A Day with Warren Buffett

About 20 Fisher graduate students traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to spend a day with Warren Buffett. The highlight of the trip was a 3.5 hour question and answer session with the Oracle himself.

Our group with Mr. Buffett

Mr. Buffett spent a large amount of time speaking about the importance of family. He said that as we grow older, our relationship with our children, (not how much money we have), will be one of, if not the main, measuring stick defining success.

Mr. Buffett supported this point by claiming, “being rich is over-rated, but if you have the chance, take it.” He explained that ease of air-travel was the only tangible “day to day” advantage he has over others.

These two concepts offered an opportunity for us to reflect on our long-term goals and decide what is truly important. Mr. Buffett serves as a reminder that choices we currently make will impact these goals, and that those of us who prioritize family will not “fail.”

I am thankful for the opportunity to meet and listen to Mr. Buffett. Traveling with our group formed a good bond as we all learned more about each other.

Our gift to Mr. Buffett – to match the Tressel ball he keeps on his desk – Go Bucks!

 

Meeting the legend Warren Buffett in Omaha

Yep– the Buffett you thought! I still cannot believe that I met the man in person!

Last Friday, 19 other Fisher grad students and I had the honor to represent Fisher and have lunch with Mr. Buffett at Anthony’s Steakhouse in Omaha.

During the Q&A session before lunch, Mr. Buffett shared his wisdom of life and investment to us. Well, it was mostly about the power of love.

Here are some key points of his speech that impressed me the most:

a) Thinking about your favorite person and the one you dislike the most, write down their characteristics. Then you will know how to be a better person.

b) Unconditional love is the most precious thing in life which cannot be bought by money. You would get it from your parents or spouse. Love others first, then you will get love from them 1000 times back. He said he would not be the same person without the unconditional love of his wife and father.

c) Being others’ spouse and parent is the most important job in life. You cannot take back your actions or words. There is no replay or delete.

During his speech, Mr. Buffett shared many interesting stories. For example, in early 1990s, Mr. Buffett and Bill Gates and other icons in business and tech sat around a table to discuss how the internet would develop in the next decade (which Buffett said they should have taped) They talked for hours, but they didn’t come up with amazing ideas such as Youtube, Linkedin, or ads in websites– though they had the best business and technology minds in the world.

The most amazing part of meeting Mr. Buffett is that he speaks in a candid manner to students. He’s not arrogant at all– just like a grandfather talking to his grandkids, or even just as one would talk to friends. Moreover, to manage a crowd over 160 people, he only brought two assistants, a secretary and a bodyguard. You would not even sense the existence of the bodyguard until he wandered in the hallway to keep an eye on Mr. Buffett during lunch time. The secretary was so easygoing and elegant. She just sat behind the table, observing the room and monitoring the process during the Q&A session, only interrupting when necessary but in a calm and warm voice. With all the student groups taking pictures, there were a little chaos, but Mr. Buffett still maintained his smile. It was a brief experience, but I am impressed by how efficient and organized his team was and how much he trusted them.

Fisher grad Students meeting with Mr. Buffett

Another treat was the delicious steak, smashed potato, and strawberry cake at the steakhouse. But photos were not allowed to be taken inside the restaurant, so here is our group photo outside. You definitely should visit the place if you ever travel to Omaha!

Anthony’s Steakhouse

After meeting Mr. Buffett, we still had 3.5 hours before our flight back to Columbus. So, three other Fisher students (Lauren, Michelle, and Zainab) joined me and Heidi from the Office of Global Business to rent a car and take a quick tour of Omaha. Thanks to Lauren for this awesome idea and to Heidi for driving us around Omaha– and even to Iowa at one point!

Nebraska Furniture Mart
OMAHA

Last but not least, big thanks and respect to our awesome and calm trip leader Matthew Nordman, who helped us to get to Omaha in time given some flight issues and helped us to transfer on an earlier flight back, so each of us on the trip could finish the journey within 24 hours. Four flights within 24 hours and a return to the same airport is a record of mine now!

