Columbus Day in Columbus: Discovering the New World

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

Christopher Columbus Reaches the New World

On September 5, I set sail from Wichita, Kansas, in a black Ford pickup truck named Bullet — a little bit more comfortable than the Santa Maria. Instead of sailing west for a few months, my voyage took me east and lasted 14 hours.  I did learn, however, that the world is round and that it does not fall off after the Kansas-Missouri border.  Although my travels along I-70 will not lead to the naming of a city or holiday after me, the experience of discovering a “New World” justifies a blog post honoring Columbus in Columbus on Columbus Day.

I had the opportunity to visit Columbus for a campus visit in early January 2011.  The visit was a fantastic experience, and I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested in the Fisher College of Business to visit and experience the campus.  Although I had enjoyed my time in Columbus during my brief January visit, was a bit nervous as I approached the end of the summer.  I could find Columbus and the important parts of the OSU campus on a map, but I did not know the people, the places around town, or the things to do for fun.

It has now been a month since I have been a Columbus resident.  Just as it took some time for news of Christopher Columbus’ discovery to reach home, it has taken me a while to write about my experience on the Grad Life Blog.  But here I am, excited to share with the world that Columbus, Ohio, is a world-class city.

Every day over the past month, I have discovered something new and unique in this “New World.”  Over the next nine months, I look forward to sharing the people, places, and exciting opportunities I encounter in Columbus with the SMF Grad Life Blog.

Happy Columbus Day from Columbus!

Guest Speaker at Ohio State: Bob McDonald, Proctor & Gamble CEO

Last Friday, Ohio State was honored to have Bob McDonald, CEO of Proctor & Gamble, stop by to talk to us about his vision for the company & for Ohio State. President Gordon Gee introduced him to the audience, after having given McDonald and several others a tour around the OSU campus.  President Gee discussed the various ways that P&G and OSU could work together to accomplish shared goals, which were built around the P&G motto of “Touching Lives, Improving Life.” Some of the quoted common goals included an increased focus on sustainability and constantly innovating through research and development.

I figured (correctly) that Bob McDonald would use many inspirational quotes during his speech.  I wrote down the best of the inspirational quotes so that people who didn’t make it to the event could still soak in some of that CEO wisdom. Also I took a picture.

1. “Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” – line from the Cadet Prayer. Bob McDonald attended college at the U.S. Military Academy at Westpoint.

2. “Sustainability is not just a responsibility but an opportunity.” – Bob McDonald on how P&G can make a profit from going green.

3. “One must do well to do good, & must do good to do well.” – Bob McDonald on purpose leading to profit.

4. “Give me a lever large enough & I will move the world.” – Archimedes.  Not really sure what this was in reference to, but it sounded good and I assume it fit in the context of what Bob was talking about at the time.

5. “Always limit blog lists to five items or less.” – Me on how itemized lists get increasingly boring the longer they go.

Bob McDonald, P&G CEO
If you come to Ohio State, you'll get to meet interesting people like CEO Bob McDonald.

Taking time for a quick road trip

Last weekend, I went to Chicago with several friends. Yes, we just started our new quarter (academic term) on September, 21. However, I believe we will get busier and busier as time goes by. So, better to seize the chance early in the quarter! We have two cases to do this week. One is the Corporate Finance’s case brief, and the other is the Quantitative Method’s sector analysis. They will be due next week, so our team spent a great amount of time working together on Bloomberg and discussing the case to find a solution. Though I always came back home late due to the team discussion, I felt it was time very well spent. We’ve done an awesome job and I learned a lot from preparing for the the case by ourselves before the professor gives the lecture. Anyway, it now appears that it was a wise decision to go to Chicago last weekend early in the quarter before we all got too busy.

It is a great way to experience life and widen your horizon by traveling, especially planning a DIY trip by yourself. “Traveling DIY” makes me feel much more free and comfortable with no travel agency or time constraints. In China, it’s common to plan trips via a travel agency – how boring it is to go into a souvenir shop arranged by the travel agency! By the trip myself, I can design the way we go, the places to see, the food to enjoy, etc. And I can also visit my friends, and make new friends during the trip. Of course, there are a lot of preparations to do before going out. (Sometimes, you will get “unexpected fun” from the improvisational trip. But as this is my first DIY trip in United States, I want it to be safe and interesting :-)) I looked up the information about the transportation, accommodations, the travel reviews written by other visitors and the articles related to the places I was looking into visiting. Actually, the process of preparing to travel is sort of of fun, not to mention the trip itself.

To save time, we left Columbus for Chicago on Thursday night. And we arrived in Chicago early Friday morning, when it was rather quiet on the streets of downtown. By arriving early, it’s a good way to experience a city in peace and quiet. After a while, we saw people bustling through the street to go to work.

Time was short there. We had just two days in Chicago and came back to Columbus Saturday night. So we went to the most famous places in Chicago, to name a few: Millennium Park, Navy Pier, John Hancock Center, China Town, Michigan Ave., State Ave., the Magnificent Mile, etc. And I also met an ex-classmate who I hadn’t been seen for a long time and we had lunch at Lao Sichuan, an authentic Chinese food restaurant.

It’s prety easy to get to Chicago from Columbus – about 5 hours if you drive, about 7 hours if you take a bus, and about an hour (at most) if you fly. (Several airlines have regular non-stop fligths between Columbus and Chicago.) I really had a great time there. I will go back someday.

