E-mail sanity

How many user names and passwords do you have? Too many?

Yahoo, Fisher webmail, OSU/Buckeyemail, FisherConnect, MBAFocus, Facebook, LinkedIn, The Hub, WordPress. And those are just the accounts I check often. And no, I don’t have the same password for all of them. I was told that’s unsafe.

E-mail is sometimes too much to handle. Enter Randall Dean, the e-mail sanity expert. He was the speaker of a “Time and E-mail Management Seminar” yesterday.

Turns out, I was to blame with my e-mail and time problems. Well, I kind of knew that but didn’t know there were simple adjustments I could do to change that. Let me share three of the tips.

I’m a blinger. A blinger is someone who has a constant need to check his e-mail with every ‘bling’ alert he hears. According to Randy, blinging temporarily decreases one’s IQ because of the information overload. This must be the reason why I’m a bit spaced out every time. Anyway, he advises control. Check your email only a few times per day, not a few times per hour.

How many messages do you have in your inbox? Randy has practically nothing in it, and receives more than 100 e-mails per day. He has a three-minute, one-touch rule. When you read your e-mail, decide what to do with it immediately. You already spent time reading it. If you postpone taking steps, you would have to read it again, or have to remember if you already acted on that. You can reply, file, read, forward, or delete it. This only takes three minutes.

Take advantage of the productivity tool that is Microsoft Outlook (or other software). Randy gave a lot of tips on how to maximize the software’s features. Now, if only I could get my Fisher webmail account to work in my outlook. I spent the entire Friday night (while waiting for the laundry to finish and the bathroom floor to dry) trying to fix it.

It’s kind of like…

Hello again everyone. As I sit here writing this at 8:23 PM on Friday evening, I have a sense of urgency; not because I am preparing for a night out on the town, but because I have a yellow legal pad to-do list for the evening. For this reason, I am going to use bullet points:

  • Finance Boot Camp – Kara Albert of Career Management ran a terrific program today that covered a lot of information concerning career options for Finance majors. Presentations included two representatives from Barclays (who gave a fantastic presentation on the nuances of interviews), Dean Wruck who, among other things, encouraged us to be more aggressive than perhaps our mid-western sensibilities would allow, several representatives from Nationwide who covered case interviews, and Senior Lecturer Daniel Oglevee. Despite his unapproachable, arrogant first impression (“You only get one chance to make a first impression”),  he is a wealth of knowledge who wants to see all of us succeed (Professor Oglevee – if you are reading this – please don’t hurt me). His presentation covered I-Banking; his stories are fantastic.
  • Innovation – I had a moment of brilliance today which I am going to share. People come in all shapes and sizes – desk chairs mostly do not. I constantly find myself sitting in desk chairs leaned all the way back (reclined) since it’s the most comfortable position for me. Some people tell me this isn’t always a good thing as it shows that I am not interested in what’s going on. This makes sense to me. However, I also realized another reason I likely end up reclined. All the chairs have that spring-reclining-apparatus-knob adjusted to “normal” sized people – a group in which I do not fit. Then it occurred to me (listen up Herman-Miller) – why not make the chairs weight-sensitive. When heavier people sit down, make it harder to recline. Sounds easy enough. Over-sized people like me will forever love you.
  • THIS JUST IN – The Fisher College of Business Class of 2011 has selected the following 5 members as their Fisher Graduate Student Association representatives: Sam Adams, Emily Bae, Joe Fahrendorf, Nick Fischer (not a typo – that’s me!),  and Michael Thompson. I am humbled by my selection and look forward to representing our class!
  • Riding your Bike – This is my best analogy so far for business school. In the beginning, you need training wheels (Fisher Advantage). After you take the wheels off, you are shaky at first but you’ve largely got things under control (first week or so). Then you try going off road and crash into a tree (approx. 10.15.2009). At this point, you slow down and take it easy (fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 PM on a Thursday because you haven’t slept more than 4 hours a night in several days). Finally, your parents trust you to ride down the street and explore the vast world around you (graduation – not sure what this feels like!).


A case of the Mondays

Yesterday was one of the busiest days I have had so far in the program. Below is a description of how it became hectic along with how well it ended.