MAcc Madness

My March started out with a quick trip to Washington D.C. to see my best friend from undergrad. Though small, the Columbus airport still offers service to a number of destinations around the country. Even better, I was able to snag my round-trip tickets for an incredibly affordable price. It was a wonderful weekend getaway, full of lots of laughs, sightseeing, walking, and delicious food.

I also had the opportunity to jet out west to Salt Lake City and Park City to see family over spring break. I prefer mountains to the beach, so this was definitely my idea of a perfect vacation. In addition to simply hanging out with some of my favorite people, I got to enjoy some rock climbing and yoga while I was out there!

March also marked the start of the Intramural indoor soccer season! I was incredibly nervous about being a part of the team because although soccer was a huge part of my childhood, I had not played for years. While I am certainly not as a fast or in shape as I used to be, joining the “MAccletes” is definitely one of the highlights of my MAcc experience thus far. Continuing on the soccer trend, I also went to my first Columbus Crew game this past weekend where the Crew beat the Portland Timbers 3-2.

Because of how classes are scheduled, there are no Friday classes during the second term of the spring semester. To take advantage of this free day, the MAcc Council has several events planned over the next couple of weeks. This past Friday they hosted the MAcc Olympics which was an afternoon of fun and games. We played basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and kickball. It should come as no surprise that there was definitely some friendly competition on the playing field!

I have also made it a point to take advantage of the warmer temps to get back out on the trails. I went to Clear Creek Metro Park this past Saturday and am looking forward to going back this upcoming weekend. I am also going to try to get to Hocking Hills this weekend as well, weather permitting.

Looking into April, there are plenty of other activities on the calendar. MAcc Gives Back, a day of community service, is scheduled for the morning of April 7th. That same day, we have Fisher Formal in the evening. I am really looking forward to spending some time giving back to the Columbus community and Formal is sure to be a blast – I love any excuse to get dressed up!

It is hard to believe that graduation is just a few short weeks away. While I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life, it is bittersweet to think that my time at the Fisher College of Business is quickly coming to an end. I did not know what to expect when I started my MAcc experience, but it is safe to say that the past year has been amazing and I have so many wonderful memories that I will forever cherish.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The end of the school year is near, with spring break still fresh in our minds. While I went to Florida and spent time with family and friends at the beach, here are some testimonials of what a few other MAcc students did during their well-deserved break.

Haoyuan (Eva) Li – Road Trip

“During the spring break, we went on a road trip. The experience was awesome since we drove through seven states and visited five cities.  Each city is different and has its own special thing. As I have never been to any of those cities, I got to experience different culture and try all kinds of delicious food.

One of the most impressive experiences during the trip was to see colonial Williamsburg. The buildings are classic and historic. You can see people dress up in different roles from the 18th century. They are from a variety of backgrounds, and under the tour guidance, you get to learn how their choices impacted their families and community.

Colonial Williamsburg

Another highlight is that we visited several well-known universities during the trip. We spent a lot of time in their business schools and libraries. Each school has its own unique qualities; some have great facilities, some have great architecture design, and some have a really good vibe. We did the “O-H-I-O” gesture in front of each business school as the proof of our ‘conquering’ of the area. The whole trip was fascinating and was a great travel experience with other MAcc people!”

Showing school spirit across the country
Nick Sampsel – Washington D.C.

“Over Spring Break, I took a few days to go to Washington D.C. As I was notifying a few of my classmates that my hotel had CCTV, I discovered that there were others going to D.C. as well! We visited a bunch of the different Smithsonian museums, like the Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History, and saw all of the different monuments. As MAcc students, it was absolutely necessary to get our picture taken in front of the IRS as well! Overall, it was a nice getaway and a pleasant surprise to see a few of my friends on vacation.”

