Posts filed under 'Professional Development'

What’s the plan?

I met with Jill Westerfeld to explore some questions regarding internships, career development strategies and baseline assessments.  It was great to talk to somebody with such deep experience in the field and so willing to help.  It began with a very brief overview of my background, where I am currently working, and my goals.  Through the discussion we were able to identify some methods I can utilize in order to help focus my career search.  One of the things that helped the most during the session was that I came ready to talk about points that were bothering me and keeping open to opportunities.

New Beginnings

Life is full of transitions.

As a married military veteran with a family, I view transitions as endeavors to personally and professionally grow while taking advantage of new opportunities.  Leaving the private sector for full-time graduate school is a long-term investment.  The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University has so much to offer.  I’m proud to be a Buckeye.

FullSizeRender[1]Dedication to lifelong learning seems to be a theme in our household.  I began a graduate degree program, my wife completed hers (while working), and my daughter started Kindergarten – all in the same week!  As a father and a husband, I am so proud of them both.

As the fall semester begins to pick up momentum, we must remember who we are in order to prioritize what is most important in our lives.  I, like most of my classmates, am attracted to pretty much everything that the Fisher College of Business has to offer.  There are so many clubs, organizations, employer info sessions, events, and activities competing over our most precious resource – time.  If we view time as a resource, how do we allocate it?

FullSizeRenderOne place to start is to identify who we are in relation to others (I am a father, husband, son, brother, student, uncle, employee, job-seeker, club member, mentor, mentee, veteran, coach, blogger, etc.).  The list is long for many of us.  Prioritizing this list can also be difficult with so many competing factors taking place simultaneously.  We realize that we cannot be everything to everyone all the time, but we can deliberately plan those aspects that are most important into our lives if we choose to do so.  This process becomes critically important during major transitions when we are faced with new situations, changing conditions, and increasing obligations. It can be difficult deciding what not to do, at least temporarily, during transitions.  Ultimately, our decisions are about trade-offs intended to maximize value.

What we choose to do with our time is ultimately what we value most.  Many of us have roles and responsibilities within our personal, professional, and even spiritual lives.  Intellectual curiosity, respect for diversity of thought, and continual growth and development are important to me in a professional context.  This is why I chose to invest my time at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.FullSizeRender[2]






A day in my life

The day started, as usual, around 4:40 am in the morning.  I played a kung fu form, watched a little bit of the news as I grabbed a quick bite to eat.  I had prepared my lunch and dinner to be ready to go.  By 5:10 am I was on my way to work with my mug full of coffee.  I read over the articles that we were going to discuss in class before I prepared to do a check in for work.  The client that I manage has appreciated the time that I have spent on site at their company and increased their order from our company.  My boss was pretty happy, but I confess it was a little overwhelming, because it also means my responsibilities were growing.  Just in time for the beginning of classes!  The day quickly flew by staying consistently busy and my break around 2 pm was a welcome relief.  I sat at my desk eating my lunch and my thoughts drifted to how my kids and wife were.  I knew it was nap time, so I didn’t want to wake them up.  The rest of the day flew by and I barely had time to finish my work.

I traveled to OSU and as I was parking the car, I got a call from our client and we had an informal chat about the ongoing partnership.  I met up with some friends from class and had a nice time listening to their perspectives on careers and more background.  The professor for the class tonight had a much different style and seemed to be able to engage everyone in the room without much effort.

The professor ended class early so that we could go to a networking event with Marathon Oil company.  I spoke to some folks from the MHRM council and learned a couple of things about the case competition that we will be participating in.  The next group that I floated to included Jill Westerfeld (career development) and an HR representative from Marathon.  I asked questions about his experiences and enjoyed hearing not only about his experiences, but the fact I was asking the questions in front of Jill.  I have a meeting planned with her next week, so it will be interesting to hear her impressions about the type of questions I asked and the manner with which I asked them.  I spent about an hour at the event and said goodbye to a couple of classmates as I left.

