Making an Impact

When deciding on an MBA program, an important aspect for me was the availability of opportunities in the social responsibility and sustainability space. Students interested in sustainability can get involved with the Net Impact Organization on both a national and local level. The Fisher College of Business has its own graduate student chapter which focuses on connecting students to local sustainability leaders and exposing them to career paths within the social responsibility and sustainability areas.

Last semester, I competed with teams in both the Penn State Net Impact Case Competition as well as the University of Colorado Net Impact Case Competition and my team is heading to the Colorado case competition finals in February! Case competitions are a great way to create innovative business ideas solving both a business need and sustainability challenge, as well as network with other students with similar interests.

Along with local events, speakers, and volunteer opportunities, students are also encouraged to travel to the annual Net Impact Conference, hosted in a different city each year.

Hear about the 2018 conference first-hand from first-year MBA student Courtney Clark:

Imagine three days of keynotes, panels, and discussions about many of our world’s most pressing social and environmental issues – energy consumption, fast fashion, food insecurity, climate change, and inequity and injustice. Add in opportunities to explore purposeful careers, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and corporate impact, and you’ve likely found yourself at the annual Net Impact Conference!

Net Impact is a non-profit organization that helps students and professionals develop and use their business skills to further social and environmental causes. I was fortunate to attend the conference in Phoenix this past October.

I am passionate about developing a career that enables me to leave a positive impact on our society and environment, and the Net Impact Conference was an incredible opportunity for me to explore different career options, learn from current professionals, and network with a variety of non- and for-profit organizations. I walked away with a broader and deeper understanding of what it means to build a career focused on social impact, and I can’t wait to attend next year’s conference in Detroit!

-Courtney Clark, First-Year MBA Student

Planning and CFA

Hey everyone!

I am back to blogging again! I mentioned I would talk about how planning helps us in grad school. Developing time management and planning skills is particularly useful especially during the holidays. This year many of my peers traveled back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Thus many teams had to plan ahead how our schedules would look like, what times would be best to meet, before or after the holidays, dividing up the work, etc.

One thing that was particularly helpful in our planning process was the development of a project management plan. I was given the opportunity to develop a project management plan following a template that we were provided after one of our speaker’s presentations. In this project management plan, we assigned tasks to each member of our group would be responsible for and set deadlines to complete each milestone of our projects.

CFA Planning

I have been amazed by the level of effort, skills and diversity of knowledge that peers bring to class every day. I asked a couple of my peers preparing for the CFA and CFA Research Challenge to share about their experiences. This is what they said.


Joey Nguyen, Interested in Investments Track

How has your experience been getting ready for the CFA exam?

Since I’m taking it in December, while we are overloaded with a lot of projects and I also have to work on the CFA research challenge, I just think I would try my best for the exam. Everything you learn in the exam materials is what you need if you want to work as an equity analyst or break into investment management.

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

Two things I learned from the preparation for the exam: first is stick to your schedule because it’s a big commitment, and second is being patient because you might have to take one level more than one. So just do it when you are really interested in asset management. One good thing is that 70% of the materials for level one will be covered from all courses in Fisher.

How has your experience been preparing for the CFA Research Challenge?

I have applied what I learned from class to a real investments project, also to work and to think as a real analyst. Bloomberg and modeling are two big key skills you can leverage from the classes while working. You also have to read a lot and try to find the key points (conceptualize it), learn where to start while reading a 10K and spot out the company’s problems. The CFA society also asks the company selected for the challenge to give a presentation about their company to all the participant teams so we need to know which questions we should ask to make them disclose some unique information.


Rizvi Bari, Interested in Investments Track

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

I would say start as early as you can and do a lot of practice questions. I’m still trying to find more sources, but I think the professors are good resources. Working closely with the CFA institute helps a lot as well.


Jayaprabha Dhavale, Interested in Investments Track

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about taking the CFA?

Personally, as I was already working, I studied on weekends only. Many of the topics were not as hard but some topics were new. Topics covered in the Financial Analysis Valuation class are covered in the exam. Regarding planning, I’d say you have to have a time line such as finish studying equity by this date, derivatives by this date.