Sunday night

2:13 am: The Phillies have just won game 3 of the NLDS against the Rockies, a game that had me on the edge of my seat most of the time, and the rest standing with my Phillies fitted hat and Ryan Howard jersey on clapping and talking to the TV. So now that the game is over, and having no chance at falling asleep, I am able to finish the last three pages of the case study that we had to read to be prepared for our Organizational Behavior class (one of my favorite) at 8:30 am. At around 3 am I tuck myself under the sheets, leaving the blinds open so I don’t oversleep.


6:50 am: I proceed to wake up before my alarm and start to get ready for the day. I don’t plan on being back until later in the evening due to some events I am scheduled to attend so eat a hearty breakfast (raisin bran crunch), pack a snack for the time between classes, gather my books and head off to the bus at around 8.

8:14: The campuscabs_bus bus finally makes it. I walk out of my building about two blocks past the law school to a stop where the Campus Loop North bus picks students up about every 8 mins. Since I was the only one there, I must had gotten there right after the last bus came.

8:30: Organizational Behavior begins. I am wide awake but physically tired. I never drink coffee, and never had but I may need to if I keep this schedule up.

10:18: Class is over, we had a great discussion about financial incentives that had a lot of class participation. This is what makes it fun. I grab my snack and off to Accounting which starts at 10:30.

10:40: The lights are low. The power point is up. We are going over Cash flow statements. I feel my eyes getting heavy.

11:00: Nope I didn’t fall asleep, but I got a little energy boost from my yogurt and I am back to running on all fours. The topic isn’t the most interesting but I make sure to have the slides on my laptop along with a word doc open to take notes in. This makes the class a little more interactive to me.

12:18: Accounting class is over but I need to RUN to the Center of Real Estate for a meeting with my adviser (I work in the Center of Real Estate as a teaching assistant for an MBA level Real Estate class and also on projects that the Center is working on). I debate running to Subway first and bring a sandwich with me but I decide not to. Even though my adviser and I get along really well, I didn’t want to make him wait for me.

1:20: I leave my meeting and run to a small deli behind the architecture school across the street. I proceed to eat my chicken wrap as I walk back to Fisher. Very impressed I was able to eat it without getting anything on myself since it was a little messy.

1:30: I get to my Enhanced Professional Interchange Class. Although I am starting to get exhausted from all of the running around this class is not your typical MBA class. It is a class that teaches you presentation techniques. The teacher keeps the class very involved with people coming to the front often to work on techniques. Next thing you know the class is over

3:18: I head to the grad lounge to relax for a few mins. I had signed up for a discussion held by the MBA Finance Club that featured  William M. Issac, former chair of the FDIC which starts 4:oo.

5:00: For the last hour we had a discussion about the recent economic crisis and also a short history lesson about some of the factors that contributed to it. Mr. Issac was very interesting and I was surprised how informative the session was and how much I learned. But no stopping now. Off to my Fisher Professional Serves Conference call.

5:30: I meet with my group for ProjectOne, the initial project for a for profit student run consultancy program. We huddle around a phone for the next half hour and listen to a VP from a Fortune 500 organization explain the project and some of the uses of what we will be asked to help create a plan for. After the call my group decides to start thinking of some ideas over the next week and bounce them off each other via e-mail. Now I get to head home

6:07: Phillies Hat? Check! Phillies Jersey? Check! Sitting on the couch after a long day about to watch an amazing game 4 win over the Rockies to take us to the NLCS? Priceless!Phillies

Careers in Marketing Boot Camp

I spent the day yesterday in the “Careers in Marketing Boot Camp” at The Fisher College of Business.  The Career Management Office organizes several boot camps throughout the fall covering the various careers that MBAs typically seek including: consulting, operations and logistics, marketing, finance, sustainability and real estate.  The Marketing Boot Camp, which was generously sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, was a day-long seminar focused on career paths in marketing, networking strategies and interviewing techniques.  Several alumni and marketers from local firms came to Fisher to share their experiences and take questions on their careers and firms.