I drove home, hoping that I would get the chance to see my kids before they went to sleep.  Luckily, I got to hug my little girl.  My little boy was a little tired, but I got to see him too.  I finished off the night typing up this blog and then preparing for tomorrow.

Another busy day

Another busy day of work today, filled with the normal challenges that helped propel the day forward.  Our boss offered to treat everybody to drinks and food, but I had to say, “no” because I had to teach a guitar lesson and it would be the first time all week that I could sit with both my kids at the same time.  Before I was able to go home though, Jill Westerfeld had arranged for a photographer to come to OSU and took free professional headshots for all the Fisher Grad Students.  My current LinkedIn profile is a picture of me and my daughter playing guitar.  Prior to the MHRM program, I was teaching guitar full time and so it was a more appropriate photo.  Now that recruiters might peek at my profile, I took advantage of the opportunity to put something more professional up.

After smiling awkwardly for the camera, I had to buy two more books for class.  Since I was already on campus, I stopped by the bookstore.  I have two bachelors degrees and a music minor and yet I still keep forgetting how expensive books can be.  On top of that, it would seem that being in a graduate program also means that the price of books are “graduated” to a higher price tag.  Despite the higher price tag, I am excited to be back on campus and look forward to getting into the material.

I got home and my wife had a nice meal for us all to enjoy together.  To be honest, just holding my boy in my lap, talking to my little girl, and being with my wife was what I was really hungry for.  It was like the best kind of reward for a busy week.  All of us are getting used to the new schedule.  We definitely haven’t worked it all out, but I believe it will come soon enough.

The Value of Internships

Welp, Summer has come and gone, and with that, so have most of our internships. In their place, many hope for full time offers or are seeking employment elsewhere. We’re getting closer to honing in on what are the most important things we want out of our careers as far as culture, job function, location, etc etc etc are concerned. But most importantly, we all came back…different people. We’re more knowledgeable not just about business and what we want to do, but who we are.

I personally consider my internship experience invaluable. I found a company that cares about business outcomes AND people. One of the drivers of my company’s success is the fact that they care about their people. They want their people to develop and they want their people to be happy. And they work hard to achieve that.

I’m fortunate enough to have an offer from this company that is not only willing to work with my school schedule, but also fully understand that I have a son who is my first priority.

My internship experience and events over the Summer have made me feel like a different person. I’m so excited about my future and where it’s taking me. Lastly (but not least), I’m STOKED to be back in school (really – but I’ll be singing a different tune come December). Bring on football season!

Go Bucks!

Beyond the Classroom – Real Estate Development Site Tours

One great aspect of the MBA program here at Fisher (and of OSU in general) is the extent to which the university is connected with the city’s local businesses. Student groups and faculty have hosted local business leaders from small startups to CEOs and CMOs from the city’s array of Fortune 500 companies.

Last semester I took a Real Estate Principles class which basically focuses on the real estate development process from cradle to grave. Taking advantage of the great connections between the university and local business leaders, the class featured 5 site visits to local development projects.  At each visit, we had the chance to meet with the real estate developers, project managers, and other key players involved with projects to learn the nuances of their developments and get a bit of first-hand knowledge to accompany our classroom discussions.

The central project for the class was a team-based development project where we were assigned several blocks in a downtown environment and were challenged to put together an investment proposal for the development site. Our class site visits were scheduled such that we had the opportunity to meet with industry professionals, get questions answered, and see live projects to keep our own projects moving.

With an increasing number of online programs and online education in general, a unique and valuable benefit of an on-campus program is the ability to have experiences such as these. Having site visits with local professionals to compliment in-class lectures and readings provides a learning environment that neither format accomplishes on its own. This is just one more way OSU’s strong network provides rare, valuable opportunities for its students.

Looking Back and Looking Forward

fisher college


I am a second year full time MBA student and am set to graduate in about a month.  There is a mix of reflection and excitement (even more so from my wife who has endured having her spouse in a full time graduate program).

