Competing vs Running OSU HR Invitational Case Competition

A unique opportunity the Fisher MHRM program offers is the OSU HR Invitational Case Competition. In the past, we have hosted four other schools: Cornell, Illinois, Rutgers, and Minnesota. However, this year, OSU expanded the competition and invited West Virginia University, University of South Carolina, and Texas A&M University. WOW, eight teams total.

As an MHRM Student I have competed for THE Ohio State University and coordinated the competition. Both opportunities provided a unique opportunity and experience that I could only get here at Fisher. Here’s what was different…

Competing in the competition is the most fun I never wanted to do again, but secretly wanted to at the same time. It’s a strange, self-inflicted torture that I can’t get enough of because I’m inherently really competitive. The sponsoring company, in this case PepsiCo (also a recruiter on campus), provides a real-life, current business problem demanding a robust HR solution. There are many components to think of when crafting the solution including ROI, implementation, and possible challenges. This competition is unique because it forces you to think outside the box. For example, if during brainstorming all four team members come up with the same idea, that means the other teams (a.k.a. the competition) have already thought about it too, and you need to come up with something more creative. Right before presenting to the judges, you can’t help but have a nervous adrenaline rush because you’ve really only prepared for 24 hours. Yet, at the same time, you know your team is going to present with such conviction in what you came up with. Participating in this competition during my first year in the MHRM program was a unique opportunity to gain exposure to business challenges I faced during my internship over the summer. Our dream team placed 2nd in the 2016 Invitational and I could not have loved the experience more. I have leveraged this experience, and I wanted to make it just as great for the students that would be on the OSU team the next year. So, why not run case comp?!

2nd Place: OSU HR Invitational Case Competition Dream Team Circa 2016 + Coach Ankerman

The MHRM Council is an opportunity to be involved with a student organization that contributes towards the MHRM Program at Fisher. As a Council member, myself and a fellow classmate organize and execute the two case competitions for the MHRM program: Internal – Fall, and Invitational – Spring. While the internal has been traditionally larger in the past because all of the MHRM students participate, the Invitational is larger in terms of scale because many other programs/schools attend. The two case-competition chairs on Council handle a majority of logistics and coordination for both competitions… This is event planning and execution on steroids. The Invitational (a.k.a. external) has grown in size and this was the sixth annual competition. Overall, running the competition didn’t have the same level of “adrenaline rushing,” but let’s be honest… that feeling is hard to get when you’re the party planner. But I was just as excited for all the teams to get to Fisher, explore Columbus to see how great it is, and be one of the first faces our guests would meet. Another great part about running both the internal and the invitational was the opportunity to sit in on the presentations. As a participant competing, there is a strict rule that prohibits sitting in on other teams’ presentations. However, as one of the two case comp chairs I got to sit in on the presentations and observe teams, judges and Q&A. I felt like I was looking into a fishbowl that I vividly remembered being inside of one year earlier. I learned a business executive’s perspective and where their curiosity comes from around a team’s idea(s).

The winning team! OSU HR Invitational Case Comp 2017 + David Harris (VP HR – Corporate Functions & Strategic Projects at PepsiCo)

Post-graduation, I am sure I’ll be responsible for both presenting new ideas to my company’s executives and responsible for organizing and executing events that involve multiple stakeholders. Both opportunities are very unique to being a Fisher MHRM, and I’m fortunate I had the chance to be a part of both teams for the case competitions – on the team and running the show.

As always, go Bucks!

OSU HR 2017 Invitational: OSU, Cornell, Minnesota, Rutgers, Illinois, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Texas A&M

 

Vroom Vroom VITA

In addition to a wide variety of social activities, MAcc students also have the opportunity to give back to the community through a number of volunteer efforts. VITA, a tax clinic for low income-taxpayers, is one of the most popular community-service options. Participants get hands-on experience with preparing tax returns while making a difference in the lives of many.