Is it tax season yet?
Yajie (RJ) Liu – Global Business Expedition to Israel

Global Business Expeditions (GBEs) are short-term, high-intensity global programs offered during Spring Semester. Each program is designed by our Fisher College of Business faculty to integrate industry expertise with a global context. For full cultural and business immersion, students travel during 2017 Spring Break on a private tour of globally successful, multi-national companies and the must-see historical sites of the region.”

MAcc and MBA students pose for a picture at the Western Wall

Students have the option of attending a week long program in Germany, Spain, or Israel. Israel focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship, giving students viable insight into multinational business dealings. These programs are not only limited to MAcc students, but also open to all graduate business students. Prior to traveling, students participate in a 7-week multinational business course. While in Israel, students partake in cultural tours and business meetings with several multinational entities. Program brochure can be found here.

Buckeyes at The Dead Sea

A Day in Hocking Hills

The world of finance is concentrated in cities; but, it is good for everyone to spend some time outside of the city and enjoy nature. Even though the SMF program has a busy schedule, we do find the time to stay active and be outside. This month, students from the SMF program took a study break and adventured into the great outdoors. Where did we go, you might ask? We took a day trip and went to one of Ohio’s best state parks, Hocking Hills State Park.

Ash Cave
Ash Cave

Hocking Hills State Park is divided into five separate sections of Hocking State Forest. Each site is centered on a different rock formation. There are deep gorges, high cliffs, rock shelters, and small winding waterfalls. Our SMF group spent the morning exploring the rocks and crevices of “Old Man’s Cave.” This was my favorite part of the trip because there many places to wander off the trail and climb rocks. At the end of the trail is a small pool with water falling down from the high cliffs above. Here, we took endless “selfies” and sat back and relaxed. After finishing that trail, we went to “Ash Cave” and enjoyed our lunches. Then, we when on a rim trail at “Conkel’s Hollow.” This is a 2.5-mile loop trail that is on the edge of a 200-foot gorge. This offers a unique view of the surrounding hills and is a good way to see the changing autumn leaf colors.

Conkles Hollow
The rim trail in the fall

SMF students are lifelong learners. Our curiosity had us asking questions about the rock formations, and after a bit of research, I have some answers for my classmates. Most of the cliffs and gorges occur from erosion-resistant blackhand sandstone. There are few places in Ohio that have this type of sandstone, and that is one of the things that makes the park a special place. Also, there are some places in the park where the sun never shines. This creates a bed for biodiversity and the variations of sunlight and moisture make the park home to many rare plants.

Not only did we get some quiet time in the park, we got to spend the day building friendships among our classmates. Conversation always flows better outside. The weather is starting to cool down, but in the spring, we will have to spend a day on the Lake Erie shore to keep enjoying the outdoors.

“Fall”ing In Love

Well into the autumn semester, and it finally becomes autumn weather! The brisk, cold air is comforting– as well as the joy of seeing one’s breath in the morning. Coming from Georgia, we would get this weather later in the year, and I love breaking out sweaters and jackets. That being said, one thing that warms the heart more than hot chocolate and sweaters is my partner, Meredith. I want to take a moment to share what we did, because we saw a lot of Columbus, Ohio, together!

First, she came in late Saturday night, so naturally we went to a friend’s house to watch the first half of the Wisconsin v. OSU game (we won, but sadly lost to the Nittany Lions the next week).

The fun really began on Sunday! We went downtown, because the Columbus Museum of Art has free admission on Sunday– and who doesn’t love free things to do?  We parked down towards the Capitol building, and on a whim, decided to visit the capitol building. What a beautiful, informative tour! Seeing the history and power of the State of Ohio was truly spectacular. After that, we then walked down to the art museum, and the exhibits were very beautiful, with some exciting interactive displays (mainly for children, but we’re children at heart).

