MBA Program Orientation Week 1

Reposted from aaron360.com.

Week one of MBA orientation is complete. It was mostly as you might expect: an introduction to the college and each other and setting of expectations. In addition to the administrative topics covered, we had a valuable opportunity to hear Craig Morrison, CEO of Hexion Specialty Chemicals, speak on the topic of integrity in business.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the week was meeting our core groups. The first year of the full-time MBA program is a set curriculum. Across all these (core) courses, we work in one team. Needless to say, the prospect of meeting a randomly-selected group of peers that you will be working with for the next nine months can create anxiety. However, I’m very pleased with my team. We are a diverse group of focused and energetic professionals representing experience all over the country, and on three continents. Over the next week, we will get to know each other better before plunging in to the first quarter.

Looking ahead to orientation week two:

A

Making Connections

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

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

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

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

officially oriented….

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

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

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

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

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

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

No ready no set just…Go.

First thing is first, I wasn’t necessarily expecting a “ready” or a “set” but I sure was not ready for just a “go.”  Welcome to grad school.

For undergrad I attended a small liberal arts college here in the lovely state of Ohio called Ohio Wesleyan University.  It was a campus where you knew everyone and everyone knew you and you were able to ease your way into things since you do have four years of undergrad.

A year and four months after graduating with a BA in History (yes history…believe it or not it was interesting and I am a pretty good writer thanks to my undergrad major) I am here at Ohio State pursuing not one degree like any sane person would do, but two.  I will be here for three years and (hopefully) graduate in June of 2012 with a degree in Labor and Human Resources (the MLHR program) from Fisher but also with a Master in Higher Education and Student Affairs through the College of Education and Human Ecology. I will get into why I chose to do this program in a later post but suffice it to say that while I know it is what I want to do, it does make life more complicated.

So back to the go part.  I have a graduate administrative assistant position at Fisher in the Office of Career Management (which I love more everyday–also a later post) and training began this past Monday and ends this coming Tuesday.  I also had MLHR orientation Monday night which was four hours of information that was definitely helpful and necessary but I must say that after training from 8:30 to 4:30 and then orientation from 5 to 9ish I was tired and cranky by the end of the day. In addition to job training and orientation I have also been busy figuring out what companies to apply to interview with for summer internships because the on campus interviews take place the beginning of October.  I’m trying to do this research now before classes start Wednesday because I have a funny feeling that grad school classes = a lot of work.

I need a nap and the school year is just beginning!  It may sound like I’m whining but I’m actually really excited to jump into everything here at Fisher and OSU.  After this past year of living at home and working it is a breath of fresh air to be doing things that excite me and to feel like a productive citizen again. Everyone I’ve met here so far have been so friendly and helpful that it’s already starting to feel like home.

I hope everyone has a great weekend (Go Bucks!) and I’ll be back soon!

Teamwork: Simply stated, it is less me and more we.

I’ve been a member of several different  teams in my life, basketball, track, marching band, theatre, choir, 4-H… you name it, I’ve probably done it. Monday was the first day of orientation, and after the usual introductions of administrators, professors, staff and the like, Larry Inks, one of our new professors had us split up into teams for a team building activity. Now, through 4-H camp counselors, Junior Fair Board and every other 4-H event, we’ve had team building activities. I’ve had my fair share of team building in my life. My first thought was “this will be a piece of cake – I’ve probably done this one a million times”. So we went through the routine of counting off by 8s to split up into our groups of 4 or 5 people and we got our materials: a single nail nailed into a 3″ square piece of wood and 14 additional nails bundled up with a rubber band. Larry gave us our instructions – make all 14 nails balance on the single nail without using anything to make it stay there, no rubber band, it couldn’t lean against the nail, nothing. I was dumbfounded. First, I’d never seen this before, and second, I thought it to be impossible. There was no way we were getting these nails to balance on this single nail. So, my group had the normal trials and tribulations and with no success. Larry then announced that we needed to send one person up to receive a hint. I was the person to go up, and let me just say that the hint he gave was seemingly less than helpful. Another ten minutes went by and Larry announced that the same person needed to come up and get another hint. With the two hints together, the wheels started turning and we started coming up with more ideas that were 10 times more plausible than anything we had thought of before. Finally, we succeeded! I have a picture to prove it! (But for the sake of future MLHR classes, I’m not going to post it, in case you have to do it, too)

My undergrad is from Ohio State in Psychology, I’ve grown up here, most days it seems like nothing here is new to me and I’ve seen it all. But now, I’m entering a field and a part of campus I’ve never experienced. It can be very scary at times and before orientation on Monday, I was more nervous than before I took the GRE. It was a very exhilarating feeling to be put in a situation where I didn’t know anyone in my group, I had no idea how to complete the task at hand, and yet through it all, I was able to succeed. My group worked together as a team, and we succeeded. My MLHR class is going to work together as a team, and together we all will succeed in the end.

I’m scared to death of classes starting next week, but orientation gave me the little boost of self confidence I need to get through those ‘first-day-of-school’ jitters.