MAcc Gives Back… and I Get a Workout

One of my favorite experiences this past year has been volunteering in MAcc Gives Back. This event occurs every spring and is open for participation by all MAcc students and professors. The goal is to “give back” to the local community of Columbus.  This year, different groups went to different locations. My group volunteered at Clarfield Farm. This is a local farm that produces healthy produce for the Ohio community, and works closely with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

Once we arrived at the farm, we received a brief tour of the facility and greenhouses to see current growing plants. There were different duties to fulfill such as: filling the irrigation system over with dirt, shoveling gravel to cover a certain area of the ground, and helping move supplies to lay tarp on the ground and reorganizing the supplies.

I personally worked with two classmates, Courtney and Matt. Courtney and I shoveled the gravel into wheelbarrows, while Matt unloaded the wheelbarrows and spread the gravel evenly around the area needed. This activity was a great way to bond with fellow classmates while volunteering in addition to getting a major “arm workout.”

Matt carrying the gravel to be distributed on the ground
Courtney and I in “mid- shovel”

Overall, this was a great experience. One reason is that I learned more about my classmates outside of class and enjoy some fresh air with them. In addition, after the volunteering, a former professor who worked with us, Brian Mittendorf, took all of us out for lunch. There are enormous opportunities at the Fisher College of Business to connect with classmates and professors. I highly recommend all incoming students to get involved in as much as possible.

Traditional Festival, New Family

Some of the “MBLErs” (Master of Business Logistics Engineering) are from China, including me. We celebrate the Traditional Chinese New Year which is also called “Spring Festival.” This is the first time for most of us to celebrate Chinese New Year away from China (and the first time to celebrate without our families), so we decided to celebrate this special occasion with all MBLE members and professors.

photo by Xiaoyue (Diana) Huang

On February 11th, 2018, the MBLE Council held the Chinese New Year Celebration in the Mason Hall rotunda. Several members from the MBLE program participated. We were glad to have faculty from both the Fisher College of Business and the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering enjoying this wonderful night with us.

Of course, we honored various traditions– including the enjoyment of making authentic Chinese food together (in this case, some people learned how to make dumplings for the first time). Also, we wrote spring festival scrolls and “Fu” characters. By giving the scrolls away to everyone who participated in this event, we wished everyone a happy and lucky new year.

Some modern activities also made things fun. The president of the MBLE Council gave a performance of the Chinese pop song Qinghuaci, and we played Mahjong and card games just as we would at home.

The holiday is an “ending day” for us since this is a time for 2017 to end, but a “starting day” for us since this is the beginning of spring. We will continue working on professional growth and finding our ideal jobs. During our time together, we felt like family members to each other and built what will hopefully be long-lasting relationships.

Maybe this is the true meaning of celebrating the new year, no matter where it is celebrated and when it is celebrated. We say goodbye to the old year by acquiring something valuable. We give a warm welcome to the new year by looking forward to new challenges and treasuring friends and family. Although this is a traditional festival, we have a new family at The Ohio State University.

My Top 3 Memories at Fisher

As my two years at Fisher comes to an end, I can’t help but reminisce on the many experiences I’ve had while completing the Full-Time MBA program. When I first began the program, all the second-year students would say, “Enjoy your time. It goes by fast!” and I would just smile and think, “yeah, sure,”as I could only focus on my seemingly never ending to-do list of homework assignments.  Now that I am one month away from graduation, I finally understand.  It really does go fast!

So naturally, as I become sentimental and reflect on the last two years, I have to share some of my favorite moments– with photos!

#1 – Meeting my Core Team

So, this was slightly awkward at first. We all sat in silence for the first 10-15 minutes of meeting.  But now, we are actually the best of friends!  We look back on that day and laugh.  You become very close with your core team throughout the program and I am thankful to be graduating from the program with friends who feel more like family.

 

 

 

#2 – KeyBank Case Competition

There are numerous opportunities for development while at Fisher, and one that I feel helped me the most was competing in case competitions.  There are both internal and external case competitions and my favorite was the Key Bank Case Competition.  Working closely with this team was a great experience that challenged me to explore outside of my comfort zone and provided me the opportunity to work with two students who have now become close friends of mine.  Plus, we placed in the top 5!