Thank you to my peers who collaborated on this 😊

Cheers and Go Bucks!

What is Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP)

The Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) is one of the largest graduate student organizations at the Fisher College of Business. While we hold events and activities primarily geared toward those focused in marketing, we have had opportunities to network with non-marketing professionals. Below are some highlights of our annual traditions, as well as new events that we as a leadership committee have implemented. I would say that we have been pretty successful so far! I am proud to be the Director of Professional Development of such a wonderful organization.

Annual events

Columbus Hop – Takes place every fall break. This year’s companies included IBM iX, Root Insurance, Orange Barrel Media, and Watershed Distillery. It gives students an opportunity to network and go behind the scenes to see how each company works.

Fisher MBA students at the Watershed Distillery as part of Columbus Hop

Chicago Hop (upcoming) – We celebrate the end of the fall semester and final exams by hopping on a bus to Chicago! This year’s companies include PepsiCo, BlueCross BlueShield, Tyson Foods, and Ogilvy. If you are not yet an AMP member, you should become one just to be a part of this awesome event!

Attendees at Chicago Hop last year

Marketing For A Better World (upcoming) – Our theme this year is Marketing Ethical & Sustainable Consumer Goods. Agenda includes keynote presentations by Levi Strauss & Co., and Fairtrade America, and a marketing panel moderated by ethics professor David Freel. We are still accepting registrations, and we are raffling off some autographed Columbus Blue Jacket items! You can’t miss this event!

Columbus Advertising & Marketing Practicum, CAMP (upcoming) – This will be our 10th annual CAMP! More details to come, but we will bring students, business professionals, and faculty together to discuss pertinent marketing topics.

CAMP last year

New events this year

Nail the Interview series – a two-part session where different marketing frameworks were introduced that helped with interview questions. We listened to feedback from the first-year FTMBA students and provided them with resources that they needed.

Brand Management series (ongoing) – Over lunch, students get to learn more about brand management from different companies. We have had former Fisher alumni from T.Marzetti (Lucy Liu) and Wendy’s (Emily Jacobson), and we hope to bring in a few more in the spring.

Other events

Happy hours & Panels

2nd-year FTMBA students sharing their marketing internship experiences

The Fisher Coaching Experience

Some of my favorite aspects of the Fisher MBA program are the experiential learning opportunities we have available, like GAP and consulting projects with local companies. However, with new additional program advancements, we have recently had the chance to pilot a personalized coaching experience as well. This is a part of the program I was not expecting to be offered, but has been an amazing opportunity for both personal and professional growth.

Through the pilot, current second-year MBA students were able to sign up for a personalized coaching program based on our goals for professional development. For example, students are focusing on presence, career search, leadership skills, self-confidence, etc. Coaches consist of alumni who went through the Fisher Coaching courses, along with professional coaches who are connected to the Fisher community. We were able to choose our top three coach preferences based on their profiles and are now participating in five personalized coaching sessions.

I have had three sessions with my coach so far, and the experience has been both impactful and engaging! As a part of the process, we leveraged the BUILD assessment, a leadership model developed by the Fisher Leadership Initiative to determine our leadership competency level from both our perspective and the perspective of others across: Stewardship, Relational Skills and Self-Leadership. With this feedback and the ability to talk through with a coach, I have been able to focus on key areas where I hope to improve. My coach has built safety around our conversations and enabled me to feel comfortable in discussing difficult challenges.

In the future, this personalized coaching opportunity will be incorporated in the student experience from the start of the program.

For those interested, students are able to learn more about coaching from Professor John Schaffner through electives in the program as well. I took the Introduction to Organizational Business Coaching earlier this semester, and look forward to taking the Advanced Coaching class next semester. Through this course, we are able to put coaching skills into practice and learn how to improve our listening, presence, business acumen and powerful questioning.

