A Dream Come True

When I was younger, my brother gave me a poster from one of his soccer magazines. To most, this would seem like a small thing. After all, kids save posters and random papers all the time. But this poster was different. For the next ten years, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team hung above my closet door, inspiring me through every achievement.

Although I love soccer, I myself am not very athletic. I never aspired to be a professional soccer player. In fact, my aspirations were pretty fluid. Archeologist. Psychologist. Mathematician. When you’re constantly finding new interests, there may not be a constant female role model in your own field (especially since you’re not even sure what you want your field to be). So instead, I looked up to this group of women on my wall who would never share a career path with me, but motivated me nonetheless.

As I got further into college and discovered a passion for accounting, I never forgot the team of women who inspired me to dream big and go after what I want in life. I cheered them on in the World Cup. I felt my heart swell with pride when they fought for equal pay. And last Thursday, I finally got to see them play in person.

The team had to do a lot of warming up before the game since it was so rainy and cold.

By some miracle, I won discounted tickets in the OSU ticket lottery to go see the “She Believes Cup” in Columbus. And when Megan Rapinoe, my favorite player, scored the only goal of the game, I knew without a doubt that Columbus and the MAcc program are exactly where I need to be. Out of all of my experiences this year, this is the moment that I truly felt like I had come full circle– back to that little girl who dreamed big and went after what she wanted.

We got seats right above the tunnel and saw the players walk onto the field.

This fall, I start my career as an auditor. I will be the first person in my family to have a bachelor’s degree and the first to earn a master’s degree. I will be living in a major city that I have grown to love. I will meet strong women in my own field. And on my phone will be a picture of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to remind me to dream big and go after my goals.

Buckeye NutHouse

Football withdrawals were a real thing for me this spring. I missed having plans on Saturday to be with friends and enjoy a game in the stadium. If this is a concern for you, don’t fret: there’s basketball! I went to my first game in the “NutHouse” (Schottenstein Center) for the Ohio State vs. Iowa game. You can buy student tickets for $14 or less per game, and occasionally, there are free student tickets! In addition to really cheap tickets, the seats are amazing! Pictured below is the view from the student section which is courtside.

view from seats at the game

Plus, the Buckeye atmosphere is amazing! All students are on their feet the entire game in suspense– cheering on the team. The staff working at the game also hand out free items such as a baton that lights up. This year, Ohio State basketball has been selling out games for the first time in years. The team is currently ranked 13th in the nation and 2nd in the Big Ten Conference (exceeding expectations). Some attribute this performance to hiring a new coach, Chris Holtmann, who previously coached at Butler University. With March approaching, it means March Madness is ahead! For those who are unfamiliar, March Madness is a NCAA Division 1 Men’s basketball single elimination tournament. There are conference tournaments first, and the winning team automatically qualiies for the March madness tournament. There will be 36 remaining spots for teams to play after the automatic qualifying teams have been accounted for; then, the NCAA selection committee will select the 36 teams to be included in the March Madness tournament. As long as Ohio State keeps performing well, we should hopefully see them there!

 

Semester Number “Fore”

Seeing as it is the last semester of my MBA experience, I have taken it upon myself to ensure I am squeezing very penny’s worth out of my tuition.  In this particular case, this means branching outside of Fisher to take a class that will help me develop some important life skills not covered by the MBA curriculum.  Which class, you ask? Golf I, offered through the College of Physical Activity and Educational Services (PAES).

Individual “hitting cages” for practicing full swings.

Golf class quickly became a highlight of this semester.  We meet twice a week for a 55-minute session, led by a PGA-certified golf pro, who teaches at a golf course in Columbus during the summer.  The class runs for the full 14 weeks of the semester and there are about 15 students in each section.  Classes are conveniently held at the Recreation and Physical Activities Center (RPAC), just a few short blocks from Fisher.  This facility has an indoor putting/chipping area and a series of indoor driving “cages” where we work on full strokes.  The curriculum also covers essential rules and etiquette, and all clubs and materials are provided.

I coordinated with Fisher classmates to sign up for the same class section– and that’s made golf not only informative and relaxing, but also a fun social activity.  As the snow melts, we look forward to testing our skills on Ohio State’s two golf courses: Scarlet and Gray.

Left: interior of a hitting cage; Above: putting/chipping area–difficult to tell from the photo, but it features a variety of holes and terrain to simulate both the green and fringe

 

 

 

 

 

 

My experience with golf is emblematic of a larger theme as an Ohio State Student: you can do everything here.  Speaking just within the confines of PAES electives, this means similar courses in boxing, dance, fencing, tennis, rock climbing, and much more.  The RPAC also offers free group fitness classes daily, across disciplines such as yoga, Zumba, spinning, Pilates.  Then consider 36 varsity sports to watch, free events through the Ohio Union Activities Board, and over 1,300 Ohio State student organizations doing, well…more than 1,000 different things… and needless to say, there is a limitless amount to do here.  And nearly all of it is free after you’ve paid tuition.

