Buckeye Road Trip

School spirit runs high at Ohio State, especially during football season. On September 28, my friends and I made the trek to State College, PA, to watch our undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes play Penn State. We sat in the Ohio State student section and cheered as loudly as we could as Ohio State fans were vastly outnumbered in the stadium. Penn State set an attendance record with 110,800 people, and of those only about 5,000 were dawning the scarlet and gray.

This was one of the most stressful athletic events I have ever watched in my

Cheering on the Buckeyes

life. This game, between #4 Ohio State and #9 Penn State, had massive implications on who would advance to the college football playoff in December. I have always wanted to experience a National Championship at some point during my Ohio State career, so this was a crucial game to win.

Ohio State was down 12 points with 8 minutes left, and scored 13 points to win the game in what became the highest rated college football game of the year. Chants of “OH-“ followed by “-IO” rang throughout Beaver Stadium just before we celebrated our win by singing “Carmen Ohio” with the players. Hanging out with Ohio State students and alumni before, during, and after the game showed me how passionate Buckeyes are about our school.

This game was a memory I’ll never forget. I am glad to have the opportunity to go to a school with such a plethora of athletic, academic, and social activities!

Trip to Seattle for Microsoft Interview

In early September, I flew out to Redmond, Washington for a final round interview with Microsoft for a finance position.  Even though I am in the Master of Accounting Program, I decided to explore other career paths besides public accounting when deciding where I wanted to apply.

When I first stepped foot on the Microsoft campus, I was instantly reminded of Ohio State.  The campus is very green and large yet easy to navigate.  People were outside running and enjoying their time on the basketball, soccer, and volleyball courts that are scattered throughout the Microsoft campus.  Microsoft also has a bus service that takes employees around campus, similar to Ohio State’s CABS system.   I enjoyed being able to see technology of the past, present, and future at Microsoft’s Visitor Center.

Microsoft’s Campus in Redmond, Washington

After walking around campus to get the nerves out, I went into my “Super Day” where I had lunch, four interviews, and dinner with Microsoft finance professionals.  I had an awesome experience talking with employees from the company and decided to accept a full time position with them the following week.

No visit to Seattle would have been complete without visiting the Space

My view from the Space Needle in Seattle

Needle! I was stunned by the amazing views from the top deck of the 605 foot tower. There is also a deck a level below that has a rotating see-through glass floor. Having never been to the Pacific Northwest, I was amazed at how beautiful the natural environment was.

Signing my name on my offer of employment was a huge stress reliever.  After having interviewed with dozens of companies throughout my college career, my best advice to someone in the job hunt is to just be yourself!  By landing an interview, you have already demonstrated to employers that you have the background of someone who is a potential fit for their company.  Now, it is time to make sure you are a cultural fit for them and they are a cultural fit for you! Most people do not realize that interviews are meant to find a mutual fit.  It is important to do your research and have a strong list of questions prepared to learn more about employees at the company you are evaluating.

A fun fact about the MAcc program is that all students receive a career consultant to work with as we are searching for jobs. I utilized mine to help with evaluating and negotiating my various offers.  There are so many different career paths that you can take after the MAcc and I am glad Ohio State provides us with the resources to figure out which path is best for us.

My GAP Experience: Italy and Germany

Fisher MBA students often talk about GAP. What exactly is GAP and why is it such a focal point of our program?

Global Applied Projects (GAP) is an opportunity for MBA students to gain international consulting experience by working on a business challenge in a global location (non-US). It is a three-credit, graded, elective course that allows students to lead, plan, and execute global consulting engagements across multiple functional areas for a wide variety of corporations, not-for-profits, and governments in locations outside of the US. A typical GAP project timeline looks like this:

January: Project client and Office of Global Business work to define the business problem and formulate a high-level scope.

Late February: Student participation begins with the section of MBA team members chosen to meet the needs of the project.

Next 10 weeks: Team is directed by a second-year MBA team coach and a faculty functional expert. Students attend weekly classes that teach best practices in project management and global consulting, and develop cultural awareness. They also meet regularly with teams, advisors, coaches, and clients, and submit class assignments that support the development and execution of the projects.

