ECHOES from Fisher Class of 2011 – Nicholas Derrien

In the B-School classes, I have noticed that all my phenomenal classmates have so many wonderful thoughts to share. That really makes the whole Fisher experience unique and out of this world. I love writing blogs, but one thing that I don’t like about it is its individualistic demeanor. I want all my classmates to speak out of my blog and with that intention in mind, I have decided  to introduce my classmates to the blog from time to time.

This week I will introduce Nick Derrien. He is a Frenchman who has taught English to the Chinese. He is very fluent in Spanish and learned it while working at a school in Bolivia . He dreams of alleviating poverty from the face of the earth.

Over to you, Nick.

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By far the best thing I have done so far is visit Macchupicchu and Wynapicchu in Peru. For the curious ones, Wynapicchu is the tall mountain you see in lots of pictures behind Mannupichhu. To get there, you have to wake up at 4:00am to climb up to Macchupicchu and be one of the first 400 people in line, and people get up even earlier to be there. We made it to the top at about  5am and were one of the first 75 people…a bunch of tired, delirious, hungry, thirsty, but super happy 20-30 year olds. 30 minutes later there were a ton of people. Long story short, we made it to the top of Wynapicchu and it was an incredible view…maybe one of the coolest things I’ve even seen.

Oh, also, how can I forget taking part in some Peruvian mountain witchcraft practices. On this 4 day hike to Macchupicchu, I started to feel sick after eating or drinking something. We got to Santa Terresa, some small town in the mountains where they have hot springs, and the guide, who was super nice, tried to find some special tea, and managed to do so at a local’s place. The hut consisted of 4 pieces of sheet metal with the same type roof. The room was no bigger than 10 by 10 feet and housed a family of 5. One horribly decrepit bed, an old picnic like table, some makeshift over, and a few chairs all on a dirt floor. Rotting fish lay on the table, surrounded by flies , which the mother was preparing for dinner. The kids were eating raw eggs. Anyway, my guide victor asked them for this special tea, and after I drank it, I started to feel sick, so I ran out and promptly threw up! I immediately felt better and walked back in. I tried to say thank you and give them a couple of soles, the currency, but the guide told me that I needed to stay.
Ummm…….ok.

Then it got weird. I had to sit down on the stool. Victor, my guide, came over and started to pass an herb around my head, my body, and then told me to inhale. He did it three times and then told me to spit on it three times, all the while humming something. At this point I still didn’t know what was going on, and was wondering when the earth was going to open up and we would all be swallowed up. Then they, the residents, brought him some type of alcohol, which actually smelled refreshing, but also really, really strong. Victor did about the same thing as before, passing it around my head, rubbing in on my face and arms, inhaling, etc. This time, I didn’t have to spit on his hands! I thought it was over, but then he brought out some ‘rum’ and poured out a cap full. I told him I didn´t know how I would react i.e. whether I’m going to throw up if I take this stuff. But I did…and I did (throw up)! And so guess what, we started all over again. This time, I concentrated so hard not to throw up when it was time to take this shot again, and thankfully I passed.

I learned after the fact, which would have been nice to know before, that the belief is that if you throw up after walking in the mountains, you have inhaled an evil spirit, and it is necessary to cleanse your body of this spirit. I tell the story in a joking way, partly because I had only left the comfort of the US a week before, but please don’t overlook the incredible spirit of these Peruvians. Victor, who had no real obligation to look after me while I was sick, went completely out of his way to try to help me when I needed it. And he did so without asking for anything whatsoever in return (in fact, he even gave the family several soles, a large sum for both he and the family, and did so thinking that I didn’t see it). The family, who themselves didn’t ask for anything, opened their house and gave me everything they knew to and had to try to help me get better. While the remedy was definitely not typical, the gesture and manner with which it was done was incredible. I will remember both Victor and the family for a very long time.

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Jajaja!