The Past

When reflecting on the past two years and what I’ve gained from them, I’ve thought of the relationships I’ve made and how walking out of this experience confirmed the things that brought me here in the first place.  When talking about Fisher, we talk a lot about the small class size being a key component of the overall experience.  The small class size lends itself to more intimate settings which, in turn, lend itself to more opportunities to connect with classmates, faculty and career management.  This all made logical sense, but I’ve been able to now have the experience of living it out and I can say it’s all true.  Friendships-I have been able to get to know several classmates in a deep way over this relatively short period of time, and I fully expect to continue those relationships even after the program is finished. Professors-even having gone to Ohio State for undergrad, I’ve seen a world of difference in the depth of relationships I have with my professors at Fisher.  Most of them are in the Ops/Logistics field (my focus in the program) and I have been able to cultivate these relationships and to lean on them for better understanding a concept and also for career advice.

Another area that sticks out to me is the Corporate Mentor Program.  As a student, you fill out an “application.”  It’s more of an info sheet on what you’re looking for in a mentor, and they pair you with an executive in the Columbus area.  The program is only supposed to last for a year, but often the relationships extend for more, and that was the case for me.  My mentor has been a great source of advice and has graciously connected me to others in the supply chain profession.

The FutureFuture path

Looking now to the future.  Currently, I am searching for a supply chain position in the Columbus area, but am hopeful that something will come through soon.  Coming to an MBA program is somewhat of a gamble, albeit a calculated and relatively low risk gamble (92% of graduates last year had jobs within 3 months of graduation).  You’re essentially putting all of your chips in and hoping the investment pays off.  Thankfully it almost always does, but at certain times tries your resolve.  I’ve found in those times it’s been helpful to focus on the good things in your life and to know that life is more than just what job you have.  For example, my wife and I just welcomed our daughter to the world a couple weeks ago (see picture below).  What a blessing!


The MBA program has been a great re-calibration experience for my career and I’m looking forward to a brighter future than when I entered.

A Day with Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett Trip_ Group Picture

It was exciting to learn that a group of Fisher MBA students would travel to Omaha, NE for a Q&A session with Warren Buffett… just another opportunity Fisher provides. We were each asked to draft a question to ask Mr. Buffett if given the opportunity. Throughout the 2.5 hours visit, Mr. Buffett graciously answered questions from each of the participant schools. Topics of discussion were wide-ranging and very candid. My question was chosen to be Fisher’s first, specifically:

As an Orthopedic Surgeon in training, I’m very concerned about the sustainability of health care in America. The need to provide better medicine at less cost is more evident than ever. Of the many business principles you have mastered, which one is the most vital to the future of healthcare in America?

As a physician I was interested in asking Mr. Buffett about healthcare in America.

As with all of his answers, Mr. Buffett’s optimism was contagious. He was certain that we would solve the healthcare challenges given our country’s history of overcoming challenges. He mentioned that we have been focused on solving problems at any cost, but that our generation’s great minds would innovate world-class care that could be provided at a sustainable cost.

Mr. Buffett emphasized the ingenuity that has been employed in the U.S. over an impressive track record of productivity and problem solving. He was particularly encouraged by trends in the increasing involvement of women in leadership, seeing this as a largely untapped potential for even more productivity moving forward. He also elaborated on the important difference between equal opportunity (which he is a big fan of) and equal outcomes, pointing out that those who do a better job should be rewarded accordingly. He also pointed out that a society should be structured so that no single segment is “left behind” and that opportunity is distributed as widely as possible.

Mr. Buffett provided much food for thought. With his impressive philanthropic spirit he encouraged each of us to prosper our own communities and to be a force for good. I came away from the Q&A session bullish on America and personally enlightened. Thank you Fisher!