On Monday, we explored the Columbus Zoo! Holy Giraffe– this was such a fun adventure, and everyone should see the zoo while here in Columbus! We spent the whole day there and got there in time to see one of the demonstrations, “Cheetah Run,” where they let the cheetah run a track for exercise. Just the pure power and speed is awe-inspiring. We then tested our speed and minds with some trivia alongside some friends. Our team (eventually) did our best and got second place!

On Tuesday, we went to German Village, where there is a quaint bookstore with a ton of books! After perusing for a while, we walked to Scioto Park, and the changing leaves made us forget we were downtown.

On Wednesday, we took it easy. I showed Meredith “The Shoe” and around Fisher College of Business. We also walked to the Library and showed her the top floor with a beautiful view of the Oval.

On Thursday it rained a bit, so we found COSI! This was our favorite time. It’s a science museum that has three levels of interactive, enjoyable science exhibits that range from the human body to space to energy. We could’ve spent several more hours (and it’s definitely on our list again).

Friday was our last day. I had to teach two classes, so she came with and saw what I do for my assistantship position. We also went to lunch with some friends at Melt, and ended the evening with some Indian cuisine.

This was a great week– and it was very exciting to share Columbus with the one I love. I have enjoyed this week, and all the other weeks where there’s been a new adventure– exploring a haunted corn maze, all the food, and other spectacular things to do in Columbus. There is plenty to do for 200 years (much less trying to see it all in two)– and experiencing everything makes me wish time wasn’t passing away as quickly as the leaves fall this month.

Reaching Outside the Comfort Zone

First, let me share some background on myself to give you some context for this post: I am originally from Upper Arlington, Ohio—less than 5 minutes from OSU campus. I attended The Ohio State University alongside 50% of my high school graduating class. During undergrad, while most of my high school friends could pinpoint exactly where they wanted to be 5, even 10 years from then, I always felt unclear about what I wanted out of life and unsure of how to figure it out.

In my junior year of undergrad, while many of my friends were securing study abroad opportunities, I knew I wanted to do something different, something that would challenge me and hopefully reveal to what I didn’t already know about myself—strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities. I wanted to know it all! I found National Outdoor Leadership School through a friend of a friend, and I embarked on what was to become one of the most rewarding and bizarre experiences of my life…

I slept in a sleeping bag for 85 consecutive nights next to 16 strangers who would soon become my closest friends. We backpacked through remote sections of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico and the Galiuro Mountains in Arizona, carrying everything on our backs that we needed to survive for 3 weeks at a time. We climbed the incredible granite domes of Joshua Tree National Park– powered by bacon, coffee, and laughter. We navigated class-3 rapids in whitewater canoes on the Rio Grande, paddled past Mexican military clad with automatic weapons, and didn’t see another human being for 18 days. The vastness of the wilderness was exhilarating, humbling, inspiring, and terrifying all at the same time, and I came to learn more about myself than I ever expected.

When I graduated from undergrad, I knew I wanted to marry my education in psychology with my passion for the outdoors to facilitate meaningful experiences for others who might benefit. I took a job as a Field Instructor for Evoke Therapy Programs helping struggling adolescents and young adults work through depression, drug addiction, trauma, and motivational/behavioral problems. In this job, I worked a non-traditional schedule of 8 days in the field, followed by 6 days off. I saw recovering drug addicts celebrate 30 days of sobriety in the field over no-bake pies. I saw teenage boys with autism begin to challenge rigid patterns of thinking and to develop their first real friendships. And I saw adolescent girls with a history of self-harm come to believe that they mattered in the world. I count myself lucky to have been a part of the transformation process for the clients I worked with, whose stories continue to inspire me and put my own struggles into perspective.

Me and my best friend Taylor when we worked in the field. This was the equivalent "business casual" in the industry.
Me and my best friend Taylor when we worked in the field. This was the equivalent of “business casual” in the industry.