 

 

#3 – UTSAV

Fisher has a diverse class of students and throughout the program, there are numerous opportunities to engage with individuals from different backgrounds and to celebrate their cultures.  UTSAV does just that! UTSAV is an event held by the Fisher Indian Student Association (FISA) in April each year and involves both faculty and students.  UTSAV shares Indian culture with the Fisher community through Bollywood music, Indian dance performances, delicious Indian food, and some fabulous entertainment.  “UTSAV,” which means celebrating life, is a manifestation and celebration of the diversity within the Fisher community.  I performed last year with my core team and had so much fun! I’m looking forward to attending this event again next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Carpet Reflections

Little did I expect that Red Carpet this year would be just as an amazing experience as it was last year! This time, from the perspective of a current student and point person to welcome in part of the admitted class, I realized how much fun it is to share about Columbus and the program experience so far. Also, through other current students sharing their stories, I was reminded of many opportunities to experience this amazing city!

During the welcome reception at the Ohio Stadium, we learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes to game day and were reinvigorated with excitement for next season! Student ticket info will be coming this summer, and we can’t wait to buy the Big 10 package again. One thing to look forward to for all home games are the great Fisher tailgates at Fisher Commons. Not only an apartment complex to look into, Fisher Commons is in a central location to bring many current students together.

I also helped coordinate the significant others/partners/spouses (SOPS) breakfast on Saturday morning at Red Carpet, and I learned some great tips for managing time between work/school/home! For example, many current SOPS put together shared calendars for each other to find times to spend together. My husband and I try to eat dinner together almost every evening and spend at least one day of the weekend away from work and study. On the next nice weekend day, we plan to check out the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, while doing some background research for one of the consulting projects I am working on for the Professional Development core class.

Finally, Red Carpet weekend came to a close with our women’s breakfast on Sunday morning. We have a strong group of women coming into the program, and I cannot wait to see how Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) and our Forte Foundation connections grow into next year. I had a great time connecting with classmates at the Forte conference last summer (see photo below) and hope to see many again this summer! Also, I hope to see a few admitted students at our first Fisher Women’s Conference on April 6th!

Overall, it was an amazing weekend, and I am looking forward to our incoming class next year!

Becoming a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant

Each year, the Master of Accounting Program organizes the Volunteer Income Assistant (VITA) program to help local individuals file their Federal and state income taxes. We, as volunteers, go to a site twice a week to help individuals who have made appointments.

Most of the tax preparers are either enrolled in the MAcc program or undergraduate accounting students. In order to be certified to help file taxes, we need to pass at least four different exams.

The VITA program not only helps the public to file their taxes for free but also helps our students to apply  in-class knowledge to the real world. It prepares our MAcc students to be more comfortable communicating with the clients and to improve various “soft skills” which are necessary when we start our professional job.

It is definitely rewarding to see what you prepared then get approved– and, in some cases, result in tax refunds deposited to the clients’ accounts. It was a little more difficult when clients would have tax due, meaning that they didn’t have enough tax withheld during the year and they needed to pay the IRS out of pocket. We needED to be very careful about how to deliver the message.

Besides the VITA program, the MAcc Council also organizes other community service events to do our best helping the local organizations and to take part in fun activitiesin and around Columbus.

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!

Tip: Join Student Government

This year, in the spirit of involvement, I decided to join the Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) student council. Every graduate program here at the Fisher College of Business (including MBA, MHRM, MAcc, SMF) has its own council representation that is responsible for being the collective “voice” for the students in the program.

Each council is comprised of students who are elected by their classmates. For 2-year programs like MHRM and MBA, the council is primarily 2nd-year students. For 1-year programs like MAcc and SMF, obviously all council members are in their first year. Each council decides how to delegate responsibilities amongst members and establishes the scope of what they hope to accomplish as a team over the course of the year.

