-most valuable thing that I have done during my time at Fisher. Sure, I’ve learned important theories, methods, and skills in the classroom, but those things hold no value without real-world application. Case competitions have provided me with an opportunity to practice what I’ve learned in the classroom, and to improve soft skills like leadership, public speaking, and persuasive communication.” –Marlina Frederick
  • “My favorite memory or most memorable parts from the program were my internship with Cargill and support from Jill Westerfield. Jill was most encouraging and positive. The insights she gave helped make my internship happen. The internship itself was a priceless component of the program. I also came away very grateful for the opportunity to do what I love, teaching as a Teaching Associate and get paid for it. The best was Dr Noe. His support, listening and guidance made the difference and helped me have a high quality experience!”-Rodney Adewole
  • “Fisher Formal was one of the most impressive memories for me during my two-year program time, because it is a brand new experience for me hanging out with friends dressed in casual elegant. Friends in our program helped me to get involved and enjoy this wonderful time, and I love to embrace this part of a new culture and tradition since then. Thanks Fisher, and thanks MHRM!” – Zhechuan Sun


#BuckeyeForever #HeartIsInOhio


Internship for the Win!

As the school year comes to an end all I can think about is how fast time goes by! The MHRM Class of 2017 is about officially halfway done with the program! My classmates, including myself, are all off to start our summer internships hoping to bring back perspective, credibility, and experience. Well, I promised to keep y’all posted and I’m officially here to report my first week in Huntington Talent Acquisition was a major success! I love what I’m doing: the projects I’ll be working on over these next few weeks, being in downtown Columbus, and my TA team. Below is a short recap of my first few days (I work half days Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the summer starts).


Fortunately, my manager had me visit Huntington HQ a couple weeks before my start date to recap with her since it had been awhile after my interview and my last time in the office. That meant when Monday came I knew where my desk was, how to maneuver through the building, and most importantly, where her office was. I also had met her manager who I’ll be partnering with for one of my main summer projects during my pre-start date visit, so I did have some familiar faces in the office. Monday I also got my official Huntington badge (so fancy). Monday was a lot of getting set up to hit the next few days running. By Wednesday, I felt like a pro! I got most of the mandatory training completed, discovered the printer, set-up my desk to my liking, and discovered where the water bottle re-fill spot is!

(Excuse the lack of office decorations - to come)
(Excuse the lack of office decorations – to come)

Friday is when the fun started! My manager took me and another one of our TA team members to lunch (so many options in downtown Columbus) and we got to chat outside on the patio in the sunshine. The big lunch geared me up for the big meeting with her manager: this meeting was to get the deliverable for one of my summer projects! Friday was exciting because it was a sneak peak into some of my summer work, but also how I’m going to get that work done. Lots of brainstorming, more set-up, and computer software ideas spun through my head for the rest of the day. My manager and I wrapped up the day with a little reflection (highly recommended) and I headed into the weekend like a giddy five year old, already ready to be back in the office!

I went into my summer internship search with the mentality that I want to love my job, because at the end of the day that’s what will keep me where I start my career after graduation. What I love about my internship with Huntington TA is that my projects are not just meaningful, but they will be sustainable past just my summer internship. I have a feeling my first few days in Huntington Talent Acquisition were only a glimpse to the great summer that’s ahead! #gobucks

But really, how can you not love that view?


The Buddy Program

Due to the success of the MBA buddy program, this year Fisher conducted a new buddy program for our MHRM students. The purpose of the buddy program is to match first year students with second year students. These second year students then serve as mentors so that freshmen can ask them for suggestions on courses, internships, and even living in Columbus.

The match was based on interests. For example, members in our group are fond of music. I like playing the accordion, Craig, who is a second year MHRM student, is a fan of Taylor Swift, while Lewis is a music teacher! After we matched in a group, the first thing we did was find common interests we shared. I remembered we found that we all liked cats and movies. Other groups were more creative. For instance, one group found that they all have iPhones but not Apple laptops.

Although it was difficult to find a time that we are all available, we finally made our first meeting. We met at a coffee shop before class. As Craig and I came earlier than the appointed time, we first talked about our courses. Craig asked me what course I am taking and then offered me some suggestions. When all members arrived, we talked about internships. At last, Lewis brought up an interesting topic that he met in his work. He found that employees in his two departments seldom talked with each other. Therefore, Lewis asked us what to do to improve the two department’s communication. I thought maybe the first thing is to find out the problem, then set up a training program. After we stated out opinions, Lewis talked about his action. He said he conducted a program which brings employees to the other department for three days. During these three days, the employee had opportunities to meet and talk with the other department’s employees. This topic made me realize that sometimes a theoretical method is not the best way to solve a problem, but a little well-organized program will do. Thanks to Lewis, our buddy program was a good opportunity to share our experiences and opinions in Human Resource field.


I think the buddy program is helpful for us by receiving suggestions, getting involved in Fisher, and communicating our personal feelings as well as our professional opinions.

I don’t know everything!

Being one of the more life experienced individuals in my class, I still find myself keeping a child like openness to learning. Being in this program has helped to remind me of the importance of keeping my mind and approach flexible. There is so much opportunity to learn if I continue to listen. Below are a few examples of some of my experiences in learning and keeping flexible this semester.

Classes this semester seemed to be focused on minimizing the paper used. I’ve always felt comfortable printing out things, but the amount of reading that we have to do would require me to print out an excessive amount of paper. I decided to just start saving readings to my desktop and using the highlighter function to keep notes while I read. It actually turned out to be really efficient and helpful to use this option. Exciting stuff I know!

I was at the grocery store in the check out line and my daughter was sitting in the grocery cart and said ‘Totoro!’  Totoro is a character from an animated movie by Hiyao Miyazaki. I didn’t really give it much attention until she repeated ‘Totoro’ again. I said, “Where’s Totoro?” and she pointed to my left. I said, “I don’t see him here.” She kept emphatically restating “Totoro!” and I responded, “Sweetheart, I don’t see him.” No sooner did I say it then I noticed a woman with the character tattooed on her arm. I told Larissa, “I’m sorry that I didn’t notice it! Good eyes!”IMG_20160322_194320

One of my classmates broke an apple in half with her hands! She told me about a physics class that she had and the teacher told her how to do it. She taught me how to do it and after a few failed attempts, I was finally able to too!