It’s clear that the program I attended and the wilderness therapy program I worked for are very different. The takeaway that I hope becomes obvious here is that there is a certain inherent healing effect of being outside. I also think there is a deeper level of learning that comes from challenging experiences with real consequences—learning what is in and out of your control and how to adapt to adversity. I believe my experiences in the outdoors have shaped me into someone who can find hope and happiness in just about any situation, and I’m grateful for that.

If there is any piece of advice I would give someone who is uncertain about their path in life (and trust me, you’re not alone), I encourage immersing yourself in an experience that you’re afraid of. I’m talking the thing that you always wished you could do but could never actually imagine yourself doing. There is deep self-discovery and self-awareness that comes from pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone.

backpacking, Ohio State, High Sierras
The OSU Outdoor Adventure Center traveled to the High Sierras last summer. Seriously awe-inspring stuff.

The great part about OSU is that we have access to so many different experiences– so many that I hear people talk about how they struggle to fit in everything they want to do. Well, here is one more for you: the OSU Outdoor Adventure Center. Of course there is the famed indoor rock climbing wall, but what a lot of people don’t know is that as students we also have access to adventure trips. From rock climbing, to sea kayaking, to dog sledding—there is really something for all seasons and to suit all tastes. The best part is that there is no experience required for most and all are welcome.

rock climbing, OSU
Indoor rock climbing wall at OSU during the Valentine’s day climbing competition. Participants were held together by a paper chain and had to complete the climb together. They also do other silly stuff, like zombie themed climbing hours for the premier of the Walking Dead.

I can’t emphasize enough the benefit of pushing yourself to challenge fears, insecurities, an preconceived notions of your own limitations. From my own trips, I’ve learned to work with diverse teams, lead others in high pressure situations, and accomplish stretch goals with limited resources. These are all skills that translate remarkably well to “real life,” and that I plan to leverage in work and life in the future. Get out there!

The Concrete Jungle

Before you go on reading this post, I want you to open this music video in another tab and allow the song to play while you continue reading….

Now that the mood has been set, here we go. This past weekend, from the evening of Wednesday the 21st to Sunday the 25th, I took a trip to the land of Sinatra, Bobby Flay, and Tupac. A little place called New York City.

As I was flying in, listening to the song you are hopefully listening to right now, it was around 8:30pm on Wednesday night. If you fly into LaGuardia and are lucky enough to get a seat on the left-side of the aircraft, you will have that 1-million dollar view of NYC lit up like a Christmas tree. That sight always seems to give me the chills, and I was left in awe and ready to take on “the City” the next day.

Now you may be wondering: Brett, what were you doing in NYC?Good question. I ventured on the trip with three of my fellow SMF classmates and an undergraduate group targeting the investment banks in NYC. Between Thursday and Friday, we visited banks like Goldman Sachs in the Financial District and J.P. Morgan in Midtown. With my intended career path of Investment Banking, it was an awesome look into the workings of “Wall Street” and the current state of Investment Banks.

Two of my classmates and I in Times Square.
Two of my classmates and me in Times Square.

Also, I used this trip as a means to network. From our trips to the banks, we were able to speak and network with Ohio State alumni working there, as well as at a reception on Thursday night. In addition, we had free time in which we could network with other working professionals and alumni in the City– and I feel that I established some awesome new connections.

Finally, despite having been to New York City before, I let the inner tourist in me come out a bit and I stopped by some of the most famous spots like: Wall Street, Times Square, the Raging Bull, the Rockefeller Center, and Broadway. Final takeaways? I really do love NYC and can’t wait for my next trip back!

 

A classmate and I at the Raging Bull near Wall Street.
A classmate and I at the Raging Bull near Wall Street.

 

 

 

What I did this summer…

Akin to the traditional elementary-school first homework assignment, I’m going to write about my summer spent in Battle Creek, Michigan, working in brand management for Kellogg’s. First of all, let me gush a little by saying that it was a fantastic experience!