Meet the MHRM Council

“Chief of Everything”

Kate Clausen – President

“Comedic Relief”

Jen Marchese – VP, Professional Development

“Queen of Funds”

Megan Condon – Treasurer

“The Details”

Kelly Mayer – Case Comp. Co-chair

“Stubborn Negotiator”

Irinka Toidze – Case Comp. Co-chair

“The Height”

Matt Shaffer – Social Chair

Obviously, we have a good time. But we also take our jobs very seriously. I view the role of MHRM Council as the heartbeat of the MHRM program. We are the eyes and the ears of the students, and it’s our responsibility to keep the pulse of what Fisher students are experiencing, saying, and feeling about the MHRM program. Then, the most important part: what we do with that information.

I think our most noble duty is to represent the interests of the students by passing along feedback to faculty and staff with regard to possible additions or revisions to the program. In a field where technology advancements are affecting nearly every aspect of what HR professionals do—recruiting, talent planning, compensation, training, you name it—it is critical that our curriculum is agile enough to keep up with current best practices. And I feel fortunate to belong to a school that respects its students and actively listens to our suggestions.

Beyond being a bridge between students and faculty, the MHRM council also puts on additional events to engage outside of class and keep the Fisher MHRM community alive. This year, we’ve had football tailgates, pumpkin picking, bar crawls– and this week, we went to a comedy show.

For professional development, we just had our first event of the year. It was a TED Talk-inspired event (no surprise for those of you who know my obsession). The idea was inspired by some feedback we had heard from last year—students want more opportunities to engage with smaller companies that may not have a presence on campus, and they want to do it in ways other than traditional networking. So we brought in HR Professionals from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Marathon Petroleum, CoverMyMeds, and Cardinal Health to talk about innovative things they are doing in the HR space. It was really exciting to be able to interact with some folks we don’t normally get exposure to and the event was a great success.

On the whole, it is really rewarding to be able to give back to a program that has served me well in my time here. It also gives me a chance to stretch my leadership muscles in preparation for future roles I may have.

Experiential Learning in the Community

One of the main reasons I decided to pursue the full-time MBA at Fisher was because of the many experiential learning opportunities offered, especially the GAP international consulting experience. However, little did I know that other opportunities would present themselves even within our first semester here!

One afternoon, while exploring the events on our Event Hub webpage, I stumbled across an information session to get involved with “Fisher Serves” and engage in a consulting project for a local non-profit. Fisher Serves is a student-run organization committed to promoting awareness and connecting Fisher students to service-based opportunities in the community. The information session I signed up for was about working  on a consulting project for the Columbus Museum of Art.

After attending the session, I realized what an opportunity this would be to not only get more involved in my new community and engage in the art scene of the city, but also build relationships with students outside of my core team and apply some of the key concepts we’ve been learning in class.

http://www.columbusmuseum.org/host-your-event/plan-your-event/

After a group meeting and tour of the museum with museum staff, we’re working in two teams to help improve museum event revenues and the café experience. It’s been a great opportunity working with the Fisher Serves team and we’re excited to build out strategies for the museum moving forward. Hopefully, you will see some of our new ideas come to fruition at the museum next year!

Hopping around Columbus

I love to be involved. By the end of my undergraduate career at Cornell University, I was an active member of five different student organizations. So, when choosing an MBA program, I had to be sure that there were ample opportunities for involvement. When I arrived at Fisher, I quickly realized that there are more student organizations than I could ever hope to join… and that’s a good thing! I’m currently a first-year leader for Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) and the Association for Marketing Professionals (AMP), as well as a member of the Fisher Sports Business Association. I also joined the Ohio State Hunt Seat Equestrian Team, a club sports team. Am I really busy? Definitely, but I love every minute of it!