The Fisher MBA experience can be anything you want it to be—and this is a major strength of the program.  It is entirely possible to spend two years just here in Gerlach Hall and have a rewarding experience.  However, as a “double Buckeye” (having attended OSU as an undergrad), I like to encourage my classmates and future students to branch out and take advantage of the entire campus at our disposal.  This can be easier said than done when the rigors of the program kick in, but when you make time for such activities, it is a rewarding way to feel that you are making the most of the “student lifestyle.”

 

My First Winter Break in the U.S.

So, here I am, 25% through Full-Time MBA and I never felt time fly this quickly before! My first day at Fisher feels like it was just yesterday. Then, I had a three-week long winter break– something that I was absolutely thrilled about…

The highlight of break was a Fisher MBA “Marketing Hop” where first-year and second-year MBA students (myself included) took a trip to Detroit and Chicago to meet and greet major “movers and shakers.” This is an annual event (and not the only event of its kind– students take organized “hops” to other cities).

I had a few hours to pack my bags after my last final exam on the night of December 13th– before heading out the next day. It was extremely cold on that morning when we were supposed to report outside Gerlach Hall a.k.a. our “MBA academic powerhouse building.” A short bus drive away… and we arrived in Detroit for a stop at Ford Motor Company. Then, we were off to the “Windy City.”

We met brilliant people at LinkedIn, Dyson, Groupon, Rise Interactive and a few other digital marketing agencies in Chicago. We also had some fun on the side! The city (even when freezing) was warm enough to me; I got introduced to Giordano’s deep-dish pizza by one of my Brazilian friends studying at the University of Chicago, the security check at Skydeck Chicago was gracious to offer me a free ticket, and I enjoyed mouth-watering paan in Chicago’s Little Pakistan-India neighborhood. I spent two nights in Chicago before I headed to San Francisco to spend the rest of my break with family.

Skydeck with friends

I began the evening of December 16th by landing at SFO, where a group of my friends came to welcome me! After chatting for hours with my friends while roaming around the streets of San Francisco, my family came to pick me up and the day ended with a lot of homemade Indian delicacies, deep conversations with cousins, and wine. The next few days were exhilarating and packed with a lot of action. My cousins had a plan for every single day and when I look back in hindsight, I believe that I couldn’t have lived any of those days better. Highlights include sightseeing San Francisco: walking along the Embarcadero, experiencing the breath-taking views of the bay; biking the Golden Gate bridge with cousins and friends; riding Lombard Street in an SUV (that’s the really curvy, downhill street that you’ve probably seen in pictures), relishing hot chocolate fudge at Ghirardelli Square, and eating the best Thai food with an unforgettable view.

Christmas morning breakfast table at our Airbnb

After just a week, I was enthralled with what California has to offer. The city was dressed in lights as Christmas got closer and the vibe of the holiday season could be felt on every street. Following a last-minute change in the plan, we all decided to visit Yosemite National Park for Christmas. Staying at an Airbnb in the middle of the forest for three nights with no internet connectivity gave me time to reflect and cherish quality time with family. Hiking the Yosemite peak during this time of the year was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I never thought that I could even complete the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail with absolutely no training. What I took back from the visit to Yosemite is a new version of myself. I learned that I can be comfortable with the uncomfortable. The next few days were spent enjoying a lot of New Year’s Eve parties, learning some board games (such as Monopoly, Catan, Ticket to Ride, and playing the lying-bluffing-fib-till-you-win Fibbage), and trying to get better cooking skills some Indian recipes!

Yosemite Christmas Trip
Our trail
Columbia Rock (1/3rd through our trek)

With the onset of the new year and my last week in California wrapping up, I got an opportunity to visit the Apple HQ in Cupertino, California, with our Marketing Professor and Program Director, Dr. Shashi Matta, who (every year) takes a group of students to a road trip in California. I also got a chance to visit GoFundMe, crowdfunding platform to raise money, and Asana, an organization that designs a mobile application to help teams track their work. Plus, I met with Fisher alums while I kept my focus on a summer internship. Lastly, I got to spend my last night in California with some 30 Buckeyes in San Francisco over a meet-and-greet event before leaving for my 12:25am flight back to Columbus.

Dr. Matta, third from the left, and some current Fisher MBA students (myself at extreme right)

California was definitely fun and I took back a bag full of memories that I’ll cherish forever!

Russell Westbrook vs LeBron James

As I’ve posted about in previous blogs, I’m originally from Oklahoma, and because of this, I am a huge Oklahoma City Thunder fan.  Our franchise moved to OKC when I was 13 years old.  I became an instant fan and have supported the team ever since.  Obviously, a large part of the Ohio State experience is attending Buckeye football games.  Another perk for sports fans, though, is being just a two-hour drive away from Cleveland.