Coaching practice with a classmate

Turning Theory into Practice

Picture twelve teams, eight judges, two rounds of competition, all in search of one solution—what do you have? The Fisher College of Business MHRM Internal Case Competition! Every October, students form teams to compete against one another to solve an HR-related business problem. While this is a requirement for graduation of the MHRM program, this event allows first- and second-year students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in a real-world context.

Presentation of the Case

This event was sponsored by PepsiCo, who presented us with an introduction to their organization, supply chain operations, and the competitions business case at 8 am on Friday. The business case was related to a current proposal the company is working on for their plant operations. It was each team’s responsibility to decide whether or not PepsiCo should add a new role to their organization structure. This decision had to take in consideration the following: change management strategy, organizational design, training and development opportunities, and financial implications.

 Once the case was revealed, the teams had about 30 minutes for Q&A. From then on, the competition had begun they had 24 hours to create their own unique solution for the case. During this 24-hour period, the teams worked hard and long into the night in breakout rooms brainstorming and discussing potential solutions. We were fortunate enough to have the second-year students who coordinated the event feed us and deliver us snacks throughout this period.

Team 2 hard at work
Grab-bag of snacks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early the next morning, each team returned to present their solutions in front of a panel of PepsiCo and industry professionals. To keep things fair, no one knew what time they were going to present until the morning of so each team had to arrive equally prepared. There were two rounds of presentations, the first round divided all the teams into three separate groups, essentially to compete against one another to make it to the final round. Those who were declared the best in each group then moved on to present their solution in front of the entire class, a handful of professors, and a panel of judges. After the final presentations were delivered, the winners were declared and there was a networking opportunity following the event with all the judges.

Having competed in this year’s case myself, I can definitely say it was one of the most challenging yet exciting events of the semester thus far! I’m happy to announce that my team won the case competition and now has the opportunity to participate in the External Case Competition that is held in the spring. The top three final teams are also invited to have lunch with the Dean of the College of Business.

My Awesome Team!

Not only was my team able to take what we learned in the classroom and apply it to this case but allowed us to practice our creativity, critical thinking, and presentation skills. Truly simulating what the atmosphere would be like if a manager came to you in the workplace and needed a problem solved in a short timeframe. Participating in case competition also gave us the opportunity to implement and experiment with new ideas that we may have been otherwise afraid to apply in a classroom setting. We were able to treat it as a learning experience rather than a grade.

Additionally, being questioned, critiqued by and given feedback from actual leaders in industry only made it a more valuable experience. I would highly recommend students of all ages to go outside of the classroom and get involved in professional development opportunities such as case competitions. No matter the outcome, it will be a new experience, a chance to network with others, further develop your professional skills and is a great way to build your resume. As always, thank you for reading!

Celebrating National Diversity Day

National Diversity Day is a day to celebrate and embrace who we are, despite our differences, no matter what race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, or disability. A day to reflect on and learn about different cultures and ideologies. A day to vow acceptance and tolerance. A day to consciously address these areas at educational and religious institutions, as well as in the workplace and at home. National Diversity day is an annual event on the first Friday in October (Diversity Awareness Month). This year, National Diversity Day was October 5, 2018.

Stephanie Hightower, President and CEO of Columbus Urban League

The Fisher Graduate Women in Business and Black MBA Association collaborated together to invite Stephanie Hightower, President and CEO of Columbus Urban League, to speak and discuss with Fisher students about her journey and experience as a minority woman in the business world. This took place in the Mason Rotunda. Over dinner, students had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a discussion with Stephanie over issues that took place in the workplace, home, social events…etc. Overall, it was such a successful event, and we hope to continue having such events. A big thank you to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for sponsoring this event!

Enjoying dinner from Sweet Carrot
Fisher students engage in a discussion with Stephanie Hightower

FGWIB and BMBAA Leadership Committee with Stephanie Hightower

 

More than a degree: a real opportunity to be influential

Recently, the MHRM students participated in a case competition where we sought to resolve a current HR challenge that PepsiCo is facing. The reason I want to talk about this experience is not only because it’s a cool activity the program provides, but because of what it means for the entire program’s approach to our development as business professionals.