May: Three-week, in-country, primary research phase with a presentation of findings, an in-depth analysis, and specific, actionable recommendations to the client.

As a second-year MBA student, I would love to share with you my most recent GAP experience, where I had the opportunity to work with Technical Rubber Company, based in Johnstown, OH, as well as Salvadori, based in Rovereto, Italy. 

 

 

Client: Technical Rubber Company

Team members: Luke Barousse, Abhishek Chakrabarti, Adam Kanter, Andris Koh, Vaibhav Meharwade, Carl Shapiro, Sangyoun Shin, Kristen Stubbs

Cities/Countries we visited: Rovereto, Italy, and Munich, Germany

Activities: Visited TRC’s corporate headquarters, Salvadori’s headquarters, as well as attended the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management.

At the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management
World’s Largest Tire at Salvadori’s Headquarters

 

Project Title: Rubber Molded Products Business Plan

Objective: To define a pathway for TRC to forward integrate from the equipment business to manufacturing and selling products made from recycled rubber.

Submitted Deliverables: A 100-page business plan that contained our industry analysis, strategic recommendations, as well as financial, operational, and marketing plans. We also delivered a final presentation to TRC’s and Salvadori’s executives.

What were some takeaways from this GAP experience?

1. Even though I had no experience in the manufacturing or recycled rubber industry, I was extremely fascinated by it. By keeping an open mind, as well as the willingness to learn, changed my perspective of recycled rubber and the manufacturing industry.

An espresso vending machine

2. Italians absolutely love good food, wine, and espresso.

Best pasta ever had

3. Working in a team of eight within close parameters is not easy. There were many memorable moments, but there were also moments of tension. It is important to talk through these issues, instead of letting emotions breed over time.

4. Take some down time for yourself. I decided to stroll along the river one evening in Rovereto, where I enjoyed the perfect sunset with a glass of wine.

Rovereto, Italy

5. Communication is key. One of our team members was unable to travel internationally, so we had to find a way to deal with different time zones, interact and engage with our teammate, as well as communicate in a way that made him feel as part of the team even though we were not physically together.

6. Take time on the weekends to explore nearby cities, take a break from work, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I visited Rome, Venice, and spent the last weekend in Munich visiting the Neuschwanstein castle.

Rome
Venice
Munich

7. Rely on each other’s strengths to get things done efficiently. For example, when we were working on the business plan, we had Carl work on designing our logos, Sangyoun/myself on market research, Adam/Abhi on financials, Luke/Vaibhav on technical viability, and Kristen in putting things together. We each had our own strengths and we used them to maximize our output.

8. Having the opportunity to work as a consultant for a global client is something really unique and special. I know that having these relationships with clients and colleagues will carry into the future as I embark on more global projects in my career.

Original Hofbrauhaus
Our Team!
Pork knuckle, anyone?

 

 

COTA and CABS Have You Covered

When I was applying for grad school to Ohio State, I often wondered what the transportation system in Columbus would be like. This was a big concern for me because I had become accustomed to living on campus at Fairmont State University in West Virginia were I was studying. Also, I did not, and still do not yet own a car, so I had questions about how I would travel from my place of residence to campus once I started school at OSU.

Likewise, you might be wondering whether you’ll need a car once you start living in Columbus or, if you live in another state, whether you’ll need to drive your car here so you can use it. If that is the case, worry not, dear reader, COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) and CABS (Campus Area Bus Service) have you covered.

To be frank, our campus is huge. Walking from one end of campus to the other can be time consuming and tiring. This is were CABS comes in. This service is available to OSU students for trips within the Columbus campus area. There are bus stops at almost every corner of the Columbus campus area and there is an app that provides students with real time bus tracking to figure out bus routes and arrival or departure times. This makes getting around campus super convenient and hassle free.

