Cullman Lunch: Jason Mlicki

Last week some of my classmates and I had lunch with Jason MlickiFisher College of Business MBA and “Resident Left Brain” at Mlicki, a Columbus branding agency.

His feeling in that service and b2b (business-to-business) branding is still in its infancy. Some of the firms biggest successes have been with business that operate in industries that have not traditionally invested in very much branding. He highlighted some of Mlicki’s experience with engineering and construction firms including R.W. Setterlin. I found particularly interesting Jason’s response when asked him how he sold Mlicki’s services to such firms. By demonstrating “thought leadership” as it applies to business problems he could sell work to firms that operated in industries or were in need of services not represented in Mlicki’s portfolio.

Another of Jason’s central themes was the idea that consumers shop comparatively and buy emotionally. He shared an anecdote of his experience buying a flat screen HDTV a few years back. Before heading to the store, Jason looked a copy of Consumer Reports and circled several products in the sizes and categories which he was looking.The products he circled were almost exclusively Samsung brand televisions. However, he came home from Best Buy with a brand new Sony. Only when Jason found the circled Consumer Reports a few weeks later, did he realize what effect the emotional power of the Sony brand had on his buying decision.

Thanks again to Jason Mlicki for visiting us at Fisher. For more of his thoughts on branding check out his blog.

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Busiest Week of My Life Continued…

My classmates and I entered the room for the networking dinner.  There were quite a few people there already, but the OSU people had the coolest name tags by far.  I think there was some name tag envy from the students who were there from Michigan and Illinois.

I was proud of myself.  I jumped in and started introducing myself to people.  During the dinner I spoke to an employee who is currently in the Leadership Development Program, the Director of the Director of HR, the HR Director of the Marine Division, and the HR Manager at the plant in Indianapolis.  All of the employees at Rolls-Royce seemed extremely enthusiastic about working for the company and were a lot of fun to talk to.

After the dinner we all went our separate ways and I headed to my room to relax for the evening.  I was really excited about sleeping in the big, fluffy bed.  Unfortunately, I was so nervous about the next day that I only slept a total of 2-3 hours.

The next morning we all met in the lobby of the hotel and headed to the Rolls-Royce plant on a shuttle.  I was nervous, but everyone at Rolls-Royce was very nice and kept telling us to just be ourselves.  We ate breakfast and the HR Manager did a quick presentation about the company.  After that it was time to interview.

The first activity I did was a written case study, next was a one-on-one with situational questions, then my 10 minute presentation with a question answer portion after, and then a group exercise where we were observed in a group and then presented after 15 minutes of discussion.  I really thought the presentation was going to be the most stressful part, but I actually was most nervous during the group exercise.  I didn’t want to be overly aggressive, but I also did not want to be too passive either.

It was a long day and I was relieved when it was over.  We headed back to the hotel and made the drive back to Columbus.  Unfortunately, I was not chosen to move forward as an intern at Rolls-Royce.  I was disappointed because I really like the company and the people there were really great, but on a positive note, it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.

This actually only gets us through Wednesday of my busy week.  The rest of the week was midterms, another interview, group meetings, class, and finally a really fun Halloween Party.  Maybe this week will be less crazy but, every time I think that, something comes up!

Busiest Week of My Life.

Obviously I knew this week was going to be very busy with it being midterm exam week, but I had no idea it was going to be as crazy as it has been.

Last Friday morning I woke up and was prepared to study for midterms all weekend.  About 30 minutes after I woke up I received a phone call from Rolls-Royce congratulating me on making it to second round interviews and informing me that I would receive an e-mail with more details later in the day.  I was extremely excited, but quickly realized that the two days I was going to be in Indianapolis for the second round interviews were the same two days of my midterms.  Hmm…what to do now…?

I immediately e-mailed my professors to let them know the situation and they were both quick to respond, congratulate me and reschedule my midterms.  That was a huge relief.  Once I had rescheduled my midterms I settled in to study and patiently awaited my e-mail with more details from Rolls-Royce.  I continued to study and check my e-mail throughout the day, but still no e-mail from them.  I honestly started to wonder if I had dreamt the phone call from earlier that morning.  Finally, I decided to go to bed, but checked my e-mail one last time.  There it was!  The e-mail!

So, I opened the e-mailed and read over the travel information and agenda and then noticed an attachment.  I opened the attachment and it stated that I must prepare a 10 minute presentation for the interview process.  My heart started to race and my mind was going a million miles a minute.  First, I’m still a little scared of presentations and second, how in the world am I going to study for midterms and prepare a presentation, and go shopping for a new suit etc, etc…?

Well, somehow I fit all of that in and carpooled to Indianapolis on Tuesday with a couple of my classmates who were also invited for second round interviews.  I am from Indiana, so the drive was familiar and I enjoyed getting to know my classmates better.  Once we got to Indy we went our separate ways and relaxed for a little while prior to the networking dinner.

