External Case Competition

Disclaimer: If you haven’t checked out my previous blog post about the Fisher College of Business MHRM Internal Case Competition, it provides further detail about the format of the case competitions which I refer to in this post.

As a quick overview, the MHRM program hosts an internal and external case competition each year. For each of the competitions, students form teams to compete against one another to solve an HR-related business problem presented by a sponsoring organization.

The internal competition involves teams of first- and second-year MHRM students and the winners from this event are selected to participate in the external competition. The external competition is hosted by The Ohio State University and invites universities who also have well-recognized HR graduate programs to participate in this event on a larger scale.

The weekend began at the Blackwell Hotel where all the teams were introduced to one another and enjoyed a dinner sponsored by Marathon. The universities in attendance included the University of South Carolina, Texas A&M, University of Illinois, Cornell, Minnesota, Rutgers, and West Virginia University. After dinner, we continued to mingle with the other teams at the Varsity Club, a well-known bar near the university.

The following morning was the start of the competition and when we were given the case. This year’s business problem was presented by Eaton Corporation, a multinational power management company. Essentially, they were in search of a solution that would improve coaching within their organization of 98,000 employees.

This solution also needed to touch on functions such as recruitment, engagement, and retention. The case was definitely challenging due to the large scope of the issue and it needed to be applicable to all generations, skill sets, and demographics of employees.

In order to be prepared for the next day’s presentations, we created a timeline and checklist of items to be completed. We started with a silent 15-minute brainstorming session that allowed us to each come with ideas on our own before we discussed them as a team. From there, we wrote down our concerns and potential solutions on the whiteboard.

As we began to discuss solutions, we realized we could implement strategies from various classes we have taken such as talent management, leadership, and staffing.

Once our solution was narrowed down, we assigned specific parts of the solution to each team member and organized our presentation from there. It’s a long day and it can be easy to get caught up in the overload of work, so it’s important to schedule breaks to eat, stretch, and clear your mind along the way.

Early the next morning, the teams returned to present their solutions in front of a panel of Eaton and industry professionals. Each team had 20 minutes to explain their solution and answer questions. Many unique ideas were brought to the table but ultimately the University of South Carolina was recognized as having the best solution. After the competition, we celebrated our hard work over lunch and were able to have feedback sessions with the judges.

I was able to take what I learned from the first experience and apply new strategies this competition.

Having been part of the internal and external case competitions, I was able to take what I learned from the first experience and apply new strategies this competition, which reinforces the practical experience component that I believe is crucial within this program. Additionally, not only did I get to become further acquainted with my own classmates but  I also mad connections with students from other programs and HR professionals across many different industries. This has continued to be an important opportunity to me because the individuals I am networking with today are going to be the future HR business leaders of tomorrow.

Taking on the CPA Exam

As you may know, there are four parts to the CPA exam, which you take independently of one another. The four parts in order of length from longest to shortest are Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Regulation (REG), Audit & Attestation (AUD), and Business Environment Concepts (BEC). First semester, I focused on adjusting to a new school, new city, and a new job as a graduate assistant. I knew that I plenty of time to prepare for the CPA before starting work full-time next fall, so I decided that it would be in my best interest to wait until the second semester to begin my CPA studying. 

Application Process

Due to the extensive application and Notice to Schedule (NTS) process, I applied about 6-8 weeks before I planned to begin preparation. Every state has a unique process for applying; the NASBA website is a great resource to learn about the guidelines and application process for the state you are sitting for. Since I will be working in Chicago, I am sitting for the Illinois CPA exam. The current rules require me to apply through the Illinois Board of Examiners.  Due to the high volume of applications in November, it took about 6 weeks for me to receive my NTS. Once I received my NTS, I chose the two exams that I wanted to take first.

I chose to take my exams in the following order: AUD, REG, FAR, BEC. I chose this order because AUD and REG are middle size exams which I knew would be easiest to study for while in school. Once summer begins, I plan to study for FAR (the largest exam) since I will have unlimited time. I chose to take BEC last because it is the smallest test, therefore if I do not pass all four before I start work, it will not be too large of a beast to tackle while working full-time. Everyone chooses the order of tests differently. I have seen classmates manage to study for FAR during school; the order in which you choose to take your exams really is a personal preference!

Study Plan & Tips

I am currently taking four classes and working 10 hours per week, so my study plan is a slower pace than it will be this summer. I am at a rate of approximately 15-20 hours per week of CPA studying, which equates to a little over 1 chapter per week.