Riding the CABS bus.
CABS real-time bus tracking app

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COTA, the central Ohio public transit, is the transportation system I use the most. I live in University Village (UV), an apartment complex that’s about two miles away from Fisher, and although UV has a shuttle that runs to and from campus, I often use COTA because the COTA bus gets to campus quicker and there are COTA buses that run as late as 12:10 a.m. Like CABS, COTA also has a real time bus tracking app which makes it super easy to plan a trip. Just remember to carry your BuckID as this will be the means of payment, otherwise most trips cost roughly $2.

For those of you who may be looking to live further away from campus, COTA is a reliable means of commuting because bus routes are extensive and cover a pretty wide area of central Columbus. With that said, I can safely say you shouldn’t feel tied to accommodation options that are close to campus because there is a good public transport system for you to use if you decide to live, let’s say 6 miles away from campus. In your evaluation of apartments and neighborhoods, I encourage you to visit the COTA website to see if the COTA bus services the area in question. Even if you have a car, using the bus could save you some money on gas and paying for campus parking space.

Source: https://u.osu.edu/uofye/2015/11/08/bus-confusion-5-tips-and-5-routes/

Organization Design Strategies: A Look at the Global One Health Initiative GAP Project in Ethiopia and Kenya

Rolling out of bed after finals week at the end of our second semester in the MBA program, it was both exciting and nerve-racking to be packing for a three-week trip for Ethiopia and Kenya. After making it through final group projects and coursework, I kept wondering if I was truly prepared for our in-country portion of the GAP global consulting project. On May 4, 2018, most of the members of my GAP team met at the Columbus airport for our journey to Addis Ababa. We were headed to our client’s regional office that was recently opened at the end of 2017. Our client, GOHi, is an NGO based at The Ohio State University focused on education, research, training and outreach programs to build capacity toward a global One Health approach.

My amazing GAP team!

Before leaving for Ethiopia, our team of seven MBA students met with GOHi several times to work through project objectives and develop a plan of action during the in-country experience. We were working toward developing recommendations for their organization structure and a list of potential partners for GOHi to establish a sustainable presence in the region. The months leading up to the trip, we identified organizations with similar missions to connect with in-country and learn more about their strategy and operations on the ground. We prepared interview guides, developed spreadsheets, laughed late into the evenings in Gerlach Hall, made nicknames for ourselves and bonded over Graeter’s Ice Cream.

After all this time, May 4th finally came around, and we embarked on our journey. Our team spent the first week in Addis Ababa getting to know the GOHi team and beginning our interviews with similar organizations working in the region. We were able to walk to the office every morning from the hotel where we stayed, passing by the ongoing building construction and liveliness of the capital city. The GOHi staff was extremely welcoming and supportive, inviting us to learn about their daily activities, taking us to a traditional Ethiopian lunch and dinner where we tasted our first authentic injera and later experienced the traditional dance of eskista, and allowing us to observe project sites and learn more about the on-the-ground project work taking place.

We met with organizations like Amref Health Africa, PSI Ethiopia and the Ethiopian branch of the CDC. We learned about the importance of maintaining relationships with government entities to gain support for organization success, we identified potential partnership opportunities and recommendations for increased visibility and flexibility in organization structure. 

Meeting with GOHi team and PSI Ethiopia

After our week in Addis Ababa, we traveled to Kenya to further our research with organizations based in Nairobi. There, we met with and learned from organizations like the International Livestock Research Institute, World Animal Protection and the University of Nairobi. Although most of our time was spent in meetings, we had time for a quick weekend safari to Maasai Mara as well!

After a week in Nairobi, we flew back to Addis to bring together our final report and presentation to the GOHi team. Throughout the entire project, we had established a strong group dynamic that enabled a strong final product for the client, one that they are still using today! Although a short trip, I found this to be an amazing experience, full of learning, the chance to build new relationships and the opportunity to consult for an organization working toward an important mission.

Beautiful sunrise on our last day in Addis!

A huge shout out here to my amazing Fisher MBA GAP team: Aziza Allen, Ariel Cooper, John Cox, Kaitlyn Kendall-Sperry and Obi Nnebedum

And to the GOHi staff and leadership team: Wondwossen Gebreyes, Emia Oppenheim, Ashley Bersani, Getnet Yimer, Kassahun Asmare, Tigist Endashaw, Tewodros Abebe and Joshua Amimo

Make the World your Classroom: Fisher Goes Global!