I interviewed current MAcc student and VITA volunteer Carly Jackson to get her take on why all MAccers should participate in this great cause.

What is VITA?

VITA is a program where volunteers prepare tax returns for low-income individuals and  families for free.

How can MAcc students get involved?

MAcc students can get involved by attending an interest session during fall semester and then completing the required IRS training. During tax season, volunteers are typically assigned 3-4 volunteer days.

Do you have to have experience with completing tax returns to volunteer?

No prior experience is required!  You will be thoroughly trained and will have an IRS publication with the information you need next to you, so you can use that for reference during preparation. Also, there will typically be people on-site with prior tax preparation experience to answer any questions you have and to help you through the experience.

Can I still do VITA even if I am planning on doing audit post-graduation?

Of course you can! A lot of the people that participate in VITA are planning to do audit. I personally feel that it is advantageous to everyone to learn about the basics of taxes because they’re unavoidable and the more you know, the more equipped you are to handle them. Regardless of your intended career path, learning a little bit about tax preparation and using that knowledge to help others is a great thing to do!

What has been the most valuable lesson you have learned while working the tax clinic?

Surprisingly, the biggest lesson I’ve learned while working at the VITA clinic was not tax-related. One of the clients I worked with was going through one of the toughest times I could even imagine, yet still had the most positive outlook on everything and had a genuine joy in their heart. Working with them taught me to never take anything for granted, and to always look for the good in life, because if you look hard enough, you will find it.

 

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The World is Our Pokestop

Last Friday night was one for the books. It all started in the Ohio Union. There I was, perched unassumingly on a bar stool witnessing a gaggle of college-aged hipsters load out band gear from the stage inside Woody’s Tavern. And then, from a distance across the white terrazzo tile, I saw them barreling toward me—Ash, Charizard, Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Eevee, and everyone’s favorite, Squirtle. I thought that maybe I’d entered an alternate reality in which Pokemon Go was real life and my real life had become simply an app on an iPhone.

It turns out that this motley crew was simply six of my friends from the MHRM program, competing in the annual Fisher Scavenger Hunt & Bar Crawl. Phew! I decided to join them on their mission toward victory, mostly because they looked really silly and I knew it would be entertaining to watch them skulk down High Street in costume.

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On the rooftop at Big Bar, across the street from the Ohio Union. Aren’t they cute?

We embarked on an evening of endless successes. From Eevee petting the belly of a rabid dog (okay, it was a harmless Bernese Mountain Dog)… to Squirtle’s awkward break-dance breakdown at a remarkably empty Bullwinkle’s… to Pikachu high-fiving a policeman when he least expected it, the evening turned out to be the high point of the semester so far. We can’t forget the highlight of the night when a Cane’s employee unashamedly threw a pokeball full of free box combo certificates at the group– which happened to look a lot like a Styrofoam to-go box secured with red electrical tape. #gottacatchemall

Pikachu having a peaceful interaction with law enforcement.
Pikachu having a peaceful interaction with law enforcement.

As the evening drew to a close, the team was determined to close in on the lead. With just minutes remaining on the clock, the group wandered into World of Beer to complete a few final high-stakes objectives. The team stumbled upon the man behind the curtain—2nd year MBA Tada, sifting through mounds of incoming data from hundreds of accomplished objectives. He was obviously glad to have taken data analytics the year prior.

After several grueling minutes of Tada and his team of analysts poring over their Excel spreadsheets with beads of sweat accumulating on their foreheads, the results were in. It was alleged to be a close race, but as we all could have anticipated from the beginning of this post, the Pokemon were the obvious frontrunners from the very beginning. Congratulations to the MHRMs on their well-deserved win and the trophy to prove it!

That time when you stick out like a sore thumb because you aren't dressed as a Pokemon.
That time when you stick out like a sore thumb because you aren’t dressed as a Pokemon.