Some days I choose to stay home and study in the comfort of my apartment, but I also love to study at libraries around campus. My favorite study spot is Thompson Library on the Oval. It is always full of other Ohio State students studying, so it is a prime environment to be productive. Almost every day, a group of students in the MAcc program reserves a room in Gerlach Hall to study after class together. I studied often with my friends in the MAcc program as we began our final review before taking our first exams. Regardless of your study plan, it is best to always make time for fun! Balance is the best way to get through something like studying for the CPA. For example, a group of us play trivia every Thursday night, and we are in an intramural volleyball league on Sundays. Like I mentioned in my GMAT advice post, never burn yourself out!!

GA Intramural Volleyball team!

Takeaways

The biggest piece of advice that I have taken from all of my mentors has been to FINISH THE CPA EXAM BEFORE YOU START WORK! Your year in the MAcc program is a great cushion to take the exams while in a learning environment. So many of your classmates will also be studying for the CPA which makes the processes much more enjoyable.

 

What is CAMP?

The Columbus Advertising & Marketing Practicum (CAMP) is a dynamic event hosted by the Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) that brings together nationally recognized keynote speakers and industry professionals to discuss the leading edge of marketing. 2019 marks our tenth year hosting this event, and our discussion will center on Customer Experience Design which is the practice of designing products/services with the focus on quality and thoughtfulness of the user experience. Every touch point within the customer’s interaction with a product/service is designed to deliver experiences based on the brand’s promise. It requires companies to weave in storylines through online and offline experiences that bring the brand to life.

We invite you to join us!

What can you expect from CAMP?

100-plus attendees from the Columbus community come to hear our engaging, charismatic and fascinating speakers from local and national companies.

Our keynote speaker and recipient of the Marketer of the Year Award is Russ Klein, CEO of the American Marketing Association. We will also have Adam Torres, Founder of Torres Capital, who will be speaking at our event! Both Russ and Adam have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to Customer Experience Design.

Russ Klein, CEO of American Marketing Association
Adam Torres, Founder of Torres Capital

We will also be raffling off items! Thanks to our generous sponsors, we currently have items from Watershed Distillery, Columbus Blue Jackets, Bibibop, and Homage!

If you would like to be a part of this event, whether as an attendee or sponsor, please let us know! Tickets are available here, and you can always email us at fisher.amp@gmail.com with any questions!

2018 “Marketer of the Year” award went to Jenna Measelle, Senior Brand Manager at Abbott and Fisher MBA alum

Growing Professionally and Giving Back with Fisher Board Fellows

“I now call this meeting to order…”

Sitting in on your first nonprofit board meeting can be an eye-opening experience, especially if you have never worked on a board in the past. Now, heading into my eighth month as a Board Fellow for Dress for Success-Columbus, I am able to actively participate in board meeting discussions and share updates on my resource development committee projects.

Reflecting back, being a part of Fisher Board Fellows has been a wonderful opportunity to give back to my community, better understand the governance of nonprofit organizations, apply lessons from business school to a real-world setting and grow my network. In addition, committing to the mission of Dress has grown my perspective regarding our local community needs and areas of opportunity in Columbus.

Fisher Board Fellows is a student-run organization that places students on local nonprofit boards during the second year of the program, attracting candidates from the full-time MBA, MHRM and MBA for working professionals programs. Candidates go through an application process to join the organization, complete training in the second semester and join their board in the second year of the program. As Co-Vice Chair of the organization, we work hard to maintain our relationships with our nonprofit partners and will have 34 partners this coming year!

Some of our partner boards include: United Way of Central Ohio, BalletMet, A Kid Again, LifeCare Alliance, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Local Matters, and many more. Please check out our full list here. This year, we are also excited to add several new partners including: YWCA, Flying Horse Farms, Columbus Humane, MBA Research and Curriculum Center and SmallBiz Cares.

Fellows work on a wide range of strategic projects for their organizations, ranging from donor engagement research and improvement planning to marketing and communication plans and inventory management system recommendations. In addition, fellows are provided a board mentor during their time with the organization to help navigate the new experience and set them up for success in providing impact!

This organization has been, hands-down, one of the best experiential learning opportunities during my time at Fisher and I look forward to continuing my relationship with the board post-graduation this May!

“The meeting is now adjourned!”

Global Applied Projects

As a full-time MBA student at the Fisher College of Business, you will have the opportunity to take part in the Global Applied Projects (GAP) program.  On Friday, Feb 1, our class finally found out where we would be going, the projects we would be working on, and the organizations we would be working for. As potential MBA students yourselves, I want to give you some idea of what this process is and what it entails.

The GAP program is designed to allow MBA students to participate in a global consulting workshop where, rather than just classes and simulations where students are using theory and the outcomes are no more than a letter grade, this is an opportunity to work for a real company with a real problem and who are paying real money for a real solution. The fact that these problems exist in an international setting is definitely a perk. For example, projects this year are in areas as diverse as Ethiopia, France, Brazil, China, and Malaysia.