This weekend I attended the NSHMBA Conference in Minneapolis, MN. I went with a group of nine great Fisher students also in the Fisher Latino Graduate Association. We had an extremely productive, fun-filled weekend. I don’t know how many total attendees there were, but I’d guesstimate around 1000-1500. The company list was impressive as well. Most of the top MBA employers were represented, along with most of the top 25 MBA programs. The highlights of the weekend were:

  • Interviewing with three of the top companies on my short list.
  • Making solid contacts at several other companies.
  • Networking with MBA students from other top schools.
  • Going to the corporate-sponsored parties. The Target party was amazing!
  • Watching Ohio State receive the Brillante Award for Educational Excellence.
  • Seeing some of my friends in the MBA program from last year on the other side of the table, recruiting for their companies.
  • Spending some quality time with the incoming first-year MBA students.
  • Hearing from several different recruiters how highly regarded the Fisher College brand is.

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Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Hispanic culture and people. It was great to be back in that warm, loving environment after a year in Columbus (not that I don’t love the Midwest, it’s just a different kind of nice here). My cheeks hurt a little bit from laughing so much the entire weekend. As my buddy Jorge would say, there was much jajaja’ing the entire trip ( how some of my Hispanic friends say “hahaha” in a text message or Facebook post). I know one thing for sure, no matter where I’m at next year, I’m going to the 2010 NSHMBA Conference in Chicago.

On a similar note, I just decided that I’m spending my Spring Break in Brazil. Fisher College has a program called Emerging Market Field Studies where students take a class in the Winter to learn about and become experts in one particular emerging market. Upon finishing the course, they spend their Spring Break in that country. Upon return from the country, students are required to write field study case reports. I had friends go to Bolivia, Vietnam and Ethiopia last year and they all had a great time. I can’t wait!

In not so good news, I’m getting to the point now where sleep is a thing of the past (currently it is 2:31am Sunday night/Monday morning). I usually work from 8am-10pm most days and catch up on emails and manage my career search from 10pm-2am. I feel bad for my friends with iPhones and Blackberrys, but it’s the only time I have right now to go through my 100 emails a day. So sorry if your email notification goes off in the middle of the night.

Well, I’m off. I have a dozen or so emails to finish and a couple cases to read before I call it a night. Make it a great week!

Mike ^_^

Fisher Commons… No Left Turn!

I really enjoy living at Fisher Commons, its very convenient for getting to Gerlach, especially for my 8 am GA, its 30 minutes walking and less than 8 minutes of a drive. The only inconvenient thing is that, you can’t make a left turn into or out of the only entrance to the Fisher Commons. It is really annoying because it means making several inconvenient turn and tacking on precious moments to get home, to ease the suffering, I made a small infographic showing the best routes to get from the Fisher College of Business parking lot to Fisher commons, with the accompanying times… you should really print this out and tape it to your dashboard… or just look at it once… whatever you want.

Fisher Parking Lot to Fisher Commons Infographic
Fisher Parking Lot to Fisher Commons Infographic

Networking in the Big Easy

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the National Black MBA Association Conference in New Orleans.  After two days of classes, I was excited to get away with 10 of my classmates and see a new city.  I soon learned that the trip would be nothing short of a whirlwind.

We got into New Orleans around midnight Thurs night/Fri morning.  I was so exhausted but there was no time for sleep because we were up and at ’em at 7am headed to the convention center.  Upon entering the career fair, I was very taken aback.  I’ve been to national conferences for different organizations before but never to anything of this magnitude.  There were elaborate exhibits including product demos of Harley motorcycles, Chrysler, P&G products, and many more.  Not only were the exhibits impressive but also to see over 5,000 people navigating the different booths in search of jobs and internships.  I was able to talk to representatives from over 10 companies and I even snagged an interview on Friday afternoon.  I hope to hear back soon!

Attending the conference definitely showed me that in order to succeed, I need to be at the top of my game.  There are so many top students from top universities competing for a limited number of positions.  Having a clear plan of what I want to do and how I expect to get there is key!

Apart from the professional aspect of the conference, it was great to get to know my classmates and meet students and professionals from around the country.  Of course, we ate some authentic New Orleans cuisine, ventured out to Bourbon Street (which was crazy), and even had the chance to wander around the French Quarter.

Although I was extremely exhausted and swamped with work when we got back to Columbus, the trip was very much worth it.  Where else would I have the chance to talk to over 400 recruiters on one day!?!