The keynote speaker, Mr. Brad Davis, Vice President Nationwide Financial Individual Investments, gave an engaging (and sometimes humorous) but certainly informative presentation covering his experience in branding in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) industry and how that brought him to his position at Nationwide.  The topics he covered were too numerous to summarize completely, but some of the highlights included:

  • The balance between the science and art of marketing
  • The concepts of “misattribution” and “consideration sets”
  • The marketing cycle
  • Marketing is Business and Business is Marketing: everyone owns a piece of establishing and nurturing a relationship with the customer

Once again thanks to Brad Davis, Nationwide, Jenny Heckscher, the Fisher Office of Career Management and everyone else that took the time to attend and answer questions: The Scotts Miracle-Grow Company, dunnhumbyUSA, Nestlé, Cardinal Health, Resource Interactive, Greif, Sterling Commerce, The Columbus Chapter of the American Marketing Association, The Fisher College of Business Marketing Faculty and second-year MBA students.

Reposted from aaron360.com.



To all those wondering, no my title isn’t gibberish.  It was actually the topic of my first presentation in “Enhancing Professional Interchange” (EPI).  EPI is basically a speech class.  I know that most people fear public speaking but I was actually excited to hear that we were required to take this class because I know there is always room for improvement.

So back to the title…During class, Prof. Ankerman posted a bunch of gibberish words on the board and we were asked to give a 30sec presentation on one of the words.  I was one of the last people to go and as others presented on the words I was planning on talking about, I found my mind racing to come up with what I was going to say.  Ultimately, I think I said something to the effect of it being a new invention that actually made time travel possible, blah blah blah.  Next we gave our 2min persuasive talks that we had been working on.  I think mine went okay.  I talked about why PE class should be an integral part of school.  But as usual, I talked too fast.  This is a really bad habit that I’ve had since birth but towards the end of my speech, as I got more comfortable, I found myself slowing down.

One would think that after an undergraduate education in architecture where I was forced to present daily that I would be a pro at public speaking but this is not so.  And so, I am looking for some helpful criticism and tricks to become a better speaker…..I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going…

Porter’s Five Forces model -Business Practice and Human Resource Mananger

Porter’s Five Forces model: In accordance with Porter’s view, there are five basic competitive forces that affect the competition within an industry. The five forces are threat of competitors, entry, substitutes, suppliers and buyers.

The competitors are known as companies which offer the similar products or  as the focal company. And the rivals and focal company usually have the same target customers. Take China Telecommunication Industry as example. With the advance of telecommunications reform, there are three companies- China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. Their business is the same, including telephone services Broadband Internet access services cell phone services and professional business services. Each one of them is always trying to enlarging market share by getting the customers from the other two companies. Thus, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile are competitors. And it is said that the following conditions may facilitate the rivalry, large number of competitors, slow and declining growth, high fixed costs and/or high storage costs and low product differentiation. For instance, there are only three telecommunication companies in China, so it is easy for each of them get large amount of customers. To this degree the competition is very low. But many other factors should be taken into consideration. Firstly, the technical skills don’t change a lot in this era, so the rate of growth is slow. Secondly, the fixed costs in this industry are outrageously high. Telecommunication companies have to invest numerous high-tech fundamental facilities in different places in the very beginning and always repair or upgrade these facilities. Eventually, these three companies offer virtually the same services to the customers. Therefore, the threat of competitors is of high in China Telecommunication Industry.

Concept of the threat of entry is easily to understand. And the barriers to entry refer to these factors-economies of scale, product differentiation, cost advantages independent of scale and government polices. Let’s exemplify it by analyzing China Communication Industry. It is very difficult for new companies to enter into this industry. First of all, the three current companies are state-owned and Chinese central government has implemented very strict regulation of entering this industry, though China has join WTO. Second, building networks requires large sums of investments. Third, strong technical support is essential in this high-tech industry. It would be time-consuming and money-consuming for a new company to obtain the out-of-date technology for this industry. Moreover, it is pretty difficult for entrant get enough customers in the early period. If the entrants can’t produce the minimum efficient scale, it will be at a disadvantage.