For a timeline on how the GAP program works:

  1. In the middle of the fall semester, students will be given the opportunity to apply to the GAP program. As this is a program that provides for free international travel and a stipend for living in country, it is extremely popular and thus it is very important students have their applications in on time.
  2. At the beginning of spring semester, students will be sent a list of international projects. Upon receiving the list of projects, students will then rank these in order of preference and ability. At this time, students will not know the companies or organizations they are working for or where the projects will be placed.
  3. At the beginning of February, Fisher holds an event to announce the makeup of the students groups for each project, the organizations they will be working for, and where they will be working.
  4. In the second half of spring semester, students will begin working on their projects at weekly meetings and alongside faculty advisers to come up with realistic and actionable solutions for their target companies.
  5. For most of May, students live onsite and in-country working on their projects, and preparing to present their solution to their clients. Each student is provided with a budget that covers airfare, and a stipend for room and board that they may spend however they see fit.

The GAP program provides a wonderful opportunity for Fisher MBA students to work in a true international setting and understand all of the challenges and opportunities that exist in a global business environment.  That said, free travel to new places to work on interesting projects and gain experiences outside of our comfort zones is definitely a perk.

Participating in the ACG Case Competition

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the ACG Case Competition. ACG is the global community for middle market M&A as well as broader corporate finance dealmakers and business leaders. The organization represents a variety of financial sectors including private equity, investment banking, family wealth management, lending institutions, accounting, among others. The Association for Corporate Growth hosted around 10 teams in this annual investment banking and private equity competition.

The ACG Cup provides a unique opportunity for MBA and graduate students in the finance field to get real-world experience while interacting and networking with leading financial professionals and companies. My team was tasked with solving an M&A case that involved valuation of an LBO, M&A synergies and valuation of a stand-alone company through different valuation techniques. The event is a highly valuable experience for those interested in pursuing a career in investment banking/private equity/wealth & asset management.

For those of you interested in participating in a case competition, ACG is a great opportunity to get involved in a competition related to the finance field. Besides the opportunity to develop your own valuation model with your team and practice presenting in front of an audience of final professionals, there is also opportunity to network after the competition. I found this opportunity extremely valuable if you are looking for a job or looking to join a professional organization. Regardless of the outcome, ACG members which ranged from managing directors, associates, and analysts were very welcoming and willing to connect you with other professionals in the field that you were interested.


Details

  • Valuation techniques involved: LBOs, Exit Multiples, Precedent, Comparables, DCF, Synergies valuation
  • Location: Cleveland, OH
  • First, second and third place receive cash prize and the first-place team was invited to join InterGrowth – ACG’s yearly conference for private capital professionals in the middle-market – this year taking place in Orlando, Florida.

Red Carpet Weekend 2019

In just a few weeks (March 1–3), we will be welcoming Full-Time MBA admitted students to Red Carpet Weekend 2019! This gives them the chance to visit Columbus and the Fisher College of Business, meet some of their future classmates, as well as learn about the opportunities available at Fisher.

To me, this was a very special and significant experience, as I knew that Fisher was the right place to earn my MBA. As a current student ambassador, I look forward to this event since I get to share the Fisher spirit and show others who we really are. If you are still considering whether to apply to Fisher, I encourage you to apply and be eligible to attend Red Carpet Weekend! Here are some upcoming events that one can experience at this VIP event:

Columbus Bus Tour

Last year, I hosted this tour where we got to visit several popular neighborhoods in Columbus! The Short North, Victorian village, German village…etc. Just to name a few. If you are able to make it to this tour, which happens before the welcome reception, you should definitely check it out!

Welcome Reception and Tour at Ohio Stadium

I was most excited for this portion of the weekend as I got to meet faculty, other admitted students, and their significant others. You also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ohio Stadium!

Welcome to Fisher Faculty Lunch at Faculty Club

These are two important sessions where you get to know more about our newly redesigned MBA curriculum, as well as learn more about our global programs.

Breakfast for Significant Others

My husband, who attended Red Carpet 2017 with me, met others who were going through the same feelings and experiences as he was. Going to business school affects not just you, but the people who dearly support and love you as you go through this important change in your life.

Social Event at Du Amici

What a great way to end a Saturday night! My husband and I continued the evening by ourselves where we managed to catch the last part of the Arnold Sports Festival.

Women’s Breakfast (Optional)

Since I am on the leadership team for the Fisher Graduate Women In Business, I highly encourage all women to attend this breakfast. I will see you there!  🙂

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