The case competition consisted of 13 teams who presented in front of a variety of influential HR executives. PepsiCo presented the case early on a Friday morning, then we had 24 hours to come up with recommendations and craft a formal presentation. During the first round, we were split into three big groups so that about four teams presented to four judges per room. Out of each presentation room, a team was selected to move on to the next round. During the final round (as if the stakes weren’t high already), each winning team presented to all other competing teams and to all the judges together. An overall winner was picked at the end!

MHRM team (Julie, Christine, Mallory, Tessa)
“Cha-Sha” Team (Sharmeen, Champaigne, Shannon, Charlotte)

The greatest part of this experience was the opportunity to present in front of judges who would interrupt and ask all kinds of tough questions. It teaches you to answer on the spot, how to read a room, how to clarify your ideas, how to maintain poise in the midst of nerves and challenging questions, among other great presentation skills. It truly was all about the delivery of your idea! Forget about school presentations where everyone knows exactly what they are going to say and how long it’s going to take. My team didn’t even get through four slides!

My team: “Crisp Solutions”

In my team’s case, pretty early into our presentation, one of the judges expressed that he didn’t like the idea. What do you do with that?! It’s not like we could go back to the drawing board and adjust. We had to keep going. I loved that this happened to us, though, because it taught me two key lessons.

The first was that I knew and believed in my presentation more than I thought I did. I surprised myself with how confidently I was able to walk the judges through our thought process and to build on what my teammates were explaining to get our point across. I think the minute we saw we were losing the judges’ buy-in, we looked at each other and knew exactly how we would stand our ground.

Yes, we had just worked 24 hours on developing a solution together, but it was the intentional trust-building efforts that taught us how to move forward as teammates not just as a group. By asking each other questions further outside the box every time, the more we deepened how to be highly in tune with each other. I felt very proud that we gave a powerful presentation despite not winning, and that I walked out of the room beaming with admiration for the way my teammates handled themselves and how they helped me handle my response too!

Crisp Solutions (Megan, Reid, Mai, Sarah)
Alex, Reid, Richard feeling accomplished!

 

 

 

The second key lesson was that you never know what new information you are going to have thrown at you. It may make you feel like all the work you did was for nothing, but in reality it has the potential to elevate your professionalism and expand your comfort-zone like never before.

Right when we left the presentation room, I felt cheated because the judges based their questions on information that we were not given. I complained about it for a while, which I realize was not my best move, but when we went back for a feedback session, I realized it was on purpose! The judges spoke about how well we defended our strategy and tried to connect their observations to our plan despite being caught off guard. Realizing my lack of awareness, I asked them how they have handled situations like this when new information came to light.

I learned a lot from their perspective, but most importantly how I could challenge myself to respond differently. It was a clear uncomfortable growth moment, yet the self-reflection that resulted from it is something I will treasure as I continue to develop my skills.

Me receiving “best presenter” award

To say that I recommend this competition is an understatement. I learned so much about myself and I feel really encouraged about the small and intentional ways the Fisher College of Business is helping me achieve my goals!

Making Strides – Women in Business at Fisher

Have you ever felt hesitant to speak your mind in a meeting, own up to your recent accomplishments at work or take the first chance to raise your hand in class? These are thoughts common to many women in the business world. Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) just hosted a workshop to help bring women together and begin combatting these very issues.

The first of four workshops in the series, “Raise Your Hand: A Workshop for Fisher Women,” led by Dr. Claire Kamp Dush, was both encouraging and inspiring! We learned and compared with other women how much we are affected by imposter syndrome, or the tendency for successful individuals to not accept their own accomplishments and develop a fear of being seen as a fraud. We shared stories and created action steps to support one another in preventing some of our default imposter syndrome actions moving forward. Overall, the workshop provided a confidence boost through developing aspirations for being fearless in work, life and school. I am looking forward to the next workshop focused on the best ways for women to self-promote.

