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.

Reposted from aaron360.com.

A

FAIL? NO .

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.

Reposted from aaron360.com.

A

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.

Limited

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.

Cullman Lunch: Jim Katzenberger

One of the greatest things about The Fisher College of Business is the level of engagement with the greater business community. One unique way Fisher brings the community into the graduate experience is the W. Arthur Cullman Executive Luncheon Series: giving graduate students an opportunity to interact in an intimate setting (lunches are capped at 10-14 students) with entrepreneurs and business leaders.

This Wednesday I attended my first Cullman Lunch with Jim Katzenberger currently an executive at Profit Performance Advisors, in Philadelphia. His consultancy focuses on helping business overcome their “growth inhibitors” and quickly growing businesses for exit events.

Jim’s varied experience includes stints at IBMRazorfish/i-CubeCambridge Technology PartnersBristlecone, Catalyst and being one of the first hundred employees at SAP. At SAP he saw the business grow from less to 100 employees to 2,000+ in less than two years. When asked what growth inhibitors SAP (now a $10 billion company with 50,000 employees) had at this stage, Jim cited the culture shift needed (particularly among the earliest employees) to move from a midsized to a large, flexible firm.

Finally, the signature “formula for growth” printed on the back on of Jim’s card is worth noting.

A(K + S) + GOALS = PBC => IR

Translated, this means Attitudes times Knowledge and Skills plus Goals equals Positive Behavioral Change leading to Improved Results.

Thanks again for coming to Jim for coming to visit Fisher this week. I have another Cullman lunch this week; look for a blog later in the week.

Reposted from aaron360.com.

A

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!).

Finis.