Do you love to travel? Are you interested in a full cultural and business immersion during your time here at Fisher College of Business? If your answer is yes, then a graduate Global Business Expedition might be for you!

After a ski lesson in the Alps, Austria 2017

My absolute favorite memories from both high school and undergrad are
from the study abroad opportunities I took advantage of. In high school, I took a two-week trip to Spain with my spanish class. Throughout Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, and Cordoba, we had the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with the culture and history! Then in undergrad, I spent the 2017 spring semester studying at WU (Vienna University of Business & Economics) in Vienna, Austria. During my semester abroad, I visited 11 countries and dozens of cities. While in Europe, I learned more about the world and myself through travel than anywhere else!

Flamenco dancing class, Madrid 2012

For this reason, I was so excited to find out that the Fisher College of Business provides opportunities for short study-abroad programs over spring break that count for class credits! The rich and diverse cultures across Europe left me craving future travel opportunities, and I am so excited to look into the different programs that I can apply to with my fellow grad-students here at Fisher. Right now, I have my eyes on the Israel: Innovation & Entrepreneurship trip. Here are the other neat trips taking place this year:

Panama: Global Logistics & Supply Chain

Prague & Vienna: A Global Communication Adventure

Italy: Modern Business Organizations

Seattle Trek!

MBA student Rajat Gugnani reflects on creating a career trek to Washington state and the opportunity it provided to graduate students at Fisher to connect with industry leaders Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft and Starbucks.

With the academic year coming to an end and everyone finishing final presentations and papers for various courses, I look back and feel blessed to have spent a wonderful first year with some fantastic people at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business. One of the things I feel passionate about is serving as an MBA Ambassador. It gives me a chance to speak with prospective candidates from across the world, show them our campus, and take them for coffee and lunch while sharing my perspective about our program and school.

I recently took the initiative to build a new “career trek” to Seattle. My motivation for creating a new career trek targeting tech companies came from innumerable phone calls I answered while working with the Admissions Office during my first semester at Fisher. Many students asked if we have established connections with organizations on the West Coast, and I always wanted to say “Yes!” This consequently led to the development of a formalized trek to Seattle.

As soon as I decided to undertake this initiative, I approached a current second-year student, Thais Batista Ronconi, who interned at Amazon and will be joining Amazon in a full time-role this year in Seattle. She was enthusiastic about the idea and was happy to mentor me throughout the development of the trek. We approached the process step by step and started reaching out to alumni and talent acquisition heads/recruiters at various organizations in Seattle. In the meantime, we gauged interest from current students and started working on the timing.

The response we received from students was massive — something that kept us going even after hearing “no” from some of the organizations. After working with companies for almost three months, we got our final “YES” list: Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft and Expedia. Yes, the Big 4 in Seattle.

The timing worked out well with the organizations. We visited in mid-March during spring break with a group of 15 first- and second-year MBAs.

Seattle’s Ferris Wheel at Pier 57

Day 1 started at Starbucks! As soon as we entered Starbucks’ board room, we received a bag full of coffee and goodies for each of us. We started with a session from one of the executives on Sourcing and Global Operations and then learned more about how Starbucks is differentiating itself by investing in technology. We toured Starbucks HQ, which was one of a kind. Every wall illustrated the company timeline by connecting Starbucks’ different product releases with prominent historical events. Also of note: employees can contribute to the less fortunate by buying coffee at a special store inside the building. People from across all departments also meet weekly to discuss how they are impacting people’s lives. From its coffee-tasting space to roasteries, everything at Starbucks is distinct.

Starbucks’ first logo!
At Starbucks’ HQ (top floor)

We commenced Day 2 at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. The first activity took us to the visitor center, a place that has a neat display of everything Microsoft (it features all of Microsoft’s current and upcoming products). From Xbox to Surface book, and from HoloLens to Microsoft’s Age Detection API, we experienced everything.