In the last few years, Cleveland has benefited from very successful professional baseball and basketball teams – the Indians and the Cavaliers (they’ve also had a very sad professional football franchise, the Browns).  After checking the schedule, I realized that the Thunder would be playing in Cleveland on a Saturday and I would have the opportunity to attend a game.

Right outside of the Cavaliers Arena is a poster of LeBron James, definitely the biggest poster I’ve ever seen

A fellow SMF student, Jared Ablass, is a fan of the Cavaliers and LeBron James and we decided to go together to watch the game. The final score was completely awesome for fans of the Thunder, and getting to watch some of the best players in the NBA (in-person) after such a short drive was an incredible experience.

A view from the cheap seats inside the game!

After the game we finished off a great day by eating a hamburger at Wahlburger’s.  Watching LeBron James play live and taking in the sights and sounds of Cleveland is a must for anyone spending time in Ohio.

Ohio State Basketball

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been passionate about two things: watching basketball and anything Ohio State. Growing up, I loved watching basketball. I would stay up all night watching LeBron do his thing and then the next night, I would watch whatever Ohio State team was playing on TV. When I came to Ohio State, the first thing I wanted to do was sign up to go to an Ohio State basketball game. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to go to many Ohio State basketball games including this past week when I went with a number of my MAcc friends to the Ohio State vs Penn State game.

Going to an Ohio State basketball game is not too difficult. All you need to do is to purchase a ticket is go to the Ohio State athletic page, select a game, pay $14 for a ticket (this is the student rate), and show up at the Schottenstein Center with a BuckID. Once you arrive at the entrance of the “Schott,” an usher will swipe your BuckID and hand you a student section ticket.

Once we arrived at the Schott this past week, the arena was bumping. The Buckeyes were on a high streak having gone 8-0 in the BIG10, and were ranked 13th in the nation. The game was a close one; however, the Buckeyes were unable to prevail since the Nittany Lions scored a last-second bucket from half court. Even though the Buckeyes lost, I enjoyed the night and bonded with a few of my fellow MAcc classmates.

A few of my MAcc classmates at the Ohio State basketball game

 

Ohio State’s Intramural Soccer League

It’s game day today!

I’ve recently decided to get back into sports and more specifically with soccer by registering a team in Ohio State’s intramural soccer tournament. The league consists of 28 teams separated in pools of four. Each team has to play once against each other and the best two teams in the pools advance in the playoffs when all the pool game have been played. It only cost $80 to register a team and up to 11 players.

We had our first game last Thursday and I have to admit that we lost the game (I will not disclose the final score… yes, it was bad), but it was still a great experience and a lot of fun to simply get away from the books for some time. Back when I registered the team, I thought that competing in the “A” league (the best) would be good, but it was a mistake. Our first game was against a team composed of almost all OSU team players and it was a tough game! OSU also has a “B” league and I think that league would have been more appropriate for us knowing the average level of my team!

I was also greatly impressed with the indoor turf fields located at the Adventure Recreation Center (“the ARC”) on west campus. Both fields are actually of decent size (not as big as a real soccer field, but definitely bigger than an indoor soccer field).

It was still a great experience and I’m looking forward to our game tonight– hoping that we’ll be able to win our first game!

My Sunday Tradition: Planning the Weeks Ahead with “The Hub”

One of my Sunday traditions since becoming a student in the Full-Time MBA program is visiting the Graduate Student Event Hub to see what exciting things are happening at Fisher over the next several weeks.

The Graduate Student Event Hub, or “The Hub,” as we call it, is a website that lists all the upcoming events for the semester and is updated daily.  These events range from student organization meetings to lunch with CEOs, workshops, networking events, volunteer opportunities, and much more.

I know it’s a little tough to see, but here are just some of the events on the “Hub.”

As I continued my Sunday tradition this week, here are some of the events that sounded exciting:

  • FGWIB Mentor & Mingle with Undergraduate Women in Business

FGWIB stands for Fisher Graduate Women in Business.  FWGIB acts as a forum to discuss and address issues relevant to women in business and build awareness of women in leadership positions through professional and social events.  This event allows Fisher graduate students to partner with undergraduate students to speak about their student experience in business school and corporate life.  Also, food is provided– which is always a plus!

  • Fisher Follies Variety Show Info Session

Fisher Follies is a student organization that aims to support Fisher graduate students in need and does this through fun events during the year.  The two big “Follies” events are the Fall Auction & Spring Variety Show.  The Variety Show was hilarious last year, and consisted of skits, videos and musical numbers that poked fun at classmates, professors, and life at business school in general.  I’m excited to see what they have up their sleeves this year!