Detroit Trip

I would say one of the great things about being in Columbus, Ohio is the accessibility you have to other neighboring cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis, or of course Detroit!  After the first week of graduate school I needed to get my mind off things and refocus!  I wasn’t overwhelmed just yet, but I could feel the emotion rising inside.  Luckily, it was my friend’s 24th birthday this past weekend and it allowed me the opportunity to get away.  The drive to Detroit from Columbus is about 3.5 hours, not too bad.  I was particularly excited about this trip because:

1. I had never been to Detroit

2. My friend was also my college roommate in undergrad and I hadn’t seen her since graduation (2 years ago)

3. Two of our other friends lived there and I hadn’t seen them in a year

Consequently, I had a lot to look forward to.  Usually I feel like a 32 year old trapped in a early 20 year old body, because my life is just that uneventful.  However, this past weekend made me feel like the 23 year old that I am.  The weekend was mostly spent celebrating her birthday in two of Detroit’s casinos, Motor City and MGM Grand.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see much of Detroit, yet I am positive this will not be my last trip to Detroit.  At the end of the weekend, I felt renewed!  Sometimes you need that little getaway to get your life back in order. So many changes have been made and this past weekend really allowed me the opportunity to just relax and let everything settle for a bit.  First, I was getting acclimated to Columbus, and then graduate school. It all happened so fast!  Since I got back from my trip I feel less worried about graduate school, and am feeling more comfortable as each day passes by.

Moral of the story:  Don’t be afraid to take a break while in graduate school. Sometimes refocusing your energy is all you need to get back on track and in the game!

The Wake-Up Call From The National Black MBA Conference 2009

So our first week of classes ended last Thursday, and I was hoping to get a break to relax after a very grueling 2 days of classes. Instead, I immediately hoped on a plane with 10 other first year students to fly to New Orleans for the 31st annual National Black MBA Conference. The National Black MBA Conference has a multifaceted mission, which you can discover from their website, but my main mission was to start networking and try to find a internship for this summer. The most surprising thing I learned, was that, wow! finding an internship was going to be a little harder than I thought! The conference really put into perspective how competitive the MBA job space was. Although there were more than 400 corporate sponsors and recruiters, over the course of the conference, about 5,000 MBAs were rambling through the career fair (you can find other conference statistics here). Especially when you got to very desirable companies like Disney, Microsoft and Ogilvy, the lines to wait to talk to a recruiter could stretch beyond a half hour. And when you did get to talk to a recruiter there was a varied mix of responses ranging from  people who were very interested in your career goals, people who wanted to just run through your resume, people who wanted to just direct you to their company’s career website and people who were actually doing on the spot first-round interviews. I felt mostly though that the Conference’s career fair was quite a wake-up call/ reality check that just handing out your resume is not enough, especially when it is sitting on a mixed off-white, cream, eggshell white pile of 500 other resumes. The rest of the conference besides the career fair was fun too, and New Orleans was a very fun city, with lots to see and do, all in all a very worth while experience, although running on 4 hours of sleep 4 days in a row is very hard! Can’t wait for next year’s NBMBAA Conference in Los Angeles!

Montana…and class is only 3 days away…

Now that school is only a few days away, I figured I’d write my first post. Yesterday I flew back from Montana where I was visiting my brother. Having never been to that part of the country before, I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a great time. I flew into Kalispell which is only a short drive from where my brother lives in Whitefish.

The best part of the weekend was our trip to Glacier National Park on Friday where we hiked the Siyeh Pass Trail. As you can see from the link, the highest elevation is 8,080 feet (more than 1.5 miles high) and I can attest that you get tired quickly when you are hiking in air that thin. Luckily, we avoided the bears, but were able to spot some bighorn sheep, mountain goats and mule deer. All told, it took a little less than 5 hours to hike the trail with many stops along the way to rest, drink and take pictures. I was exhausted at the end, but it was definitely worth it and I strongly recommend checking out the park.

How does any of this relate to school? With all of my travel time to and from Montana, I was able to read all of “The Mystery of Capital” and most of “Super Crunchers” while I was sitting in airports and on the plane. They were good reads and should make for some interesting discussions in class. Only 3 more days until class starts and I still have a little bit of reading to do for class on Thursday…

Here are a few pictures I took along the Siyeh Pass Trail.