The Big Spring Concert at OSU

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Every year, the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) puts on what they call the “Big Spring Concert”. They bring in a popular artist or
group and have a free concert for all Ohio State students as they near the end of their academic year. In the past, they have brought in groups like OAR, Passion Pit, The Chainsmokers and Weezer plus artists like Skrillex, Juicy J and Childish Gambino. Needless to say, the OUAB does a good job of bringing in a wide range of music genres. This year is no different as they lined up Marshmelllo, Vic Mensa and headliner Martin Garrix. Garrix and Marshmello are both EDM artists with Garrix being one of the most popular in the current EDM scene.

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garrixIn years past, they have held the concert on The South Oval, just across the street from The Ohio Union, and students would just walk in. This year, they held it at Columbus Commons (a very popular outdoor venue in downtown Columbus). My favorite event that I’ve attended at Columbus Commons was by far the Food Truck Festival where they brought in around 100 different trucks with foods ranging from pizza and sandwiches to cupcakes, churros and other sweet treats. To get in to the event this year, students were required to pick up a wristband from the Ohio Union. I’m not sure why exactly the university moved the concert from The South Oval to Columbus Commons but I thought it was a huge hit!

Sadly, I did not attend the Big Spring Concert this year. My sister surprised me about a month earlier with tickets to see Panama Wedding, Magic Man and The Griswolds at Newport (America’s longest continuously runningmagic man concert hall). These artists are more indie and electronic rock bands than EDM. I enjoy listening to almost every genre of music (especially live) and I have already seen Garrix and Marshmello live so it was time to mix it up a little. The indie/electronic rock bwristbandands were certainly way more relaxed than the EDM artists. Moral of the story, Columbus has many options for lovers of all types of music.

The Buddy Program

Due to the success of the MBA buddy program, this year Fisher conducted a new buddy program for our MHRM students. The purpose of the buddy program is to match first year students with second year students. These second year students then serve as mentors so that freshmen can ask them for suggestions on courses, internships, and even living in Columbus.

The match was based on interests. For example, members in our group are fond of music. I like playing the accordion, Craig, who is a second year MHRM student, is a fan of Taylor Swift, while Lewis is a music teacher! After we matched in a group, the first thing we did was find common interests we shared. I remembered we found that we all liked cats and movies. Other groups were more creative. For instance, one group found that they all have iPhones but not Apple laptops.

Although it was difficult to find a time that we are all available, we finally made our first meeting. We met at a coffee shop before class. As Craig and I came earlier than the appointed time, we first talked about our courses. Craig asked me what course I am taking and then offered me some suggestions. When all members arrived, we talked about internships. At last, Lewis brought up an interesting topic that he met in his work. He found that employees in his two departments seldom talked with each other. Therefore, Lewis asked us what to do to improve the two department’s communication. I thought maybe the first thing is to find out the problem, then set up a training program. After we stated out opinions, Lewis talked about his action. He said he conducted a program which brings employees to the other department for three days. During these three days, the employee had opportunities to meet and talk with the other department’s employees. This topic made me realize that sometimes a theoretical method is not the best way to solve a problem, but a little well-organized program will do. Thanks to Lewis, our buddy program was a good opportunity to share our experiences and opinions in Human Resource field.

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I think the buddy program is helpful for us by receiving suggestions, getting involved in Fisher, and communicating our personal feelings as well as our professional opinions.

International Business Etiquette

The second semester of our program has been really enriching. I checked our Student HUB, which lists student events, and guess what I found this time? International food tasting…I mean International Business Etiquette. Anyway, we can’t live without eating as well as learning.

When I stepped into Mason Hall’s rotunda, it proved to me again that I am part of a great program that provides international experiences. The exotic food brought me to a foreign environment instantly and started good conversation.

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Looking at things like this, how can you not be curious and try it out?