Throughout my time at Fisher, FGWIB events and workshops like these have helped bring women together in support and empowerment. I am also a Forté Fellow, and as a part of the Forté Foundation, I am able to expand my network beyond the Fisher community. All female MBA students are able to join Forté as soon as they start the program. Through Forté, I attended one of their annual conferences to network with organizations and other schools, I have listened in on inspiring webinars led by female business leaders across the US, and I have leveraged their job center through posting my resume and interviewing for several positions targeting Forté members.

Overall, despite some of the challenges we face as women in business, being surrounded by conversations bringing these challenges to light, workshops to rise above and resources to expand and grow professionally has made a significant impact on my experience here at Fisher. I look forward to seeing these experiences continue on into the year and for future Fisher women!

How to Rock the Recruiting Process

Start Early

While it may tempting to spend the summer before business school taking a bit of a break from work, there are a ton of great opportunities and resources that you can take advantage of before school starts. Search for “Pre-MBA Boot Camps” and find something that fits your interests or career goals. There are numerous opportunities across a wide range of industries including The Forte Foundation’s Financial Services Fast Track, Google’s Student Veteran Summit, and P&G’s Brand Camp, to name a few.

Use your Resources

Take advantage of the awesome resources and staff at the Fisher College of Business Office of Career Management (OCM). Career consultants from a variety of backgrounds help students narrow down career goals, fine-tune resumes, and practice elevator pitches and behavioral interview questions. In addition to the one-on-one sessions that students can schedule with career advisors, the OCM routinely holds seminars and workshops to prepare students for the job hunt.

Know your Deadlines

There can’t be a worse feeling then checking a job posting for your dream company and realizing the deadline has passed. The best way to stay on top of deadlines and other important dates in the recruiting process is with an Excel file. Keep track of important deadlines, as well as the dates that you applied for and interviewed for positions. If you haven’t heard back in a few weeks it may be a good time to follow up with your company contact.

Dress the Part

When it comes to recruiting events and interviews, the rule of thumb is that it’s always better to overdress rather than underdress. If you are looking for some more affordable options to purchase a suit, check out the Tanger Outlets or Ohio State’s Career Closet. The Career Closet occurs every fall prior to recruiting season and has lightly used business attire, shoes, and accessories offered to students for free!

 

A week before finals

Hi there!

This is Ferny again, sharing some new stories about the SMF program.

These past few weeks have been busy for everyone, as first-session finals are right around the corner. Personally, right after attending the Prospanica Conference, I came back to Columbus to take a midterm that Monday. Since then first session classes have gone by rather fast and now it is time for finals! In this post, I would like to highlight a couple of activities that happened at Fisher since the last time I posted.

During one of our investment classes, we were fortunate to receive a visit from SMF alum Nitish Gupta. Nitish is currently working at Diamond Hill Capital Management as an ETF Consultant. He shared his advice on career search, networking skills and how to break into investment management.

Nitish Gupta at Fisher

Professor Pinteris also held a professional development presentation in which he described thoroughly different career paths that we could follow within finance. This session helped students who are still undecided about which career track to follow, get a better idea of career options available for Master in Finance students. Professor Pinteris also gave great advice on what steps to follow for specific career paths.

More recently we heard from Phil Renaud, the Executive Director of Risk Institute as well as Mary Beth McMormick, Executive Director of the Real Estate Center as they presented their respective organizations and several activities organized by their institutes throughout the year.

As a side note, my classmates and I also spent a lot of time these past few weeks at the Bloomberg Computer Lab, completing assignments for our Financial Software Applications class.

Picture of SMF students in Bloomberg mode, completing the Bloomberg Markets Concept course on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Side note 2, I hope you had the time to watch the Buckeyes’ comeback versus Penn State recently. If you follow college football we have climbed up to the number 3 spot in the AP top 25 poll, beating all other Big Ten schools. As always, it is a great time to be a Buckeye!

I promise to make the next post a little longer and to share with you more stories outside academics. 😊

I hope you all have a great rest of your week.

– Ferny