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The Frosted Mini-Wheats team

I got to work on exciting and meaningful marketing projects right away. I was on the Frosted Mini-Wheats team and learned a ton about cereal (not to mention enjoyed the free cereal bar almost daily!). For one project I was able to assist with agency relations and digital strategy planning and for the other, I worked on the recommendation for the marketing communication plan for the Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini-Wheats launch and also made predictions of future growth for pumpkin spice as a flavor.

IMG_3511I learned a lot about using data, coming to conclusions, making recommendations and putting together a powerful presentation. I had never worked with Nielsen data before, so learning that system was an early challenge, but also figuring out the best way to visually show data was a lot harder than I expected. Both skill sets will be needed for any brand manager, so I was happy that I was able to improve in both areas.

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My internship was Gr-r-reat!

Everyone at Kellogg was so supportive and happy to help in any way that I needed, so I got up to speed much faster than I would have on my own. (Shout-out to my roommate who taught me everything I now know about HLOOKUPs!) I reached out to the various business units and learned about their own Pumpkin Spice launches or how they handle seasonal flavors in general. It was fascinating! Now, 12 weeks later, I know more about Pumpkin Spice than anyone should, and it’s exciting to see it all play out this fall.

I’ve lived in Ohio for the last nine years, so I mistakenly assumed that Michigan summers would pretty much be like Ohio ones, but I have to say that they are way better up north! Battle Creek is four hours from Columbus, and in addition to being more north, it’s also almost as far west as you can get in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. This means that it’s light so much longer in the evenings (at the peak, it’s still light at 10:00 pm), which gives you so much more time to be outside doing things! It was sunny almost every day and living only an hour from the beach is pretty exciting.

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The four MBA marketing interns on our last day 🙁

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity that I had to work at Kellogg this summer and I truly enjoyed my experience. I have a much better understanding of what a brand manager and an assistant brand manager do at a large company like Kellogg, and I’ve worked on some of the important skills that I will need in those roles, both technical and inter-personal.

Now, who wants to go try some Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini-Wheats? psminiwheats

CFA Research Challenge Global Finals in Chicago

Seven months later, we finally arrived in Chicago for what was one of the coolest and most exciting events of my life. For a recap of what the CFA Research Challenge is and what it took to get to Chicago, please read my previous blog (https://fisher.osu.edu/blogs/gradlife/2016/03/07/cfa-research-challenge-pt-2/).

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When we arrived at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue, I was a little overwhelmed with excitement. Not only was the weather amazing, but the CFA Society of Chicago really rolled out the red carpet for us. The main stage was spectacular and made me a little nervous for the four teams that would be presenting up there. The structure of the week looked like this:

-Tuesday was registration and the opening ceremony

-Wednesday consisted of the semi-final round in the morning, an advancement ceremony at lunch, the national final round in the evening and dinner afterward.

-Thursday was the Engage Symposium where leaders in the finance industry talked about current topics and how students should prepare for the finance world followed by the global finals and a reception

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There were over 100 teams competing in the semi-final rounds with only 26 moving on to the national final round. Of those 26, only 4 would go on to present on the main stage in the global finals on Thursday. The 4 that made it were: Italy, The University of Georgia, a team from Asia Pacific and the eventual global champions (and the team we lost to) Waterloo. Watching those 4 teams on that stage was incredible. They all did an amazing job of answering some incredibly difficult questions but Waterloo walked away the champions. After they were crowned, we all made our way to the reception area which was a giant dance floor with a live band. The entire experience was surreal.
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After the Research Challenge was over, it was time to be a tourist. I packed my bags and left the Hilton for an Airbnb three blocks from Wrigley Field. Two friends from Columbus joined me as we explored Wrigleyville, downtown, Michigan Ave, Millennium Park and the business district. The weather was perfect so we walked for hours everyday and enjoyed every second. If you ever have a few days to explore and are looking for a destination, I highly recommend Chicago. It is hard to beat. IMG_5978