We were introduced to some cool initiatives at Microsoft and learned how it is utilizing technology to make the world a better place to live. One of the projects that stood out was how Microsoft is helping to find missing children in China. After spending some great time with the recruiter, we met a panel of Ohio State alumni who answered our questions about “all things Microsoft.” Concluding our visit with lunch, it was overall a great day spent in sunny Seattle with our alumni members. Big shout-out to Rafael Williams, university recruiter at Microsoft!

Outside Microsoft’s Visitor Center

Expedia welcomed us with an overview of its organization and later gave a detailed description of its global network of brands. The best part of the visit was a Q&A with the recruiter, who answered more than 50 questions from us.

At Expedia Group’s headquarters in Bellevue, Seattle

Amazon came at last — marking a perfect ending to our Seattle trek. This organization never fails to surprise me — it has now surpassed Google as the best place to work in the United States, according to one survey. We started at Amazon’s “Day 1” building (they consider every day at work to be the first day creating an entrepreneurial start-up environment) with a panel discussion featuring the head of Product Management and a mix of people covering different areas at Amazon! Conversation with each of the panelists gave us more clarity on what Amazon is seeking from its future employees and how its current employees live those 14 leadership principles in their day-to-day work.

After touring the building, we went to the newly opened Amazon Spheres. These spheres serve as a “haven of carefully tended nature geared to letting Amazonians break free from their cubicles and think disruptive thoughts.” Going through each of its floors while experiencing more than 400 different species of cloud forest plants from all over the world was an exhilarating experience. It is definitely a “must-visit” for everyone visiting Seattle. Amazon will soon open the spheres to public.

Amazon Spheres (photo from https://www.instagram.com/seattlespheres/)
Inside Seattle Spheres (I am at the extreme left in a white shirt ;))

It was absolutely a delight to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime event and to learn new things about all these organizations. I hope this new trek becomes a legacy at Fisher College of Business.

Organizers (From left to right: me, Rajat Gugnani, current first-year MBA; Thais Batista Ronconi, current second-year MBA, and Alexander Toomey, advisor at the Office of Career Management)

Spring Break

As I’ve blogged about before, one of the amazing things that Ohio State has to offer is the plethora of student organizations available for students to join. Each student organization is different, but the one that I am heavily involved in allows students to travel to exciting places for a low cost. During my spring break, I had the opportunity to join this organization, MUNDO, on a trip to the South. There, we visited Memphis, New Orleans and Birmingham.

In Memphis, we had the opportunity to stop at the National Civil Rights Museum, learn about civil rights history, and see the location where MLK shared his final moments. In addition, we learned about jazz history at the Memphis Rock ‘n ‘Soul Museum, and experienced it firsthand while walking around Beale Street at night.

The Lorraine Motel, sight of the National Civil Rights Museum

After spending two nights in Memphis, we made it to New Orleans. Of course, Bourbon Street is like no other, but let me tell you something: the beignets (a cross between a donut and funnel cake) exceeded any hype that surrounded Bourbon Street by ten times.

Even though New Orleans is known for its nightlife, we spent most of our days learning about its history and exploring town. We went on a number of tours that helped us explore civil rights in the south such as plantation tours, voodoo tours, ghost tours and museum visits. However, the one experience that I‘ll never forget is the swamp tour. For those of you who do not know me, nature and I do not get along. So, as you can guess, the swamp tour was definitely memorable. I will spare you the details, but all you people need to know is that I made good friends with a swamp boar named “Oreo.”

My sister and me posing in Jackson Square
Bourbon Street at night

Following a few days in New Orleans, we spent a night in Birmingham where we further explored key movements in the civil rights movements, and we visited sites like the 16th Avenue Baptist Church and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Overall, the spring trip to the south was very memorable. Not only did it greatly affect my learning and education, but I was able to form friendships which I will cherish as life carries on.

Global Business Expedition (GBE) – Spring Break 2018

Everyone loves Spring Break– the perfect week to enjoy right before craziness sets in with projects, exams, and papers due before the academic year ends. Each student’s experience is different. Some students in the MBA program embark on a Global Business Expedition (GBE). GBEs are short-term, high-intensity global programs where students travel on a private tour to visit globally successful, multi-national companies, as well as the must-see historical sites of the region. This year, Singapore and Israel were on the list. I decided to interview two of my classmates, Andrew Page, and Carl Shapiro, who visited Singapore, and Israel, respectively. Continue reading to learn more about their journey and enjoy the beautiful sights!