Around 6:20, we met up and headed downstairs to see what was in store for us!

To prevent this blog from being 10 pages I am going to stop here.  Check out my next blog to find out what happened at the interviews!

A Trail Mix of a Blog

Sorry guys, I had no better title for this blog. Why trail mix? Well, this blog is mix of a bunch of different random parts of my life and there will likely be no central theme.

Two weeks ago I went to “Boo at the Zoo”. Growing up in Columbus, I’ve been to the Zoo many times, but I was fun to go this year with my fiance, a few of his friends from that state up north and my roommate. Benjamin, my fiance, and I were the only two of the bunch who had ever been to the Columbus Zoo before,  so it was neat to show everyone what we grew up with. Did you know that the Columbus Zoo was recently ranked #1 by USA Travel Guide? Pretty awesome, and if you look at the prices for the other top ranked zoos, Columbus’ Zoo is made even better by the fact that admission is only $12. This weekend is the last “Boo at the Zoo” for the season. I think everyone should go. It’s pretty cool, and a lot of the ‘treat stations’ have treats for adults, too – one thing I got was a $5 off coupon for Bob Evan’s Sausage. Who doesn’t love that?!

Today is my first midterm as a graduate student. I’m nervous yes,  but it’s in statistics and I’m fairly confident I’ll do just fine. Here’s to hoping. Tomorrow, however, that midterm will be a completely different story. I have no idea how to study for that one. All of the second years keep telling me to just keep writing and the more I write the better I’ll do. I suppose, but I don’t know. Good thing is that there will be 3 questions and I can pick 2 to actually answer. I find that method of test taking is the best for me.

Another reason for nerves today is that I should be finding out whether or not I was selected to be an intern for the group I interviewed for last week. I’m more nervous about that than anything else. Additionally, it seems to be taking all of my attention away from studying as I am entirely distracted by checking my email to see if I’ve received the email.

Lastly – Good luck to Elle who made it to the final rounds of interviews for Rolls Royce. Lucky dog is missing both midterms to be in Indianapolis. But, kudos to her! 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

Evening at Limited Brands

Last week I had what was hands-down the coolest opportunity since starting Business School: the Evening at Limited Brands program.  Limited Brands is a Columbus based apparel company that is home to Victoria’s Secret, Pink and Bath & Body Works among others. Last Wednesday evening a hundred or so Fisher MBAs came to the Limited Brands campus east of Columbus where the Limited Brands executive team hosted a cocktail party and networking event.  We were also treated to a private address from Limited Brands founder, CEO, Chair of the Ohio State University Board of Trustees and Columbus legend Les Wexner.

While Wexner spoke for nearly an hour covering a range of topics some of his most noteworthy ideas were:

Flexing your change muscle – His idea was that agility in more important in today’s business environment than ever before.  By challenging yourself to think differently, by picking up a book you wouldn’t normally read or taking a new approach to solving a familiar problem you can prepare yourself for the day that you will have to adapt.

Inner-self leading your outer self – As the Limited grew, Wexner found others looking to him for leadership even though he never considered himself a leader.  As he tells it, he found that there was something inside him—an inner-self—that was decisive and convincing that would lead his outer-self to do what must be done.  In fact, he explained, his two selves often had a dialog while he stood in front of the bathroom mirror shaving.

Thank you again to Les Wexner and the Limited Brands executive team.  Altogether this was a very exciting event and the only opportunity I have had to meet someone who had a campus building named after him.

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I failed in Rolls-Royce interview.

I did not get a full score in the second quiz of  Business Practice &  Human Resource Manager.

I didn’t do well in my project.

I was proud of myself before.

Now I have to consider myself again.

About the interview, I didn’t think I did bad. I am happy that I had my first interview experience and I know what questions HR prefer to ask in the interview. Also, I now understand what kind of knowledge is important to the company here. Moreover, I have to work with Steve Singer or other professors or classmates to make a practical strategy of my career.  I am confident that people in Fisher can give me great suggestions and information!  And late I will make a SOWT analysis for myself. I will tell you later!

Absolutely, I have learned some knowledge the same with now before. But I forgot some knowledge and I have learn something different in the same field. I should not be that confident in what I have learned before. I have to study more before and after the class. Today, Courtney told me that I can search SHRM for more professional information. That`s awesome!

And I am now working on two projects. I will appropriately budge my time to do them. And I should also share my teammates my idea clearly and logically.

I will be good later and I will be excellent in the future!

I am busy now, so talk to you later!