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Of course, we are here to learn about business etiquette all around the world. There were flyers about business etiquette in the UK, Brazil, India, and so on. Amusingly, when international students looked at the food tables, they are actually looking for the one about America. Our wonderful holders forget to tell us about themselves. We are supposed to learn about the countries, but I instinctively looked for one on China. The students sitting in front of me were also looking for one on China since one of them is traveling there. I thought I could be the “live flyer” about business etiquette in China for him, but I actually found one for Korea, which is very close to China, and gave it to him for reference. The one for Saudi Arabia is really interesting and different. “It is not uncommon to have a meeting cancelled once you arrive.” “You should arrive at meetings on time, although it is an accepted custom to keep foreigners waiting.”

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Involvement at Ohio State (and a National Title)

One of the coolest things about being a student at Ohio State is the level of involvement of the average student. Ohio State provides limitless opportunities to get involved in more ways than I can even begin to describe. There are service and leadership opportunities like Buck-I-Serve and BuckeyeThon in addition to over 1,200 student organizations ,  70 fraternal organizations and student government. There really is something for everyone! Fisher also has quite an array of student organizations ranging from The Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals to Fisher Sports Business Association to the Fisher Graduate Finance Association.

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For the sake of this blog, I am going to stick to the 1,200 university-wide student organizations and clubs. Here is a little excerpt from the Ohio Union’s website: “With over 1,200 student organizations, Ohio State provides a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved. Student organizations have a significant impact in providing effective learning environments for students, preparing them to live in a multicultural society and work in a global community. In addition to building lasting friendships, student organizations provide many benefits including serving as a medium for academic discourse, personal growth, leadership development, intercultural understanding and community service. Moreover, research suggests that involved students tend to perform better academically and are more likely to graduate when compared with their non-involved peers.”

As you can tell, student organizations and clubs at Ohio State are a big deal for growth, development and preparation for life after college. My nats smallexperience with clubs was limited until earlier this year. Throughout my time here as an undergraduate student, I wasn’t involved with a single club. I spent the majority of my time either studying, in the pool or in the weight room. Academics and varsity swimming were my life so I really wasn’t even aware of all the opportunities available to students. This year however, I was looking for something to get involved with and I found that in the form of the Club Swim Team.

trophyOn April 3rd, the Ohio State Club Swim Team was crowned East Coast Collegiate National Champions by defeating 9-time defending champion Colorado. The meet lasted three days, took place in Atlanta, Georgia (my future home) and saw two current SMF students competing for gold (myself and Garrett Trebilcock). It was amazing seeing the team’s hard work paying off in the water and it really made me realize the importance of involvement, whether it be in the form of club swimming, student government or fraternal life. My advice to any incoming students, undergraduate or graduate, is to get involved! Find something that interests you and pursue it in your spare time! You never know what connections you’ll make, lessons you’ll learn or accomplishments you will achieve.

 

The MHRM and Fisher latest

Wow, I haven’t blogged in awhile and I’m so sorry. Classes and life in general have been an absolute whirlwind! I want to provide some Fisher and MHRM updates, as well as personal updates since last semester. Let’s start with Christmas break!

1: MHRM goes to Columbus Zoolights!

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2: Student Experience provides Destress with Doggie Day. 

Everyone knows this was my favorite event because I desperately want a pug of my own!

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3: MHRM External Case Competition Sponsored by PepsiCo.

Our team won 2nd place competing against Cornell, Rutgers, Illinois, and Minnesota! We brought home the hardware for Professor Ankerman and Dean Makhija

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4: OSU Spring Break.

A great chance to escape from the chilly weather and head down South for some vitamin D (yes, I actually went here – Cabbage Key! 🙂 )

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5: Fisher Celebrates 100 years!

Fisher College of Business is officially 100 years old this year and there’s lots of celebration. Check out what the past century has looked like here.

Fisher 100th Birthday Celebration Blackwell - Ballroom Mar-07-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete
©2016 Jay LaPrete

 

6: MHRM Council Elections.

I’m very excited to serve on the MHRM Council for the 2016-2017 school year, and I can’t wait to meet the incoming 1st years!