The threat of buyers roughly decided by the bargaining power of buyers. The power is mainly affected by three factors-the number of products the buyer required, the preferences of buyers and the cost of alternatives. The buyers may try to get high-quality products or services with low price. Furthermore, if the requirement surpasses the demand, the price of products or services would drop and vice versus.

Similarly, the threat of suppliers can be evaluated by analyzing the bargaining power of suppliers. There are various kinds of conditions result in high supplier power, including small number of firms in supplier’s industry, highly differentiated product, lack of close substitutes for suppliers’ products, supplier could integrate forward, and focal firm is an insignificant customer of supplier. If Suppliers have strong power, the focal company might have to spend more money in materials, thus increasing the cost.

Substitutes offer different products or services that have the same kinds of functions to satisfy the customers. Generally speaking, almost all enterprises in an industry are subject to the threat of substitutes. In addition, the price of substitute’s products decides the highest price of the products of focal industry.

In all, Porter’s five forces model is a great “tool” to understand the external environment of the industry.

Interviewing 101

Wow, with school starting just 2 1/2 weeks ago, balancing your course workload along with preparing from summer internships interviews can be hectic!  Deciding which one to place more emphasis on can be a tough decision, considering that they both will have a great impact on your future in HR.  One word of advice that I can offer future Buckeyes, is to make sure you secure a mock interview prior to your orientation.  With so much going on throughout the school year, it is easy for your career adviser to book up with other responsibilities, while leaving you without an opportunity to get one mock interview in before your interview.  One mock interview that can make or break you.

When speaking to my classmates about how their interview experience has been thus far, the general feeling is that they did “Okay!” Not too reassuring!  However, I am a firm believer that practice is the key to making a great impression in your job interviews. With each interview you get better and better at answering those tough questions.  As well as figuring ways around those questions you just don’t seem to have an answer for.  So in conclusion, “Good luck to everyone as they proceed through the recruitment season at Fisher. May the forces be with you!”

‘fly like paper, get high like planes’

Hi Guys! Well today the first full week of school ends. Ah! a huge sigh of relief.

Highlight of the week: Working in a paper plane assembly-line.

I will not delve in to details of the humongous MBA812: Economics readings since a few of my peers have already spoken about it. The biggest take away for me was that it’s all possible. Prof. Cambell mentioned during class that we covered most of a traditional economics course of a full quarter in 3 sessions! I remember during the start of the week wondering how we will make it through, but it was real fun. The class was interesting and we had some great discussions. Having said that I am currently wondering about Financial Accounting for the coming week.

This week was very interesting also because a lot of activities happened simultaneously. Along with the heavy class load, we had career fairs, company information sessions and student organization presentations almost every single day. Feels good to be on the edge (fyi: this is 4 cups of coffee speaking), work as hard as possible full steam ahead.

Ok, now getting to the most entertaining part of the week. Today we had the Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Boot Camp. As always there were faculty, alumni, industry representatives and 2nd year students who shared their expereinces and their thoughts on the Operations as a career option. I must say the passion in the alumni for what they are doing as part of an operations team was encouraging. Post lunch we made planes!

This was a prime example of ‘learning by experience’. We were organized in to 2 teams of 9 each. We were two competing paper plan manufacturers. There were set quality standards, a manufacturing process – divided between the shop floor workers, a CEO, a quality manager, a plant manager and even a paper plane test pilot.

The aim of the exercise was to explore various ways wastes can be eliminated in the simplest of processes. How to most efficiently use every single resource. How to work as a team. And how to even engage in competition sledging, although it an objective. We saw how implementation of lean processes eliminated wastes and lead times. We ran the production following a batch process, lean process and then finally the rules were dissolved to enable the teams to creatively achieve operational excellence. The quality manager’s job was to constantly track every workers performance and get the various metrics to the plant manager who over saw the production as he looked to remove bottlenecks. The CEO did pretty much nothing other than just getting the raw materials on to the shop floor!….hmmm may be he should have been fired. I must commend Anthony was excellent flying skills ;). Also Ross for his commitment to faster production, he was our bottle-neck all though (to be fair to him he did have the most difficult and time consuming tasks of all). The activity was great fun. You can see the picture of a our master-piece in paper plan manufacturing. Anthony flew them as if they were rockets. And the rival team was so intimidated that they had to try out new test pilots in each round!American Aeroplane Corp.