Cullman Lunch: Jim Terranova

This week’s guest was at the Cullman lunch series was Jim Terranova, Director of Fund Operations, WS Investments at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati a Silicon Valley law firm.  WSG&R specializes in business, securities, and intellectual property law with a focus in start ups.   Jim essentially runs the firms internal venture fund that it uses to invest in its clients.

Jim is a Fisher Alum and has been very engaged with the Fisher Entrepreneurship Association—he has taken the lead in organizing an annual entrepreneurial tour of Silicon Valley—as well as a member of the Fisher Alumni Society Board.

Jim spoke about the firm’s history of starting with “first circle” companies (i.e. start ups) and growing their offerings as their clients grew to “second” and “third circle” companies.  While he hesitated to provide legal “advice” he did share some of the legal pitfalls he had seen with early stage companies; the most common mistakes centered around failing to clearly define relationships with partners, founders, employees or vendors.

Thanks again to Jim for coming in to share his experience with us.

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Very Busy Week

Monday: So the week started with final preparations for Tuesday’s Statistics exam. Luckily, I spent all weekend studying (with the exception of an Ohio State game that I wished I wouldn’t have watched) and I felt decently prepared.

Tuesday’s exam went well, I made a few mistakes, but overall I was happy with my understanding of the material.

Wednesday I took a trip with other Fisher College of Business grad students to the LimitedBrands campus to visit Les Wexner. If you don’t know who Les Wexner is, you really should do some research. He has basically built an empire from nothing and is the wealthiest man in Ohio. He is also responsible for bringing lingerie mainstream. Turns out Victoria’s Secret was an idea that occurred on the highways of Ohio in the mind of a Fisher grad. He said that women liked to wear lingerie, but they usually just wear underwear. He said that lingerie has a high “emotional” value with women, which is why it is a very popular business. Below is a photo of the area that Les Wexner spoke.


Thursday was the typical work-class all day long. From 8:00 AM- 9:48 PM. I usually have some time in between work and class, but we met for our class project at Fisher at 5:15, which cut out any free time for the day.

Friday was a long day at work with four meetings on top of my daily responsibilities.

Deloitte Tax Competition

This past weekend, I competed in my first ever ‘tax competition’ at the Deloitte office in downtown Columbus.  Along with graduate and undergraduate teams from Dayton and an undergraduate team for OSU, I competed at the office on the OSU graduate team.  As part of the national competition, we were presented with a case and then asked to answer a wide variety of tax questions related to the case and site our sources.

The terrific folks at Deloitte who put the event on hosted a meal at Latitude 41 (great restaurant in downtown Columbus) this past Friday.  It was a great opportunity for all of the competitors to network with current Deloitte employees and learn more about public accounting.

My team of four included Scott Krahn, Dan Packard, and Shalabh Gupta (all current MAcc students).  The four of us were recruited by tax professor Raabe based on the fact that we had all completed two undergraduate tax courses.  Needless to say, I think our main downfall is that all of our tax courses were several years ago and few of us had a great recollection of the material.  We spent some time in the weeks leading up to the event preparing for the competition, but it was very difficult for the four of us to cover everything that could possibly be thrown at us on the day of the competition.  We will receive our results in the coming weeks and I will provide an update on the result.

Opportunity Only Knocks Once – Proverb

Hello again. The principal purpose of the My Fisher Grad Life experiment is to give prospective students a perspective into what it’s like being a graduate student at The Fisher College of Business. I hope that you have been able to cut through my thinly veiled attempt at humor and that  I have provided some insight  into what MBA student life is really like.

First, BOILER UP! Even though I am now a Buckeye I will always be a Boilermaker at heart.  Hopefully this win for Purdue will make tickets to the upcoming Iowa game cheaper. Another reason to enjoy the win!

Second, I’ve noticed a peculiar state-of-mind develop among myself and my fellow MBA classmates. Obviously, we are all occupied with coursework. In fact, between classes, group meetings, and homework – coursework itself is a significant time commitment (if you’ve been following my posts, you already knew this). However, coursework isn’t what consumes our thoughts or conversations.

Rather, the tremendous amount of opportunities in extracurricular and personal/leadership development activities seem to consume us.  Conversations typically cover what lunchtime information sessions, speaker,  interviews for various organizations, or team meetings for non-course related projects we are going to attend.

As an example, here are the extras I am participating in (or plan to participate in):

My short list of activities just scratches the surface of what is available. A more complete list of Fisher’s student organizations can be found here.

Professors, if you are reading this, please don’t interpret this as a reason to make your courses more difficult. The last thing I need is the class hating me for something like that! They are challenging, I assure you.  Classes are table-stakes – everyone does it. I think each student differentiates himself/herself by his/her performance in the classroom and by which of Fisher’s unique opportunities he/she takes advantage of.

I apologize for the relative sincerity of this post. More humor will follow.

Caveat lector. Finis.