With these past couple months means new classes for students. This semester I’m taking Staffing Organizations, Data Analytics & Decision Making for HRM, Labor Relations, Understanding Teams & Leadership for HR Managers, and I finished up one elective – Leadership Legacy with Dr. Rucci. Dr. Rucci’s class has been one of my favorite and I highly recommend it! Wondering about these classes and what the syllabus might look like? All of the course descriptions and some syllabi are available here.

My last piece of exciting news is that I’m starting my internship early at Huntington Bank HQ in downtown Columbus! I’m super excited for what’s to come and to get started on my summer projects. I chose to start a little early (April 11th instead of May 16th) so I could hit the ground running by the summer! More MHRM updates and details to come on what it’s like to balance two jobs and a full time curriculum!

VITA

Something I really enjoyed this year was volunteering for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This program exists in cities throughout the country, and this was my first time ever volunteering with this program. We had the opportunity to file federal and state tax returns for local residents in the Columbus area so they were able to receive the maximum amount of their refunds at no cost. About 60 students volunteered, many of which were fellow MAcc students. The rest were undergraduate students at the Fisher College of Business. Therefore, this was a great opportunity to meet more students at Ohio State as well as get to know other students in my MAcc class better.

Some of the VITA volunteers
Some of the VITA volunteers

Since I will be starting a career in tax after graduation, I was given the opportunity to be a VITA site manager. This was a great leadership opportunity and was very educational for me because I was able to help others work through issues they came across while preparing tax returns. It was rewarding getting to actually interact with the people we were helping and know that we were saving local Columbus residents a great deal of money by preparing their tax returns for free. It was also satisfying to see that we obtained thousands of dollars in refunds for residents each volunteer session. I would highly recommend that future MAcc students (or undergraduate students), whether they plan to work in tax or not, volunteer for the VITA program!

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Fisher Follies Variety Show 2016

Fisher Follies is honestly one of my favorite organizations here on campus, even though I am unfortunately not directly involved with it. Follies was set up with the purpose of raising money for students who may come across an unexpected need during their time here at Fisher. The major fundraiser put on by the organization is our Follies auction, which is held each year in November. The auction features items to bid on in both a silent and live auction.  Everyone from faculty and staff to students can donate items to auction off and there are always such great items (think an all-expenses paid trip to California, the chance to drive a classic car or a signed OSU jersey). While I love the auction and especially love the cause we are raising money for, I couldn’t possibly forget to mention another recent major event Follies puts on: Fisher Follies Variety Show 2016!

On Friday, March 4th, we had our variety show, which is essentially our year-end celebration for the successful auction put on back in November. The variety show is a mix of filmed and live skits/performances, which are 100% produced and run by our students. I am sure that many of you participated in variety shows in high school or at other times, but I have to say, Follies put on quite the production this year.

We had two hours of skits, many of which tied together with a great overarching plot line and were produced with some ‘real deal’ video equipment. There was a 007 spoof, a Pure Barre class taken by some lovely gentleman at Fisher, a live serenade of songs about our faculty director and many more amazing videos. The great thing about Follies is that every graduate program can, and does, get involved. Most of our skits had actors/actresses from all of the Masters programs and featured jokes and story lines that everyone in the audience could relate to. Quite a few of our professors and staff members also participated and it was amazing to see the culture and friendships here at Fisher come to life on the “big screen”.

The variety show was hosted at our student union in its U.S. Bank Theater by two “MCs” from our second year class. Students and their friends/family, faculty and staff all came to watch and we had quite a large turnout. There were even a few awards handed out for things like best Facebook post and the acceptance speeches for these were just as entertaining as some of the skits. While the variety show really is just an opportunity for everyone to have fun and sometimes, poke fun at our life as grad students, it always reminds me how great life is here at Fisher. We all become such great friends during our time here and these student-run skits truly bring that to life. Now that I am a mere 6 weeks from graduating, events like this really make me appreciate my two years at Fisher and everything I have gotten to experience. Here come the graduation tears….