It was a tough and eventful week and wish all of the class of 2011 good luck in their effort to fly like paper, get high as planes!


It really helps!

It really helps to use the career management resources. It was not only during Orientation week but it keeps going!! I am extremely happy by the continuous and amazing support I am receiving from the Career Management office. Having a science background I felt slightly lost on how to focus my resume, brand and interview skills for a new career path such as Marketing. Some of the highlights that have been really helpful for me are:

  • Career Assessment: to discover strengths, abilities, motivational things I need to work on, and possible career paths. http://www.careerleader.com/
  • Mix and Mingle with recruiters: to start practicing networking skills and develop some practice with informational interviews (Do not overwhelm the recruiter trying to tell them your life in one minute, have an engaging “conversation”).
  • Resume: reviewed and significantly improved. Jenny Hecksher’s (MKT consultant) feedback was extremely quick but most importantly tremendously useful to have her Marketing input on the content.
  • Career search resources: I explored some of the resources and so far my favorite is Hoover’s Online. It offers summarize key information about companies and different industries. In addition, while looking at this resource I also came by another very interesting website related to “cool running companies” (http://businessonmain.msn.com/) focused mainly on companies that have proof to be very creative and innovative in our days. The site is really fun and interesting to look for original businesses.
  • Crack the Case Workshop: with David Ohrvall. I was definitely not ready for a case interview. Actually I am still not. But this workshop definitely helps to know what to expect and how to get prepared for a case interview. A key thing is to anticipate possible questions, situations and reactions. If you think you may need to develop some of these skills, I definitely suggest looking at his website and even more attend one of these events in the future (www.mbacase.com).
  • Companies Information session: this is very resourceful to know what exactly the company is about and their culture but more importantly what are they looking for and what type of candidate are they trying to recruit. Let’s not forget that these sessions are a great opportunity to network too.
  • Getting ready for a career fair: I learned some strategies on how to make a difference with recruiters in between thousands of applicants in a career fair.  Consultants at the career management office have a huge amount of experience in dealing with these issues. They have several suggestions to share according to each person’s needs.
  • Practicing for Interviews: if you need advising and practice for your interviews, career management is the place to go! They know what recruiters are looking for, and they will act like recruiters. This is the safest place to practice and get ready to make an impact on your interview!

These are just some of the things that have had direct impact on me. However there is a much larger amount of resources and activities organized by the career management office. Be sure to stay in tune on what is going on through Fisherconnect or the Hub. There are a lot of things going on and it could be overwhelming, but this is exactly how we learn to manage our time, prioritize and make wise selections.

Networking in the Big Easy

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the National Black MBA Association Conference in New Orleans.  After two days of classes, I was excited to get away with 10 of my classmates and see a new city.  I soon learned that the trip would be nothing short of a whirlwind.

We got into New Orleans around midnight Thurs night/Fri morning.  I was so exhausted but there was no time for sleep because we were up and at ’em at 7am headed to the convention center.  Upon entering the career fair, I was very taken aback.  I’ve been to national conferences for different organizations before but never to anything of this magnitude.  There were elaborate exhibits including product demos of Harley motorcycles, Chrysler, P&G products, and many more.  Not only were the exhibits impressive but also to see over 5,000 people navigating the different booths in search of jobs and internships.  I was able to talk to representatives from over 10 companies and I even snagged an interview on Friday afternoon.  I hope to hear back soon!

Attending the conference definitely showed me that in order to succeed, I need to be at the top of my game.  There are so many top students from top universities competing for a limited number of positions.  Having a clear plan of what I want to do and how I expect to get there is key!

Apart from the professional aspect of the conference, it was great to get to know my classmates and meet students and professionals from around the country.  Of course, we ate some authentic New Orleans cuisine, ventured out to Bourbon Street (which was crazy), and even had the chance to wander around the French Quarter.

Although I was extremely exhausted and swamped with work when we got back to Columbus, the trip was very much worth it.  Where else would I have the chance to talk to over 400 recruiters on one day!?!