  • Tour of Wendy’s Innovation Kitchen

A tour of where new ideas are formed at Wendy’s? Sign me up!

  • Fisher Follies Presents: The Murder of Oliver Oxenbridge

This is a new event this year that sounds super exciting!  A murder mystery dinner at the historic Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio, with food and drink included.  Fisher Follies never disappoints!

  • BMBAA Legends Lecture Series

BMBAA stands for the Black MBA Association. The Legends Lecture Series is an annual event that brings in business leaders from across the nation to speak with current students about their professional achievements and how they became leaders in their organization.  This year, the BMBAA is hosting the SVP of Human Resources at Fifth Third Bank, VP and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Messer Construction, Local Government Affairs Manager for Columbia Gas of Ohio, and Chief Diversity Officer at Ford Motor Company.  Free lunch at each event! Another win.

  • The Business Side of NBA Free Agency

This event is a collaborative effort between FSBA (Fisher Sports Business Association) and FGWIB (Fisher Graduate Women in Business) that is bringing NBA player agents Danielle Cantor and David Falk to discuss their role in the industry.  They have represented current and former players, including the legendary Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and many more.  Also, free pizza!

As you can see, there is always something to do at Fisher.  It’s just a matter of finding enough time to take part in everything!

SMF Ice Skating

I recently enjoyed another of the famous SMF class dinners (the first of which I talked about in a recent blog post).  Once again, the turnout was great and this time, we even had several of our professors attend!  It was another great evening of chatting with people who we see in classrooms every day in a different setting.  However, the best part of the evening was yet to come…

After dinner, a large group of our classmates went to The Ohio State Ice Rink for ice skating!  The rink has times that the public is allowed to skate on the ice and students get a discount.  There were a ton of students there, most of whom were very graceful on their skates, and I think the SMFs stood out like a sore thumb.

Free Skate at the Ohio State Ice Rink

There were a very small number of experienced skaters in attendance from the SMF program, but that’s part of what made it so fun!  I’ve been skating just a handful of times in my life and I skate with the grace of a new born giraffe.  However, I did manage to stay on my feet the whole time (with the assistance of some strangers who I almost toppled over).   I can’t say the same for all my classmates, but for a lot of them, it was their first time skating and there were a lot of really quick learners.

Fear of falling on the hard ice bonds people like you can’t imagine

I really was very impressed by how willing everyone was to get out of their comfort zones and be such good sports the whole time.  It was great to get to hang out with the general student population and to get to participate with my classmates in somewhat of a holiday tradition in the United States.

Revisiting my favorite childhood sport at the RPAC

I love having the flexibility to work out whenever I want– and to do whatever activity I want. And you can take advantage, too! As an OSU student, you get to maximize the full value of our RPAC (Recreation and Physical Activity Center). It’s located at the heart of campus and attracts hundreds of students and faculty every single day. Autumn hours are from 5:30 AM to midnight. You can also enjoy the view of the Ohio Stadium (you know, it’s only the 3rd-largest college football stadium in the U.S., with 104,944 seats). Here are some other fun facts about the RPAC and sports on campus:

  1. At nearly 600,000 square feet, it is one of six recreational facilities on campus.
  2. It has two swimming pools with spectator seating of up to 1,400 people

3) Speaking of teams, there are 36 varsity sports teams in total- and free admission for students to all events except football and men’s basketball.

4) Back to RPAC… there’s a wellness center, kids zone, kitchen, fitness suite, laundry and locker rooms, cafe and juice bar.

4) Free group fitness classes! You can also play basketball, volleyball, tennis, racquetball, squash, golf, billiards, foosball, or even use the indoor walking/jogging track.

What I love most about the RPAC, is that I get to revisit my favorite childhood sport: badminton. If you’re not familiar with this sport, it’s a racquet sport that’s played with racquets hitting a shuttlecock across a net. It’s most commonly played in singles or doubles. It’s a technical sport that requires aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision, and is most popularly played in Asia. If you have never played it before, I encourage you to try it sometime!

As a child growing up in Singapore, I used to play badminton at least twice a week with my siblings, neighbors, or friends. I mastered the sport fairly quickly, so I used these sessions to catch up and hang out with my friends. It was an excellent way to stay fit and have fun.

When I was first told that there were badminton courts at the RPAC, I could not believe it. They’re located at the far south end of the RPAC, close to the squash, and indoor volleyball courts. You can rent the racquets for free, and you can purchase the shuttlecocks or bring your own. The RPAC has 6 badminton courts! What started out as a small group of classmates has now evolved into something larger. We have people who are masters at badminton, and we have others who are interested in learning this sport. We’ve also established a “Badminton” WhatsApp group. It’s only been about four months of school for me, but I feel that these badminton sessions will be good bonding sessions for us all!