My AMP membership has been particularly rewarding. It’s incredibly valuable to me as a marketing student, as the second-year leadership team has gone out of its way to help everyone looking for marketing internships (myself included), from recommending companies to resume reviews and internship workshops. The club also organizes annual visits to companies in Columbus and nearby Chicago called a “Marketing Hop.” I was fortunate to participate in the Columbus Marketing Hop over fall break, and it got me very excited for what’s to come in Chicago in December. We visited three companies – The Oneida Group, Homage and Alliance Data – with a lunch stop at Easton and a happy hour at Land-Grant. Here’s a rundown of our action-packed day:

The Oneida Group

As a young, single student who has yet to “settle down” and with a limited budget, my current sets of dishes consist of a random mix of boring white plates, some very basic silverware, and a collection of glasses from my parents’ attic in New York. My cooking skills are less than stellar, and my tiny kitchen barely has enough storage space for both me and my roommate. Needless to say, cutlery and cookware aren’t things I spend much time with. But as soon as I walked through the door of The Oneida Group’s new office in downtown Columbus, I felt inspired to become the next Martha Stewart. CMO Jeff Jarrett and Director of Retail Marketing & Innovation Sean Gibson gave us a sneak peek at Oneida’s upcoming marketing campaigns, and we all took home an Anchor Hocking LifeProof water bottle.

Homage

Next stop was Homage, a clothing company that specializes in retro t-shirts. It also makes a lot of clothing for sports fans and being a Columbus-based company, that includes apparel for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, and of course, the Ohio State Buckeyes. We took a tour of the company’s warehouse and office space – complete with a wall of the employee’s favorite t-shirts – and talked to the marketing staff about their strategies. On our lunch break in Easton, we were able to check out one of Homage’s stores and get some swag.

Alliance Data

Our final, official stop of the day was Alliance Data, specifically the card services division. Alliance Data is responsible for numerous loyalty programs and collects data to help a wide variety of companies in their marketing campaigns. We were first brought into the Innovation Lab where we got a first hand look at some prototypes Alliance Data was testing for clients. While I am unable to disclose exactly what we saw, I can say it was almost like getting a glimpse into the future. We wrapped up our visit with a presentation from Tim Sweeney, Sr. Director of Marketing Analytics, on what Alliance is working on as well as a panel and Q&A with Fisher alumni. While our Data Analysis class is not exactly my strong suit this semester, I found myself fascinated by everything Alliance is able to accomplish through data and walked out feeling like we, as future marketers, truly have the power to affect change.

Land-Grant

Sad at the thought of the hop coming to a close, I made my way to Land-Grant along with some fellow AMP members for an optional happy hour and tour of the facilities. While I’m not normally a beer drinker, I’ve started to explore the craft brewery scene in Columbus thanks to the Columbus Ale Trail. Creative Director Walt Keys treated us to some of the most delicious beer I have ever had (still kicking myself for forgetting what it was called) and showed us the brewing facilities that are conveniently attached to its taproom in Franklinton. We also learned about Land-Grant’s start through a successful Kickstarter Campaign and subsequent partnerships with the Columbus Crew and the Columbus Bluejackets. It was amazing to hear how supportive the Columbus community was of this growing business and to see how a grassroots marketing campaign turned into a thriving craft brewery whose beers I recently spotted on the shelves at Kroger.

The Columbus Marketing Hop was a fantastic kickoff to what was, for me, an action-packed fall break. I’m so grateful to be part of an organization that can offer me hands-on opportunities to explore my chosen career path. I’ll be counting the days until the Chicago Marketing Hop in December!

SMF Class Dinner

Just a few weeks ago, we had our first SMF class dinner.  The SMF Council, one of the student organizations available to SMF students, organized a dinner for our whole class at a local restaurant, Hong Kong House.  The Council chose this location because there are many Chinese students in the program and Hong Kong House serves authentic Chinese food (apparently orange chicken from Panda Express doesn’t count).

Fellow SMF students at dinner

More than 40 students showed up for dinner, and I had a great time getting to chat with some classmates outside of Gerlach Hall.  I realized during dinner that I had been failing to take advantage of a great learning opportunity; being exposed to such a culturally diverse group of people brought up some fascinating conversations and exposed me to some new perspectives.  We ordered what seemed like endless plates of food to try, and I can honestly say that I liked every single dish that I tried… 

Look at all of the different dishes that we tried!

… although I found out part of the way through our meal that Cathy, one of my classmates, had asked to make the food much less spicy than it really should be.  She had noticed me chugging water during the first dish and kindly asked them to cool it down for my wimpy taste buds.

All in all, it was a really fun night and I’m really looking forward to our next class dinner!