Andrew Page
First-year Full-Time MBA student with a focus on marketing

  • Why did you choose Singapore for your GBE?

AP: I chose to go to Singapore for several reasons. First, I have never been to Asia and I felt like I would be able to get a great experience with many different cultures in a short amount of time. Secondly, this GBE was focused on experiences with doing business throughout Asia and we had opportunities to meet with companies that had operations in Singapore and throughout Asia.

  • Who else was on this trip with you?

AP: There were 25 other students and two faculty members.

  • What were some memorable experiences that you would like to share?

AP: First: the food! We tried all the great food that Singapore has to offer and although it may seem weird that this is such a memorable experience, it is such a unique part of the culture throughout all of Singapore. Everyone has food recommendations for you whether you ask for them or not.

Another memorable experience was visiting the different culturally-specific areas, for example: Little India, Chinatown, and Arab Street. It felt like we were walking into a different country when we went into these areas, but at the same time the cultures were so integrated with each other. There were Chinese jewelers selling to Indian customers in Little India and an Indian clothing shop owner selling Islamic clothing on Arab Street. It was just so unique to see these cultures intertwine.

Finally, I was able to interact with a lot of people with whom I have not had time to spend before. Out of our group, the majority were in the Working Professionals MBA program, so I was able to speak with them about their experiences and make some great network connections. I was also able to spend a lot of time with our faculty member and get to know him outside of the classroom setting.

  • Was there anything that you did not expect or would have done differently?

AP: I did not expect the opportunities that were available to us as students in that part of the world. There were many instances where we were able to make connections for future opportunities with the companies we were meeting.

  • Would you recommend others to join the GBE next year? 

AP: I would recommend GBE to every student who can do it, and I might try to do it again next year!

Carl Shapiro

First-year Full-Time MBA student with a focus on marketing and brand management

  • Why did you choose Israel for your GBE?

CS: The focus for my career is marketing and brand management which has a strong relationship with the culture in which the brand is doing business. Israel is unique in that the domestic market is too small to support a major company on its own, so as a means for survival, Israeli firms have to export and market themselves in foreign markets. To be on the ground and start to understand the strategies that these firms develop is incredibly powerful.

I also have a personal relationship with Israel, having family there. I am personally invested in the success of the country. I think the unique aspects of Israel– bringing the Hebrew language back to life, establishing the first independent Jewish state in 2000 years, and transforming a desolate environment into fertile land– show what grit and hard work can accomplish.

  • How many students/faculty were on this trip?

CS:  I went to Israel with Oded Shenkar (faculty) and there were nine students on the trip.

  • Any memorable experiences that you would like to share?

CS: Some of my most memorable moments were interacting with Israelis outside of the corporate environment to develop a deeper understanding of their culture. By spending my free time out in Tel Aviv on the beach, or in the markets of Jerusalem, I could really get a feeling of where the entrepreneurship begins and what makes the Israeli condition so relevant to the success of disrupting technology. In the corporate environment, we had the opportunity to talk to the leaders of the businesses we visited, the decision-makers at the highest levels. Because Israel’s culture is so casual, we were encouraged to ask probing questions and get very honest and valuable answers that in the United States might not be possible.

 

  • Was there anything that you did not expect or would have done differently?

CS: I would have liked to have more time for one-on-one networking with some folks from the different companies. Many of the companies we visited introduced us to several high-level managers, but we didn’t have the opportunity to hear them all speak, and it would have been helpful to break out into smaller groups or have unstructured time when we could focus more on the things that interest us with someone from the company who also shares that interest.

  • Would you recommend others to join the GBE next year? 

CS: I absolutely recommend the trip. The reality of the closeness of the Israeli economy with the American economy means that if you work in tech, you will encounter an Israeli firm. It can be an incredible asset to understand the differences and similarities of the two cultures to get the most out of the relationship.

 

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!