Warren Buffett Trip_ Furniture Mart_Group Picture


Special Thanks to trip sponsor:

Sander A. Flaum
Founder and Managing Partner, Flaum Idea Group (FIG)

Sander Flaum has been a long-time champion of the big idea, both in business and in his role as Adjunct Professor of Management at the Fordham Graduate School of Business, where he founded and chairs the Fordham University Leadership Forum. He was also the school’s commencement speaker in 2011. Prior to launching FIG, Sander was Chairman of Euro RSCG Life, a worldwide network of 43 healthcare agencies. In addition, Sander presided over the growth of Robert A. Becker Inc. as it became the number two healthcare agency in the US. Med Ad News named Becker “Agency of the Year” and Sander “Man of the Year” in 2002. Perhaps most importantly, Sander worked for 18 years at Lederle Laboratories where he became Marketing Director and honed his vision of the company he dreamed of finding as a client — the result of which is the Flaum Idea Group. Sander has his BA from The Ohio State University and his MBA (cum laude) from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


Tackling the CPA Exam

We only have about a month left in the MAcc program, and so many of my peers are studying for the CPA Exam. Some students have even started taking sections of the exam. We get a lot of questions about the CPA Exam in our admissions inbox, so here are some Q&As that will hopefully clear up some things:

1.  What’s on the CPA Exam?
The CPA Exam is a computer-based test that has four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD): 4 hours (90 questions & seven task-based simulations)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC): 3 hours (72 questions and three written communication tasks)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR): 4 hours (90 questions and seven task-based simulations)
  • Regulation (REG): 3 hours (72 questions and six tasked-based simulations)

You can take the sections in any order you choose, and you must complete all four sections within 18 months.

2.  Am I eligible to sit for the CPA Exam?
It depends! The requirements vary by state, so I will use Ohio as an example. Please look up the state you intend to practice in on NASBA’s website to find that state’s specific requirements. For Ohio, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have completed 150 semester hours of college education and meet one of four educational requirements. (For more information, click here)

After completing the MAcc program, you are eligible to sit in Ohio.

3.  Does the MAcc program help prepare you for the CPA Exam?
While the MAcc program does not teach towards the CPA Exam, a lot of the topics covered in MAcc classes are on the exam.

4.  How much does the CPA Exam cost?
The application fee and examination fees for all four sections total $869.08 for first-time applicants. You can apply for one or more sections at a time, and you are advised to only apply for a section if you are ready to take it within the next six months. If you need to retake any section, there are additional fees.The other cost of taking the CPA Exam is the cost of a preparatory course, but a lot employers, especially public accounting firms, will help subsidize the cost of a CPA review course. Some also cover the fees to take the four sections the first time.

5.  When do most MAcc students take the CPA Exam?
With the credits that they have earned thus far, some of my peers are already eligible to take the CPA Exam. On the other hand, some students, including myself, have to wait until the end of the program before they can start taking sections of the Exam. Most of my peers who will be working for public accounting firms have start dates in the late summer or early autumn. Therefore, many intend on taking all four sections of the exam (or as many as they can) during the summer.

To learn more about the accounting profession and the CPA Exam, check out this website by the AICPA. Oh, and remember:


Daymond John Comes to OSU

One perk of being part of Ohio State is being able to take advantage of all the events the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) puts on.  Last month they welcomed Daymond John to the Union.  For those of you who don’t know, Daymond John is one of the judges on ABC’s Shark Tank, as well as founder, president, and CEO of FUBU.  They set up his presentation into two separate sections.  First, they allowed four individuals/groups to present a pitch for their product to the “sharks”.  The “sharks” consisted of three professors and John.  All of the product pitches were very interesting and John provided great constructive feedback to the students.

After the pitches were over they started a moderated Q&A.  John shared with the audience his story of starting his own business to his experiences on Shark Tank.  John was able to provide a lot of solid advice for future entrepreneurs and businessmen and women.  One major piece of advice he gave was to learn how to be financially responsible. It doesn’t matter whether you learn this “on the job” or through formal education, just as long as you become financially educated.  He stressed too many times startups fail due to poor financial decisions or poor financial structuring.  He also talked a lot about his perseverance and how it is important to set goals and attain those goals.  His strategy was to set long-term goals and short-term goals to gradually achieve the long-term goal.  Through his perseverance and his dedication to completing his goals he became a successful entrepreneur and investor.

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