Navy Pier

 

Study Spaces: Caffe’ Apropos

Caffe' Apropos

I think one of the most difficult tasks of a student in a new city is finding the perfect place to study.  Yes you could go to the library, or sit in your apartment, but I personally have trouble studying next to noisy freshmen (O wow, you got invited to a frat party!) or next to my television (Jersey Shore marathon > net present value calculations).  Having gone to Ohio State for 4+ years now, I have the distinct advantage of having visited a lot of coffee shops trying to find the perfect place to study.  In my inaugural blog post, I would like to share one of my favorites.

Caffe’ Apropos is a little coffee shop on the corner of 3rd Ave & Michigan Ave.  They bill themselves as a European espresso bar, but having never visited one of those I’ll have to take their word for it.  What makes Caffe’ Apropos so great?

1. The music: There always needs to be a little music playing at a coffee shop, but often times it’s either too loud or not conducive to studying.  Here the music is just the right volume and the genre leans towards hipster rock.  It’s not overly hipster (i.e. let’s sing out of tune, play off rhythm, and pretend we’re making unique music) and most songs have a nice energetic feel that keeps you moving through the textbook.

2.  The coffee/food: The options for coffee are pretty standard, but it’s cheap and the sizes seem bigger than most places.  The food ranges from light snacks like muffins and pretzels to more substantive fair like big salads and sandwiches. There are definitely plenty of options to choose from.

3.  The general atmosphere: There are always people studying, and while they might sometimes be in groups, no one is too loud.  Caffe’ Apropos is (for me) the perfect size as well.  It is small enough to feel charming and cozy, but not so small that you feel like you’re studying over the shoulder of the person next to you.  They provide couches, regular tables, and an outside patio to suit your study needs. Sitting outside on a nice day is especially enjoyable, as there’s plenty of people watching to be had.

4. The after-study options: Perhaps one of the best features of Caffe’ Apropos is their liquor license.  In addition to coffee and espresso they also have a bar with a variety of beers on tap (as well as bottles of course).  Off to the side of the main room is a small “wine boutique” with a nice selection of wine.  After a hard day of studying, it’s great to buy a bottle of wine and sit outside sipping and enjoying the weather (glasses generously provided by the Caffe’).  Don’t worry though, it doesn’t feel like you’re studying at a bar, as this is more of a bonus than a main feature.

Obviously each person has their own preferences for what makes a study spot great, but Caffe’ Apropos works perfectly for me.  If you ever feel like getting out of the apartment and getting some work done in a unique environment then look no further than the Caffe’.

Wine at the Caffe'
A little post-study celebration.

 

Like a Home Here

This is my first time to write a blog after I came to America, and I want to take this time to thank people who generously helped me, a newcomer, to overcome all kinds of difficulties and obstacles. It’s their help that got me well prepared for the coming school year. Even though I can figure out how to manage all the things by myself, their help shortened the time that I needed for settling down. At the same time, I’m writing this blog to let you, who may hesitate to come to a strange nation to study, know that you really don’t need to worry about living here on your own, because people here are always kind and ready to help.

Airport pickup

Can you imagine how difficult it is for a girl with two huge suitcases, a big suitcase and a heavy backpack arrive at a strange airport at midnight for the first time ever? My host family in Columbus helped me to get through this trouble. Mr. Teng, the master of my host family, came to the airport at 10:30pm to pick another girl and me and drove us to his home. How welcoming it is to see people waiting for you after a long journey! Incidentally, one of my suitcases was lost in Chicago, the transfer city. Luckily, my host family who helped me sign a form and got my suitcase back. I cannot say too many thanks to them.

Accommodation

My host family gave us up to four days accommodation. Actually, if you have no apartment to live, they will adopt you as long as you find your own house. My host family has a two-story beautiful house with a parking garage and a golf course behind the house. I live there for 3 days and it’s really convenient for newcomers as me. Because the apartment I rent has no furniture in it, I have to buy bed, table, chair and all kinds of articles for daily use before moving in. My host family gave the convenience to buy necessaries in advance. So I wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor to wait for my bed.

 

Food

My host family was so generous to provide us meals everyday when we lived in their home. To our pleasure, we can even enjoy Chinese food in their home with them. We really had a good time together when chatting at the dinner table.

Transportation

Columbus is so big that it’s difficult for new comers without cars to travel around. Fortunately, we have our warm-hearted host family. Mr. Teng took us to a factory store to buy mattress and box. And he introduced all kinds of supermarkets in Columbus, which helps me a lot to get familiar with life here as soon as possible. And Mrs. Teng even took us to Easton Town to buy clothes in Victoria’s Secret. What’s more, I got the information on the furniture from the internet. And Mr. Teng drove me there to see the furniture in person, so I can get what I like the most.

You maybe wonder where you can find such a nice and hospitable host family. Then go to have a look at fantastic IFI (International Friendship Inc.).

All the favors my host family provided me were a good preparation for the coming year. Unlike most other programs in Fisher College, our SMF program is a rigorous nine-month intensive program. So we started our pre-term just after a series of orientations on September 7. And other socializing activities, team-building activities, welcome party organization fair, bootcamps and so on arrived in quick succession. Although all these things will make me overwhelmed, experiencing all these activities means a lot to me. They are eye-opener and help me to understand life here. I think it’s rewarding to study here, to be a Buckeye! This experience will enrich my life. I’m ready to face the coming opportunities and challenges and immerse myself in life here.